Thursday, October 02, 2008

What I'm Learning About Single Parents

My dear husband, Scott, is out of town for five days--can you hear the screams coming from Magnolia Lane? It's actually quite rare that he has to be gone, but when he does, I usually call in the grandparents for reinforcement. (They will be arriving later this afternoon.) In the mean time, let me share a few things I have learned about single parents in the last twenty-four hours:
  • Single parents need more time to do everything. Why? Because they only have one set of hands to comb all the hair, button all the buttons, and tie all the shoes. Admittedly, I handle most of the morning school rush. But if Reagan happens to finish breakfast before Presley, as she often does, I know I can send her upstairs and Scott will help facilitate the whole "use the bathroom and brush your teeth" process. (And it is a process, seriously.) When Scott isn't here, I find Reagan has fallen back to sleep on the stairway.
  • Single parents can't possibly awaken early enough to have time to themselves. On a normal day, I get up around 5:30 or 5:45 (yes, that's a.m.) to read my Bible and have a twenty-minute workout. Then I grab a shower and am ready to get Reagan up by 6:30. But Presley inevitably wakes up sometime in the 6:00 range. No problem--I just put her in bed with Scott and continue with my plans. But when Scott's not guessed it. I must halt mid-workout to fetch milk or turn on Elmo. And then I hear, "I want you, Mama." That means, "Come sit with me...I need attention!"
  • Single parents are always indebted to someone, and that feeling stinks. Having friends that are willing to help is wonderful. But being on the receiving end of free childcare makes me uncomfortable. When it's an even trade, I don't mind. I do my stint in the church nursery on Sunday mornings, so I'm OK with dropping Presley at the door. But on Wednesday nights, while I'm at rehearsal, I feel a twinge of guilt at putting her in a nursery that I never help in...especially when she's the only child other than the nursery worker's son!!! But, when Daddy's not home, you do what you have to do.
  • Single parents have to make all the decisions. OK, so some single parents actually have exes who help with major decisions, such as public vs. private school and whether to take dance lessons or play soccer. But when it comes to the day to day, the parent in possession of the kids has to make a LOT of decisions on her own: like whether to take the kid to the dr. or just wait it out, or what punishment is appropriate for a kid who sasses a teacher. (These are mere examples; my kid has never sassed a teacher!!!)

This is just a drop in the bucket. I didn't even go into the financial ramifications...whoah. I'm just so grateful I have a husband who is helpful and is almost always home with us! But, seriously, when are the grandparents getting here?!?

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