Nothing like a single mom

by Carolyn on August 10, 2009

Nolan at the Harrow fair (Steve in New York)

Nolan at the Harrow fair (Steve in New York)

My husband is gone right now.  Away on a camping/fishing trip that he takes every year.  This trip is a highlight for him.  Something he looks forward to literally from the time he returns home.  He takes a few of these trips each year.  A winter camping trip.   An ‘open the cottage’ trip.  He’s even considering a ‘close the cottage’ trip this fall.  Although we take a few family vacations each year as well, neither me or our children are invited to these.  And I have to admit they leave me with some  mixed feelings.

Because since we’ve been married, I’ve never taken a ‘trip’ apart from him or our children.  I’ve joked about it.  Even started the planning, but in the end have never actually gone.  And that’s no one’s fault but my own.  He’s never asked me not to go anywhere.  It’s just that for me, there has never really been a desire to go anywhere without  my family.  In fact, the whole time I was gone I would probably be wishing they were there.  Wishing they could see or share the experience too.

And yet, I’m green with envy.  Knowing he’s sleeping when he wants.  Eating when he wants.  Drinking when he wants and as much as he wants, with no need to measure his behaviour or actions based on anyone but himself and a group of guys doing the exact same thing.

I haven’t had a full night of uninterrupted sleep in 10 months and 2 days.  Aside from four days a couple of years ago, I haven’t had an entire day of tending to no one’s needs but my own in 4 years 8 months and 12 days.  Not that I’m counting.

Don’t get me wrong, I love motherhood.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Caring for my children is a labor of pure love and to be honest, when the opportunity to escape it’s toils presents itself I can’t even find the desire to follow it.  Perhaps that’s what I’m jealous of.  The desire to give myself a break.

But I digress.  The ‘why’s’ behind me not taking my own personal vacations was not the reason I sat down to write this post.  The reason I’m writing this here is to relay an epiphany I had a couple nights ago.  Here, let me get to my point:

With a firefighter husband working 24 hour shifts who also takes these various ‘man trips’ throughout the year, I have often come to think of myself as entering ‘single mom’ mode.  I’ve even said it to friends “Oh, Steve’s gone to work a 48 (hour shift); I’m a single mom this week”.  Or “No, he’s at fish camp, I’m a single mom until Sunday”.  And it’s not just me.  I’ve heard other married mom’s use this phrase as well.  Those who’s husbands travel for work or tend to work long or evening hours.  We’ve joked together about it: “hey, are you a single mom this week?  Me too, we should take the kids somewhere together”.

I never thought anything of it until now.

Lately I’ve been finding myself meandering through the blogosphere (a dauntingly large place, I must say).  I peruse stepmom blogs, mom blogs, divorce help blogs, family support blogs and yes, single mom blogs too.  I find it so interesting; the undercurrents that are common to each group.  So many stepmom’s  seem angry and jilted.  Mom’s love to gush about their kids and recommend the stuff they find and use.  The divorce help and family support blogs focus on either legal help, co-parenting advice, etc.  And the single mom’s tend to write about depression and self doubt.

I know, I’m such a pigeon holer.  But there are many diamonds in the rough.  The ones that knock you off your seat from the quality of writing.  Whether it be tongue in cheek sarcasm, blatant comedy, or insightful musings.  But for me; the thing that will always bring me back for more is a stark, blatant, honesty.  And I found a single mom blog the other night that couldn’t be more real; raw or honest.  She lays herself out for us all to see and she doesn’t pretty it up for the faint hearted.

Here is the post that so aptly got my attention: Of football and band-aids

When I finished reading it, I realized something.  I have no idea what being a ‘single mom’ is.  And all the times I’ve referred to myself as one or joked about being one for the week, I  was being incredibly calloused and disrespectful. I’m almost ashamed to write I ever did it.

Because having my husband go away for a few days or even a few weeks is nothing like being a single mom.  It can’t even compare.  Why?  Because I know he’s coming back.  I know this time will end.  And not only that it will end but when it will end.  I know he loves me and he loves our children and that as long as we’re married we have each other.  That all the things I’m experiencing now, I’ll be able to share with him when he gets home and he’ll be excited to share his adventures with me too.

Shame on me.  I apologize to the single mom’s of the world.  Thank you Leah, for opening my eyes and helping me to see.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa B. August 10, 2009 at 1:30 pm

It’s always a good idea, I think, for a marriage to be a 2-way street. Take some time off! It will be good for you to do a girls’ weekend away, or even to spend some time by yourself. Your time away will also be good time for your hubby to bond with the kids. Just a thought!
.-= Melissa B.´s last blog ..The Color Purple =-.

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2 Carolyn August 10, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Thanks Melissa. I’m planning a get away for myself and probably my best girlfriend for as soon as I have my sweet pea daughter weaned. We’re thinking a weekend in Chicago or Toronto. Now I just have to force myself to go. I keep talking and never go! I can’t wait just to hear the stories my husband will have to share after juggling my two little monkeys alone. :)

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3 Single Mom Survives August 10, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Beautiful! This single mom lets you off the hook and thanks you for being so understanding. This post almost made me cry because I see and hear it so often…. “I’m a single mom for the week” and how they are going crazy and can’t take it. It’s kind of a kick in the gut that I just keep to myself knowing it’s not meant to hurt intentionally. You put this into words SO very beautifully. Thank you!
.-= Single Mom Survives´s last blog ..The Magic Hour =-.

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4 Carolyn August 10, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Thanks for stopping by! I love your blog. You make me laugh right out loud every post. Licking the popsicle just to show your daughter who’s boss. Priceless.

Welcome and thanks for such a nice comment.

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5 Eva Gallant August 11, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Take that break. My husband and I took separate vacations more than once when our kids were young, and it was good for us, good for the kids, and good for our marriage.

Just stopping by from SITS to say hi. Hope you’ll do the same.

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6 Momma Such @ Raising My 4 Sons August 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm

You put that so well. I have never thought of it that way, and now that you have said something it makes complete sense. I’ve never really referred to myself as a single mom as my hubby is always around, but I have heard others do this as well. Great post! :)
.-= Momma Such @ Raising My 4 Sons´s last blog ..Thanks Mail Lady!!! =-.

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7 Carolyn August 13, 2009 at 10:16 am

Thanks!

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8 hayley August 12, 2009 at 3:29 pm

This is so interesting to me because my husband loves to see music festivals – and I don’t. Not that I don’t like music, because I love it. But I don’t necessarily want to be enmeshed for a weekend in it. Still, last night when he told me he wanted to see a concert and spend the night away, i couldn’t help but say, no, for no other reason that I feel lonely and i miss you. We talked about it and he’s going to go… but it was important for my feelings to be heard without it turning into resentment.

I think it’s so important to take both separate vacations – as well as ones together… but you can’t avoid that feeling of aloneness when you’re by yourself with the kids doing everything.

Take the trip if you can with some girlfriends… You’ll enjoy it!
.-= hayley´s last blog ..I Rocked The Casbah =-.

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9 Carolyn August 13, 2009 at 10:20 am

I am. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. I am going!! We’ll see if I actually follow through. ;)

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