It’s been a long week. Hubs gets home from his business travel tomorrow afternoon, so tonight is my last solo-parent night, at least until his next trip. Whew.
Quinn misses his Daddy and doesn’t really understand why he isn’t here. Q’s fine most of the day, but when evening comes – the time of day when Daddy is usually home – Q gets very clingy and emotional.
I try so hard to give him the extra attention he needs, but it’s so hard when I also have to cook dinner, and clean up, and take out the trash, and… and… and… there are a lot of “and’s.” I think dinner time is the hardest for Q because he’s used to one of his parents entertaining him while the other one cooks and cleans up. We're all very
spoiled lucky that Hubs can usually be home well before dinner. I know a lot of dads don't get that much family time.
When it’s just the two of us, Q watches a bit more TV than I usually allow so I can be in the kitchen. That works for a while, but the effects are short lived. It breaks my heart when Q comes into the kitchen while I’m cooking, grabs my hand and gives me a tug. “Mommy in the house?” he asks hopefully. “House” is his word for the family room where the TV and all of his toys are, where we spend 90% of our time at home. He wants me to go into that room and be with him. I try to explain that dinner won’t make itself, and I have to feed him. But he doesn’t care. He doesn’t really like to eat anyway. He just wants Mommy. And it breaks me.
I must say, though, that Q’s been eating really well this week. Last time Hubs traveled, Q barely ate a bite. But he’s getting much better at using a fork and spoon lately, and I think he likes showing off his new skills. I’m just happy he’s using that spoon to shovel peas and carrots into his mouth.
Not only is Q actually eating vegetables this week, he actually ate chicken. And it wasn’t even in the shape of a dinosaur, although he’s been eating those a lot more lately, too. I baked a simple recipe: chicken breasts seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder and thyme with a half-cup of low-sodium chicken broth; baked at 375 for 30 minutes. Easy. Healthy. Done. I never guessed that Q would eat any of it, so I was shocked when he asked me for a bite. He then ate almost a quarter of a chicken breast all by himself.
Of course, the next night, he wanted nothing to do with my awesome baked chicken and went back to the pressed chicken parts in the shape of dinosaurs, but that’s okay. I’ll take those small successes anyway they come.
Last night, Q had a hard time getting to sleep. It’s been a while since he wanted me to rock him. Usually, he wants to get into his bed as soon as his stories are read and the lights are off. But not last night. He wanted more snuggles, more songs, more Mommy. Every time I tried to put him to bed, he cried, “Mommy, chair! Mommy, come back!” He even said “please.” So, of course, I caved because I’m a guilt-ridden softie who would give my left arm to make this kid happy. And I rocked him to sleep.
Selfishly, a little part of me (okay, a big part) was glad he wanted to snuggle. That time of night – after dinner is done, the kitchen is clean, and he’s bathed and ready for bed – I have all the time in the world for him. So I sat in the rocker, holding on to this child that barely fits on my lap anymore, while he struggled to find a comfortable position. His long arms and legs bent and straightened and bent again as he tried to curl up the way he used to. Finally finding a position that would do, he closed his eyes and fell asleep, gripping my shirt in his hands.
I honestly don’t know how single moms do it. I have only one toddler, I don’t work outside the home and I get to be with him all day, and he sees his Daddy a lot more often than every other weekend, even when he’s traveling. Yet, I still don’t feel like I’m giving Q enough of my time and attention, like I’m letting him down, making him sad – like my best isn’t enough.
I try to cut myself a little slack, hushing the negative thoughts with a reminder that I am only human – only one human – and that I’m doing a good job. Quinn is well cared for and knows he is loved.
Yet, it’s been a long week. And I’m draggin’.