Solo Parenting Sucks–At Least When Hubby’s Away
It’s amazing the yin and yang of motherhood. This Sunday, while Phil was on day 9 of his epic LA journey (that I thought would never end), my two closest mom friends took me to brunch. Sans babies. It was heaven. We actually went to a nice place, complete with linen tablecloths. I didn’t find myself grabbing for the ketchup before Fia flung it across the room; the water and ice remained on the table; we didn’t pull out crayons as an act of desperation. And the conversation. Oh my god, the conversation. We actually spoke in complete sentences. I realized I still really do know the English language.
After that, I treated myself to a prenatal massage. I had no qualms about leaving Fia with the sitter for the majority of the day. I needed the break. Between Phil’s absence, the impending move to LA and subletting our Brooklyn apartment, the pregnancy and my freelance work, I could easily justify the R & R.
In short, Sunday was glorious.
That’s what awoke me at 5:15 Monday morning. WTF? Fia sleeps until 6:30. Except Monday she decided to throw me a fast one. The rest of the day consisted of dodging curve balls (I know nothing about baseball, so pardon if my puns are messed up).
By that evening, I was so spent I just camped out on the couch with Sesame Street. I couldn’t deal.
I put her in her high chair with food and waited for the clock to hit 6:30—that’s when we begin the bedtime routine. She sat there, not touching anything.
I asked her (from the couch) to please eat. Instead, she took a gob of peanut butter and wiped it in her hair. Then did this devilish “heh heh heh” laugh. I kid you not, it kinda freaked me out. Maybe she is possessed? Do I need a priest? Maybe I was so tired my imagination was running wild. I took her out and gave her a bath.
She loves the bath. This night, she hated it. Screamed the whole time. And did that devil laugh. Good god. She threw water everywhere. I got done as quickly as I could, changed into comfy sweats myself, then gave her the bottle. She drank all of it, and I had a glimpse of optimism that I would soon be off the clock, in my comfy clothes, relaxing. I pulled her to my shoulders to hug her goodnight as I always do.
Are you f–king kidding me? I look at her and myself. We were covered in barf. What amazes me is how calm I am outwardly. I think I just go into my own possessed trance mode. Inside though, I wanted to cry. And scream. And maybe break something. Instead, I put us both in the shower, with our clothes on, peeling them off and washing off the barf. Neither of us enjoyed the experience. I got us both into our pajamas, said good night and she went down.
I sat on the couch thinking about what a difference a day makes. Sometimes it’s too my benefit. Other times like this, when the massage/brunch/relaxation go out the window at the speed of lightning, it’s to my detriment. It just amazes me how fast moods and scenarios can change with a toddler. I guess that’s life and it’s nothing I don’t already know. It’s just more magnified now, since it’s not all about me. In the end the ebbs and flows even out, right? They must. I hope so.
Suffice it to say, Phil came home on a red-eye later this week. I don’t know who was happier to see him: me or Fi. It makes me realize that gaps he fills in. We trade off mornings getting up with her. And he takes over at 6 pm and gets her fed and ready for bed. I’ll be relieved in a few short weeks when we’re all in LA together and this solo parenting thing becomes a rarity. I don’t know how the single moms out there do it, or the military moms, or anyone who parents alone. But I know one thing: I bow deeply to them.