Stretched too thin...help!
September 8, 2012 7:18 AM Subscribe
Overwhelmed with parenthood/work/life...how am I supposed to manage everything? Am I being selfish?
I have a 1-year-old daughter that was an amazing, sleepy, quiet baby, and now has developed this crazy energy that no amount of coffee can compete with. She's not sleeping through the night (she's getting more teeth and she seems uncomfortable) and feeding her is a chore. She eats well for her daycare provider, but throws her food around and is super-picky around me. She gets into everything, and I'm finding it hard to keep up. It is a struggle to get a shower and meals for me in!
I work full time during the week and travel about once every month/month and a half and it ranges from 2-5 days. I love my job and the travel that goes along with it. I feel rejuvinated (8 hours of sleep?! YES!) when I come back. My daughter stays with a daycare provider who loves her like her own, and my mom and sister occasionally watch her.
I feel terribly guilty though. Going away is hard because I miss her, but fun and exciting because I've never in my life traveled before this. On top of that, I keep her late in daycare once every other week for a therapy appontment, and another day (weekly) for a night class. I am in therapy for a phobia, but it will be wrapping up within a few months, and I have four classes left to graduate so abandoning that seems like a bad idea, particularly because if I complete my degree, my work will pay for it. At the same time, my ex doesn't take her for any length of time--no "every other weekend" arrangement and I don't see that ever changing. I cut ties with him and that has been a HUGE relief. But my daughter is with me 24/7 unless she is at daycare or my sisters.
I would love to start dating eventually. I can't take more time away from my daughter, so that's on hold. And besides that, I am self-conscious, for a lack of a better word, about my "status" as a single mother. I feel like most guys won't even look at me if they know that I have a child.
I want to have friends. I have maybe 3 or 4 friends that are more like acquaintances. I have no idea how to go about meeting people without taking more time away from my daughter. But bringing her anywhere...it seriously takes me hours upon hours to get us ready, fed, and out of the house. I've gone out with my sister and her friends 3 times in the past year. I feel guilty about leaving my daughter.
My mom is pushing me to sign her up for swim lessons and group activities. I am too overwhelmed. I rush around with work and daycare and appointments throughout the week, and the last thing I want to do is get up after 5 hours of broken sleep on a weekend to get myself ready before she wakes up and I don't have 30 seconds to myself.
I feel like I'm selfish for not doing enough with her. I feel guilty because I enjoy my time to myself when I travel. I feel overwhelmed and like I am getting nothing done when I'm home with her. I am lonely and don't have fellow parent friends. I want to start family therapy once I have more time.
I feel like a terrible mother. Things that should be easy at this point frazzle me.
How do I manage all of this? Should I be feeling as guilty as I do?
Any tips/suggestions/words of encouragement GREATLY appreciated! Especially firsthand experience from other parents/single parents...