Need some help simplifying my life. Iím half-way paying attention at a training class for work, itemizing property to be considered in the settlement. STBX has done nothing to prepare for the divorce other than cheating on me and walking out.
I typically work 50 hour weeks, and it seems like I spend every waking moment, that not at work, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, meal planning or grocery shopping. During the marriage, I did these things too, but it was shared and we did give each other a break. I wasnít up until 11:30 every night, and having to get up at 5:30 every morning to get ready for work.
I barely have the time at the end of the day to read or journal. I have 50/50 custody, but have DS16 full time because heís pissed at his mom. He refuses to stay with her or have her take him to baseball so it comes down to me.
When I do get Ďa breakí I feel like I have to do something to move forward with the divorce, catch up on housework, or cut down a tree or something. I have a really difficult time doing something for myself.
When I have taken some time away to recharge, the responsibilities just pile up. Itís either STBX or one of the kids. Nobody can give me any kind of peace at all. There is no escape. As a result of all of this, Iím not worth a fuck at the end of the day. How can I be any good for anybody else?
It feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. Iíve pretty much always been everything for everybody, but myself. STBX still asks, ďWhat should I do?Ē even when it has something to do with the divorce. When I do something for myself, I pay dearly.
I know this forum is full of single moms and dads. How do you deal with this? What resources are available?
Easy, healthy recipes would be a good start. Are there any meal planning/grocery shopping apps that anybody recommends? Housekeeping tips?
How much time per day do you devote to yourself? What do you do to make sure you get this time?
My sons did chores from age 8 forward. They loaded/unloaded the dishwasher, swept the floors, ran the vacuum, took out the trash, did some laundry and learned how to start supper.
They left home with some good life skills.
Sending strength and peace.
Meals: I plan a week or so in advance, then make my grocery list according to what I need. Only have to shop once a week, which saves me a ton of time. On the nights the kids are going to see Daddy dinner is just hot dogs, there's no use planning a decent meal that night because they'll be too full up from the craptastic snacks he stuffs them with. Also, pancakes & scrambled eggs are a perfectly acceptable dinner, as is a bowl of cereal. Sometimes that's all the energy I have left. Sometimes it's sandwiches or heck, even mac 'n cheese & an apple. Sorry, but that's my reality. I'm broke, I'm tired, my kids aren't that hungry, whatever. Not gonna knock myself out with a 5-star dinner every night. If you can do a crockpot meal once a week you can freeze the extra.
Me Time: Yeah, that's not happening a lot. There's just not time for it. Or there's simply no money for it. Or I don't have the energy for it. Some nights me getting the bills paid and knowing I won't be getting an overdue or shutoff notice is all the reward I can muster up. As long as I'm trying in the big picture to bring balance in my life, as long as I acknowledge that I do need to make time for myself and be good for myself and that happens sometimes, I'm not going to beat myself about the head & shoulders if it doesn't happen often enough to suit other's people's notion of "right".
KOM, it's normal to be overwhelmed. You have to learn to let things go.
I swear by SavingDinner.com I've done it for a decade. $50/year and every week you get menus & recipes and the shopping list!!! for the week. Just print out the list and add toilet paper, catfood, etc. Then you will have everything you need for food for the week, you will all have healthy meals ready and sit down together. They are easy, healthy recipes, with side dishes included. The first six months that I did this I saved $1000 in eating out money.
[This message edited by I think I can at 11:31 AM, June 11th (Tuesday)]
I agree with the others - the kids can help out. My parents both worked, and my brother, sister, and me all rotated chores. We could all cook, clean, and do laundry.
Also, get a crock pot. And teach the kids how to throw something into it, even if it's just soup.
Take a deep breath - it won't always be like this.
Also, my kids are assigned chores each week. No chores equals bread & water for dinner. They seldom choose bread & water. They've also seen me have literal breakdowns in the living room because they trashed the house moments after it was cleaned up. Their spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit is growing.
The one thing that I started to do AFTER stbx left was making ME a priority. Doing things for me and being ok about it. You NEED to carve out time for yourself. It is so important. Start off small ~ buy yourself a book and read it for 15 minutes before you sleep. Exercise ~ carve out a time and dedicate that time everyday to exercise. I NEVER exercised consistently before stbx left and now I do and I must agree that there is truth in exercise + endorphins = feeling good.
Do you have family near by? Are you in therapy?
As far as house keeping tips, I have none. The only time a vacuum and mop is when I have people coming over. I try to do a couple of loads of laundry every other day. I "try" to plan for the meals one week at a time and go grocery shopping once a week = HUGE timesaver.
I hear you on the no peace at all. I haven't been alone since stbx left since children refuse to have anything to do with him at this time. I have family but due to the kids special needs, it's not easy for them to just take the kids out for the day but they try and I am grateful.
I think it is great that you recognize that you are overwhelmed. You are burning out. You are not going to be able to continue what you are doing at this rate so please take care of YOU. What are you going to do for YOU this week?
I try to make the time in my car on my commute me time as well.
Get it where you can but those moments of peace are priceless.
I drive to work on a road that runs through a valley. The trees flower, get their leaves and then turn a multitude of glorious colours in the fall. In the winter after it snows it is just beautiful as well.
I love that road and I love to look at the trees.
As for cooking. That has fallen by the wayside. We eat out. I microwave. I use the crock pot when I have the time to prepare it in the evening. I mostly do that in the winter so there is a hot meal waiting when we get home.
I'm trying to limit the pasta right at the moment.
It's hard not to feel overwhelmed and just know that you are not alone and a lot of us here can relate as well.
I find that just like the rollercoaster of emotions there is a roller coaster of being overwhelmed. There are actually some times that I feel like I have everything under control. Then the next dip comes.
Make really good friends with the Crock Pot. Seriously - it can ease so much of the dinner/dishes/time suck. There are tons of sites dedicated to crock pot cooking. You throw something in it in the morning, head out to work, and dinner's ready when you get home. So easy.
Figure out a handful of meals you think your boys will eat and make that your meal rotation, at least until things settle down. When I was working the marital settlement, the kids and I ate turkey sanwiches every other night for two months. No lie. And they were FINE.
As for the housework - set expectations with the boys for what their responsibilities are. Chores, cleaning up after themselves, etc. Be their coach, give them the big team pep-talk, and then hold their feet to the fire. They need to learn this stuff.
Set an "absolute minimum" list. And for now, just do that bare minimum. For me, it was dishes, laundry, and garbage cans. They just had to get taken care of each day. Saturday morning was full team clean up before anything fun could happen. That's when we cleaned the bathrooms, washed bedding and towels, vaccuumed, and mowed the lawn. All done in one fell swoop.
Keep posting. Keep breathing. You can do this.
"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in." -Cohen
Housekeeping tips: Ya gotta take of the cape. What cape? The SuperDad cape. It's just going to kill you.
They can also do chores appropriate to their ages.
I swear by SavingDinner.com I've done it for a decade. $50/year and every week you get menus & recipes and the shopping list!!! for the week. Just print out the list and add toilet paper, catfood, etc.
I do have a couple of crock pot recipes, including pulled pork and roast beef. I found a crock pot recipe book the other day. Need to get some other ideas.
I do exercise regularly. Iím a runner, but Iíve been sidelined for the while with a hip flexor thing, I think. I also lift weights 3X week, during my lunch hour and eat at my desk most days. I canít get a run in when I donít get in bed before 9:30. itís been months since Iíve been in bed before 10. By the time the weekend rolls around, Iím exhausted.
I donít have any family nearby, and I am back in counseling, although Iím not getting much out of it, since Iím not making the time for myself. I have an out of town night run this Friday with friends, but DS16 has an out of town baseball game (different town). I can get him a ride to his game, but I really donít want to be absent when he gets home (and out of town).
I try to make the time in my car on my commute me time as well. Get it where you can but those moments of peace are priceless.
Thanks so much for all of the simplify ideas. Easier meals and prioritize what really needs to be done to run the house. Get help from the kids. Thanks for the Flylady idea too. Looks helpful! Gotcha!
I know I can do this. Lotís more have gone through much worse with less than I have to work with. As far as men go, at least I can run a household.
Thanks for the encouragement. I get so much more out of SI than I do out of IC. You all are almost like family!
Something that helped me was turning over the grocery-shopping duty to my oldest. I trust him with my credit card, so I just hand it over and tell him what I need. It's amazing what a time-saver that is.
I'm really bad about holding my kids to doing chores...the only requirement that I have is NO COMPLAINING about anything that's not done or not clean. I do laundry, fold it and put it in baskets (sometimes). If they don't like that, then they can do it themselves.
And just accept that there are going to be times.....like baseball season....where the household stuff is gonna slack and you'll be eating a lot of sandwiches, frozen pizza, and mac & cheese because you just don't have the time to *do it all*. *Doing it all* is highly over-rated anyway.
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
Simplify your life and make it as easy as possible on yourself. I'm doing 50/50 and I still have days where I do the absolute bare minimum. Dinners are simple, quick and fast. I have been overwhelmed leaving work at 4pm and rushing to one location for a daycare pickup then across town to another location for school pickup so have been eating out (healthy) a lot since my 5 year old started school.
I'm now getting into the groove so back to fast, healthy meals at home.
Try to put 'chillaxing' on your essentials to do list.
Also take the time to give yourself a huge pat on the back. Lots of single mums don't do this enough either.
Since my POS is currently several states away, I am responsible for everything for DD16 (and still fulfill the adult kid requests as well). I work on average 70-80 hrs a week because I get nothing from him. So it is not because I want to work that much, I have to. DD is in sports and has Dr and Ortho appointments I have to take care of, as well as assist with vehicle issues (hers), three dogs, etc. She does help here and there, but she is gone either at work or a sporting practice. We have come to an arrangement on nights when I have to work late (which is most nights). She is a picky eater (extreme) so I simply keep her stocked up on stuff she likes and can make herself and it becomes a "fend for yourself night." That is a huge burden off my back, and she is totally okay with it (she gets what she wants as opposed to me forcing something she doesn't like onto her). I get to the yard work (we have an acre to mow) when I can, as well as the house work. She washes her own clothes and I do mine. There is a layer of dust on everything, but that is just not that important right now. DD or I will get to it eventually. We both do our own dishes. I need to do some edging in the yard, but it is not high on my priority list so it will wait. DD and I have our "date nights" where we go out or go do something fun together a couple of times a month. That is the most that can be fit in.
Anything that is not really important gets relegated to the bottom of the priority list...
This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man, ~ Shakespeare
It is really hard transiting to shared parenting to single parenting, especially when the bulk of the work is on you.
The first thing you need to do is lower your standards for "clean". You do not have to keep the house up to the white glove standard, not even close. For example, my standard for clean laundry is "does everyone have at least 1 pair of clean underwear?" If so and it is late, then no laundry will get done. My standard for clean kitchen is "Do I have a clean coffee mug and bowls for cereal?" If so and it is late, then the dishes do not get done. You get the point.
As far as dinner, that is still hard. I try to always cook extra so there are leftovers in the fridge. I have become the queen of grilled chicken cutlets (thin slice chicken breast) and pasta on the side. Simple is easier to cook and kids like it. Also premade meatballs are great (Publix has some killer fresh ones in the meat dept). Hamburgers, soup and sandwich, rotisserie chicken, tacos,... And the ever handy Chick Fil A. I actually keep a list of easy meals that my DD likes and reference it every week before I go grocery shopping.
One thing that struck me is that you said you drove 400 miles for baseball. That sounds like travel ball to me. If so, you and your child(ren) need to take a good hard look at the benefits of travel ball. You kid may love it and you may also love it in a way, but it takes A LOT of time, which is a commodity that you have very little of right now. Unless you think your kid can really truly get a sports scholarship (and they are tough to get), then you should consider dropping travel ball. I know it is a hard pill to swallow, but you need to be realistic either way And if you child is really that good, then travel ball is the way to get notice form the college scouts so do not quit, make sacrifices elsewhere. I am just saying to be realistic and not just dream the impossible dream.
Finally, you need to plan down time. And down time can include doing relaxing things with the kids like watching a favorite TV show or playing a game. It can also include things not with the kids because they are old enough to function on their own for a few hours. But if you do not schedule it then it will not get done.
It does get easier over time because you make adjustments and learn to adjust your expectations.
So glad someone else (several someone elses) mentioned crock pot cooking. Also, I don't know if you have one near you, but Trader Joe's has some amazing frozen dinners. I used to pride myself on cooking healthy meals from scratch, but the first 6 months or so on my own, I was so overwhelmed and ate a TJ's frozen dinner most nights of the week.
I'm glad to read your other post where you are relaxing by the pool with a beer. Great start!
Married: 11 years, no kids
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. -Michelangelo
I shop big box a lot ( BJ's and Costco) to cut down on the trips to the grocery. Sometimes I don't need to go for 2 weeks because I have stocked up so well. I also keep frozen pizza, and some simple go to meals that I plan so I always have something nutritious to feed my kids (and myself).
And yes, the house can be simplified too--the lawn, every 1-2 weeks and let the 16y old do it!
Iíve done my best to Ďlet goí of the outcome of my relationship with STBXWW, and that wasnít (isnít) easy. I guess itís time to realize I cannot control everything even within just my house.
I sat by the pool when I got home from work and drank a beer rather than making dinner before DS16ís baseball game. We ate random leftovers and sandwichesÖEveryone survived! Tonight should be less hectic, so I have a better, big dinner planned, which will also result in leftovers.
DS16 plays high school baseball, and no, collegiate athletics is not in his future. However, he loves the game, and if heís going to play in the spring with the school, he is ďencouragedĒ to play in the summer. Should go through the middle of July. So I want him to have the opportunity to continue to play, and I want to support him. I do have to accept that I canít be at every inning of every game, though. Also, he does mow the yard, and helps take care of the pool. He pretty much does whatís asked of him, but nothing more. (typical teenager)
Iíve gotten some really good ideas on simplifying my life with respect to taking care of the house and cooking. Thanks! Gotten some good advice on taking care of myself, too! Much better today. Part of the ups and downs, I guess. Starting to hate fíing roller coasters, BTWÖ