Strike A Balance In Single Parenting
April 16, 2012
The past three weeks have been glorious and here’s why.
My older brother, Carlo, lives at the Jersey Shore. He works in law enforcement and primarily works in South Jersey, however his headquarters are up North—ten minutes from my condo—ding, ding, ding. For the past three weeks, he’s had work up North and he’s slept at my place every Wednesday night. Do you know what that means? Do you?????
For the past three weeks, I’ve been able to attend Happy Hour with my coworkers. This is epic in my world. I’ve been able to enjoy a smooth, cold alcoholic beverage after a busy day at the magazine. I’ve enjoyed adult conversation, random conversation with the opposite sex and frankly, a breather.
Normally, I leave work right on the dot and rush to JD’s school by 6 PM. In the classroom, I get a hug and earful. “The butterflies hatched! Come see. Look at my handprint flower! I ate all of my pizza for lunch! I have to pee before we leave. Can we go check on the eggs in the office? (His school is incubating eggs that are due to hatch. So cute!) Black and red make purple! Did you know that Mom?” I load him and his 450 school projects and papers into the Jeep. We come home. I cook barefoot in my work clothes. We eat. We play outside. We play inside. We watch cartoons. There’s a shower or bath, then books. He goes to bed at 8:30 PM and I either collapse or work in my home office.
Not for the past three weeks.
Every Wednesday, Carlo picked JD up from school. They've gone out to eat. I left work without feeling rushed and joined my friends for 1 or 2 drinks—and maybe dinner. By the time I got home, JD was bathed and I tucked him in—sometimes he’d be sleeping. I call Carlo’s recent work schedule a blessing in disguise, because it truly shifted my universe. There are glimmers of old Christine still in me (she was suppressed for some time). I’m loud, funny and like to have a good time and admittedly I’ve been on single mom duty for fours years in competition with myself and it’s not healthy. It’s also wonderful for JD to have this one-on-one guy time with my brother. I was talking to my younger brother, Brian, about this and he said when Carlo’s North Jersey project ends, he’ll take over one night a week and be on JD duty. He said he noticed a change in me and that getting out sans JD is important for not only me, but JD. And I couldn’t agree more.
I honestly don’t feel guilty either, which is a strange feeling for me. I do everything and the moon for my kid and he knows it—everyone knows it. On Friday I came home from work, but my Mom had scooped up JD from school. We all ate pizza together. I played outside with him for two hours. Bathed him and read to him. He was sound asleep by the time I went out—yes, I went out! But, at 8 AM (oy!) the next day I was at Little League pictures, followed by a 2-mile opening day Little League Parade, followed by milkshakes and size 12 shoe shopping and all things JD. You need to strike a balance and I haven’t for four years—part of me didn’t want to. I can’t be forced or rushed into things. One day the universe just shifts and you stop feeling like you're in a race.
Full disclosure: I do not in any way endorse the brands pictured in this blog. My kid needed new sneakers, so I bought him some. We are shoe people. :)