Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Biohazard Blog

It's been almost a year since I left my husband, and about ten months since I started this blog. I started it at that time because I wanted to write about the trials and joys of single parenting. I made one significant mistake, though: I thought I KNEW something about single parenting.

It's easy to think that after years of being trapped in a marriage where you shouldered so much more than your fair share of the parenting responsibility. And it's true that I was always the primary caregiver for our children, and that the things I tried to accomplish for them were often made much more difficult by the lack of unity between myself and my husband. What I didn't know is that actually being a single parent, all by myself, with divorce papers in hand and without any hopes or expectations from anyone else, would be the scariest thing I have ever faced in my life.

A year ago, I really thought I was ready for the journey of single parenting. I thought I was already most of the way there, and that all I needed was a couple of months to recuperate from the traumatic ending of my marriage before I'd be back on my feet again. I had no idea that I was actually terrified of being alone, that I would have to overcome enormous levels of fear and anxiety about finding a job that would support myself and my kids financially, or that I was going to be so utterly miserable with my own company. I just wanted to be that Power Mom who could do it all and doesn't let anyone or anything stop her, and I thought that if I tried hard enough, I would be, any day now... I kept trying to move ahead and sort out my newly single life, but without making any real progress. It was like trying to plow a field with a rusty old tractor that is out of gas and missing a transmission.

As a result of that process, however, I learned a few things about myself. I learned that you can't place a timeline on the healing process for a heart that has been neglected, broken, and abused for so long. I learned how to take care of my kids on my own but also that it's easier if I have support from friends and family. I learned how to find more enjoyment from things that my husband didn't want me to do while I was married, like reading books and listening to music. I learned more about my own spirituality, and about how I want to raise my kids. Most importantly, though, I learned that being a single parent isn't something that you know how to do until you have to do it, by yourself, without a spouse, in a place that looks frightening and lonely and intimidating until after you've waded around in the shallow end of the water long enough to try out the deep end of the pool, and maybe even contemplate a jump off of the diving board.

Parenting is a journey more than anything else. Our kids grow and change before our eyes every day, and as parents all we can do is try to keep up with the whirlwind of metamorphosis that we have given birth to. I certainly can't say that I have arrived in my journey as a single mom. What I can say is that I've finally figured out how to begin that journey. I'm at a place where I have accepted that I am a single parent, and I am going to be a single parent for a long time, and that's okay because I'm a pretty decent one, and I have two of the most amazing people I have ever known to travel this journey with me every day, and of course it's not perfect, but I am honestly happy with the life I have with my kids and I wouldn't have it any other way.

The challenges and difficulties that I've been through in this past year have been almost inadvertently chronicled in this blog. I initially wanted it to be a fun and entertaining blog about being a single mom, but I didn't do a whole of things last year that were either fun or entertaining, and when I did I wasn't writing about them, so this blog has ended up being sort of like an emotional landfill. I have dumped endless negative emotion in here that I wasn't sure what to do with, and by now I think the entire blog might actually be a biohazard; I worry that my readers could pick up something nasty like anthrax if they were to hang around here for too long. But I think that I am now on the verge of some exciting changes in my life that I'm going to want to write about. I am finally excited about finding a new job instead of being scared about it, and I want to write about that. I am starting to enjoy being a mom to my kids again, and I want to write about that. I am becoming a more confident and centered version of myself, and I want to write about that. I just don't think that I want to write about it here, in a blog that feels like a toxic wasteland to me. I feel the need for a fresh start. So in that regard, I have plans to start a new blog, somewhere else, sometime soon. I have some ideas that I want to experiment with a little bit before I set something up that I hope to be happy with for a long time. When I get it ready, I'll come back here and include a link to it.

I will probably continue to post here from time to time. After all, the year of your divorce only happens once, and there may come a time when I'm glad I took the time to write about what I went through. But today isn't that day. Today is the day to start over, move ahead, and begin living the life I want instead of wallowing in the life I happen to have.


Erica said...

Hugs, AM!

Sherrie said...

Hugs and much love, AM.

Kim V. said...

(hugs) babe. I am sure you are doing a much better job than you think you are. You are a good person and a great mom who puts her children's needs foremost in her mind. They will be fine.