Do You Feel Alone?

Am I the only one who feels alone?  Sometimes it feels like no one will understand my pain and frustrations. I know I am not the only single working mom with a mentally abusive ex-husband, but I don’t know anyone else in the same situation. It’s hard to share my story. It’s embarrassing and I don’t always appreciate people’s reactions. But every once in a while, I feel awful and wish I had someone to confide in.

When I first broke up with my ex, our friends and family were astonished. They pushed me to take him back, to be that beautiful family again. I tried to explain the mental games, how he made feel crazy, how he abused me. They didn’t believe such a nice guy could do anything wrong. My own friends encouraged me to return to the relationship that hurt me.

I did the only thing I could control.  I built a wall and closed off everyone.  I became a ghost of myself while he defiled my name on social media.  It was hurtful to see him post lies about me and see others respond with comforting words about him while getting on the bandwagon of speaking ill about me. I didn’t defend myself and simply took the verbal beatings. Finally, I blocked him on all of my accounts.

An abuser hides their abusive behavior behind closed doors when they aren’t publicly shaming the victim-the real victim. An abuser claims to be the victim.  It’s very confusing, I know.  I was trapped in an endless cycle of feeling crazy until I finally recognized it. Everything that happened was my fault (according to him) and I believed it.  It was my fault that he literally ignored me for a week at a time because I did something wrong. I think it would have helped to know I was being punished.  I wasn’t aware I was a “slut” (and worse) if someone in a grocery store smiled at me and my baby when I wasn’t looking.

His cold shoulder stung. He just stopped talking to me. He didn’t answer calls or texts when I was at work. He didn’t look at me. He didn’t kiss me hello or goodbye. If he was sitting on the couch when I got home from work, I would kiss his cheek and he wouldn’t move or acknowledge my presence. I was invisible for days at a time. 

I don’t know how this treatment sounds to other people, but I was devastated every time it happened. I couldn’t function as a human and felt torn apart. Half the time, I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong.  I was reduced to crouching at his feet, begging for him to love me again, to please just be nice to me again. I would sob uncontrollably as he turned away from me, coldly stating that crying wouldn’t work on him, and that I knew what I did.  I would lose all self-worth and shriek out that I knew it was my fault, that I was sorry and to please forgive me.   I didn’t know what I was apologizing for, I only knew that I wanted to exist in his eyes again.

I am ashamed for my self-deprecating behavior all those years ago. I wish I realized it wasn’t normal or healthy at the time. I don’t want the world to know about my past. I don’t read or respond to his accusations on social media because even though he repeatedly soils my name, I refuse to publicly attack him by defending myself and sharing what he has done and continues to do.

I saw a therapist once. I was told not to respond to negative behavior from him because he is looking for any attention he can get from me now. He will push my buttons any way possible to get a reaction.  I think that’s true.

Years later, he is still trying to antagonize me by twisting words and outright lying. I wish that I didn’t have to coordinate our kids schedule with him.  I wish I didn’t have to communicate with him at all.  Every few months, he calls me names and accuses me of vile behavior in texts.  If he talks to me over the phone or sees me in person, he inevitably yells at me.  I know he is angry at me and I am still scared of him.

But you know what? He is nice to his friends. He is nice to his co-workers. He is nice to strangers.  He is nice to everyone… except me. I feel like a target or a toilet for him to use.  On social media, people congratulate him for being a great father and a good guy. He appears to be mostly nice to his kids, although I worry that he tries to make them feel sorry for him. I shouldn’t say that.  But sometimes, I worry.

It’s hard to explain. I have tried to talk to others and no one truly understands. I don’t know who might be his friend, so I am afraid to make new friends.  I am invisible to the world. I like being alone, but sometimes I feel alone.




Handful of Failure

I gaped in awe at the fattest turd I have ever seen. Who even did that?? Their poor butt hole, I can’t even fathom how that thing exited the sphincter.

The blob sat at the edge of the hole in the bottom, threatening to plug it up. My eyes were bulging in amazement. I double-gloved my right hand and prepared to snatch that atrocity out of the toilet bowl with a strong plastic bag.

My hand posied above the bowl, I flushed the toilet to make the water level drop and let me have a go at grabbing the poop. Quick as a flash, it swooshed into the hole and visibly clogged it.


I readied the plunger. Floop, floop, floop. Nothing. Flush. Floop, floop, floop.

Still nothing. Floop.


Eons later, I admitted defeat. My pinky was burning. I took off the gloves and discovered a blister. A stinkin’ toilet plunger pinky blister.

Oyiee. That sucker hurts.

My kids immediately began complaining about hunger pains the second I emerged from the bathroom. Fine. I sanitized and fought to open a can of refried beans. My hand slipped and sliced pieces of skin from my knuckles.

Bloody beans, anyone?

When Was the Last Time…

I simply cannot remember.  Did I poop yesterday? Or am I constipated? Umm. I was really busy. Every time I had to go, I remember getting interrupted. I think. Or not. Wouldn’t I be extra gassy?

The short path from the kitchen to the bathroom was an endless loop of obstacles.  “MOM! She was looking at me!” Or “My neck is dry. I need water. I need water. Mommy. I need water, Mommy!”   What was that blob on the wall? A booger?  No one confesses.

Midnight arrived. Kids were in bed. Home lunches prepared, kitchen and living room cleaned, paperwork completed and I took advantage of showering with hot water. (Who likes to shower after water hogs?) Brushed my teeth, quickly decided against worrying about tomorrow’s outfit, and sank into bed. 

Shit. I forgot to poop. 

Stupid Things I Do

  1. Stay up ridiculously late just because my kids went to sleep and I can because I am an adult, darn it!
  2. Auto-answer kids when I am distracted and have to rescind my permission.
  3. Tell other people’s kids their brains will leak out of their ears if they keep doing whatever naughty thing they were doing.
  4. Tell my kids they cannot have candy because I am secretly saving it for myself to eat after they go to bed.
  5. Keep the kids current with all the office gossip.
  6. Wait 10 minutes in the drive through line at McDonalds to get one large coke to go with a meal from some place else. 
  7. Stand 2 feet in front of the TV with the remote control in my hand for 20 minutes. No, wait-just five more minutes. Uh, no… umm it’s almost over. I’ll turn it off and do my chores after that. 
  8. Forget laundry in the washer for 2 days. Ugh, so stink. 
  9. Insert a contact in my eye on top of another contact.
  10. Stare at my children blankly as I forget what I was saying … mid-sentence.
  11. Bang my head on the car door frame 4 times in one day while reaching in to get my kid and out five hundred thousand things out.
  12. Forget my kid sitting on the toilet.
  13. Forget to search for the last kid in Hide ‘n Seek.
  14. Fart right before someone comes in the room.
  15. Trip when I walk past any group of people.

Oh, yes, I can do a cartwheel…

Left alone with my 5 year old, I was suddenly invincible. Oh yes, I can do a cartwheel. You betcha. Teach you? No problem.

5 minutes later, I executed a wobbly cartwheel. Just afraid of hitting the ceiling fan, of course. We practiced and practiced and I had a marvelous idea. Somersault! Even easier!

I bent my head toward my belly, that’s the rule. Pushed off with my hind feet and rolled onto my head. Slid onto my shoulder and managed not to grimace. Somersault! I sat up and rubbed my arm. Ouch? I watched my kid roll over with ease. Show off.

As it always does, the pain waited a while before showing up. Now I wince every time I reach out for anything with my left arm. I sure seem to use that arm a lot more than I thought. Was it the cartwheel? The somersault? At least no one knows I hurt myself doing cartwheels and somersaults.

Yet another secret for supermom.

Parent Problems

1. Instead of sitting back in contentment after a beer, you feel satisfaction after finding time to poop. 

2. In the battle between sleep and a beer, sleep always wins.

3. You can’t think of a single hobby unrelated to your kids.

4. You automatically sing a long to Five Little Monkeys with great enthusiasm for at least a minute before you realize none of the kids are in the car.

5. While standing in line at the grocery market, you cradle bread close to your chest and sway your body back and forth to keep it calm.

6. You leave adults standing there with half finished sentences as you abruptly run into the next room to handle a kid fight… and forget to return.

7. Watching anything rated higher than PG-13 makes you feel naughty.  You constantly glance around to see if the kids might catch you watching swear words, violence.. or worse…

8. Your potty mouth is a sugar mouth around other adults. “Fudge it. Fudge-meister. Fudge Noodles.”

9. You eat on plastic kid plates, even when they are at school.

10. Laundry is a daily torturous event.

Mom’s Don’t Poop

I am pretty sure I haven’t had a real poop in ages.  I mean, how many parents can really find time to poop in peace?

At bedtime, it can take a gazillion years for them to fall asleep. When they finally shut their darling little eyeballs, I barely function well enough to brush my teeth. So, how could I possibly make it to the bathroom and coax my body to perform on demand? Not me!

You really have to go when your body is ready. Miss that urge and POOF! It will return again the absolute worst time.  Standing in the grocery store, having checked off item number three out of twenty. Or driving your kids to practice, without hope of a decent private bathroom for HOURS. Worse, getting caught by another parent when a super strong wave hits:  “***poop now-poop NOW – POOP NOWWWWW***.”

I don’t know what happens to anyone else, but I feel my face flush.  Not a toilet flush – my face flushes.

My bodily functions are a private matter.  But sometimes, I share it with my kids. And they just happen to be young and unaware of the word ‘discretion.’   “Oh, well my mom said she has to poop so we can’t stay.”

Yeah.  That happens. 

Awkward Roommate Moments

1. Someone heads toward the bathroom you just fouled. “Excuse me, ahem, sorry, don’t go in there. You really have to pee? Well, I just don’t recommend it. Really. Please.”

2. “Are these your panties I found on the bathroom floor?”

3. Brother: “You bought me underwear for my birthday?”  Sister: “Yeah, your undies have enormous holes in them. Like right in the balls area.”

4. Your nose crinkles in horror. Did someone fart? Or was that a baby poop?! Ugh.

5. “What is that… smell? Oh. You made dinner. For everyone? Oh, that’s cool. I, uh, um thanks but I just ate.”  You both look down at your stomach when it growls loudly and suspiciously.

6. To brother: “Hey, get my bra off your head.”

7. “No, I wasn’t just making faces at myself and taking selfies in the mirror for the past ten minutes.”

8. The door opens suddenly. Your arms and hands clap over your body parts in horror as you huddle uncomfortably over the toilet. “I’m in here!” You scream out as someone yells back, “Oh my god, lock the door next time!”

9. “Mom! Mom, where are you? Can I have a snack?”  You shout back through the door, “Ask me when I get out of here!” The child’s voice is insistent.  “No, Mom, I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?” Your own voice becomes shrill and exasperated. “No, I’m using the bathroom, can’t you give me a few minutes? And thanks, by the way. Now everyone knows!”

10. That moment a fart slips in front of someone. Oh my.

Unexpected Waterfalls

There comes a time in every mother’s life, when she asks herself, “Why me?” Although I seem to have one of those moments at least once a day, I don’t think I am weak or lazy. Perhaps I am just in the middle of a VERY long streak of challenges.

She grasped me tightly and sobbed into my shoulder. “No, Mom!” Her three year old voice was in obvious pain.

“Please, honey. Just let your pee pee go. Stop holding it in.” I closed my eyes as she wailed louder, hopping frantically in my arms.

I had applied the urine bag around her private parts as the nurse instructed me. We needed a sample or she would need a catheter. Right now, I couldn’t figure out which was worse.

As my twelve year old daughter and I sat in the middle of the bathroom floor, I held my baby closer to me and murmured gently in her ear. “Everything’s going to be okay. All you have to do is let your pee out in the bag and Mommy will take it to the doctor. You don’t have to go. Mommy will drop it off! We are going to make sure you are all better now!”

She screamed furiously as the pressure in her bladder became overwhelming. My older daughter gasped out. I jerked as pee began spraying on my leg.

No, I obviously did not place it in the exact correct spot, or perhaps it moved with all her jumping. Who was that screaming? All of us, I think.

I grabbed at the bag and tried to hold it in place as her warm urine gushed over my hand. No time for caring. There was NO way I was going to put either of us through this ordeal again. I was going to catch her pee, dammit.

Her eyes widened, mouth reflected shock. We had a major waterfall, and it was splashing everywhere.

The torrent finally stopped. Silence ensued while I gently peeled the bag from her private area. My baby cried out again as she resumed peeing. Standing up peeing straight on a floor would bother anyone who was nearly potty trained.

My older daughter found a washcloth and held it uncertainly. I latched onto it and pressed it against my baby like a diaper, the bag of pee held precariously in my other hand.

We shrieked to each other in our confusion. “Mom, she wants to make the rest on the potty!”

I glanced at the precious pee bag and pee washcloth in my hands. “Put her on! I can’t move!”

I watched, pee dripping down my leg, as my oldest daughter placed my youngest on the toilet. I heard immediate tinkling.

My older daughter looked at me. I stared back. It was rather awkward until she broke the silence. “Mom. I have pee on my leg.”

I kept staring at the pee bag.

“Yeah. Me too. Uh, do you wanna hold this pee bag, or clean this pee up.. Or …” I was pretty uncertain, although I knew I had to act fast.

“Ummm, no. Uhhh, okay.” She took the pee bag from me and stood still. One glance at the baby assured me she was going to just stay on the potty.

I found the pee cup and took the pee bag. Pulling the tab at the bottom, I frowned as I lost some, dribbling through my fingers. “No!” I exclaimed, carefully aiming the bag to the cup. I capped it and placed it in the biohazard zip lock bag. I washed my hands and ran to put it on ice. They told me that was important.

I came back with baby wipes for the eldest and found them in the exact same positions. I evaluated the situation and let them stand/sit there until I cleaned up the pee from the floor with Clorox.

We cleaned ourselves as best we could and I left in a hurry to submit this precious sample.

Pulling into the parking lot, apprehension settled on me as I envisioned carrying an ice bag of pee into the clinic. There was no way to feel regular about that.

I turned off the car and walked quickly to the laboratory, on the heels of a young couple. They sat down to wait as I stood awkwardly shifting with my pee bag.

The lady at the desk asked me if I was dropping off. I gave a short laugh. “Yes, but this is the kind of thing you need your gloves for, and I need to go home and shower after.”

She nodded and had me wait as she typed for minutes. A line began forming behind me, as I continued to hold my pee pee bag.

She finished her typing and turned to me. “Is it shi shi or doo doo?”

I felt the eyes widen and ears grow, from the line behind me as I guffawed, “Oh no, that would be terrible. It’s pee.” I added hurriedly, for everyone’s benefit, “It’s my three year old daughters. It was difficult to get.”

That was certainly an understatement. Did they all hear me? Did they understand I didn’t carry my own pee around?

I pretended to be invisible as I left the office. My eyes kept straight ahead, I sighed internally.

I have pee on me. Again. I do what I have to do. This is my life.

Unplugged Toddler

“No iPads at bedtime this week,” I announced to my children.

“Awww, no, Mom!”

“I will tell you pretend stories and read books.” They opened their mouths to protest again. “Look, just try it out, okay?”

That was two nights ago. I thought it was a fabulous Supermom idea at the time.

The first night, I pretended the battery was dead on every device. This works for a toddler if you don’t let them touch it to confirm your claim. My children were tucked in. I told part 1 of ‘Wizard of Oz’, a humorous version starring the kids. They were asleep quickly and I did a proud dance in my head. Dancing should always remain in my imagination, or my kids are utterly embarrassed. I am just awkward like that.

The second night, they requested my story to be finished. Wow! Score for Supermom!

Tonight, we had a late start, but I was determined to read aloud.

“Turn off the iPad now, it’s time to read.”

My toddler tiger looked up and began wailing. I repeated myself. I was stern. I was nice. I did everything except the banned dance. She started negotiating.

“I hide it.”

“No, turn it off and put it away.”

“Nooo, I hide it!” She pulled the blanket over the screen, a wide toothy grin plastered on her face. She was so proud of her idea.

“Okay, fine. Hide it, but pause it so the sound turns off, too.”

Her little fingers twitched, and stopped. “No, I hide it.”

“No, pause it, then you can hide it.”

She paused the show and slid the blanket over it again. “I hide it!”

“Okay. We are going to read ‘Big House in the Woods’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder.” I opened the book to the first chapter. “Hey, turn that off!”

Toddler tiger giggled and paused the show again. I gave her a sideways look as I resumed reading. Within a few moments, she was babbling, as babies do. About nothing. “Shhh, listen to the story.”

“I want birthday cups and plates,” she informed me. “And balloons.”

“Right. Got it. So, there were trees everywhere, hey- turn it off or I will take the iPad away.”

She pouted and covered the screen. I continued reading in between cries. My older girls let me know they couldn’t hear the story. I sighed and turned the lights out.

Toddler tiger was quiet for a minute. I suppose most tigers lay very still before attacking. She sprang onto her hands and knees, and tore into my hair. I struggled to remove her fingers without hurting her. As soon as my hair was freed, she latched onto my ear. I gasped out, “It’s Baby Jack from the Incredibles!!”

Eldest daughter called out, “Tell the story!”

I immediately launched into the tale of a birthday party coming up that needed plates and cups. Toddler tiger froze. “Birthday?”

“Yes!” My voice might have been overly excited since she stopped
trying to buck.

“My birthday?”

“Sure.” I continued the story and she began pummeling me again. She pinched her sister. Sadly, I missed that important window of opportunity to get her to sleep. I didn’t feed her after midnight, so it wasn’t a Gremlin appearance.

My fingers groped blindly in the darkness. Finding the iPad, I cowered before the Queen and showed her my offering.

Her voice was exuberant and quite surprised. “Thanks, mom!”

Negative five thousand points for Supermom.