Surviving the Absence of Kids :: A Divorced Mom’s Summer Bucket List

 

Surviving the Absence of Kids:: A Divorced Mom's Summer Bucket List

School is out. It’s almost that time again. The 42-day stretch of summer break with the father is on the horizon. Let me be clear. My kids get on my every-last-nerve. And I do mean every last one of them. But that doesn’t mean that I do not want them within arm’s reach… pretty much all the time. Seriously, I’d much rather complain about their presence than endure their absence.

Improvement Needed

And so as the days pass, I am forced to deal with their impending departure. Given my history of mother-ific meltdowns, my plan for this year is to be proactive. As some of you may already know – my coping skills are somewhat shoddy and definitely deficient. Previous attempts at surviving extended periods of time without my kids have resulted in bigly blown budgets, the emotional acquisition of four-legged fur babies and grossly unjustifiable weight gain. So, I am {for real, I really mean it} going to try and do better this year. Instead of winging it, I am going to attempt to attack these days with a calculated plan for conquering the Missing My Babies Blues. 

Before you get excited about the possibilities {i.e. daring stunts or exotic places} contained within this list, I feel it necessary to share a few things.  I am terrified of heights. I abhor the heat. I avoid crowds like the plague. I am the poster child for – practical. And my activity budget is more of a non-budget. As a result, I ask that you adjust your expectations {said with love and concern} for this list accordingly. 

The First Step

Kids are like miniature unskilled wizards capable of casting spells that cause us to become so wrapped up in the bliss of their existence that we forget… the other stuff. Eighteen trillion rapid fire questions an hour. Summer food bills dictated more by boredom than by hunger. Summer boredom… because I am not even going to attempt to entertain you for the 16 hours a day you are awake and at home. When in the throes of short term self-inflicted grief, it is important to find the silver lining. Aaaand… I am feeling better already. 

Now that the foundation is in place, I can begin building… my summer bucket list.

Bucketing by Category

During my time alone, I plan to take up a few hobbies.

  • Photography. Camera on order. The Mammarazzi is ready to take her skills up a notch. And there are the really exciting ones…
  • Uninterrupted individual extreme restroom-ing. Needs no explanation. I will not miss having to explain that grown women like to potty and take baths without assistance from minors.
  • Basketball {slight variation}. Goal :: In the kids’ rooms, slam dunk as much of their junk as possible into the {trash} basket while they aren’t present to play defense. #MyHoopDreams

It’s Houston, so I have some Houston things on my list. 

  • The Rooftop Cinema. I love new experiences so watching old movies outdoors on the roof of a building… why not? How Stella Got Her Groove Back is showing in a few days seems especially fitting for the occasion. 
  • Clean and organize my hurricane {AKA camping and zombiepocalypse} prep box. I love a project and again, it’s summer… in Houston. 
  • Wet and Wild or Typhoon Texas. I love a lazy river and a wave pool. And they have funnel cakes. Yes, my fat girl problems persist.

Miscellaneous Maintenance.

  • The “Saved for later” section of my Amazon Shopping Cart needs major attention. It keeps me awake at night wondering if I will have to delete all 102 items one at a time or if there is a “select all” option. I just know I am really tired of getting notifications about the handheld fan I keep ready to order {because hot flashes are a real thing} decreasing in price from $12.99 to $12. 86. I don’t need to know about that 13 cent decrease… eight times a week … for each of the 102 items in my “Saved for later” section.
  • Organize my closet and drawers. I’ve intentionally avoided the Marie Kondo craze; I didn’t want to catch the bug until I had time to see tasks through to fruition. I think I am ready now. I want joy sparking color coordinated panties standing at attention in my dresser.
  • Repot my baby magnolia tree. At the present time, it is more of a twig. But one day, it will be a grand and glorious flowering tree. This lesson is also transferrable to parenting, self-development and life in general. Thinking in terms of literary elements here. Symbolism. Metaphors. My minor in English just paid off with this bullet about my baby magnolia tree. 

Change of Pace.

I am looking forward to enjoying the low key life.

  • Star Cinemas are my new favorite theater. Divinely decorated, with luxury recliner seats and table and a mean grilled cheese kids combo –  there is no place I’d rather catch the latest new release.
  • Television binging. The Handmaid’s Tale is number one on my summer list. You can’t see me, but I’m full of anxiety and giddy with anticipation all at the same time. 
  • Sleeping in. Every chance I get. Which for me means until around 8:00 am. Old habits die hard.

Non Sparkers of Joy.

I will limit activities that do not bring me joy.

  • Cooking. Cancelled. Just cancelled. 
  • Serving as Uber driver to a pre-teen with a busier schedule than me. None of that. Take that non-custodial parent. Take her. Everywhere she wants or needs to go. You do it. {Insert evil laugh.}
  • Regular grocery shopping. {Heather Land voice} I ain’t doin’ it.

42 Ready

Plan {of sorts} hatched. I have stuff to do. Tasks to complete. Activities on deck. I will focus on the silver linings. I am almost out of my feelings and ready to face those 42 days. And I will not have cupcakes for dinner. Well, maybe I will- but only once or twice.


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Joi was born and raised in San Antonio. After a brief pit stop at the University of Texas in Austin, Joi moved to Houston in 1994 and began checking boxes off her never ending to do list. During this time and in no particular order, Joi taught a little bit of everything between first and eighth grades, got married and then divorced, completed grad school, birthed a few babies – Ferris {November 1997}, Warren {December 1999} and Laylah {March 2006}, moved an old lady into her home – Granny {January 1925} started working in Human Resources, served an excessive amount of time (on boards, in booster clubs, team momming) as a crazy sports momma, and learned a lot of life lessons. Joi is known for her unabashed honesty, always present sense of humor and her #TeamTooMuch style of doing everything. On most days, you can find her caught up in her love/hate relationship with politics, feeding her Facebook addiction, or counting the number of days until her last child graduates from high school.

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