The one good thing about divorce—besides complete domination of the remote control—is that parents get more free time to themselves. More time to indulge in forgotten interests, pursue neglected passions and form new friendships.
Every other weekend, I happily morph from single mom to single woman with the slam of a car door, as my daughters pile into the ex’s car for their required visitation. Sometimes I’m so giddy at the prospect of being kid-less for an entire three days, I feel like running naked through the streets.
In the years that I’ve been single again, I’ve met some wonderful people—some through single dating sites, like DateCatcher. Many are without children. It was a difficult adjustment at first, going from a world that revolved around kids to one in which children were barely discussed at all.
Who were these aliens I had befriended?
After a while, I stopped talking about my children’s escapades as I realized this “other world” had no interest in SAT scores and piano recitals.
As parents, it’s hard to imagine there are actually people out there who are living full lives, perfectly content without offspring. Truth be told, I had always been a little leery of women who never wanted children; seemed like they were missing a chromosome or something. But it’s through my alliances with these very-single women—and men—that I’ve been able to reach beyond my identity as a mother and discover myself again, stripped down to my original, rawest form—an interesting, educated woman with an insatiable thirst for life.
Let’s be honest. We can easily lose ourselves in the process of being good parents. We’re so caught up in the pursuits of our children and fulfilling their dreams that we forget that we still have a lot of learning, growing and living to do, too.
I had forgotten how much I liked to dance; how fun it is to stay out until 3:00 in the morning; and how exhilarating it is to rollerblade along the beach at sunset. And I never, EVER would have lifted off in a hot air balloon on New Year’s Day in Sedona with my children in tow.
While I’m enjoying my freedom as a single woman, occasionally, my two worlds will collide. Sometimes when I’m out with friends, coming out of some trendy restaurant or dishing on the matinee we just saw, I’ll see a family walk by that has children my daughters’ ages. I’ll feel a pang in my heart, not because they’re living the life I had wanted . . . but simply because I miss my kids.
Sure, it’s a nice escape without them. But the thrill of watching them drive away with their father is matched only by the joy of seeing their sweet faces again.
As I drive to pick them up every other Sunday night, my foot’s a little heavier on the gas, my heart a little lighter. After my exquisite romp as a single woman, I’m refreshed and re-energized for another welcome week as a single mom.
Lynn Armitage is a freelance writer and blogger in Northern California. She is an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. She welcomes your feedback at: Boatfolk@aol.com.