Do you remember what it was like before kids?
Let’s just get to the point. I have not been home alone for more than 48 hours in over six years. I’m a military spouse, so I’m always the one left behind with the kids. I love them, but damn. I need to miss them sometimes to remember how much I love them.
My husband took two weeks off for some down time and planned a trip to Colorado to visit my in-laws. It was supposed to be a family trip, but due to a work obligation, I had to stay behind.
He said he was going to take both kids, and I had every intention of him leaving the little dude behind at the last minute. My son is a mess. A mess in that he’s the human form of the sour patch kid in the commercials. One second he’s trying to pinch you with a chip clip and the next he’s giving you Eskimo kisses. Out of pure spite, Red loaded up both kids and the camper, and they were off to Colorado for a week.
A week? That’s seven days. Holy shit. What am I going to do?
Well, for starters…
I started to eat some candy in the afternoon and then left it sitting on the counter. I came back about four hours later, and to my surprise, it was still there. Jackpot!
I pooped in private every day. I never saw a little hand come slithering under the door, or had to yell “I’M USING THE BATHROOM! HOLD ON!” I didn’t have to rush and run to a screaming child. I took as long as I wanted. Pretty sure I’m like 8 pounds lighter after this week.
I went to Target by myself on a Saturday for three hours. I ate a cake-pop (or two) by myself and had a frappuccino. I made three loops around the adult women’s clothing section and tried on three pairs of shoes for the hell of it.
It was my favorite week of the year – Shark Week!!! I watched it every. single. day. I didn’t turn on Mickey Mouse Club House once.
I left my dirty dishes in the sink for a day because I didn’t have to be a good example for anyone. I left my dirty laundry on the floor for two days for the same reason.
When I picked up a bottle of water I had been using all day, I didn’t check for floating food particles before drinking it. This didn’t begin until day three though.
I cooked one meal and ate it for three days.
It turns out, when you don’t have to take two kids to two different daycares, in two different cities (don’t ask), you can sleep in an extra hour during the week.
I ran out of milk. But it wasn’t the end of the world like it would have been for my son, so I chunked the empty container in the trash, laughed a little, then drank some juice straight out of the box.
I went out to dinner with two of my girlfriends on a Thursday night and had two. whole. beers. Then I went home and passed out at like 9:00 pm. Intense, I know.
On Friday night, I didn’t get hungry until around 7:00 and around 7:30 I finally ordered Chipotle through their app and had it ready for pick up at 8:00. Y’all, I ate dinner at 8:00 pm – Who am I?
Later that same night I was reading my book. With two s’mores pop-tarts. In bed. What? That’s unheard of!
Then, when I woke up it was Saturday, and I only had about 10 hours left to myself. I drank my coffee while watching more Shark Week then slowly morphed back into my original state as a mom, wife, maid, and cook.
I started with laundry, then dishes, and for the first time in a week I finally made the bed and ran the vacuum through the house. I popped in a new scentsy smell, showered, watched more shark week, and then called it a day.
It was nice while it lasted, and I’m not ashamed to say that I needed it. I need to miss my kids and my husband. That’s why I work. I’m a better mom and wife when I’m away from them for a short time.
I have learned over the years to never refer to my husband’s “military trips” (Deployments and TDY’s) as a vacation or a break (except for that one time he spent three months in Vegas – that was fun). I know he would prefer being home over some hotel or sandbox. But, I also know that when he FaceTime’s us, he’s not missing the chaos at dinner time, the screaming at bath time, or the “he hit me again” statement for the 200th time.
Likewise, when I experienced it all from the other side of the iPad all I could do was laugh a little inside and think to myself “Welcome to my life.”
Think what you want, but you’re lying to yourself as a woman, wife, and mother if you’ve never had a moment of satisfaction when you’re husband finally experiences something, that up until that moment, only you were familiar with. For example, trying to talk about your day in detail and stop a toddler from playing with knives at the same time.
My husband may never say the words “it was hard without you.” But that’s ok because when my family returned, my kids were full of energy, happy, and well rested. My husband however, looked beat, as if he were running on fumes the last few days.
And that says it all!
So, do you remember what it was like before kids? I still don’t really remember and I’m not sure I care to. It was quieter, lonely on some level, and there was not nearly enough laughing going on in my home. I sincerely enjoyed my alone time, but my life after kids – the one that’s full of curse words, questionable parenting decisions, laughs, and ‘I love you’s’ – is the one worth remembering.