If you’ve never been alone with a tiny person who would be genuinely thrilled to superglue him/herself to your leg, then you don’t know the particular horror of the next sentence:
“I’m going to Panama for a week.”
Obviously there are plenty of people out there who parent full-time solo, and they are the hardest working sunsofbitches on the planet, and should all be given medals, a puppy, and a lengthy foot massage. No, I’m not being sarcastic. Give them some goddamned puppies.
But only for cuddling purposes. You’re still in charge of feeding, cleaning, and training them. The last thing those brave souls need is another living thing to take care of.
However, I am neither hard working nor brave. I am squishy and enjoy drinking lots of coffee on the couch with my best friend, Netflix. Hell, I got overwhelmed and exhausted yesterday because of a pancake breakfast. Which is an hour long event where you are fed pancakes.
And next week I’m going to be the only person in charge of keeping the Kraken, our cats, at least one houseplant, and myself alive.
Yeah, you see the problem here.
Look, I’m actually pretty good at coming up with projects and games and books and food to pass a morning with a demanding three year old. I’m not exaggerating when I say there’s a pot of rose petals draining in our sink right now, because we’re going to learn how to dye things with dead flowers and vinegar later. I’m that mom. But after that, I’m out. I’m done. I want to sit quietly and eat some toast and listen to a podcast about weird cult leaders with impunity.
You know what’s not possible when you’re the only adult in the house? Relaxing and doing your own thing by yourself. Also: thinking, eating, sleeping, and, especially, showering. It’s like running a marathon while also taking the math section of the SATs, with some meal planning thrown in for good measure. Or at least, I imagine it is. You freaks who actually enjoy running can let me know if that analogy works.
The point here is, I’m going to be on duty from somewhere around 5:00 in the morning to someplace about 10:00 at night, without any backup, which I’m pretty sure is the sort of shift nine year olds worked in 1903.
So, I’m coming up with some coping mechanisms. I’m not proud of them, but for some reason I feel like I need to share my shameful secrets with complete strangers, in the vague hope that someone will be entertained by them.
Without further ado, and there really has been a lot of ado, here they are:
All of it. By this time next week I will have the entire Kung Fu Panda trilogy memorized.
The frozen section of Trader Joe’s is going to be my best friend, and I’m not even going to buy aspirational salad next week. If I have to put more work into something than peeling of wasteful packaging, then it’s not happening. Dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets shall be my new god.
Passing The Buck.
I’m not saying it’s unforgivably selfish to get your parents to watch your kid multiple times in one week, just so you can go to the bathroom with the door closed… but that’s mainly because the Kraken will be so excited to get cookies and attention, he won’t even notice I’m gone.
Made Up Errands.
Somewhere in the last couple of years, I realized that if I’m desperate, I can declare we have to go on an errand, strap the little tornado into the car seat, and get a good half hour of peace, driving aimlessly around town. He doesn’t even know that when you go on an errand, you have to actually go somewhere.
The only catch: sometimes I have to buy that peace with Mary Poppins blasting on the radio. It’s a high price to pay.
All The Vices.
Coffee, wine, butter, whatever it takes to get me through next week, and I’m doing it. Which makes me think, I’m pretty sure somewhere out there someone combined hot buttered rum and caffeine. I wonder if I could get in on that action…
Lately I’ve been putting at least two minutes’ effort into trying to look presentable, but not next week! By the time the Handsome Husband gets back I’ll have devolved into a smelly, hairy caveman who communicates exclusively in grunts and thrown feces.
So, there you have it! That’s my plan for surviving being a single parent for a week without going completely bonkers and/or burning the house to the ground.
May god have mercy on my soul.