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Do single moms have too much free time?

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Single Mom Empty Houe

Moms are always complaining they have too much to do, and too little time. And you know us single moms. A bunch of whiners we are! We’ve got it the worst in the time-allotment department!

Or do we?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a visitation schedule with your ex, you may find you have too much time on your hands. It’s all about the whiplash – snapping abruptly from nonstop kid-work-sleep-house-etcetera to an eerily silent house.

This weekend I found myself being bolted awake in the middle of the night by phantom toddler footsteps that were not, in fact, padding to my bed for a drink of water. After all, my son was at his dad’s. I wasn’t sure what to do with my urge to coordinate an outing on this sunny, brisk fall day. Where were my morning kisses? How do I cook breakfast for one? It felt like an appendage had been severed.

Instead of being a mom, I spent a leisurely morning with a girlfriend – chatting over a greasy diner brunch, driving around the city running errands, gossiping and laughing as if time were abundant. The afternoon was a productive one, with a 3 mile jog, Ikea cabinet assembly that did not net homicidal sentiments, and a cover-to-cover reading of Vanity Fair. I’ve got nothing to complain about, but there was a sense of emptiness to the day. Of loneliness. A sense of what it must be like for noncustodial parents everywhere.

I recently met a single dad with 50-50 custody who admitted to gaining 30 pounds in the first year after his divorce – all of it owning to the ice cream he’d down in an effort to drown the horrible feeling of going home to a kidless house. A single mom confessed to feeling lost on the morning after the first overnight her toddler spent at his father’s. “I miss Mr. Pee Pee pants crawling into bed with me for a snuggle,” she says.

Of course, all this me-time might sound like heaven to married moms (not to mention single moms with absent exes), and I’m vowing to make the most of mine. Saturday night I went to the theater, and I’m looking for a Sunday morning running group and a regular volunteer commitment. I swear I’m going to reconnect with old friends and maybe make a few new ones. And if I’m lucky, I’ll make my free time just as crazed and hectic as my kid time.

  1. Honoree Corder
    Honoree Corder05-09-2013

    As someone who had 100% custody for 12 years, and now has 1 weekend of visitation a month, I honestly thought this was a trick question! :) But seriously, I know it’s hard to decide what to do when you don’t have kids to necessarily worry about.

  2. Pamlet
    Pamlet12-13-2013

    Oh, god I know this feeling SO well. There are some weekends when I’m doing all of the kid-free things: brunch with friends, leisurely shopping, reading, late night dinners & theatre outings, and others where all I want to do is watch Netflix in my pjs & nap the weekend away until my littles return.

    • Emma
      Emma12-18-2013

      There are so many facets of women — intellectual, professional, romantic, sexual … and yes moms. Being a single parent, particularly if you have a visitation schedule, allows for lots of room to develop all those parts. Which is pretty fantastic.

  3. lori
    lori12-13-2013

    I’ve had sole custody for over 10 years (with no visitation)….I think I had a free day…once in 2002 :(. But, my girl is pretty cool and I’ll be totally devastated when she decided to head to college one day!

  4. Leslie
    Leslie12-22-2013

    My son is 16–After handling most of the care in the early years, I laugh that I miss him so much when he is at dads or with friends! I have friends, family and a dog that keep me busy (job too of course!) I think what I feel is just being a parent vs. a single parent. I read a quote once “having a child is like forever having your heart partially out of your body.” I agree.

    Happy Holidays to all you caring parents-

    • Emma
      Emma12-22-2013

      That is a great quote, thanks for sharing, Leslie. Sounds like you have a great, full life. Good for you.

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