Recently, I was given a very small glimpse into what my life would be like as a single parent, with some very notable differences: if I really did become a single parent, it would probably last for more than three days (probably) and I wouldn’t still be washing my husband’s business shirts, socks and jocks, particularly if he left me for someone with pert breasts and a flat stomach.
If I learnt anything from last weekend, it was that I’ve got it good. So what if my husband skips off to work at 5am every day, leaving me to collect the late-passes (see “The Last Ones Walking“). So what if my husband occasionally loses an entire day to the night before (see “The Irish Flu“). So what if my husband goes away on a drinking fishing weekend for three days in the lead-up to Christmas (see, er, well, see this post). My lot in life could be so much worse. I have friends with partners who work far more erratic shifts, who work 12 hour days, who travel a lot for work, who aren’t living with them any more, or (perhaps) worse yet, STILL living with them and just sitting on their arses drinking beer. Then there are other friends in even more difficult circumstances and I’m not even going to make a single wry comment about those friends. For one thing, they know where I live.
Anyway, all of these friends are amazing super-women and I’m not entirely sure, based on this recent three-day weekend, that I’m anywhere near their standard. Instead, I’ve concluded that if I were ever to find myself in the position of being a single parent for any real length of time, the following would occur:
- My children would watch TV all day every day.
- I would kiss those remaining patches of clear floor good-bye because the chances of ever seeing carpet, floorboard or linoleum again through the toys, dust and biscuit crumbs would be negligible.
- I would probably never wash my hair ever again and would take to wearing ugg boots and tracksuit pants everywhere, even to weddings. Maybe even to my own wedding, in the (extremely) unlikely event of remarriage – no doubt made extremely unlikely because of my propensity for uggs and trackie-dacks. Ah, the irony.
- I would drink much more than I currently do. A lot more. Like a lot a lot. Like a drinking-straw-in-a-5-litre-cask-of-wine a lot.
- I’d definitely be known by name at the local McDonalds, a scary prospect considering their high turnover in staff. (An aside: recently, I read a quote by the late Paul Newman about his many years of total fidelity to his wife. “Why go out for hamburgers when you can get steak at home,” he said, which was a cute little analogy that unfortunately doesn’t quite hold up well under NDM scrutiny. You see, Mr Newman, it depends on whether or not you actually have to cook that steak yourself. Sometimes a hamburger would simply taste better because a) it was cooked by someone else and b) there are no dishes to be done after it’s been eaten. And by the way, when I said it was a quote by the late Paul Newman, he actually said it when he was alive and not via a ouija board or John Edwards. Just thought I should clarify that, in case there was any confusion. )
- I’d probably end up just using my Shouting Voice all day, every day. Yep, I’d just go about my daily business shouting, shouting, shouting. Even for good-night kisses and casual “How are you going?” interactions on the school run. Perhaps I might go so far as to buy a megaphone or get one of those voice boxes installed in my larynx with the volume turned up really really loud. Of course nobody will listen to a word I say, but all that shouting might just make me feel a bit better, kind of like perpetual primal scream therapy.
So it goes without saying how happy I was when my husband returned. We had the usual emotional Husband-WIfe reunion after any absence where I thrust the wailing children into his arms and hotfooted the hell out of there to go drinking and dancing with my friends. I even came up with a new dance move based on 1980s computer game “Space Invaders”, and no doubt inspired by my children who do so enjoy invading my own personal space. Which just goes to show that from Great Hardship (Three. Whole. Days.) can spring Great Creativity.