Single Mom Slice of Change…
Back to Basics

Have you ever had one of those… days? Weeks? Months? Lives?

The microwave caught fire a day before the dryer died a week before the car’s transmission blew. The oldest kid dislocated his arm not once, not twice, but three times now (shout out to Del Webb Emergency Room staff!) and has to have (yet another) expensive surgery. One dog busted his leg, the other dog literally ate the curtains and tried to eat the curtain rod itself (good morning neighbors trying to drink your coffee on the back patio!). Almost every friend who is still talking to me has needed a shoulder, ear, moving help, or answer as to why I’ve been absent.

It’s a fair question. Well, at some point, I seriously damaged a ligament in my foot and learned that my heart is more damaged than we first thought for, the meds we thought were working aren’t, and blah blah blah blah. Basically, I’m in bad (literal and figurative) shape, and have a lot of tests and doctor visits in my future.

Related: Single Mom Slice Of Change: The Rubber Band Effect 

After weeks – almost two months – of this chaos, I found myself sitting on the edge of my bed, staring at my tennis shoes, avoiding looking at the scale, and wondered when I was going to stop feeling sorry for myself, and just get moving again.

It was 5 a.m., still dark outside, and thanks to the neighbor’s patio light, I could see the third dog, expectantly looking up at me with a “Well… what are we going to do?” kind of look in her eyes.

Completely aware that I was being guilted by an imaginary look in my dog’s (nearly blind) eyes, I hobbled over to the scale I’d been avoiding for weeks. Because, you see, when you can’t walk for longer than 10 minutes without wanting to cry, you entrust your 20-year-old to do the shopping for you. (Don’t. Just… try not to never let that be an option.)

Ok – I’ve gained 5 pounds. I’ve been immobile and eating not completely, but mostly off plan for many weeks – I’ll accept the 5 pounds.

Since I was already at the sink, I brushed my teeth. From there it’s a reach into the closet for a bra. I snagged a pair of socks from the clean clothes pile still stacked neatly on my writing desk. The dogs sensed something was about to happen when they saw me grab my shoes, and started barking up a storm when they heard the rattle of the leash.

Related: Single Mom Slice of.. Change 

Terra, the dog who started it all, sat quietly, patiently by the front door. Together, we stepped out into the early morning suffocating heat of the Arizona summer morning – and waited.

It was the first time, in a very long time, I felt at peace. There were no demands, questions, requests, needs, wants, expectations. I wasn’t weighed down by my own perception of what others needed from me, and there was not another single soul waiting for me around the corner (I love my kids – but damn).

So – Terra and I walked. In 35 minutes we walked a mile and a half. We didn’t talk, we didn’t bitch, we didn’t complain, we try and explain our existence.  In fact, the pain in my foot was a little better by the time we were done.

When we rounded the corner, I could hear the other two barking up a storm, and my kids fussing about how I took the only quiet dog in the house – how dare I – didn’t I know they were trying to sleep?

After all that time alone, suddenly the thoughts that had been too cramped to try and figure out suddenly became crystal clear. I will help whomever, however I can. I deal with each financial burden, physical stress, emotional rollercoaster, and perceived confrontation head on just like always.

Related: 10 From GEM: 10 Tips To Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Day

But first – I have to do me. I’m going to accept that as a broken human, I can only do all of those things if I’m actually around to do them. If I end up in the hospital again, I can’t help. If I die of a heart attack (which according to my doctor, is a real possibility right now), I can’t help. If I lose my mind because I’m having conversations with the milky eyed dog who apparently can telepathically communicate with me – my kids will have me locked up – and I can’t help.

And if me putting myself first puts others out – then it’s one less stress I need to try and juggle.

For 40 some-odd years I’ve been putting everyone else first. My trainer, who I’m sure is reading this, ready to chew me out because I’ve been avoiding her, is a huge fan of saying, “If your way worked – you wouldn’t need me.”

Nicole, I get it. My way sucks.

Until next time, ask yourself, is your life really so bad… or is it the spin you’re putting on it that is holding you back? What are you going to do to change it?