Monday, April 4, 2011

Clean Slate

It is finally Spring, the season of fresh starts and new beginnings. I am trying to be more authentic to my needs and feelings and expressing them in an open and honest way. So far I'm not having the best of success.

For whatever reason I seem to have hit a wall of exhaustion physically and emotionally. My girlfriend and I talked about this after church yesterday. I think it has to do with cumulative stress as an only parent. She agrees that there is great stress from never seeming to finish or complete what needs to get done. In our cases, there is always left over laundry and dishes in the sink. We've both kind of given up on having tidy and organized households but the fact is, our incomplete tasks are always there starting at us in our faces, mocking us, telling us we're not good enough because we can't seem to get it together.

Then there is the lack of a helpmate/tag team buddy reminding you of what you've forgotten or need to do, filling in for you when you can't, providing moral and physical support...

We both have kids of high school age yet there is a demand to still coordinate their schedules, keep track of who goes where when, to make meals, try to get to the mail. clean, shop, do laundry and so on.

For me at least, I don't sleep well alone and probably haven't had a good night's sleep since my husband died. That has to catch up with you over time.

And the constant requirement of having to make all the decisions all the time by yourself. I'm a better team player and don't like ruling the roost. Enough said with that.

Both of us have Seniors in high school and that in and of itself makes for a stressful year.

When I admit I am drained or tired or need help the typical response I receive is that I haven't organized my life well enough. I hear that other women have to remake their lives after the death of a spouse and why can't I seem to get it together?

Then I'm given the line about having the boys do more. Well, for two adolescent boys very active and popular at school, I think they are putting forth a decent effort. Both have tough part-time jobs and now buy all their own clothing and necessities. They work very hard at school and their jobs, and the jobs involve physical labor. One is in the final months of his Senior year and has numerous social activities to attend. He gets to attend those - he has earned it.

And I hear that I should cut back on my attendance at the kids' school events. But why should I? To me that is punishing the widow and the fatherless kids even more. The intact parents are all in attendance. I want to see my kids perform or compete, and if I'm not there no one is there for them personally cheering them on. But when I explain this reasoning, I'm told I'm playing the widow card and I should have stopped playing that years ago.

I defend myself. I am a widowed only parent. My stating the facts of my life simply and honestly doesn't make me a whiner. It is what it is. It explains why I act and think certain ways I do.

In my experience, widows don't win whatever they do. We're not supposed to complain, or compare ourselves to intact couples. Instead of being recognized for doing the best we can under trying and stressful conditions, we're criticized for not doing enough or doing it poorly. And in that regard we do end up being compared to others, which isn't fair. I can't admit or ask for help. When I do I'm weak and not with it. I'm criticized for bring up my widowhood or defending my children who've had more than their share of heartache.

I'm trying to keep The Four Agreements in my mind here. I should stand tall and hold my head up because I am being honest with myself and doing the best I can. Blast the people who criticize - I shouldn't take things too personally. But I'm not going to back down and give in and say everything is all right and yes, I need to get my life in better order and stop playing the widow card. It is a new season and I'm going to stand tall and state my truth and feelings as I see fit. I can do it sincerely and without anger. I don't want to pretend anymore because it makes other people more comfortable. If I can't do something anymore because it is too hard for me that is the reality.

These are the seeds I want to be planting now. Seeds of honesty, openness, realism and truth as I see it, not how others see it or want it to be. I deserve to live a life of truth and to be able to express what is in my life without being put down, insulted or made to feel I'm not doing well enough. Because truth be told, I truly am doing the best I can and most days go above and beyond. Too bad that is seldom acknowledged or praised.

As hard as it is I will try to overlook how others view me and sing some praises to myself for a change. Yeah me! Happy Spring. This is the season for watering my seeds and having them grow into real flowers - strong, honest, resilient and beautiful to boot. There aren't going to be any fake, phony or artificial flowers around this Spring. I don't have the patience of desire for them in my life anymore.


  1. (These are the seeds I want to be planting now. Seeds of honesty, openness, realism and truth as I see it, not how others see it or want it to be. )

    I think you said it beautifully. Clean Slates. No matter what stage of life you're in, there are always clean slates.

    These are the seeds I want to be planting now. Seeds of honesty, openness, realism and truth as I see it, not how others see it or want it to be.

  2. Why in the world would anyone say you shouldn't go to everyone of your kids activities. My Dad never attended any of my school functions--he never wanted to, but my Mother was to all of them and I knew I could always look up and see her in the audience and it was a great feeling. Happy gardening!!! :-)

  3. Thanks for commenting Jan.

    Judy, hello. Hope you have been doing well. People have just told me that I should cut back on going to the boys' events - I don't have to go to all. But as it is, I do miss some because of conflicts, work, etc. But I do make an effort to attend all the events I can. And come the next year when both are in college, I don't think I'll regret it.