Adjusting to "our new normal" has been anything, but easy. Going from a stay at home mom who spent just about every waking minute with her daughter to days without seeing her has been a HUGE, terrible, awful adjustment. One that we have met with much kicking, screaming, and gnashing of teeth...well, maybe not quite that bad, but if you're a SAHM mom who has recently gone back to work or if you've ever stared "THE BIG D" in the face while trying to protect a small child as I'm doing now, you can probably relate. It's not fun. It hurts, and it just plain sucks. Period. We have good days, we have bad days, and we have REALLY bad days, but we are making it work.
As anyone whose been in my shoes knows, the biggest and hardest part of adjusting to "our new normal" has been getting Emma adjusted to it. She is starting to grasp what's going on, I can see it. She used to bargain with me in the beginning to move back home. She still does that occasionally, but not as much as she used too. That's how I know it's settling in-she is slowly accepting the pace of our new life. She still cries for her daddy sometimes at night, and I can see the worry on her face when she asks me how many days she gets to stay with me. I can see her little mind working wondering if a few days together will be enough. At 4, she already knows our time together is precious and far too short, especially after being basically inseparable her first 3 years which is what is so sad about all of it.
My heart breaks from the pure sadness of it all. It breaks every time she cries for me, or for her daddy, or for her puppy. It breaks every time she's scared at night and looking for shelter in our bed only to find it's just me there. It breaks every time she stifles a sob when I tell her it time to go back to her daddy's. Oh, how it breaks! I can't even tell you the number of times I've crumpled into bed exhausted and crying for my child and for all the promises I whispered into her little newborn ears. The promises I am now breaking. I know that as a result of our choices, we have failed her in so many ways. I also know that I will spend the rest of my life trying to make this up to her. I will fill our time together with memories, and make sure she always knows how much I love and miss her when we are apart. She will always know that no matter what she is my girl, my sugar baby, and my whole world. And while I am breaking some of the promises I made to her, I'm not breaking all of them, and I will cling to those promises I can still make good on: to love her, to stand behind/beside/and in front of her always, and to be the best mother I can be. No matter what.
Of course, helping Emma to adjust to "our new normal" is my number one priority. I spend every waking minute we are together trying to keep us busy. I don't want her to think about when she has to go back to her dad's, I only want her to remember our time with each other...our "girl dates" as we've grown to call them :) We have so much fun together, and I'm sure I never appreciated motherhood as much as I do now. I find myself wanting to take advantage of every minute, and I am very protective of our time together. I ask myself all the time, "What would Emma want to do?" instead of, "What do I want to do?" I find myself putting the things I do for myself off until the days I don't have her. I schedule meetings and times with friends only on the days she isn't with me. I never use a sitter anymore, except for when I am at work. I crave our time together, and my heart always aches when it comes to an end, and that's where the "fun" part of this transition comes into play: getting Mom adjusted.
Most of the days I'm away from her, I feel helplessly adrift. All I've done for the past 4 years is mother my child. I don't know how to do anything else. And to now have days where I am away from my child and unable to "mother" her the way I used to is daunting to me. I was kind of a mess those first few weeks. I spent alot of time in bed on the days I didn't have her unable to to move or function without my daughter except for when I had to work. It was awful. But, thanks to a few close friends I have come out of my shell these last few weeks.
Despite the most popular rumor about me, I am NOT partying every night or sleeping around. In fact, there are so few places I will actually go in an effort to keep people from talking about me more than they already are. I am thankful for understanding friends who accompany me to the few places where I feel safe, even if it isn't their most favorite place to go. They realize that I am doing the best I can to protect my mangled reputation without having to hide in my bedroom on the days I don't have Emma, and to be honest, I don't know where I would be without those people who have forced me out of bed and out among the living. Laying around and missing my daughter is much harder on me, than staying busy and missing my daughter and thankfully my REAL friends know that about me. They have reached out to me in my darkness and rescued me from places that a few of my once, so-called "friends" wouldn't dare go. I will forever be in there debt.
With that said, I get up everyday with intention to live my life. I am just trying to play the cards I have been dealt and surround myself with the people and the places that make me feel safe. Any woman who has ever been in my shoes can understand what it feels like to be displaced from her child, and the importance of finding ways to help you cope. For me, that's staying busy and finding a new routine for those days I don't have my daughter.
I'm not perfect. I'm far from it. And I'm not saying that every choice I have made or will make during this transition is the right choice. But, I can tell you that I am doing the best I can, and I'm going to keep doing the best I can. Because this "new normal" isn't just a huge adjustment for my daughter, it's a big adjustment for me too, and I'm just going to need a little grace and understanding through this part of my journey. I am in so much pain, and I am grappling with my new identity and freedom. I'm just going to need a little time to figure it out. I don't think I have to have it figured out right away like everyone suddenly expects me too. The looking glass of my future is a little smudged and I need some time to gather myself, my emotions, and my courage before I'll be ready to look into it clearly. After all, it's only been 3 months. I'm allowed to be a mess. I'm allowed to not know where to go from here. However, I'm not allowed to be this way forever, and part of not being this way forever is finding a new routine that fits in with my "new normal" to help me find the courage I need to move forward.
I know this is repetitive from my last post, but I want to end this post by continuing to thank those people who have given me the grace I need and who have stood by me so far through this long journey. I want to thank those people who have fought for me and protected me. Those who know the real me and the real story. I would not have made as far I have without you.
I'm gearing up for a quiet weekend without my girl. Any big weekend plans out there? I have a feeling I'll be finishing my book and catching up on my True Blood. Exciting. I know. Be jealous ;)