Thursday, October 30, 2014

More than enough

Like many women, I struggle to believe that I am "enough."  My marriage and divorce did not help matters.  I spent too many years feeling small and like my wants and needs didn't matter, and such things do not change overnight.

They don't change instantly because of divorce, either, it seems.

Yesterday I finally dealt with the fact that my old Subaru was, in fact, too old.  The engine light was on almost all the time, and the brake light kept coming on, and the whole thing was one thread away from totally unraveling.  Every time I got in it I wondered if I'd end the day in a tow truck, and I avoided taking other people (including Katherine's friends) in it.  I was constantly asking someone else to drive, just in case.

I looked at used cars, of course.  But Subarus hold their value really well, and interest rates on new cars are so low, that I found myself looking at a new car.

The economy version, of course.

But then for just a little more, I could get a moonroof.  Better speakers.  All weather package.

I asked my dad if he would cosign for me if I needed it.  My work history is too new, my income too small, my mortgage too large, and I just wasn't sure what would happen with financing.  Dad said yes, and with my heart in my chest, I signed all the papers to see if I'd qualify.

I qualified.  Not only that, my credit was in the "excellent" category, the one with no questions, the one that said I could get what I wanted.  I've managed my slim finances well.

So, last night, I drove off the new car lot in a shiny car that I paid for (and will keep paying for!).

My choice in exterior color.  (Dad says it's the color of pavement so it's not safe.  I like it a lot.  I said "This is my choice.")
My choice in interior color.
My choice in upgrades.  (Yes, I do want heated seats, even though they're frivolous.  Ditto on the moonroof.)


I am allowed to have some upgrades.

I am worth more than a beat up junker car.

I get to choose what *I* like.

I didn't know how good that would feel until I got to make those choices for myself, and earn the right to keep them.  I didn't know how small I felt, until a car dealership looked at me like, "Well, of course you can!"

I'm bigger than my car, and I'm no more important today in my shiny silver metallic ice car than I was in my dark (dated) green car.

But I'm walking a little taller, aware that *I* get to choose.  That my opinion carries weight.  That I don't need to settle, I don't need seconds.

I am enough.

I am surprised that I needed the lesson, but some old lessons are hard to unlearn.  Today, I'm unlearning the old "I'm not enough".

I am enough.

And YOU are enough, too.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bossy Women

Lately, I find myself being rather bossy.

I use the word intentionally: it's been in the media a fair amount, and I'm finding that as I find my professional stride and start really growing wings and flying (ohhhh that's a silly mix of metaphors, but picture a Pegasus running along the ground and launching into the sky, and maybe it works?!), I'm getting feedback that boils down to the fact that I'm being bossy.

My boss hired me to change things at the organization.  I am, first and foremost, supposed to find them more money.  Secondly, I'm supposed to bring in more people - potential donors - to the organization.  I'm supposed to find higher quality sponsors.  I'm supposed to upgrade our events.  Bigger, better, and more is the order of the day, and I'm fine with that: it's my job description, and I know what has to happen to make that work.

But every time I said, "Okay, I think we need to do (this)" and suggest a change from the way it has been done before, my boss resists.  If I lay out a case for the change, he resists.  If I ask questions, he resists.  Sometimes he tells me to stop asking questions because everything is fine the way it is.  He has raised his voice to me and said, "We did just fine before you were here, we're a professional organization, and some things are better left alone!" before stomping out of my office.

Our big event was last weekend, and I killed it.  Everything that was my responsibility went incredibly well.  I upped attendance by 21% and revenue by 28%.  Over and over I heard that this was by far the best event that this organization has ever thrown.  The board is absolutely in love with me, and told me that I could have whatever I wanted to grow it to the next level.

My boss has been rude and sullen about it, and I think it's an ego thing.  This is "his" organization, and he has received all of the praise up until now.  Not only that, he majorly screwed up several things on his end that were nearly dealbreakers at the event, and I spent the whole night fixing his problems.  (I did not sit at the table with my friends who had paid to attend the event, and fought his fires instead.)  I spent the last week fixing those problems.  I'm not done.

Monday, I had to say, "Look - for months I've been hearing "Why don't you trust us?" and "We did fine before you got here" and "Stop trying to change things!" and "STOP ASKING SO MANY QUESTIONS!" and you've told me that it's all under control.  It is not under control, and it came to me to fix things.  You gave me all of the responsibility without the control, and I will not work like that any more.  If you are unwilling to change, I can not work here.  If you want to do things the way you've always done things, I can not grow your revenue, because I'll get the same results you've always gotten.  Everything I did, I did above and beyond.  I grew you more than you knew was possible, and I've proven myself.  So if you want me to stay, now you have to change."

I got a lot of apologies - how could he argue when I'd just blown things away?  But my work environment is tense.

And I think I've earned myself the label of "Bossy" as a result of these conversations.

I am not the little lady.  I am not a wilting flower looking for a man to rescue me.  I know what I'm doing, and I do it well.  I've had some good ideas, and I put in some 60-80 hour weeks to implement those ideas and make them succeed.  Hard work, good intuition, and professional knowledge, combined with good interpersonal skills with donors and sponsors, make me good at what I do.  When I say, "Here's a problem and here's a solution to that problem", telling me to stop trying to change things is a really bad idea.  Unless, of course, the organization wants to stay exactly where it is, in which case it shouldn't have paid me to come along and grow it.

So, my boss thinks I'm bossy.

I think that when he hired me, he thought that I was less than I am.  My stay at home mom years, coupled with my sad cancer story, might have made me seem weaker and smaller than I really am.  Perhaps he liked that part of my tale.  Perhaps he thought that he was hiring a yes-girl.  I can't tell - I am not a mind reader, but it does not appear that he likes strong women, or substantiated opinions.

Would I receive the same treatment if I was a man?

Would he ask me to type up his letters - not a word of lie - or book things on his calendar - no kidding - if I was a man?

I don't think so.

I think I'm dealing with an old fashioned man.  The Boss is the Boss, no matter what, no matter if he's wrong.  Ladies should not speak up.  There are men's jobs, and there are women's jobs.

But this lady - and I am a lady all the way, from my red lipstick to my high heels, to my career dresses that cover lacy underthings - is doing a man's job.  This lady is skyrocketing this organization, and expects a man's kudos.  This lady expects to be treated as if my ideas are something more than "cute."

This lady was hired to a do "a man's work", and I'm killing it.

This lady has been diplomatic, polite, and professional, and the consequence for that "appropriate" behavior was that I was steamrolled.  I worked twice as much as anyone at the organization, accomplished at least twice as much, and was rewarded for it with criticism and an admonition to be quiet, stop asking questions.

Irony: I was never given the budget.  I was not allowed to select the vendors - I was told "this is who we use, so just call them and set it up."  When I announced our record breaking revenue, the only comment I got was "That's nice, but it doesn't really matter until we account for expenses."  The expenses that I had nothing to do with, so don't try to pass that off on me.  If you want me to manage expenses, then you need to give me some control over them, and not give me blame for them AFTER the event.

So.  I'm officially one of the Bossy Women that the media has been talking about.  I am pushing back.  I am saying, "NO."  I risked it all and said, "I can't work under these circumstances," and because there was so much logic (not hysteria, not emotion, not moodiness) in what I said, they said, "Okay."

But it sucks.

It's horrible to pull of several miracles per week, and be treated like an obstacle.

It's horrible to treat others professionally, and not be treated professionally in return.

It's horrible to be hired to do a job, and then not given all the tools to do that job.

It's horrible to be shushed.

It's horrible to be treated as less than I am.

Nobody has ever accused me of being a bitch.  Mostly, I'm told that I'm "too" nice.  Friends of both genders have counseled me to take better care of myself, to stop giving until I bleed.

I like being nice.  I believe in compassion, integrity, kindness.  That is how I want to live.

But until further notice, I'm a Bossy Woman.

I am good at what I do, and I need to keep my career going.  I do not have patience left for people who stand in their own way and belittle me in the process. 

I won't be steamrolled any more, so now I'm Bossy.  I'd prefer to just be treated like a smart person who does her job well and considers others in the process, but perhaps because my organization is dysfunctional or perhaps because it's a man's world or perhaps because of both, I have to fight harder to be heard, and my boss looks at me like I might go off at any moment, now that I've spoken up (and proven that I'm right by the work that I've done).

I never wanted to be bossy.  It doesn't suit me.  Strong, capable, flexible, intelligent, open, hard working - those are labels I'd like to own.  I am a good leader.  But if I need to be bossy, well, so be it.


I'd like to hear from other Bossy Women.  How did you find yourself in that role?  How do you fight for what is right and still maintain relationships with those who, for their own egos or other senseless reasons, would prefer that you stay quiet?

Six more months before I think it's appropriate to start looking for a new job.  I will give it my all until the day I walk out the door, and I will be focused, and I will try to do my absolute best for this little organization before I leave....but I hope that I can find a way to get rid of the bitterness that I now feel.

Bossy women, please contact me!  I want to hear your stories, and I want to give you my empathy.  Stay strong! xoxo

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Crunch time

I'm about to ramble, so you've been warned.  I have missed coming here, and since this is my therapy I was a bit overdue.

My big work event is in a few days, and we're in the major crunch of getting it going.  I have responded in typical fashion, working twelve hour days, coming in on the weekend, having dreams about work....and getting sick.  My lungs crackle, my throat is full of glass, I'm so tired I could cry, but I keep putting in the hours.  Not only am I putting in the hours, it's like I'm on speed, trying to get things done as fast as possible, only slowing down when I'm talking to another human because otherwise they can't keep up.

This is good: I'm getting my work done.  I know that my work is good.  This event is going to be a success in great part because of the work I've put into it.  I'm proud of myself.

This is bad: I'm totally overdoing it, I should be in bed with hot tea, fresh sheets, and Netflix, but instead I'm driving myself to the edge, coming home, and collapsing, leaving Katherine to fend for herself while I call from the sofa, "I'm so sorry, honey, it's just a few more days, thank you for being patient" and she fetches me drinks.  I am not eating - skipping lunches and God-knows-what for dinner - and I'm a wreck. 

My boss's response: to be very sharp with me, to point out every little flaw ("What?  You haven't done that yet?" and when I say, "I am working on X, Y, and Z and I know that I need to work on A, B, and C next but I can't do it all at once, so if you'd like me to drop either X, Y, or Z while I deal with this, I'm okay with that," and then he says "Well, just get it all done, and hurry.  I'm going out to lunch, and then I'm getting a haircut, so I'll be back at 3pm," and then I skip lunch to get it done.)  I actually asked my boss into my office last week, closed the door, and said, "Are you angry with me, or have I done something wrong that I need to work on?" because frankly I think I'm deserving high praise right now for pulling off multiple miracles a day in a professional way, and all he does is point out the problems (which are often minute in nature but make him VERY sharp with me).  He was surprised and said, "No, everything is fine!" and said a couple of nice things, and then two hours later it was business as usual.  My boss is absolutely unsympathetic about me being sick (I actually think he's annoyed) and told me that unless I have Ebola I'd better come in.  (Actual quote.)

My main colleague's response: to be very emotional and to run around basically crying "the sky is falling! the sky is falling!"   When I ask her questions about what she needs to get through, what work needs to be done, how I need to prioritize, she says, "Never mind that we just need to get it done!" and repeats "The sky is falling!"

This is our biggest fundraiser of the year.  So far, we have a record number of people registered to attend.  The meal, decorations, and entertainment are all taken care of.  We have more items up for bid than ever before - the silent is bigger than ever, and we had a hard time choosing what to put in the live, and our system tells us that the total dollar value of these items is higher than ever before.  We have new sponsors, and more money from sponsors than ever before.  At least three new potential sponsors for next year are attending the event, and one of our biggest sponsors - a national company - is sending several VPs because they have a special interest in us (and they've never come to this event before).  I am a brand new development director, and I know I don't know everything, but damn, that sounds pretty damned good to me.  More people, more money....that is EXACTLY the goal, and so what am I missing?!

My boss keeps saying, "We're behind!  We're behind!" and I say "What deadline are we behind on?" and he can't answer and just says "We're behind last year!" and I say, "Well, not according to what I have in the system, why don't you take a look, because we're ahead and we're not even done..." and he says "I don't have time for that we just need to get this done!"

OOOOOOOOooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh it felt good to vent that.  Thank you for listening.

So.  It's crunch time, and all of these personalities are coming out.  I am the enabler, and when others are rude to me or have their own breakdowns, I enable that by picking up the slack and taking it on at my own detriment.

I'm going to have to work on that.

Right now, I just need to survive this event, and I need to do it in style.  I need all of the odds and ends to be completed, and I need to manage the volunteers the day of the event, and then I need to slip away and put on a cocktail dress and look fresh and attractive yet professional, and I need to attend the event and talk to the sponsors and the big donors and act like I'm having a wonderful time and spend money I don't have on items I don't need to support this organization (WHAT?!).

On Sunday, this will be over.  I will either get praise, or I won't.  There will either be a work celebration, or there will be grumbling.  But I'm not going to get sucked in.

I have been busting my rear end, and *I* know I'm doing a good job.

I also believe that I never, ever, ever want to throw an auction ever again, or certainly not in this manner.  It's chaotic and frustrating and filled with other people's emotions, and while I realize that it's hard work, I want it to be more professional in my professional life.  Development Job 2.0 will meet those goals.

But until then, wish me luck, because my crackly lungs and I are off to work to face the mess, and it's another 12 hour day.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Time and the Single Working Parent

I'm exhausted.

Not "oh I didn't want to get up this morning because I wanted to hit snooze" exhausted.  Not "wow I sure am busy!" exhausted.  And not "I'd love to see you but I'm busy this week, so how about next week?" exhausted.

This is, "No matter what I do and how fast I go, I can't seem to catch my breath" exhausted.  This is "I want to live my best life, but no matter how fast I go, I can't seem to get it all done."

Last weekend Katherine and I took off for the islands and did our only camping trip of the summer (which I realize was actually in fall).  I was supposed to have the day off work - scheduled ages ago - but something important came up, so I ended up scrambling to go to work in the morning, working a good chunk of the day, throwing things in the car, and rushing not to be late to pick her up at school.  We set up our tent in the dark and went to bed as soon as we arrived at the camping spot, exhausted and trying to be quiet so as not to disturb the other campers who arrived at a more sane time of day.  We had a lovely day on Saturday - watching orca whales! - but Sunday was another mad scramble, stopping at the grocery store on the way home from camping, staying up late to unload all of the camping equipment and dry out the rain fly and such, and get ready for the week.  I ran the laundry, but it never made it out of the laundry baskets this week.  Saturday was blissful, but it came at a cost, because the extra work of Friday and Sunday made me so tired that I could barely cope all this week.

This is how it is for me.  Either I sorta kinda stay caught up, but all I do is work and chores, or I allow myself to have some fun but that pushes the chores into the nighttime or  means that they don't get done.  I usually pay bills and do paperwork on the weekends, but this week the stack of mail grew taller and taller, on top of last week's, and spilled onto the floor a couple of times.  I try to clean the house every weekend, but being gone, the tumbleweeds of dog hair (others have dust bunnies, but with my dog we call them dust buffaloes) are blowing around the house.

But the chores are only a symptom of the real problem.  I'm impossibly tired, and on the edge of tears before I go to bed most nights.  I can't get it all done.  And the cost of pursuing the life that I want - one filled with orca whales and camping trips, for example - is that I have to squeeze out other activities to do those life-affirming activities, but those chores need to get done, and so I sleep less and less, and the fatigue threatens to make me non-functional.


When I read articles about divorce (and I do), many times people talk about wanting to liberate themselves to be their best self; or they talk about leading an authentic life; or they talk about how their partners didn't support their dreams.  They talk about how, in divorce, they hope to find true happiness, unburdened as they are from the negativity of their marriages.

This is not a bad idea.  Divorce is a horrible process, no matter how well it's done (and my observation is that very few people do divorce well), and nobody should go into it without the belief that their lives will be infinitely better as a result of the divorce.  Why divorce otherwise?

But something few people talk about is that it is really, really hard to pursue your best life.  It's difficult when your partner is unsupportive or worse, that's true.  I know that I was struggling to stay afloat in my marriage, and I did not know how to pursue my best life in that environment; I knew that my marriage made me feel like I couldn't breathe, and I needed oxygen to stay alive.  But what we don't talk about as much is that it can be just as hard to pursue our dreams after divorce as it is during a toxic marriage.

Yes, you heard that properly.  PollyAnna, the optimist, is advising caution.  PollyAnna, the optimist, is pointing out some rather unpleasant truths.  Divorce does not solve all of your problems, and it creates some new ones.

Bear with me, readers.  I won't leave you hanging, and I won't stay in this negative space, but I'd like you to join me in this hard reality for a little bit.


I have more dreams than I can count: I am good at locating my dreams and pursuing them.  In general, I'm a really happy person, filled with joie de vivre.  All of that is true.

But the not-so-big-secret is that I find myself struggling, often, in this new life of mine.

I am actively chasing my career right now.  I must.  I'm 45 years old and I took a ten year nap (to quote Meg Wolitzer's idea).  I am never, ever going to be able to retire, and I have enough money to put my daughter through less than a year of college, and if my car breaks down - as I think it might - I'm screwed.  Financially, I need to be really focused on my job - I'm at the bottom of the pay scale for my profession, and I need to climb the ladder.  PERSONALLY, I need to focus on my job, too.  I'm a smart lady and I don't belong at the bottom of anything, and I need to have the personal satisfaction of working my way to the place I wish to be.

Overtime.  Work stress.  More and more responsibilities.  And you know who is supporting that?  Nobody.  Do you know who is picking up extra childcare, helping with chores, making more meals?  Nobody.  Do you know who I talk to about how to budget for the new car, whether to replace the rain gutter or the garage scaffolding first?  Nobody. 

When I come home each day, there is nobody to balance this out with.  The morning's dishes are still in the sink, the wash still needs to be transferred to the dryer, the "check engine" light is still on.  Katherine still has the question about math problem number 8c, the dog still hasn't been walked, the flu shot still hasn't been scheduled, the bills didn't magically pay themselves, and dinner hasn't appeared on the table.  While I'm making dinner, nobody is checking the bank balance.  While I'm checking the bank balance, nobody is helping Katherine with problem 8c.  While I mow the lawn, the groceries aren't appearing in the refrigerator.

When I was married, it was dysfunctional and awful.  I wouldn't ever want to go back.  But I will say this: though being in a toxic marriage was exhausting, there was someone there to share all of that with.  He didn't manage it well, and he certainly didn't pull his whole share (mine was not a 50/50 marriage by ANYONE's analysis), but it turns out that 10% help would make a big difference. 

I can do the lion's share, but it's hard to do 100%.

My ex has our daughter a little bit.  On Wednesdays, I work late, because he's got her until 8pm.  This means I can stay at the office (getting less far behind), and then walk in the door at the same time Katherine returns home.  This is not exactly relaxing.  This is my weekend without Katherine, and that means that I had time to go in to the office yesterday before going to her gymnastics meet to see her compete (her dad took her, I met them there).  My ex's time with our daughter allows me to stay afloat, but it's not enough that I can get ahead.

I'm getting it done.  There may be dust buffaloes and such, but I'm doing it.  But there are days, weeks, and months where I feel like what I'm doing is surviving, not thriving.  Sometimes this fills me with pain - I so desperately want to live my best life, and instead I feel like I'm scrambling to write memos and just stay fed with clean clothes on.

And I want to thrive.

A short list of some of my dreams:

- Run a marathon (which involves running 4x/week, including a several hour run on weekends, and doing yoga and/or weights on another day; I am barely working out twice a week right now and my fitness has fallen and my weight has gone up as a result)
- Write a book (I started it, I know what I want to do, but it sits waiting for me)
- Travel (time? money?)
- Volunteer (I love saving the world, and I have a favorite cause that I work with)
- Be an AMAZING mom, the kind who is patient and kind and a good teacher and knows how to teach discipline but also to be playful and model a joyful life
- Find time to date in order to find the partner I dream about (I haven't forgotten my dream of the man on the sailboat...)
- Be a rock star in my career
- Care for my home to create a beautiful environment to live in, a place of comfort and ease

....and I want to have time to just stop and enjoy, too.  I love to wander the farmer's market, go beach combing, curl up with tea on the sofa and read books, meet a friend for a glass of wine, go to the movies or live theater.  And I want to be a good friend, the kind who brings soup when you're sick
and makes time to celebrate your birthday with you.  And a good family member, too. 

And I'd like to do it all while being stylish, and eating healthy home made meals that are organic and locally sourced.  I'd like my dog to be well exercised, I'd like to be caught up at the doctor, the dentist, and the vet.  I'd like my gutters to be clean, my garden to be weed free.  I'd like to take up kayaking and skiing.

If I haven't lost you in that list of minutia, perhaps you're as exhausted as I am reading all of that.  How on earth does one fit it all in?

It's impossible.  And it's even more impossible without some support at home.

There are so many days when I don't work out, or write, or volunteer, or plan travel.  There are so many days when the house is dusty and the laundry is in a basket at the end of my bed, not neatly put away, and I haven't talked to a friend in a week because I'm just going between work and making dinner and checking homework and gymnastics and there isn't a minute left.


I know that everyone struggles to lead their best lives.  The self-help section is booming with books telling us how to do better.  We hear it in the background of coffee shops and people discuss what they're doing and why it is or isn't working.  Magazines are filled with articles about it.

The reality is, this world is made for families with two parents, and if you're a single parent, you need to do the work of two people.  If you have a divorce where you are with your child most of the time, as I do (a privilege that I would not change for all the money and time in the world, by the way: I LOVE that Katherine is my daughter, and I will never understand why Bryan took less than 50/50, and I'm grateful that his foolishness allows me to fully raise the daughter that I adore), and you aren't independently wealthy, you're going to struggle as I do.  I'd love to call the gardener, house cleaner, personal shopper, and handyman....but it's not going to happen, as those things require money.  There is no yard service.  When I bring my car to get worked on, I don't know how to pay the mechanic, let alone rent another car in the interim.  What I end up doing is packing up Katherine and her homework and my laptop, and spending part of a Saturday afternoon at the auto-shop, doing homework and work as the car is worked on.  Not exactly the stuff of thriving.

If you're planning on being a single parent, you would be wise to be aware of all of this.  You may envision your new boyfriend and candlelit dinners, but you'd better envision some of this, too, because it's a big part of the reality as well.


And yet.

And yet, I'm trying.

And yet, I'm trying, and I won't give up.

I believe that the life I want is still waiting for me, and that every day I'm getting closer.

Having awoken from my ten year nap of being a cancer-patient-stay-at-home-mom-in-a-toxic-marriage, I have energized my career and I'm making it happen.  I'm in the busy season at work, and I'm doing a good job.  I am not on track to run a marathon any more, or even a half marathon, but I meet a friend at 5:15am twice a week to work out, and I try to do a couple more workouts on my own.  I DID go see the whales, and they were gorgeous and life affirming.  My garden is a wreck, but I do make healthy home made meals most days.  Katherine is a wonder of light and love, and we get along really well, and no matter how tired I am, I make time to help her with her homework.  As I write this the laundry is running.  And by the time Katherine gets home tonight, the fridge will be refilled for the week, the dust buffaloes will be vacuumed.  I got a bit caught up at work yesterday, and might go again today to get more ahead.

And there is a cute dad at gymnastics who has been gently flirting with me, so maybe one of these days I'll even get a candlelight dinner again.

If you're considering divorce because you can't breathe in your marriage, I want to tell you that the fresh air from leaving that toxicity is so beautiful and healing that it can make you weep from gratitude.  If your partner is emotionally or physically abusive, physical, manipulative, selfish, or lacking in integrity, and you've done what you can to try to change that but it's not working, I send you prayers of love and light and healing and hope, because it wasn't that long ago that I was suffering through those feelings, too.

If you feel unsatisfied in your marriage, like there is more to life, and your partner is boring you, I suggest you take a long, hard look at your life before you make a change.  Being a single parent is not for sissies.  Perhaps you are wiser and luckier than I am, and you'll leave a boring marriage and replace it with a sparkling life, perhaps with a handsome, romantic, sexy partner who is a great cook as well as being a fabulous role model for your children AND independently wealthy...but that has not been my experience.

Being a single mom takes more energy than I might have dreamed possible.  Putting Katherine's needs first - it doesn't matter how tired or busy at work I am, we have a commitment to be at gymnastics, and she needs to eat healthy food, and if she needs help with homework then I need to pull up a chair and help her - isn't easy, and there isn't a back-up plan.  Managing the work of a house, and of a life, without a partner is not easy.  I often wish that I could clone myself to be in two places.....I need to work late, but I need to be home to care for child and home.  And pursuing my dreams is sometimes harder because of that.


Yes, I'm exhausted.  Deeply exhausted.

But I'm still going, and I'm doing my best, and some days, I think I make progress.

The difference between me and the not-so-PollyAnna-ish folks out there is that I'm not going to give up.  I'm willing to push myself just a bit harder.  I will not tune out of my dreams and binge-watch Netflix (well, not that often, anyway!) because I simply will not give up.  I know that it's impossible to get it all done, and that I have little chance of qualifying for the Boston Marathon will getting major promotions in my career while publishing my book while managing my garden while camping every weekend in the summer and skiing every weekend in the winter while falling in love and having the grand romance of my dreams while traveling the world while being the best mom in the world while having a Martha Stewart style house and eating only locally sourced organic home made meals.  I know that.

And yet, I keep putting one foot in front of the other, doing better some days than others.

Dear reader, this is what I encourage you to do.  If you are contemplating divorce, or you are a single parent, and you're struggling to stay afloat and to keep the exhaustion at bay, just don't stop.  Fight hard for what you want.  I know that very rarely do the magical unicorns appear, but rainbows do show up every now and then, and there are four leaf clovers every so often.  If you dream of whales, go where the whales are.

Life isn't easy, and I think I know that better than some (and less than others).  But it IS rich with possibility, and that's what we're fighting for.  I think that gymnastics dad is going to ask me out, and I have a good feeling about it....but if he doesn't, it's okay.  I think my career is really taking off, and this time next year could be very different....but if it takes longer than that, it's okay.  I think I'll get the laundry done and the groceries purchased and my dog walked before Katherine comes back tonight, but if I don't, that's okay.  I'm on the committee for the nonprofit I volunteer for, and I'm going to help them.  I will set my alarm for 4:30am Monday so that I can get in a run.  Next weekend, I'm going to do a beautiful hike.  There are never, ever enough hours in the day.

I'm working on these dreams of mine...and it's worth it. 

Even with the exhaustion.