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.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.