Divide and Conquer, For One
May 5th, 2009 by Christina

R and I had a pretty traditional male/female division of labor. He worked full time; I worked at home, part-time, and spent the other part tending to our children. I packed lunches, did the laundry, made sure the kids’ fish didn’t die of starvation, and tried hard to create birthday-party goody bags that made my kids happy and the other mothers envious. R fixed things, could lift an air conditioner, was completely in charge of anything involving our car, and didn’t flinch when faced with a water bug the size of his shoe.

So, naturally, the minute R moved out, my life turned into an I Love Lucy episode. For example:

  • The toilet wouldn’t shut the hell up and needed a new stopper thingie, forcing me to stick my hand in the tank for the first time ever.
  • I got lost on the Garden State Parkway (which, in my defense, has very poor signage), and cried in front of my children while cursing and smacking the steering wheel.
  • Our house became infested with mice, and the pricey “no-touch” traps I purchased proved useless. The classic snap traps worked really well, though, so I spent mornings wading bleary-eyed through a mouse morgue (before the kids woke up, so they wouldn’t be traumatized). I coped with my squeamishness by donning sunglasses and rubber gloves while discarding the little rodents. Really.

But there were also a few positives to being the only grown-up in residence:

  • R, who liked dinner to include all food groups, wasn’t there to disapprove when I fed the girls four-for-a-dollar Ramen noodles and didn’t bother to make a vegetable.
  • Without numerous pairs of briefs and boxer shorts, tube socks and stanky t-shirts to wash, I did the laundry much less frequently.
  • Even though R wasn’t prone to leaving the toilet seat up (or maybe I never cared as much as women are supposed to), it was a relief to know that at least that particular challenge was completely off the table for the foreseeable future.

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8 Responses  
Elizabeth writes:
May 6th, 2009 at 8:23 am

The mouse thing…you are very brave. i like the sunglasses…if i ever have to deal with that situation, i will remember the sun glasses.

Leslie writes:
May 6th, 2009 at 11:46 am

Ramen noodles for dinner. Never tried that one but I’ll have to. My fave is the mac and cheese cups. I actually do throw some frozen vegetables into the cups that heat up in the microwave. Not saying you need them, but they make me feel better.

Diane U. writes:
May 6th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Love the sunglasses and gloves image.

Christine writes:
May 6th, 2009 at 2:11 pm

ooh, the mice….I would have trouble with that too. Sunglasses and rubber gloves are a great idea.

Dinner is always simpler when it’s just the children and me, and the laundry load is definitely lighter!

L1za Lauber writes:
May 6th, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Fun Fun Fun, can’t wait till Monday!

Rachel Prince writes:
May 9th, 2009 at 6:08 am

love, this piece, though happily (most of the time) married, i find great pleasure in being in the house w/o my spouse… with or w/o my child!

i have to jump on the sunglasses bandwagon— great image and a solution with many applications for life’s little nastinesses(tell me if that’s a word.)

Living in Splitsville » Blog Archive » Happy Unniversary writes:
June 28th, 2009 at 6:19 pm

[...] Despite my bitching and moaning, it is empowering to discover that you can drive the 8 hours from New York to Maine all by yourself, in addition to: put up shelves, unclog the bathtub drain, and engage in mouse slaughter. [...]

Living in Splitsville » Blog Archive » Bend It Like Bikram writes:
January 14th, 2010 at 4:34 am

[...] instead of every single day. And there were several hobbies I had to take up against my will, like mouse-icide, coping with my car’s mental illness, and online [...]

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