I woke up very early on a weekend, as I always do and realized, it’s been six weeks. Six weeks since I’ve been sleeping with my two precious children. Just the three of us in one bed. We’re not neatly lined up like in the picture all the time, sometimes, I’m in the middle and sometimes there’s a feet on my face.
It’s been quite a while since I stopped writing something personal too, which is fine but I find that the more I let days pass without writing on this blog, the more it makes me guilty and because I am not feeling good, I lost my writing mojo. It’s an evil cycle.
The truth is, I was avoiding to write something.
It’s been six weeks that I’ve been single parenting. The days had been hectic, long and quick at the same time that it doesn’t feel it’s been six weeks. When my husband announced his new work would require us to be geographically apart and we would only be together every three months, it wasn’t a big deal. Three months is short, right? I didn’t give it a second thought and we both agreed we could work on it. I am sure I can manage running the household (with the help of our very trusted house help who lives with us), working and spending time with the children, as a single parent.
But days after he left, it finally sunk in. There are so many things that he did that I needed to take over. A lot of “behind the scenes” work that needed to be done. There was budgeting, which he has done in all the 13 years we’re married and living together. There’s car maintenance work, accompanying me grocery shopping, government matters (visa applications when required since this is not our own country), bank matters and DRIVING, among other things.
Couples – each of us has strengths and weaknesses and only when we fill in what we lack in each other can a marriage work. My husband is not topnotch with kids, I do my part in that department but still, I am not perfect which means in single parenting, there is no one to pass the baton to when I’m having a bad parenting moment. I am not good at driving around or accounting or numbers, forecasting, budgeting, staying late at night to do things so he fills that in for me. And somehow, our household function like clock work day in and day out with this setup. I won’t say every day is perfect but we have lasted 13 years together without killing each other.
This is getting personal…so what prompted me to gather the courage to write this post I initially didn’t want to write?
Today I went out to drive to the Dubai Central Post Office in Karama. In my almost 10 years in the UAE, this was the first time and (expectedly), I got lost – even with Google Maps voice instruction. I was stuck in the car at Sheikh Zayed Road trying to find a way back with (hungry) speeding drivers around me who were rushing home to end their Ramadan fast.
(Please don’t ask me how I ended up in Sheikh Zayed Road when I should be in Karama – I am very capable of getting ridiculously lost).
In the end, I managed to get back home in one piece. I did not attempt to go to the post office however, as it will be already closed anyway at the rate of the traffic. It’s moments like this that make me hate about my incompetence at driving and my dependence on my husband to drive me around past Maktoum bridge (around Deira side of Dubai, I am confident to drive, no probs).
I’m often expected to be superwoman when the other parent is not involved. After spending the day working full time, and then being on Mommy duty at home, I feel challenged, tired and sometimes scared, I swallow the lump on my throat and laugh at myself. So many wives do this everyday.”Get over it, self!”
Does it get easier with time? Can we skip the scary and overwhelming part to the part where I could do everything confidently and in auto-pilot? Right now, I could say I am doing well (so far) but still the unknown scares me.
I have faced so many unknowns in the past that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Flying to Japan alone and not knowing the language at 19 was scary but it allowed me to grow, to discover I can do things on my own. But this time, I am not on my own and two little lives depend on me – suddenly I found renewed appreciation to single moms and parents who do it without the other for long stretches of time.
I’m going to try to drive to Karama again on Sunday when the post office is open again. If there’s anything I learned in this past six weeks, it’s that, pushing yourself out of the comfort zone is the only way towards growth.
I am prepared to grow.