Single Serving Parenthood

Today is one of those mornings that started with such hope. Beautiful day outside and fresh coffee in the pot. I even ate a good breakfast. I had lots of plans of working on projects and getting some housework done in between playing with Olive. Maybe we would even hit up Target and go to the park afterwards.

Even though Olive woke up at 6 am, I really felt like I woke up with a sense of purpose, like I really had my turds in a row (that’s a saying right? well in this house it is).

Now that Matt is gone for eight weeks (technically six more weeks, since he’s already been gone two weeks), I really hold on to mornings when I wake up feeling like this. Because for anyone who has had to parent alone, whether its a permanent or temporary situation, you know that your strength and energy are sometimes all you have to help you. There is no five o’clock – oh good my husband/wife is home, here take this screaming child while I shower and then make dinner with a glass of wine in my hand. The only break you get is when your child goes down for the night (IF you’re that lucky), when you finally finish the load of dishes in the sink, pick up the toys, sweep and mop the floors, and take a shower. And then try not to fall asleep while you watch a show not on the Disney Channel with a glass of non-alcoholic vino if you’re lucky (and pregnant).  And then you crawl into bed, wake up and do it all over again.

Because of this, there are some days that you just don’t wake up feeling excited about the prospects of the day. You just do what you have to do to get through it. I  like to call this fake it til you make it.

For example, there was a day last week when I was stressed out and frazzled beyond the point of realizing I was not dressed appropriately to be seen by the outside world (it was hot, I’m now too pregnant to button my shorts, and too depressed to do anything about it). I had been mowing the lawn earlier (in more appropriate attire) and had accidentally left the garage door open. When I got back inside, I changed to shorts and a tank and commenced with my long list of other stuff I needed to do around the house while Olive was sleeping. Blue decided to let himself into the garage and explore the front yard and would’ve been the whole neighborhood if I hadn’t realized he was missing quickly. I hopped the baby gate to the kitchen and ran out the front door waving a bag of dog treats and cooing at my dog like he was a baby bird, begging and pleading him to come back into the house. Blue pretended like he was going to oblige and then kept high tailing it closer to the street. Luckily, I eventually did coax him back into the house, shut the door behind us and let out a long sigh of relief. And  then looked down at myself. My shorts were hanging open unbuttoned, my pregnant belly was hanging over them but was not large enough, unfortunately, to cover up the fact that my fly was wide open and my granny panties were hanging out. Helllllloooooooo neighbors!

Everyone needs to revel in the ridiculousness sometimes.

So compared to that day, I thought today was going to be lovely. Because the air smelled fresh outside, I had a to-do list ready from the day before and I was ready to cross some stuff off that bad boy.

Then Olive had a temper tantrum because she didn’t want to get into the bathtub. Which normally would roll off my back, its fine. We’ll take a bath later.

But she had marinara sauce up her nose and in her hair from the night before and frankly, my back hurt too much last night to deal with getting her safely in and out of the tub. So a bath, she must have.

After a short time-out and a bath in which she seemed to enjoy splashing and playing, I decided maybe we would spend some time playing and folding laundry. But then Olive caught sight of my new bluetooth keyboard which she absolutely had to have.

And so ensued temper tantrum number two. I put her back in her crib and cleaned the bathrooms. At least one of us is being productive.  I’m hoping with all this turmoil, it means when she does go down in a couple hours, she will go down for a long time and I can work on my said projects.

Which brings me to projects (yes, my segue is not subtle).  My plan to help keep my mind off Matt being gone, to keep me busy and spending the time focused and with purpose, I planned a series of projects.

1. Throw myself a birthday party. This actually already happened. It was last weekened. There weren’t really any pictures, but I did spend two weeks getting the house ready for it. Which was a good idea as it turned out because I wasn’t particularly motivated to finish unpacking the house or keeping it clean. Plus, Olive and I both enjoyed seeing all of our friends and sharing good food (it was a potluck brunch).

2. Clean out the garage. This is the project that is turning into the bane of my existence. Every time I open the back door to the garage, I get nauseous. There is so much stuff in there in garbage bags, heaped in piles and in boxes. My plan over the next two weeks is to go through it, donate as much as possible and organize the rest of it with shelving and storage. There will be before and after pictures I’m sure. Stay tuned.

3. Transition Olive to big girl bed. This wouldn’t be such a big priority, except we need the crib in August and we need to set it up sooner rather than later in case he is gone right before and during the delivery. But I found one from Ikea that we are planning to purchase. I just need to buy it, assemble it, unassemble the crib and move the crib parts to the nursery so Matt can reassemble it when he gets home.

4. Big girl bed spread. So I’ve looked into these and I think its rather ridiculous that for nice little girl bedding I’m expected to pay almost the same that I did for my own adult queen sized bedding. Really? I’ve decided the better thing to do is to make my own quilt. I’ve been quilting for a few years so its not that cumbersome in theory, but the fact that I decided to do it in six weeks and my sewing machine is on its last leg and all my quilting supplies are half buried in the garage should add an element of challenge. Pictures and posts to come on this one.

I do have some other fun projects and ideas of things I want to accomplish while Matt is gone but these are the big ones.

So even though it sucks having to be apart from my spouse and having to be a single parent while he’s gone there are many silver linings. Firstly, I’m not a permanent single parent. I know that there are lots of folks who do it everyday and have little to no support and I know my plight is not the same. Lastly, I try to look at the bright side of this situation. I can buy a half gallon of ice cream and eat it directly out of the container. I can read my book in bed late at night, snuggled in my pregnancy pillow that takes up 2/3 of our queen sized bed. I can watch chick flicks after Olive goes down and never have to share the tv for video games, horror movies, or Sons of Anarchy. I can eat pizza rolls for dinner.

Small victories.

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Don’t worry little romper stomper, Daddy will be home soon.