Post by freezorburn on Jul 20, 2017 22:54:21 GMT -5
So, divorce was finalized last winter just before Thanksgiving, after a long separation. I feel like I'm still struggling to find balance.
I have DS about 70% of the time. He is 5, special needs, starts Kindergarten in September, will be in a mainstream classroom with some accommodations. I started working part-time in January. The work is tangential to what I was doing before having DS. I enjoy it and it is low stress, and while the pay is low I do get good benefits. My plan is to do this for a year, maybe two, and then go back to full time work.
I feel exhausted all of the time. It's hard to carve out small breaks when DS is with me, and then when he goes to his dad's house, I am usually incapacitated from exhaustion for the first 2 days or so. Self-care, catching up on chores, or getting ahead on anything -- all are major efforts. I don't think I'm depressed but both brain and body are slow and low energy.
Is this normal? What do you do to maintain balance in your life, after going through the upheaval of divorce?
When you said everything is a "major effort" I immediately thought depression/stress. Do you have a solid support network that can help you out when you need it? What types of things do you normally enjoy doing and are you doing those? What is your preferred method of self-care?
Being a single mom with a pre-school aged kid is tough enough and you've got the extra level of stress as he is special needs. You've got to set regular times to take care for yourself. For me (I've been single momming for 17 years), I do yoga every weekday morning before the day starts at home and I'm in counseling just so I have a neutral sounding board. I also schedule one night a month with a group of amazing ladies where we try new restaurants, have game nights, go to movies, etc. I have to take care of myself so I can take care of others.
Post by freezorburn on Jul 21, 2017 10:47:12 GMT -5
doriswe , I think it's more stress than depression ... I've been depressed before and this feels different. I felt like I was running on adrenalin from the moment XH left, all the way through the divorce process. I feel like I am managing things better now, but it's the cumulative result of several years of extreme stress, fatigue, overwork.
We moved around a lot during our marriage ... when DS was 4 months old we moved abroad, and XH traveled a lot so I was stuck taking care of infant and energetic dog by myself more than 50% of the time. So I was already in an energy deficit when our marriage fell apart.
I'm back in the states now ... my support network could be better and that's something I'm working on. My brother lives nearby but we don't see him much because his schedule is crazy. And he's not very good with little kids, so my current project is to schedule time with him and DS and me so that I can coach him a bit on how to interact with DS. He has spent time looking after DS alone, and let's just say it could go more smoothly. I'm trying to find a mother's helper type to come once or twice during my longer stretches with DS so that I can catch up on chores and paperwork. Maybe if I ever catch up I can turn that into self-care time. I have grad school friends nearby who have offered to babysit so that I can have time for myself, but it has been hard to schedule. My parents live on the other coast but they increasingly need a lot of hand-holding.
For self-care I have therapy once a week, Pilates usually twice a week. Massage once a month. I've found that scheduling things that I pay for is the best way to keep me accountable to self-care right now. Otherwise there are always chores and projects staring me in the face. I think my nutrition is pretty good, and thankfully I was able to negotiate a settlement that allows me some time to figure out how I'm going to support myself in the long run (not sure if my previous career is suitable anymore). For a long time, sleep was a struggle because DS would wake up multiple times a night, but lately things have been better ... but I rarely wake up feeling refreshed.
I try to see some friends once a month. I have a really great community of single parents in my area that is also great for social time .... but in recent months my social anxiety has increased and I find larger gatherings to be overwhelming, so I've been sticking to activities that I can manage.
It is hard to find time to do things that I enjoy. DS has been away this week and I've been challenging myself to do some things in my garden, maybe make progress on an unfinished craft project, while also making progress on the archeological dig that my home perpetually seems to be under.
I wish I could carve out time to do some meditation and stretching every day, but it has been hard.
Hugs freezorburn. I think you are doing better than it probably feels like. It definitely takes some time to settle into a routine you're content with and that allows you the time and space you need to maintain the energy levels necessary for parenting a 5yo.
I know after xh and I separated I had all these ideas about how things would be different and how I'd do all these new things.. then about 6 months after we moved out I realized I wasn't doing most of them.. that's when I started seeing a therapist to try and make some progress. You're already doing that so hopefully it's helping. At that time I was also going through a phase with DS where he had stopped his 3 hour nap and sleeping through the night consistently- his dad had decided on a whim that he should have him for overnights which totally messed up his routine and was all about xh and not at all in the best interest of DS. I was completely exhausted and I thought it would never end.
For me, it helped to really nut out what my priorities were, then I could decide what was no longer a priority and I stopped putting effort into those areas that weren't worthwhile. I started getting rid of lots and lots of things so I have less to look after and maintain and I constantly have my eyes open for sticky points that interrupt me or create tension in my day so I can find a work around.
I'm not sure if any of that is helpful. Just know that you are doing great and this stage won't last forever. It does get better. x