Desperate Times Do Not Call for Desperate Measures; My Story Part 2
Desperate dating was not working for me. Luckily I had the sense to recognize that fairly quickly. So what did I do? Honestly, giving up and entering a convent did cross my mind. Since I’m not the least bit religious, that was not a viable option. So instead, I decided to focus on what was already good in my life and build a strong foundation for myself and my kids. Rather than spending my energy on trying to find a new husband for me and part-time daddy for them, I focused on stabilizing our homelife. We had recently moved to a new state as a family of 4, so there was lots to do to get our ship stabilized as a fledgling family of 3.
It was a high priority for me to have a stable homebase for the kids and me to recover from the divorce. With some of the money from the sale of our previous family home, I was able to buy a cute, affordable house in a safe neighborhood. I say this bit about buying a place so casually, but at the time, this was a terrifying prospect! Being totally responsible for a home on my own felt huge and overwhelming. For better or worse, I was pretty numb from the divorce proceedings so I just went with it in a sort of fog. Luckily, the house we found was close to school and close to the kids’ dad. This location was strategic in multiple ways – trips back and forth to school for sports or for retrieving forgotten articles at Dad’s house were relatively painless since the distance was not great. The house was (and is) small (by American standards), but as a single person, it felt manageable financially without making me feel strapped for cash every month. It was also newer construction which gave me peace of mind. I had lived in various older homes that were full of charm, but things tended to not work properly or break frequently. I wanted a house where everything was reliable and functional.
Then we set about settling in to our new lives. We worked on making our home cute and cozy. It was wonderful to have a peaceful place to call home after living for so many years at the end of my marriage in a constant state of anxiety and feeling like I was walking on eggshells. I reveled in it. I had fun buying stuff for our place and decorating it to my taste. We started having fun exploring our new neighborhood, finding all the good places to hike, eat and other fun things to do. We started traveling again, just the 3 of us. I felt good about providing a solid, stable place for my kids and I to build our new lives.The kids were doing well, making friends, adjusting to new schools and riding the school bus (a new experience for them). They felt safe and secure which allowed me to take a closer look at some of my own needs. I had taken a teaching job with a rigid schedule that wasn’t working. I liked teaching, but I didn’t like the inflexibility. It has always been a priority of mine to be there for my kids. I wanted to go to all of the school pageants and presentations, be there to pick them up if they needed to come home sick, greet them after school and feed them a snack and generally feel like I am present and involved. I couldn’t really do any of those things with that job, so I changed to a position where I could schedule my own time. I know not everyone has the ability to find a job like this, but this is just one example of how I chose to make adjustments to better honor my own priorities. This made me feel more in control and not just a passive participant in my life.
I am an introvert so I don’t need a lot of social stimulation, but after some quality time by myself I was ready for a little human interaction! Having just moved to a new area in the middle of a divorce and learning how to be a single mom, I was desperately missing the support of the girlfriends I had left behind. I also realized I was going to need some people around me, at least a goddamned emergency contact for work! So I slowly started going out with work people for drinks on occasion (even when I didn’t really feel it), saw more of my family that lived close to our area and casually befriended some other single moms in the neighborhood. I started to feel more secure, like if I was hit by a bus, at least there would be someone to step in and watch my kids after school! This is the point (about a year after my divorce) when I felt ready to start dating again.
Karyn Shomler AKA kc is me