Ok, here I am, solo parenting again. (Eye roll emoji). I am 14 days into it. For the NINTH time. I’m doing fine. No big trauma or drama, just one little teeny fever and subsequently canceled birthday dance party that has yet to be rescheduled. But lemme be completely blunt here…solo parenting to 4 kids is exhausting! It makes me feel old. REALLY old. I feel the energy being sucked out of me when I pick up the same Peppa Pig figurine for the 14th time in one day. Or the 12 year old’s socks that have been floating around between the foyer and the stairs for the past 3 days in spite of my requests to put them in the dirty laundry hamper, and they stink! Or the 4 tons of laundry that are starting to cover my bedroom floor…but don’t worry-it’s all clean laundry waiting to be folded. As if that’s some sort of solace….
I am sitting here this evening at the end of the last day of my 2nd week as a single parent for the benefit of the Navy. I am drinking a Chu Hi, sorta a Japanese wine cooler. I don’t know how many times I’ve done this. I stopped keeping track of the percentage of time I was left alone quite some time ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate many parts of being alone. But there are also a lot of difficult parts. And sometimes we wallow…
Right now, I am struggling with trying to connect with my almost 14-year old who writes really shitty things about how she hates me to her friends on Insta. I knew that was coming, but I despise that she think she has some secret venue to say what she wants and thinks I’m not going to see it, so she doesn’t hold back. And it’s all because I am trying to establish healthy boundaries….screen time, homework time as a separate sacred entity, requiring her to be home for family dinners, etc. And as a result of what seems like sound parenting, I am shunned and dubbed some sort of evil force against her life’s happiness. I never thought I’d be best friends with my kids, because I don’t believe that’s the right balance, but I didn’t think I’d be hated so early on into teenager-hood. And while I expected it at some point, I must admit, it still kinda hurts. I do everything I can to be a good parent to my kids, so this outburst of hers feels so personal and direct. And it hurts.
Also, I cannot seem to motivate myself. I am here at my heaviest weight ever, including at the peak of my fourth pregnancy. I am still not above the American average woman’s size, but dang close. And the bottom line is, I am unhappy with how I am failing my body. I am failing in the willpower department. I am failing to get cardio time in 5 days a week…or 2 for that matter. But then that circles around to the part about solo parenting 4 kids being exhausting…..see how these difficulties seem to feed on one another?
So the truth is I can talk myself down and feel like utter crap about things, but I am also capable of talking myself back up. One might wonder if I were schizophrenic?!? Hahaha. I’m not, but I really can play those two roles. It is EASIER to go down than up, but I guess that’s gravity’s fault, right??
So, regarding the teenager, I remind myself that this is age appropriate boundary testing and mild rebellion. I am keeping her alive & healthy. She gets really good grades and has not been pulled into the base security office yet, so I guess I’m doing something right? And then the doubt slips in and I wonder if that’s me giving myself too much credit?!? But really, she is excellent with her baby siblings, she is kind and creative when the mood hits her, and she is very intelligent. I do remember a time when I, similarly described at her age, also felt like my mom was kinda a drag. She wouldn’t buy me the cool & more expensive Express jeans, but only the cheaper Sears ones. She wouldn’t let me out past 10 except if I were babysitting. And I called her a bitch once resulting in a slap to the face and long lecture. I am not quite there yet as a parent….I guess I’m doing ok? But I guess I should prepare myself mentally for what’s still ahead, right, mom?
In the body department, I remind myself that I never speak poorly of my physique around my kids in order to not give them some sort of complex, and maybe my own self-talk should mirror that. I do need to get motivated. I do have the knowledge and the 700 pounds of Russian Kettlebells sitting on the bottom shelf in the corner. I do need to set aside 20+ minutes for myself early every morning to do something to show myself LOVE for my body. I know I would feel better. And yet I chalk that up to me putting the kids first. I kinda suck at putting myself first. But I need to do it. I need to stop making excuses.
More positive things of late….we got our next set of orders to a location that will afford me MUCH more support than our current location does. I will be back to some familiar territory. I will have many more exciting options for part time or more employment, should I decide that’s the next step for me. I am excited about getting back to the good ole United States of America. While I’ve enjoyed living oversea, I miss some things from America, like dryers that actually dry the clothes, and full sized ovens, and no mukade (Look it up, really! Hint, it’s an awful disgusting bug.). I just passed a huge exam in my career path, so that is super exciting. And my kids and I are healthy. That one positive thing never escapes me. So I am grateful for that.
One thing I started doing the first night of deployment is posting a positive thought and song to our local spouse page on Facebook. I haven’t managed to do it every day, but I am mindful of staying on top of it more often than not. I hope it helps others, but also it lifts me up a bit. I look for positive songs with good lyrics and write a few positive words, and how can I not let it lift me up, too?
So, today’s song I posted was “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor. It’s pretty bad ass and can probably lift you out of various low moods. If it doesn’t, play it again. And again. Until it does!
Love and cheers,