After the ink was dry on the divorce decree and proceedings came to a close, I thought the hardest part of the divorce was behind us. I used to empathize with people going through divorces. “I’m so sorry, that sucks. I’m here for you.” I never knew exactly how ineffectual the “obligatory” sympathy was, until now.
I am a proud, independent girl mom of two. They were 2 years and 4 months old when the crystal in my glass house crumbled. The first night they spent away from me I was looking forward to some “Me Time.” What should I do first? Take a shower? A nap? Have a cocktail? Netflix and chill? (Found out later what that actually meant, so not ready for foreign penii, hard pass.) My phone was flooded with text messages and phone calls all day. My pack was treating me like Cybil on a suicide watch and all I really wanted was to be left the fuck alone so I could enjoy a glass of red in peace. I found their behavior dramatic and unnecessary.
With my bottle of red in hand, I unlocked the door to my “new to me” apartment and observed. There were three empty baby bottles near the kitchen sink. A doll and other toys strewn across the carpet. I winced at the doll, Sally Doll. She had pink nail polish stained across her eyelids and all down her cheeks, lips, and fingers. Her eyelashes were stuck to her eyebrows and she had black pen scribbled across her bald head. I’d bribed my eldest that if she let me practice braiding her hair, I’d let her paint Sally Doll’s nails. Epic fail. Sally Doll had nothing on Annabelle Lee. Even Pennywise would be like “take my wallet, bro, it’s all I’ve got!” Creepy ass doll. I contemplated throwing her in the trash, but mom guilt dictated otherwise.
I walk past her to start on the hazmat site that was my kitchen. Vick’s Vapor Rub would do nothing to erase the smell of dried out formula bottles and there was a left-over spaghetti pot on the stove. No! I’m not a slob. I’m a single working mother, judge yourself. Insert middle finger here!
I stop rinsing bottles and listen intently when I hear a distant whimper. Phantom cry. Those were becoming more common. I look back at Sally Doll laying on the floor then at the toybox. It honestly feels more like their home if I leave the toys there, so I do. Bring on the “Me Time!” I pour my second glass of wine and prepare for actual Netflix and Chill with my latest guilty pleasure. My binge only lasts 30 minutes until it’s interrupted by the second phantom cry. I pause and listen. What the hell is wrong with me?
It was 8:30 P.M. Bedtime. I hope he remembered to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to them. The baby must be rocked from the standing position or she won’t go to sleep. I hope he knows that. Did I leave him a bottle of lavender oil? I glance back down at Sally Doll wondering which baby she’ll take to bed with her tonight since Sally Doll is here. I head into the bedroom where I find the rock and play with a dirty bottle in the bottom. Never fails. I walk past it, so ready for round two of “Me Time.” The circles under my eyes are begging for a full night’s sleep and not even Cirque de Soleil can compete with that right now.
I snuggle into my bed, reaching underneath my pillow, my fingers meet something hard and crunchy. I retrieve it using the light from my cell phone to identify the tortilla in my hand. (Again, no judgment!) While this would repulse anyone else; I can’t help but smile. Now it hits me. The silence, louder than my box fan, the absence of my babies leaving a pit in my stomach and my heart in my throat; the empty feeling of loneliness consumes me in that moment and the first tear falls, followed by another. The subtle weeping turns into a sob when I realize I’m now in bed with Sally Doll, crying so hard I cannot breathe. I’m just holding her and missing my babies so much that I’m overcome with grief. If “Me Time” means I must sacrifice being a full-time mom, then I don’t want it. I miss the cuddles, the bedtime prayers and the random demands from my toddler like “I want a tortilla.” I kept waking up to check on the baby throughout the night, even though she wasn’t there. I was alone.
I understand, now, why Cybil was on suicide watch. I should have reached out for a distraction. My girls are my “Me Time.” What my pack was trying to say by telling me to take “Me Time” was simply “While you’re going through this shit show, do your best to find comfort. We’ve got your back.”
To all my fellow single parents floundering through this process, surrender to your Sally Doll and do the best you can, you are not alone in this joke they call “Me Time.”
Candy is a feisty girl-mom who is attempting to mold her 3 and 5-year-old daughters into independent, successful women without suffocating their strong wills and, well let’s just say it, their diva-like personalities. Friends and family seek her advice when they want realistic perspective with a comedic spin to lighten things up. She’s nothing if not opinionated and she doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Don’t expect any candy-coatage from this gal she’s a genuine, loving mother who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Finally getting the courage to find her place in the writing world, nothing can stop her now! New to Twitter but winging it like everything else! Catch up with her daily!