My husband was out of town for three weeks. Things always go sideways when he’s gone. Part of it’s just the normal life stuff that suddenly seems overwhelming when handled alone and part of it’s stuff he normally takes care of that’s now added to my shoulders. But some of it’s special and over-the-top.
Here’s some highlights from my most recent single-mom experience:
- A kid with a persistent cough that kept everyone up at night.
- Cleaning up vomit from the floor of the car when said kid coughed so hard, he made himself throw up.
- A mystery come-and-go ailment with the older boy that came on suddenly with headache and sore throat and left the boy curled up lifeless in the recliner.
- A trip to the doctor’s office, 2 strep tests, 1 flu test. All came back negative, thankfully.
- Constant fighting to get kids to take medicine that they don’t like the taste of.
- Zig Zagging all across town to taxi 3 kids to or from 5 different activities in the course of a single evening.
- Dead mouse stuck to the floor at the head of my bed.
- A terrible rotting smell in my daughter’s room most likely the result of the animal that we thought we heard trapped in the wall dying. How does one extract a dead animal from a wall when you don’t even know for sure which wall?
- Dog that has now decided the neighbor leaving for work at 4am is objectionable and barks to show her displeasure.
- February started. This means I had to try to setup the next month’s budget on my own while pinging my husband, who was away and busy, to do one little piece. I think we were a week into the month, with me trying to save receipts, before I was ready to fund our envelopes in the GoodBudget app.
- One kid managing to get both big toes infected due to excessive ripping off of toenails (rather than using clippers) that has left him with ingrown nails and pus seepage. This means me washing his toes nightly, spraying with peroxide, applying polysporin, and covering them. He’s getting to be a big boy. His feet are nasty.
- Basketball coach forgetting to add me to her contact list resulting in me showing up with my excited Kindergartner at the local frozen yogurt place, only to learn the date had changed. Fortunately into the future, not the past.
- Me calling my husband and chewing him out for not forwarding that communication on to me. Him getting his feelings hurt. Me attempting to apologize.
- Four pairs of school dress code pants being pulled out of service due to massive rips in the knees. Two more lost their buttons. It’s a wonder the boys aren’t attending school in just their underwear.
- Teenager on the rag.
- Teenager poor decision making on Instagram followed closely by teenager lying, my dramatic (albeit temporary) conflict with another mother, confiscation of the iPod, worries about her social standing, stress, and nervous breakdown.
- Flooding of the laundry room when I forgot to feed the temporary drain out the window before starting a load, most likely due to distraction caused by the stress of the Instagram debacle.
- Throwing a laundry basket across the room in frustration after seeing the water and watching it fly toward a shelf of pottery, muttering pleas for it to drop before causing damage.
- Breaking several of my daughter’s crosses when I rushed into her room to grab the two towels I had seen on her floor, only to learn as I snatched them off the ground that one was cradling the fragile crosses that had been temporarily removed from the wall.
- Displaying incredible maternal fortitude by collapsing in front of the laundry room with the recently acquired towels, curling into a fetal position, balling my eyes out, and crying, “I can’t do this by myself” – all in front of my boys, who sweetly offered to help, not understanding what “this” was.
It’s times like this that I truly admire the real single parents of the world. To do this 24/7/365 takes incredible energy and dedication. Even doing it badly can take more than you’ve got to give.
The first week was the hardest. It got easier but I still can’t imagine doing it for the duration of a childhood or two… or three. Fortunately, my husband returns tomorrow. Because I’m insane, I’m trying to surprise him with some completed projects around the house. As if surviving with all three kids intact isn’t impressive enough.