A day in the life of the (temporarily) single parent

My husband left for Australia last night.  He took one of our 3 kids with him.  I am now looking at 2 ½ weeks of single parenting.  I really don’t understand how my mom did this for virtually our entire childhoods without killing us. The single parenting would be ok, except that I also work full time as a surgeon, with on call responsibilities which will be for over a week of the time he is gone.  The two remaining kids still have school, hockey, birthday parties, and also a week of school holidays to contend with.  We are also having a massive kitchen renovation done, and just to top things off, 4 days before my husband left, acrid, plasticy smelling smoke poured out of our washing machine at the end of a load of laundry.  Here is a rundown of the last 24 hours.

  1. Drive home from airport in dinnertime rush hour traffic with two hungry and tired children after dropping husband and one child off.
  2. Stop at library to drop off overdue book.
  3. As promised, stop at bakery for after dinner treats.
  4. Argue with hungry 5 year old about timing of eating supposedly AFTER dinner bakery treat. I win argument. Because I’m the Mom, that’s why.
  5. Home, talk on phone with hospital while making dinner.
  6. Eat dinner in guest suite, clean up dishes and feed dog.
  7. Empty lunchboxes.
  8. Put kids to bed.
  9. Bring in recycling and compost bins.
  10. Put both cars back in garage now that 6 contractor vehicles have left.
  11. Put pets to bed.
  12. Phone call from hospital, family has concerns about procedure for tomorrow am.  Yes, I know octogenarians have delicate tissues, I’ll be careful.
  13. Go to bed after tucking kids in.
  14. Woken by power outage and texts from multiple neighbours asking if our power is out. Lie in bed wondering what I am going to do if this is another multi day outage like we had last year. Power back on 20 minutes later. Now 11pm.
  15. Get out of bed to reset smoke detector so it does not beep all night.
  16. Woken at 5 am by barking dog. Let dog out and try and go back to sleep. Unsuccessful.
  17. Up at 6 am. Shower and dress for clinic. Check email.
  18. Make breakfast for kids, make lunches thinking it is Friday (pizza day, only snacks needed)
  19. Feed dog, 9 year old feeds cat but I have to fill water bowl.
  20. Realize it is Thursday (ie NOT pizza day) and lunchboxes are almost empty. Make sandwiches with 5 year old repeatedly yelling “I don’t WANT a sandwich in my lunch!!!”
  21. Put unwanted sandwiches in lunchboxes.
  22. Kids dress for school and are walking out onto driveway to meet bus while I get car out of garage.
  23. Bus driver does not see kids due to dumpster in driveway and drives straight by house.
  24. I realize this after 15 minutes of standing on the driveway waiting for the bus to come.  I now have to drive the kids to school.
  25. I am now running behind. I show up 10 minutes late for an 8 am procedure at hospital. Have I mentioned how much I HATE being late?
  26. Do procedure and talk to patient’s MRP. Dictate note.
  27. Drive to clinic. Pick up coffee on the way.  Have been awake for FOUR HOURS with no coffee.  How does this happen??  See title.
  28. Clinic. (slightly late but not bad)
  29. Phone call just as clinic ending- repairman on his way to house to fix washing machine. It’s 12 30.  Was told he would arrive between 8-12. Yeah, right.  Good thing I didn’t cancel clinic.
  30. Drive home and play musical cars in the driveway with contractor vehicles and washing machine repairman.
  31. Realize there are two guys hanging out master bedroom window doing replacement (was that today?) and do quick mental check of state of floor of bedroom with respect to lingerie items.  Think I’m ok.  Hope I’m ok.
  32. Empty mailbox.
  33. Show repair guy washing machine and leave him to it.
  34. Eat lunch while looking at emails. Post pics of renovation to Facebook.
  35. Repair guy easily recreates smoke from washing machine, says it will cost 80 % of the price of a new machine to fix.
  36. Pay repair guy $96.50 for the privilege of this information while listening to him complain that surgeons work too fast and don’t really care about their patients.
  37. Order new washing machine and arrange delivery for this Saturday. Silver lining- don’t have to worry about washing this week.
  38. Discuss window installation with contractor. (Insert this between every point from now until end)
  39. Walk dog.
  40. Pick dog poop off driveway.
  41. Get kids off bus.
  42. Empty lunchboxes which surprise, surprise, each contain an untouched sandwich. “Didn’t you know it was Hot Dog day Mom?!”  Grrrrrr.
  43. Write this while thinking about what to make for dinner, likely not hot dogs.  Maybe I’ll just check Facebook one more time…..

The ridiculous part is, I think of today as a slow day.  Only one trip to the hospital, and I’m not on call and have no inpatients.  So I can relax. Sort of.  This situation is only temporary.  I have made my bed, and now I have to lie in it. Anyway, I guess the point is, if you know any  temporary or permanently single parents, give them a hug.  Unless they don’t like that sort of stuff, then give them an offer of help.  Maybe some wine while you’re at it.  But not too much wine, because they have to stay sober, there is no back up plan when there is only one parent.  I am lucky enough to have some great people helping me out over the next two weeks.  Because I’m sure gonna need it.


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