single parenting suckage

Ok, here comes one of those confessional type blog posts that I don’t normally write.


I’ve been on Lexapro since last year. If you were reading my blog when I was pregnant, I blamed most of my anxiety on the house break-in, but the vast majority of it was that my marriage was falling apart while I was pregnant.

I would go to my OB appointments and see all of these happy glowing pregnant ladies in the waiting room, and when they called me back to an exam room and asked how I was doing, I would cry. I felt awful because there was no sense of excitement or joy about my baby’s arrival. It felt like my due date was just going to kick off the countdown to the end of my marriage.

(And clearly I was right about that, since Dave and I split ten weeks after Lucy’s birth.)

So, yeah, I’ve been on an anti-depressant ever since then. I think for me, this whole depression/anxiety thing is situational and not physiological. There are occasional times when I feel like I probably don’t need it anymore, but since it’s not hurting anything, I’ve decided that I’m staying on it at least until my divorce is finalized.

Honestly, the idea of not taking it scares me, because I have no idea how I’d cope without it. Maybe I’d be fine, but god, what if I’m not?

And really, there’s only one unpleasant side effect of Lexapro: I can’t cry. Or, rarely, anyway. Sometimes it’s awful, because something will happen and I really want to cry, and I can’t. I get a lump in my throat and the stinging in my eyes, but it never breaks through. I’ll get a headache because I just can’t get that release to get it out of my system.

The closest thing I can think to compare it to (be warned, this is not G-rated) is the feeling like when you’re juuuuust about to have an orgasm and for some reason, you can’t get there. It’s frustrating, to say the least.

(Btw, I used this analogy to explain it to the guy I’m dating. His response was, “I understand that there are words coming out of your mouth, but they make no sense.” Typical dude, I’m thinking. He also said that if he had to choose between not being able to cry and not being able to have an orgasm, he’d be fine with never crying again. I’m guessing 99.9% of the males on earth would agree with him.)

So, it’s a bad side-effect, and an annoying one, but most of the time, I can live with it.


And then I have days like yesterday.

My weekend started off ok. I had a baby-sitter planned for Saturday night, but my date got canceled (emergency came up with his ex-wife and he had to take his kids; it happens, not a big deal). Catie was so excited about the baby-sitter coming over that I decided not to cancel, and instead, I went to the movies by myself.

(I finally saw the Hunger Games. I haven’t read the books, but I was curious about it. And I liked the movie, although I thought a lot of it was extremely disturbing. But I guess that’s the point.)

Sunday morning, when we woke up, Catie asked if we could go get pancakes. It’s rare that she asks me for something that I can say “yes” to, but that sounded do-able. We got dressed and went to IHOP.

While we were sitting at IHOP, Catie just very matter-of-factly blurted out, “Mommy, you love Lucy more than me.”



I said, “Sweetie, that’s not true. Why would you think that?”

She said, “Well, Lucy’s cuter than me.”

I told her that was absolutely not true, that they were both beautiful and that I loved them both.

It bothered me, and I repeated it to her again later. Just sort of, “Hey, remember when you said that? Y’all are both my girls, and you are both beautiful, and I love you both the same.” She seemed to accept it, but man, that whole thing rattled me.

Really, if I look at it from a 5 year-old’s perspective? I get why she thinks that. I am constantly fussing at Catie to be gentle with the baby, share her toys with the baby, stop being mean to the baby, yadda yadda. But I don’t ever yell at Lucy, because, you know… she’s a baby.

And Lucy gets a lot more of my attention, because, again: she’s a baby. Catie is five and doesn’t need me to constantly watch her every move to make sure she doesn’t shove a choking hazard in her mouth or go tumbling down the stairs.

I don’t know how to fix that. It just is what it is.


Sunday afternoon, we hung out at my parents’ house for a while. Then I took the kids to the playground, and we came home to do the whole dinner/bath/bedtime thing.

Oh! Big milestone here! During all of that, Lucy took 4 steps on her own. Left, right, left, right, then she fell on her tush. She was so proud of herself, and afterward, she kept standing up on her own with this look on her face, like, “Hey, look at this new trick I learned!” So far, I think 4 steps is her record, but she took 1 or 2 steps a lot last night.

And of course, it’s been 4 1/2 years since the last time I dealt with this, so I forgot how every new developmental milestone totally screws up their sleep schedules.

So bedtime rolls around, and Lucy is nowhere near sleepy. I let her stay up a little later than usual, hoping that she’d burn herself out and eventually go to bed easily.

That didn’t happen. What happened is that I let her stay up just a little too long, and she freaking lost it. She was so past the point of exhaustion, she didn’t know what to do with herself. So she screamed. And screamed.

I tried everything to comfort her. For an hour. Finally I gave up and put her in her crib and figured she’d eventually settle herself down to sleep.

She didn’t.

[Aside: Somewhere during the screaming, I got a, “Hey, how’s your evening going?” text from The Guy.
I texted back: “Teenagers should be forced to come to my house right now as an on-site demo of why they need to use birth control.”
Him: “Oooh, that good, huh?”]

After listening to Lucy scream for another half-hour (so, 90 minutes of screaming total), I called my mom. Both of my parents came over.

Catie was still awake, because it’s impossible to put her to bed while Lucy is up (plus, how could I expect her to sleep with ALL OF THE SCREAMING in the house?). So my parents showed up, and my mom put Catie to bed, while my dad paced Lucy around the house until she fell asleep.

(And yes, I had tried that exact pacing trick myself, and it had not worked for me. But my dad is the only person that Lucy wants right now.)

I took a shower while my parents put my kids to bed, then I came downstairs, sat on the couch, and burst into tears.

So, apparently when things are bad enough, even the Lexapro can’t hold the tears back.

I just felt like the most epic failure of a single parent. My 5 year-old thinks that I don’t love her, and I can’t even comfort my own baby to sleep.

I don’t know if I have made it through an entire weekend, ever, without calling in backup to some extent, and it’s usually my parents. I feel like I dump my kids on them all the time, and even though I know that’s not really true, and hell, they moved up here for the express purpose of helping me with the kids, it still feels shitty.

So many people tell me that they admire how I’m handling being a single mom, or that I kick ass at this, or whatever, and I just don’t see it. My ex-husband moved 3,000 miles away. What choice did I have in the matter except to deal with it? It’s not admirable, it’s just basic survival. I feel like I’m half-assing it at best, and on days like yesterday, I’m white-knuckling it until bedtime.

I try not to use the f-word on my blog, but really? I fucking hate it. There are two of them and only one of me, I feel like I will never be able to be “enough” for both of them. I keep hoping it will get easier when they get older, but I also know that just presents a whole different set of issues, and I’m not prepared for any of it.

It sucks, basically, is what I’m saying.


I tweeted about it last night, and I got a lot of awesome responses because I have a fantastic online support system, and I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am for that. Really, you guys rock.

The Guy offered to come over and rub my feet, which was very sweet, but he lives a half-hour away, and no way was I staying awake that long.

I thought, oh, you know, it’ll all be better tomorrow after I get some sleep.

Then Lucy woke up 3 times last night.


I wish I had some cute, funny way to tie this up, but I don’t. I’m exhausted and I feel like hell.

I know it’ll be ok eventually. I know this. But for now, I’m bracing myself for another half-assed day at this whole single parenting thing.

The solo parenting gig, thus far

Dave left for England on Tuesday night, which means I’ve been doing the solo-parent thing for the past three days. So far, it’s going ok. Catie and I kind of have our weektime routine down: we get up, she goes to daycare and I go to work, we come home, have dinner, and do the whole bedtime routine. It’s been pretty easy to just coast on auto-pilot, honestly.

I told her I'd turn on cartoons if she smiled.
“I’m just taking it easy on her for now. Next week I unleash hell.”

A few things I’ve noticed, though:
1. I don’t sleep well when I’m the only adult in the house. Now, look, I didn’t meet Dave until I was 28 years old, so it’s not like I’d never lived alone before. But I was always in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. In our current house, I lie in bed and think things like, “Hmm, if someone broke in through the garage door, would I even hear it upstairs?” And I worry about things like what would I do if a fire broke out, things like that. Not exactly conducive to a good night’s sleep, obviously.

Oh, and related: I get very jumpy about unexplained noises in the middle of the night. Which is why I’m just about ready to throw Beaumont outside for good. Seriously, cat, it’s 2 a.m. Do you have to jump up on the kitchen counter and knock over a whole bunch of stuff now? (To be fair, he is totally thrown off by Dave’s absence. The past two nights, he’s been asleep in the hall when I got up in the morning. It’s like he’s trying to keep an eye on both Catie’s room and mine at the same time. “We lost one human, gotta keep a watch on the last two!”)

2. While the routine itself is pretty manageable, I forget how much Dave does in the evenings to help out. Because I’ve noticed that by the end of the day, my body just aches. I know it’s pregnancy-related (since it’s mostly my lower back and hips that hurt), but it’s like I hadn’t taken into account how little “sitting on my butt” time I would get while Dave was gone. I miss my sitting-down time. A lot.

3. I’m really lazy about meals when I’m the only one who eats “grown-up food.” Last night we had mac & cheese with a side of broccoli. Not exactly health food, but whatever, it was easy. (And I love that Catie will eat broccoli.) (Although we did have cupcakes for dessert. You can’t be good all the time.)

4. Trying to wash a four year-old’s hair in the bathtub when you’re 7 months pregnant. I have nothing else to add to that, except: good GOD. And, ouch.

7 months. Holy Moses.
This is not a shape that is meant leaning over the side of a bathtub.

5. As for housework: I give up. I’ve called in the housekeepers. I can’t do it all by myself, so I’m just going to throw some money at the problem and stop worrying about it.


My brother is on his way here from Charlotte to hang out with us this weekend, and Catie and I are both really excited. My brother is a great guy and Catie adores him, so it should be fun to have him around. No big weekend plans, just hanging out and enjoying some nice springtime weather. Should be fun.

Hope y’all have a nice weekend too, wherever you are.