I’ve written a lot about the down sides of being on my own for 20 months, so, before we come to the end of this road, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll let you in on the list of upsides. You can probably guess some of them, without my help, but here is a partial list.
- Half the clutter.
Well, not exactly half, considering we have 4 BOYS, two birds, a guinea pig and 3 fish in the house. But, with one less adult in the house to leave stacks of magazines, unopened mail, books, shopping bags, receipts, catalogs… all around the house, it stays much tidier.
It’s part of my job description to tell the kids to clean up their mess, but if I tell my spouse to clean up the mess, I’m a nag. I really don’t want to be a nag, but I really like my house with less clutter.
- I get to choose the television programming.
This might not seem like a big deal, and really it isn’t, but it’s a perk, if I’m looking for one. I can watch Army Wives, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, GCBs, etc. to my hearts content, without the eye rolling in the background. AND, more importantly, I don’t have to watch the Military History Channel and fly fishing shows on the weekends.
On the other hand, watching reality tv without someone with whom to make comments is just plain boring.
- Dinnertime is more simple.
I can choose something I know the boys will eat and prepare a salad for myself. I’m a vegetarian, so simplifying the mealtime process helps a lot. When Horatio is home, I usually prepare more elaborate meals. The boys have simpler tastes and don’t mind if I don’t eat what they are eating, as long as we eat together.
- No Snoring.
I probably don’t need to elaborate on that point, but the point is, during deployment, if I can’t sleep (which is often) I have no one to blame but myself. There’s no one in bed next to me checking an iPhone or reading a book with a bright light or using an iPad. I don’t sleep well because I have so much on my mind and am shouldering all of the home life responsibility, but that’s another issue altogether.
- I don’t have to share the electric toothbrush.
When Horatio is home, it’s often a race to grab the Sonicare toothbrush base at bed time. Sure, it’s only a two minute difference in what time either of us gets into bed, but two minutes is two minutes and during deployment, I get to bed two minutes earlier!
- I’m the only boss in the house.
OK, so I’m almost always the CInC (Commander In Chief) at home anyway, but Horatio is a hands-on dad and husband. When he’s not home, I make the all of the decisions and there’s no one around to question them. Of course the boys would prefer to have a say, but my word is final, and they know it.
There are more up sides, but this is the short list and all I can think of at this hour, when I should be in bed (see, I wasted those two minutes) after what has been one of the busiest weeks I’ve ever had and has me longing for the day when I will have a partner in parenting at my side.
I keep these “up sides” in mind because they help me to keep things in perspective. As I’ve said, deployment is not fun for anyone around here, but focusing on the positives, rather than dwelling on the negatives, is my way of living. It’s how I live my life and I encourage everyone to try it.