I don’t know how single parents do it. Seriously. I am so growing a mega-great appreciation for what you single parents have to deal with.
For the past week and a half I’ve been managing the household “on my own” while Lisa recovers from her foot surgery. This means getting things around in the morning, breakfast for two, laundry, prescriptions, grocery, snacks, cooking (yes, semi-actual food preparation … slightly beyond grilled cheese, though I have to brag on my hella grilled cheese), newspapers, mail, grass cutting, car washing, cat food, cat appointments, little errands to the post office and the county clerk, dealing with sudden needs of the moment, shuttling her to appointments, getting her clothes, doing my own stuff–writing a bit, keeping up with a fake sports team or two, and … oh, yeah … going to work.
It’s all on me, you know?
I’m not complaining. Really, I’m not. This is exactly what I was expecting, and I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.
Beyond that, I’ve got it incredibly easy because Lisa’s a trooper, she’s an adult. She doesn’t need constant attention like a child would. And she knows what she wants. If anything, she knows too much of what she wants because I’m not the world’s greatest direction taker and she’s (bless her heart) kinda full of directions at certain points–things like how she likes her coffee and oatmeal and other such things, for example. I’ve had it easy because Brigid and Nick were here one full day so I had a morning off. And I’ve got it easy because this is a really short term situation. We’re working through a process, not dealing with a life style. In only a few weeks she’ll be up and going and we’ll be back to being partners on stuff again. I know with certainty that this is a temporary thing, so I can keep a healthy sense of humor about things. Well … sometimes I can, anyway.
“Real” single parents don’t work under this same kind of a deadline.
And I’m not complaining because every step is “easy.” But, geez, there are are a lot of steps. And, geez, it’s wearing. We’re up later than I usually am, so I’m not sleeping as much. And I’m not as active as we’ve been (my average steps have fallen from 23+K to maybe 12K), so I’m feeling sluggish. I have to be thinking all the time–remembering things that I don’t usually need to remember, and as a result I’m constantly restructuring my “personal stuff” on the fly in ways that I don’t usually have to. By the time I get home, I’m drained and it’s time to get dinner going.
As I type, the laundry just buzzed. Crap.
Do you know what will happen if you ignore the laundry? That’s right … the damned thing will buzz again, and again, each time telling you to get your lazy ass up and fold the clothes. Who the hell ever designed that feature, eh? The guy should be held without sleep for three days and then forced to listen to that bleating call for a hour straight, that’s what I think. [grin]
Just to be clear, this isn’t a male/female thing. It’s not a husband/wife thing. It’s a one-parent thing–or a long-term provider thing.
And I have to admit that, since I totally expected everything that we’re going through, I approached this with a small bit of actual anticipation. I’m using the process as writing fodder, you see. Going into this, I was certain it would feed a story or two. But what was unexpected (and actually quite welcomed in its own way) is that this experience has given me a true appreciation for those single-parent co-workers in my office. To do this on your own every day, for years and years on end … man, that’s tough. My hat is off to those of you who manage to pull this off with such grace.