Are Single Parenting Classes a Thing?

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So…. My husband has been out of town this week in Washington D.C…

Now, usually I’m the one traveling for work so when he told me a few weeks back that he was going to be the one gone for 5 days, naturally my competitive self-started singing the song from Annie Get Your Gun “Anything you can do I can do Better” I just thought I would put on my supermom cape and be ready to go.

WRONG!

My husband’s plane is scheduled to land this evening at 6:57 pm … YES, the exact minute is important so I can more accurately calculate the exact moment that he will walk in the door and I can collapse in his arms and thank him for coming home to us.

Like I said, I’m usually the one traveling so I’m used to being the one that packs the bag, walks out the door, sleeps in a huge king bed in my own hotel room, wakes up to room service and the only responsibility I have is getting myself ready, going to great restaurants in fun cities to entertain clients, etc. When I’m gone, I get to call home and hear cheerful voices that are so happy just to be talking to me. I get to be the one that walks into a spotless, clean sparkling house at the end of a trip and be the hero that hands the kids their new magnet from a new city (we collect magnets from each city visited). In other words, my husband seems to have it all together, knows what he’s doing and everything runs like a well-oiled machine.

During the past five days, I have quickly learned three things…

  1. I need to take classes in being a single parent
  2. My husband deserves a round of applause for how well he manages the house/kids when I’m out of town
  3. Supermom capes are earned/given… if you’re rocking one that you put on your own shoulders (like I tried to) it’s no more than a self-righteous accessory

When Daniel left on Saturday morning it was raining and the forecast for the rest of the weekend was rain and freezing rain. I had a sinus infection and didn’t feel well so I let my kids talk me into going to Fastlane in Rogers, AR (think bowling + laser tag + Bumper cars + arcade games and a giant play structure). Selfishly, I thought to myself, kids can play and I can sit still! Well for anyone who has been to Fastlane or anything like it you know sitting still is not an option, especially with a 2 year old. By the time that experience was over I was down $60 and left with a screaming 2 year old under my arm who refused to put on her shoes. I got all the wonderful sympathy looks from other moms as if to say “I feel ya” All I had left in me that night was enough energy to pop the Friday night left over pizza in the microwave for dinner.

Surprisingly, that became a trend for the next couple of days. My well-balanced sit down family dinners turned into anything that I could whip up in 5 minutes or less so they could eat before 8:00 pm…

Saturday – Leftover Friday night pizza
Sunday – 2nd Sunday Pizza night at Tim’s Pizza on the square (tradition with friends that we go to Tim’s pizza every second Sunday for food and fun)
YES…if you’re counting that’s pizza three days in a row – Mom of the year, I know!
Monday – My two year old ate ramen noodles for the first time ever, and loved them. My older daughter choked them down as she knew I was struggling and my son fixed his own PBJ and grilled cheese when he got home from baseball practice… I think I finally ate an orange Popsicle at 11:00 pm for my dinner.
Tuesday – I swore I was going to cook something…. we ended up a Chick-fil-A!!

I can just feel my super mom cape getting farther and farther away as I type all this out…If I kept a food journal it would have grown its own legs and hopped in the trash can by now.

On Monday, I thought we were doing well. We had just used my counterfeit carpool line pick up sign to get my son from school…. yes, that’s right… counterfeit. I can’t for the life of me find where I put that official neon yellow green tag with the school logo and my sons name on it… so I whipped up a counterfeit one with the same color sticky notes tapped together a sharpie and a printer because I didn’t have the extra 5 minutes in my schedule to have to get out of my car, explain and pick him up from the office.  We dropped my son at baseball practice in Springdale and had two hours to get to “Hobby Hobby”… as my two year old calls it… home to feed the girls (yes that was Ramen night) and back up to Springdale to pick up my son. We were almost to the finish line when all the sudden the girls started dropping like flies…. My younger daughter, out of nowhere, could no longer put any weight on her left leg, screaming in pain each time she tried to take a step… So, I had broken the two year old… and my older daughter all the sudden started screaming in pain holding her stomach. When I say screaming I mean holding it, doubled over like her appendix had just ruptured. We raced home, massage the two year old’s leg (because I didn’t know what else to do) and got her in the bed. I then start using WebMD to pinpoint what could be happening with my other daughter… DON’T DO THIS… I REPEAT, DON’T DO this.. there is a reason you cannot get a degree in medicine online. I finally started thinking like an adult and realized that the stellar meals I had been feeding my kids may have had something to do with this stomach pain, so Zofran and bedtime was my solution… not before going to the neighborhood market to get a giant Gatorade and Saltines just in case.

On Tuesday of this week I was trying to make myself feel better by giving myself props for having all three kids to three different schools in 45 minutes. But, then I walked in the door and saw forgotten lunch boxes sitting on the counter…OOPS, one step forward, and two steps back!

I wake up this morning and my oldest daughter comes in with a sad face holding the Ziploc back that contains her tooth she lost yesterday …  THAT’S RIGHT… the jackass tooth-fairy (um… that’s me) forgot to come last night. For two seconds I contemplated telling her right then and there that the tooth-fairy does not exist, that it’s really daddy and I. But, then I came to my senses and realized that’s not the right thing to do and quickly started thinking of all the reasons that she didn’t make it last night and that we would try again tonight. Oh, and if any of you out there have good excuses, send them my way as this is not the first and won’t be the last time I forget!

I had 9 minutes to wake up the two year old and get her dressed, hair brushed and in the car for drop-offs before we would be behind schedule. She insisted that she have 4 blankets to get in the car. After dropping the older two, we round back to her school for the daily separation anxiety episode. I walked in her room and told her teacher, who was looking for my daughter under the pile of blankets she was carrying, “Don’t worry I won’t leave all these with you, she just insisted on bringing them all in.” To which I get the response from the teacher, “Oh don’t worry about it, she actually needs a sheet and blanket for nap-time because you forgot to bring one on Monday for the week.” …I hope you could not see on my face what I was thinking in my head at that point….

As my oldest daughter exited the car this morning she looked back and me and said, “Mom, you’re doing a good job… I love you and I’ll see you after school!” Well that made my day. I started thinking about perceptions. I can’t tell what all goes on back here at home when I travel. My husband may fight the same battles but chooses not to talk about them because he knows that I feel guilty when I have to travel a lot. Or, the mothers that I see on Facebook with 3+ kids that seem to have everything together and perfectly managed. That’s what they want people to see, what they post, not what happens every day, right?

All that said, it’s Wednesday, SuperDaddy comes home tonight and we are ALL excited about that. I can’t promise that the house will be neat and clean, laundry will be done or that there will be a good home cooked meal on the table (oh man, just realized it’s Wednesday night church night and the kids get Chick-Fil-A for dinner at the church…. two nights in a row on CFA now… yikes!), but the kids are still all in one piece, and we will all give him a very warm welcome home!

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