Single versus Married versus Small Children

If you’re single and have a  crappy day, you can sit on the couch and eat food from a bag while watching TV if you want. No cleaning, no cooking, no talking, no moving. Early bed, late bed, it’s all the same. In short, you can totally abdicate responsibilities. Shrug, announce “I give up,” and actually do it.

If you’re married and have a crappy day, you can sit on the couch and eat food from a carton while watching TV if you want. Or have someone else spoon feed you. Read a book, watch a movie, paint your toenails. Alone or with someone. No cleaning, no cooking, no talking, no moving. In short, you can totally abdicate responsibilities, and quit for the night. Or have someone do everything for you. Leave dishes in the sink. Ignore the laundry. Shrug, announce, “I give up,” and either get help or ignored. Either way, you can actually give up.

If you have small children, there is no quitting. You can’t just sit on the couch and refuse to move. Other people, who cannot feed themselves, need to eat. Have a tendency to become agitated when ignored, and by agitated, I mean smearing feces and shaving cats. They need freaking stories and songs and negotiations and sometimes a bath and always discipline and attention before bed. And often for a while after  bed. If you have a crappy day and have small kids, too bad for you. Pick up all the spilled food or someone will fall, sweep up all the dumped flour or the cats will eat it and puke and then someone will fall, calm the terrified cats or they will claw you at night, eye the tricycle-d wall, put away the scattered toys, discuss the hitting and kicking, find the shards of glass, clean the various things painted on the walls. Or one of those small people will find the evidence tomorrow and try it all again. At the end of the day with small children, even after you’ve been working all day and haven’t been allowed to freaking sit down let alone veg, someone has to recork the bottle. Because you’re gonna need it, again, tomorrow.

8 thoughts on “Single versus Married versus Small Children

  1. You know, there must’ve been a point during single and married when we were bored and fantasized about children. I mean, looking back I can’t remember it, but there must have been at least an hour during ovulation when we weren’t satisfied with that life. That lovely, relaxing, quiet life…

  2. Oh, Lord, how I would have liked to sprawl out on the couch tonight and eat from a bag. It was just that kind of day, but you’re right. Those darn kids want dinner Every Single Night. *Sigh.*

  3. Oh, wait. I do remember a time when married that if the kitchen wasn’t cleaned it would be overrun with ants, moths, mice, or cockroaches. I also remember the horrible morning after a party coming down stairs to find a hundred unwashed shot glasses waiting for me. Granted I went back to bed, which wouldn’t happen now, which is why we don’t have parties, at least not parties with shot glasses.

    I wish we could just put them to bed an hour earlier. Do you think they would notice?

  4. Remember:
    – not ever once thinking about whether or not someone else had clean clothes;
    – leaving for work NOT covered in: dog hair, drool, peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip smears, and/or pee;
    – when the idea of being peed on had a ‘70s bad porno connotation, not an exasperating “how do they learn to aim so well, so young” response;
    – when you would die before you’d actually pick snot from someone’s nose;
    – reading the newspaper the same day it was printed?

    It is all a distant, lovely dream…….

  5. Who has wine left over? I consider it part of my job decription, as a mother, to finish the bottle

  6. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, as there has been a lot of “single parenting” going on in my house. My partner and I trade off work days, and this is the season that we are never both home at the same time. How do other parents DO this? Last night I really wanted that food from a bag. (And that bottle). But it was just me. And three kids. Who needed baths, jammies, water, teeth brushed, books read, stories told. We skipped the baths and the teeth. And I surrendered and fell asleep with them all. Ah, parenthood.

  7. Enjoying a nice glass of dry red here on Prince Edward Island, after a long day, with a husband working out of province for the week, and seven children in tow, many of whom lingered (as you so hilariously mentioned that they usually do) AFTER bed time as well… Two just crashed in their clothes though :o)…
    Cheers to you, and I hope you do get a bit of “chill” time at some point!

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