Filling the Void: When the Kids Are With Your Ex

Me Time May Mean a Beer

Are you like me? Have you built your whole life around your kids? Now, the kids are with your ex and you’ve got time to kill, I mean, fill. Whatever will you do?

Before I get started, I have to say that I love my kids, adore them actually. But, one night, just one without refereeing a sibling match, arguing with somebody to do chores (I’m looking at you, Maddox), or playing chauffeur/sports mom is a much needed night of recuperation. I used to feel empty and sad, even on the verge of depression. One weekend was particularly bad so I pulled up my big girl pants and tackled the problem. It’s time to stop feeling sorry for myself and change the way I look at my kid-free time. Usually, I work, but you know what they say about all work and no play.

Enter the list. What don’t I get to do when the kids are around? Is there anything I can do that will make me feel better (spending a lot of money makes it worse because, hello, guilt)? My list is actually quite long but taking into account money and time constraints, I stick with three very important things.

This is unusual but thanks to summer break, my ex is taking the kids an extra night. Once I transport the kids to my ex’s house, I’m on my own from Thursday evening until Saturday afternoon. I have no idea what I’ll do with myself. Or do I? Mind you, the whole process of getting the kids dropped off and navigating traffic to get back home takes nearly two hours. It puts a wee crimp in my big Thursday evening plans.  Still, there you have it. I’m home by 5:45, stomach growling and ready for a night of freedom! This is when the fun starts.

Single Parent Life: The Kids Are With Your Ex

    • Adult Dinner  

      That’s right, folks. A real dinner. It is warm and healthy and oh-so-tasty. I love to post these on Instagram (@tracebroyles) with #nomnomnom. Tonight, for instance, a turkey burger with broccoli and mushrooms on the grill. Seriously, divine. AND IT WAS WARM. That’s right. I actually had to wait for it to cool down a little. You can’t do that with the kids around, can you? If you want to get REAL fancy, have a beer or a glass of wine. I mean, this is an ADULT dinner – look at all that green!!!

      Olive oil, spices, broccoli, and mushrooms
      Grilled Broccoli and Mushrooms

  • Uninterrupted Shower  

    The ONLY time I can take an honest to goodness, shave my legs shower is when the kids are NOT home. You better believe I make that hot water tank earn its keep for this shower. Sometimes I even go so far as to dye my hair too (I use a box because I’m too poor to have a hair stylist anymore). Regardless, I take a little extra care to get all the crevices cleaned up and I even put some gel in my unruly hair. I roll out of that shower feeling F-I-N-E.

  • “Me Time”

    Now, you fine folks probably think I’m heading out for an evening of fun with friends. Silly people. I’m too tired and comfy for all that. I showered but that doesn’t mean I want to do my hair and put on a cute outfit or makeup. I’ve got a stack of books to be read and reviewed, blog posts to write, tweets to tweet, emails to answer, oy, I’m getting breathless here. The point is I’m going to sit here and PRETEND that I’m going to work when I’m really going to write a post then curl up with a glass of wine or bottle of beer and watch one of my guilty pleasures BY MYSELF. That’s right, because the kids are with my ex, I can watch what I want all BY MYSELF.

    I will only have to hit ‘pause’ to pee. *giggle* I even get to use the bathroom in peace tonight! Only another parent will get the joy of this small wonder.

    Chilling with a beer on the patio
    “Me Time” May Mean a Beer

Maybe I should go out. I’m second-guessing my choices as I write this. I mean, I should be meeting people, socializing. Or, sitting here in comfortable clothes with a good drink and some peace. Hell, I can write or read or watch a movie. All three options sound better than putting myself together to go somewhere. Yeah, night one is all about recuperating and energizing and, I can get a good night’s sleep with no kids climbing into bed in the middle of the night.

Grilling with Beer When the Kids are With Your Ex
Grilling with Beer

Are you jealous?  It’s a pretty awesome evening but, maybe tomorrow I’ll venture out for some other type of fun.