13 Things I Let Slide Now That I'm a Single Mom

dirty dishesSo. You and your husband have separated. Or he just left. Or he's living in his man cave in the backyard. Regardless, newly single mom, you are on your own now. And you know what? NOW is the time to expect less of yourself. If you were a rock star supermom before, you officially have permission to take it down a notch before you burn out. Reserve some of your energy for the battles ahead.

This is the moment when you need to examine your life and decide what's really important to your kids, and what's just parental window dressing. Embrace your inner slacker, even if just a tiny bit. But you don't want to deal with the social stigma of being a slacker single mom, do you? Okay, so you'll need to finesse it a bit.


1. Perfect school lunches. For some reason, all the parents at my son's school pack their kids a variety of still-warm, nutritious, home-cooked meals, which they prepare every single morning. Are they insane?!? Yes, but I'm not. For my kid it's buttered pasta and an apple every. Single. Day. Nutritious enough, but I'm not killing myself over it.

2. Volunteering in the classroom. Are you kidding me? I am WORKING at my JOB so I can keep a roof over our heads. I don't have time to help chaperone a field trip. However, I do show up for school performances, and I try to chat up the parents who do have time to volunteer.

3. Potluck dinners. I have zero time between leaving the office and showing up to cook anything. How does everyone else manage? I like to just bring extra wine because when have you ever heard someone say, "Aw geez, you brought ALL THAT wine? Now we have to drink it all!" Or, you know, I could skip that potluck altogether.

4. Teacher appreciation day. My friend gave the teachers little jars of her home-hived honey. That was so sweet, right? I signed a card and sent cash to the classroom collection.

5. Quality playtime. I let my son spend way too much time playing video games and watching videos about video games. The upside? He's an expert and that gives him social cachet. Also, my hair is combed and the toilet is clean. Everybody wins! (See also: No siblings.)

6. Being my child's maid. You know what? That kid has two hands. He can fold his own damn laundry and put it away. It's for his own good. He vacuums by himself. And next year I'm teaching him how to clean that toilet.

7. Grooming standards. Holes in your kid's jeans are a deliberate sartorial choice, okay? At least he showers once a week. And I hate wearing nail polish, so who cares about manicures. And let's not call them gray hairs, let's call them glitter strands.

8. A well-balanced meal. Quesadillas and chopped cucumbers count. Even if it's two nights in a row.

9. Thank-you notes. We're all doing these via email now, right? Because that's what works for my family. It's not like people need more little pieces of paper around their homes. We're grateful for whatever, blah blah blah.

10. Showing up on time. For me, "on time" means within 15 minutes 30 minutes an hour. Can't I please get credit just for showing up at all?

11. Baking. Remind me again why we need cookies in our lives? Oh yeah, we don't. Have an apple.

12. Bills. Everything in my life is automated. I just close my eyes and hope the math all works out every month. So far so good! As long as nothing breaks, ever.

13. Perfectly clean home. My therapist gave me permission to not care. Apparently I have more important/interesting things to do! So I'll get to those dishes eventually. If you don't look up, you can't see all the dust on the molding. Yes, my clean underwear has been in a pile on my dresser all week. I'll dig my way out over the weekend.

Non-negotiable: Hugs, listening, staying alive.

What do you think divorced moms should be allowed to blow off?

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