I know I'm lucky. I have been happily married for six years and have a husband who is incredibly involved in our two children's lives and willing to walk to the end of the Earth to keep us happy and safe. He works hard and has made it possible for me to work from home, which saves us a lot of money because daycare in New York City is an outrageous expense.
But I have a deep, dark secret. Sometimes I daydream about being a divorced, single mom who shares custody of our children. My husband is amazing and I want him in their lives. But I'd be lying if I said I haven't noticed my divorced friends have a few mommy "perks" that look pretty darn great from the outside looking in.
When you're married with kids, you expect to get a "break" once in awhile. But guess what? That NEVER actually happens because of a little feeling called guilt. Sure, your husband offers to let you off the parenting hook for a half hour so you can finally get a manicure after six months or just take a much-needed nap. But when you emerge from your few minutes of calm and tranquility, this is what you'll find waiting for you:
Two screaming kids, one of whom is wearing mismatched socks and has eaten cereal for breakfast and lunch.
A husband who looks like he has been through a war. A husband who you now feel deserves to get his own break. But guess what? Giving him that time off now means you're going to run yourself ragged caring for the kids by yourself.
While I'm stuck in the house with my kids most of the time, here's what some of my divorced mom friends get to do:
1. Drop off their children with dad twice weekly. Make actual plans on those nights that they can actually keep. And if dad has a difficult time dealing with the kiddies, that's his problem to sort out -- without their help.
2. Get all dolled up. Like, actually wear makeup and blow dry their hair and possibly even put product in it. Wear a pretty dress that isn't destroyed by oily hands moments before stepping out the door to go to a restaurant.
3. Go to a restaurant. One that doesn't have a children's menu.
4. Sleep in. Let dad take junior to Little League practice without you. Did I mention ... sleep in?! What the heck is that like again?
5. Miss their kids. When my little ones spend even a few hours with their grandparents, I miss them terribly. I think about my daughter's dimples. I long to hear her ask "Why?" after everything I say. I feel a strong pull to hold my baby boy and even hear his cry, which ordinarily makes me want to hide out in the bathroom. Having a night or two off each week might make me appreciate the things that drive me nuts now.
So, divorced moms of the world: I know you don't have it easy by any stretch of the imagination. But know that some married women envy your little doses of "freedom" -- and the fact that you look so much more refreshed than we do on Sunday mornings.
Have you ever thought your life would be easier if you shared custody of your children and had a night or two to yourself once in awhile?
Image via Corbis