with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
The anxiety is like a third child. I have to manage her carefully. She’s a tough one. Today, she’s made it clear she doesn’t want to go far from the house. Still, I push the issue. I drag my anxiety to Rite-Aid, to the pet supply store, to the Thai place for takeout. I stop at the bike place as well. I need a beach cruiser. I need to burn off this energy.
Nothing is coming out right today. I can’t find the words. At the Rite-Aid, I stutter, I stumble on my words, I flush from cheeks to neck. Anxiety is constantly pulling on my leg, pulling on my heartstrings, clinging to my neck, crawling onto my shoulders. I want to put her down for a nap, but she’s having none of that.
What would help? I miss my animals in Massachusetts. I miss my female friends, especially, across the globe. Women seem to understand anxiety. They talk about such things. I miss my daughters, who have been away for a month with their dad. I miss my mom, who is being a very good sport about caring for my animals while I am here in Southern California. The split-life is tough for a homebody, despite the fact I am lucky to have it.
I love it here in San Diego, where I spend time once a month, because life and love are funny like that. Most of the time, my anxiety chills out at the beach. So I took my anxiety swimming yesterday. It’s odd, going swimming in the ocean alone (except for anxiety, attached to my arse like a barnacle). There’s no one on the beach looking for me. Without contact lenses, I’m blind in the water. When I come up dripping and breathless, I squint at the beach, trying to hone in on my orange towel and woven beach bag. No one notices me. I’m not that girl anymore. I’m the mom-type, pale and chubby in my skirted pink suit. I curse myself freshly for not wearing tiny bikinis back in the day, the days before anxiety and laugh lines and frown lines and cellulite. What was I trying to hide?
I go through bottles of Pepto-Bismol Max, at least two a week. Talking to my girls on their iTouches, via FaceTime, helps matters. The beauty that they are knocks me out. I will have them for all of August, and that includes a trip to the Atlantic Ocean, but July without them has been brutal. They’ve done fine, have loved their visit to Canada, where their dad’s family lives. I, on the other hand? I am ready to wrap my arms around them very soon and not let go.
Baby #3, Miss Anxiety, is a handful. My meds don’t help much, but I am in no hurry to take any new drugs. I try to learn to go with the flow. Anxiety: I put her on my hip, like an intractable toddler, and try to go about my business. I don’t remember life without anxiety, and I shouldn’t even try. I get the sense she’s here to stay, for whatever reason.
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