My family is not yet finished with our current mommy’s-getting-a-PhD adventure when we have decided to embark on our next big adventure . . . we’re moving to Miami.
My husband has accepted a position as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. And while we’re excited for this next chapter in our lives (Go ‘Canes!), this transition is long and complex and—without going into the long detailed saga of it all—it requires that I pseudo-single mommy it for the next six months.
That’s right, this PhD mommy is in charge of house, lawn, and kids for the next six months. And while my situation is temporary and far from unique (hence coining the phrase “pseudo-single mommy” as it doesn’t feel right to compare this to those who are true single parents), the therapist in me can’t help but reflect on how this change is impacting my parenting and mommy CEO style.
So though I don’t yet have the benefit of perspective (I am only two weeks into this journey), here are some of my initial reflections and changes I’ve made trying to survive as a pseudo-single mommy:
- I’m more tired and my coffee budget is increasing. Turns out that I don’t go to sleep as early or as easily when I’m by myself. Unfortunately for me, the kids still wake up in the 6 o’clock hour, yet I’m without another parent to cover for me so I can get that extra bit of sleep. My goal over this next month is to retrain myself to go to bed early enough to average 6-7 hours of sleep a night. Til then, the morning coffee budget might be going up.
- Managing house and lawn takes a lot of work. When we bought our house, there were two of us running and maintaining it. Now it’s up to me. And though the house is in great shape, there’s still a pretty continual list of things that need to get done. Friends have been asking me how I’m handling parenting the kids. The kids aren’t the issue—the surprising challenge is how managing the house is zapping my energy!
- “Everything in moderation” doesn’t just apply to food. One way I find myself adapting to this situation is that I am treating all the house- and kid-related tasks as projects. My M.O. when it comes to projects is to break them down and do a little bit every day (kind of like with my PhD research, I am writing every day). And if I work on these projects a little every week, then eventually they will all get done.
- I like my quiet time. My kids are these happy, curious, active, willful, loud, beautiful beings. And they’re at this wonderful stage where they want to be around me . . . all the time. I’m getting ready for my day, they’re playing in my bathroom. I’m cooking, they’re playing in the kitchen. I’m on my computer, they’re playing in my office. I am trying to enjoy this stage, and most of the time I do, but there are moments that I just need a little quiet around me and I find myself telling the kids to go play somewhere else. Inevitably, by the time I emerge from my quiet time, I’m ready for their joyful energy again.
- Scheduling is turbo-charged. I almost feel like I’m back in infant and toddler-land again with my mental planning and scheduling abilities. Activities, rest time, shopping, cooking . . . before this adventure, sure I’d plan our days out, but there was always wiggle room and flexibility to incorporate the needs of my husband. Now that it’s just me, I find myself mapping out our days in much more detail than before.
- Breath, buck up, and take care of it. There was a dead bird in my driveway last week. My typical reaction to an aversive stimulus like this would be to avoid eye contact with said object and get my husband to take care of it. Now, it’s up to me. So I breath, take my time, tell myself it will be over in a couple minutes, and just take care of it. Because I have to.
- Time to take a break from cooking. I’ve written before about how much I love to cook. And I do. But I’m also learning that when it comes to the kids and me, I don’t need to cook as often or be that fancy with it. Turns out that when I cook now, I can make it last longer. Whereas before my cooking endeavours gave me least one good meal of leftovers, now, if I plan it right, I can get three or four meals out of it. A time saver for sure.
This is a journey that will continue to unfold. I can’t help but wonder what on this list of reflections will evolve as it does . . .