Friday, August 15, 2008

To The Extreme

Combine the extremes, and you will have the true center - Friedrich Von Schlegel (1772–1829), German philosopher.

Every day now is to the extreme.

I am learning a valuable lesson that I would assume most single parents, and some others, can attest to. Whether the day is spent with Peanut & The Champ or alone, every day takes me to the extreme.

Mrs. Joe and I agreed to a 50-50 split when it came to time spent with the kids. She has them a little more than I do because she does not work 40 hours a week but it is fairly close. It breaks down mostly 1 week with the kids, 1 week without.

Tonight is the first night I have had the kids since last week. I had seen them a few times here and there but this is the first time they are spending the night with me all week. We went out to dinner and went to Barnes and Noble for story time after. They ate a good dinner and behaved while the story was read so they each got to pick out a book for me to read to them at bedtime. We got home, I got them into their pj's, had them brush their teeth, read the new stories and put them to bed. After, I had laundry to fold and mail to go through.

Tomorrow we are going shopping for school supplies and may stop at a friends house to go swimming if the weather cooperates. Maddie is starting to leave the tricycle behind and ride her brothers old bike with training wheels. I feel the need to spend some time helping her with that. I haven't throw a baseball to The Champ in I don't know how long. I could think of a bunch of other things if time allows.

That is what I mean by extremes.

Because I have not spent any time with them all week, I feel the need to cram all these things into the little time I have with them this weekend. Come Monday, I will get home from work and have to start dinner for us. After dinner, it's baths and a little time together before bed. Then it's lunches, dishes from dinner, etc.

I know come the end of next week, after an entire hectic week of kids to the extreme, I will be ready to let their mother take them. I get mad at myself knowing that I admittedly want time to myself.

How can I not want to have my kids with me?

But once they are with their mother, the other extreme comes out. Extreme free time. Free time to spend outside the house. The same house that I was in the previous week, trying to parent two little maniacs all by myself.

So I will escape, like I did last weekend. I went out with friends on Friday night, drank too much, narrowly avoided a DUI arrest, only because someone else offered to drive (she was not so lucky) and found myself crawling into bed around 4 am. I spent Saturday with GBD, doing things with a married woman I am not supposed to do. Which rolled all the way into Sunday night, sitting on the deck of a lakefront bar, still with GBD, completely exhausted from a weekend of escape wondering what my beautiful children have done that weekend.

Again, extremes.

I know this is how it will be now. It is true, too much of a good thing is not good for you. I know I must bring these two extremes closer together. I must relax and not try to do so much with the kids. Quality not quantity.

I also must step back from the partying. I am not 21 and shouldn't pretend to be. I can enjoy a night out without worrying if the cops are going to get involved. The house need some work anyway. My bedroom needs a coat of paint. Who will believe I wanted a pink bedroom, anyway?

Maybe starting there the center will become more focused.



Blogger womaninawindow said...

It's all still fresh. I think this might be how we all start new things when they're fresh. It's natural. The ends of your nerves as still raw. They're jostling for attention. You are anything but average, Joe. Your interspection is startling, and lovely. (Your writing is fresh also.)

Sat Aug 16, 06:55:00 AM 2008  
Blogger womaninawindow said...

...are still raw/not as...

Sat Aug 16, 06:56:00 AM 2008  
Blogger HW said...

It's ok to want a break from your kids. Any parent who says they've never felt that is probably not being totally honest.
Parenting little ones is hard work, and who doesn't want a break from hard work? And of course since you are doing it alone, it's doubly hard.
It looks like this is your new normal; and I think it will start to become more routine and feel more "right" soon.
From this outsider's perspective, it doesn't seem like your kids are suffering, as you are continuing to parent them as "normally" as your situation allows. I truly believe they will grow up knowing they were your priority.

Sun Aug 17, 02:39:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous Mike said...

Man I have been where your at and I feel for you, seriously. Time as you said will make to even it out. It might help to think that when you where married you and your ex shared the responsibilities and didn't wear yourselfs out. Now as a single parent you'll need the time without the kids just to charge up the batteries again.

We don't go into being a parent to do it part time. We all want to be full time and its hard when we feel cheated on that time. Good for you in getting them 50% of the time. I did the same thing, gave up a lot to get it but nothing is as important as my time with them.

Stay focused on the quanlity as you said. Take alot of pictures and don't try to be a "disneyland dad" who thinks he needs to go all out. Hang tough, time will help...

Also this might be a time for you to reflect on yourself and where you want your life to go from here. New start with different possibilites. Take care...

Sun Aug 17, 03:48:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous steppingoverthejunk said...

ah man. welcome to my world and the world of many separated or divorced parents. As a mom, I deal with the same thing, after two weeks of my girls 24-7, I wonder how on earth I could look forward to them leaving to be with their dad for a few days. It's about balancing as best you can, and realize that no matter what, it will never be balanced. Do your best. Enjoy the downtime when you have it. I agree, partying doesnt work on a consistant basis on the downtime. But it is nice to do once in a while. Just space it out. Hang in there. Don't let yourself feel guilty for enjoying time to yourself (says me who also struggles with that)

Sun Aug 17, 10:10:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Tom said...

Oh, wow. I was there eight years ago. I wish I could go back and redo that time period. I'd put all of the visitation schedules in writing and make it legal. Won't go into details here, and I'll admit I haven't read the backstory yet... but please don't let yourself get screwed. Glad you're being a great dad for your kids. They're the important part of all of this.

Tue Aug 19, 07:29:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Susiewearsthepants said...

It just takes a while to find a happy balance. Soon you will settle into your own routine that works for you. Your routine when you have the kids and when you don't. Watch out for those DUI's. I someone who got one a while back and is still suffering the repercussions from that. The most important thing is that you love your kids and you are doing a great job.

Thu Aug 21, 09:42:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Mama Nabi said...

I am right there with you... except mine is one extreme only because my ex does not get (or want) overnights. I have the whole working-mom guilt and therefore am not giving myself ANY flack... I need to. Seriously, I used to wonder about parents who said they wanted time away from their kids... now I know. It is tough. Really, really tough.

Tue Aug 26, 02:46:00 PM 2008  

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