In 44 hours my hours my husband returns home after being away for seven weeks – most of that time in Russia — and I am literally counting down the minutes until the plane lands.
Seven weeks is a pretty long time to be alone with three kids without any reinforcements in sight. I won’t call it single parenting because I haven’t had to worry about making money to buy food or pay rent, but I think solo parenting is a fair statement.
Besides taking care of three kids, one dog, and four Koi fish, I have been organizing and packing up a house to sell. I’ve been hiring and overseeing workers and going room-by-room eliminating items and boxing everything up so it looks to potential buyers like we don’t live here anymore.
I’ve had a babysitter come only once in that time for me to get away. I think I needed her to come more often than that.
Here’s some of what I’ve learned during the last seven weeks:
- It is scary to be alone and be the only person responsible for your kids. My parents live 2000 miles away. My husband was in Russia. We would be SOL if something happened to me. I have light bulbs all over the house that need to be changed but I don’t want to climb a ladder without another adult in the house.
- Getting homework done, dinner, bedtime are the most stressful parts of the day. That’s when you need reinforcement — someone coming through the door to help. I used to drink coffee at 2 or 3 to get me through to when Michael would come home. Now I drink coffee at 5 to get me to 10 p.m. without stopping.
- I don’t mind sleeping in the house alone anymore. I used to be paranoid but now I’m just too tired to imagine bad things happening.
- I set two alarm clocks just in case.
- I don’t mind taking out the garbage anymore. I used to hate the task. Now I just don’t care.
- I really needed a babysitter to come once every seven days to give me a break. Every Sunday I seemed to be completely out of patience.
- I go to bed earlier without him here because watching TV is a lot less fun. I have no one to chuckle with or be shocked with. (I have saved a bunch of shows on the DVR for us to watch together.)
- I am exercising more without him here just to deal with the stress of him being gone.
- I have done something seriously bad to my shoulder carrying a couch from the playroom to the front of the house for bulk garbage day. This wouldn’t have happened if he were here.
- I tip workers more without him here. I am so appreciative of the help that I keep tipping people.
- My kids say I am yelling and crying more. I think this is probably true but understandable. (If I wasn’t trying to sell a house this wouldn’t be nearly as hard.)
- We can’t figure out how to connect the printer back up and for some reason Rose’s iPod won’t connect to the internet anymore. (But the internet is working for everyone else.) Michael could fix this with no problem if he were here.
I think being apart and having to do everything myself will make me more appreciative of having his help. I hope that he has missed us as much. (He says he lost 10 pounds in Russia because the food was so bad. I have a wonderful week of menus planed for him – including stuffed crabs, salmon, steak, mushroom risotto, ziti with asparagus and prosciutto.)
But for now it’s 9:34 at night and this solo-mom needs to swap a load of laundry, fold a load of laundry and wash my dishes from dinner before I can go to bed. Good thing I had my coffee at 5.
What are the hardest parts of solo parenting or single parenting? Do you think you would miss your spouse if he/she were gone that long? What things would you miss their help with the most?