This morning at breakfast the Princess told me about a list of “Reasons I Love Being Single” she saw somewhere on the wide, wide internet. (It involved eating popcorn out of a hoodie, which she has resolved to try as soon as possible.)
Then she asked, “Do you like being single?”
I never thought I’d hear one of my kids ask that. It was an exotic moment. What’s the appropriate way to express “profound gutclenching relief at the absence of one’s erstwhile marital partner” to one’s child? There’s a whole tangle of feelings there, ones she doesn’t need to hear me voice and ones she probably does. In the end, I just said, “Yeah, I like not having to shave my legs,” and left it at that. Maybe I shouldn’t have.
Anyway, yes, I do like being single. I like it a lot. I flat-out love being divorced.
* The living space is cleaner. Much, much cleaner. Somehow the Y chromosome seems to make it difficult for someone to toss their dirty clothes into a hamper. Actually, that’s not true, the Little Prince has been doing it since he was able to put his own pyjamas on at the end of the day. Maybe it’s some weird societal training males don’t get thoroughly inculcated. It’s not just clothes, either. My ex was like a toddler–when he lost interest in something, he dropped it and let it lay where it fell. This is okay when you’re two or three, but not so much when you’re forty. Especially when it includes fruit peels and bowls of rice. Ugh.
* The bed is all mine. Nobody stealing the covers. Nobody poking me in the middle of the night. No snoring–well, except for Odd Trundles, and his snoring has become proof that he’s still alive. Nobody waking me up if I manage to snatch a few hours of unconsciousness, because he has a great idea or needs desperately to talk about his feelings. When I’m awakened in the middle of the night now, it’s for a legitimate reason–like vomit, or screaming, or Odd’s sleep apnea. (That dog is BROKEN, OMG. Poor thing.) Of course, Miss B worms her way as close as she can and I end up hugging her most mornings, but she doesn’t steal the covers or kick me. I can live with that.
* I don’t gotta shave my legs. Funny thing, now that I don’t have to, I end up doing it more frequently, just because I feel like it. There, more than you ever wanted to know about my personal grooming habits. You’re welcome.
* Speaking of personal grooming… The bathrooms are SO MUCH CLEANER. Exponentially cleaner. Some of this may be because the kids are old enough to start contributing to chores…but a lot of it is also that they seem to have the trick of hitting the toilet bowl 99% of the time.
* No LOOKATMEs. You know that phase kids go through, where if you’re not looking at them, they fear they don’t exist, so they require constant attention? That phase where they’ll come up and breathe on you while you’re working just to get it? They eventually outgrow that…well, mine did. I’m still trying to figure out why so many people I’ve dated (male or female) haven’t. The LOOKATME LOOKATME LOOKATME will sigh loudly, fidget loudly, do anything they can to drag your attention off whatever you’re working on or involved in. I can understand the need to require a partner’s attention, I really can. But constantly having the LOOKATMEs, day in, day out, for years? Nope. Nope, nope nope. So glad to be free of that.
* Much less bullshit. I’ve dated a couple times since the divorce. It was nice enough for a while, but I find I’ve lost patience for that sort of thing. Of course, you could say that I’m at least half the problem, since I’m a difficult person. I’m okay with that. Throwing in the towel (especially after one of those dating relationships ended when I found out the person had been reading my diary, my God, REALLY? What are you, TWELVE? SO DONE WITH THIS) was liberating. No angst over when to call, if to call, no wondering, no contorting myself to fit around someone else’s issues. (Have too many of my own, sorry, kthxbai.)
* Wearing pyjamas all day. I don’t have to dress up to go to the grocery store or head out to a coffee date. I don’t even have to think “well, I should probably make an effort to get into real clothes just in case…” It’s yoga pants and tank tops all the time. Once the kids are at school, even yoga pants become optional. This is also a reason I love my job.
* Eating what I want. I’m not talking about stress-eating pints of Cherry Garcia. I’m talking about having garlic soup for a couple days if I feel like it. And consequently exuding allium byproducts without worrying about being offensive to someone’s tender nose. (The kids like garlic as much as I do.) Ah, freedom.
* No judging. No silent or not-so-silent judging of what I read, wear, watch, or what I don’t read, wear, watch.
* No days off. Of course, there are days when I wish someone else could pick a kid up from school, and if I get sick, too bad so sad, shit’s gotta get done no matter how awful I feel. Strange as it sounds, this is in the plus column, partly because it gives me a good reason to take care of myself. Mostly it’s a good thing because it was how things were while I was married, too; I just had one more person to take care of. When I realized that, as the person who the buck stopped on, I could arrange things to suit myself, things started getting a lot clearer for me.
There are more, but maybe I should just leave it at that. Suffice to say I’m happier, and I plan on staying that way.
Especially if there’s more garlic soup to be had.