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: Black Panther

I wanted to do something nice for the girls this weekend. I wanted us to go see Black Panther and I wanted to paint their little faces– but I don’t have white paint. So it was going to be black dots– which would be fine because they are low maintenance and they don’t really care about that sort of thing.

I had it planned, I would order the tickets online, we would watch a movie together and when they went to bed I’d tell them that tomorrow we are all going to see Black Panther.

So I tried to order the tickets and the transaction wouldn’t go through. I tried again with updated information and received an email from my bank. Apparently, I didn’t have enough funds in my account to purchase our tickets. That’s not right– because my funds are low but they exist and I know there is enough for this! This, I needed– this, I had planned for…

My bank had counted each error as an actual transaction and taken the money out of my account, placed it back, then took it out again. I sat on the phone on hold with the movie theater for about an hour. I vaguely noticed the chatter of the kids slowly died down. They eventually retired to their room, I still had the phone to my ear feeling frustrated and entirely defeated. Nothing is simple. Ever.

I got off the phone realizing that Black Panther was not going to happen for us this weekend. My money is all crazy and it will likely be awhile before the bank releases it back onto my account. I was disappointed and just sick of living this kind of life. What is the balance? Do you live poorly and save, do you make the most of your money, try to stretch, save and enjoy it? Do you martyr yourself and spend it all on the children? I don’t know the rules. I’m barely even in the game.

“Ok babies, what movie do you want to watch?” I call out to them. Silence. Walking through the foyer I notice the light in their bedroom. Peaking inside I see that and both are fast asleep with the radio on. I walked back into the livingroom, sat on the couch and cried. Is this what motherhood is? Running on a treadmill with the best of intentions and never going anywhere at all?

I don’t know how to juggle any of this. I don’t know what I am doing and I’m just so worried I’m going to screw them up in the process of figuring it all out.

I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks: I Don’t Get No Respect!

Supermom

I am watching the 259 thousandth episode of My Little Pony with the kids and have come to the realization  that those little ponies are always so super happy because they rarely ever have to interact with dudes. Seriously, male ponies are prominently featured maybe every 5 episodes and appear– with no speaking parts– every other episode or so. That’s the life!

I want to live amongst women a la My Little Pony style or that awesome island where all the tall, hot chicks lived in Wonder Woman. Navigating the sometimes catty and overly communicative ways of women sounds most appealing right now because at the end of the day, at least I know they will respect me and the shit I have to go through every day just to make my life work [including some sort of enjoyment, which I’m beginning to believe men don’t want me to have]. I can barely even command an ounce of respect from the men whose children have permanently stretched my vagina and rendered my bladder completely useless for the rest of my life. Respect in exchange for a pussy the size of a tunnel and the responsibility of raising little souls to not be terrible members of society is not too much to ask, in my opinion [at the risk of sounding controversial -_-]

Dudes with baby mothers: most of us don’t want you anymore. We want you to do right by us not because we used to bump uglies and be in love, but because we are whole ass people whose emotions and wellbeing should be taken into consideration as WE ARE DIRECTLY IN CHARGE OF NOT FUCKING UP YOUR CHILD!

Below I have provided a few tips for how to show respect to the mother of your child:

Tip #1: Don’t be a lying, inconsistent asshole.

…well, that’ll do it for tips! Please note that this post is for shitty dads. How can you tell if you’re a shitty dad?

  1. You’re a shitty person [Guess what? It trickles into fatherhood, too. You have an entire lifetime to work on not being a piece of shit]
  2. You feel like a shitty dad and you try to cover it up by setting the bar extremely low and STILL manage to not meet expectations.
  3. When you look in the mirror you see a giant turd.

I hope this post has been helpful! For more from me, visit whiskeyandpoetry.com!

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.

Dialing it Back Part V: Things To Do While Your Man is At Work

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My very best friend in the world is also one of the most independent women I know. In the early stages of our adulthood she was known to attend concerts alone, while I was known to beg someone to go to the bathroom with me because I couldn’t stand to be alone for three seconds. Now, after observing her independence for years, I realize I don’t need to form a posse to go to the restroom or wait for a companion to go out to dinner, see a movie, tie my shoes etc. I believe I’ve learned to enjoy and take pleasure in the solitary moments of life.

Even still, if you had told me a year ago that I would be in love with a workaholic I would have laughed in your face. Not a chuckle but a full-on spittle everywhere, obnoxious guffaw. I enjoy way too much attention to be attached to someone that works 10 – 14 hour days! Plus, it’s 2015, NOBODY works that hard and furthermore, those sound like mythical hours that a man that clearly leads a double life works. But alas, here I am with a crazy workhorse dude and I’m finding that it’s kind of super perfect because apparently I’ve grown up and am quite the expert on how to occupy my time. I have no desire to wait on top of the refrigerator.

*Btw, this may read as advice but goodness no! How could I give anyone advice…I’m a disaster? ! This is just a few things I do*

Picking my nose

Watching paint dry

Staring into space

Writing: I stopped writing for years when I got married and it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Writing is my outlet. Period. When I don’t make time to organize my thoughts onto paper, write poetry or blog it does nothing to help me manage my stress. JW knows the importance of this and because he works so much I am able to budget in plenty of time for this without sacrificing time with him.

Surfing the Internet: Part of coming up with interesting topics for the bloggity blog is surfing the internet to stay in touch with and find what everyone is talking about. Also, it’s just plain entertaining! Usually when I come upon a fun article or post I forward it along to him and in some way it makes me feel closer or if we’re bonding. (He says he reads everything I send him but I don’t even care if he does—it’s just nice for me to share)

Exploring with kids: This will get better when winter is over. I normally like to spend my days off lying in bed and procrastinating about things I need to do but don’t feel like it.  When I do this I am susceptible to becoming “annoying text you all day while you’re at work”, girlfriend  SO, I dress the kids and we hop in the car and literally figure out our adventure for the day. The kids love it now, and I’m hoping when they get older they will be well versed in the art of entertaining themselves. God forbid they turn out to be one of those unhappy, surly girls that complain about being bored all the time.

Pampering: Thanks to the new pay increase I can actually afford to get manicures and pedicures.

Working Out (Pffffft!): Ok, so this doesn’t quite happen as often as it should BUT, a regular workout schedule is definitely doable and necessary to handle the pent up stress from trying to juggle all the moving pieces of my life. I’d like to get on this because summer is coming, and while my jiggles do not go unloved and unappreciated, it WOULD be nice to be a little slimmer and fit for when we decide to emerge from our homebody cocoons and start to go out and socialize more. In layman’s terms, I want to look hot for myself and don’t mind being a bit of eye candy he can show off 😛

Dating(myself): This is a tough one. Part of having a man is dragging him to all the movies I want to see and being taken out to fancy dinners, right? Well, not so much when the schedule doesn’t allow for much free time so if I’m craving something or there is a movie I want to see I have simply learned to go by myself. Also, we don’t have the exact same interests so it makes sense to save all the crap he doesn’t want to do for when he’s busy working.

Trusting him: Sometimes my insecurity starts working overtime and the more time we spend apart the more I believe that he is definitely cheating. I mean, how do I really know that he’s at work? Well, I don’t, but because I choose to trust that everything is what he says it is. Making the decision to trust based on his consistency and communication has helped me to accept the reality of his busy schedule and be ok with pursuing other activities. During those painful moments of doubt I’ve even trained myself to text him a compliment or a kissy face emoticon to help keep my negative thoughts at bay.

The overall point of this ridiculous list is that in the past I never understood the importance of occupying my time and maintaining my individuality. These days, I find myself so busy that I don’t even notice that JW works long hours and we don’t get to spend as much time together as most couples. Dramatic as I am, I genuinely used to believe that being in a relationship meant complete consumption and absorption of the other person. I would fret over unanswered text messages and blow up when plans and schedules couldn’t align the way I wished. Now I am finding that I have no desire to get lost inside of anyone, I am more interested in occupying the space comfortably at his side by continuing to do what we can to make time for each other and choosing not to sweat over the small stuff.

Believe it or not, I have come a long way from the crazy, obsessive person I used to be!

 

 

 

 

 

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…

Musical Post: I Wanna Get Better

I’m sitting on the edge of the bathtub watching my three year old in silence as she screams at the top of her lungs. She’s been having trouble with constipation lately and all I can really do is be a presence coaching her through pain as she looks at me and whines my name over and over.

I don’t want to be here.

For shame,  no mother should say or even think these things but it’s true. To hell with this life right now– the loneliness,  busyness– all of it. My life as a landfill constantly being filled with piles and piles of junk and it’s filling up so high it’s blotting out light from the sun.  It gets this way every year as the school year starts and life moves into overdrive and my brain cells inflate from worry about bills and responsibility and the desire to keep from falling apart. Nights are spent lying awake in agitation, regretfulness and fatigue, ignoring the electronic messages of those who want to lay inside of my body but not my mind. I see through them and it makes me feel all the more alone.

I can break this cycle, I know I’m capable I just kind of don’t want to. Depression gives way to laziness and I can never tell which thing is motivating me at any given moment. I don’t want to have to try.
 
I’m showering in the dark again.