Tag Archives: single parenting

The Lowdown, Vol. 5

I’ve been getting a lot of “How are you?”s lately from friends and family. It’s sort of like when I was going through my separation twelve years ago – the same concern is there, the wishing they could help, the commiserating over things not going according to plan. I had hoped to share some of the school year custody with Nigel and Aidan’s dad by moving to where he lives, and that, as most of you know, didn’t happen. At this point, the bottom line is nothing new. I’ve been doing this (full-time single parenting) for nine years, and I guess I can just keep doing it. But I will tell you this – it doesn’t get easier. The boys don’t get up much during the night now of course, but the days. Oh, man, the too-full days just about kill me. The strain just builds and builds. By now I feel like I’ve got a piano on my back.

For most of this year (and some of last), I had been searching for a life coach, just wanting help in figuring out how to approach my life so that I would feel less overwhelmed. I’d read about various life coaches on friends’ blogs and would come across a few online, but none of them felt right for me. One day a few months ago, Eithne left a comment on one of my posts. She linked to her website, and as soon as I clicked over, I knew that she was the one.¬† Through her excellent coaching I am learning to prioritize my life according to what I value, and I definitely feel that I now have the tools to enable myself to feel less overwhelmed. To anyone looking for a life coach, I highly recommend her!

Last, but certainly not least, I recently received a lovely new (or new to me) blog award:

Isn’t it cool? I love the design. And I also love the cool blog from whence it came: Big Daddy Autism. Thanks, Big Daddy! If you haven’t checked him out yet, head on over there for some much-needed humor and some thought-provoking posts.

Apparently in accepting this award, I must reveal seven things about myself. So I’ll follow Big Daddy’s example and mention the following:

1) I have two tattoos, a tiger and a Celtic knot. The tiger has been on my arm for ten years, and it’s really beautiful. During the summer I receive many compliments on both of them.

2) I have written and published a novel, and I’m (slowly) working on my next one.

3) My eyes are green with gold flecks in them.  Sometimes they appear to be hazel.

4) I have driven the same car for over ten years, and it feels like an extension of myself. I love it like I would a horse.

5) My favorite hobby is winetasting. So much so that I wanted to put a bocce court in my backyard because it’s the only sport you can play and not have to put down your wine glass.

6) I have sustained three major injuries from one of my other hobbies – snowboarding. I can assure you that no wine was involved, although it certainly was afterward.

7) I drink green smoothies every morning for breakfast. A green smoothie in the morning and a glass of wine at night – it’s all about balance!

There you have it. I’d do the tagging thing, but I have a big IEP meeting tomorrow morning (more on that next week), and must use the rest of my evening to prepare. You know how it is.

Cheers, everyone!

With My Eyes Closed

Most of you know that I am a single parent. From mid-June to mid-August, my sons visit their father 700 miles away, and I get a much-needed break. I get some extra work done, take trips, and get a little time to myself – and time to miss my boys like crazy. Two months is too long of a break if you ask me, but we’ve been doing this for nearly eight years, so we deal with it.

But those ten months – from mid-August to mid-June – are all me. I am a full-time SP of two. Some days it feels impossible to fit it all in. Some weeks are so full that I feel like I just can’t do it anymore. I finally reach Friday night and collapse on the couch with a glass of wine and stare at the TV because I can’t even think straight. And so, I’ve written a bit about single parenting, including my 5 tips for single parenting with autism. When I think of that post it makes me laugh (hysterically) because it’s so difficult for me to do the things I am suggesting that other people do! Not practicing what I preach in that regard, that’s for sure. I never applied for respite. Ever. Missed that boat. My life feels so disorganized. I don’t have time to exercise. Sometimes I fear that I’m a walking “before” photo of a nervous breakdown.

So it doesn’t surprise me that last week, after trying to cram a bunch of errands in one fell swoop, I forgot the toilet paper. Not just as in “I went to the store and forgot to buy toilet paper,” but as in “I bought toilet paper at the store and forgot to bring it home.” And it took me eight days to remember that I forgot it. I was going through my wallet full of receipts at the end of the week and saw it on the receipt – a 12-pack of Scott’s 1000-sheet rolls. I get that kind because it lasts longer, so I have to buy toilet paper less often. So infrequently, in fact, that when I do buy it I just leave it on the bottom rack of the cart in the parking lot. And then I drive away. And I don’t remember that I left it in the parking lot until eight days later when I see it on the receipt and realize that I don’t remember bringing the large package into the house. No recollection whatsoever. Here I am, in the store, so proud of myself for thinking ahead because I don’t need toilet paper yet, we’re only half-way through the current 12-pack, but it’s on sale for a fantastic price, like, half what I usually pay, so I put it on the bottom rack. I am careful to mention it to the checker so that he rings it up and I pay for it, but then I promptly forget about it.

Oh, eff me, I mutter at the receipt. It’s not like it was a huge financial loss, but I just think, really? I try to get ahead of the game and this is where it gets me. I briefly consider calling the grocery store to explain what happened, to ask if maybe one of their courtesy clerks remembered seeing an abandoned multi-pack of toilet paper when corralling the carts. Eight days ago. I dismiss it – like I have time to do that in the first place. Chalk it up to loss – one 12-pack of Scott and my semblance of sanity. I’ve had to let go of worse.

But my subconscious, it would seem, will not let it go. Unbeknownst to me, my subconscious ruminates for a few more days. It thinks, Yes, she’s got a lot on her mind, a lot on her plate, but this isn’t the worst shape she’s ever been in. Surely she didn’t leave the toilet paper on the bottom rack of the cart in the parking lot. My subconscious works on this for three days, apparently, and then all of a sudden, while sitting in front of my computer and not thinking about the toilet paper, something pops into my head. A flash of memory:¬† I am putting the toilet paper on top of the vacuum cleaner because there is no room on the shelf where I usually store it. I gasp and run down the hallway to the closet where I keep the vacuum cleaner. I rip open the door and there is the Scott 12-pack, sitting on top of the vacuum cleaner. And I laugh.

I laugh because I realize, once again, that it’s not as bad as it seems. I may not be exercising yet (must get back into yoga), and I sure need to organize my time better (life coach, maybe?), but I think I’ve got a handle on things. If I can remember something as insignificant as the toilet paper I thought I forgot, I’m doing all right. Right? I can do this. I can do this with my eyes closed, it would seem. Some days, at least.