Monday, July 20, 2009

A Mental Stumble

It is 10:30. I just finished making 3 lunches for tomorrow, picking up the living room & writing out bills.

There are still dishes in the sink.

There are towels in a laundry basket that need to be folded.

I just realized The Champ's bathing suit is still sitting in the washing machine. I need to put it in the dryer for camp tomorrow.

I have given up.

I am having difficulties with life as a single dad. I am trying my hardest to take care of them, take care of the house and work 40 hours a week but at times I think its getting the better of me.

Right now is one of those times.

I have had Peanut & The Champ since Thursday night. We had a pretty busy weekend. I took them to dinner and storytime at Barnes & Noble Friday night.

Saturday afternoon we went to the mall and I bought them both some new pajamas. I bought Peanut a My Little Pony toy. The Champ bought himself a new Bakugan toy with his allowance. I treated myself to some new underwear.

Saturday night we went to the local minor league baseball game. The NECBL is for college kids while school is out. Local families let the kids stay with them for the summer. It's fun for the kids with a lot of family stuff. The Champ enjoyed the game while Peanut followed the mascot around looking for hugs.

Sunday we drove out to a nearby lake and spent the afternoon in the water. With Peanut on my back as I swam around its no wonder why the sunblock wore off and now I have a nice burn on my shoulders.

Maybe it was too much this weekend. Probably right.

Then why do I feel it wasn't enough?

Nevermind all the shit around the house I ignored this again weekend. The lawn needs mowing. The hatchway needs to be stripped and repainted. The basement needs a good cleaning. Don't ask about dusting.

It's just some times I feel as though I am failing. And I only have had them 4 days. They will go back to their mother in 3. How anybody does this all the time is beyond me. Any mother or father who has full custody of their kids and has to deal with these challenges all the time is an amazing person.

Please, share your secrets.

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Anonymous PoetrysTruth said...


First I have to say I'm tired just reading everything you did! LOL! I know you want to pack in as much as you can but it sounds like you may have done too much. You're going to run yourself down. Each moment doesn't have to be filled with something for you to be a good dad.

My parent split up when I was two and you know all I wanted was to spend TIME with my Dad (still a daddy's girl to this day!), we didn't need to do anything. We did go out and do things but he was a broke college student so there wasn't $$$ to spare for extras.

As for the undone house work and whatnot, cut yourself some slack, if they are going back to Mrs. Joe then take care of that stuff then. Dishes in the sink isn't a big deal, don't be so hard on yourself.

Things do get easier as the emotions of all that has happened begin to wane. Your dealing with a lot.

A good man falls down seven times, but gets back up eight.

You're doing a good job, trust me when I say just being around is enough for your kids. It's what they truly want. It's great you're making such wonderful memories, but the memories that will mean the most to them is the memory of you simply being Dad.

((more hugs))

Tue Jul 21, 09:57:00 AM 2009  
OpenID iamagrownup said...

I'm no expert. I'm struggling the same as you. I can say that when I can mentally ignore the clutter around the house and just be with my kids I am happiest. I also try to make the most of my time when they aren't around by getting things cleaned and "ready" for them. Then I'm not looking around at the house all the time thinking "I should be doing that." It's hard though. The mental exhaustion of divorce just seems to take away our ability to focus on the 10001 other tasks we must do. Today I feel as if i am drowning in all my responsibilities as well. I woke today feeling so overwhelmed i thought I'd be happier if I just stayed in bed all day. I don't think there is a secret. I think you just have to keep taking it one day at a time.

Tue Jul 21, 11:22:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Debbie said...

I can't really speak to your situation since I have a very helpful spouse. But I do know as a stay at home mom that you can easily overschedule their lives. They really just want to be with you most of the time. Leave the big outings for those rare occasions and give yourself a little break.

Tue Jul 21, 01:35:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Amiee said...

I wish there were secrets to share...but I don't have them if they exist. Being a single parent is a lot of work, period. I agree with the advice others have given you...your time and your presence is what the kids really want. You'll remember swimming in the pond with them and getting a sunburn much longer than you'll remember scraping and painting and dusting. The grass gets cut, the grass grows. It's all tedious, this housework, but in the scheme of things it's not all that important. The kids don't care if the dishes are dirty or their beds aren't made.

I know there is a balance somewhere, but it may take a while to find it. Until then, keep on keeping are a great dad and despite the sense of not doing enough, if the kids are happy--and it seems that they are--then you're doing just fine. They are your barometer, not the long grass :)

take care--

Tue Jul 21, 04:13:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a single parent and can't relate to what you are going thru, but I have been reading your blog for a long time and I just wanted to say you sound like a great dad.
Looking back your kids will remember all the memories you created with them. The lawn will eventually get mowed and the painting will be done. Enjoy every minute with them.

Tue Jul 21, 06:59:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Dad Stuff said...

You got the important work done. Spending fun time with your kids. Sometimes just staying home and letting the kids 'help' me fold towels is just as rewarding.

Wed Jul 22, 11:56:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Mike said...

Everybody is telling the truth here for you. As a single dad at one time I was just like you. Did I do enough? Had I spent the time?

You know as well as anyone that its the time spent not necessarily what your doing that's important.

Hang in there, it will get easier. You'll find your grove and be fine...

Thu Jul 23, 02:00:00 AM 2009  
Anonymous Jasmine said...

I wish I could hug you. Hang in there.... it is a tough balance, but it sounds as though you are focused on what matters- loving those babies!

Thu Jul 23, 12:24:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Kim Williams said...

nice to stubble upon you here. i'm a few years down the road from you. my two are 22 and 20 now. it isn't easy. it never gets all done. i've remarried, but while doing it alone my salvation often came in the form of one clear thought - i can't judge my insides by someone else's outsides. i learned to set limits and goals that were perhaps more messy - but much more fun than the order i wanted to impose on myself - and them.

plod on. it changes and it does get better.

Mon Jul 27, 09:13:00 PM 2009  
Blogger JennyMac said...

Ahhh..this is tough. And I too have a helpful spouse so I don't fully understand but I do empathize. I know how much I do in one day, and if that doubled, wow.

Tue Jul 28, 03:40:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Charlotta-love said...

I like what Dad Stuff said. The Champ and Peanut will remember the time you spent with them.

I know my situation isn't the same - isn't even close - but reading your post reminded me of a hectic work week. Seemed for every step forward, I took three backwards. I couldn't accomplish anything. On top of that, I forgot to give the UPS man a pretty important document so someone else had to wait on a delayed product. I felt useless. [Enter cheesy movie from Annie]: 'The sun will come up tomorrow'

That thought came to my mind. The sun would come up. Didn't matter if I forgot the UPS. Didn't matter if I answered the phone incorrectly. Absolutely NOTHING I did would stop the sun from rising. That became my saying. I still worked at accomplishing goals, prioritizing my time, and becoming a better ____ (Coworker, student, daughter, friend, etc) but I realized life comes with limitations. Sometimes the house ISN'T the cleanest. Sometimes the paper DOESN'T get an A. Sometimes I CAN'T answer all my emails in a day.

But that's okay. Because tomorrow, the sun'll come up.

(Haven't stopped by in awhile. For the record, you still seem to be a fantastic father given the unexpected curveball. Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve one.)

Thu Jul 30, 11:57:00 AM 2009  
Anonymous M@ said...

the important question is, are you having a good time with your kids, and do you feel like your time together is well spent? Sure sounds to me like it is :)

Don't sweat the small stuff, sounds like you're making sure the memories are made :)

Thu Jul 30, 12:58:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous this new place said...

ease up on yourself. although I do it all the time, even after a full day. Today was a day where they spent lots of time on the computer games and tv in between our two hour ceramics class that we took together. And it's mainly because I have had them for two weeks straight, with psuedo house guests to entertain as well, and sometimes, ya just gotta let go of the guilt. You did alot more than I usually do. I just plant ourselves on the beach as much as possible and eat out of the bag all day and hope they entertain themselves. The rest of the time is so tiring, 24-7.

Fri Jul 31, 08:53:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Woman with kids said...

I'm a single mom of two kids who go to their dad's for one night, every other weekend. I've learned to include them in the cleaning so we're still spending time together and also not to sweat a lot of it.

Keep doing what you feel is the right thing to do. Sounds like you're making the right choices.

Fri Aug 07, 10:15:00 PM 2009  

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