Mom Solo

30 May

An evening of solo parenting, presented in three acts.

Got a traveling spouse? Or maybe one of you habitually works late? Or there’s only one of you on an all-the-time basis! Regardless of how you ended up there, it’s just you facing down the kid dinner hour, weeknight ablutions, and tuck in. This one’s for you.

Act 1: Feed heathen children.

I want to provide a homemade sit-down evening meal because apparently it makes children smart, and I am relying on these ones to support me in my dotage. But there’s only one adult eating, so I don’t want to make ambitious food that only I will appreciate. But I want there to be vegetables, because their presence on a dinner plate soothes my troubled parenting soul. “I did a lot of things wrong today, but at least I served vegetables.” But the vegetables need to be cunningly integrated in such a way that they get eaten without anyone noticing too much, because I have no stomach, heh, for a dinner battle, and nothing provokes a dinner battle in our household like a pile of unadulterated steamed kale.

I make some kind of simple, inoffensive pasta/frittata/soup/roasted/grilled dinner while the children loll in front of PBS Kids. Because oftentimes the best kitchen help is to find something quiet for the “helpers” to do outside of the kitchen.

So now the food that I’ve cobbled together with my own hands and my own goddamned expensive organic groceries is hot, it’s all served up, and I’m starving. I call the kids to dinner, reminding them to wash their hands. First, the storm of whining. Then, the footrace to the bathroom. The tripping, the crying, the high-pitched recriminations. I pour a glass of wine and take a long swallow.

The meal begins. “So, kids, let’s do Best and Worst parts of our day.”

9yo: “The best part of my day is I learned what the F word is.”

NAIVE ME (pretty sure she thinks it’s “feta cheese”): “Oh?”

9yo: “Yes. The F word is ‘Fuck.’”

6yo: “What?”

Me: “WHAT?”

9yo (smiling proudly, and wickedly): “Yes. It’s fuck. Annie told me on the bus.”

Me: “Fine. Well. What’s it mean?”

6yo: “Wait, what IS it, what did she SAY?”

9yo: “I don’t know.”

Me (triumphantly): “Then don’t say it. Never use a word unless you’re sure you know what you’re saying.”

6yo: “WHAT IS IT WHAT IS IT?”

9yo: “Well, what does it mean?!”

Me: “I’m not telling.”

Nailed it.

Act 2: Cleanse heathen children.

I’ve limped through the meal–”Mom, no offense, but this doesn’t taste as good as last time. What did you do?”–and now it’s time to attempt to get the piano practiced and the showers taken while I simultaneously do the dishes. It’s a tricky maneuver, but one that will yield blessed free time when I finally descend from the goodnight kisses. I fix in my mind an image of myself reclining on the couch, enjoying another glass of wine and a little light Facebooking, and I forge ahead. First, the storm of whining. Then, the footrace to the piano. The tripping, the crying, the high-pitched recriminations. With less patience than before I march in and growl and glower until things are on track. There is discordant plunking, there is steamy showering, the dishwasher is loaded, I’m working on the pasta pot. We’re only running 20 minutes behind schedule. The couch, the wine, it’s so close I can almost taste it. And that’s when the call echoes down the stairs.

“Moo-ooom? Can you come here? I forgot to tell you something.”

The something is that her head has been itchy again, which leads to a hurried investigation under the strong bathroom light, and a discovery of nits. RIGHT at bedtime. ALWAYS RIGHT AT FUCKING BEDTIME. MY HUSBAND HAS NOT BEEN HOME TO HELP A SINGLE FUCKING TIME THIS WHOLE FUCKING SCHOOL YEAR WHEN I FOUND A BUNCH OF NITS RIGHT AT FUCKING BEDTIME. (She didn’t learn fuck from me, I swear!)

Everybody cries. Everybody yells. Everybody gets combed and lathered with Cetaphil and blown dry like some horrible assembly line in a factory that makes nightmares (see this post for more info, sob.) It’s now an hour past bedtime. My knees are sore, my back is sore, my throat is sore from yelling. The kids are droopy and pouty and they look like miniature mad scientists with their stiff, bristly Cetaphil heads. Thank god it’s time for

Act 3: Tuck in heathen children.

“No books tonight, it’s too late. Just get into bed, please, I have a lot of laundry to do.”

First, the storm of whining, but one look at my face cuts it short. Finally, finally, good night kisses. Finally, finally, snapping out the bedside lights. Sitting in the dark next to my daughter, I pat her back and wish her a peaceful rest. And that’s when she sits up in bed and says, “I FORGOT TO DO MY SCIENCE HOMEWORK.”

The End. Seriously, let it end. Do days when you’re solo parenting have more hours in them, or what? Fuck.

Make that a double pink wine.

Make that a double pink wine.

17 Responses to “Mom Solo”

  1. Pernmoot May 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    I fucking love this…

  2. Baddest Mother Ever May 30, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    FUCK YEAH!!! “unadulterated kale” is going to be the name of my next band.

    • amomynous2 May 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

      Bahahaha EXCELLENT!

      • Baddest Mother Ever May 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

        I served totally adulterated kale last night and had to sit through a three minute gag recital from my daughter.

      • amomynous2 May 30, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

        And my problem is, I know I should just laugh that shit off, but it makes me SEETHE WITH RAGE. Which then makes me question the whole “family dinner” premise, because that doesn’t seem too good, right?

      • Baddest Mother Ever May 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

        Luckily, last night was a two parent night so we could have one of those “Just Keep This Conversation Going Until She Stops” talks. I’d say our family dinners are worth the effort, but they do require wine for Mommy.

  3. BananaWheels May 30, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Good Lord I can relate to this. I do the solo thing a lot lately. There is a freedom that comes from not having to cook for another adult who will want a ‘real’ quality meal, but it does not outweigh the pain of having to bathe two small children with only one set of hands. Please please keep the lice away.

    • amomynous2 May 31, 2013 at 12:12 am #

      Oh, the lice, the fucking lice. It’s a rite of passage, I’ve come to believe. I just hope it’s a passage you don’t have to squeeze through as often as we have lately. Thanks so much, as always, for reading! XOX

  4. Anna May 31, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who SEETHES WITH RAGE! Glad to know we’re not alone.
    Fantastic post, especially all the f words.

    • amomynous2 May 31, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

      Hahaha! Glad to give you comfort and f words! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  5. Patilu June 1, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    This brings back such memories as forty some years ago when it was me and just the other day when it was my daughter. Thanks, Granny

    • amomynous2 June 1, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      Haha, you’re welcome, and thanks for reading! 🙂

      • swanndown August 26, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

        Oh Miller! There is nothing where my ass should be right now. Just a big old void. Laughed it right off. xo

      • amomynous2 August 26, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

        Hurrah! It’s comedy, AND it’s weight loss! XOX

  6. Nell August 26, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    Thank you for this. Fantastic, hysterical and I sooooo relate.

    • amomynous2 August 26, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

      Thank YOU, for reading, and for commenting. It helps to know how much pain others are in. 😉 But seriously, tho’, you know? XOX

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