The Struggle Is Real: Mommy Exhaustion Sent Me To The ER!

I think to some degree, most mothers think their body is in alignment with their million+ checklists. I certainly did.

After a week of fitful sleep due to a crying toddler (probably 4 hours a night), incessant caffeine consumption, dehydration, a full time job, my weekend master’s program and a prickly sinus infection, I was standing in line at the grocery store last Thursday. As the cashier bagged my groceries, I searched my wallet for my credit card. In that moment, my vision started to narrow. I saw blotches of black and the lighting began to fade. I felt woozy, dizzy and  extremely lightheaded.

“Ma’am, are you alright?” I heard the attendant ask.

I was confused. I handed him my credit card instead of swiping it on the card reader.

“Ma’am? Do you need to sit down?”

I briefly looked up and nodded. I remember making a beeline to the wall, probably to sit down, stumbling and then crashing into the wall. My knee hit the wall, I saw a flicker of black as if the lights went off and then regained consciousness as my butt hit the tile floor.

I remember hearing the store go up in a mini uproar.

“She’s diabetic! Get her some Gatorade!”

“Look for a medical bracelet!”

“Call 911. She looks like she had a seizure!”

“I just called 911.”

I AM calling 911.”

Two cashiers swarmed, asking if I was pregnant, one asking if they could call someone. I feebly handed my cell phone to an attendant and said, “Call home.” I was unable to sit in the chair they provided.

My dad answered and the attendant tried to explain the situation. She handed the cell phone to me (which was on it’s last life) and I heard more frantic questions on the line.

“Where am I?” I asked the cashier. I knew it was a grocery store but I couldn’t articulate the name.

In a state of complete confusion, I couldn’t remember which street the grocery chain was located, so I gave the phone back to the cashier.

Before I knew it, fire fighters, EMTs and a police officer were all loading me onto a gurney asking similar questions. Drugs? No! Alcohol? No! Pregnancy? NO! Medical issues? Not that I know of.

The lovely EMTs ushered me into the ambulance, took my glucose levels (normal), vitals (rapid pulse), and hooked me up to an IV. We took a short ride to the hospital where I answered the same questions and paid my fee.

It took $125 and a few tests to tell me what I already knew: I was over taxed, exhausted, dehydrated and in need of a BREAK.

I’m okay now. I was able to complete my final during the weekend with an A+ and start work today. But I learned an invaluable lesson: Mommy exhaustion is real.

To all the single working mothers or mothers in general, take care of yourself first and foremost…

A big thanks to all emergency responders, doctors and nurses out there- you guys are true angels.

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Single Mom AND Dating? Outcome Independence Is Key

I heard this phrase “outcome independence” in reference to men and dating. This is one of the few times I won’t attribute the writer because at his core, he is a misogynist and I don’t make a habit of driving traffic to chauvinistic websites. To his credit, he is one of the milder offenders.

As a single mother, I think he has a stunningly good idea. His use of “outcome independence” reflects his ideals supporting open-relationships, which I disagree, however the term refers to a particular mindset. If single women, particularly single mothers, devote their time, energy and resources to one person without any type of ACTION-oriented commitment, chances are this arrangement will go badly for the time-strapped single mom. To be “outcome independent” is to carry a mindset of “whatever be will be” to any perceived commitment- it provides accountability towards ACTION rather than WORDS.

So what does that exactly mean? Living your life with a focused mission of happiness and getting rid of baggage that is a time waster or is inefficient. Some scenarios will illustrate:

  • Single mom of two, Betty, has been talking online to a few guys. One she happens to like asks for her number. She obliges and he proceeds to text her plans for a date. They both agree to a location for Friday night. Betty has a birthday party to attend, but assures her prospective date that they can meet for drinks after. He agrees, promising to text her the time. Friday morning rolls around and her Prince #1 hasn’t texted her. Should she text him a reminder? Start conversation by asking about his day? Maybe he forgot because he isn’t a great scheduler?

Nope. To be outcome independent, Betty should go ahead with her original plans as if she never made date plans in the first place. She is letting the natural ebb and flow of dating take place. If he never follows up, chances are he had no intention of meeting her and is now an official TIME SUCK of her precious energy. She only commits energy to action, not promises.

  • Recently divorced and working mom, Candace, met a man while grocery shopping. They exchange numbers and he promised to call. After three days, Prince #2 does call after work. They have one of the most engaging and interesting conversations she has ever had with the opposite sex. She feels that her faith in men is on its way to restoration! For the next week, Prince #2 calls to talk every day and they make plans to meet for coffee one weekend when her ex-husband has the kids. The fateful day arrives and as Candace is getting ready, she gets a phone call from Prince #2. His tire is flat and has to reschedule. Bummer! They make plans for lunch that following week. As the week drags on, they continue to talk like before, however Candace notices Prince #2 is exceedingly busy and can’t meet for lunch as promised, but asks for her to get a babysitter instead for a date night. Should Candace take initiative and get the babysitter? Her neighbor loves babysitting her kids and often does so in a pinch!

Absolutely NOT. As engaging as Prince #2 seems, he fails to realize or acknowledge that Candace is a very busy individual too. She is practically jumping hoops to see him. His first cancellation may have been genuine, however his failures to meet for lunch are telling. Prince #2 likes the “girlfriend experience” of talking to Candace in an intimate way, but when rubber meets the road, he isn’t committing energy to getting to know her as his glib pronouncements may indicate. To maintain “outcome independence,” Candace shrugs, stops participating in their two hour chat sessions and gets on a dating service post-haste!

  • Single mom of three, Katie, is not that interested in dating. She is tired most of the time and her ex isn’t the most dependable person. After over a year of celibacy, Katie is finally persuaded by her friends to meet a single father for a blind date. She meets him and they have an initial spark. He mentions on the end of the date that he would like to see her the following weekend. She agrees and calls her mom to babysit the kids overnight. Her mom obliges because she can’t remember the last time her daughter went out on a date! Prince #3 meets her at a comedy club and they have a great time! She spends the night at his house. Before she leaves to go home, he begs to see her again when the kids are at her ex’s house. She agrees. The week goes by. She’s sure he’ll call. He doesn’t. At the end of the weekend, Prince #3 finally calls and acts like nothing is amiss. Should Katie demand what happened? After all, she cleared her schedule for the weekend!

At this point, you’re probably saying NO! If Katie was truly outcome independent, she would have called her girlfriends and planned a night out. If and when Prince #3 called, he would have to work himself into her busy schedule. Katie would have remained free to enjoy her weekend to the fullest and if Prince #3 was lucky, he’d have the opportunity to see her.

I write this post is after reading other sad stories of single mothers and dating- they are stood up, pushed to the back-burner, or jump through hoops to get a date. This should NOT be happening. Once you let go of dating expectations, that’s when a man worthy of dating will come around and respect your independence, autonomy, time, energy and limited resources.

Stay independent ladies!

My 5 WTF – FML Moments Of This Week (And It’s Only Tuesday)…

1. I wake up to find that my 20 quick-matches contain three ex-boyfriends (I wish I was making this up).

2. My break up with Andrew’s daycare ends with his sitter putting his stuff in a bag and leaving it outside for me to pick it up.

3. My new daycare relationship begins with a $280 advance + purchasing new supplies.

4. What I think is 20 minutes of Andrew “playing quietly” is actually him pulling an entire jumbo pack of baby wipes and scattering them in his room.

5. I realize that this time, last week I a.) had stable child care; b.) a boyfriend; c.) was rocking my job; d.) had a massage planned; e.) had an awesome birthday dinner planned. None of these things worked out.

Thank You For Picking Up The Slack- But I Still Can’t Stand You

Daycare drama again. Andrew had a slight fever and my sitter called for me to get off work and pick him up. Ahhhh the plights of the single working momma.

I couldn’t possibly leave my meeting that exact second, so I emailed my ex’s mother. My ex picked up Andrew within the hour.

For the first time in over a year, I am so GRATEFUL for his help.

Thank you, seriously.

zazzle.com

zazzle.com

And I still can’t stand looking at your face :-).

P.S. Andrew’s “fever” temperature was completely normal when he got home.

#daycare, #rip-off, #insearchofnewdaycare

Single Parent’s Perspective: Back-handed Compliments

My mother is one of my fiercest referees when it comes to parenting. Last night, after discussing how I am navigating a contentious co-parenting relationship with the ex, she delivered a seriously back-handed compliment (of which, I’m sure she is oblivious):

“You’re doing the best you can with what you have.”

I’m sure she saw it as a show of support. I was thinking, “The best I can? That smells of ‘I could be doing better.'”

Some other examples of back-handed admiration or I’m-glad-not-to-be-in-your-position-isms:

“As long as the child’s father is involved…”

“Look on the bright side. At least you get every other weekend off!”

“I don’t know how you do it without help.”

“You’re only one person…”

“Well, living for your child is the only thing that matters.”

“You’re doing such a great job!” or “You’re so good with him!” (from my ex-mother-in-law).

“She has a strong support system.” (my defensive mother said to her friend).

“Wow, you’re totally a supermom. How do you find time to shit?” (a man I was talking to online after he found out I was a parent, career woman and student).

Does anyone have other examples of the dreaded back-handed compliment?

Backhanded Compliment(image source: tumblr.com)

Runner Up Worse Thing About Parenting….

…fishing out toddler poop from the bathtub.

I should have saw it coming as Andrew scrunched his little face and passed gas with gusto, loud enough to remind me of my grandfather when he fell asleep in front of the TV. I was running around before bath time, lifting the diaper just enough to see if the other shoe was dropping/had dropped.

It was late. I was tired. The poop wasn’t coming.

So I ushered Andrew into the bathtub per usual, letting him splash and spit water like a squirt gun. And then it happened. Fast and furious, Andrew made his face and grunted loud.

“Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo,” I said (yes, in slow-mo).

I picked up Andrew from the water, dripping above the tub. But I was too late. Small presents floated to the top and then bobbed in greeting.

Seriously. Disgusting.

So baby marketeers- why haven’t you made a baby tub with a net to make a parent’s job easier? Well, I guess that’s my idea, patent pending ;-P

Large-Baby-Tub-0136-        +  salmon_fishing_nets    = genius

My Dating Contract

I just finished my finals for school, resulting in 30 hours of not sleeping but an A for the course. I arrive home basically falling asleep on my feet. I had unfortunately scheduled a date with the fashion show guy. I literally couldn’t force myself to go, so I cancelled, with no plans to reschedule.

The sad conclusion of my love life is that I have no time to date and until I have a smidgen of it, I need to sign a contract with myself. I CANNOT DATE until I have ample time to de-stress and enjoy dating. My program is for another year, which means I might have to commit myself to a proverbial nunnery.

This is a sad day of realization :-(.

Mysterious Illness

A week ago, I awoke to HIVES. Hives! All over by body, itching and burning. Shear misery. I went to the ER. They administered a cocktail of steroids and antihistamines (five to be exact). The hives persisted and I tried every antihistamine on the market. I was taking up to 20 OTC pills. Finally, four days later, Claritin was the magic drug that kicked those nasty hives to the curb.I was so relieved!

But my relief was short-lived. As soon as the hives left, horrible nausea crashed into me for two days straight. When that subsided I had a powerful dizzy feeling I couldn’t shake. I had bouts of mental confusion. I literally felt I was going to pass out every time I got up, walked or carried Andrew.

Yesterday everything disappeared at midnight. This is the first time in weeks I’ve felt normal. I’m seeing a doctor next week.

You never know how important your health is until you feel like you’re out of control of your own body!

Always Late = Motherhood

I was always the one 15 minutes before a meeting. My ass was at my desk right at 8:30 am. I almost never had to call ahead and delay my dinner reservation.

These days, I am ALWAYS late. Even when I don’t have Andrew, I’m still late! Today, I came into work at 9:15am. Tisk tisk.

clockIt’s like Father Time handed me a pink slip as soon as I became a mother, saying “You’re never again going to be punctual as soon as this baby is pooped out.”

Is this a mindset of perpetual lateness to or is it the harsh reality of motherhood? Even my excuses and apologies come a little late.