Millennium Mom

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Life of a single parent

Today was one of those days where I got to experience what it feels like to be a single parent (well not really, because I knew it was just for one day...but you get what I mean). As I said in my book, I have the utmost respect for single parents...I truly don't know how they do it, be the sole bread winner, guardian, disciplinarian, housekeeper, bookkeeper and so on. I do it for a couple of days in a row and am exhausted. But many do it every day because they have to and I respect back.

So back to my day as a single parent. I realized after doing it how much more productive my day was in some ways, and how much less productive it was in others. Let me start with the less productive. Because I was alone today that meant I had to stay here until the nanny arrived at 8am. While I could have gotten up early to log onto email, Ben had come into bed around 6am after Arnie left and it was nice just to snuggle and chat with him, a much better alternative to email. Waiting for the nanny means you sit in your desk chair at 8:45 am (versus my normal 7am) that is an hour and 45 minutes less productivity to start.

On top of that you must be home for the nanny at the end of the day. And because "your the only parent" that means you have to pick-up the Market Day order which arrived today at the elementary school. So at 5pm I am leaving my desk to make sure I can pick up the order and still be home before 6pm. So a bit less time on the back end. I guess you could say I worked a normal 9 to 5 day, but when that is not the norm, that equates to less productive (thankfully its December and not too crazy).

On the flip side, I find when I am home I am so much more productive. Dinner is fast and efficient, the house is quieter, we played card games already and now the kids are happily snuggled on the couch watching a Christmas special. When either Arnie or I are alone with the kids, they are always bathed and in bed by 9pm at the latest. When we are both home it isn't before 9:30 pm. Why is that? Is it because you are tired and rushing it? Is it because there is "less going on" in the house? I'm not sure what it is, but it is so consistent that often if I am out at a work dinner, I will call and ask Arnie to make sure they are awake when I get home (say around 9pm). I was disappointed a few times arriving home in what I thought was enough time only to find them fast asleep.

Regardless of whether I am more or less productive, I am so thankful that I have my partner to help me. The stress level is so much lower and allows for flexibility that single parents aren't afforded. That is why I respect them so much, but thank God each day for the wonderful husband I have.


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