I fell in love the other day. He does not know it nor will he ever. I won’t see him again. I won’t hear from him outside of the meeting. But I fell in love. He is all I think about during my down time. His smile. The kindness that oozed from every word he spoke to me. That smile that set off sparks in me that have lasted days after the meeting. I honestly did not know that I had the ability to feel anything real for anyone anymore. I bury so much of my wants and needs, never trusting myself to choose a ‘good one’. I think that is what divorce and a string of bad relationships does to someone. Especially if you were as committed as I was to the other person. Having someone you put your heart and soul into tell you that you are not good enough – and then prove it with affairs and lies – is a very, very hard pill to swallow. So, in my life, I have thrown all of that effort into my children and my pets and my business. So much so that anytime I feel the urge to let someone in, I feel truly selfish. Because when you are raising children as a single mom, focusing on me is selfish… isn’t it?

OK. Maybe it was not ‘love;’ but it was definitely feelings.  Feelings of attraction and a smidgen of hope as I laughed at his jokes and melted every time he smiled. Feelings I have buried deep inside. Poor things have not seen the light of day in years. Because right now, my whole being centers around my children.

I hear all the time that my children should not be my life. That one day they will grow up and move away and I will have nothing left but an empty, clean house that is too quiet. Only interrupted by the beagles barking at the leaves blowing.  But, at least for now – I do now have a 13 year old that this will end with sooner than later, I am sure – they are my best friends. They are the backbone for every decision, every idea and every quest of happiness in my life.

I work hard because of them. Because I want them to have the things that make their childhood amazing. I foster dogs because I want them to understand compassion and making other people happy by doing something hard and time consuming and selfless.  I run my business out of my home, isolating myself from other people day in and day out, so that I can be here should they need even the smallest things.

They are my reason for everything.

I know I am setting myself up for disaster. But just because I know it does not mean I am willing to do anything about it.

Truth is, doing anything about it – like real dating and letting someone in – feels really, really selfish.

I already feel horrid when I am on my phone and my kids want my attention. I already feel bad when I leave them with a sitter to go to a business event. I already lose sleep when I think I have zoned out when they are telling me the same story for the 86th time. I already wonder if I am a good mom when I have to work instead of spending time with them.

Imagine how I will feel if I do decide to really date and I am texting with him when they kids want my attention? Imagine the guilt when I go out on a date on a night my kids wanted to watch a movie and cuddle?

Imagine if he broke my heart and my kids had to see that… again?

On the flip side, what about the guy? The one who wants to get to know me but has to be patient as I navigate work, the kids, the dogs, my client schedule, school functions, extra-curricular activities, calls with kids talking to me in the background, dogs barking and on and on and on.

Plus my falling asleep during a conversation because I am so damned tied of trying to do it all. He already has to deal with my trust issues and my inability to let feelings come through. Seems really, REALLY selfish to ask him for more.

So yes. I probably do need to understand that focusing on me every once in a while does not make me a bad person. I probably need to realize that these first 10 – 13 years of my children’s lives have flown by and, thus, the next 10 -13 will too. Therefore, that quiet, clean house is not far away.

I probably need to get out and to meet people and to let those feeling out of the little box nailed shut in my heart. I do, most likely, need to focus on me for a change. To get to know myself a little more and to start building those friendships that will keep me from rotting away alone at home once the girls leave.

But it seems like such a selfish things to do. To all parties involved… it just seems really, really selfish.

How shocked were you when your kids moved out?