I was out of town on business last week. It was my first time away from Elle overnight, and I went two full days without seeing her; I left for the airport before she got up on day one, and I got home after she went to bed on day two. I had great support from friends on the front and back end, and she stayed overnight with her regular sitter.
For her, really, it probably didn't feel all that different. When I came into her room the morning after I got home, she was as happy to see me as she usually is in the morning-- no more, no less.
She is a happy, adaptable little thing, who is clearly secure in the fact that she's loved and well-cared-for. That's exactly what I want her to be, so I ignore the intermittent pangs that I would like her to be slightly more dramatically attached to me. That's just feeding my ego; that's not what's best for Elle.
At the end of the day, I'm her mom. And it's far more important that I raise a happy, social, well-adjusted child than it is to raise one that feeds some occasional need for validation.
While I was out of town, I was able to use the little hotel gym. It was decently set up, and featured my favorite exercise machine of all time: the elliptical.
I can't possibly explain how much I love the elliptical. I love it so much that I should be skinny and muscled. Sadly, I can no longer get to the Y (yes, they have childcare, but I leave Elle for 11+ hours each day; I'm not going to get her home and turn around and leave her with yet another sitter several times a week), and there's nowhere in my house that has high enough ceilings to accommodate an elliptical.
I did recently get a used exercise bike, and have been doing at least a few miles on that 4-5 times a week. This is significantly better than nothing at all, but not nearly as much fun as the dearly beloved elliptical. (And I'm watching season three of Slings and Arrows while I'm on the bike, a Canadian series that has not gotten nearly the attention it deserves. Highly recommended if you like theatre, Shakespeare, or Shakespeare and theatre.) So getting to exercise at the hotel was, believe it or not, a huge treat-- I even gave up additional sleep to go exercise that second morning, before I showered and checked out of the hotel.
It felt wonderful.
There are two questions I get, fairly often, as a single parent. One is if this is what I expected, or if it's easier or harder. The other (often from other single women) is asking what I miss about my single non-parent days.
I answer, honestly, that there's very little I miss. The two things do I miss are:
1. Being able to go to the gym
2. Being able to stay in my pajamas all day and sit on the couch and watch movies and be lazylazylazy.
That's not really much to miss, is it?
The nice part about it is that both those activities can return one day. Someday, Elle and I will do pajama days together (I hope we have the same taste in bad movies!). And someday, I'll get back to the gym on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of other stuff to do.