It’s Not a Break – Also Why a Manicure Gave Me a Panic Attack

Angel Edited

I’m exhausted, and it’s all my fault….

I wish more people would admit that.  You are only as busy as you want to be.  Learn to say “no” and stop taking things on.  Also, I suck at this.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a mother, aunt, sister, friend, I run my own practice, I write this blog, and I care for a house that is in constant need of attention.  I know there’s some other shit in there but I’m really tired and don’t remember.  I choose the number of clients I take on and I choose what I say, “yes” to.  Don’t feel bad for me, my exhaustion is self-induced.

That being said, I feel your pain….  I know that the kids going to the other parent isn’t really a break.  It’s not like you fly off to Hawaii every time they go to their house.  It is not as if when they leave, I am no longer responsible for them.  That their doctor appointments and illnesses are no longer my problem.  Do you know what I do when they are away?  I work my ass off so that I have more time for them when they come home.

I knew it was time to reign in my obligations when a manicure gave me a panic attack.  I know, I know…at least you had time to get a manicure!  Hear me out.  I bring my laptop to the nail salon.  As they work on my feet I write, answer emails, and/or draft documents, complete assessments.  But, I had had gel polish the time before and they had to wrap my fingers to get it off.

I panicked…How will I type?  I can’t even slide to unlock my phone to check emails from there with the tin foil on my fingers.  I frantically start asking the nail tech if there is another way to do this.  The nice Vietnamese lady smiles and says, “why you come, if you not relax?”  I had no good answer and stared at her in horror.  As if people come here to relax?!?!?  I come here so I don’t look like a troll who lives under a bridge eating goats when I have to meet with clients!  I almost slapped myself.  How had it gotten this bad?  Being busy doesn’t earn you a medal, it means you cannot manage your time.  Just as being a perfectionist means you are afraid to fail, but that’s a whole other rant.

Children of divorced homes grow up differently.  Besides the obvious double homes, holidays, and such, the time with each parent is more child focused.  It’s not that they are catered to and spend every weekend at Disney.  However, the parent generally wants to make the most of the time with the children and as such, adjust their time accordingly.  While I don’t make every weekend all about the girls, I have explained to those who ask, that we have them 4 non-work/school days per month.  I have half the time “regular” parents have to create lasting memories and enjoy each stage, and I want it to be special.  I don’t cater to them and I have been known to say, “I just spent 3 hours at Chuck-E-Cheese (also known as my personal hell), Mommy needs wine and a nap, go entertain yourself”.  What I don’t do however, is use that time to clean out my closet and catch up on work.  That’s for when they are with their dad.

Parents who are not divorced think that time away from the children is some magical vacation.  What is hard to explain is that parents who share their children get much less done when their children are home, because they try and cram in the 50% of time they feel they’ve missed.  Further, they are still responsible for their needs regardless of where they sleep that day.  While we switch every other week, I very rarely go a whole week without seeing my girls.

The point is, your children sleeping at another house does not alter your level of responsibility.  Additionally, you are probably behind on things you let slip when the kids were home.  What we need here is balance.  Make the time with your kids special absolutely.  But, don’t drive yourself to breathing into a paper bag while the Vietnamese employees glance in your direction and all you can make out is “crazy white woman”.  That’s never a good time.

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