One Step Closer Every Day

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Every single day, I get one step closer to the life I want to live and farther away from the life I was in/that I imagined my future would be. Every single day, I move forward and away from the person I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with. Every day I get a little stronger, a little more focused on my personal goals, a little more confident in doing this "life" by myself.

Almost two years ago, my world fell a part. I've talked about this in past posts - where I was confused, in a daze, heartbroken and desperate to put it all back together. I was met with resistance, and was trying to make it work with a partner who wanted out of the marriage I didn't even know was crumbling down to the ground. Never in a million years I'd guess that I'd be "okay" any time soon - but it was somewhere, emotionally, I was desperate to be. "Just get through the first year" I'd mutter to myself over and over. And then I'd see a post on social media from my friends - new babies born (happy families expanding), a happy birthday wish (a couple totally in love), a family barbecue (normal family activities), and even the online rant from a woman mad that her husband didn't help with XYZ (at least you have a partner). And I'd feel this anger in the pit of my stomach - I felt like everything was stolen from me.

A little cloud followed me around a lot that year. I can't even tell you that I overcame anything - because honestly I just survived. And I still feel like some days are like that. Just get through it.

But, every day is a day farther away from that life, that person I used to be, that person I used to be with - and closer to what my future is supposed to hold. I don't break down and cry any more. I'm not jealous or deeply sad any more. I'm not lost on faith and "what could be" - I'm *as* bitter at what was "supposed to be and isn't". I do still hold a lot of anger in my heart and that's just stuff I need to continue to process through as I move forward in my new life.

So I take a step forward each and every day. Keep moving and keep growing. And each and every day I become more of who I should be and less of what was.

It Doesn't Get Easier - You Just Get Better

Monday, April 17, 2017

At the playground the other day, I saw a father juggling two toddler babies by himself. Were the only parents at the park and my twin-mom instinct kicked in and I knew his kiddos were twins too. We ended up talking and I found out his boy/girl twins were 15 months old. One was walking, one wasn't. They weren't able to really navigate the playground by themselves well - because they're babies, so dad had to do a lot of hands-on slide holding and swing pushing. His wife wasn't with him but he mentioned she told him there was a toddler friendly park nearby and that's how they ended up there.

Of course I told him my two crazy pants girls were twins too and that they would be 3 this summer. He sighed and looked at me, "Does it get any easier?" I can't tell you how many times a twin parent has asked this. But I have a standard response and gave it to him too, "It doesn't get better - you do. It gets harder but in different ways. It gets easier but in different ways. Every stage is different." At that moment one of my twins melted into a puddle in the middle of the playground as part of her daily 2.5 year old toddler tantrums. See - case in point.

via unsplash

And that got me thinking about divorce and single parenting. It's hard doing it yourself, even if you have 50/50 physical custody. Those days where it's you 24/7 with no one to tag you out or send in relief ... it's brutal sometimes. I can't even start to imagine those that have no help from the other parent. You are truly rockstars.

The first year of single parenting was difficult. I didn't want my girls to miss things (Santa, Easter Bunny, trick or treating) so I jointly did things with my ex that ended up not really being good for my mental well-being. I was stressed out thinking about taking them places solo, yet it depressed me to stay home all of the time. So I FORCED myself out that door, juggling two babies that were barely learning to walk. We went to restaurants, the library, neighborhood activities and the grocery store together. I learned what to bring with to entertain and keep tantrums at a minimum, as well as learned my kids threshold for boring activities. Incidentally - they love Target. Those are my girls!!!

It wasn't easy at first. How do you get two kids in a cart safely, plus groceries, and in and out of the car into your apartment? What do you do when you have to go to the bathroom and have to take everyone with you? And god-forbid there are dual toddler meltdowns and everyone wants to be picked up at the same time. But guess what - you don't let that deter you. You get out there and you practice. And before you know it, you'll start packing you diaper bag or kid essentials smarter, you'll learn which times of day work best for your kids, what restaurants they do better in or what their cue is to get out of there before they turn nuts. And it doesn't get easier by any means. Full-on toddlers RUN and they're fast, and unpredictable sometimes. But you'll get better at sensing when the tantrum is coming, or what to pack to alleviate some of the stress. You'll get more confident.

So just like parenting - single parenting doesn't necessarily get easier. You just get better at it. You get better at navigating your little family the way that works for you. You get less fearful, more confident. You grow right along with your child and get into a rhythm that works. It won't always be sunshine and rainbows. There will be time when you literally are at your wits end, or feel stranded on an island with no help. And bitterness can quickly sweep in and ruin your day. Don't let it. Be strong. Know you'll have another chance and another to practice this. You're getting better with every day.

You Are Strong

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Looking back on your life and see where you are at now. Maybe you're in a bad spot in your marriage, maybe you and your soon-to-be-ex have decided to move ahead with a separation or divorce, or maybe you're on the other side of it all. You need to remember you traveled a long distance to get here. You opened your heart, you loved another, and you're battling heartbreak and a huge change in your life. That's major.

Never for one second think you're not strong enough or that you can't handle it. You can and you will.

There was a time during my divorce and separation that I couldn't imagine what the other side looked like. I couldn't imagine finding happiness again - only sitting in embarrassment and heartbreak for the rest of my adult life. I couldn't imagine loving someone other than my ex - I couldn't see a life by myself. I didn't want a life by myself.

But as time passed, guess what - it happened. Before I knew it, people were coming to me, asking me for advice. I didn't break down in tears every time I saw my ex or news of her life came to my ears. I started planning for MY future - imagining the things I wanted to achieve. I loved another person. I'm working on loving myself, too. It'll happen when you don't even realize it. It's a subtle change but you will get there. You just need patience, you need to FEEL the pain, work through it and focus on living your best life.

You're strong. You'll get through this.