After so many years of just me and The Fiend adjusting to having Babydaddy in the picture has been a challenge for all of us. There is a lot that is truly wonderful about the situation. The Fiend now has a strong relationship with the other half of her. She gained not only a father but a grandfather. She and I get to have a break from each other, something I didn’t even realize we needed until we had it.
There are certainly challenges to the arrangement a well. I don’t want to focus too much on those things. I feel like acknowledging that they exist and trying to move past them or learn to work with them is the best way to handle them. But one thing that has cropped up recently is a purely internal challenge.
Babydaddy started taking The Fiend overnight on Tuesdays and Fridays back in February. This was the first time since she was born that there has been a regular diet of time to myself. I had been a 24-7 mama for four and a half years. At first it was lovely to have the time to be myself without the mitigation of motherhood. And don’t get me wrong, it is still lovely.
The interesting thing that has happened the last few weeks is the emptiness. I don’t notice it at first. Then it’s there, at the edges of everything. It’s not overpowering at that point, just present. But as the minutes pass it encroaches until it becomes suffocating. It’s so quiet.
And in that space that is created the evil twin appears. She starts bringing up all the worry and insecurity. She starts second guessing and down playing. She starts questioning worth and direction. And there is nothing to distract her. I’ll wash dishes or fold laundry or sweep floors. I’ll read or paint or write. I’ll put on a movie or listen to an audiobook or turn on music. But nothing chases her away. Eventually I find I can’t stay in the house.
So I find reasons to leave. And I stay away until my eyelids droop and I drag myself home. I crawl into bed and fall into brief but blissful sleep. I’m always relieved the next night when the rooms are filled again with all the wonderfulness that is The Fiend. She has become a ward against my worst enemy, myself.
I recognize it isn’t sustainable. I need to find a way to face the twin and address the doubts that she throws at me. I have to learn to hold onto my value in all circumstances. I have to remember how to be myself when I am alone.