This week marked the first week Benji joined me in my new apartment. I’ll be honest: I felt deeply apprehensive. I’d done weeks with him before, but at my parents’ house, where things were familiar and, worst comes to worst, there’s other adults around. This was the first time I’d really be 100% flying solo with him.
Sunday night, I put him to bed and he came in twice – once to “get help falling asleep,” and once to adjust his nightlight. After I finished up with him the second time, this huge wave of feeling overwhelmed washed over me. How was I going to do this?!
The answer, of course, is the way I do anything: one step at a time. One minute, one hour, one day at a time. I don’t don’t look too far ahead, I don’t think, “How will I do this for the next decade?” I’m just focusing on being the most present, patient mom I can be in each moment. Make sure he’s eaten dinner. Brushed teeth. Wears pants to school. You know, the basics.
In a way, I think I’m a better mom now that I have to do it all on my own. Before, I could foist responsibilities off on Ian. Now, there’s just me. I have to be there for Benji. At the same time, having week on/week off feels really refreshing. I still see him every day (after school), but having a legit break when I’m not responsible for anyone but me rejuvenates me and leaves me really keen to engage during my “on” week.
This week, Benji has usually been in a surprisingly good mood, cooperative and cheerful except for when he gets really tired or hungry. He likes his room and sleeps well in it. We’ve had very few significant conflicts.
I’m not saying this is better than parenting together in the same house. But I am saying it can work.
Here’s what some of our moments have looked like this week.