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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Struggles of Single Parenting

As I continue to heal from my loss of Matt I notice the more time that goes by the more the grief changes from sad thoughts to happy memories. There are so many areas I feel I'm growing, continuing forward, and moving through the hard part, but the one thing that continues unchanged is the struggles I face in a single parent home. I feel so inadequate. I cleaned my house for the first time since I moved this week (this confession disgusts me). And I'm still exhausted from this task three days later. I used to clean my house top to bottom each week, pick up everyday, prepare and clean up a meal, and do laundry as one fluid task. Now it's as if I have no time to get any of these things done the way I wish. The laundry gets started, and forgotten. Two days later my washed clothes now reek of mildew, and the stuff in the dryer is so wrinkled I have to start over. Dinner remains to be a point of frustration for me. Evelyn is such a picky eater, and I've never been a foodie - unless we're talking chocolate I'm sort of a take it or leave it kind of girl when it comes to food. Somehow my time and motivation was simultaneously cut in half when I lost Matt, and I suppose that makes sense. And yet, I refuse to just let this feeling of inadequacy in the way I now run a home be the new status quo.

All this to say, I don't have much inspiration for this part of my frustration at the moment. What I want is solid ideas on how to feel more in control. Meditations I how I can let go of the need to control, without living in a state of chaos. Advice on how to get a four year old to help, and not feel as though she is being left out, or that mom must always put work and house tasks before her. So I'm just throwing this out there to my readers. What works for you? What doesn't? What are your tricks?

I would love to hear any responses you'd be willing to give!


kristi valentine said...

it is hard, i do know, i hate to confess also, but i made Ben and Danny, silly supper almost every night. one of their favs was, oscar meyer fried sausage links, rolled in ham, id put about 4 toothpicks in them slice them, so yummy, try easy cooking, baked potato w sour cream and bacon bits from a pouch. what really saved me, they had their own laundry baskets. i have a picture of them from 22 years ago that hangs above my washer still, of those 2 switching a load of laundry together. then the seperating wasnt a problem no more. i have pics of them peeling potatos with danny only about 1 1/2 years old. they have the same birthday,dec 17th 4 years apart, so even though they had to share it was easier to have all the neighborhood kids over at once. my facebook friend bonnie hawkins has known me 30 years and has been to about 10 halloween parties, i always had one for all the kids to come to. i dont like to bake but 1~2~3 cookies. any cake mix you want, 2/3 cup oil and 3 eggs, add anything to it, nuts chocochips or while still warm m and ms on top, frost dont frost decorate with colored sugar. my Dads italian so we ate up fried fruit, bisquick dumplings or waffles, Bens fav was biscuits and gravey, i could send you easy recipe. corn and carrots always got brown sugar and butter, all this isnt that healthy but better then mcdonalds. i left them posti notes everywhere, if i had a gripe or a good job, i watched them deciefer the notes as they hadnt learned to be avid readers yet. i had a big dog, named shade, a bouvier de flanders they grew up with, he wold nip all the boys in the butt if they started to wrestle. i miss being a mom and am trying to find purpose again, i loved being Ben and Dannys mom.
again good luck, sincerely.

Wendy said...

I don't have kids, so not much to add on that front, but as far as getting things done goes...

1) maybe put a timer for the laundry in Evelyn's room/play area and have her help you by letting you know when it goes off, and then she can help you sort and change out laundry? She could pick out pairs of socks, big towels, little towels, etc., so you can fold one type of thing at a time (more efficient for putting away too)

2) keep a notepad and pen somewhere handy and jot down to-do items into a list to be crossed off -- it makes you feel much more accountable and also accomplished to cross them off (I just did that today/yesterday when this week's tasks seemed too much)

3) Don't be afraid to ask for help! I hate doing this, so I used my blog and Facebook to do it when I needed help with some house tasks that were too much for one little woman to handle alone, so I wouldn't feel like I was putting anyone on the spot. Just put it out there -- say you'd really appreciate an evening of baby-sitting, a delivered meal, etc. If you can find four friends to help out and they each do one favor a month, you get one favor a week, which will really help!

4) Cook twice as much food as you need, then have the rest a couple days later as leftovers.

Finally, don't underestimate the power of meditation and yoga. (Not expecting you to get away for a class, but maybe try a lesson online?) They don't get things crossed off the list, true, but they help keep you calm, sane, focused, and I think more efficient and less likely to have those frustrated/clumsy/angry-because-you're-clumsy-and-things-keep-going-wrong meltdowns. (Or is it just me who gets those? I must have locked my keys in my car or left my headlights on half a dozen times in law school, for example.) Outdoor activity does the same too -- go for a walk, a bike ride, whatever. These mood boosters/energy burners help!

Hope at least something on my suggestion list works with your life to bring more peace and sanity to your home!


G.C. McKinney said...

I know the feeling. I used to care for my 6 year old and 2 year old and my husband with rapidly declining dementia. Very hard to do but I managed. Totally different story when your husband dies. Every task is suddenly so hard! everyone in your family is adjusting and trying to heal right now, the laundry, frozen foods, unpicked up floors, they don't matter so much right now. Well, at least that's how I rationalize my dirty house and rowdy kids. ;)
It actually sounds like you are doing great job so far!