One of the misconceptions about a shared custody arrangement is that I have a lot of alone time. I’ve actually heard it called “the best of both worlds” by well-meaning friends in a slightly envious tone of voice. I have to say, for the record, it’s not.
On the one hand, I do get two nights – sometimes three – a week kid free. On the surface, that appears to be oodles. Dig a little deeper however and it’s not quite as glamorous.
Every other night during the week, I pick up the kids, come home, make dinner, help with homework, give baths, brush hair, read books, tuck into bed, and then walk into a kitchen that needs to be cleaned, a living room cluttered with papers and books and toys, and a pile of bills to be paid.
I know, I know. So do my married sisters in motherhood. But you see, there’s something else.
I’m on lockdown.
So while I clean the kitchen, if I’m out of dish soap, it needs to wait until tomorrow. And those cookies my son needs for his class party tomorrow? I’m on facebook begging a friend to drop off a cup of sugar because I underestimated how much I had. I’m dragging the trash cans to the curb at ten at night, pulling a couple weeds from the driveway as I walk back, and digging for a screwdriver to fix the drawer pull the kids thought would make a great doll table.
As sad as it sounds, most often, on the nights I don’t have the kids, I collapse in a heap and stare at a movie that doesn’t include princesses.
I have no idea how my full custody friends do it.