Beautiful woman laughing on the couch at home

Single Mom Slice Of Life:
What To Do..In My Own Skin

This is Mr. Cho’s fault, really, when you think about it.  If he hadn’t chastised me with his stern look the last time I ordered extra sauce with the Mongolian beef, I could have happily been sitting in front of the TV, oblivious to anything other than how to work the chopsticks while holding a beer, watching sad sappy romantic comedies for the night.

But , oh no. I just needed that extra sauce.

Instead, I sit, in a dark living room, drinking a cold beer, while I wait for a hot cheesy pizza.  How did I get here?  Well, family from out of town came , absconded with the boys, who would, of course, rather stay in a five star hotel after a night of Suns v. Pacers basketball, and left me with three dogs, cold beer and a welcoming pizza delivery guy in lieu of the judgmental Mr. Cho.

As I sit here, I can’t help but think that just two years ago, maybe even last year, this would have bothered me.  I am one of those not-so-rare creatures who was completely uncomfortable in my own skin.  Alone time meant cleaning.  Solitude meant pacing.   Complete privacy meant stressing out loud.

Now, after years of cleaning, pacing, and privacy, I was able to happily kiss the kids goodbye, turn down a happy hour invite, begrudgingly stop at the store long enough to pick up dog food and beer.  Okay.  Fine.  I also picked up a mini apple pie and a small container of ice cream, too, and came back home.

Old habits die hard, I did turn on the radio as I picked up the trail of disaster that tends to follow two teenage boys no matter what, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher while ordering the large (because I’ll clearly need breakfast as well) cheese with extra everything pizza, sat down to decide if I was going to watch Magic Mike or This is 40 and… wait for it… relax.

I like being alone now.  I know, it sounds weird, right?  But after all those years of stressing, all those years of worrying and fretting and working and cleaning and coddling, I have suddenly realized I like being me, even when I’m alone.

I have a hobby, and I get to work on it, uninterrupted (except for the hungry dogs and pizza guy – but you know what they say about the best made plans).  I get to stretch out on the couch without complaining that someone is hogging the cushions.  I get to put whatever I want on the pizza.  I don’t have to judge whether or not the ice cream has been scooped into equal segments because (and I’m not even joking) I plan on ignoring lecture 3265879 and just eat the ice cream straight from the container.

There are draw backs for sure; there is no one to remind me that Magic Mike, aside for the beautiful half naked men, was not that great of a movie.  No one will listen to me complain when the extra cheese gives me extra heartburn.  No one will remind me that it is bad form to mute the TV so I can eavesdrop on the neighbors when they start fighting in the driveway.

No one will tell me they love me when I go to bed.

But, after a night of doing what I want, when I want, why I want, and how I want, I will be refreshed and relaxed, and they will hug me extra hard when they see me again, and tell me they love me then, and that’s good enough for me.

So what do you do when the kids are away?  What’s the most nothing thing you’ve ever done?  Share!

More from GEM:

What’s The Worst Meal You’ve Ever Cooked?

Mediocre Mom Manual: Clubbing at 21 vs. Clubbing at 40… 4 BIG Differences..

10 From GEM: 10 Things To Do With (And For) Your Teenager


Wendy Syler Woodward has been a single parent for 10 years, with two boys ages 12 and 16. Originally from southern California, Wendy moved her family seven years ago to Phoenix where she manages a law firm for work, writes for fun, and this year returned to college for her B.A.  Follow her on Twitter @WendySyler.