It's been almost a year since my last post. Time just gets away from me. Parenting, especially single parenting, is all consuming and when I have a chance at "down time" or a break, I go a little catatonic - not productive. My boy turns 3.5 today. It's shocking how fast the last 3 years have gone, and yet while in it, it's hard to believe we'll ever get through some of the daily slog.
I was on a FB SMC thread the other day, supporting new mamas with my experience or whatever I had to offer, when it occurred to me that the only way to get through this without also feeling like it's passing me by, is to truly be present for all of the experiences and moments with my boy. I work full-time, he goes to preschool full-time - so for many hours in the week we're apart. But when we are together, I find that as exhausting as it can be, staying present with him is the way I feel like I'm not missing anything. I want to spend my time with him, I want to talk with him and play games with him and feed him and bathe him and give him all my attention. The hardest part of absolutely wanting those things is that I don't take care of myself the way I should. There just is no time. And then my time with him can be full of frustration and impatience.
I hit 45 a few months ago, and for a couple of months we were struggling with a family health crisis, and the loss of my birthmother soon after the time of my birthday. But once things started to settle down, it also started to feel like things were crumbling down around me. I have NOT been taking care of myself. Physically, emotionally, socially - none of it. I'm not exactly drinking a fifth under the table after bathtime, but I don't think emotionally eating a bag of chips for dinner is all that far from causing the same kind of health damage. And it not only makes me feel bad physically, the guilt and hit to my self-esteem is totally damaging. Thoughts of my own mortality, and my son's subsequent well-being are churning around in my head constantly. I needed to find a way to put my own well-being somewhere near the top.
So, back to regular therapy, back to prepping salads for the work week lunches, and I started the Couch to 5k training program (with the help of my roommate agreeing to stay home with my boy 3 nights a week for 30 minutes or so). Two weeks in and I'm grappling with just how to actually put myself somewhere near the top of priorities. But two weeks in is much further along than I've ever been, so there's hope?