Guess what: I’m a single mom who’s married.
I actually said those exact words out loud (more than once) to friends, family and acquaintances this past week.
I’m a single mom who’s married! Laughing. Cackling. Giggling. When I spontaneously said it, I thought it was very on point and true. The friends, family and acquaintances who heard the words out of my mouth probably thought I was nuts. Or troubled. Or bitter. Or tired. (All of the above a bit, I guess.)
I promise I’m not any of those things in a seriously concerning way. However… I do seriously sometimes classify myself a single mom who’s married.
Not all the time, but a few times a year.
Every now and then, my husband trots off to far away lands [ie: travels to third-world countries] to have some alone time and live life as free as free can be without his ball-and-chain plus two small children [ie: to volunteer his services as a reconstructive surgeon and give a semi-normal life to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have one].
He’s created fingers where there were no fingers. He’s created lips where there were no lips. He’s removed humongous birthmarks that inhibited seeing, breathing and beyond on children that were too young to endure such inexplicable discomfort. (You think I’m kidding? Keep your eye on one of the big three national news networks… incredible, exclusive feature story coming soon… I’d tell you more but they’d probably come after me.)
Your husband is a saint! some people exclaim. I smile. No, he’s not a saint. (TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.) But he is a great guy…. who happens to score a get-out-of-jail-free card a few times a year thanks to international medical missions in need of his surgical skills.
As a dutiful wife who truly supports what he does, but who also prefers to keep his ego in check, I like to falsely accuse him of purposefully crafting his international travels underneath a most manipulative umbrella of ‘philanthropy’ in order to get an all-excused absence from our house of wild people under the age of 5. (In other words, I like to tease that his medical missions are just a cover so he can continue to travel the world like he did before marriage and kids without having to deal with an annoying wife that demands he now stay home. I mean, what decent woman would ever demand her husband stay home when he’s helping people?)
He likes to lovingly tell me to shut up. I then tell him to shut up and then add that he might be able to fool other people with his shenanigans, but that he can’t fool me. I’m no fool, fool. He tells me to shut up again… a little less lovingly. (For the record, I’ve tried demanding that he stay home and limit his missions to once a year. So far I haven’t won.)
Which makes me: A Married Single Mom. (Intermittently.)
But there is a dirty truth to all of this that I don’t dare mention out loud in his presence…
As much as I miss him and curse his absence when our home alarm system freakishly erupts at 1am… or when our 3 year old wakes up in the middle of the night, hysterically screaming “I miss Papa!’ in the most bloody murder tone you’ll ever hear and consequently keeps myself and my older daughter awake most of the night…. the big fabulously-unfabulous confession is this:
Managing kids is
always mostly sometimes easier without the husband here.
You heard me: IT’S EASIER. Without the husband. As a married single mom. I say this with love.
DO. NOT. TELL. HIM. THIS. (Unless he’s reading this blog post… then, Hi Babe!)
Why so easy? I’m in charge. IN. CHARGE. My way or the highway, baby. No push/pull of power struggles instigated by kids who know how to play each parent against the other.
I also don’t have to cook low-carb meals. I can make the cheese-tortellini that I LOVE and not include meat if I feel like it. (With men, you’ve usually got to include some kind of meat in a meal, otherwise you’re a shoddy wife.)
My girls and I can additionally eat these meatless, high-carb meals while watching a movie if we so please… and yes, we sometimes please. (This last trip of my husband’s yielded dinner theater moments in our den involving Cinderella and Tinkerbell. Yes, I watched too. Yes, I totally loved it.) My mom can also come visit and we can stay out at the park well past the hour we usually start bath-time-bed-time wind down activities at home…. without someone responsible suggesting “We should go home now.”
The house stays cleaner…. despite that I don’t bother making the bed every day and I opt out of keeping the kitchen sink half as clean as I do when husband is home. I take my shoes off in the den and leave them in the den (which drives him crazy) and don’t bother picking them up and putting them back in my closet until the next day. We eat breakfast in the living room without judgement. I also let the 3 year old drink her coffee in peace.
I’M KIDDING! That’s milk in that there coffee cup. Promise. (But the picture’s funny, no?)
Being a Married Single Mom enables me to temporarily turn my home into a sorority house. I am reminded that I am capable and self-sufficient. I am inexplicably more productive. I can be a little more lazy and a lot less lively. Husbands can be exhausting. Because they’re husbands… I think that description of ‘exhausting’ might even be written in some kind of husband manual somewhere. That said…
I can’t wait until he comes back home. Because I love him. (Confession!)