Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I need a wife

No, seriously. I need someone who can help me with the cooking and cleaning and laundry, who can help get J ready as I try to take the trash out in the morning or get him dressed while I'm getting ready, just someone who can be there and help with things and be a partner. It's hard work trying to do everything on my own, and today it's just getting to me.

Today everything is getting to me. More than once in the last couple of days, I've found myself on the verge of tears for no apparent reason. I just know there's got to be something better to life than this. I know life isn't sunshine and roses all the time, and that a lot of it is going to be just mundane stuff - I don't expect it to be one burst of excitement after another, all the time. But it can't be *all* stress over money, stress at work, stress from butting heads with my strong-willed son, can it? Surely it's not too much to hope for/expect a life where not everything in it stresses me out. Is it too much to hope for work I find rewarding? Is it too much to hope for enough income to take care of me and J? Is it too much to hope for someone (other than my son) who loves me and wants to spend time with me and cherishes me and lets me know it? Right now it just feels like every major area of my life - finances, work, relationships, even parenting - just sucks, and it's depressing. My house is a pit, but when I get home of an evening, I can't seem to dredge up the energy to do anything much about it - not enough to get it closer to looking good, at least. I worry about J, worry that I don't spend enough time with him, don't give him enough attention when we're home, worry that he'll have emotional and psychological scars because K and I split up. After he went to sleep last night, I sat there and watched him sleep, and I cried.

And money. Does it never end?! I filed bankruptcy last April, thought I'd taken care of all my unsecured debt through that, including an astronomical bill that Cingular Wireless said we owed (no way did we run up the bill they said we had, I know for a fact there was something screwy with the call timers on K's phone on at least two occasions, and I think we were overcharged, although Cingular would never admit it). I thought that was that. Well, Cingular started calling over some balance I allegedly owed. Um, no, that was taken care of in the bankruptcy. I referred it to the attorney who'd handled my bankruptcy, she wrote them a letter telling them to bug off, it was covered in the bankruptcy, and I thought that was that. Now they're back with a collection agency, again trying to collect this balance. They're saying I owe an additional $500+, and I have to either pay or make settlement arrangements by tomorrow. Pay with what?! I have nothing in my savings account, about $40 in one checking account, and the money in my other checking account is already spoken for. I have nothing in my 401(k) to borrow against or withdraw. I might can get a few dollars from the pennies I have in my change jar. So now I'm going to have to suck up and call them. I hate Cingular. If theirs was the only wireless service available, I wouldn't have a cell phone. But this is a perfect example - I filed bankruptcy, tried to clear up my business, and yet it keeps coming back to bite me in the ass. I am sick and tired of that, sick and tired of unpleasant surprises, sick and tired of stressing and worrying and wondering how the hell I'll afford the next crisis that comes along. I haven't seen my lap-band surgeon in over a year - forget paying for a fill, I don't have an extra $50 right now to make the co-pay for the office visit. I'm just SICK of it. When do things get better, and how can I help them get better? And once I figure out how to help things get better, how do I muster up the energy to do it?

This is K's weekend with J, and I am so looking forward to the break. But I'm a bit concerned, because last weekend K told me he couldn't handle Little Gym by himself. J is a bit of a nonconformist, and it bothers K a great deal that he's the only parent not sitting in the circle for the group activity - J infinitely prefers to do his own thing. I'm not sure why that's such a big deal - the instructor doesn't make a big deal about the kids sticking strictly to routine at this age, and I'm not sure why it bothers K so much unless he just hates feeling out of control of J (what's to control, let him run until he drops) or he worries that other parents there are thinking he's out of control of J (hey, they've all got kids - even if their kids are perfect angels when we see them, you know they've all had moments where their children were so hideous that they wished the floor would open up and swallow them whole! LOL). But he's said it does bother him and he just can't do it by himself. So I'm guessing that means he wants me to go to Little Gym with him and J on my off weekends. I don't mind going to Little Gym, per se - it's fun, and J has a blast if he's not so tired that he can barely function (this is what happened last week, J just wanted to lay on the mat - now that's a rare occurrence!). But my concerns with going every week are 1) if I do, I'll never have a truly free weekend, where I can sleep as late as I want, get up and do whatever I want, without having to worry that I have an obligation to make, and 2) I run the very real risk that, if I go to Little Gym on my off weekends, J will see me and throw an unholy fit to go back to the big house with mama afterward. That would mean I'd have gotten exactly one night to myself, most of which would have been spent sleeping. That hardly seems fair. Maybe I'm just a heartless bitch, but I don't think so - I need those breaks, I know I function better and deal with J's fits better when I've had some time to myself. That weekend I went to the Baylor game, that was the first truly free weekend I've had in I don't know when. I need more time like that, not less, and I'm afraid less is what I'll get if I go to Little Gym every weekend. So that's another thing I'm stressed out about.

Now I've read back over what I wrote and thoroughly depressed myself. I guess I'd better stop before I start crying at my desk. Time to work, woo.


The Anti-Wife said...

Okay, first of all, Sweetness, you are taking on way too much because of your own guilt. Your conscience seems to be your worst enemy. You are NOT obligated to sooth K’s parents’ pain over your divorce. You are NOT obligated to monitor and regulate J’s time with K, OR J’s behaviors while he is over there. J will turn out to be perfectly fine if you let him have some downtime with his father, regardless of whether you agree with how he structures it. I am a child of divorce and a divorcee with children — I like to think I know a bit about this. ;o) Furthermore, one of the benefits of divorce — if there can be any — is your own personal downtime. You need to learn to embrace this time and let K be the father for the 48 hours J is with him. You, my dear, need to re-discover who and what you are during that time. You are your biggest obstacle to this rediscovery.

Believe me, Lisa, I understand how stressful life, money, kids, marriage, and everything else is. I also know that if you don’t make time for YOU, it’s only going to get worse. (I am a living, breathing, and barely walking example of this.) Strategizing life’s path is made worse with stress and a lack of sleep. I don’t have the answers for your problems, but I do know how important R&R is to thinking clearly.

None of this is meant to be hurtful, Lisa...just a well-intended opinion.


lioness01 said...

*big hugs*

I know where you are and how it sucks, but it will get better. They can't get much worse right? OK maybe that wasn't too funny.

Try to think of things you have to be thankful for instead of all the crappy stuff. Just the other day I was flipping channels and happened to get some kind of infomercial or documentary on St. Jude's children's hospital and the kids that they help and I thought how thankful/lucky I am to have two healthy children and how much heart those kids have. Sometimes it helps.

anyways, you have lots of people out here sending good luck and thoughts your way

Lisa said...

Kellie and Cassee, thank you so much! Hugs to you both.

Kellie, I didn't take your comments to be hurtful at all. Hey, you've lived what J is living, and you're also going through the end of a marriage, so I'm glad to hear any advice you care to share. :)

I know it's not my responsibility to help K's parents feel better. I know I can't help them feel better, because the thing that would make them feel better (K and I getting back together) is something I can't do. So, just like me, they'll have to deal. But I am sorry this hurts them, because I love them and they've been nothing but wonderful over the years.

And I know that time for myself is essential - I finally realized that when I went to the Baylor-UT game, I was so much better prepared to deal with J's fits and frets after that weekend completely to myself. Generally, I don't much fret when J is with K - I'm too glad of the break to fret! And I know K can handle most stuff and needs to learn that he can handle what he's not sure he can. What I fret about is when K starts saying he can't handle something and sounding really freaked out. I worry that he'll get stressed to the point that it will have some kind of negative impact on J. It's very hard for me to tell K no, always has been, and yeah, in that situation, I would/I do tend to let guilt get the best of me. Maybe K subconsciously realizes that and plays on it - not saying he does it deliberately, I don't think he'd do that. But those are the times I tend to take on responsibilities that perhaps ought not to be mine right then, when I worry that J will be negatively affected if I don't. And I'm not saying K would ever intentionally do anything to hurt J - I know he wouldn't, he loves J and wants to see him happy and well-adjusted as much as I do. I'm just saying there are times he sounds like he may be stressed more than he can take, and I'm not sure how to help him develop the ability to cope with those situations that stress him without being that safety net. So then I feel weighed down because he's asking, and I feel upset at myself for not being able to say no. Yuck. (Did that even make sense?!)

And Cassee, you're right - things do have to get better! Logically I know there are people out there in far worse circumstances than me. Sometimes it's just hard to remember that when I'm having a good wallow in the pity pit, though.

I am better now - this morning everything just hit me for some reason. I'm still not 100%, but I don't feel like I'm about to cry anymore, which is an improvement!

Kay said...

I guess I wonder why K takes J only every other weekend for, what, one overnight? Why not more frequently than that? My X2B takes our 5-year-old every Thursday through Sunday. As a result he is so much more involved in our son's life than he ever was while we were married, and I have enough "me" time to feel balanced. Our son LOVES all the Daddy time he never had before, and because we're on a predictable weekly schedule, he never argues when he's with whom. And along those lines, why does K HAVE to do Little Gym with J? If he doesn't like it, and it's his time, why doesn't he just do something else with him? Your latest post spoke to your trying to control everything and if you just let go of that father-son element of control maybe you'd feel less pressured and more relaxed. AND maybe you'd have more time to do career planning or at least pick up a more fun second job for weekends.

Just a thought; clearly I don't have it all figured out myself but I'm happier than I've been in many, many years finally NOT having to control anything but myself (and my son four days a week, but focusing on teaching him to care for himself, chores, and other self-empowering things he loves).

Anyway, that's my suggestion: you are not the only parent. Delegate his share to K now or when J is older and really needs a father's intervention, they won't have enough of a bond built on the basis of a few hours every other weekend, especially without you telling them what to do.

Oh, and why do you let your child make the decisions about who will do what? Set rules and don't stand for the tantrums. I've never let my son get away with that. If you go to Little Gym, tell K that J will have a fit if you see him and leave him, and then let him deal with making that decision. But don't cave in to a child's whims about bedtime or which parent he's with - that's the area where you SHOULD retain control.

Just my two cents' as usual (and all the parenting books for boys that I've read) but I do have an amazingly happy and well-balanced child and feel I'm finally doing something right with the way I've changed his life in the past year.