Monday, April 28, 2008


Okay, it's not like I don't normally wear my heart on my sleeve - either here on my blog or in real life - but Karen C's post today has inspired me to do so even more. Scared yet? Oh, you should be!

So last night, I had a thought as I was heading off to bed that jarred me more than I thought it had. I couldn't sleep for at least 2 hours after having that thought, as much as I tried to pretend that I'd dismissed it off to the land of denial.

The thought: I've lost all my ambition. I have no goals outside of just holding onto what I got.

Now, this is not something that just disappeared overnight. After getting my college degree, and taking 1/2 a year off, I decided to go back to school to get my paralegal certificate. I went for 2 semesters, but then I just couldn't do it anymore. I was having a harder time finding classes that would fit with my schedule, I was a bit frustrated in the "old school" setting which confined us to multiple-choice questions and lectures without conversation, and most importantly, I knew that Sylvia was going to be going to KIPP, and I knew that she'd need as much support from me as possible, and I didn't want to be away from her on a regular basis.

I thought about making a move anyway from my current job, which is nice and steady, but doesn't offer as many challenges after 5 years as it did in the beginning or chances for a promotion without a paralegal certificate (or law degree; yeah, that's going to happen while raising 2 kids solo! Not to mention the cost - I still have 11 1/2 years left on my college student loans). However, I have a really great situation. I have bosses and co-workers that completely understand and support that, as a single mom, my kids come first. They're just good people. Also, I get good perks and benefits at my particular company. I decided that the pros definitely outweighed the cons, and I still believe that.

And there's this whole condo thing going on; it seems hard enough to hold on to what I have, why try and reach out for what I don't?

I try to tell myself that, even at 35, I have time for a 'second life' of sorts when my kids are older and off living their own lives. That to attempt anything new or additional to what I currently have would be too much and would upset the balance. That I would miss out on some of the wonders of watching them grow.

And yet, I remain feeling...unfulfilled.

My dreams were huge when I was a kid. They seem to just get smaller and smaller in scope. And to a certain extent, I know that's okay and even healthy and normal. But at what point does it become unhealthy? At what point does it become not only bad for me, but bad for my kids? What if I'm trying too hard to hold onto things that maybe aren't even the right things in the first place?

I almost started crying today at Riley's school. (She didn't sing, btw. She had the date wrong; it's not until May. Oh well; she is seven, after all!) I watched her waiting patiently for her turn on the basketball court. She'd gabbed with friends, waved hello to various people, teachers and staff members smiled at the sight of her. She seems so happy there. I almost cried at the thought of her possibly losing this and having to start yet another new school next fall. (But I kept it together.)

And...and here's the big confession...I'm getting a little sick of being alone. I know I've never talked about dating, etc., here...that's because there's nothing to talk about! And I have thought about it, and even attempted it a few times. Nothing's worked out, and I don't expect anything to change in that arena any time soon. I've thought about online dating (and have even made some half-baked attempts) and the like, but then I think about the actual work involved in getting someone to watch the kids, attempting to be charming, worrying about all my faults and baggage...and then it gets even worse when I think about if I actually hit it off with someone! I mean, they'll have their needs and crap...I don't need to worry about caring for any more humans right now, thank you very much (or cats or dogs or fish, for that matter). So I know all that, I really do. Still doesn't stop me from feeling alone every now and then.

So it all comes down to this. I think I need to get back into therapy.

Postscript: this is not a cry for help, sympathy, or pity. I've debated and debated with myself whether or not to post this, but I decided in the end that it was worth it for the sake of saying it. Also, there's no one around to stop me :)


Unknown said...

I'm not sure of the right thing to say here, but I do know that feeling lonely is a very natural emotion that gets the best of us - even the ones IN relationships.

My mom raised us on her own for a long, long time. She put her children ahead of herself and didn't date. Period. Now that my brother and I have our own lives, it seems as though she is terrified of even considering a thing like dating. I'm afraid that she's going to be alone for the rest of her life now and it's sad.

I don't want to encourage you to go out and meet guys, but a healthy balance is good. I just don't want to see you ignoring that urge to meet someone and letting it go so long that you are in the same position as my mom, because it kind of sad, actually.

That said, you have A LOT on your plate right now. Focus on being that wonderful mother that you are and everything will fall into place. You deserve something big and great and it will happen for you, I just know it.

KG said...

Aww, hunny! I'm also not too sure what to say except that if you want to do something else career-wise, you CAN do it. Law school? I mean, look, I'm a single mom with an infant and I'm in law school. I used to work all day and then go to school at night. But I wouldn't recommend it to anybody - first off, there's the crippling amount of debt you incur and the misery of needing childcare (especially when kiddos are sick). Anyway, the point of this is that while you CAN do it, you may not want to. And that's ok! I mean, hell, I wish I hadn't done it sometimes!

And I totally second that about your dreams getting smaller when you get older. I know if at 16 I'd looked at myself now, I probably would have thought I "settled" or something because I didn't rule the world. But hell, that's ok. I have a great life. Even if I don't rule the world.

And you should totally do E-harmony! Even if it might be scary.

Hang in there!

LunaNik said...

I can relate to your career struggles...totally. I want to go back to school sooooo bad but it just doesn't look like that is a possibility at the moment.

As for dating, I say go for it. Joining an online site doesn't mean you have to meet them right away. You can spend a decent amount of time chatting via email and on the phone before you actually go on a date, ya know. It might not be all that bad.

But, whatever you do decide to do, you know that you have an entire community of women here on the internet to support you. Mwah.

Anonymous said...

April -- I just had another one of those moments (it's happened before when I've read one of your posts) when I feel this out-of-body thing like I'm reading something I should have written, but it was written by someone else who is feeling the exact same way I am...

I totally get it. Totally. The job thing, the dating thing, the effort it all requires, etc.

I feel as though the practical (single motherhood and all that entails) has kicked the dreams not only out of the driver's seat, but tossed their asses to the curb. I don't want my kids to grow up watching me drag to a job I'm not passionate about day in and day out. I don't want to look back and say "I should have...". But at the same time, logistics (and finances!) are extremely limiting.

As for the dating thing -- Remember your advice to me! If a guy doesn't recognize how wonderful you are, and what a catch you are, then he's not worth YOUR time. We've all got baggage, we've all got issues but the trick is to find someone out there whose baggage meshes with yours.

I wish we didn't live on opposite sides of the country! Because I would be at your place tonight, kids and a DVD for them to watch in tow, and we'd pop open a bottle of wine. Or 3. And commiserate.

Hugs to you~

Kori said...

Putting your children ahead of yourself does not in any way mean you don't get to have a life, too. I don't have any words of advice, because we are in such similar boat-just-keep on breathing, I guess. Sorry, I SO suck!

MarĂ­a said...

Although I'm a stay at home mom - I know exactly what you mean. I'm SAH out of necessity, not luxury, and I want to go back to school sooo badly.

I'm also probably the loneliest married person you'll ever meet.


Anonymous said...

Oh man - you too? everyday I have the same inner battle - I hate school, I can do it, I have the intelligence but it makes me so utterly miserable. But, it's not just me I'm thinking about anymore, my daughter is suffering now because I can't get a decent paying job without a degree, my family is stuck here and I feel like it's because I was selfish and never finished college.

So - you're doing better than me, at least you finished college!

Anonymous said...

I think we all feel like you, to a certain extent. I've stopped and started school more times than I care to count. It's taken me a long time to finally figure things out, and now I'm scared as heck that I'll fail.

And I'm all for join a dating site (rather, I would be if I weren't married!). It's such a common thing these days, and you can take all the time you want. I met my husband in an online chatroom almost 10 years ago (not a dating site, but an actual chatroom).

You do such a wonderful job taking care of your girls, but don't forget to take care of yourself, too.

Florinda said...

If you think you need to get back into therapy, and you can make the arrangements to do it, then that may be what you need to do. At least, it's a place to start and can help you get a handle on the rest of it.

And if you think that's what you need to do, I'd suggest getting that underway before you pursue anything regarding dating. When you're ready for that, though, I think the online dating thing is worth a shot; but I always say that, since I met my (second) husband through eHarmony.

I'm glad you didn't talk yourself out of posting this! :-)

April said...

To everyone: You know, I really am glad I posted this, and that you all shared with me your own struggles with maintaining a self outside of motherhood, whether it's career, romance, or seems that most of us carry this feeling to some extent.
I have scheduled a therapy appt. for next week and hope that it will help me better deal. If nothing else, it gives me an hour to myself. I've been seeing this particular woman on and off for 4 years now, so she knows me well. Last time I went back to her, I was getting mad at myself for needing her again, but this time, I'm fully admitting that I really can't do this alone.
Thanks again for all your support!

Anonymous said...

April, you totally rock!! And it's not even Spill-It Sunday!! Way to get in the game!! Seriously, though...I think you're so brave, for so many reasons. Not just because of what you posted, but just because of who you are. I know that whatever you decide to do about all these different issues, you'll end up okay. I can just tell.

Anonymous said...

I'm late to the game, but wow, I feel you on so many points. I've contemplating going back on anti-depressants to help me better "deal" with things, but I think, ultimately, therapy might be a better route.

You know my situation with my job and my ex. And I feel like I'm just sort of floating. And not sure if this is a good or bad thing...

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

They say confession is good for the soul. Hopefully it feels a little better to just get this off your chest. I think talking to a professional again would be a good idea.

Good luck April, I'm on your side :-)