pisces, single mom, toddler, workout tree

Single Mom, Interrupted

I know everyone keeps telling me that the season change effects everyone in different ways. At 6500 feet, people complain of vertigo, nausea and headaches this time of year. The first fall cold has been running its course through the office and daycare, and yes, there’s the horrid aspect of losing soul-feeding sunlight.

The combination of earlier bedtimes and darker mornings puts everyone in a pissy mood, but my 2-year-old has brought “pissy” to a whole new level. I would really like to blame this new development of anti-bedtime on the kamikaze daddy appearance 2.5 weeks ago, but like everyone keeps telling me “its probably just a phase.”

This phase got to me last night. I’m pretty good at keeping my cool. I’ve seen some moms go off at the drop of a hat. Luckily, for parenting purposes, Pisceans are understanding, empathetic and in tune to people’s needs. However, the Aries Moon and Taurus Rising add impatience and stubbornness to the oh so sweet fishy personality.

I was on a roll last week with working out. I successfully completed an aerobic DVD each night of the week. I also hijacked my friend’s Wii Fit and learned that I am just .25(units?) away from being overweight, so I want to make sure I don’t slack this week. Did Hula Abs & Buns on Monday. Score.

Last night was not so easy. I figure if I start the whole bedtime process around 7:30 pm, with a bath, a little playtime in her bedroom, and end up with a story and song, then said Kiddo should be ready for lights out at 8:00 right?

WRONG. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS PLAN. In addition, DO not even THINK about trying to workout until 2-year-old old has stayed in her bedroom for more than 30 minutes. Otherwise, you are sentencing yourself to this fate:

  • Get your love handles to break a sweat
  • See toddler peeking around corner
  • Push stop on DVD
  • Usher child back to bed
  • Return to DVD, attempt to re-break your sweat
  • Hear toddler’s bedroom door opening
  • Yell at toddler to go back to bed
  • Hear “I want Water”
  • Push stop on DVD
  • Give child water and stand in doorway until she lays back down
  • Return to DVD, where the hot bodies are glowing sufficiently, while your heart rate has dropped
  • Hear door open again. “Mommy!”
  • Yell “Mommy needs her exercise! GO TO SLEEP!”
  • Hear toddler cry
  • Furiously push stop on DVD
  • Stomp up stairs and herd daughter back to bed
  • Return to DVD, start crying at the lack of calories being burned, and the mean mommy ‘tude
  • Hear door open.
  • Ignore evidence of toddler emerging, teary desperation taking hold of me.
  • See daughter’s face peek around corner again.
  • Beat stop button with fist, haul child back to room, slam door in fury.
  • Cry through rest of workout, feeling fat, angry and exhausted

This has got to be one of the hardest things for me, as a single mom: Trying to complete a task without major frustration at being continually interrupted. My entire day at work consists of being interrupted, re-assigned, asked to do other things, coming back to assignments, getting interrupted by the phone, email, fax, people….

I know MOST people do this. Its called multi-tasking, and being a mom, I really should become adept at this skill. Last night I had this bitter fantasy of having a husband who would take bedtime duty while I could finish a simple 30-minute workout, which took me over an hour and a half to complete last night.

 I fantasized that if I were married, my hubby and I would take “shifts”, like any other job.  I could schedule my workout when I was “off the clock” on my parenting shift. I wouldn’t have to worry about the 10 times my daughter got up, because it would be her father’s responsibility.

Sadly, LB does not have a daddy who takes responsibility, and therefore, I am always on the clock. I try my hardest to be attentive, supportive, involved and enthralled by every waking moment I have with my daughter, because I only have those 4 hours between daycare pickup and bedtime to do so. Those moments are so valuable to me, that I have refused to add yet another hour to her daycare life, so I can workout at the local gym.

Once she is in bed, that time is golden. Its precious. After the dishes are done, the crumbs are dust-busted, the laundry started, the mail sorted, the bills paid, the toys picked up, that’s when I can try to squeeze in a workout and netflix. Since this time is as valuable to me as the time I spend with my daughter, maybe that’s why I become so upset when its interrupted. In my brain I’m angrily thinking “No. This is MY time. I was a good mom and gave you YOUR time. Now you go to sleep, and I get to de-stress, THAT’S HOW ITS SUPPOSED TO WORK! THAT’S WHAT’S FAIR! I CAN’T DO THIS ANY OTHER WAY!”

Goals as a single mom: De-stess. Stop getting frustrated. Accept interruptions as a part of life.

I’m screwed.

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15 thoughts on “Single Mom, Interrupted”

  1. Have you ever read Anne Lamott? She wrote a piece for Salon.com about Mother Anger, and boy, do I relate. To you, to her, to every other single mom in the world with no backup. In fact, email me, please, I want to ask you something. Anyway. Last night it was Hannah throwing up: three times, “Mom? I need you.” and every time I was there, but inside I was seething. “you are 15; you can dump your own puke bowl, I need my sleep, I have to WORK tomorrow.” Today is Wednesday, and you know why I love Wednesdays? Becuase it is the one night a week that Steve comes over and does the bedtime thing with Owen. He bathes him, reads the books and does the tucking in, and I get to veg out and play crossword on my nintendo. Sad, but true.

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  2. It is a phase my Piscean friend. She’s at a crazy age. I have to deal with this kind of thing a lot because my kids’ dad travels a lot and I’m the one home with them. My four-year-old took getting out of bed to new heights. Hang in there…

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  3. Normal, normal, normal and normal again. There is no patience like a single mother’s patience sweetie. And it DOES get better. As for the guilt, she will look back on her life and not remember this, but she will remember those four hours of Mommy & Me time. *hugs*

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  4. Been there, done that, and still dealing with it. I love my “me time” after Shiloh’s in bed also. We need it. Shiloh used to go right to sleep and now it takes her like two hours. It’s driving me crazy! I snapped at her last night (which I rarely do) and I could see that I hurt her feelings. I apologized and rocked her for another ten minutes. Oh, and then she also woke me up at 1:30am and 4:30am. Once because she wanted a drink and once because she wanted her bear. I hope your nights get better and I hope mine get better too. Maybe it is just a phase. (And there’s nothing that irritates me more than having to stop in the middle of a workout.)

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  5. I hate when I complain about something, something that seems like the end of the world to me and the person I am complaining to says “it is just a phase” (no offense to those of you that did say that). Maybe it is just a phase but I would prefer to think it is the end of the world because, honestly, it is wrecking my day!

    Maybe you should join the gym. Maybe having that schedule, that workout and to know that you can have it will make the evenings go a little smoother???

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  6. For me, this weekend, I was trying desperately to get something done I’ve been meaning to do since we moved. Of course, that’s absolutely when my kids needed me for something else.
    And bedtime? Oh, yeah, been there. Still happens, unfortunately (so there goes the phase theory). The only thing I can suggest is don’t give in to any of her requests. Just keep saying, “it’s bed time.” It doesn’t stop the interruptions completely, but cuts down.
    And once I even resorted to bribing them. If they went to bed and did not get out for any reason (unless someone is bleeding), then they would get a treat in their lunch boxes the next day. It did work, but I only used it once.

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  7. OOHH bed time used to be a war zone in our house! And like you I would get so aggro when they werent asleep an hour after being put down!

    They are both over it now though and it is alot easier!!!

    Maybe spend 5 minutes at her door when you put her down? Just to reassure her!!!

    WELL DONE on the workout routine though!!!!

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  8. Will, my 2 1/2 year old, does the exact same thing. Sadly though, I do not have your patience and I end up raising my voice and fussing rather quickly. (Any chance I can blame that on being a gemini?) Jack is 4 now and it’s a whole different ball game with bed.

    It gets better, but I know all too well that that doesn’t help much now.

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  9. I hope it’s a phase. You’ve come up with a great plan. If only things went according to our plans right? Hopefully this will all work itself out.

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  10. I’ve been having bedtime struggles, too. I’m trying to bump up his bedtime a bit so as to make sure he’s not tired for daycare (thus less likely to act out, right?)

    Except he will not fall asleep! I lay there with him (because I’m a bad parent who hasn’t taught her child to fall asleep on his own yet, I know I know) and then *I* fall asleep. Only to wake hours later, come downstairs in some crazy fog, work myself into a frenzy trying to get a few things done around the house, then can’t get back to bed until way late, and am crabby the whole next day.

    Can you see the pattern? Hasn’t been fun around these parts lately…

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  11. It being a phase doesn’t make it any easier, sorry. But it is a phase, all of my kids went through it and we still have nights that are rough. It is times like this that highlight the fact that you are doing this on your own.

    I’m with you on the MY time. The time between putting the kids to bed and going to bed is the only time I get to myself and I am very selfish with it.

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  12. Angel-baby….it gets a little easier….just give it a wee bit of time. I’ve sooooooooooooooooo been there done that and I totally know what you mean about the golden time after the little one has been sent off to bed. I’ve found that timing is EVERYTHING.

    Cut yourself some slack, find out what schedule is going to work for both of you and move forward. I think it’s amazing that you are motivated enough to put a plan into action! WTG!!!

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  13. My hubby travels quite often, so the girls and I have plenty of time together. I completely understand how you feel, even with a husband. Sometimes I just crave space! Remember these moments are fleeting, she’ll be in school before you know it. I commend you for your hard work!!!

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  14. “This has got to be one of the hardest things for me, as a single mom: Trying to complete a task without major frustration at being continually interrupted.”

    You said it. Right there… this has been on my mind A LOT lately. Driving me nuts. I can’t seem to just sit down and get one thing done without being interrupted by either Benjamin, my phone, co-workers – you name it.

    It’s maddening.

    For the door – she shouldn’t be able to open it… I use those safety door knob thingys. They have them at Target. You’ll just have to let her cry it out for four or five nights and then, hopefully, she’ll give up and go down when you say it’s time to go down.

    Good luck.

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