I look at my wife who likes to work in non-traditional ways where travel is involved and work hours aren’t set and I know in this endeavor of being Mommy & Mama I’ve agreed both silently and aloud to be the Mama on the ground.
I’ve agreed to be the foundation, the backbone, the gel that binds us (the boy and the Moms) together. Yet even in this agreement I simultaneously feel resentment often remorse when she works long hours and or travels, and the day to day is left entirely on me.
And while I can reason I’m not a single parent by the end of day three of her being away I began to come undone. I feel alone and lonely. Doing good work (raising a child) without a witness.
For over two years I fashioned these self-talks where I’d reprimand and scold myself into understanding just how much I have a good life. Silently saying things such as:
“You’re lucky to be where you are.”
“You’re a writer with a yet unpublished novel, you don’t get to complain.”
“Recognize there are people with much harder lives than you.”
“The boy’s in school you have your days to get everything done—just do it!”
True or otherwise these pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps platitudes have not served me. They have only left me filling more alone and stuck.
At some point to clear my head I return to mediation, I talked more candidly to my wife and I asked for the ear of a close friend. These have been helpful. But ultimately going back to therapy has help me be okay with the experiences and feelings I have when I fly as a solo Mama.
Therapy has help me remember I have a right to feel what I feel. I can be angry and be lucky at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive. And it fine to have the contradiction. I will express both verbally and in my writing. And I will let them go when they don’t serve me.
I will take myself on artist dates to the bookstore, museum, movies and lunch.
I accept I may feel alone when my wife travels because technically I am physically without her. And that some of those days will be better than others.
And I accept that I’m lucky but this doesn’t make me not want more, better and something different because I’m human.
And that at the end of the day when my imaginary life’s pendulum swings it ultimately hovers in the ‘this is a good life’ and these days it stays in that position usually.
I hear you!
Good lives aren’t one dimensional — they’re a landscape with deep dark narrow burrows and steep hills. I too have much to be grateful for and yet gaps exist. I’m needful and it’s all right.
Raising babies is pretty fucking awesome but it takes more than it will ever give. Managing this in partnership is hard work!
My only advice: embrace the journey. Be present always. Don’t push away pain. Don’t grab for pleasure. This right here is what IT is.