Lament of the Solo Parent
December 15, 2011
Why hello, Internet. Welcome to my Wednesday evening, AKA the last night on my own before Phillip returns from his business trip. He left Monday, he'll be back Thursday in time to put the kids to bed. Not too bad, right? He's done this exact same trip a million times now (okay, maybe it just FEELS like a million times) and usually he's gone an extra night or two. This is nothing! RIGHT?
Oh, but it's something, Internet, it's SOMETHING. For one thing, it's his first trip away since we've had Emma, and let me tell you, solo parenting two preschoolers is a heckuva lot different than solo parenting two preschoolers and a two-month-old. I used to be able to put the big kids away and collapse in front of the television. Now I put the big kids to bed and stand in front of the television, rocking and bouncing a wide awake baby.
It's also just LONELY. I haven't had the time or brain space to organize all the grown up time I usually try to have when Phillip is away. I'm not even sure my friends KNOW he's away (well, unless they read my blog. Then they are tired of hearing about it.) Plus it's December, which means we're super busy, even on a regular old boring preschool weekday. When else are we going to buy Christmas presents? There are people to visit, parties to plan, parties to attend, family events, preschool festivities - we just got home from the big school Christmas program and that right there was enough to send me to bed for the next twenty years. Jack, of course, was beyond adorable, but now I need him to pour me a drink.
Whenever Phillip is away I spend a lot of time thinking about single parents. How do they DO this? I mean, I do it. I don't do it WELL, but I do it and it gets done and honestly, the anticipation of a business trip is so much worse than the actual trip. But to do this on a regular basis? I'd go mad. Sometimes I start thinking about moms whose husbands are deployed and ugh, just TYPING that makes me want to sob.
I feel like I should be used to it, and most of the time I think I've come to terms with the fact that Phillip travels for work. But I'm realizing that "coming to terms" doesn't exactly equal "happy about it". I wish it did. It's not like I don't want Phillip to GO. That job is, after all, what enables me to BE a stay at home mom (not to mention funds my Target habit.) And I'm proud of him and excited for all the projects that require the travel. But every time he tells me he's going away, I tense up. I get that yucky feeling in my shoulder blades, like I'm guarding myself, or putting on my Staying Home Alone Armor. I just... it just hasn't gotten any easier. I don't think I'm ever going to be all "no sweat!" about my husband flying across the country for a week while I stick it out with the kids.
Is that a horrible thing to say? It's SUCH a first world problem, for one thing. And at least my husband HAS a job. (We could go pretty far down this road, but I think I'll stop right there.) It's certainly clear that my inability to get over this is a huge personal failing. I'm just at the point now where instead of beating myself up about not being a better person, I start trying to figure out how to make IT better.
Um, any ideas?