Transitioning to Solo Parenting {with Fibro Live video}

Shortly after Halloween, my husband and I had to make the tough decision of him moving out of state for employment. It’s not easy to parent with fibromyalgia, let alone parent without my husband’s help. Here is how I’ve been transitioning into solo parenting and how our family has been handling the new living arrangements.

{Scroll down for the video of this show.}

Transitioning to Solo Parenting #FibroLive #FibroParenting #BeingFibroMom
created by Brandi Clevinger using the image from © phaitoon at www.stock.adobe.com
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Why I’m Solo Parenting

My husband, Tim, was laid off from his job earlier in 2017. Since then he has been unable to find employment in our area and the surrounding areas. He use to work in Virginia, his hometown, and his parents still live there along with past colleagues. With all options exhausted in our current city, we made the decision for him to move in with his parents to gain employment. It is our hopes that he will eventually be able to transfer to a job down here or gain employment down here in the future. In the meantime, he will remain in Virginia to work while the kids and I stay here.

 

How we told our kids

We told our kids the truth of what was happening, but excluded all the details they didn’t need to know. It was similar to when we told them about me living with fibromyalgia and had similar reactions. By telling them the truth, there was a less chance of them being scared and acting out because of the unknown. Since telling them, they feel included as part of the family even when it comes to the parts that mattered most such as Tim living out of state. They have been adjusting well and helping out more than they usually do.

 

How I’m handling it

There are three states of being: physically, mentally, and emotionally. When I tackle fibromyalgia as an advocate and thriver, I process it in these three stages. The three are connected, but they also stand on their own individually. Each is important and when one is affected the others are affected, too.

Physically, I’m struggling. All of the house and parenting duties my husband and I shared have now fallen onto my shoulders alone. This is physically demanding for my body. Even with Tim’s help, it took a lot of energy to keep up with the laundry, cleaning, kids’ homework, cooking meals, and the rest of it. Now that it’s me alone, it takes strategic planning as though I was some military general or something. I’ve had to enlist the help of my children with different areas, and with their help I’ve been doing okay breaking even.

For the mental part of things, I understand the logic of what we are doing. The consequences of choosing the other options is not something we want to deal with. All of this makes sense to me, so mentally processing it has been okay.

Emotionally, I’m a wreck. I miss my husband and our time together. I do have friends and I interact with others, but I’m lonely and that is harder than the physical side of it.

image from © lawkeeper at www.stock.adobe.com

 

Positive Take Aways

As with all situations, there are negatives and positives. Sometimes the positive is hard to see, but it’s there if you search hard enough. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been able to discover those positives.

  • Teaches us our strengths and weaknesses. And by knowing each of these for each family member, we are able to balance each other. What is a strength for me, may be a weakness for one of my kids which I can then help them with. The same is true for the other direction. My kids have many physical strengths and they are able to me with that because physical demands are a weakness for me.
  • Knowing how to ask for help. This goes along with knowing strengths and weaknesses. When I know I have a weakness and my kids are unable to help, I have to learn to ask for help from friends. This can be hard to ask for help time and again, but the plus side is that I’ll get good at it.
  • Gives the kids a chance to be a part of the solution. Kids love to help. It’s in their nature and when they can help, they feel needed, wanted. This is essential for them. They also feel independent and responsible. Feeling this way can empower a kid and be a character building strength for them.
  • Connecting more with each of the kids. Know that my husband is not here and I’m needing more help, this is giving me the opportunity to connect with each of my kids. I get more one-on-one time with them, and this allows me to get to know them better. Also, it gives them the chance to know me better. It has definitely strengthened my relationship with my kids.
  • Being more appreciative of one another. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and this is a great way to find out how true it is! Since being apart, we have realized those little things that we once took for granted. While Tim visited for the Thanksgiving holiday, he appreciated doing a list of tasks that I had. He didn’t realize how much he would enjoy doing them once he wasn’t able to do it for an extended period of time. For me, I didn’t realize how much he did around the house. The same was true for each of our children – they didn’t realize how much daddy did for them and they now value his time and efforts.
  • Gaining insight to solo parenting. I’ve always wondered how to help those parents that do not have a spouse or partner to help with the parenting duties. I felt I couldn’t offer up any solutions because I didn’t have first hand experience with any of it. Tim has been here to help, so how would I know what truly works and doesn’t work? Now I have the experience and trials to help others, and I’m humbled for that opportunity.

 

Transitioning to Solo Parenting

As of the date of this video, my husband and I have been living separately for three weeks. We are still learning how to adjust to this new living arrangement, but as with all things in life, there are ups and downs. Some days are better than others, but there are good days and I take comfort in knowing that.

When we first entered into this phase of our lives, I decided to take a break from all advocacy work and writing assignments. It was for an indefinite amount of time because I didn’t know how I would handle this physically, mentally, and emotionally. I didn’t want to put unnecessary strain on my body and make it more difficult on myself than needed. I’m glad I’ve made that decision. It has gone smooth because of it.

Some days I do get overwhelmed or I’m feeling low. When this happens, I stop everything and just rest or write in my journal. This is how I process it. I have some anger about the lack of employment opportunities, but that is natural and I don’t stop those feelings. I roll with the punches as they are thrown my way and be done with it.

I also changed my eating habits. I stopped all alcohol and cut the sweets out by more than half. My morning walks with a friend is also necessary for me. These changes have increased my energy and made me less irritable overall. I’m still working on sleep quality, and I’m hoping it will work out with time.

 

 

Fibro Live video

 

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Brandi

I’m Brandi, follower of Christ, wife to an amazing, supportive husband, blessed mother to four sweet children, and a fellow spoonie.
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