My husband has to occasionally go out of town for business. Not often, but every few months or so. And no matter how many times it happens, I still for some reason lull myself into the false belief that while he is away, I will have all sorts of time on my hands to get things done. I imagine that I’ll start home projects, get the gardens weeded, have time to lounge and read, or watch chick flicks.
Then reality sets in. And I realize that for those couple of days or so, or however long his business trip is, I am in a sense a single mom to my son and our dog. I’m also attempting to do basic maintenance of the household, yard and pool. Sure, I’m making quicker and easier dinners (my teenager is perfectly happy with hot dogs or pizza while I have a salad), but the time I save there is taken up with things like watering the outdoor plants, skimming the pool, taking care of recyclables, helping my son with technology issues…. All those projects that are usually “hubby jobs” in my house. And I forgot about the parent-taxi responsibilities for a busy teen. Today, for example, between my job and his summer activities, I realized I had pulled in and out of my driveway five times. That isn’t counting the exiting and entering under my own power when I went for a bike ride and took the dog for a walk. Normally at least one or two of those trips would have been handled by his dad.
Then add in the usual stuff, like paying bills, making phone calls, doing a load of wash, cleaning up the kitchen, etc., and soon my grandiose ideas of having extra time to work on my book, or watch a movie, or even sit and do my nails have drifted out the window. And I am left wondering how single parents, especially those with several children, manage to do it all. They must have super-human abilities….either like The Flash, they can get it all done quicker, or like Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie, they merely need to blink to make things happen.
Why is it that we Real Women think we can take on the world? Why do we think we can fit 36 hours worth of activities into 12? Rationally, I know there are only a few hours after work that are available…after all, I do need to sleep at some point. And yet, I seem to have no problem with creating a to do list that should take a month, let alone one evening. I apparently believe I have super powers….until, at the end of the night, when I’m moving slowly and can barely keep my eyes open, I have to face the fact that I am….sigh….human after all.
So in the end, I’ll do what I can. I’ll be proud of getting one load of laundry done instead of three. I’ll be happy that I watered some of the plants and kept them from dying on my watch. I can rest easy knowing my son made it to all of his activities and even got fed in the process. And when hubby gets home, I will be glad to let him take back his chores, and I’ll make him a nice welcome home dinner so he doesn’t notice that I don’t have a Super Woman cape, and I didn’t get anything else accomplished in his absence. And the next time I see one of my single mom R.W.’s, I’ll give her an extra hug.
I am forever grateful to my Mom, who took care of me on her own for a long time, while my Dad lived in another country. I don’t know how she did it, while holding down a career full-time. Thanks for this post. It reminded me how much I owe to her and how many sacrifices she must have made to ensure that I had as stable a life as possible.
Moms are definitely superwomen!
Still, that’s why support systems are so important. For my mom (and probably many single mothers), it was my aunts and family. But kudos to all the amazing dads out there who are driving the kids to and from school and activities and pitching in at home.
Well said! We need to remember to pause long enough to give kudos where they are so well deserved, and be thankful for our support systems.