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Monday, August 27, 2007

My reality

For weeks I’ve perpetrated a lie… well, at least to my online friends. I’m not necessarily a wife. Let me clarify. Although I am married; my husband and I have not lived together for the last four months (minus about a week). And if you’ve been keeping up with me, you know that my youngest child is 3 months old.

This recent turn of events in my life has been devastating, confusing, scary and uncertain. Although I’ve been a single parent before, I’ve never been one to so many children at once. I have four children and three of them are younger than 4. This has also been a very lonely time. Even those who know my situation didn’t reach out to me. No one, who knew my situation, called to see how I was when I had the baby. There were no friends cleaning, doing laundry or running errands. There were no family members pitching in. There was just me and my four kids.

My original plans, before the separation, were to nurture my newborn, and rest and recuperate for six months, and then I would begin looking for a job and/or more lucrative freelance assignments. I was going to ease back into “normal” life as best as I could, but with the physical, financial and emotional support of my husband. Although we didn’t have a perfect (not even close) marriage, my husband – the major breadwinner – and I were parents… together. I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about money, bills or whether the children made it to school and daycare or ate breakfast and dinner. I knew that I could ease back into life because my husband had promised to take care of me.

Then… the separation…

Although I was near the beginning of my eight month of pregnancy and my self-imposed “maternity leave,” I took two more writing assignments. I posted things to sell on eBay. I took my kids everywhere and anywhere they needed or wanted to go. There were doctor’s appointments for everyone, dentist appointments, drop offs at daycare and summer school, birthdays to plan, bills to pay, groceries to buy, prenatal appointments, paperwork to fill out, laundry to wash, rooms to clean, toys to put away… you know, the stuff I normally do but the stuff that’s magnified one thousand percent when you’re pregnant and stressed.

Instead of preparing to have a baby, I cried myself to sleep. Instead of being excited about the new addition, I cried. I worried. I wondered what I was going to do. And I cried some more.

And now my reality is that not much has changed since then. Well, I don’t cry as much and, thank God, I’ve passed the post-partum depression period. Uh, mostly. My reality is I’ve been looking for a job, looking for paying assignments, asking everyone I know to give me a referral, a shout out, something to take the pressure off. But, my reality is also that I don’t want to go back to work full-time. I loved doing what I was doing before: Working from home part time and taking care of my family fulltime.

Although I feel a little guilty working on the projects that don’t make money right now; I want to be happy and provide for my children. So, at the risk of getting weird propositions, dead end recommendations and just plain silly advice, I’m asking you – my online friends – if you need something edited, know an editor at a magazine who can use a writer with 13 years experience or do you have a tried and true at-home business that doesn’t require a monetary investment? If so, then let me know. Help me make my reality a little happier.
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