When Your Job Turns You into a Temporary Single Parent
Since January, I have been a somewhat, sort of single mom.
Last Fall, I started working for BlogHer, based in the Manhattan office. Since commuting to Midtown from the Greater Boston area wasn’t realistic, this meant the family had to move. And realistically, put our home in Massachusetts on the market -- much as we loved it.
Financially, we just couldn’t support another household. The vacation home in Vermont that we’ve been trying to sell for the past 2 years and a principal residence somewhere is enough of a load, thank you very much. I’m also not the sort of person who likes to be separated from the family. I waited a long time to have my son and want to be his full-time mom. My pets (especially the dogs) are very important as well. So, a room rental for me in the metro area and commuting back to Massachusetts on weekends was a non-starter.
Since my husband is an independent software and Internet consultant, he can work just about anywhere. So we began to make plans to relocate. We found a house to rent in CT that was good for the dogs, cats and Doug. The landlord even let me put in a fenced in yard for the dogs, provided I take it down when we leave. We found a small private school for my son, and after the December holidays, we moved down so Doug could start school after the break.
Except my husband didn’t come. Two months later, he’s still at the old house in Massachusetts and although he hasn’t committed one way or the other, I think he plans to stay there until the house is sold. Which has meant some big adjustments. Doug and I are on our own.
I have a pet sitter who comes around noon to let the dogs out, as we don’t have a dog kennel in the rental like we did at the old house. Four days a week I have a helper who picks Doug up at the after-school program and feeds the pets, staying until I get home from the city around 7ish (or later for the 2 or so days a month I have to stay in town for something). When I have a business trip that will take me out of town and can’t bring Doug with me, someone comes to stay so he doesn’t miss school. My mom is covering my trip to New Orleans for Mom 2.0 in April, and since I may have another trip earlier that month, either his father or my brother will come for a couple days.
It’s a bit weird being a somewhat sort of single mom, but we’re managing pretty well with our new routine. Doug seems to like his school and is making new friends, while still keeping in touch with the ones from our old town. He’s even beginning to pull his weight around the house -- taking out the trash, setting the table, helping pick up after the dogs, getting his homework done on time, getting up and ready for school on time (most days) so I don’t miss my train. I am very proud of him.
We also have started some new traditions. Every week -- usually Friday -- we have Family Movie Night. We get our dinner delivered and camp out in the living room watching a movie. We’ve been ordering Domino’s Pizza but I just learned that the local Asian fusion place (Shangri-La) delivers orders more than $15.00, so it’s going on the rotation.
We also try to take an excursion at least once a month. Last month, we went to the Amercian Museum of Natural History, and ate at the now dismantled restaurant Celsius that sits atop the seasonal skating rink in Bryant Park (near my office). Come warmer weather, we’re planning trips to the zoo (Bronx, Beardsley and Central Park), and I want to do the Circle Line boat tour of the city again. We did it when Doug was about four or five, and I think he would enjoy it much more now.
My husband has been coming down every couple weeks and taking Doug skiing up north. Which was tough the first time, but a lot easier the second, when I actually enjoyed my day and a half on my own. My mom and brother come down to visit about once a month, and now that the weather is getting better, we’ll be taking day trips to finish packing up the MA house to get it on the market.
So, I’m somewhat sort of single right now, but I’m getting to be a full time mom and that’s worth everything to me.
This post originally appeared on Snapshot Chronicles.