children is hard, messy and soul changing work. My hope is to keep moving through the bitter and wrap my loving arms around the sweet. Here are a few thoughts on how I am doing just that...
I am totally chuckling as I write this because it was so ridiculous. So sometime at the beginning of the month I was driving the kiddles to school when the song Where are You Christmas? came on the radio. Now this song will literally cause a sticky sap to drip from the controls of your radio. And if you're me, you will grip the steering wheel and cry-sing every single word as your children stare at you their mouths agape.
The good news is that I was not falling apart, I was just FEELING that shit. As the song builds, Faith Hill actually FINDS Christmas by the end of the song. She finds it, you guys. And that cry I had felt so good.
You will have abundant opportunities to cry the sad/angry/rage cries so when the opportunity comes to happy cry - do it. Seriously. That song saved me like a month's worth of counseling.
2. Do something just for you while you are taking care of ALL the things.
Follow Up Step: DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THIS.
I wrote about how I had to apply for food and medical assistance recently. This assistance is saving us right now. Its feeding us. Its sustaining us. I am so grateful for it because for now we have negative zero finacial wiggle room. I'm applying to all the places for a second job as I actively vice-grip my bootstraps. Every day is hard. My brain does not stop stratagizing. My kiddles are actively grieving and I am exhausted. So when I saw those frozen bacon wrapped scallops at Aldi for 6.99, I whispered to them that I loved them and kept walking.
And then I went back. A feeling of rebellion came over me. I stared at those little effers while the devil told me what to do. As I type this, those sweet succulant little babies are in my freezer just waiting for the perfect moment.
3. Let People Help You
This will be the hardest if you are a control freak like me, you will probably have legit panic attacks as you let go of some of that control. But the reality is that you need the help and pride is just a mask for our fear of judgment. And yes, I am absolutely talking to myself with this one. A few weeks ago my chosen family descended upon my house and cleaned it from top to bottom. They knew I was overwhelmed and they acted. I can't even tell you what this meant to me. It is amazing. And yeah, I had massive amounts of anxiety and fear and embarrasment but you know what? That was silly of me. I was being a dummy. People want to help. Try and remember how you would do the same for someone you love and lay down your shield. Just lay it down. You will totally be able to pick it up later.
4. Be Honest.
Once again pride (that little punk) will try and keep you from telling the truth about how you are doing. Don't shoulder your pain alone. If a friend asks how you are doing- tell them the truth. Talk out loud and with others about how you are REALLY doing. Isolating yourself is bad news. Don't do it, love.
5. Hard Questions and Conversation Will be Everywhere. Remember that You Can Do Hard Things.
The kids have have composed a song called "Divorce". It pops up at random and when I don't expect it. It's a brutal and cold reminder that they are still living the trauma every single day. A few sample questions/statements I've recieved lately - "Mama can divorce just be over in January?", "You didn't have to do divorce", "I can't stop being sad, Mama". It's enough to make the hardest heart break and we all know my heart is a pile of goo on a good day. The questions come when you are in the drop off line at school or in the check out line at the store like a sucker punch.
Take a deep breath and answer them. Everytime.
6. Fake it 'til You Make It.
You will rise. But you may have to fake it with yourself for awhile until you believe it. Divorce shakes the foundation, man. If you're anything like me than you start to questions all the things. Before Brandon and I pulled the ripchord, for months I got all inward and tried to psychoanalize myself. What is it inside me that messed all of this up? Answer: Shut. Up. Me.
What I eventually came to is that marriages end all the time because people change. Some couples change in ways that compliment each other while others change in ways that rub like sandpaper and living in sandpaper world is sucky. For us, it was the latter and that doesn't mean I am defective. Change happened. The foundation shifted and that left me feeling vulnerable. So I faked it for a while and kept putting one foot in front of the other until itty bitty seeds of strength started to come alive.
So just keep going. With each little victory you are rising. You won't feel like an Amazon princess right out of the gate. In fact, you will probably feel more like all those nannys that are run out of town by the Banks/ Von Trapp/ Brown children but eventually you will get your bearings and you won't even need Nanny McPhee because you can do this. Little by little you will just keep rising while you cross off one thing at a time on your to-do list. I promise.
7. Lose the Guilt. You Need a Break.
Listen closely, You are NOT an asshole for wanting a break. You need one, dang it. If someone you trust offers to take the kiddles for an hour, let them. If you are hiding in the bathroom and eating chocolate, you should. If you go to church just so that you have an hour to yourself while the kids are in classes, its all good. Does your grocery store have one of those babysitting places while you shop? Use it. Did you put the kids to bed an hour early so you could watch The Vampire Diaries? Awesome. Good on you.
Do everything you can to give yourself a break. And I firmly believe that its not just you that needs one. I happen to know that my kids appreciate breaks from me too. They need other places to feel safe and cared for just as much as you need a GD minute alone. Trust me. Lose the guilt.