Going it alone

I love a good sunset.

DD and I watched a glorious one yesterday as we ate fish and chips at Watson’s Bay ferry wharf.

Then we popped our Gelato Messina cherry in Darlinghurst. It’s been widely hailed as Sydney’s best ice cream.

DD stayed in the car and sent me inside to choose something yummy. Argh, the pressure!!!! I got him a scoop of salted caramel coffee in a waffle cone. I went for hazelnut white chocolate. It was full of whole hazelnuts. Heaven!

He dropped me home afterwards and headed north. We both needed a quiet night – we’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by life pressures at the moment.

I’ve been such an emotional yo-yo lately.

Last week, the eldest caught me in an unguarded moment and said: “Why do you look so scared and sad?”

Damn, they weren’t supposed to see that.

I said I was just tired and rundown from being sick for so long. I added that I’d be feeling much better after a rest over the weekend.

The weekend hasn’t completely done the trick, but I do feel better.

My married friends are sometimes envious that I have days off from parenting my children.

But, even when the kids aren’t around, the single mum worries never leave. The hassles and responsibilities of juggling family, work, the house and bills are constant.

I read an article in The Australian last week – called ‘The Secrets We Keep’ – that notes: “A whole generation of women is being led to believe that parenting and having a career is doable when it patently is not.”

The author shares the story of a friend who calls to confess she’s not coping: “I’m at full capacity. Beyond full capacity. I can’t do anything more than I do. And yet people keep telling me I should do yoga. Of course I should bloody do yoga. But when? Oh God, when will this end, what do I do?”

Yep, I know that feeling.

The article recommends telling the truth to each other about how hard it is, so that we don’t feel so alone and find solutions together.

What it doesn’t mention is the additional degree of difficulty that divorce brings.

I found it incredibly tough when I was juggling two small children with editing Woman’s Day magazine.

Back then, I had a part-time nanny and a husband to help and it still nearly killed me. I was leaving my handbag on my desk and sneaking out with my wallet and keys to get the kids from childcare, so it looked like I was still in the office. The kids ate their dinners each night out of plastic containers in the car on their way home. I was so stressed I was having heart palpitations.

I live a much smaller life now, but it still feels bloody hard sometimes.

When I watch my new guilty pleasure, The Bachelor, my mind fizzes with everything that needs to be done to keep things running. I know I’ll be up until all hours afterwards trying to catch up.

How am I living a life where watching a 90-minute TV show twice a week has become a luxury of time I can’t afford?

And there’s at least another five years of frantic juggling ahead until the youngest leaves high school.

The demands of skipping and schooling and living a reasonably close distance from the kids’ dad mean I’m sticking with the mortgage and the frantic days for at least that long.

And normally that’s fine. But last week was a wobbly one.

This week will present a fresh set of challenges. As they do for us all.

And I’ll handle them a little better.

Something I’ve learned over the past few years is that I’m pretty good at gluing broken pieces back together again.

Song of the day: Australian Crawl “Reckless”

 

 

 

 

 

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