I’ve been solo for 2 months. If you’ve spoken with me for more than six seconds over the last month, I’ve definitely reminded you when you ask, “How are ya?”
“Oh…solo. That’s all. Me with two kids. All the time.”
“Ohmigod. How are you holding up?”
My partner is in London supervising two West End productions. This is what we signed up for. Long ago, when discussing becoming parents, he said to me, “But what if I have to go conduct in Vienna for three months?”
“Well,” I quickly countered, “until the kids are like – fifteen? – we can all just go together. It’ll be fun!”
Not for one second did I consider schlepping our lives to London for three months.
I have a life – a performing career on life support and a small business that no one’s heard of (yet). I didn’t want to galavant to London for three months.
And when I considered visiting for a mere month, my partner quickly brought me back to Earth.
“Gavin, you’re accustomed to a school schedule, by now.”
“It’d be all you, all the time, in a very expensive city you don’t know.”
Put a gun to my head, already.
So we’re going for two weeks…which will probably feel like seven days too long since it’ll still be all me, all the time, in a very expensive city I don’t know. (My partner will be in extreme crunch time opening these two shows while we’re there.)
Anyway – I don’t have much to say about this two-month odyssey of single parenthood. I guess I’m just writing this to reach out for yet MORE acknowledgment that THIS SHIT IS HARD!
I’m succeeding. The kids are alive and thriving. We still read books at night. We haven’t been late to school even one time.
But I sure as hell wouldn’t do this by choice. As I’ve said before: ONE MILLION KUDOS TO SINGLE PARENTS. Cuz this is not for the weak.
Also – I don’t know how regular people do it. I can BARELY pay the bills, make the lunches, wipe the poopy heinies, do the laundry, remember red clothing for Valentine’s Day (and Int’l Women’s Day), schedule the playdates, do the grocery shopping, etc, in addition to my own (occasional) auditions and business meetings. Seriously – this job is impossible without help.
So, again: kudos to those super heroes who do this by themselves…and WITH jobs.
I am snapping, though. I don’t feel tired. The boys sleep through the night 70% of the time, now, thank GOODNESS. And I have breaks, when I need to do something else.
But we’re all suffering. My patience is gone. I yell faster than I wish. And I go nuclear with threats much quicker than is constructive in the long run.
Recently, a friend asked, “what throws you over the edge?”
“Oh, probably just cuz it was 5pm and I was tired of saying ‘no’ to every ridiculous request for extra fruit snacks, visiting neighbors, or being greeted at school with, ‘Ahhhh. You, again? I just want to have a playdate, Daddy. I don’t want you here.”
That all wears on a soul.
But we’ll make it. I’ll make it.
There are positive aspects, too:
I get all the snuggles in the morning.
I’m the only boss…so the ridiculous spats I have with my partner after we both lay in bed thinking, ‘you’re gonna get up, right? Not my morning? No, seriously, you’re going to get up, right? I mean, not me AGAIN’ and then suddenly there’s 20 minutes left to listen to the kids complain that they don’t want oatmeal again and then battle what stupid buttoned shirt is acceptable and the arbitrary hatred of certain socks and then my partner can’t read my mind when he puts shoes on before brushing teeth and I’m like, ‘we don’t do it that way’ and he’s like, ‘since when’ and I’m like ‘we changed the order’ and he says, ‘what does it matter? I can’t read your mind,’ and I’m like ‘well please start reading it!’ and he’s like, ‘I just can’t do anything right, can i?’ and I say ‘not true’ and think, ‘well, you said it’, and it’s already five minutes after we should’ve already walked out the door and I’m trying to take an ipad out of a 5yo had and we leave the door in a frustrated huff and I think, ‘I can’t WAIT until I can’ do this alone, again, cuz it’s actually easier.’
Yeah. That doesn’t happen.
I’ll be happy to have that stress, again.
Because being alone is tough, yo.