Unhinging

By Friday night, I was dreading the thought of 8 hours working a conference while simultaneously keeping a 2-year-old entertained. I kept dwelling bitterly on the thought of “I shouldn’t HAVE to choose between making money and spending time with my daughter,” so my defiant solution was to combine the two options. The logistics were starting to materialize a very BAD situation in my mind.

She was awesome. She was an image of toddler perfection. She didn’t go to the darkside once. She flirted with the participants. She laughed at the police dogs. She served cookies and milk. People were coming up to me and saying how smart and friendly and wonderful she was. I was basking in selfish pride.

 There was no Finding Nemo to distract her, no playground to entertain her. It was just 8 hours of mommy and daughter time; talking, reading, playing with puzzles, pretending to shop, putting Ariel to bed, painting with watercolors, and yes, eating lots of cookies. At the end of the day, after we had cleaned up and collected paperwork, I was completely exhausted, but the satisfaction was oh so sweet.

I kept salavting on this thought: Maybe just being near me is enough to make her happy?  Which could also translate simply into: She likes me, she really likes me!

I’ve been thinking about my initial reaction to being away from LB, and how depressed it made me. I started to realize that maybe I’m scared to be without her, because it intensifies the lonelinessof single parenting. At least when she’s nearby, I have a purpose; I feel useful and needed. When she’s gone, what’s my purpose?  I know this may sound pathetic, but every decision, action and intent I’ve had in the past 2 years have been centered around what she needs, and my brain is having a hard time unhinging from that.

 I don’t want to think about how lonley I am, so I cling to my daughter’s presence. In way, I’ve become co-dependent on LB, and that’s not fair to her.

What I discovered on Saturday is being away from her has given me a deep appreciation of the time I DO get to spend with her. I get to see how intelligent, inquisitive, enjoyable and beautiful she is. This may just be a coping mechanism I’ve created in order to deal with separating from the child I gave birth to, but I think this philosophy may do me some good.

I’m filing for a modification of child support. I’m paying almost $250 more than I originally filed as my childcare expense. They increased the tuition about a month after I received an order, and I didn’t want to go through the paperwork again. Now I really have no choice. Its obvious that I can’t foot the bill anymore and I might as well try everything I can to recieve the child support that’s owed to LB.

Merry Christmas ya filthy animal Rooferman.

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15 thoughts on “Unhinging

  1. I always see my children in a different light after they’ve spent time with their dad. It’s amazing what a little time apart can do.

    I have to admit I am co-dependant on my children as well. Focusing on them makes it easier to not focus on other facets of my life (like my lack of a social life!!).

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  2. I feel where you are coming from. When I do not have the kids, I spend that time wondering what my purpose is and who I am. I should just be enjoying it rather than trying to make sense of it.

    But, lack of kids is the glaringly obvious reminder that I have no life. I have no social life. I have no one to share that time with.

    I do appreciate my kids more when they come back home. I am very proud of them and who they have become.

    Maybe I am just not proud of me and who I have become…

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  3. I think you’re being harder on yourself than is necessary. It would be different if you felt like LB was getting the love, attention, and proper care that she deserves when she’s with stupid Rooferman. When my kids are with my parents, for instance, I know in my heart they’re being loved appropriately, so I don’t worry. Do not underestimate that.
    Having said that, there’s nothing you can do during the time she’s away about that. I highly recommend catching up on reading a good book, watching a movie, making plans to be with friends, doing what you can for you when she’s not there. It doesn’t do either of you any good if you don’t use that time to properly care for yourself. And sometimes that means just taking a much-deserved nap!

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  4. Bah, while I hear you and I get you, I just think you are forgetting the fact that from a very bilogical, instinctual standpoint, we are SUPPOSED to feel that way about our kids, especially when they are young like that. Not only do you know she is going into a less than stellar environment, but you are being ripped away from something/someone who by nature is part of your heart. Is there anything you can DO about it? No; so I would agree with April’s suggestions, but also would encourage you to see this with a different perspective; instead of being so down on how you feel about it, think of it as a perfectly normal reaction. Now, if she gets to the high school years and you still don’t feel like you have a life that doesn’t revolve around her, perhaps then you might want to seek some help, but for now, all is well.

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  5. Yay LB! Glad she was so good. It sounds like it was a fun time. I totally feel the same way you do. I need to not make Jayson my crutch either. I am sooooo worried to leave him with his dad. He hasn’t done anything bad, he’s just not as alert as I’d like him to be and then he mentions to me that he’ll “try not to hit him.” when he gets older. We agree mostly on the big stuff but our parenting styles are totally different. I guess I should have talked to him more before now

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  6. Yay LB! And you’re very brave. I don’t think I would have tried that with Shiloh. Glad it went so well.

    As for the rest of it, I get what you’re saying about your entire life being focused on LB and what she needs. I feel the same way. Kori is probably right. We’re probably supposed to feel that way when they’re young, but I still have trouble figuring out what to do when she’s not around (which isn’t very often). I wonder what I did before I became a mom.

    And of course she likes you. 🙂

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  7. Oh Rooferman — he will just have to suck it up!

    I think you are right about what the alone time alone does to us – but I think over time that feeling lessens and we actually enjoy the time to ourselves and enjoy our kids more when they come home.

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  8. When I wrote about my codependency issues, I realized I was like that with ALL my relationships–there are some very parts of me that run deep and run codependent, if that makes any sense. It’s weird for me to say “I’m codependent” because I don’t feel like I’m codependent ON anyone per se. I just am the codependent type. My brain shifts to “codependent mode”. I didn’t want to pass that onto Son, so I’m trying to get some help.

    That said, I agree with Kori and April. I think it’s perfectly OK to feel the way you do about LB when she’s with Rooferman. She’s only two, and you are the one good, stable force in her life. I sometimes worry more when Son is with his dad than I do when he’s at daycare.

    And toddlers, they always surprise us, don’t they?

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  9. As a single mom of 8years, I can tell you that I TOTALLY had a co-dependancy with my littlemn. HE was my reason for moving on, HE was the reason for my persistance. It was UNTHINKABLE for me for many years to go and do anything without him. As a baby, That seemed totally ok…we both fed off of it, and it WAS ok….but as littleman got older, I realized I may be doing some damage here for both of us. I wondered how was he going to learn to be independant if I was teaching him to be dependant through MY actions. So, as much as it pained me, I began doing more without him.

    I discovered, afterwards, that I was a person too! LOL….

    As for worrying about LB when she’s with her dad…let me put it this way….before I left X (littleman was 15 months old when I left), HE was not working, but I still brought littleman to a sitter…because I didn’t trust him to properly look after littleman…so I ‘get’ you. 😉

    AND…..(sorry for being soooooooooooooo longwinded LOL) as for LB being a perfect angel during your conference….did you really expect anything less? She IS your angel after all…. 🙂

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  10. I am SO co-dependent! When I first became a mom, she made me feel trapped and I felt like I could no longer be independent. Now, every time that she’s with her paternal grandparents, I bawl my eyes out at least once while she’s away because I get so lonely!

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