Survival Mode

I didn’t take a shower this morning. I did the calculations in my head and knew I wouldn’t have enough time. The 5 year old was up all night, although she thinks she slept. I was awake listening to her coughing and wheezing, alternating from sitting at her bedside to lying in my bed praying to get at least a few hours of sleep. I knew the morning was going to be a nightmare with me getting everyone ready to the soundtrack of her whining. Nails on a chalkboard…

So, she’s whining and I’m trying not to yell because everyone thinks a yelling single mom is angry because she’s heartbroken and alone– really we’re just so exhausted all the time. I made the decision not to shower because my mid-day workout includes a shower so everything would be fine. Then my mother called with the news that my sister had been rushed back to the hospital.

And that’s fine. Life still has to happen even if I want to ball up in a corner and cry and be scared. I saw her just yesterday and in the back of my mind I was thinking she didn’t look as well as I’d seen her before. But who wants to be scared and face those kind of thoughts? So we chatted and I left because life goes on. I hung up with my mom and shuffled the kids out of the door because life had to continue. I could take them to school and leave work early to pick them up. That’s fine. Everything is fine.

We rush downstairs into the freezing sleet, I ignore the hole in the five year olds tights because there was nothing I could really do about it at that point. I unlock the door and as they climb into the car I notice my back tire wet and sagging onto black pavement. It was completely flat.

I am amazing at survival mode. Something comes over me and I’m making decisions and getting shit done under pressure. I thrive in survival mode: I.am.supermom! I don’t know what happened this time. I told the kids to go back into our apartment. I sat on the couch, emailed my boss then stared into space. I took a shower.

I really wanted to cry but I feel like the tears are suspended and I would have to put in effort to release them. I’m just so angry that survival mode let me so down. I should be with my car insurance company figuring this shit out, but I’m on my couch writing this out hoping it will somehow release the tension in my body and let me get shit done. Life goes on! This is fine! Why can’t I move?

Fuck you, survival mode. You have let me down.

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