It occurred to me recently that I really can't describe myself as a single mom anymore. I've been living with my fiancé for about 3 months now, and he's really stepped up in the care and assistance with not only my daughter, but also with his share of the household chores. It's surreal to have this after two awful relationships where I bore the brunt of the work, both housework and child care.
However, it's a hard label to shake. We're not married yet, though that's in the works. My daughter still prefers me to him for most things, which I think is more out of habit than anything else. And honestly, I'm still having a hard time accepting his assistance with all things parenting. I mean, on the one hand, I love it! It's awesome to have an extra set of hands and another person's perspective to help me raise her, but on the other hand, it's a major adjustment and I constantly find myself going against the grain and saying “no no, I’ve got this” instead of letting him help me. It’s so hard to turn that part of me off, and it makes me wonder if part of the reason my last relationship failed so hard was that I wouldn’t let him help me either. (My marriage I have no question about that, I asked for help regularly and I never got it).
For a while I’ve been referring to myself as a “soon-to-be” former single mom, or something along those lines. Somehow putting off the formal relinquishing of the title seems to make me feel better, which is completely ridiculous in my own mind. A piece of paper declaring us legally married is not going to change the family dynamic we are setting up now. So, knowing that, why am I so set on clinging to my title until the ink is dry on that marriage certificate and the wedding is over? I honestly don’t know. But I’m hoping that as time goes on and we get more used to our living arrangement, I will be less likely to insist on doing it all and more graciously accept his help. It helps to know that this is not just a problem for me as he has expressed a similar difficulty, especially since he is in the midst of his busy season at work and won’t be around as much to help out around the house. It was a difficult conversation to have, but I think we have a better understanding of each other.
So far though, I hate this busy season. He gets home right before my daughter’s bedtime most nights, though that’s subject to change. We usually talk on and off every day through facebook or text messages, but that has been put aside as he’s working too hard to communicate. And now he’s working on weekends as well. Thankfully, most weekends I have something to do, but these first two weekends have left something to be desired. Last weekend, I didn’t have much planned, but worked around the house while my daughter played with some neighborhood kids and this weekend while she’s gone, I plan to do my usual cleaning and laundry on Saturday so I can pick my daughter up early on Sunday for Mother’s Day. Depending on how the next few weeks go, he may not even make it to kiddo’s birthday party, which would really suck all around.
But I keep telling myself that it’s only for a month or so and then it’ll be over. In the meantime, I’m just trying to stay busy myself. I’m working on losing all the weight I gained with Mirena. I had to take a break from it all during the move because I just had too much going on to focus on my calorie intake and physical activity. I also admit that I was so upset over the situation with Derrick that I indulged in a lot of comfort eating, a habit I’m happy to be breaking. I got a fitbit recently and it’s really helping me see how much I burn each day versus how much I consume, so I’m cutting back here and there to help with the weight loss.
On the Mirena note though, I feel better emotionally. While I hated the detox (though I’m contemplating doing it again soon) I’m glad I did it. I really think it helped to regulate my hormones. I stayed off hormonal birth control for a few months and I felt a lot better. I’m back on it now, but I’m still feeling a lot more in control of my emotional well-being. I think if I do a detox again, I’ll try the soy based cleansing kit from Kaeng Raeng, or something similar to them. Maybe the soy based tastes better!