You know how, when you're going on a road trip, you sort of prepare yourself mentally for how long it's going to take? And you know how, if the trip takes about the amount of time you expect, it's OK, but if it takes longer it's just awful? For instance, I have been on 3-4 hour road trips that seemed longer than the 10 hour road trips we take semi-regularly. All because of my mind-set.
Same thing for business trips. My husband travels frequently for work, and when he's gone, I set my mind for how long he'll be gone, and if he's gone for that length of time, it's actually OK. While I don't enjoy the absence of my best friend and co-parent, I do what I have to do to keep everything going around here. And I do think it's getting easier. Or maybe I've just lowered my expectations enough that it seems easier.
It's a lot of work, being a single parent. And it's not just the actual physical work that makes it hard, although that's a big part of it, but the lack of support, not having anyone with whom to share the joys and challenges and the debilitating weight of responsibility. It's so emotionally draining to parent solo. I'm not going to say that I don't know how full-time single parents do it, because I know how they do it. They adapt. They make the best of a less than ideal situation. They do what they need to do. And I do, too.
Where it all falls apart is when the husband calls on Thursday night, after having been in Mexico since early Monday morning, to tell me that he needs to stay another 5 days, doubling the original length of the trip.
Not that that's ever happened or anything.
OK, you got me. It happened last week. My road trip through the land of single parenting had been almost over. I could see our destination. We were so close to the place where when the kids ask how much longer it's actually true when I respond, "five more minutes." So close.
Devastating. To be counting on reinforcements arriving. To be told they're not.
But I adapted. I made the most of a less than ideal situation. I did what I had to do. And now I'm told reinforcements will be arriving today. Halleluiah, this road trip is almost over.