Monday, July 25, 2011

On My Own

From Pinterest
My children are vacationing with their father this week.  They are camping in Virgina and I'm sure they are having a blast.  Two big trips back to back...  What lucky little ones they are! 

Me?  I'm dealing better than before by spending some taking taking care of myself and our home, getting ready for back to school, which is just a week away. I've got several projects including more painting (it's what I did last year, too) and lots of organizing to accomplish.

This year, too, I'm intentionally enjoying the dowtime and a break from the daily demands of mothering.  Yes, I'm working extra hours to make up for my own vacation, and I can't ever not think of my children, but I'm trying to rest, to let go and bask in nothingness as much as possible.

Already I've wandered the mall, read for an uninterrupted stretch and taken two baths.  It's pretty luxurious for me!


Friday, July 22, 2011

You've got to do this!

Vacation was wonderful.  Wonderful!  This was the longest vacation I've had in ... four years?  Five days with a change of scenery, relaxed routine and no demands were amazing.  I need to remember to make this happen every year.  It is worth the expense, the hassel, the planning and laundry overload.  Coming home is always a wonderful feeling at that remains true.  All the major stressors are still here and must be confronted, but it will be much easier to manage the tasks now that my mind has had some downtime and my body some true rest.

I'm already planning next year's get-away.  I can't afford to fly us all to Florida again, but there are lots of options within a half day's drive.  It's so worth it to get away from life and then enjoy the return home.  I think the key for us was to have an extended number of days together outside of our usual schedule. I am paid hourly and have no paid vacation time, so I took advantage of the weekend and just took the loss of several days' pay.  I'm sure I'll cringe at my next paycheck, but I know in my heart it was worth it.  What are some other ways to get that vacation afterglow? How do you de-stress or retreat from everyday life? 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Escape!

 

My life today isn’t what I thought it would be. Dealing with issues of co-parenting, daycare and learning to be financially independent while striving to be the best Mama and follow faithfully after Christ sometimes makes me just feel overwhelmed! Who else struggles with balancing all the demands from yourself and others?
Today I’m escaping with my little ones for a real vacation! It’s a splurge to be sure, and I’m so thrilled to go to the beach with them, after feeling so left out last year. I survived.  We are going with my parents to a condo somewhere on the East Coast of Florida. I’m really looking forward to some carefree, relaxed days.  I'm really glad there will be an equal ratio of grown-ups to children so that we don't lose anyone on the beach!

So, yes – life is full of trouble. Lots of it. Relationship trouble, health trouble, financial trouble, just stuff. Some we can affect or influence, some we just have to deal with as it comes. And in the middle of our trouble, there is space for fun, for peace and trusting that God has it all under control. I’m very thankful for a few days to escape. School starts in less than two weeks and will have a brand new kindergartener!

So, for the rest of the year when I can’t escape to a beach, share with me some ways you like to escape for bit…

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Irony of Divorce


When children are involved, you will never be able to separate fully from your spouse.  The bizarre truth is that more communication is necessary to bridge the gap between what happens during their time with mom and their time with dad.  Some of the very frustrations I experienced when married, I still experience when attempting to work out details with Daddy. 

Accepting that the connection and necessary dependence continues is tough, epecially when there are differences of opinion about what is best for the children.  I wish I had a great idea about how to work through and solve this scenario, but I do not.

Co-parenting requires me to get out of my own agenda and truly evaluate what is best for the children.  I try to look at things from their point of view and to honor the love they have for Daddy.  Also, I must consider the longer term ramifications for decisions made today and any precedents which may be set.  For me this is extremely challenging.  My tendency is to take the course of least resistance and saying, "No" often creates false guilt.  Isn't it strange how the issues I had in marriage are the issues I continue to deal with?  I guess there are some things I will work on my whole life. 

For me, my children are the greatest joys and investment I have.  Because of this, I weigh decisions deeply and I'm sensitive to their experience.  I'm quite sure I haven't made every decision 'right,' but I'm also confident I've done my very best, and will continue to do so.  I pray that they look on me with grace in their adult lives, forgiving where I've fallen short and laughing with me about the small things that feel so major right now. 

At the end of the day, I cannot parent away my children's need for a Savior.  Even if I was perfect, er "Flawless," they will need Jesus.  This truth enables me to be gentle to myself and allow Him to fill the gaps of my shortcoming with His goodness.  My ongoing prayer is that each of them turns to God when they face challenges and not away from Him in anger or rebellion.

Please share if you are co-parenting, is it a cooperative relationship?

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's Going to be a Good Day!

Yesterday, my heel broke on the last pair of black shoes I own to wear in the summertime.  This morning, I'm wearing a pair that is very similar in appearance, but oh-so-stinking-comfortable!  I never realized how uncomfortable my othe pair was until I experienced this.  My life is a bit like that.  I didn't realize how unhealthy my marriage and home were until I experienced the peace I have today.  Certainly, the problems are not gone but I'm much more able to be myself and respond in the ways I sense to be right. 

My list of challenges has not been eliminated, yet I'm working on plans to address each situation.  In the meantime, today is going to be a good one!  Last fall I sold our Little Tykes swing set, which my children had mostly outgrown -  I hope another family is enjoying it.  Today a bigger, wooden swing set is being set up in our back yard.  We have saved birthday money, great grandma helped with a few suprpise 'swingset checks' and finally the money we earned from items sold at a garage sale last week put us over the top to purchase a fun play set from a friend.  Yes, her children are in a season ahead of mine and so she offered to let me buy it from them.  The cherry on top is that her husband is setting it up!  Yay! 

How can a day with a new (to us) swing set not be a good one? 
Other good news? 
  • A friend is delivering her baby boy right now. 
  • I went to dinner with a new friend last night - hope the friendship grows.
  • God has provided so much and I know he will continue.
  • My firstborn loved his first week at day camp!
  • One week from now is vacation.
In this world there are going to be troubles, but there are also innumerable blessings.  What are yours today? 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Endurance

One of the aspects of single motherhood that I find the most difficult is how easily I’m toppled. I feel like I’m always one step away from complete disaster and there is so much out of my control. I not enjoy the sensation of “living on the edge” at all times, but I must say that it has increased my faith. I do not have all the solutions to the challenges that enter our lives. My first reaction is often to panic.  The responsibility weighs heavily on me.

 
What I am continuing to learn is that my first reaction cannot be the one where I settle. It’s alright to let that sense of panic and paralysis wash over me, but I’ve got to move onto pursuing a plan.

 
This week I’ve had several hurdles for which there is no quick fix.
  • Communication with my ex is difficult. There are discrepencies between his version and mine, disagreements about dates, competition for the children’s affection. It is not pretty and very stressful. 
  • My babysitter unexpectedly quit, citing drama in her own personal life. She was a fantastic gift whom I trusted greatly and I’m very sad to have lost the consistency and help she provided our family. I’m also scrambling to cover childcare while I work. I’m considering that I will need to place my youngest in full time daycare style setting to eliminate the dramatic and undependable individual care we have enjoyed at home. This will be a big shift for him and for me. It coincides with my daughter beginning kindergarten next month.  I'm relying on my village today.
  • My home suffered damage in the recent storms. We need a new roof, siding and soffit repair, as well as some additional work. I am thankful for insurance, but the deductible and the oversight of these tasks is a job for which I am not prepared and will have to learn much.
Each week feels like another challenge. I’m doing my best to honor God when circumstances are difficult. I find myself so weary. I’m trying to shelter my children from the stress, and selfishly I just want thing to go smoothly for a while.

 
Clearly, God has allowed these challenges and from experience I know that He already has provided the solutions. In this world we will have troubles and this isn't the first time I've faced them.  I am praying for strength and joy right in the middle of the chaos. It’s not handling one issue that proves one’s integrity, it is the enduring devotion and faith that persists when there is no end to the challenge in sight. I must keep my eyes focused on our God who is more than capable because my weakness makes me feel so very vulnerable.  Today, I'm reminding myself of this hourly.