Focus, Or Lack Thereof

Yesterday, while at lunch with the Reckless Friends, I was asked So, what’s new?

I responded with a Well girls, I think I need to figure out my life. They immediately sat up straight and leaned forward.

Tell us more. What’s going on? 

And this is how my brain feels lately:


There’s a lot that can be said for Jackson Pollock: you either find him to be a brilliant artist or you feel that your toddler could do what he does, better. Either way, lately, my brain feels like a cycle of mish-mashed thoughts, emotions, worries, and to-do lists peppered with a dash of what is my purpose and bits of daily reminders go switch the laundry! Fold the goddamn laundry! Don’t forget to pick up the kids! I should get a badminton net…

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post touching on my woes as a single mom. Ironically (or not so ironically) both then and now I was coming out of the grueling month every parent recognizes: May. The month of dance recitals, baseball playoffs, graduations, confirmations, end-of-year parties/concerts/field days/every-fucking-thing-days, school projects, Mothers Day, and in my case I also threw a kid’s birthday in there. I have asked PC for one thing: to take our daughter to mandatory weekend dance rehearsal (that was on his weekend). He agreed, but grudgingly, which made my head want to implode.

PC, unfortunately, is coming out of his post-wedding haze and likely realizing his life still sucks and thus has become difficult again. He’s bitched about taking our daughter to counseling, stating that its not helping and you haven’t contributed one dime which led to the umpteenth discussion about how medical expenses work as outlined in our divorce decree which led to the umpteenth time of him telling me not happening, stop your bullshit Charlotte, and other stupid statements that make me feel like I need to throw a splash of black on that Jackson Pollock painting.

And with that comes the worry…if he pulls her from counseling, then what? Why, oh why, after months of being relatively civil is he starting up with the insane arguing and general dickishness? What the hell is going on with my sweet daughter who insists she is “fine” and yet clearly is not fine? Why can’t he see what his motherfucking nonsense behavior and treatment of these kids is doing to them? How now matter how well I raise them, I cannot be their father and the impressions he leaves on them will last a lifetime, will carve little holes in their hearts?

Sometimes, I sit and feel sorry for myself because I’m alone. I think that I miss The Plumber because I don’t have anyone else to miss and I sure as hell do not miss PC. I delve into thoughts about what went wrong (#rebound) and I get royally pissed off again. I really don’t want to dislike The Plumber. But he disappointed me gravely and shot a hole in my faith in men.

Which causes my head to go down the rabbit hole of reminding myself that I also work for The Plumber and that every time I am there it just reminds me. I see signs of his life everywhere and I notice little things, like despite that his house is a mess he always lines up everyone’s shoes in a row or that nearly every day he leaves the milk out and even though I’m just his employee now I still put it back. I think in my head, fuck you but no one wants spoiled milk. I see signs of her there. And I think, I need a new job.

And then sometimes, my mind shifts to what are you doing with your life? So now what? I look at my resume. I look at jobs online. I weigh the pros and cons of my job for The Plumber. The incredible flexibility vs. the lack of a challenge and emotional regression on the daily. I think about money…I have a four year three and a half year time period of alimony to figure my shit out. That’s enough time to go back to school (which I don’t really want to do). That’s enough time to figure something out and yet…

One eighth of that time has gone by with no strides made. I have a college degree, a vast amount of marketable skills, a disability, zero long term experience, and a resume with a ten year gap. I want to be a writer but I have no professional experience. I’m a single mom which narrows it down even more. One kid is going to private school next year which will throw in a whole new dimension of time constraints and routine change. I just signed up the other for a fall sport and wanted to cry a bit trying to imagine how I’m going to finangle all of these “things”…on one income, with one car, with a potential shift in working.

And then I think about when people comment that they’re “single mom’ing it” because their spouse is away for 4 days or grumbling about childcare when their parents live next door or complaining about being so tired from driving their kids everywhere (hello, MAY) but they have a spouse who drives them to half the things and at this point, with all of this, I want to just crawl into the Jackson Pollock painting and take a fucking nap.

I can make all the lists I want, follow all the timelines, start each day with a determination, and I still cannot figure out how to make things happen or focus because of all the other things. The laundry and the bill paying and the fact that in the middle of trying to finish this post I’ve had to go upstairs three times to prod children out of bed, children who begged off showers last night with promises of “we’ll get up early” and I, too tired to stay no, agreed.

But yesterday, my amazing and inspiring cousin posted that sometimes in life, things don’t go your way which read as family court with my psychotic ex husband did not go my way and she followed it up with positive facts about her kids’ end-of-the-year achievements (#MAY).

Yesterday, an old friend posted that he’d been diagnosed with cancer, his dog died, and then he fell and broke his leg. In the ER, he chose to post this and followed up with the consolation that others have it much worse and there for he was grateful? Grateful followed with a question mark because really, a broken leg? But contemplating gratitude nonetheless.

Yesterday, the Reckless Friend who coined the title Reckless, announced that this summer, she was tired of being Reckless. To understand this, you’d have to know her, but it makes perfect sense that she would just simply decide to be done with it. This summer, she wants to be zen and thus we’ve decided that its Summer of Positivity, #SOPO. Of course, as we do, we found this quite funny but in the spirit of bolstering this (because honestly, I think we’re all still hungover from following her Reckless vibe last summer) we all spoke of the things we’re feeling positive about: summer. Friends. Pool season. The end of fucking May!

Last night: BFF was here for dinner. We sat around the table that’s made from the barn wood of my childhood home. While eating, two pre-pubescent boys knocked on the door to see if my son could accompany them to the park–if that doesn’t reek of summer youth I don’t know what does. We, my friend and I, played badminton with my daughter in the never-ending light that is a June evening. We challenged ourselves to use all of the words of the magnetic poetry set on the fridge. I washed dishes in a kitchen that seeps history and after my kids went to bed, my BFF and I sipped wine with candles and in-depth conversation about the upcoming summer.

And herein lies the challenge…I want the freedom and flexibility that working for The Plumber gives me. I think I want it more than I want money. I want this summer with my kids, who will never be 8 and 12 again. I want day trips and hikes and night swims and lazy afternoons. I know I have the luxury of time and alimony right now to figure shit out, and now is when I need to be doing it.

But now is also when I need to focus on the present, as equally if not more than I am focusing on the future. Last summer was Reckless and this summer my focus is clearer but its still lost under layers and layers, a canvas that has so much on it I can’t quite figure out the core. While I look for that, why not delve into #sopo?


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