For four days, my husband has been on a work trip and I have been parenting solo.
For the record, parenting solo is NOT the same as being a Single Parent. Single Parents are heroes who deserve a special lifetime of holy glory for all they carry through the long days of work and kids and life. I probably deserve a Snickers bar or a nice, frothy Coke for managing our kids and house for four days alone.
Because mostly, it's been fairly uneventful.
I mean, for a lot of the week, I've been a decent mom. I get a few gold stars for the following:
- I read the Bible with them.
- We did all of the necessary schoolwork.
- I listened to 274 jokes from really bad kids' joke books.
- I took them to the library.
- I made pancakes.
- I jumped on the trampoline with them when I didn't want to go outside.
- I didn't even lose my temper at all when they spilled stuff and broke some of my favorite things jacking around and not listening to instructions.
- I bought them pizza one night (okay that was really for me).
Here is a smattering of the things I said and did on day three:
- When no one "cared about" doing their Math: "It actually doesn't matter to me if you care about Math. You don't have to care about Math. It's not your best friend. Just do the problems."
- When no one wanted to help me unload the car: "Your dad has been gone for three days. Mean Mom is here now. Just do what she says."
- When no one could agree on lunch plans: "I am lying here on the ground dying one thousand deaths, you guys."
- When the unhappy children followed me around, complaining incessantly: "I came in this room to be alone. Should I find a different space? I can't take your whining."
- When my throat started mysteriously hurting: "My throat hurts. I'm going to lay my head down here on the table a cry for a minute." ( I then actually did this. Crying is cathartic.)
- When the boys endlessly played "two for flinching" in a coffee shop: "You, sit on that stool. You, stand against that wall. No touching. You're in jail now."
I don't know what this list even means. We made it through, though. There were no real injuries or trips to the hospital. No one cried- except about Math, but I'm not going down for that one. You can blame Isaac Newton or the entire nation of Singapore for how hard new math is, people. Mostly we have been supery dupery peachy keen.
And here's the thought I haven't been able to shake once everyone was in bed and I could watch Gilmore Girls until I passed out: I am a totally okay mom.
There are parts of this mom thing I rock and there are parts I struggle through. But no matter what, my kids love me and I love them.
No, I didn't savor every moment of every day this week, making sure we didn't miss one second of their fleeting childhood. I didn't construct some brilliant way to document my love for them. Sometimes, I had to send some emails and work on some ministry stuff. Occasionally, I skimmed through Instagram, looking at other people's children doing way cooler stuff than we were doing. Once, on day two, I felt like a total failure when I read some article about how much our kids need us to get on the floor with them and play with them more, and build our whole world around them.
I can't do that, though, because that would be weird.
Sometimes I want my kids right next to me, and sometimes I want them to go play somewhere that I can't smell their stinky feet or hear their gross jokes about toilets. Always, I love them. Always, I run when they're hurt or really in need. But these growing children need to try to find their own happy place while I find mine, because we are separate people with separate brains and souls, and we get grouchy when we live codependent lives of unending connection and awkward bonding.
So, just go away and be secure, my children. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and being happy alone makes you stronger and braver.
Which reminds me, Morgan gets home tonight and I won'r have to be solo any longer. I have to admit, I will miss my Gilmore Girls marathons a little bit. But even so, my hands are up, all praising Jesus for airplanes that bring husbands home.
Now I can be a totally okay wife again, too.
All I do is win, man....