Being so active in Single Parents of the Triangle, I know literally hundreds of single moms and dads. There are almost as many different stories and situations as there are single parents. We all arrived at this place in different ways: many through divorce, some have lost their partners, and some chose to be single parents from the start.
For those who share child custody, there are so many different arrangements it could make your head spin. But whether your children live with you full time, half time, or something in between, the one thing all of us parents have in common is that we miss the kids when they’re gone.
My kids are visiting their father for a few days this spring break. I make the most of this time and try to get things done I can’t normally do with them around. It’s the perfect time to “spring clean” the house, of course, and maybe finally get the rest of those leaves picked up out of the yard. I even get to go grocery shopping – by myself! (Hey, it’s a rare and exciting treat when you’re a single parent.)
I can also catch up on things at work that might have fallen to the back burner recently, because I don’t have to be anywhere to pick anyone up or drop them off at this class or that practice, or take anyone to a doctor or dentist appointment (those things really add up!).
No amount of productivity or cleanliness can make up for the quiet in my house this week. Yes, it’s great to not be tip toe-ing around the Lego minefield that is my carpet, and yes, it’s wonderful to be able to actually sit and read a book more than a page at a time without interruption. But I miss the chaos of my missing family way more than I miss this quiet when they are home.
Beyond getting things done, my strategy is to stay busy. I know that some people cherish their alone time more than I do, so I’m sure this isn’t everyone’s coping mechanism. I’ve got plans with friends for almost every free minute I have this week. Girls night out, potluck gatherings, more time at the climbing gym, and an extra yoga class or two should fill up all that quiet time nicely. I’m lucky to have so many fun and supportive friends with whom I can get out and do things with!
Of course, with all that fun stuff, maybe I won’t be quite as productive as I had thougt. But, the good news is staying so busy means the kids will be back home and causing their usual chaos before I know it!
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.