Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed. That's it in a nutshell. I'm overwhelmed. On the one hand, there's a peace about the house and the kids and I are getting along really well. That is very nice! Everyone's pitching in and we're working together. Well, for the most part. There are those times when I get back from dropping Jackson at a friend's house, stopping at the grocery store for milk, taking Savannah to the church for confirmation, and I walk in the door and see all the dinner dishes where I left them on the table. (It's a bad idea to assume the kids will see the mess and think - Hmmm, Mom's busy running all over the place. Let's clean up the kitchen before she gets back!) It never generally doesn't happen that way. However, if I say, "Austin, take out the garbage, Lexi load the dishwasher, and Clayton sweep the floor, the tasks get done with no problem. Or with minimal problems. Like, he'll take the garbage out, but fail to put a new bag in the garbage can. Or the floor will be swept, but all the dirt and debris will be left in a pile in the middle of the floor. Maybe a tutorial is in order... :)

Because, up until a couple years ago, Joe worked like 80 hours a week, I'm used to doing everything myself and I'm used to going with little help. However, juggling work in addition to taking care of everything, including six kids, by myself is a challenge. Joe is having a difficult time dealing with the divorce (duh, who doesn't, right?) and has chosen to stay away from the kids. Unfortunately, he hasn't spent time with them since Christmas eve, other than when he runs into three of them at school (he sometimes works at their school). He hasn't called them and in fact, has changed his phone number so the kids and I can't call him either. I think my biggest challenge right now is trying to convince the kids that their dad really does love them, but is having a hard time showing it. The more time that passes, the more difficult it is for them to believe it. It breaks my heart when my kids come home from school crying because "Dad won't come to my book meet at the library again."

I've had some writing deadlines recently and have been focusing a lot of time and energy on that. I have a little break right now, so I need to go back to focusing on the kids. I've slacked off terribly in reading to them. And when I do read, I forget to record it in their journals. I've been staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 to get everything done and I'm a useless zombie come morning. So, if things slow down around here a bit, it's just because I can't juggle it all and I'd rather drop the "blog" ball than the "kids" ball.

And if any of you who are divorced or separated, or who have military husbands who are deployed for months at a time, or who have spouses who do a lot of traveling have any wonderful tips for me, I'll take them!

110 comments:

KingerMom said...

I don't have any advice right now, I am praying for you though. My husband is leaving next week to move 4000 Km/s away to get a better job and support us when we get there in april.
Maybe you'll have advice for Me by then.
Take care of your kids, We'll be waiting.

Amy said...

Oh Dawn... this whole post makes my stomach hurt. My parents are divorced (when I was in 7th grade)... it is tough. The older ones probably feel just as overwhelmed, feeling like they need to pick up some of their father's slack. That is really sad about Joe, too. I just don't get that... who just stops seeing their kids? Do you think he is just trying to make it hard on you to try to "prove" that you can't do it alone... which you can do by the way! I look up to my mother SO much... having kids of my own now, I realize how hard it was for her when she was going through the divorce. And you my friend, have your hands full. Six kids... and did you say you are working now??? Or are you talking about your writing??? I guess hiring someone to help in the afternoons is not an option... like a high school kid? Knowing how it was with my mother... that is probably not an option due to money. What about your family... anyone close that will help? Or do I remember a previous post where that doesn't really happen either? I wish I lived closer... I would help. Keep your chin up... this, too, shall pass. I know you are really busy, but, try to post at least one sentence every now and then so we know you are ok. ;o)

Cheryl said...

First of all, big giant hugs to you and the kids for all that you've been going through. I'm sure the emotional toll this is taking is far greater than the added physical work-load you are taking on.
I am lucky that my husband is around a lot, but that doesn't mean he does a lot without specific direction. I do have to tell him when I want him to take the trash out, even if it's overflowing, and sometimes he still doesn't put a new bag in. Anyway, for the kids, maybe you could make a chore chart with jobs the kids can all handle on their own, and they could rotate weekly so one of them isn't always doing the dishes or sweeping the floor. Obviously there would be certain jobs the younger kids couldn't do, but I'm sure there is plenty of work to go around if your house is anything like mine. I'm sure the kids would need some incentive, other than making you happy, to do all their tasks appropriately and in a timely manner, but I'll bet you could come up with something for each kid that would be a good motivator.
I think when you have a bigger family you have to require more work out of all members of the family, not just leaving more work for mom, but that's just my opinion.
Good luck!

SubWife said...

The Joe not seeing kids business breaks my heart. I don't want to judge, but truly cannot understand.

Dawn, you are awesome. I don't know how you do it, but kudos to you for keeping up with everything. Don't worry about us. We'll miss you if you won't have time to blog, but we'll manage. Thank you for keeping up as long as you have! Be strong!

Hugs, hugs, hugs.

kntsmom said...

Dawn,

First I want to assure you that we all get overwhelmed at times. I am a military wife whose husband is deployed for the 3rd time (again for a year). My husband left on the 3rd of January this time, and I only have 2 kids. There are times when I am so over everything I do not even realize how crabby I am or what it is doing to my kids. I have a very good friend who is my kick in the butt when I need it and she will remind me that the kids are the most important thing now and that I can do this it is after all the third time. I think most important is the kids and being sure to always look out for their best interest and be sure that every step of the way you have at least one friend that will always be in your corner no matter what. Last but certainly not least is to be sure to find some time for yourself. I know how hard that can be, but a lunch with a good friend or a walk and talk, something like that always helps to refresh your spirit. Dawn, you are a good mom and we all have hard times, you will get through this and be stronger for it, or so I am told. :)
Kim

Chick Hatchers said...

Wow, Dawn, I imagine you are pretty overwhelmed! When you first made your pending-divorce public, I was wondering how you are doing. Without knowing you personally, it can be awkward to get that glimpse into someone's life. But I do care for you. Your blog has given me great joy and your sense of humor encourages me that I don't have to get frustrated over the same things with my kids - I can find humor in it, too. At least I'm trying.

Know that I am praying for you. I don't know exactly where in the Chicago area you are, but I've assumed either north or northwest suburbs. I'm western, not opposed to a drive, and have 3 girls 4, 7, and 9. If taking a couple kids off your hands for a little while might help, just give a hollar (at me - not them). We homeschool, so my schedule is pretty flexible. Keep it in mind. Seriously. (I know if I got this comment on my blog I'd be wondering who this stalker crazy person is that is offering to take my kids off my hands... so I completely understand if your mind is going there!) But really, don't try to go through this alone. Let people help you.

Kymberlie
mychildsview.blogspot.com

Jacqui said...

Hugs to you. My husband has a job that requires a lot of travel. He's only been home two weeks so far this year so I am used to being pretty much on my own with the kids. Now I only have 2, so I can't fathom 3x's that but it's still hard work when it's only you. Just know you CAN'T do it all. No matter how much you want to, you just have leave some things undone. My youngest is 7 months old and is going through extreme separation anxiety right now which means I can't even go pee w/out him flipping out. My house is about to be taken over by giant dust bunnies and the clean clothes are still in the basket. But I'm ok with that b/c my kids need me most right now. Just like yours do. Do what you have to do to show your kids that you love them and help them to get through this. Bah! to Joe for the way he is acting. I am sure it is hard on him but it's harder on the kids and acting like a jerk makes it that much harder on them. Just keep reassuring them you are there for them no matter what.

mandyb said...

i say drop the 'blog ball'...we'll be here when ever (if) you come back...your kids are SO much more important....as for advice...not sure ....all the best

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn,

I don't have any children so maybe what I have to say isn't relevant. All I know is that most of the women I know, with children and without, are the hardest working people on the planet.

You can only do so much. It's obvious that you love your children more than anything else in the world.

Maybe it doesn't seem like it right now but your children know that you are there for them. And they will remember this long into adulthood.

Sincerely,
Sandy from Tucson

Sandy in Illinois said...

No tips, just prayers. Hope that helps.

Jessi said...

No tips sadly. My Husband's parents just divorced and his dad has cut off the kids. They're between 30 and 21 and they're crushed. He didn't just divorce his mom, he divorced them. He stopped paying for college, stopped contacting them. He doesn't even know we're married. I hope Joe gets over it soon because he's causing permanent damage to their relationship with him. He'll regret it sooner rather than later. Just because your relationship with him is ending, doesn't mean the kids' should too. I'll pray for a swift resolution for him so he can move past and be a dad to his kids again.

Anonymous said...

Biggest tips I can give you, 1 lean on your friends who are willing to help. 2 Don't lose your faith, you will make it alright.
3 Feed your freezer!!! I Know you do a great deal of cooking.. but if you cook in bulk say you make meatloaf.. mix up an extra batch or two and toss them in ziplocks lable it up and freeze it.. makes your cooking time other days faster! Also if you do Once a month cooking ( just a name don't run off scared) Get the kids involved in the prep spend a day cookin up stuff they love, brown up more than l lb of ground beef at a time and freez it up. Make cooking take less time for the good home cooked stuff you love this way.

I have a wonderful friend whom I love to bits. We met when our boys her youngest and my only were in Kinger together. Both of us military wives with hubbys in different branches. We were eachothers Rock when our hubbies were gone. I have to tell you I don't think I'd have made it witho ut her or her with out me thru some of the crap we had to deal with. We cooked like this together all the time. The lord blessed me with her and her family in my life and I cant thank him enough for her friendship. Even though we now live on opposit costs and both our hubbys are out of the military She's one of the first I call when I feel like My mind is slipping away.

Nickalli said...

OH, Dawn. ((((HUGS))) I'm a military wife/mom who is often a single parent and you are doing exactly what you need to do. When you have to juggle you need to know which balls will break and which will bounce... because I'm sorry to say you are gonna drop a couple from time to time.
I feel for your kids and hope that things improve soon. ~ Nickalli

Rachel E. said...

Dawn, I've never been married, (and obviously) never been divorced, and don't have any kids, so I can't share any "survival tips," but I just wanted you to know that I'm praying for you. Life is very tough, and I've certainly had my days/weeks/months of being overwhelmed just in the first 23 years of my life so far(!) but I am so glad that we have a loving Heavenly Father who gives us wisdom and peace when we need it. Praying that God will give you both of those in abundance during this stressful time.

Jenn said...

No tips, really, just hugs.

My husband is in the military and deployed at the moment. And jut for added fun, we're in Germany (so have a language barrier) and are in the process of moving back to the United States this spring. I work, but not usually full time. The few weeks at a time where I do work full time, I'm overwhelmed and crazy and I get that the last thing you want to do is read to (or spend any time with) your kids - that's how I often feel, too. And I only have ONE.

One step at a time. You can only do the best you can do each day. Don't beat yourself up over the small stuff. It'll still be there tomorrow. When people offer to help in ANY way, take them up on it. The offers are genuine.

Like I said, no sage advice, just virtual hugs. You're not alone.

Jacqui said...

I know you don't know me, but HUGS!

noexcuses said...

I'm sending prayers. It's gotta be tough for you. I know that your faith is strong. Just ask him. [[[[[[HUGS]]]]]]]]

Liz

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn,

Sorry to hear you are strugggling so much at the moment ((hugs)).

Firtly kids chores - my three were useless at chores so this year I have tried something different and so far it is working. I bought the Motivated Moms calendar which has chores on it for each day. I then highlighted chores in a different colour for each child, at the moment I am only giving the kids three chores a week. At the end of the month if they have done all the chores then we go out for a meal. We are only 2 full months into the year but they have done everything so far.

Secondly when it comes to spending time with the kids make sure you do it as soon as they come home from school. I was a single mum juggling university with bringing up my children. The first couple of hours when they got home were dedicated to them, that way I could get on with my work later in the evening and not worry that I still had to find time to check someone's work.

Finally don't be hard on yourself, you only have 24 hours a day and you have loads to fit in, work out what are the most important bits to get done and focus on them, anything else is then a bonus.

(((hugs)))
Cathy

pastrytiff said...

I am a former military wife, my ex has had absolutely no contact with any of us for over 3 years, so I understand what you are going thru. Thankfully my kids are young and used to not having him around, but the best advice I can give is be honest (don't talk bad about him, but when the kids say they miss him ITS OK to tell them you miss him too, let them see you hurt too, it will help validate their feelings)
Be prepared for days where the kids act out or test more than normal, they are just relearning boundaries and seeing what might have changed now.
Remember to take care of yourself too, you are of no use to the kids if you aren't up to par.

mamita said...

Dawn~ Sometimes showing the kids that you're human is the best for everyone. I was married and my kids' dad was deployed for 7 yrs off/on. We divorced after 20 yrs. I remarried. And he deployed for a year.Take care of you so you can take care of the babies-all of them. Pray, take vitamins, find time for the gym and laugh.The kids and Joe will find their own relationships.
He is an adult. He will find his own way to show them he cares for them. God Bless you and your family. Finally, I have one nugget of wisdom-as long as the kids have clean underwear and the toilets are clean, we're in the bonus round!

DarcsFalcon said...

Lists really do help a lot, and so do chore charts.

One day at a time sweetie. One breath at a time. *hugs*

I know it hurts you and the kids that Joe is having a difficult time coping. But it's okay to let him take responsibility for his relationships with them now. It's not up to you anymore. He's a big boy, he'll figure it out.

I know - you probably have tons of advice from people who mean well and feel alternately overwhelmed on one hand, and feel that people think you can't figure this out on your own, on the other. Everybody has opinions and one thing I learned after my divorce several years ago, is follow your instincts. You really do know what's best for you and your kids. Trust that. And pray.

And I will be praying for all of you.

Mum-me said...

My husband is away for months at a time (military) and, sorry, I've got no wonderful tips. It's just a lot of hard work. I found that forcing myself to be organized helped, but children need two parents.

Sorry to hear you've separated from your husband. I must have missed one (or a whole lot) of your posts. It must be really hard on all of you. Hope he starts calling his children soon - before they begin to not want to see or hear from him.

Anonymous said...

www.flylady.net

It seems crazy, and maybe it is, but this woman is a LIFESAVER. I subscribe to her mailing list, chat in her chatroom, and frequent her website. And my house is never in a state of CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) and I have an awesome caldendar that helps me get everywhere on time and on the right day, AND my routines are becoming so ingrained my house stays clean without really having to think or worry about it.

Do the babysteps, don't roll your eyes too much (I did at first, but she's brilliant, I promise!), and things get easier.

Kathleen said...

Those kids are your priority and you need to stop doing what doesn't need to be done. They need you now more than ever and you need them. Don't ever say a negative word against the father - saying something bad about him is just like saying something bad about the children - he is part of them. They need to make their own judgements. Visualize your life as you want it to be and it will be. YOU ROCK!!

Anonymous said...

Dawn-

Best of luck to you juggling it- I've been there. My only suggestion is to take what help is offered and try to have some "you" time when possible. My treat was pedicures 2x a month while my mom watched my daughter- that half hour to sit quietly and process what was going on saved my sanity. You'll be in my thoughts!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

you would not have a blog if not for the kids and your wonderful way of putting things... you HAVE to take care of you and the kids... and blog when you have time ... granted blogging has done amazing things for you... but i believe that your true fans will understand and want you to take care of your home kids and you... make sense???

Yeah, Im a copycat....SO! said...

I Have no advice, but I think you are doing a wonderful job! I hope that JOE will soon figure things out and get in touch with his kids. That is so sad.

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. Even more sorry for the choices Joe is making...his loss. :(

Definitely the best thing is to "neglect" the blog--least of the priorities in my opinion. Those of us that love you and care for you certainly undestand. Taking care of yourself and the kids is the most important thing of all! Hang in there!

Andrea L. said...

I am a military spouse with 4 kids. Even when my husband isn't deployed, he works ALL the time & we rarely get to see him. All of your children are old enough to chip in. Explain to the older ones what exactly is expected of them & if you need to show them how to do something, than do so. I also tell my kids all the time that we are a family & that means we are all there for each other & to help each other. We are a team (Wonder Pets song comes to mind!).. therefor my kids do not get allowances. Dawn, you need to focus on your kids & yourself. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Take Mommy time outs (Austin & Savannah are old enough to watch the younger ones while you get a long hot shower). I don't know what to say about Joe other than just give him his space. I know the kids miss him but HE'S the one missing out. I know it's hard to explain to the kids but just do it the best you can. Stay positive & do what you need to do. I love reading your blog but you have kids to take care of & I totally understand. Just stop in once in awhile & let us know how you are doing. I wish nothing but the best for your family, & I hope you & the kids find peace soon.

Missy said...

(((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))) I haven't read your blog in a few weeks (okay, maybe it's been longer??) and had no idea you guys were getting divorced. :( I'm so sorry.
My divorce was final 1 year ago last weekend, and I promise, it does get easier. My x also hasn't seen the kids since his Christmas vacation...boo for men who can't act like men!!!
ANYWHO...my biggest advice? Let some things go. My floor doesn't get swept as much as it should, my beds aren't made every day, dinner comes from McD's more than I like (well, did, until I found E-Mealz....love that service!!), but my kids are happy, and I'm more calm and happy.

GOOD LUCK, Lady!

Sam said...

Stay strong Dawn! I love your blog and your writing! I watched my best friend (mother of 4 boys) go through a rough divorce this past year; Dad isn't paying any support and she's working nights, but she's managing with the help of family and friends. Lean on anyone you can and be that solid rock for your kids. Then find a rock YOU can lean on! Much love and good wishes. :)

Carolarlington said...

Dawn, I have no great tips, just encouragement. You have a lot more on your plate than the average bear, and you are handling it well, and keeping your sense of humor these last few months. In spite of their disappointment, your kids are rallying, and learning to be resilient will serve them well throughout life. We are rooting for all of you, and hopefully Joe will work through his issues and be there more for the kids.

Steff said...

You go girl!! You have your priorities in place and you know what you are doing. Your kids always come before us. We will miss you, but we will be here waiting. In the meantime we will be praying that things get easier for all of you. I have no words of wisdom, but obviously you are doing the right thing by convincing the kids that Joe DOES love them. Try to take care of yourself in all of this as well. You do have quite the readership- you should take advantage of it- we could sign up for meals, house cleaning, child care- think about it- you could get a lot done by your readers! It could be a logistical nightmare though. Probably be more work than it was worth.

Cinderella said...

I think your hardest ones are going to be the older ones. I've watched a couple of my daughter's friends go through their parents divorce and that plus teen angst isn't pretty. And they tend to refuse the hugs and the "I promise it's all okay". Because the burden of helping out usually falls to them.

Just try to keep schedules as normal as possible? Get through til summer and then sit down with the kids and reorganize their sports and such...

Joshua, Ambyr and Co. said...

Dawn:

I have 6 kids too and I can't imagine going it alone and I don't have deadlines and book deals to throw in the mix!! Anytime my husband is out of town on business I will beg, borrow, plead (and have resorted to stealing at times) my mother or some other poor innocent soul to help me out (even if it's just for a glass of wine or a kleenex as I wallow in self pity!) So, from one busy mom to another...hang in there! Oh, and my tip.....smile and nod, it always freaks them out so much they practically BEG for someway to help out:)

Keri Jackson said...

Dawn,
I am sorry to hear about Joe not spending any time with the kids, that is really sad. Hopefully it doesn't take him too much longer to turn it around to show the kids his love (because I'm sure he does love them)! I'll keep your family in my prayers!

Soonerchick said...

The best thing to do in this instance is just to ignore the guilt about Joe's actions. Yes, the kids are gonna be upset if he doesn't participate in their lives. And it hurts, as a mom, to see your kids upset. But you cannot absorb the guilt (guilt that HE should be feeling, not you) about his absense. Just make sure you are there yourself for as many games, readings, recitals, etc as possible; that way they will know that you, at least, still love them and aren't going anywhere. Quite frankly, it isn't really your job to convince them that their dad still loves them. You can TELL them that he loves them, but it's up to him to find ways to show it. If he does do something to show it, you can point that out to them, but otherwise, don't beat yourself up about it. You have enough to deal with without taking on more guilt.

kirine said...

I have to applaud you Dawn. It's not always easy to take the high road in a divorce.

You asked for tips and from someone who has been there and done that, here's what I have to offer:

*Do not let the kids hear you say negative stuff about their dad. It will keep your relationship with the kids on track and help them learn that should they face something similar in their own life that the high road is always the road to take, though not the easiest.

*If there's a way to get in touch with Joe, do so. Meet on neutral ground, and discuss the situation with the kids. Once you've done that, the ball is entirely in his court and you've done all you can.

*Remember that you need downtime too. It's a challenge that every mom faces, even more so for single moms. Take care of you so that you can take care of the kids.

*Read and reread the scriptures. The Bible is a wonderful source of peace, and comfort. If the kiddos are having a hard time dealing, family bible study might help.

*Remember to take it one day at a time. Especially when you are overwhelmed.

*Don't forget your support system and don't be afraid to use it. You aren't going to do yourself any good or the kiddos any good if you are trying to be everything to everyone.

*Flylady. I cannot say enough good things about this. It helps when you are overwhelmed and slammed with kids stuff.

I'm praying for you and your family, Dawn.

~Jennifer, long time reader

Amy Flippin Blankenship said...

Hey girl, I don't have much advice but I do want you to know that I am thinking about you and praying for peace in your heart and in your children's hearts. I can't imagine how hard all this is on all of you. HUGS!!!

Amy

Simple Country Girl said...

Dawn,

As a divorced mom of 2 girls, I can tell you that it gets easier with time. You obviously have more kids than I do, but I do work a full time job of 9-10 hour days, and still find time to be a 4-H leader and a girl scout leader. You are such a strong person and have your kids to get you through the tough times. They will appreciate all the hard work you have done someday. One piece of advice that I can think of is you must have a little time for yourself. It may not be much, but you do have to have a break once in a while. Whether you get a sitter or have the older ones watch the younger ones, go shopping for an hour by yourself, get a meal, do something so that you have some YOU time. I am sorry to hear that Joe doesn't have any contact with the family right now but maybe that's for the best. It's good that there is no fighting but I understand the lack of contact is difficult. Keep going as you have been, take a break for yourself (and from the blog because us readers do understand), find a support group if you haven't already, and most of all, pray about things. God is what got me through the toughest time of my divorce and in return, I found myself again and discovered I was an entirely different person that I didn't know existed. Thanks for the great blog. I feel for you because I was there 2 years ago. Hang in there because it will get easier in time, but you must have patience and faith.

Anonymous said...

My piece of advice is "do your best and forget the rest". You and the kids come first. Joe is an adult who needs to be accountable for his own actions. He'll figure it out, he may need counseling but don't make that your problem.

Jan said...

Sending you prayers and hugs. I have no answers. But I believe in the power of prayer.

Stacy said...

Hi Dawn,
I have been divorced for just over 2 years. I have 4 and 7 year old girls. Their dad gets them maybe once a month for a few hours. It is hard on them and my youngest really wants nothing to do with him since she really doesn't know him. My 7 year old missed him more in the beginning. I tell them that their dad does love them but he just doesn't know how to show it and it isn't their fault it is something he has to work on. With your kids being older I can imagine the rejection they must feel! All you can do is do the best you can and don't try to be super mom. Don't feel guilty for not having as much time as you want with the kids, its more about the quality of time you can spend with them. Read to them and don't worry about the journal part. HUGS divorce really does suck. On a brighter note I did find a new guy and he is great with my girls and they love him. He is showing them what a read dad is suppose to be like. HUGS to you and your precious kids

Tammy said...

I'm sorry you're having a rough time. Something you might do is find a picture of each child with Joe and print it. Frame it and give it to the child. Tell them that is how their Dad really feels about them, but right now ...

Take care of yourself - your kids need you to be healthy! You have to assign chores - make a big chart of daily chores and ask them what they want to do. And then make it their responsibility to do it! They will feel really good about being part of the team.

You'll figure it out, and get into a routine. Just give yourself some slack. And try to get more sleep!

HUGS!

Ginny Williams said...

when I first got divorced, I remember the first year was just really crazy. I was all of a sudden a single mom of a toddler, had not worked his entire life, and living three states away from any of MY family.
It took that year to really figure out how to function on my own.
My advice, as much as I'd hate to see you not blog (cuz I love your blog) I would suggest throwing out the stuff that is not necessary (like the blog) Your kids are older... maybe assign "chores" for a week at a time like clearing the table, loading the dishwasher, etc...
take time for YOU, if you dont take care of YOU...its tougher to take care of others.
Hang in there Dawn... It takes time to find your "groove" but it does get easier.

Anonymous said...

Aw Dawn I am so sorry you are overwhelmed. I have no glorious ideas for you. Your kids sound like they are very willing if asked to help. What a blessing. You guys will get it. It just takes time. Meanwhile drop the blog if you need to we understand your family comes first. Though you will be missed terribly!!!!

Jen@Scrapingirl said...

Well, I will pray for you guys. I don't know what you're going through, the most my hubby is away, at one time, is 72 hours. Life as a firefighter's wife is different than most, but not near to what you have to deal with. I am so sorry he's being a stinker. :) I hope you get some great advice from others.

Kelly said...

Dawn,

No tips, but I just wanted to say what an encouragement your blog is to me. I get overwhelmed all the time and I only have 2 kids. Yours is the first blog I have ever read and I love hearing about you and the kids, esp Brooklyn (I think she is about 6 mos older than my little girl and they seem to have similar temperaments. Anyway, if you need to neglect the blog, that's fine. I agree with a previous poster in that I hope you will give us a couple of sentences from time to time & let us know how you are doing. You and your family are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

No advice but will continue to pray for all of you. I wish dads realized how important they are to their kids (my own was a no-show). And, although I always look forward to your new blog entries, the kids are definitely more important than the blog.

Craig said...

http://nowisgoodblog.wordpress.com/

Divorcee Blog OUTSTANDING!

Anonymous said...

Our son walked out on his wife and two kids and moved in with his girl friend. charming. not! He ignored his kids -- too involved with the other woman. For the holidays that year our extended family planned a cruise and we invited the jilted wife (along with our grandkids) instead of our derelict son.

A few months later he began spending more time with his kids. Eventually married "the other woman" which is a whole other soap opera in and of itself. That marriage failed as well (can't say anyone in the extended family was too surprised or upset) but now the father is a much better dad. The kids got over their feeling jilted. Their mother remarried and they have a much more stable family.

So, give it time. Things change, sometimes they even get better. Divorce is never easy. Good luck!

BTW, My parents divorced when I was a teenager. I still remember a quote from a movie I saw back then: "It's better to come from a broken home than to live in one."

Sara said...

Advice: paper plates, plastic silverware, large trash bags.

I'm sorry Joe is behaving like that. Really sorry. The kids should be first no matter what.

Stephanie said...

Hang in there, Dawn. If not now, down the road your kids will be grateful for all of the sacrifices you are making for them. You are a wonderful mother!

Lynn said...

hugs and prayers to you and your family. my advice is to take care of you as selfish as that sounds. because if you are not in tiptop shape the entire family is out of whack. know in your heart you have NO CONTROL over your exes action and stress that the kids don't either and its NOT about them its BETWEEN you and their dad. know that you can't DO IT ALL. and leave behind the crap that don't matter, ie. scrubbing your floors and vacuuming everyday, the blog. blah blah blah lol! and have the kids help out too.

Jen said...

First and foremost I applaud you for getting as far as you have with everything. You are only one person and your kiddos need you now more than ever. We're always going to be here and supporting you all the way, so take your time and help your kids figure things out. If you need anything sweetie, we're here for you. Best wishes and God Bless honey. ((((hugsssss))))

rthling said...

Looks like you have plenty of good advice here, along with much bloggy love.
I'm sending mine too, of course, but my advice is this:
As a child of divorced parents, now, as an adult, I can see how hard they both worked at not bashing each other to my sister and me. I really appreciate it now. So I encourage you to continue your path there. You are doing a great job encouraging your kids to see Joe's love, even when it's not apparent. But don't go overboard. The older ones are old enough to know that love is something you DO, not just something you SAY or FEEL. Right now Joe isn't DOing love to the kids, and they can see that. They are bound to be hurt, and even downright angry. And unfortunately, they are going to take that hurt and anger and turn it on the most handy person. You. Try to remain tender and calm with them. And try not to take their anger personally.
Step back from the extras (like your blog) and prioritize the necessities. The kids need NORMAL. They need to see you being confident that it's going to okay, even if deep down you feel like everything is chaos.
Definitely give the kids chores that are their responsibility regularly, so there isn't any guesswork as to what needs to be done and by whom. You can't do everything. Don't even try.
Love and prayers,
Diane

Anonymous said...

I am also a child of a very bitter divorce. Not to mention in marriage that is hanging on by a thread right now!
I can agree with others no matter how hard it is, never bad mouth their Dad to them. Call your friends/sister to vent! ;)
Don't include them in "grown up" divorce issues at all (don't over-explain why you are divorcing, they don't need or want every detail), they don't need that burden, let them be kids.
Take some time for yourself, even if it's just to go to the library for quiet time for an hour.
I have to say the fact that he has a "CHOICE" to just walk off and shut them out breaks my heart! :( What "choices" do you have? What if you "chose" to just walk off and lick your wounds leaving your kids? Who would take care of them? :O Sorry if that was harsh, but DANG! :( (That's my "baggage talking"). Ugh....
I don't understand how that can even be an option when you are a parent?
Lastly, if at all possible, a civil meeting with Joe needs to happen for the sake of the kids, he has had plenty of time to lick his wounds and now needs to accept what is happening and start a new relationship with his kids slow but sure. He is as much their parent as you are, and needs to step it up and start getting involoved even if it's only at McDonald's once a week for 30 minutes! I hope that happens soon! It's very important for the kids to see you & Joe being nice to each other and able to have a conversation about their school, birthdays, friends, etc...without giving each other dirty looks and hostile body language!
Things will get easier and life of course will move on day to day and before you know it you'll be breathing easier and your heart will hurt less and less! (for you, Joe and the kids too!) Hang in there....You are doing a great job!

Anonymous said...

Can one of the kids read to the others sometimes? Also do you know anyone you can carpool with to get the kids to/from their activities? Prioritize and hang in there!

Phyllis

E said...

I have no advice, just a ((HUG))

Dee Dee said...

Hi Dawn: Your post breaks my heart but I think it is pretty common in your situation. I have a husband that travels a bunch due to work plus he is a military reservist. So, it seems he is gone more than he is here. With that being said, it's still a different situation. My kids have the security of knowing they have a dad and they do talk to him on the phone even though he is not around. I have 3 kids and it is exhausting running them all over town for their activities as well as helping with homework, etc. I am sure you are doing all you can there.

Have you thought about having your kids write notes to Joe and maybe pass them along through your attorney or mail them to his parents? That way he should at least get them and hopefully read them. Also, the kids (the older ones anyway), can get their feelings on paper which may help them as well. Just a thought. Hang in there...I have a VERY good friend about to be in your exact situation at the end of the month (she is trying to get all her ducks in a row). I am trying to help give her the strength she needs to be free of her alcoholic husband and the effects he has had on the family over the years. I know it's the best thing for her but she is scared to be the sole supporter of her 4 kids (ages 4-12). Moms have to do what moms have to do to protect their family and you are doing the right thing.

Good luck Dawn!

Amy said...

Dawn~

My sympathies. My ex walked away from our kids in the divorce 11 years ago and I was left raising 5 kids aged 4-14 as a single parent. My ex has changed and continues to change his number every time the kids get it or try to call him. They actually lost the whole side of his family as we never hear from any of his sisters, brother, aunts, uncles, or parents now either. Not a Christmas card or birthday card in 11 years.

My advice to you- one day at a time. And if that's too much- take it one minute at a time. Realize that you are only one person and you have to take care of yourself to be able to be a functional parent for the kids. Don't be too proud to accept help from your family and friends.

I don't know if Joe will ever be able to be there for your children again the way that they need him to be. Only Joe knows that - if he even knows right now. I do know that the counselor I took my kids to recommended that not try to "convince" them of their dad's feelings. That children need tangibles and that they need to see by actions how he feels. Don't talk badly about their dad. I used to use the - I don't know why Dad is doing this. I believe that your dad loves you very much and just isn't able to show it the way that you'd like him to right now. Of course, after 11 years.... well, it doesn't work as well as it used to.

Keep smiling and put yourself and your family first.

tommygirl said...

Dawn, I am so sorry to hear what you are going thru. As a mom to two girls I can't imagine how much MORE you have to do. I know that I get overwhemeled with just my two, even with my husbands help. The only advice I can think of is to:
1. Chore charts, I know they can be a pain and nothing seems to get done the way you prefer, but they teach the children to work togther and to have responsibilties other than school.
2. If you can swing it, hire a maid. A service can come in twice a month and do the knitty gritty cleaning. Your time is valuable, spend it on your kids and on work, not on cleaning.
3. Try organizing a ride share for the extra curricular activities, maybe you pick up a couple kids who live close and drop them off, and another parent can take them all home.

Shannon said...

Dawn,
Don't worry about the blog. We'll catch up with you when you're ready. Maybe you should just make one more post that says, "Buy the book!" Then you'll get more income, and we'll get a fix for a while!:-)

Chin up lady, anyone who's gone through labor with 6 kids is strong enough for anything!

Tina said...

I've been there, I understand.

My only advice? Take care of YOU FIRST. Trust me.

Jen said...

My husband is gone a lot and has been since we started dating. He started out in the military and then after he got out, he took a job in law enforcement that requires long hours and weeks of travel. I have 2 kids age 3 and 14 months. I don't have a lot of advice, other than one day at a time. I make lists of things I'd like to get done each day but if it isn't completed by 10pm, I drop it. no sense in beating myself up or having to feel like superwoman all the time. 10pm is MY time. Everything is quiet. I can blog, read, watch a movie. Whatever. I just thrive on that down time. Schedule it when you can!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you are feeling so overwhelmed...I cannot even pretend to know what you are going through but as a busy Mom who has felt pulled in every direction at once, I'll give you a couple of ideas:
1. Make a weekly menu for dinner so it's not 530 and youre looking at a pack of chicken wondering what the heck your going to do with it: plus it helps focus food shopping and I have found I throw out less produce if I have a plan when I'm buying. I have my kids make suggestions and we have less whining about who likes what.
2. Peapod or whatever grocery delivery service: if you can let someone else choose your stuff (I never can, but I've wished I could).
3. Schedule out some chores for the kids to be responsible for all of the time rather than just when you ask.
As far as Joe, hopefully he'll come around and go back to being the Dad he used to be. You really have no control over this so let it go. Support your kids and just love them as you do. They'll get it. Good luck. D

Meg said...

I see a few people have mentioned flylady.net. I'm still fluttering more than flying, but I LOVE her calendar and it has really helped coordinate all that goes on in our house (only 2 kids, but hubby is a firefighter working every 3rd day and occasionally flipping or trading his shifts and working part time for another department).
But I digress, at this point you need to do what's best for you and your kids. If that means dust bunnies grow and mutate in your corners and under your beds, so be it. They are not as dangerous as people make them out to be.
We all get overwhelmed at times. I was overwhelmed just the other night when dh was on shift and I was dealing with work, laundry, dinner for kids and dog, kid homework, and a bookbag w/ puke that needed to be cleaned, but no cleaning instructions to tell me that I could or couldn't put it in the wash. I felt like I was drowning, but stepping back, taking a few calming breaths and prioritizing helped and it all got done, but I had to enlist the help of the kids (who were more than willing - as I'm sure yours are too) - I just had to ask.
You are not alone. You are doing a great job. And though I will miss you, I COMPLETELY understand and wish you only the best.
Take time for yourself and take time to physically and mentally be with the kids.

Anonymous said...

You are an incredible mother who loves her kids. Keep up the awesome work!

JennyF said...

Agreed -- drop the blog if it helps you juggle everything (though I'm sure there's pressure to keep it up because it's good marketing for your upcoming release). But you may find it helpful to know you've got a worldful of people in cyberspace who are supporting you too, so do what your heart needs.

Until recently I was the parent who was traveling and my husband was the one who was left at home with the kiddies. So I wish I had some advice to share w/you that worked for him, but I don't. Bottom line, it's tough, and we've only got two offspring, not six.

Best wishes to you and to your entire family. If you can, get some outside help to help with anything -- someone to come in to clean, someone for the kids to talk to to help them through the emotional impact of this (it's a lot for one parent to try to do), someone to bring over meals, whatever.

We're all rooting for you.

Survivor said...

My now ex-husband didn't see my daughter who was 10 months at the time of our divorce for 2 months. On her 1 yr birthday I forced him to see her by taking her to him. For the next couple months it was very on again off again (she would literally make herself throw up when she saw him by getting so worked up for YEARS). For the next 7 yrs he took her every other weekend (when it was convenient for him). Right before she turned 9 he left me a msg saying "I think its best I skip the next few weeks but I'll call you to set something up". She will be 12 in 2 weeks and we still haven't heard anything from him. She doesn't like him at all (can't blame her) but I continue to tell her that in his own way her dad has issues he needs to deal with and that he does love her but doesn't show it in the way that she is used to. It's really hard for kids (I can attest to that as we went through months of her asking what she did wrong and why her dad doesn't love her). But showing them that you love them and reassuring them that their dad loves them as well but just has to get his life in order first.
The chores-kids usually understand when they need to kick in and help. I would maybe make a chart of who does what on which day-that way they can look at it and see what they need to do without you asking. Maybe that means that dishes sit there overnight til the next day after school but they will get done.
Know you have lots of prayers coming your way!

My Life said...

Dawn, this is so sad. Your ex to be needs to step up to the plate and be a dad. He may be angry with you but that's no excuse for ignoring the kids. He needs to see them every single week. There is no excuse for not. Is it possible to talk with his parents? If you can't, perhaps your parents can get the word out that this is hurting the kids.

Mayberry Mom said...

I'm so sorry you and the kids are going through this right now. ((hugs to you))

Aleta said...

I am a military SAH homeschooling mom to 4.

1. Cook in bulk to freeze - its not as hard as it sounds. When you make dinner one night - double the recipe and put it in the freezer. Then after about a month, you have a whole month of dinners. You can also cook tons of spag. sauce, ground hamburger and chicken, shredded and freeze to through into casseroles and soups.

2. Delegate to the kids - sure its not done to your specifications, but it gets done and its better than you having to do everything.

3. My older DD reads to my younger ones sometimes. She gets her reading in and they get theirs ;)

4. Regarding extra curricular activities - they really don't need to do everything! My kids each get to pick one extra thing besides AWANA and then that's it!

5. Breathe - sometimes its easier with my DH gone - the kids aren't trying to ask one parent something who says no, then the other says yes and then we get upset at each other. I can make whatever I want for dinner, do whatever I want in our free time, etc.

Tracy said...

I came from divorced parents, and my Dad did the same thing. The best advice I can give you is to continue telling them how much their dad loves them. I commend you for not bad talking him either to them or on your blog. My mom bad mouthed my father all the time, which made it so much harder on my brother and I. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you're having such a rough time right now.

I hate to judge- but Joe is being a jerk right now. When you get to the court stage of the divorce I would bring up his lack of visitation to the judge or lawyers; maybe one of them can ream him for it.

Is it possible for his parents to see the kids? Maybe grandpa can step in since dad is being a moron.

I hope you're able to slow down a bit in the future for your sanity.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

single mum of 2 here and working fulltime. The answer? Wine is your friend. Closely followed by coffee. Things will settle between you and your ex, it has taken a yr or so for my ex and I to get to a 'good place' but it happened eventually x

Jen said...

(Jesus Said) "Come to me, all you who are weary and budened and I will give you rest." -Matthew 11:28

Anonymous said...

1. Chore chart for the kids. While it might be hard in the beginning, stick with it. In the end it will help with your stress level.

2. Have your kids had the opportunity to talk to a professional about what they are feeling about the divorce. Maybe it would be helpful to express what they are feeling to someone beside you. Even if they just talk to your pastor or another friend, they need to process what is going on in their own way.

3. Stay strong! People do it everyday, you just gotta find your groove.

Purple Quilter Queen said...

I admire you for being so open on your blog about what you are going thru. Sucks that Joe is taking all of his frustrations with the divorce out on not seeing the kids. I come from a divorced family where my parents divorced when I was 4. It really sucked that we only got to spend time with him every other weekend and it was always with the step mom too. Looking back and now being 40 - that's all I knew. The little ones might not really remember what it was like to have dad around, but the older ones will and you just have to be there to help get them thru it. 99% of the time it's always the mom. Best of luck to you and your crazy 6 pack of kiddos. I love reading your blog!! Jenn

p.s. you thinking about dropping his photo when the ink dries on the divorce papers? just a thought. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, my father died when I was 17 and my siblings were 6, 8, 9 and 11. My mother was recovering from Breast Cancer and worked full time. Someone suggested making a chore list. Trust me, it works. Even the youngest ones can do something like dust everything they can reach. And if you rotate it, as suggested, everyone will do what they need to do and not get too bored. I was in charge of making OUR list, and let the younger ones help me. Everyone, for example, cleared the table. Someone loaded the dishwasher, someone emptied it. With five kids, we had to do it every day. Once a week the entire house got cleaned and everyone did the chores. My mother and I did the laundry and pitched in when the little ones couldn't quite do their jobs. After my mother died when I was 21 and was still living at home, I kept the chore list going for the kids because they needed to be busy and I needed the help. You have good (no, make that great) kids and the list will work, once they get used to it. I'll keep you all in my prayers!

Melisa said...

Dawn, Your doing great and you will find a balance at some point. I did see a few people mention www.flylady.net, I have to add my additional voice to applauding her and her system. She also has a weekly radio show that she does via www.blogtalkradio.com. You can get the archives via itunes by searching for flylady. Like others mentioned in the beginning I also thought it was a bit hokey and silly and that it couldn't really work. But her system is really a new way of thinking. Even though when I first saw her on my local news station I said to myself this is just silly, I looked it up anyway. I got the information and I still thought, this is just silly. I didn't much else but read emails for a while. I know you are so swamped and you probably don't think you can handle one more thing in your life to "do" but tuck her website in a safe spot so you can pull it out when things calm down and you get your bearings. You can do this. You've done it before and it was probably easier but your older and tougher and you are a good mom. You are doing the BEST with what you have and know. xoxoxo We are rooting for you! Go team DAWN!!

limetulips said...

I have not read all the other comments so please know this could be a repeat

Here is A plan.
This plan needs almost everyone on board to have the same main goal; a happy, fun filled house with as little stress as possible.

1.breathe
2.a list of your priorities
3.breathe
4.a list of your kids priorities
5.breathe
6.a chart to declare who is doing what when
7.breathe

(all things with the number 7 are good... God started!!!)

you need to identify your priorities so you will know how to delegate and to whom.

You and your kids need to identify your kids priorities and needs so you will know how to prioritize all your kids activities and needs. It also aids in how to create consequences for disturbing the main objective (less stress)

The chart can be personalized and time sensitive: "brush teeth by 7:12 every school day" ;) if any of your kids need that kind of structure.
The chart can be a list of all thing that need to be done by the end of the day.
I am a big fan of each child has a personalized chart. so that it works best with who they are.

I am also a fan of having a family meeting and involving everyone in ideas of how to get your lists of priorities done by all 7 of you.This helps the family unit understand they are all important and that they needed to help keep MOM/CEO from stressing out.

I have been a nanny for 20 years and the best homes I've "live in" are the ones where everyone is valued and respected and EVERYONE is pulling there own weight.

*I have solved the pile of dirt in the middle of the floor problem... By turning the sweeping job into a 2 person job... one to sweep it into a pile and the second one to vacuum up the pile. (I even taped out a corner where the dirt was to be swept so it was out of the way and did not involve the 2 people to even have to do there part "together")

breathe that is most important.

LittleMom said...

Dawn ~ I have been a widow for the past 4 1/2 years, with two children. The best thing I did to keep my sanity was to learn the word "no". Sometimes you have to say it when you don't want to. I have cut down on my extra activiites as well as a few of the children's, we just couldn't do it all. Gradually as you get settled, you can add a few things to your life and your schedule, but don't over do it. I've also accepted that the house dosen't have to be spotless, dinner can be cold cereal, and the kids can skip a bath for one night, it's okay!!! Good luck and hang in there!

Janie said...

OF COURSE, Take care of the family..Kids come first. Maybe do the blog one day a week to catch us up.. and get some sleep! You won't be good to anyone if you deprive yourself. Get organized and soon you all will have a new and better routine for the the kids, the house, and work. 'good Luck and Love.

Anonymous said...

I am a military wife and my husband has been away for 6 months this time - home in 2. The only advice I can give you is to change your routine completely. I find that when we go into deployment mode that we miss him less and don't notice quite as much that he is gone. I do change everything around from the kids' bedtimes, mealtimes, homework time, and so on. It lessens the blow for everyone. You will find the flow your family needs eventually.

I am not a big believer in thinking that the older ones should pick up the slack of the missing parent though. They shouldn't feel obligated to step into their father's shoes. I would think that could develop a resentment towards both parents. Try not to make them feel guilty by complaining about being tired or appearing too overwhelmed. I am having ongoing problems with my son's school and my older daughter can see that I was becoming overwhelmed and would find reasons to stay home from school and work and from being with her friends to try and help me out and offer her support and that is not good for a teenager of any age.

It is better for them to be from a broken home then to live in one. I grew up wishing almost daily that my parents would divorce and they are still married and I still have the same wish now even after almost 42 years on this planet. Kids need to see happy parents and happy parents are sometimes happiest apart.

I believe that you mentioned at one point that Joe may have some mental health issues or dependency issues. If that is true he may need your help and the kids may need to see you showing that kindness towards him. It will be difficult but maybe he will slowly reach out to them in his own time and you need to let them know that they need to be ready to welcome him back into their lives. I am sure that as each day goes by he is feeling worse and worse about his behaviour and more and more afraid of just how they are going to react. If he does come around that is great but if he doesn't you have to let the kids deal with it their own way and respect their father. He may not want to be their dad right now but he will always been their father.
Liz

Lyuda said...

It's totally understandable. Hey, even I get overwhelmed and I don't have any kids at all. (Even though I know how kids alone can wring you out; I grew up with 10 siblings, seven of them were younger than me...) Anyways, I will pray for you so you will have enough strength, wisdom and patience to go through each day. It will get better eventually, it always does! [**hugs**]
P.S. I will miss your blog though and will be waiting for you to return!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for some time now and just wanted you to know you have support out in the world you never knew you had. I know that does not help get the dishes done but, just concentrate on yourself first then the kids they need you more than ever now.

Sharon said...

Have a family conference with your kids and see what they think they can do to help or do without. I did this with my two girls all the time, the only 2 rules were no one could get mad and I didn't have to follow through with their ideas. I'm not divorced but kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Most times our family conference got things out in the open that I had no clue about. Your kids are smart and it envolves them also. Thanks for the blog and I know you and your kids will come out of this stronger and closer. A good secret cry sure never hurt. I heard one time that a woman's tears made her stronger not weaker and I trully believe that.

Angie said...

I just wanted to give you a virtual pat on the back. No matter how you cut it divorce is hard on everyone but you're handling it really well. One of the best things you can do for your kids is not talk badly about their father (at least not when they'll hear) and keep assuring them that he really does love them. I say this both from experience as a kid of divorced parents and as a psychologist. And you're making the right decision putting your kids first. If anyone gives you grief just remember: there wouldn't BE a blog without your kids. Also, you can't be a good mom (or a good blogger) if you don't take care of yourself. So make sure to take time for yourself too (even if it means locking yourself in the bathroom for a nice soak and dealing with the damage later ;-)

jenny222 said...

Just lots of prayers and hugs....

A Mother's Thoughts said...

Definately drop the blog ball! I hope that things come together for you! Players are sent your way!

Lynn

plainprecious said...

Dawn been there done that living with it every day. A father who has forgotten his kids. I have one of those. But thankfully I have a brand new hubby. Well now he is kinds used. We have been together 8 years married 6. My hubby picks up the slack. My ex hasnt paid regular support in YEARS. and now has cancer and wonders why the kids dont want to be around him. I have made them go see their dad a couple times jsut because I dont want him to CROAK and them feel like they should have done something to make ammends. He hasnt bought Presents for them in a couple years. Nor ha he called them to hang out in forever. When they finally did go 2 times to visit with him he didnt ask one question about how they are doing jsut talked about his treatments and such. His 2 sons had birthdays no calls no card nothing. Thy have given up on him which is sad. He blames the divorce on me I broke the family up. ME I feel like I freed myself from a life of pure hell. Let me jsut say this. Joe is the one missing out. There will come a day when he will realzie he screwed up. Or at leat thats still what I hope. I jsut keep telling my kids that nothing they can do will change him and they did nothing wrong. QUESTION have you filed for child support?

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about what you and the kids are going through. I wish I could offer some advice. What I can surely offer are many prayers for all of you.

Don't worry about the "blog" ball, all of us will still be here when you have time to post. Hopefully, you'll be able to let us know how you're doing from time to time because you'll be on our minds.

((Hugs)) for all of you. Take care of yourself.

Donna in PA :)

KMC said...

OMG I'm so sorry. Somehow I seem to have missed your post about the divorce and was all "what??? divorce?" when I read this post. I can't imagine how hard this must be for you all. I really hope time does help everyone heal. I know with you at the helm the kids will be fine. But you have to take care of yourself too.

lori said...

the only thing i can imagine is that joe is trying to make you see how it is without him by completely dropping out of sight in his attempt to win you back. but to do that to his kids is probably the most unforgivable thing he has done. many women are both mom and dad, and you are strong enough to be among them. i hope you are all getting some kind of counseling to help the kids try to understand the situation and mostly that none of it is their fault. keep the faith that God will see you through it.

Robin said...

The biggest tip I can give you, you already know....just love your kids. It's so hard for kids to understand adult things like divorce. Hopefully with you there beside them, loving them and keeping your sense of humor in tact, they'll come thru this knowing how much you & Joe both love them.

Hang in there. Give lots of hugs and for God's sake don't worry about humoring us all the time. I'm sure we can find something to do to occupy our time until you can humor us once again. Just don't forget about us completely! :)

Donna said...

Dawn... I will miss you on here but totally understand.
You have given us all so many laughs and fun in here. But it is important you spend time with the kids and yourself. Know it has to be hard for you and the blog can wait and wait. Just drop a few lines and show some pictures at times so we know you are ok.

As for Joe.... I think he is ashamed of himself and can't face the kids. I would think his parents would love to see the grandkids... just ask and if they say no....then go on without them.

Big hugs and praying for you everyday. God is there and always will be.
As the saying goes:
Life will go on.
Also, I think kids at any time should have chores to do.. not just for when a spouse is gone.
I taught my kids the things they needed to know and do and they are very happy and independant now.

Good luck....
Love ya, Donna from Indiana

Anonymous said...

Dawn, My heart goes out to you and your kids. As a single mom of 2 I know exactly where you are at. I work 3 jobs to support my kids, their father at one point wanted nothing to do with them and I was at my wits end with daily work. I used to feel guilty for their father not wanting to be part of their life, but I soon realized that he was the one who would some day wake up and realize what he was missing, not me. Don't let Joe's ignorance get in the way of you being a wonderful mother to your children. I have learned over time when my girls grow up, they aren't going to care if I did the dishes right after dinner, folded laundry right when it came out of the dryer or whether or not the house was swept every day. The things they will care about is whether or not we laughed, played games together and doing things that they want to do as children. Not doing adult things such as cleaning house or cleaning their rooms.

I hope this helps you, but remember you are only one person, and that person (YOU) needs to have time to yourself as well.


Sending my prayers

Linda_bauman@msn.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn...Sorry Joe is being such a putz....Karma always kicks in however and his may be painful. I'm a mom of 5 who spent much of my time alone with them. Advice:
1. Do NOT turn away help when it is offered.
2. Lower your expectations. I don't think I opened my kid's bedroom doors until they grew up and moved out.
3. Make the kids your priority.
4. It's OK to eat hot dogs and tater tots 5 nights in a row.
Good luck my friend!
Shirley

Kami said...

I am so sorry that you are going thru this. Lots of hugs for you and the kiddos. My parents have each been divorced TWICE. It is hard on the kids especially when one parent is acting like Joe is, but all I can say is BE HONEST to the best of your ability without hurting them. Tell them he is having a hard time and not handling it well so he is making some bad choices. But that all of you can pray for him to realize what he is missing. Reassuring them that he loves them is good too. Maybe just say he doesn't know how to show it right now??? Just a few ideas...not saying they work for everyone, I just know I really HATED my father for a long time for LYING (like really lying, not just telling me my Mom loved me and such like you are telling your kids with Joe) about my Mother. When I was old enough to ask and get the truth, my Mom told me it all! Every bad choice she made, every mistake, every regret and to this day I have more respect for her for doing that and owning up to her bad choices then I will ever have for my father, who to this day insists that he is some sort of victim in life....

As for survival tips...I am a military wife. My husband is deployed. We just moved to OKC about 9mths ago. We have 2 kids. 8 & 2 yrs old. Our 8 yr old is really having a hard time this time around for some reason. My hubby has been gone just shy of two months and I am still trying to get my life organized and in order and so on. I run an in home daycare so from 6am to 5pm I have between 3-7 kids depending on the time of day...so I can relate a little to what you are going thru.

My favorite chore tool is my chore calendar from www.motivatedmoms.com. Best $8 I ever spent. Breaks everything down into daily, weekly lists to help make it easy to not only remember some of the stuff some of us forget, but I am a visual person who likes to "check" things off the list. There are several different formats to choose from on the site.

With cooking I am a big advocate of the crock pot. Throw it all in,set it on low, and tada! Dinner! :) I have TONS of recipes I will glady share if you want me to!

Again lots of hugs for you all. Thoughts and prayers for strength and love. Take time for you! Maybe set up "date nights" with either each kiddo or take the boys one night and the girls another. Having some one on one time with you, even just 10 minutes at bed time can make a HUGS difference and as the others have said already, look for those friends who can be a shoulder to lean on!

HUGS!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I haven't read through the 90 odd posts. My husband is away approx 5 out of 7 nights as he is a truck driver and we own our own business (READ: if the wheels aren't turning, we aren't earning). I only have 2 kids, but what has saved me is the Flylady system. I've been doing it on and off for 10 years but really gave my full effort just this January (sad I know, after so many years). They have tips for kids as well as adults. flylady.net.

Prayers for you, Dawn. My dad did the same to us when I was 13 - 20 years on and I have accepted, grieved and dealt with it.

Tasha Hickert said...

Dawn,

It sounds as though you are doing well under the circumstances. The best thing to remember is that in a few years you will have them all in school and you will get a little time on some days to go back to bed!

My best advice is to move where your kids can ride the bus! But since that probably won't work I would try really hard to carpool with another parent for school and activities. That takes a HUGE load off. I can't remember if the grandparents are nearby and could handle being in charge of shuttling one sports practice or confirmation, etc.?

It'll take a little time to work out the chores but your kids are old enough to handle a lot. My kids work best with a list they can check off. Sometimes I designate jobs and some I let them choose as long as it all gets done. There are only a few daily chores that are assigned.

I pray that it won't take Joe too much longer to see the kids. Your energy is probably very drained due to that whole part of the situation. In the meantime you might consider signing up under a fake name and ranting in comments on other mom blogs! Just to take the stress off.

I only have 3 kids but dh spent most of my first 2 years as a mom traveling for his job (like 2 days after I came home from the hospital). Then he switched to the crazy shift work job which I won't explain but it's like he works all the time and then has 8 days off but he's tired and cranky (and underfoot). Don't get me wrong, I'm not really complaining, just expaining that even though he's around I'm still stuck holding it all together.

At least you are easygoing and have a sense of humor. I'm sorry you have to go through this but that mantra states "whatever doesn't kill us will make us stronger". Amen, sistah!

Kelly R. said...

Wow Dawn, the 7 of you are an awesome team because of the great job you've done as their mom. You'll all get through this together. My advice to you is get enough sleep. It's so hard to think straight when you're exhausted. You have a lot of people rooting for you and the kids!

MaBunny said...

Dawn, sounds like with all you are going through you are holding up amazingly well. I don't have any advice for you at the moment. My husband isn't in the Military, or away for long periods of time.
Its good that you occasionally drop the blog ball, and not the kid ball - you are a great mom!

HuNnY aNd PoPpA LeWiS said...

Sending hugs and prayers for peace for you. I can see why you would be just a tad bit overwhelmed, but know that you are being a wonderful and loving mom to your precious children. Hang in there & know that there are lots of us praying for your family & cheering you on...

Jennifer said...

Hello Dawn,

Military Mom here. . . We are on yet another deployment, living in Germany, and preparing to move (all by myslef this time). Here are some things that get us through.

Be bold and change things. Your family dynamics have changed. Start some new traditions and get rid of those that don't work anymore.

Occasionally have the big kids read to the little ones. (If you do it all the time, they'll both resent it, but mine think it's fun every once in a while.) Occasionally use some kid's books on tape, or record yourslef reading some favorites (or better yet dad when he's ready to cooperate) Let them watch those every once in awhile while you're cooking.

Kids love to Skype with their dad, maybe Joe will come to a place where he can do that.

Embrace the car pool, cook out with some like minded neighors,trade kid sitting, . . .

Don't volunteer to take on more extra tasks than you can/want to do.

Teach the kids coping skills: relaxation, meditation, crazy dancing, . . . They'll need it. Recruit their teachers and school counslers.

Try not to hate the circumstances that are hurting your kids.

Meet a friend at the park or skating rink or . . . The kids will have a blast and you'll get to talk to a grown-up.

Embrace the crock-pot.

Don't spent time with family and friend who have a poisonious attitude about the situation.

Hope there's something helpful for you in this . . .

Duck's Mom said...

Dawn,

1. You are an amazingly strong and intelligent woman.
2. Your kids know that with you and faith, they will be well taken care of.
3. Clean clothes, food in their belly, and a roof over their head....that's what they need above you and your love.
4. Your new best friends should be a stand alone freezer and a crock pot. Make that TWO crock pots. Do as much advance cooking as you can. It will save time and sanity in the long run. Especially if you can have it ready to eat in the evening and the kids can take care of setting the table and helping to serve everyone.
6. Ditto someone else who said paper plates and plastic silverware.
7. A really good tip I learned a couple years ago. Buy ground beef in bulk, then brown it all up. Create individual packages, wrapping in plastic wrap and then foil and freeze. Before you freeze, though, you could also combine some of that meat with taco seasoning or spaghetti sauce. If I do that, I tend to use quart-size freezer bags so it lays flat and stacks easily. Then I can just pull a baggy out of the freezer and defrost.

Mother Theresa once said "God won't give me anything I can't handle, I just wish he didn't trust me so much."

Dawn, HE trusts you. And we're all here to support you.

Amanda said...

Hugs. As a military wife, I've learned that I'm no good to anyone else if I don't take care of myself too. The dishes will wait. Go to bed early one night. Get a good night's sleep and start the next day refreshed. Another thing I've learned is there's no shame in asking for help when you need it. Deployment was a very humbling experience for me. I learned I couldn't do it all perfectly.

TDM Wendy said...

My heart breaks for those kids. I am so sorry. Will be praying for you and your family.

Sunny said...

I am a mom with 2 kids, and I work full time. I am currently also preparing to divorce my 2nd husband. He left me one year ago exactly. It is hard. It is harder than death. It is even harder the 2nd time. I don't know how I get up in the morning sometimes, but I do. Life goes on. I do recommend "Divorce Care". It is a 13 week support group I went to at my church. Maybe a church near you has it? The kids go too and have their own support time separate from you. I did not want to go, but I dragged myself there because a friend needed a ride. I am glad I went. It really helped.http://www.divorcecare.org/
There is a quick easy search on their site that will tell you where the Divorce Care near you is.
Alanon and Alateen is really important too. In case your teens are having a hard time opening up to you about what they are going through.

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