Mitch, Lucy and Josie are gone for a week to Colorado visiting family. When we initially made the plan for Mitch to go without me on this trip since this is my busy time of year with summer interns and student employees, when I realized that this meant that I would be alone for a full week and a three day weekend, I thought, "Woo-hoo!! This is going to be GREAT!!" I'm sure as a parent and a loving wife I was supposed to feel only total loss and desolation at the thought of a week without my awesome family but seriously, a week without kids - I was psyched. I thought, "ah my chance to do all those things that I can't do because they aren't amenable to the little people."
Then the reality slowly sets in. First, what are those things that I personally don't do because they aren't amenable to the little people? Well, first you have things like spend twenty minutes browsing in the really cool paper store that I saw in Westwood. Well, I'm not going to drive all the way to Westwood just to go to a paper store and many of these "oh if only I could go in there for twenty minutes" experiences are from even farther flung places like Newport Beach or Seattle. I'm definitely not going to fly to Seattle for twenty minutes in a paper store. So those specific shopping moments were eliminated. Second there are activities like rock climbing and road bike riding. I haven't been rock climbing seriously in several years and I'm not about to rush out and go climbing (with who?) on my free friday. So those are also pretty much off the table.
Remaining on my list were the following items: sleep through the night, take long naps, read lots of books, shop for hours at the Ventura Thrift stores, check out other local shopping locales like Patagonia, and do a bunch of really tedious crap around the house. So that is essentially what I have been doing. Other than working, my week has been almost entirely taken up by the following activities: re-working the side yard (see Dream vs. Reality vol. 2), trimming the front yard, trimming the garden, cleaning the house, organizing the girls room, and finally various forms of shopping.
What have I learned? First, I now remember that I never really liked shopping. It was fun for the first hour but then I felt compelled to continue since shopping with the girls is nearly impossible. I know this sounds insane but seriously, if you knew your only chance to stroll unmolested through various shops was THIS weekend only, wouldn't you feel compelled to get it all over with? I did find some awesome bargains at the thrift store in the adult clothing vein - lots of cool shirts for work, but still, I now no longer feel the need to shop for another four years. Second, I realized that although I frequently have those "wow I sure do love my kids but it would be great to have two hours to myself right now" moments, in general life is a lot more fun when both of the girls and Mitch are around.
So now my house is almost in perfect order for Mitch's return and I am looking forward to the girls completely trashing it within fifteen minutes of being home. Being a single person for a week was fun (although not as much fun as I thought it would be) but bring on the family!!
Three other final notes. First, I could have more time to myself than I get if I would take Mitch up on his solo parenting offers but I don't because a) he does that all week long so how fun is it for him to be solo dad guy on the weekends? and b) I don't have that much time with the girls as it is so it doesn't sound that great to have an hour to myself if it means that's an hour that I don't get to hang with the little people. Second, one of the other reasons that I felt compelled to spend at least 50% of my free time while Mitch was gone was some sort of single person guilt. Mitch is working for the greater good taking care of the girls so I should be working towards the greater good doing something productive on the home front (neurotic I know. what can I say, I'm a team player). Third, the one other thing that I fully took advantage of my non-kidness for was to go to either yoga or pilates every single day except one that they have been gone. You should be able to feel my buffness and positive energy all the way from here.