Soon to be a Lifetime original movie.
I feel better today. For the moment, anyway. I have been having my ups & downs more rapidly than I am comfortable with. My therapist attributes it to my having summers off of my degree-seeking schooling. She believes I do not know how to manage the lack of direction I perceive when I am not engulfed by my studies and motherhood. There is an awesome collection of essays about how writer’s tend to lose their identities and their minds a bit when they become mothers. It is called Mother Reader, and I really need to re-read it.
One step I have taken towards feeling a bit more sane is limiting my time goofing off on Facebook. Generally, I believe, I go on there desperately seeking adult interaction. I also look for parenting ideas and knowledge of issues in which I am interested. However, I go on there a bit manically throughout the day–compromising my ability to be present for my kids. I have even noticed that their demands escalate when I am on Facebook. Plus, I do not spend time blogging or working on finding editing work, etc. when I am obsessively scrolling through Facebook. I figure if I can quit eating after 8 pm (which I have done in order to be healthier & more fit,) I can avoid checking Facebook when I am wearing my “mom” hat and only interact on Facebook when it is mostly “me time.” Is there ever an entirely me time for a mom with small children?
I’m sure by the title, you are expecting more about my therapist visit–or are simply relieved to know that I am in therapy.
Here’s what I was thinking after seeing her yesterday. She asked me, “What is the one thing, be it sleep or more time, that you feel you need in order to feel less overwhelmed?”
I did not have to think long. “To have the dad gone,” I answered. Not “gone” in the way he suspects I want him gone (lately he has been accusing me of plotting his death??) But gone in the sense that we do not live together, and in the sense that I do not have to deal with his stuff on top of my own stuff as I try to be a good mom.
Which then made me realize, that is exactly the reason I gave her almost three years ago when I first started seeing her. She asked me my one big reason for being in therapy. I gave her…the dad.
At that time we were living in a 30 plus person cooperative house in downtown Madison. We were sharing a room in order to save money and because we were, once more, trying to work things out. I had just had a baby, my daughter, and she had suffered a rough birth. I wanted to move out of the dad’s room in the co-op, but there were no other rooms available for me. Imagine two adults, two kids, and a baby sharing a room in a house shared with 30 some other adults. Now imagine that those two adults have the communication skills of cranky preschoolers. Hence I sought therapy.
Shortly after this I was ill-treated (and illegally discriminated against) by members of my co-op for having kids, but eventually I managed to get a small space of my own and then a bigger space after that. At which point it was rather obvious that the dad and I were broken up again, so I said to him, “If you do decide to date someone, please wait six months–to make sure it is serious–before bringing that person to our home.” I felt that needed to be said since we did share space in a cooperative house. He agreed and immediately started having sex with one of our housemates whom I believed to be a friend of mine, though our relationship was difficult for me.
I found out about their relationship when she betrayed my trust and told him something I said in–I assume–an effort to turn him against me. I found this especially abominable considering the dad & I had a difficult relationship to begin with but were doing our best to co-parent and be friends while living in close proximity.
This began a horrific cycle of obsession, hate, and anger between the dad and I as well as other members of our house. Having been out of that house for a year now, I feel I must have been half insane while I was living there. I am a highly sensitive person and living in a cooperative house with as much drama as that one had–I must have been in a constant state of arousal–not the good kind.
When I moved out, I meant to leave the dad once more. However, my co-signer on my lease fell through, and the dad offered help. Still reeling from the drama and damage of my cooperative experience, I was vulnerable enough and desperate enough to think we could work things out. And, of course, I was pregnant again.
Which brings us to present day on my therapist’s couch, realizing I am in the same boat I was in when I entered therapy three years ago…but with one more kid on board.
Boy, I am a slow learner.