My ex and I had a big fight the night before I left for NYC for New Year’s Eve. Not because I was dropping off a barfing child, but there were a litany of complaints about the person he thinks I have become. It’s a whole separate post if I care to relive the fun of two hours of fighting with an ex.
When we finally got around to having a productive conversation, one thing he asked me was whether I was still angry with him for leaving for work (for those of you who don’t know, he’s moved to another country for up to 2 years for a job opportunity, leaving me as the sole caregiver for our child).
I answered honestly: I am no longer angry, but am working through no longer resenting his decision. I resented it because I thought it would damage my son. While I’m sure there will be some damage to their relationship long-term, the reality is that he seems to be in a pretty good place day-to-day.
The other part of the resentment is over the restriction of my perceived freedoms. The reality is that having my son every other week for the first year was really great for dating and rebuilding my social life. As I’ve written before in posts about my marriage, I had stopped doing things I wanted to do. I halted progression in key areas of my life (the one exception being professionally).
So it was nice to have time with my son, where I could focus more on him, and then have time that was totally mine. While I missed seeing my son the weeks he was with Will, I got used to it, and I would sometimes call him a couple of times during the week. It was all good.
But now, being thrown into being a sole caregiver, with a job that requires travel, and trying to have a social life at the same time? Forget it. Something has to give. I haven’t seen my out of country team since the late summer. It’s not good. I’ve been stressed out. I feel like my friendships are sliding. I have little time for dating, and my health is suffering.
Probably the worst thing for me is that almost every decision I make to exercise some freedom, or do something that’s just for me, is at the expense of my son. Decide to go to the gym in the morning or after work? It means I see him less. Schedule an evening out with friends or a date? Means I don’t see him at all that night.
One of the final nails in the proverbial coffin is that according to Will, our (my!) nanny is miserable and on the verge of quitting. She makes my work life possible. She works four days a week, 7:30-7:30. On occasion she has stayed later when I have events, or even overnight – for which I pay her. We gave her three extra weeks of paid vacation this year. I kinda think it all balances out, but that could just be me.
Regardless, it’s something else to now worry about. She has never expressed any unhappiness to me, for the record.
So I have my one night a week – Friday – to myself. Assuming my parents are healthy and not on a trip.
I have gotten quite fixated on this of late. How difficult it is and how pissed off I am at the whole thing – since it’s a situation I didn’t choose to be in.
BUT…I always say that you can never control another person but you can control your reactions. So I’ve decided to move past it. I realized a few weeks ago that if Will called me and said he was coming back next month, I would regret the things I didn’t get a chance to do with my son.
I have been given a gift of time with my child. They grow up very fast, as all parents know. I am his sole caregiver right now. I have an opportunity to build an even stronger relationship with him – really get to know him. Take him to do all the things I want to do. Play. Hang out and tell gross jokes.
Teach him magic tricks and how to whistle crazy loud using nothing but an acorn cap (one of my greatest talents). Bake cookies together and teach him how to cook. Finally get him doing chores and learning about money. Go on a beach vacation and take him out of school to do it (aka the last week of March!) and find time to visit that friend outside the city who owns horses.
That kind of thing.
When it comes to friends, I have to accept that I won’t be able to do some of the things I was doing. I’m not going to master the tango any time soon. I will maintain contact in other ways, and it will be a while before I can see my childless friends.
I met Tony at the same time I was thinking about all of this. I realised I didn’t want to expend all this energy on multiple men. It wasn’t a difficult decision because there was nobody else blowing me away. So believing that Tony likes me and he’s not engaging with others has also allowed me to just chill about the whole thing. His pace is good for me because it helps reinforce the things I’m trying to do elsewhere in my life.
Last week I hid my POF and OkCupid profiles, and deleted my lavalife account. I moved the apps to another screen on my phone and iPad so I don’t even see them there, taunting me.
I sent a note to a couple of the men on FetLife I had been maintaining a conversation with, telling them I was taking a break, or if they were play partner candidates, that I had met someone vanilla and needed to give it time with him.
It has been interesting to see who I have heard from and who promised to reach out and never did. No big shocks, but it definitely speaks to where I am on their proverbial lists. There was only one man who I contemplated pursuing a bit more – he’s a real estate agent whose profile is very appealing and who I spoke to about a year ago but we never made a date happen. But he’s on ice as well.
So now I have a bit more time – but more importantly? I have space in my head. It’s good for me to make my life a bit more simple these days. This week so far I have gotten home at a more reasonable hour, I’ve played with my son a bit more (not enough yet), really focussed on him at bedtime instead of having one eye on my phone, and when he’s gone to sleep, I’ve crawled into my bed.
The only way I’m going to get healthy is by sleeping more. So I’m working on that. Next week, I’m going to find time within my work day to go to the gym, at least once. I’m not willing to see my son less, so I need to get creative. I managed to drop a couple of pounds over the holidays (probably because I stopped drinking when I had the pneumonia really badly) but I have about 10 more I want to lose so I can get back into all my clothes.
Despite still physically feeling crappy, I feel way better mentally. I know it will be hard to put these things into practice, but I am taking it a day at a time.
I’m still in touch with Tony – we probably send a few messages back and forth each day – but we don’t have concrete plans yet. He did say he didn’t want to have it be more than a week before he saw me again, so he may come by after my son is asleep on Saturday night. If not, I will definitely find something else to do with my time.