The Tale of Two Lives

I lead two very different lives.

Every other week, my life changes drastically. At first, I hated it and I fought tooth and nail against it. Now, I am at peace with it.

What in the world am I talking about?

Every other week, my kids go to their dad’s house. I live one week as a single parent and I live the next week as a single person. Yes, of course, I am still a mother when my kids aren’t with me but the day to day tasks of being a parent falls to my ex-husband. Divorce changed everything for me. It was heart wrenching, heart breaking and life changing.The Tale of Two Lives

I had to come to terms that fifty percent of my kids lives I won’t be apart of. I could either wallow in self-pity or I could learn to dance in the rain. Okay, to be perfectly honest, I wallowed in self-pity for a long time. I said and did stupid things. I was the crazy ex-wife for a while. All the while, my kids suffered. I suffered. We all suffered. So I learned to make two lives for myself. One to nurture my kids’ souls and one to nurture mine.

Let me be clear, this works for me. I totally understand when other divorced parents tell me how hard it is when their kids go to their other home. I get it. It still makes me sad and I feel left out when my kids leave. I guess I needed to mourn what I lost and find something that worked for me to get past the very thing I knew people were expecting me to fail at. When I am told I can’t do something, it motivates me to prove them wrong. Yes, reverse psychology can and will work on me.

The Tale of Two LivesWhen my kids are with me, I lessen my work load so I can be available to my kids when they are not in school. I call it hybrid stay at home mothering. I still work 6 hours a day when they are in school but once their school bell rings, I am a stay at home mom. I enjoy going to all their activities, sports and events. I love cooking and baking home cooked meals. It’s not a chore but something I really love doing except maybe sitting in the car waiting for my middle child to get done with basketball practice. He is so incredible slow packing up his gear. I digress. My focus is 100% on my kids when they are with me. They know that and they appreciate it.

When the kids are at their dad’s house, my life does a one eighty degree turn. I still go to their games and events but I work a lot. Sometimes I work 12 hour days. I eat a lot of cereal during the week. On the weekends, I like to pretend I am a gourmet cook and I cook/bake some amazing dishes. Dishes my kids would never eat. I sleep in and stay up late. I wear my pjs too much around the house. I watch movies and t.v. shows that I couldn’t when the kids are around. I am able to travel to far away places and give into my wanderlust. Basically, I do what I want, when I want and where I want.

The Tale of Two LivesHonestly, I enjoy my time away from the kids. I am not ashamed to admit that. There is something about being able to have the best of both worlds…being a mom and being on my own. I treasure my time with my kids and I treasure my time alone. My favorite thing I do on the weeks I don’t have the kids is being at the local coffee house, knitting, sipping and meeting up with friends. It’s a way my soul can be replenished. There is no guilt in self-care as a single mom.

I am 100% focused on my kids when I have custody of them. I am 100% focused on my life and interests when they aren’t with me. It may not be the healthiest thing. It may not even be the best way to be but it’s my life. I love my life. I love BOTH of my lives.

Sarah Heil-Brenny

Sarah Heil-Brenny is a single divorced mom of three teenage boys who lives in a suburb of the Twin Cities. Pack leader of two dogs with a combined weight of 9 pounds. She is often found knitting in inappropriate places, watching way too much Netflix, posting too many pictures on Instagram, and munching on anything gummy. Sarah pretends she is an extrovert but she is a closeted introvert who adores spending an obscene amount of time by herself and a few awesome friends. She is an adolescent psychotherapist who has a private practice. Photojournalism was a passion that turned into a business but really it’s because she can fly her drone. She does this all the while going to school for her PhD in Social Work. Someday she hopes she can just sit, relax and not stress about her yarn stash. Until then, she lives her chaotic life. Welcome to it.

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