I’ve been feeling in a funk these days, my life feels like it is in such limbo. Nothing is happening on the legal front which is beyond frustrating and trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life outside of being a mom is so overwhelming. I’ve been trying to be intentional about finding something that brings me joy and peace each week.
Date night with my boys
In Florida before life went spiraling out of control, I loved taking my boys on lunch dates, either solo or with my amazing mom friends. On the rare occasion I had someone to watch my youngest, taking my oldest out do dinner just the two of us was always such an amazing time. Since being in MA we haven’t done that once. I’ve been trying not to spend any money other than on necessities and things for my boys. But lately, I’ve been feeling so much like I don’t have much of a life here. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve reconnected with so many people I grew up, have my family close by and have so many people in my corner, cheering me on. But I had a life I built for 18 years in Florida, relationships that I invested in. I miss my friends in Florida. Outside of my ex I just miss my normal every day-to-day life that I had with friends and neighbors back home. So, while my mom was out of town this week (her and I usually eat dinner together) I decided to take the boys on a dinner date after my son’s taekwondo. Now to be completely honest I knew this was going to go one of two ways depending on my almost 2-year-old. We would either have a lovely dinner as a family of 3, or I would be drinking my glass of wine in a rush and asking for my meal to go and running out of there as fast as could be. 😉
I don’t know if the universe sensed my need for a peaceful night with my boys, or if my little guys were as excited for this night out as much as I was, but we had the most peaceful dinner out. I was so proud of both my boys. My toddler actually sat in his highchair, had zero meltdowns, and seemed very focused on his big plate of food. And my oldest ate every last bite of his dinner and had amazing conversation with me about his day. It was in this moment that I was reminded, “I can do this. My crew and I got this. As long as we have each other, we’ll be ok.”
Emotional abuse: No longer under his control
I’m starting to realize how freeing it is to be able to do what I want without constantly wondering if it’s going to make my spouse upset. I feel like I’ve been living my life walking on eggshells the past 5 years, constantly questioning my decisions, asking myself if I do this is it going to create a battle at home. I always valued family meals, sitting down with either my spouse at night, or as a family for dinner was always a priority to me. I always made this clear with my ex and there was a time many years ago where he prioritized that too. But when mental illness and alcohol took over, I found myself either eating alone each night, or cooking a nice family dinner for me and my oldest son. It broke my heart daily as my son would always say, “I want Daddy to eat with us.” I would constantly make excuses for him, as I was very careful always as to not speak badly about his dad. But it was so hard. It made me so angry that he was not valuing this time, that he was MIA doing who knows what, yet would constantly complain that he never saw his kids. Yet there were so many times where I wouldn’t plan a meal and would take the boys out to meet with friends and that would be the one night he decided to come home on time without any communication per usual and I would be made to feel so guilty. Or be told, “It must be so nice to have fun with friends.” I tried so hard to communicate, to let him know our plans, to invite him, to make him feel included, but it never mattered, I was always in the wrong. Emotional abuse is so hard and so tricky to navigate. Just because you don’t have bruises on you, it doesn’t mean it’s not real. I actually think it’s this kind of abuse that’s most tricky to heal from. I’m slowly realizing just how much control he had over me and I’m slowly breaking free and finding peace in the fact that I can choose to do what makes us happy and not worry about how it’s going to affect someone else. It’s such a small thing, but it’s also HUGE. It’s no longer all about him. It’s about what makes ME happy, and my boys happy too.
So, this dinner with my boys, it was a moment of clarity for me, and it was just what the three of us needed. It brought me joy, it brought my boys joy, and I need to make things like this happen more often. Trying to let go of those things I can’t control and let these peaceful moments with my crew carry me through.