I Have Changed!
I practice what I preach. I’ve gone through the shit. I’ve put in the time. I still struggle and I grow. I know I’m doing the work to be my best self. However, sometimes when you’re deep in it, you can’t see progress. Throw a girl in the deep end for 10 days without a lifejacket and it becomes evidently clear whether she’s a swimmer or a sinker. I’m proud to say, I swam baby!
Here’s what happened: My ex left on vacation for 10 days. We co-parent. We have a groove. This was my longest stretch ever with the boys on my own. And before he left, I was apprehensive. Could I do this? My parents showed up a few days in to help out (Thanks goodness for moms and dads!)
Instead of having anxiety, impatience, and a short fuse as I expected, I surprised myself. I have been more hands-on with the kids in the last 10 days than I have ever been. Ever! I’ve done it all: the drop-offs, pick-ups, football games, making dinners, bedtimes, and all the other parenting stuff that shows up every day. And I liked it. Loved it actually. Of course, I am utterly exhausted at the end of the day. Holy shit! – I have a new found respect for single parents. I bow to you!! Doing it solo is amazing, frustrating, and tiring. Thank goodness I have an office and career to escape too!
I kept it together (no freak outs!) for 10 whole days with two kids and two visiting parents. A record for me! I haven’t even had a fight – not even a curse word – with my mother. If this was a couple of years ago, we’d have each other by the throat by now. But I’m not defensive any more. And I have boundaries. We communicate healthily. Our relationship is growing.
The bigger picture is this: I’m different. I am more me.
This experience has given me a renewed sense of pride in myself. Sure, old habits slip in now and again, but I’ve got this. I’ve let the toxic stuff go. I’ve stopped beating myself up about how much time I do or don’t spend with my boys. I’m not worried about it. It’s quality over quantity. And man alive, do we have quality time when we’re together! I’m not worried about giving “enough”. I am enough.
I’ve also stopped panicking about the future – the stuff I don’t know and can’t control. For instance, I am leaving on a solo vacation for 10 days. When I’m back, I’ll only have a few days with my mom before she leaves. The old me would plan plan plan and worry about squeezing mom time in when I’m back. The real me, THIS me, booked some Mommy Time into my calendar this week because it matters and I want to spend time with her. (Hey, even at 46, we still need our moms!) So I will. It’s a priority. And it’s that simple. No need to fret.
In two days, I am going away. By myself. I need a break for me and I am unapologetic for that. The Me Time will make me a better parent, a better kid, a better ex-wife, a better friend, a better businesswoman, a better leader. I am allowing myself to take the time I need to recharge and I am ok with admitting it. In fact, I am proud to admit it. Sure, I’ll miss my boys; I’ll probably even miss work! But if I don’t take a break, I will miss ME. And that’s not an option. I like me too much.