Archive for the ‘single parenting’ Category

I don’t know how many times since Paul and I separated and especially the last year I’ve wondered why I have to go through this alone. What “this” is has varied from spring cleaning to shouldering major trials. Today I realized I’m not who I use to be. 

Over the last few years I’ve discovered my individual worth, uncovered strength buried so deep it was virtually impossible to find and been humbled far beyond what was comfortable. I’ve made mistakes and stood strong when I felt like crumbling. I’ve crumbled and had help picking up the pieces.  I’m not through this yet and have started to wondered if there is such a thing and being done with a trial. 
I have grown in ways I never imagined possible. I’ve learned that sometimes I need thee every hour isn’t often enough. Prayer can get one through anything. Faith can do more than move mountains, it can give hope in the middle of the darkest night. A well timed phone call is better than the strongest medicine and true friends are priceless. 
The old me could say those things but the new me believes them with every breath I take. 
I do get weary dealing with life alone, but alone is what has forced me to grow and for that I am deeply grateful.  I’ve had to deal with this alone so I can become the me I’m meant to be. 
If at some point there are lessons for me to learn not being alone I would be okay with that too, this path is often lonely. 

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I was reading Single Dad Laughing and for the life of me I can’t find the post or remember much of what it was because I was distracted by my own thoughts.  As best I can do, he was talking about not doing {whatever} because it doesn’t lead to second dates.  Initially I thought what a great perspective in the dating world, looking beyond a first date at a second date.  Then I jokingly laughed and thought about how optimistic it was here in middle of nowhere Utah as a single parent, seems like thinking about dating is as close to a second date as it’s going to get.

From there I took it to life.  I hope that I’m preparing not for a first date, for now, for the opportunity to prove myself but for beyond.  What will happen after I’ve proven myself, after I’ve passed the test, after dinner goes beyond a rescue call.  The times I’ve been in a first date state of mind things haven’t gone very well for very long.  I’m trying to prepare for life.  For what will come after the first date of the rest of my life.

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Just a few things to note, no I didn’t get everything done (please no one look in my kitchen right now) and a few things aren’t optional in my life.  My mid-day nap makes it so I can flip between days and nights with less trouble than if I don’t, without the nap my ability to function at home or work just isn’t there and doing direct patient care I think I should be able to function well.  I think my patients like it too.  Having the computer on throughout the day helps me stay focused, I see reminders of what I wanted to accomplish today otherwise I get sidetracked and spend the day on the couch crocheting and watching Downton Abbey or Doctor Who.  The last thing I’m not giving up is my lunches out.  Once a week I have lunch out with a friend and I’m starting the same tradition with Charlet to build a communication bridge — it’s safe time where I’m not worried about homework, chores or behavior and it’s staying.  All that said, for those of you who wonder if my life is really all that busy.

{okay, a rant.  Why do people say things like that?  Why do they get back to the people they were said about?  It’s nothing but hurtful.  Even if I’m busy because my time management skills suck does it matter why I’m frustrated and struggling?  Can’t we just support people where they are at instead of where we think they should be?  Maybe with some support they’d get to a better place?  Bah!  Really I don’t want anyone’s sympathy and I don’t need anyone to do anything for me, just realize that when someone says “it won’t take much time if you just look at it/read/spent 10 minutes a day on whatever project is the most important thing” that it may not be possible}

  • 1:00 AM  Laundry switched over for the last time, heading to bed.
  • 1:30 AM  Last time looked at the clock while awake.
  • 2:59 AM  Woke up with legs in an itching fire that nearly made me scream.  Nothing is helping, too late for benadryl and not enough sleep to get up.  Compromise with 1/2 a benadryl and fall asleep from exhaustion with itching legs that continue to wake me through the night.
  • 6:00 AM Alarm goes off.  Hit snooze button, moan and roll over feeling the sedation from the benadryl.  Legs still itch even though I’ve since ripped off the infernal compression stockings convinced I’d see legs covered in hives.
  • 6:05 AM  Alarm.  Mutter unkind words.  Hit snooze.
  • 6:10 AM  Alarm.  Mutter unkind words.  Hit snooze.  Hear big kids up and moving around, make mental note to thank them later when I’m more functional.  Snuggle back down under the covers pushing the day we move family prayer and scripture to morning back one more day — I’ll struggle with it again tonight.
  • 7:00 AM Make sure Michael has signed course disclosure with him and see him off.  Normally I’d be taking him to band and honestly I’m missing the 1:1 time with him even though it’s just a few minutes a day — it works kind of like I hope my lunches with Charlet do but it’s an issue I don’t know how to fix right now and in the big scheme of things not a huge deal so it falls to the bottom of the list.  The bottom of the list is big and things get lost easily there.
  • 7:20 AM  Wrestle back into the infernal stockings counting down the days until I can try to not wear them when I get a reminder of how painful my legs are without them and make the choice to wear them.  At least tomorrow I’m allowed to take them off at night and to shower, I’ll get better sleep then.
  • 7:30 AM Take Charlet to school, discussing lunch plans on the way.  Makes me smile and warms my heart to see her excited about it.
  • 7:40 AM  Breakfast and planning my day while Kaede wakes up.  Sitting here typing this now.
  • 8:00 AM  Make sure Kaede is out of bed and at least zombie walking through the house, try to tame her hair and get her out of PJ’s
  • 8:30 AM  Kaede to school
  • 8:40 AM  Bring in trash cans, feed chickens, walk dogs outside (why oh why has Mitzi started running away, it use to be easier)
  • 9:00 AM Start laundry, unload dishwasher, sort dishes washing pots and pans while making a stack to go in the dishwasher — all while brainstorming how to shower when I can’t get either leg wet.
  • 9:30 AM Sit down with choffy and work on a weekly schedule + chores for the kids with a side of budget and bills.  Yay!  Fight desire to go back to bed, ponder why the dryer doesn’t have a fold setting.
  • 10:00 AM Set alarms on phones so I dont’ forget important times for today.  Settle for a spit bath and hair washing instead of a shower and start count down to tomorrow afternoon when I can take a nice long shower.
  • 10:40 AM Go pick up Charlet for lunch at The Little Brick House.
  • 11:40 AM  Errands.  Wander around Wal-mart trying to remember what is on my list that is sitting on my desk and then to Deseret Book to run into the Distrabution Center.  I think it’s a marketing scheme to put it inside of DB.  I could easily spend crazy amounts of money in there, today the draw was more than normal so I also created a mental reading list.  I really, really, really want the two Women of Faith books.  I’ve heard of them before but never felt drawn to them before today.  In Charlet’s words, “I want it, I want it, I want it”
  • 12:30 PM  Load the dishwasher with soaking dishes, switch over the laundry and fold what is in the dryer.
  •  1:00 PM  Computer time, straightening desk, removing programs, typing up kids stuff for their new schedule thingy I’m trying to keep us more organized (ha!) and just maybe some Facebook.
  •  1:45 PM  Dogs need outside again.  In the rain.  yes, not to long ago we were having lows around twenty below and today it’s raining.  Welcome to Utah.
  •  2:00 PM  Mop bathroom ceiling.  Yes, you read that right and I’m not going to explain right now but no it doesn’t happen often and it’s one of my least favorite chores.
  • 2:15 PM  Kitchen again, been soaking things in small batches and only half of them go into the dishwasher but it’s a full load this time.  Soaking side of the sink has the cooling racks I cooked bacon on that refuse to scrub the grease off.  Folded more laundry.
  •  2:30 PM  Walked to a neighbors that no one has been able to get a hold of all day, not typical of them.  Their car (was there earlier) was gone.
  •  2:45 PM  More laundry folding {yes, I was behind on both dishes and laundry per my usual} and scrubbed the soaking cooling racks.  Dishes are at a stand still until dishwasher is through running, but definite headway has been made.
  •  3:00 PM  Realized that while I’ve made headway with laundry, dishes, and the bathroom ceiling {go ahead,laugh} that the rest of my house is as it was and we’re at count downtime until after school chaos hits.  Almost nothing gets accomplished housework wise after that.
  •  3:01 PM  Take a big sigh and realize that regardless of what ends up undone it’s been a good day, even without a nap and for that you are very grateful.
  •  3:01 PM  Set alarm so you don’t forget Kaede and Meghan and see how much of the remaining clean laundry can get folded.
  •  3:25 PM {typing ahead, but if this doesn’t happen the next entry will be “answers phone call from school”} head to school to pick up the little kids.
  • 3:40 PM  Drop Meghan off, notice neighbors are home and stop to check on them/let them know about their phone
  • 4:10 PM  Pick Charlet up from Track, drop the starving girls off
  • 4:20 PM  Pick Michael up early from 4-H
  • 4:30 PM  Suppose to be at church ball, not there yet.
  • 4:40 PM  Finally make it to church ball with Charlet and one other girl from the Ward there.
  • 5:40 PM  Make it home to notice that it does NOT smell like pork roast cooking.  Toss pork roast, potatoes, and carrots in a pan and toss it in the oven.  Take note of children who appear to be wasting away from hunger.
  • 5:45 PM  Take Charlet to her Dads to see if he has found her band shirt yet.  Grumble in the car about him losing the shirt while the kids aren’t there to hear me.
  • 6:00 PM  Run to Smiths for bread, cheese and ham {yes tomorrow is grocery day and it’s a little on the Mother Hubbard side of things right now}
  • 6:05 PM  Drop Michael off to pull up grades on the computer
  • 6:07 PM  Pick up for Pep Band {my day for carpool, yay for not working and being able to contribute to the get the kids to the high school movement}
  • 6:15 PM  Finally make it home and look at missing assignments on PowerSchool {ugh} and start grilled ham and cheese for Kaede, Michael and me.  Folding yet more laundry inbetween sandwich flips.
  • 6:45 PM  Sit down to eat for a few minutes.
  • 7:00 PM  Check email to see if I have any  more e-mails from teachers and update this list {this list is turning into a pain now that all the kids are home, it kept me going earlier}
  • 7:30 PM  Make sure kids are putting away all the laundry I folded and not just dumping it somewhere/doing their homework/doing their chore for the day while putting away my laundry.  Also ventured into Michael’s backpack for organization.
  • 8:00 PM  Kaede into bathtub, dishwasher emptied.
  • 8:30 PM  Took a phone call saying that I didn’t need to pick Charlet up from Pep Band!  Woot!  Phone call took longer than it seems covered a variety of subjects and I’m grateful.  While on the phone Charlet showed up hyper and hungry so I made her a grill cheese, put away laundry, wiped down the floor in the bathroom from Kaede’s bath, put things that were there that belong here away while walking around.  I’m amazingly productive on the phone with things I can do one handed.
  • 9:15 PM  Family prayer and chat time, nice pleasant and of course longer than normal {which is just fine}
  • 9:30 PM  Kids heading towards bed, now EVERYONE is hyper, thanks Charlet.  Fortunately exhausted because it didn’t last very long.
  • 9:55 PM  I’m going post this now so I can shut down the computer and focus on laundry and whatever series I find on Netflix to interest me, I’m not much in the mood for Doctor Who right now.
Things accomplished that didn’t fit into the time frame because I was either doing something else or it wasn’t a ton of time at once.
  • Walked Michael through what could have been a huge problem when hockey practice was cancelled.
  • Discussed appropriate times/places to let me know you don’t want to do something.
  • Fielded 4 (I think?) phone calls.
  • Let the dogs out about 4 more times, 2 of which were to just go say hi to people.
  • As I’m walking through the house I look at the room I’m in and think of the room I’m going to (sometimes those I pass too) and take something that needs to go where I’m headed.
  • Sorted things to donate or trash as I folded laundry.
{written about 8 PM}The Giant List of Things To Do is nowhere near finished, in fact front part of my house still looks trashed, I haven’t sat down and sewn any of the stuff I was planning on sewing today or worked on the baby gift I really kind of needed to have done by tomorrow.  We saved an hour by hockey being cancelled.  Today was particularly productive, I’m certain in part because of the accountability of the list but I don’t have to work tonight, Charlet hasn’t yet been home more than to change clothes and grab a sandwich and I have no idea what her homework will entail.  Laundry is far from done, although I’m caught up with what has been washed the last few weeks, the baskets that I sorted by child through the end of last year when I was really struggling with time sit taunting me as do the baskets in my bedroom.  Dishes are closer to being done but not yet there, and anyways it’s not like they stay done.  Fridge didn’t get cleaned out {it’s a set chore for day before grocery shopping so we can know what’s in there} I didn’t have a lot of other stuff in here like phone calls, appts, or required leg resting — I also didn’t have anyone help me with shuffling kids etc like I often do either.  Don’t tell, but I also didn’t work out (taking a few weeks off for my legs)

I’m exhausted, part by my significant lack of sleep last night but I really should stay up late tonight so I can sleep decent tomorrow because I do work tomorrow night.  I’ll likely fold as much as I can of the baskets that are taunting me while I help Charlet with homework then when kids are in bed settle down on the couch with Netflix and some yarn.

Oh what I wouldn’t give to feel like this.  Both the warm summer sun and the carefree attitude. {yes, it’s an old shot — I haven’t posted anything new in a while}


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This reminds me of 2 Christmases ago when I had nothing done for Christmas, nothing prepped, nothing.  After Gromps died I had a friend look around my living room and ask “Heather, what can we do to help?”  Through tears I said I don’t even know.  “Can we wrap?”  Well, I haven’t bought anything to wrap.  So the conversation went and through my frustration he saw what he could do — and did way more than I ever expected.

This year circumstances are different.  I’m not stressed about Christmas this year and I’ve enjoyed the concerts the devotionals etc.  I haven’t sad down in frustration about all things I’d like to do and can’t.  I’ve enjoyed what I could do.  
I work through Thursday (1/2 shift) and hope to be able to make some ganache so I can dip truffles on Friday morning.  Debating about when to go to Beaver, I have the kids over the weekend until halfway through Christmas day.  
This afternoon when I woke up I laid in bed fighting making a list of how I’ve not been a great friend to everyone who has been wonderful to me, how I’ve not baked and dipped chocolated, how I’ve not even made the Great Big Giant List of Everything That Must Be Done, how I’ve not {fill in a long list} and tried to fight back the perfectionist side of me.  I took time to mourn this Christmas season, time to heal and rest my legs, but that time has to come from somewhere and now I’m looking at my working 7 out of 8 days {had last night off for Kaede’s concert} and trying hard to remember that no matter how ill prepared we are for Christmas, Christmas day is wonderful.
Wonder what the chances of being on call at all this week are?  {yeah, those of you who have seen our census go ahead and laugh}

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The picture isn’t what I had wanted but I couldn’t find the ones I wanted and I didn’t have enough time to spend scanning things forever.

I’m beyond grateful for all the friends I have.  From the ones I had in elementary school and High School practical jokes to the ones now who somehow know a difference between when there’s time can we talk and I need someone to listen to me STAT even when the words I use are the same.  I have friends who have magically shown up as I was my last bit of patience to see if I wanted to go get a soda and go for a ride.  Friends who get excited with me over silly little things.  There is no way I could have made it through the last few years without the quality of friends I have who love me, flaws and all.

I’m also grateful for my kids’ friends and the people in their lives that have been there for them, whether they are aware of it or not.

30 Days of Gratitude:  Day 12 -- Friends

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In April 2012 General Conference Elder Baxter of the Seventy gave a talk titled “Faith, Fortitude, and Fulfillment:  A Message to Single Parents”  then the fourth Sunday of July I gave a Relief Society lesson on that talk.  I still don’t know that I’d call it a lesson exactly but I stood up and cried my way through.  Each day for a month I read the talk, often out loud so that I could just maybe get my way through it with minimal tears — that didn’t work.  The passage  that hit me the most was originally told by President Hinckley in September of 2006 from a single mom who had just delivered something to her neighbors across the street.

“As I turned around to walk back home, I could see my house lighted up. I could hear echoes of my children as I had walked out of the door a few minutes earlier. They were saying: ‘Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?’ ‘Can you take me to the library?’ ‘I have to get some poster paper tonight.’ Tired and weary, I looked at that house and saw the light on in each of the rooms. I thought of all of those children who were home waiting for me to come and meet their needs. My burdens felt heavier than I could bear.
“I remember looking through tears toward the sky, and I said, ‘Dear Father, I just can’t do it tonight. I’m too tired. I can’t face it. I can’t go home and take care of all those children alone. Could I just come to You and stay with You for just one night? …’
“I didn’t really hear the words of reply, but I heard them in my mind. The answer was: ‘No, little one, you can’t come to me now. … But I can come to you.’”2

 The first time I read this {and many times since} I pictured myself walking back across the street towards my own house full of kids with needs that I was certain I could never fill.  Today is one of those days.  It was a gorgeous fall day, I took the extra time to walk Kaede home from school, and then this evening we sat outside for a while went for a walk around the block and visited with a neighbor while Michael went out with Friends of Scouting.  I had hoped for some quiet thought collecting time.

All the while I kept hearing about the Halloween costumes that aren’t ready yet.  In my defense, Kaede and Michael have been constantly changing their minds. {I don’t know that would have changed much if they had} pumpkins that aren’t carved {and we wouldn’t even have them if it wasn’t for great neighbors} That book reports were due today and Kaede has lost her rubric for it {ahhh, can’t forget to email about that tonight} homework to make up from all of them from going hunting with their Dad and missing school on Friday {I’m glad they went, I’m glad they went, I’m glad they went} Let’s not forget the dose of self guilt on the side for a dinner of Mac ‘n Cheese {and it’s not like I’ve been making wonderful meals other days either — I’ve been working}, laundry not done {but, I kept my promise and haven’t wash/dried without folding}, a sink full of dishes {they keep rotating, it’s a fluid hot spot not a stagnant one}, bathroom that has gone unscrubbed.  To top it off, I spent an evening I could have spend doing housework painting my new wall and I’ve been considering expanding my social life {go ahead, laugh I understand} and that simultaneously makes me excited and nervous but that’s a post for another day or perhaps even a conversation.

How does it all ever get done?  I can’t not sleep, too many consequences for me when I don’t — night shift with sleep is hard enough.  I’m grateful when I go to work because leaving home stresses at home is required for me to be able to focus on my patients’ and their needs.  It’s a shelter from my storm.

It feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve had a normal schedule with the kids and skipping the details the back and forth just sucks and I don’t like it.  No, there isn’t anything I can do about it.

Chin up Buttercup, everything will be as it is suppose to be.

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