When Dad's Away, Mom Will Play: The Best Parts of Parenting Alone

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The husband is gone. I woke him in the darkness, hurriedly readied Fashionista and Babygirl for school, and ushered them across the pre-dawn back yard to the neighbor's house so that I could drive him to the airport. I made sympathetic noises as he cried out in pain and lurched about awkwardly, his bulging discs inflamed and inflicting agony.

"I don't know if I can make this flight with my back in this state," he mused. "I may have to call the airlines and see if I can get out in the afternoon."

But I loaded his suitcase into the trunk anyway and lifted his briefcase onto the back seat. I pictured this man in my house for another day, slipping candy into the children's lunchboxes and grousing about my lack of a paying job and poor organizational skills and my heart sank. I couldn't bear it.

And so I left him on the sidewalk outside of ticketing and drove away, praying that the call wouldn't come asking me to return to the airport and pick him up. It did not and I am blessedly free for a three-and-a-half weeks, a single mother of three. When people cluck sympathetically, I put on a brave game face, like I'm a plucky little soldier, but the truth is, there are many perks to being single. Here's my top ten list:

1. Sleeping alone! Sure I miss the warm, living presence of him next to me, but I can forgo the snore-blocking silicone earplugs and dead silence that he prefers and revel in the gentle sound of crickets chirping, my noise-maker set on "Summer Night."

2. I can read the morning paper and while I floss and brush my teeth at the table with impunity, without a fear that he'll catch me at it and say, with great feeling: "That's disgusting." And this coming from a man who goes to bed early in order to enjoy a good chew, sometimes falling asleep with it in his mouth and leaking tobacco juice onto the pillow.

3. When I clean the bathroom sink, it will stay clean -- no goobies, dried toothpaste, and tiny brown tobacco leaves clinging to the sides.

4. I can skip showers and make-up and wear sweats around the house, layering on my unsexy-but-warm polyester-weave bathrobe with it gets really cold.

5. I can set the thermostat at what I consider to be an appropriate level for the dead of winter. If you're comfortable in the house without a sweater, the heat is cranked up too damn high!

6. I can insist that the kids help clear the table and clean the kitchen after dinner without him taking them outside to play monkey-in-the-middle while I slave away at the sink.

7. No male eyes will rake me up and down critically before a declaring that I'm unattractively skinny.

8. I won't wake up on the weekends, startled by the silence of an empty house, knowing that he's taken the kids out for trans-fat filled donuts. Again.

Donut heaven

9. The sound of TV sports doesn't fill the living room when there's a game on the local network channels. Nor does the sound of a grown man bitching that I switched off cable service when there's a game of vast importance being shown on ESPN.

10. I don't have to worry about The Husband doing his fair share of childcare or chores around the house. For the next few weeks, it is all up to me.


Photo Credit: bochalla.


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