Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tuesday Talk: A Positive Spin On Starting Over

I've mentioned it here once before, but only in passing. I thought today would be a good time to put my usual mental health spin on the latest change my little family is navigating through: Team Kennedy is moving.


When the girls' dad and I split up, it was mostly amicable - regardless of the many things that had gone wrong between us and how much we had grown to quietly despise each other, we both knew by that point that we were not well matched and that we would each be much happier without the other. And despite the way the new situation has changed his willingness and ability to maintain solid relationships with the girls, I think we were both right - we're happier and much better off apart.

Still, I was mostly a stay-at-home mom when we split - I had a small writing income, but it was truly a small income. Nothing near what I would need to support the girls and I. And while it was growing (which I will always believe was part of the problem since it was generally very clear that my new independence, such as it was, was not appreciated), it simply wasn't growing fast enough. I've still been slowly nurturing that, along with a few other income streams - but splitting up and then having him ultimately choose to forego the responsibility of helping out at all made things pretty challenging for me.

I'm a single mom, yes. But I'm a mom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week now. I don't have breaks, and I don't have relief. There is no "every other weekend" - and while that's good because it means I don't have to trust someone who regularly slept through time with the kids and often forgot to feed them, it's also been hard for me because there is literally no time to wind down and relax under the safety net of knowing someone else has it covered for a while.

Which would be hard enough already, but when you tack on mental health issues for all three of us that include PTSD, PMDD, Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, and OCD, and then you also sprinkle chronic and somewhat serious health problems ... well, what you get is a stressed out mom who's doing her best to create a life that works, while having very little to actually work with.

No wonder I'm in therapy, right? But I think it's paying off - so much of my life is changing because I'm learning to set better boundaries, to demand more for myself, to make space and take care of me, and to let go of people and ideas that aren't healthy for me or my family. (Want to learn those things, too? I think in time, you'll learn them as I share what I'm learning here - but you can do it much faster with the kind of personalized, professional therapy offered online through sites like BetterHelp.com, where you can change your mind and your life - right from the comfortable security of your own home.)

The girls and I have been living with their grandmother for a while now (their dad's mom) - which has obviously had its share of ups and downs. We all mostly get along okay, it has been great to help each other out in some ways, and this arrangement has allowed the girls a place to adjust while keeping them in a space where their dad felt like he had whatever access he wanted. But it has a been a while, and it's never easy keeping two families under one roof - even with a multigenerational blended family like ours, there are strange dynamics, eclectic quirks, and rough edges that must be considered carefully at all times, and this can be exhausting and stressful on everyone involved.

So it's time for this move - past time, probably. And while I'm definitely stressed about it because we're starting over with literally almost nothing ... 

I'm actually also getting pretty excited.

I've been alternating back and forth between excitement over starting this new chapter in our lives and stressing over the basic things we don't have right now - things I'll need to come up with, like a microwave, a TV ... dishes, furniture. When we moved here, we ended up losing a lot of what we had, so I'll truly be starting over, and it's pretty easy to let myself get intimidated by how daunting that will be, considering the limitations of my budget and mental health.

But in the moments where I'm excited? In the moments where I'm facing an empty space that always echoes because it hasn't been made a home yet ... I'm looking forward to figuring out how to create that home for the girls and I, in a space of our own. We'll be so much more US there, the girls and I, and I imagine us really enjoying being able to be a bit more relaxed, empty space or no.

I'm planning to share that journey here, complete with bits about our new home as we create it, bits about the way we end up filling it, and how we end up making things work as it all plays out. I've been making plans - I've got us on two different wait lists for apartments I think the girls and I will love, and I've already starting making lists of things we're going to need.

I've got a plan - and while the change is pretty terrifying ... starting over doesn't have to be a bad thing. Because we're also starting fresh - in a setting we can be comfortable in, where we can surround ourselves with what makes us happy.

And I'm ready for that. I hope you'll follow along.


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NOTE: This post is a partnership with BetterHelp.com, in conjunction with my love of their site and content combined with their love of giving people a better, more personalized way of accessing quality mental healthcare. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas expressed in this post are my own - and as you know, I would never recommend any site, service or product I didn't authentically love.

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