In the craziness that overwhelmed my life recently (it’s not so bad, just busy), I barely had a second to think about what to write this month. I asked some friends if they had any burning questions for a single mom and we spawned an amusing Q & A, so I thought I’d share …
Q: How do you get to work on time (with two small kids to get ready in the morning)?
A: I drive the Batmobile
Q: Where can I buy one?
A: It was part of my divorce settlement
Honestly, we have a pretty good routine in the mornings, and everyone is used to it. It’s not always perfect, but it gets us out of the house relatively on time most days. The critical part is remembering to set the timer on my coffee pot the night before! I get up at 6 a.m. and get myself ready. Then I wake the kids at 6:45 a.m. and help them get dressed. I’m usually downstairs packing lunch while they brush their hair and teeth, and then we have breakfast together and are out the door at 7:15 a.m.
Q: How do you make dinner when the kids are trying to kill each other?
A: Let them fight to the death. It will only happen once.
I kid, of course. The reality is both of my children have jobs once we get home from school. They bring in the mail while I carry in groceries. They feed the dog, empty the dishwasher, and set the table. Most nights at least one of them helps me cook dinner. Having everyone involved means I get help, and they are too busy to fight with each other!
Q: How do you manage when the kids visit their father?
A: Drink. Heavily.
Again I’m joking (stop throwing tomatoes!). It’s tough when my kids are gone, but I use that time to catch up on things – yes, some cleaning and organizing, but also to catch up with friends who I don’t get to see as often as I might like. Staying busy doing things I enjoy, with people whose company I enjoy, make the time go by faster.
Q: How do you manage the fragile balance of kids and dating?
A: Dating? What’s that?
It can be really difficult to manage being “Mom” vs. being “girlfriend,” but the roles don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In the early stages of dating, I think it’s important to keep the two separate. You don’t want your kids getting attached to someone who you aren’t sure is going to be there long term. Early on, I’d get a babysitter (or use that time when the kids were with their father), and go out on dates. Later we’d have “date nights” at home, cooking and having dinner together once the kids were in bed. Eventually, we would get our families together some of the time, but still reserve the occasional date night for just the grownups.
Thanks to my friends who inspired me by peppering me with questions … anyone have any more?
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly on Wednesday.