So, that's how I feel today, only I wish the teddy bear was my little girl. Then again, if it were, I may not feel this way.
The holidays are having a disturbing effect on my this year. It's my first year without Miss M on Christmas Day, although I get her the following day for 3 days. Still, I think I'm feeling the culmination of a lot of things...
Over on Big Little Wolf's Daily Plate of Crazy, BLW posted yesterday about not feeling balanced because of an inability to do things for herself. I totally relate to that. On the days I have Miss M, besides going to work, I only spend time with her. This also goes for the weekends when I have her. True, we do playdates with other parents, but there's no time for me alone. On the nights when I don't have Miss M, I make time for Hot Girl. She above anyone understands the necessity of "me" time, but I feel guilty taking it instead of spending time with her as I know she misses me. Throw work into the mix and there's very little for me.
I see a shrink every other Friday. He's been great at helping me work through the anger of my Ex's affair, given me great suggestions on how to communicate with her to get what's necessary out of the co-parenting relationship, and is helping me work on my "picker" in romantic relationships. He truly is amazing. By far the most effective therapist I've ever had. Last Friday, he suggested that my life is out of balance. I'm either all on at work, with Miss M, or with Hot Girl. No where in there is time for me to go to the gym, do significant meditation or spiritual work, or explore what I want out of life.
Don't get me wrong, I don't regret any of this. Thing is, when I'm not with Miss M, I'm thinking about the next time I will be. Being a father to her is the most satisfying thing I've ever done, no exception. I feel stretched though and often tired. Shrink thinks I'm sad. I think he's right. About what, though, I'm not sure.
Is it possible that I'm still mourning over the loss of the marriage? Probably. Not the lose of the Ex, but maybe over the loss of what the Ex was supposed to be and represent. I'm certainly stressed about money. Times are tight. While she rarely says so, I know Hot Girl is frustrated that she is essentially the "Tuesday night and every other weekend girl." Unavoidable at this point and she understands it, but she has a valid reason to feel that way. I feel guilty even though no one has told me I should be.
Shrink suggested that I get a baby sitter on Saturdays for a couple hours when I have Miss M. That way I can go to the gym, see a friend or two, or just get some general "me" time. I'm considering it, but I know I'd be thinking about what funny thing Miss M might be saying that I'd miss or the spontaneous hugs that she runs over to give me. I get it, I really do...if I do things for myself, even a little bit, I most likely will be able to feel more whole, less tired, and to get better quality time with both Miss M and Hot Girl. So why am I hesitant to do it?
Maybe because this is the norm for me. I've been so conditioned to "do for other in order to get back" that I feel selfish taking time away. It's a catch 22, right?
What do you other single parents do to recharge your batteries and feel more whole? Balancing the child, work, significant other, and health (spiritual, physical, and emotional) is tough. For me right now, that last one is getting ignored. Suggestions welcome :)