I do tend to say "tag, you're it!" when he returns, but all that generally means is that he has to eat a dinner that I made him, get showered and then read books to his daughter and lay down with her. The majority of nights he is in there snoring and she is still tossing around pulling at her eyelids.
I take this time to chill in the living room without her crawling back up into my womb; it's been a long week. I have her all by myself all week so I do my share, but I still think that it is important for her to have bed times with Dad, especially because she doesn't see him all week long. We don't see eachother all week long. Everyone is missing everyone. I'm missing being supported, Joey is missing being home, Celie misses Dad but still whines that she wants to sleep with Mama because it's all she is used to. I can not escape being the default parent. Most times she is excited to sleep with Dad, though. It's hard not to feel like a bad mom urging her into her room and taking that time but hey...I do this shit by myself all week, he can manage this while I am just in the other room readily available to tell her to calm down and stop giving him a hard time. It's actually hard in general to carve out time away from her. It's as though mothers are programmed to feel guilty for not being and doing everything, but just logically thinking about that points out how bullshit it is! Mothers need space and time, especially in today's age. We may be super women, but we are not superhuman!
It takes a village, they say. That's the problem...where the fuck is my village? I think this is the problem with a lot of families, especially single parent families. I am not a single mother, but I share in some of their trials. (I personally believe that every single mother and father in the world deserves a cake, a fun hat, a million bucks, and a national holiday!) I was saying about a mother's drive to be everything? Yeah, single parents actually ARE! I can not even imagine the struggle that they face on a daily basis and I respect the hell out of them for doing that for the benefit of humanity! I'm a completely different breed, though? I seemingly won the partner lottery, but am most of the time without the prize. The Rod Wife, the Trucker's Wife...the Traveler's Wife, basically. My husband is a gypsy, he travels for work and doesn't have any real work roots. He has no office building. He travels as he is needed. I am, quite the opposite, seemingly isolated and alone, planted in one spot, holding down the fort. A tree with my sapling underfoot. In reality, I may not be completely isolated, but I am to an extent emotionally. It's a solemn feeling. In tribal times, this would never happen. Seldom would single, isolated parents survive the challenges of living in the wild. Perhaps it could happen, but what I guess I am saying is that the survival rate would not be very good. You would probably be eaten by a saber tooth tiger. Perhaps this is why it is such a solemn, serious, isolating feeling? The animal in me knows that the chances of survival are slim without my village or tribe. Fight or flight kicks in...I'm constantly fighting. Hello anxiety! There is a primal sense of fear that can take hold when you are isolated with a child over time, and it's a struggle to not let it win.
There is also a strong sense of guilt that primary caregivers share, that leads to not taking the time to get away, unwind, or care for themselves...not having that mustache drink or that Calgon bath. I am currently working on getting better with my self-care, and it is surprisingly difficult. Actually, I have been failing at it. Months ago my therapist suggested that I take at least an hour every Saturday and Sunday? Seems easy! Not really. I haven't even been able to accomplish that consistently. When my family is actually together, the last thing I want to do is leave them?! But that is exactly what I need to do sometimes...I need that time away, but more importantly, I need to not feel guilty for needing it. I think this has become a completely different post...I digress. For the record, though, parenting is not what has been kicking my ass. Parenting 90% of the time by myself with depression and anxiety has been kicking my ass. Parenting in and of itself can be difficult, but dealing with your own mental illness while attempting to raise a child so that she isn't destroyed by your own toxicity is a whole other set of goals. Believe me...the struggle is real. Self-love and self-care are KEY to my success. Therapy itself is a form of self-care, but can also be stressful as I work through issues and explore my darkness. I need the mustache drinks! More importantly, I need what the mustache drink represents: ME time!
So, Joey and I have similar and opposite lives and perspectives. He works away all week, building bridges and raising buildings, waiting to return home on the weekend to unwind with his family at his home. I work away at home all week raising a human, and talking feelings, waiting for my husband to return home on the weekend so I can have some relief and companionship. We are both waiting to be reunited, working for the weekend...living for the weekend? Ideally, I would like for it not to seem this way, but when we're together, I'm together.