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Opinion: Single-parent anxiety

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Husbands are adorable, aren’t they? How they can love their families so much that anything that takes them away is cause for great suffering? Take my Doo, for example.

Doo’s work requires him to travel periodically. Over summer, his absence is noticeable but tolerable. I’m still single parenting four children, but I don’t have to worry about homework or ensuring they shower. When trips occur smack dab in the middle of school week, however, it’s another story.

Last week was just such a week. In addition to teaching and doing basic mom stuff, I bore the full brunt of carpooling, disciplining, grade patrolling and calendar managing. Suffice it to say, I was done, physically and mentally, by the time Doo returned.

But here’s the precious part. He truly believes his week was harder! That sleeping in a hotel room and having to eat alone in a restaurant is far worse than being a single parent. That being responsible for only one person . . . himself . . . is more taxing than making sure four short people are clothed and fed and mostly clean twenty-four seven. His week was miserable not because of business but because he wasn’t with us. How cute is that?

Me? I could never miss my family that much. I would literally sacrifice our cat to have four nights of uninterrupted sleep in a legit bed that someone else has made. I’d throw in the dog to enjoy just one quiet dinner, no dishes attached, with only a good book for company. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I’d even donate my first-born for six hours of driving, each way, if I could listen to whatever songs I fancy.

Doo doesn’t get it, and consequently, is unable to validate my anxiety, exhaustion and jealousy. I come off as a selfish brat who doesn’t appreciate her husband’s sacrifices. In reality, though, I simply long for a break from routine (and to sample faux crab salad in an Applebee’s parking lot). But then, no one has ever called me “adorable” so I’ll just leave that to Doo. Peace out.


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