As a military spouse, I do a lot of single parenting. And single parenting is exhausting.

I rarely pamper myself, and the moments I do have to myself come at night after the kids go to bed and I’m usually too tired to do much other than watch a mindless television show.

Even when I do take time out for myself, I can’t seem to shake the guilt. After all, being a mom is my full-time occupation; I can’t step out on the job. A couple of weeks ago, when my husband was actually home, I went to the movies by myself. And as enjoyable and self-indulgent as that was, the kids were always on my mind. I imagined them wondering why their mother was being so selfish as to go to the movies without them. I unsuccessfully tried to push the guilt aside while mopping up the Dear John induced tears.

But you know what I realized when I got home that day? Not only did my children not miss me, but they were thrilled to have that time alone with Daddy. I felt guilty for nothing. Heck, I probably could have stayed for another movie, and no one would have thought twice about my absence!

Once a month, the YMCA offers a free Parents’ Night Out, and for 3 blissful hours, my husband and I can go on a date while the kids frolic with 48 of their closest friends. Well, Parents’ Night Out was tonight, and when I signed up, my husband was supposed to be home. As luck would have it, he was called away on an unexpected trip (lovin’ that military roller coaster ride!), and he’s not here for his own date night.

My first instinct was to cancel. But then I thought, “No. I’m already signed up. It’s free. I’m going out.” So I did. Want to know where I went? To the commissary. You may say that’s sad, but in my eyes, going grocery shopping without the kids was almost as dreamy as the massage I was this close to scheduling. Almost. Ok, not quite. But I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt, and that’s all that matters.

On the way to the Y, Big C asked, “Mommy, are you going on a date by yourself?”  Nothing like a 5-year-old to make you feel pathetic.  Thanks Big C.

5 Comments on Operation: Liberation

  1. I had the same thing happen to me a few weeks ago. babysitter was booked and husband had to leave town unexpectedly. So, I went to dinner and the movies by myself. Dinner stunk ( I played on my iphone the whole time). The movie was nice. I got to see the whole thing. It isn't like I talk to husband anyway during a movie. He didn't really want to see it anyway. It was sooooooo nice. It was the first movie I had since July 14 (the night before I had the baby).

    Thanks for the follow – returning the favor – looking forward to reading more.

  2. omg!!! hugs and tears! i am military wife and homeschooling mom to four – for the last 4 years, my hubby and i have spent MOST of that time apart – such is the life, huh? i am always referring to myself as a "single married mom" – my closest friends get it – others don't
    anyway, i can soooo relate – before i read what you did with your sudden alone time i was thinking, "oh, i'd probably go grocery shopping!" lol! i so completely understand!
    i haven't seen "dear john" yet – with hubby gone, i'm not sure i can bear it…but i might 🙂

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