Seeking Self

Part one on dealing with finding and keeping an individual identity and purpose as a parent. Who am I without my kids?

My boys have been gone to their father’s for a summer visit for two weeks now. For weeks leading up to their departure, for months really, I couldn’t wait. I felt trapped. I loathed their misbehaving and stubborn natures. I fought the tie to my home, my lack of freedom of movement and scheduling. I bore heavily the weight of care and well-being--all the responsibility.

In moments that I truly regret I told them to their faces that I couldn’t wait until they left--until I was alone. My younger son cried. And while I was ashamed the moment I said it, I wanted him to feel a pain similar to the strain that his incessant disobedience and unruly behavior was placing on me.

I apologized. They accepted. But maybe I’ve scarred them for life. Time will tell, and then I’ll have another mess to clean up.  

 Now they’re gone. And I’ve fallen apart. 

Last summer I experienced this as well. It was the first time they had left and I didn’t have a significant other to fill the void. I could see clearly the depths of my codependency and separation anxiety. I’ve come a long way emotionally since then, and I thought I was prepared. I thought I was better.

Not so. I don’t sleep. I avoid my home at night. I stay out late so that I am exhausted, hoping that when I get home I will fall right to sleep. 3 a.m. 4 a.m. A schedule not conducive to early mornings and 50+ hour work weeks. I spend hours more at work then necessary. I spend hours at the gym at all hours of the night and day.

I have no purpose. I have no self.

How did this happen? How can I wish my life was so different, wish that I was alone and free just as I am now and when it happens, I am lost.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Nichole Richardson June 16, 2011 at 05:45 PM
Don't beat yourself up too hard Jen. It is tough being a single parent and most everything in this life is built with contradictions so it is possible to love your kids and resent them sometimes I guess. It's ok to need some "alone time" every now and then. It's ok to wonder how things may have been- But it's a waste of time that alot of us can't stop doing. As for what you said to your boy, I'm sure he won't be scarred for life. All of our parents have had their moments. Just like their parents' parents did. My advice is to use the rest of the time the boys are gone to think about what you are missing from your life and what you can do to improve on that, and stop self-destructing or you may end up in a worse situation. I'm not saying you need to revamp your life but it would be beneficial to break down goals and desires into managable tasks. Even baby steps are steps-as you know from being a great mother to those sweet boys.
jen amunategui June 17, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Thanks for your comment, Nichole. This is only the first post in a series of a few on this subject. Stay tuned for the whole story.
Angela Atkinson June 17, 2011 at 08:38 PM
Wow, Jen, this is a really honest post. I applaud your courage in telling the truth here--many parents wouldn't do that. I agree with Nichole--it's hard to be a single parent. Heck, it's even hard to be a married parent--but single moms and dads don't have any inside support. And like Nichole said, every parent has done or said something they later regret. Acknowledging the problem is the first step to resolving it, I think. I can't give you better advice than Nichole did, but I can tell you that I understand, and that you're not alone in your struggles. Thanks for such an open and honest post! I'm looking forward to following your blog. :)


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