A New Normal

I have to admit, life feels a little . . . uneven without Drew around.

I mean, there’s no gnashing of the teeth, hair pulling, or crying into my pillow every night.

That’s just not how I roll.

However, I do find myself thinking of really stupid things.

Like how the mattress is going to wear unevenly.  My side is going to be all flat and worn, and his side will be all fluffy and comfortable.  If this mattress is ever used by two people again, the person who sleeps on his side will probably roll over and plunge down into the hole that contains me and about 17 of the bookmarks I tell myself I’m going to use when I read at night.

And since I can’t lift the damn mattress myself, I can’t rotate it around.  And I’m sure as hell not going to sleep on his the wrong side of the bed.  And it would be weird to be like, “Drew, can you come over here and help me rotate the mattress around so each side wears evenly?  Thanks.”  Maybe when I have that sleepover someone can help me do it.

And there’s all these boxes of cereal getting stale.  Like, there’s not enough cereal in the boxes for me to bag them up and give them to him because it’s likely to make me appear spiteful and petty.   “Here, take these 7 boxes of cereal!  I know they each have less than 1 bowl’s worth in them, but take them anyway!”

I figure I’ll just wait until they get 100% stale and then toss them.  Seems more humane than throwing them out before they’re officially inedible.

And there’s like, a million dishes in the sink.  I never realized that he did nearly ALL of the dishes.  And because I have no incentive to try to be a good wife who cooks, I’ve basically stopped cooking.  Where are all these dishes coming from?   Because I like to think I’m a good mother, I periodically toss some nuts and seeds on the kitchen floor and let the kids fend for themselves.  But I certainly don’t use bowls or utensils.  I should probably set up a hidden camera; there’s obviously a ghost.

And bedtime.  Well.  We used to each pick a kid and put that one to bed, rotating kids each night.  Now I have to put both kids to bed by myself nearly every night.  Well, not nearly every night.  Every night.  Starting this weekend, the kids are going to spend 4 nights per month at Drew’s, but up until now, it’s been me (fyi–this is due to his call schedule, not due to unwillingness on Drew’s part).  He tries to help by putting them in their pajamas, feeding them their snack, and brushing their teeth at his house, but actually putting them to bed is left to me.

So . . . I’ve tried reading them both a story at the same time and then plopping them into their beds nearly simultaneously.  Turns out, Dec will get all hyper if he’s not permitted to pick out the story and poke through it in his self-paced fashion.  And Sydney likes books for older kids, and his jumping around annoys the crap out of her.  And OH MY GOD if she attempts to read the book aloud, his hyperactivity increases by about 323% and she displays the desire to punch him in the neck.

So now I tell one of them to wait in their room while I read, snuggle, and have a nightly chat with the other child.  The thing is, the one who goes to bed first feels resentful that the other child is there waiting for me.  They feel pressured.  And while the child who is put to bed second doesn’t feel the pressure of someone else waiting for me, he/she feels compelled to drag out bedtime as long as possible, at times using tears and guilt-inducing statements like, “but I’ll miss yoooooooou.  I loooooove you, Mommy”.

And without another adult in the house, there’s no one else to do things.  Let’s say one of them wants a drink of water but can’t reach the cups.  Meanwhile, I’m upstairs sitting amidst a pile of unfolded laundry.  Because 3 year-olds are 100% certain that they will perish if they don’t have a drink right this exact minute, I’m forced to abandon the laundry in a quest to find them a cup.  I’ve found that there are approximately 173 distractions between the laundry room and the cabinet in which the cups are stored, resulting in me coming across a huge pile of unfolded laundry at midnight when I go upstairs to go to bed.

Yeah, and I CAN’T just walk by.  That’s not how I roll.  The effin’ laundry will just be there tomorrow.  That damn ghost won’t fold it.

And those of you who are single moms/military moms/work widow moms are probably like, “Wah, wah, wah . . . get some real problems”.

Dude, you’d be right.

I’d rather be writing this than living with a man who doesn’t want to be here.  That would be a real problem.

I guess I’m just . . . getting used to the new normal.

And I will.

Because that’s how I roll.


  1. Jennifer Simson says:

    This spoke to me. Tara, it does suck!

    The only part that didn’t speak to me is the husband chipping in. BTW, I think you can move the mattress. I really do. I think I moved mine while pregnant (I know for sure I moved couches and recliners b/c how the heck else do you vacume??).

    If it makes you feel better, keep bitchin’. That’s how I roll. I promise I will never say to you “but you chose to have kids and marry Drew”. Oh yeah, I was told this while my husband was away for 7 straight months. By my own relatives.

  2. Mer says:

    I can totally teach you how to flip the mattress by yourself- I’m kind of an expert at it. Just one of the perks of being single for 34 years. Its not pretty but it gets the job done :) But I also learned to sleep diagonally across the mattress to cut down on that person-shaped-dent on one side. It totally works.

    • Tara says:

      Diagonally, huh? I guess that would require me to actually move the decorative pillows off of the other side of the bed. Now I can just slip out of the bed in the morning, smooth the barely rumpled covers, and move the decorative pillows over about a foot. Your way sounds like an awful amount of work. Although I know you don’t make the bed, so I should probably abandon that chore.

      • Mer says:

        um yeah, no bed making, unless someone is going to see it, which happens infrequently at best right now…but that’s a whole other story. And no decorative pillows. Unless someone’s going to see it… so yeah, no decorative pillows :) Its all about simplication. So you have more time to, well, actually lately I’ve spent my free time folding laundry…ironic, huh?

        But also, if you arrange the diagonal just right, it still leaves space to keep shit on the bed next to you, like books, or decorative pillows, or bags of skittels…whatever. Which is Win/Win really.

        • Meg says:

          Mer, you serve snacks in bed? I would totally sleep with you.

          • Katie says:

            Mer – maybe if you advertise the fact that you allow snacks in bed on your online dating profile you will get more responses. Or at least more interesting responses. Well, okay, maybe just responses from fat dudes. Never mind. Forget I brought it up.

  3. Laurie says:

    Don’t worry about those piles of laundry. Enjoy the fact that there is no one there to give you the “when are you going to fold this and get it off my bed” look. You and the kids will find your new normal soon enough. And when you do you one of the kids will go and get older or something and you will have to find another new normal. Hang in there! I love reading your blogs. Hugs.

  4. Liz says:

    You are way too tiny (and cute) to dent your mattress. :)

  5. Sunday says:

    I’m a military mom and I complain about the same things, even when my husband is not deployed. It sucks trying to put two kids to bed. It really is so much easier when there are two adults. I’m hoping your life will settle down and get easier for a while. Good luck!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks, Sunday. Military mom = super hard job. I’m sure you do it much better than I would. Maybe you can come live with me while your husband is deployed and we can put the kids to bed together. Oh, wait. Then we’d have double the kids. Shoot.

  6. Lindsey says:

    Just because other people are doing the single-parent thing doesn’t make what you’re experiencing any less. It is hard to do all the work all the time with no break. It sucks.

    As for the mattress, you could always sleep with your head at the other end of the bed, giving the other side use & you could trick yourself into thinking you weren’t on the “wrong side.” I’m guessing the flip issue is due to your back because if shrimpy me can flip a mattress solo, I know you can too.


  7. dette says:

    Before you know it you will be using the whole bed and then if the opportunity comes for someone else to share it again in the future they had better be small and part tightrope walker so they can sleep while balancing on the small sliver of space you have made for them.
    As for the kids and bed time and dishes- as soon as I could I bought a dishwasher and it did the dishes for me while I put the kids to bed. And yes that was tricky and I felt like a yo yo and felt some nights were never going to end but you find ways to get round it. The thing I hated was when one was a sleep and the other one was ill and you needed to get panadol or something like that from the chemist and there was no-one to help look after the other kid- that sucked!
    I taught the kids from a very early age to help themselves. I suffer from very bad very debilitating migraine headaches early on in my separated life (the kids were 18 months and 3 years) I was getting them about once a month. So I had little boxes of kiddie snacks made up in the fridge and plastic cups and a sturdy step stool fro them to reach the tap for a drink. I can’t believe it now but I even taught them how to use the toaster safely when they were preschoolers- but I just thought if I was out for the count they needed to be a bit independent! Then they can start to look after you too, by the time my son was in year 5 he could make a mean cup of tea. There were many many milky teas and pieces of toast with big lumps of jam and dry spots along the way but now they are grown up and well adjusted and mostly independent and only a few scars! ;)

    • Tara says:

      Thank goodness I have a dishwasher . . . it’d be SO much worse without one. Oh, and to give Drew props, he came over on Tuesday to pick up Dylan to take him to school and he must have emptied the dishwasher. It was like a little gift from God when I came home and didn’t have to empty that effin’ thing! Okay, Dette, you must be either English or Australian . . . drinking tea? Panadol? Chemist? Well, some of us drink tea here, but we’d be more likely to teach our young’uns how to pour a cup of coffee.

      • dette says:

        yep, I’m australian! I also drink coffee but real coffee not instant so as I didn’t have a coffee machine ( actually as my ex had all my stuff I had very little of anything I was stomping bed sheets in the bath until I found an old secondhand washer!) Anyway tea was easier at the time!

  8. Katie says:

    I say just buy yourself a new mattress every 2 years instead of 10 (or whatever it’s supposed to be). It will be a treat to yourself as a job well done by an awesome single mom. :-) Or you could do Danish style – two twin beds pushed together, then you only have to replace “your” side. It’s the strangest thing. Thank god we brought our queen mattress with us.

    • Tara says:

      I think the two twin beds pushed together would make me feel like a sad, dried-up old woman. But if I had a sleepover with my girlfriends, it’d be pretty cool.

  9. Anki says:

    Get the kids to help you flip the mattress before they go to bed. That should wear them out and bedtime will be a breeze. I have no other advice as I can’t regularly fold washing, get 2 kids to bed and stack/empty the dishwasher even with help! I must roll in a way slower and wobblier and squeakier way than you.

    I do know it will get better for everyone with the new normal becoming just the normal and it’s great that you’re both obviously being civilised about the situation.

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