I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks: Dark Season

Supermom

August has barely even ended and I am already wrapped up and completely done with summer. My final pedicure was 2 weeks ago (no gel) and my final stage performance on August 25th ended with me browsing online for comfy fall sweaters. The kids have their school clothes, and—after one last trip for additional school supplies this weekend—I am battening down the hatches and lying in wait.

It is Dark Season, my friends. As a parent who compartmentalizes A LOT I find this time of year stressful af and I have never identified with the commercials showing parents dancing gleefully down the aisles of office supply stores celebrating back to school season. There are so many moving pieces to my life that my head starts pre-spinning in mid-August, fretting about the stress of my commute, time management, shorter days with less sun and juggling parenting and school obligations vs. work and Whiskey Girl obligations. I am a walking, talking ball of stress and emotions at least until spring—and that’s a long time to be absolutely out of your mind while pretending to be a functioning adult.

This year, it’s looking as if Dark Season is being combined with my worst nightmare: actual success. Together, the two are a recipe for a mental health disaster! I have had more invitations to speak on mental health, to perform and to host and produce events than I have ever dreamed would come to fruition. I am over the moon excited that my little brand has gained some traction but I am also riddled with anxiety that I may not be able to juggle this lifestyle. I can’t sacrifice sleep because without sleep I am a murderer. I can’t sacrifice any more time with my daughters because I want to be a real cook dinner, help with homework, embarrass-you-while-bra-shopping kind of mom. Lastly, I absolutely cannot sacrifice my full-time job for obvious reasons like health insurance and not starving to death. [Side note: I have eliminated dating but that’s not really adding any time back into my schedule since dating nowadays is mainly “wyd” texts from dudes sent well after 10pm].

Last night, after the kids went to bed, I found that I couldn’t open a jar of salsa so I sat on my couch and cried for half an hour. Today, I used a knife to pry the jar open and performed an epic victory dance that probably lasted about 30 seconds longer than it should have. Clearly, I need to brace myself for the peaks and the valleys, because the fear is that if this is the first week of school I may end up in a mental institution by December. My challenge to myself this year is to do a better job of leveling my emotions so that I can experience more balance instead of the constant rise and fall of a terrifying roller coaster.

Although I am a single parent I still recognize that I am a privileged parent. I have hella family support, I have hella flexibility with my 9-5 job and I am starting to gain support for my creative endeavors. I am a person motivated by the good deeds of others and the concept of paying it forward, so in this case NOT having a nervous breakdown is definitely a way to show that I am worth the investment! I feel as if I owe it to my parents, my job and mental health sufferers/fellow advocates alike to keep my shit together for as long as I feel led to spread myself across these various projects. Most importantly, I feel that if I successfully juggle this lifestyle I will be able to show my daughters a realistic example of what it looks like when you follow your dreams.

 At the end of the day, I want my daughters to know that on the road to finding and fulfilling your life’s purpose, some days you may cry over unopened salsa.

 

**Stay tuned for Dark Season updates throughout the fall and winter season**

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I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks: Second Day of School

mom is superhero

I either feel as if I have it all together or as if I am desperately drowning in a sea of stress—there is no in between. Today was only the second day of school and I managed to botch things pretty badly.

I traded in my piece of shit cell phone for another piece of shit refurbished phone just the other day. Naturally, the phone has been giving me all sorts of problems, one of which is that apparently my alarm is not working. This morning I woke up suddenly in a panic with a foreboding feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sure enough, I had awakened at the time me and the kids were supposed to be piling into the car and heading off to school.

I screamed the kids awake, yelling at them to get dressed—as if any of it was their fault in the first place. I didn’t have the breakfast snacks for them to eat in the car, they didn’t have time to brush their teeth and I didn’t have time to wash my face or respond to the email my boss sent me the night before. In spite of all this, I was ready to shove us all out of the door when I notice that the button on my 9 year old’s uniform shorts was holding on for dear life. Her summer plans to “lay around and do nothing” came to fruition and the end result is that she is all tall, lanky limbs with just the tiniest bit of pudge in middle—just big enough to prevent shorts that fit just two months ago from fitting right now in the time that I need for them to fit the most! A replacement pair would be easy enough but because my life is complicated, all of the kid’s school clothes reside at my parent’s house across town. We were late enough but guess where we had to drive—ACROSS TOWN to go get a new pair of pants!

We stop by my parent’s house (after morning traffic, of freaking course!) and my mother doesn’t say much but I can feel the judgment. I know she thinks I’m running so far behind schedule because I was possibly out drinking the night before, worshiping Satan, or something else irresponsible that would distract me from being an actually good mother. Only I know that reality is: I fell asleep at 10pm, had all of my ducks in a fucking row but still screwed it up. As the 9 year old changed clothes and we grabbed granola bars to race off to the school I tried my hardest not to beat myself up about it. However, insert more judgment from the faculty as we did the walk of shame to the main office to pick up late passes, and I just couldn’t convince myself that I wasn’t a total failure. I walked back to my car thinking to myself: “Wow, and it’s only day 2.”

…I was 20 minutes late to the staff retreat at work. The last of those 20 minutes spent looking at threatening text messages from my new boss who was wondering why I dared to be so tardy for such an important work event. I sat in a meeting room for almost a full eight hours listening to content that had nothing to do with me, all the while mentally beating myself up for all the careless mistakes I made that morning. Even now, I am jotting this all down in a notebook as I sit in the Laundromat at 8:30pm with the kids who are in desperate need of a meal and a good night’s sleep.

Single mothers are supposed to be super heroes—meanwhile, I can’t even find my fucking cape…

*I originally wrote this post for Mytrendingstories.com, visit the website and search my username “Whiskey” to follow the I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks series and other original posts that will not appear on this blog.*

Lost in Transition

 

Adult

I think it was around when the best boss I’ve ever had put in his two weeks’ notice while my other boss was on four month maternity leave was the moment I wanted to call a time of death for 2016. This, of course, on top of co-parenting disputes, an elementary school relocation for my 9 year old, a car accident and an impending move out of the house I am currently renting (I still have no idea where I can move to with a credit score down to a 2 digit number)—while attempting to self-publish a poetry book. However, this all unfolded just 12 days into the year so apparently I am just going to have to wait this shit out. I do, however, completely understand why Miley Cyrus cut her hair, stripped her clothes and straddled a wrecking ball. When life hits you like one, you can either hop along for the ride or allow yourself to be pulverized by it.

Cheers to 2016 (although, I’m not supposed to be drinking) Brace yourselves; more posts are coming…

I Know Why The Caged Mom Drinks

Supermom

Sometimes parenting is about admitting that you don’t really want to go to the school play. And all the students have to wear jeans and solid shirts– why so many rules? I don’t have a solid colored shirt for my daughter to wear because solid shirts are a parent’s nightmare—it’s much easier to hide ketchup stains when you buy them clothes with crazy patterns. Nor does she own a pair of jeans because she’s 8 years old with the butt of an 18 year old and it’s just too early for me to deal with her learning what the term “badonkadonk” means. I have two dollars in my account until Friday so purchasing a new shirt is DEFINITELY not going to happen. Although if I did purchase it I certainly wouldn’t make it to the play on time for her to wear it because the play starts at 7pm and I don’t get home until 6:30pm, of course. Because that school transfer just never quite happened I will be traveling across town against traffic to get there. This sounds pretty ill-prepared but in my defense, I was reminded this play was taking place just last night as I walked in the door after a long day of work and a freezing commute home.

I still don’t know why we’re not allowed to bring flasks to PTA meetings…

Please stand up…

I am on the bus sopping wet and literally chilled to the bone after having walked the baby to daycare in cold and rain. All I see around me on the bus are other mothers with their children, just as soaked as I am. I know I shouldn’t complain, but is anyone else ready and willing to admit that this single parenting stuff is just not all that great all the time. Anyone…?

Hiatus

 I can feel something coming on. I don’t know what it is, whether it be a breakdown or a breakthrough. I am struggling. In moments like these my initial reaction is to disengage. I’ve lost a lot of friends along the way because of this but I have to do whatever is necessary for me to keep my wits together. The older I get the more I realize how unfair I’m being.         

I feel like I’m drowning in my emotions, with that comes the joy of drowning in my finances. I joke about being poor but it really is just a constant snowball of bill after bill and one obligation after another. Spending part of my unemployed time on government assistance has been the worst. I am given barely enough for me and my children to live on and I have to see the FB posts of my more privileged friends complaining about “people like us”. Anyway, bill collectors grow impatient and second and third chances are revoked and before you know it there is an eviction notice on your door.

I try like hell not to ask for much. I try like hell not to lean on the fathers of my children because I so badly want independence. Also, I’ve learned in this life to trust no one and not to rely on anyone for anything. In our basest forms we are all disgustingly selfish and heart breakingly disappointing. We lie and we steal, we cheat and we harm and we ignore the plight of others less fortunate. I’m learning not to be so surprised and affected by human behavior anymore. But I can’t help but be affected and to judge the actions of those around me.

He simply disappeared. It’s the modern version of the father that leaves to get a pack if cigarettes and doesn’t bother to return home. I haven’t seen him since our daughter’s second birthday and that was almost three months ago. We were friends, and I knew the transition from something more to friends and parents was not going to be easy but I thought it was possible and necessary. He left town never to respond to a text or a cute pic of our daughter again. He never asks about her…not one word. I am devastated for her.

Co-parenting is not easy but its definitely doable and it is absolutely unfair to leave one parent to fend for themselves. All these fantasies I have about running away, and my tendency to disappear into myself and take a brief hiatus–selfish. This is life: YOU DON’T GET A FUCKING BREAK! Or maybe you do, its just called death. Anyway, as I faced this urgent emergency I called him. He didn’t answer. I called him about 18 hours later…same. I emailed him twice and he never bothered to answer.

My soul aches for her. She’s a baby, so happy and carefree and she loves her uncle and her grandfather so she doesn’t want for that male role in her life at this time. I’m terrified I don’t know how long his hiatus from life and the real world will last, but I am determined to draw strength from it.

I am forcing myself to stay mentally present and to press forward with life. I don’t want her to feel that at any moment either one of her parents will check out of life and cease to be there for her. I want her to know that life is fucking hard but you press on and take care of your business because indulging in escape has potential to hurt the lives of others. When the mother of your child calls, you answer your phone. At least I know that I will care and I will be there if something were to happen to her.

 You don’t get a hiatus.