Lately, I’ve been struggling. Emotionally, I’m trying to stay afloat. I have what feels like the weight of the universe on my shoulders. I’d dare to say that only those that are raising their kids alone will truly understand. For those who don’t know, imagine feeling like you’re constantly having to be everywhere doing everything all at once. From paying the bills to making lunches to fixing “boo-boos” to carpools to, well, everything else. Right now, I’m unemployed. I’ve been looking for a job since December; sending out my resume is just depressing at this point. I need to find a job that, hopefully, will have benefits for me. The kids have insurance; I still lack healthcare however. I need a job where I make more than minimum wage, and that doesn’t require me to work nights or weekends; affordable childcare outside of the normal 9-5 workweek does not exist.
I will have to move once I find this job. So I have new work to find, a place for us to live, and the girls will most likely have to acclimate to a new school as well. All of this while still feeling the pressure of caring for my youngest. She is absent today from school, as she was yesterday, due to strep throat. She has missed many days of school this year. This weighs heavily on me the most. How do I commit myself to an employer and be successful in my career while still being there for my kids? I have to work. Ideally, I need to work at least 30-40 hours per week in order to get by. I need to find someone willing to work on an as-needed basis, who I can call when my youngest is sick and will watch her, and one that I can afford. This is increasingly the biggest challenge for me to resolve; though I have to believe a solution is out there.
I have so much good going on, so much love, and greatness in the important parts of my life. I have some incredible and loving people around me. Still, there are many times I feel alone and so stressed. Figuring out work, school, and housing is becoming more consuming with each day. From the minute I wake up until I try to fall asleep at night, the pressure of it all weighs down on me. I wish it was easier. I wish my daughters had a father around to care for them, both emotionally and physically. I ‘d love to know that my youngest wasn’t going to keep being sick, or at the very least that a well-paying yet flexible job was an option. Finishing my degree is a priority; it’s the only way I can make a better future for my family. I even know what career and education path I want to head in, but it’s not feasible right now. I just wonder why it’s so hard. I know what I need to do, it’s just so difficult to do so with the way things exist today. It may seem like a cop-out, but it’s the truth: being a single mom and getting ahead in this country is next to impossible. And it’s only getting harder.
I know that once I get it figured out, and in particular when we’re settled in our new place, I’ll breathe a sigh of relief. Until then, it’s hard to finish a writing piece (I have several drafts that only need editing or tweaking.), those paintings (I currently have three in progress.), that book (Well, both of them!), and just move forward in these things that I’m unable to get through lately. As my father always says, “some days peanuts, some days shells.” I’m over the shells. I’m not one who thrives in limbo. Does anyone? I know I need to stay above the rising tide and make this all work out somehow. Until then, I’ll try not to forget to exhale. I’ll turn to writing and creating and reading when the suffocating feelings invade. All I can do is sip my tea, try to relax, and smile at my tea bag fortune.
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You should know this,
that I love you
that I have always loved you
no force in this universe,
can stop me from loving you still.
~ Tyler Knott Gregson
I came across this quote the other day, on Tumblr of all places; it was one of those printed on an old library card with a typewriter. It reminds me of my children, of motherhood. That love that begins the precise moment you realize motherhood, and yet it feels like it’s always been so. The high you feel when your child is born and that intense feeling of devotion you feel when you first hold your baby in your arms compares to nothing else. In a moment, your world changes, and you feel a love like never before. For me, it was the awe of knowing this being had grown inside me and now was there on their own, the whole world in front of them. It was the responsibility I felt instantly, knowing in that second there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for this little person looking up at me. It’s knowing that this love is a love that will always exist, to borrow from Doctor Who, through all of time and space. It’s a beautiful, wonderful feeling.
Motherhood is saying “I love you” and meaning it like you never have before in your life. I’ll say it until I have no breath left to say it: motherhood is the best thing to ever happen to me and I cannot imagine not having my children in my life. I can’t even think of missing out on all they bring to me every single day. I love the excitement in their eyes at a newly fallen-out tooth, the pride in their voice as they announce a good grade, the thrill they show upon hearing we’re going out somewhere special, and the gratitude they show from something as simple as cooking their favorite meal or painting their nails. I’d never want to miss out on the holidays, the birthdays, the school performances, and every other moment in their lives. At times it is a lot to digest, being a single mom. Knowing that I am the only person to show up when they are sick or to cheer for them in the crowd is a lot of pressure. I’m glad I have family and friends who support us and who nurture my kids in ways I simply cannot do alone. I appreciate each person who helps me out and who adds to the lives of my children. I’ll never understand parents who choose to not be involved in their kid’s lives. It breaks my heart to see my children when they discuss the pain they feel over what is missing in their life. They are getting used to it. It’s our new normal. There is a lot of happiness and plenty of wonderful things in our new normal. They are two of the most incredible human beings I know, and it’s not just because they come from me. I admire their strength and creativity. As I tell them quite often, I’m so lucky, and thankful that I get to be their mom.