I am stressed in the Single Mummy Zone. The problems I was experiencing before I left my marriage, and all of the ones just afterwards, have reappeared. I am having to go through mediation, because the ex is challenging access (he wants 'half' of the children, ie, he wants them to live with him every other week) and money (he wants to pay none on a regular basis, as opposed to the 'none' from the money that he stopped paying last year) and he's not backing down, and its hurting me.
The sensible take on it would be: I have nothing to hide, and it would not be beneficial to let this 'get' to me, so bring it on... which is kinda what I'm aiming for, and some days I even succeed. But lets not forget that this was a difficult relationship to say the least (have a look at the link in the first paragraph of this second post if you're in need of people who can help you, like they did me).
Which is kinda what I'm trying to do here- move on. Only I know that pattern only to well. Before moving on, I have to go through a process, a bit like the the stages of grief thingy.
I exhibit these stages when the children are away**, (see below if you fancy an insight into the times when they are here) and I think I do okay, (even if I do say so myself), when they are around to be as normal as I can be. Don't laugh- I can be normal! The stages look something like this:
1 stress out, feel nauseus
2 panic, cry
3 get into bad habits
4 rest, sleep, gather myself
5 move on.
Yes, you read that right: the sleep doesn't really happen succesfully until stage 4! This isn't a clear formula. Yesterday, for example I was between 1 and 2, and today I am doing 1, 2, 3, just like I did for the last 6 months of the relationship, and the first 4 months of my new-found singleness. I manage to find good coping mechanisms on the 'in-between lots of stress' times. So I know I'll get to 4 and 5 agan, just not until the mediation has failed, he's taken me to court, thrown all he has at me and leaned on me to give up my job. Then someone else can make a decision. Scary but true- I'm a realist.
Stress provokes naughtiness don't you think? I seem to know just the
However I also need to exhibit stage 5 today. The 'move on' aspect is where I'm aiming to pretend I am, so that I can put my woes behind me and do a thing this afternoon, for people who are so much less fortunate than myself. I'm not that much of a Genuine Good Samaritan, because I thought twice about it (naughty) but I owe some people a favour, and I feel I need to help. Reality is good: knowing that I need to be sensible because others are 'going through it' (bereavement in this case) is a welcome reminder of the world outside of the Single Mummy Zone, and I can't afford to be selfish. Here goes.
**When my Little People are here, or I can't let on for another reason, and I'm stressed, its kinda like this: I badly burnt myself on Mothering Sunday when I was 7, trying to make a breakfast and tea for my mum. The hot water from the kettle came cascading over the work surface, badly scalding and scarring both of my arms and my stomach. I had 4 weeks off from school, and many many weekly trips to the burns unit for dressing changes etc. One particular time, the dressing (or something odd that looked a little bit like a net that you find around satsumas anyhow) wouldn't come away from my upper arm. They had to take me into the shower and ease it off, with water. I remember the agony. My mum told me recently that she couldn't believe that I sat there in the bath silently, letting the tears roll down my face because I didn't want to make a fuss. I remembered this again recently, and that is what I feel like I'm doing when I have to get on with it nowadays- when its expected of me to be ok. Thankfully this isn't a continuous feeling, its only during the worse times. Someone could offer the ex a truck load of cash and a one way ticket to somewhere far far away, and I'd feel even better :)