Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Double Life

I got home at midnight. Highly unusual for a Monday but then again...there has been a scarcity of usual around here lately. I walked into my apartment. I had forgotten to leave the light on by my chair. Its dark. I stumbled over the cat, broke a coffee cup, finally managing to turn on the light over my kitchen island before I did any more damage.

I took my dog outside. I got dressed for bed. I poured myself a drink. Johnny Walker Red. Neat.

I am returning from my ex-wife's house where I was watching my kids while she worked. They are usually with me on Mondays, but, as I have an early train to catch in the morning she agreed to take the kids overnight and bring them to school in the morning. Unusual times call for unusual measures.

When I told my kids goodnight, my oldest remarked that he was glad to spend a Monday in his own bed at home and not at my "place."

I...and those of us like me...lead double lives. Typically...I have my kids Monday through Thursday...and my ex wife has them for the rest of the week. When I have the kids my mornings and evenings are all about school lunches, ironing uniforms, cooking, cleaning, and settling fights over who gets to use the Xbox next or whether we watch ICarly or Cakeboss.

My life is quite different when they are not here. For one thing...my home is quiet...very quiet. For another...I get to watch what I want and when I want on television. I have been known, on occasion, to indulge in the social opportunities afforded to single men...in other words I have dated. And I confess...I find that there are times when I struggle to fill my time.

I have lived this dual life for almost four years...and...as it struck me tonight...so have my kids. They now have two places to keep their stuff. Two beds in which to sleep. Two bathrooms in which to bathe. Two dinner at which to eat. Different food. Different rules. Different expectations. No wonder I encounter resistance when I pick them up to bring them here.

When I moved here a year ago I had wanted to emulate what my erstwhile dear friend had created in her home. She had created an inviting, warm, and loving environment for herself and her kids. I hoped to do the same for me and mine. However...one year later it is clear that my kids regard my home as my "place."

I chose to lead a double life....one where I am single parent for part of the time and bachelor for the remainder...my kids...are unwilling passengers on this ride.

I lead a double life. And I have made my kids accessories after the fact.


  1. Maybe having more input into how things are run at "your place" would make it seem more like "our place" for your kids. Have you considered initiating a frank discussion with them about the routines, rules, food, etc. that you have when they are staying with you? Implementing some of their (reasonable)suggestions could make them feel more at home.

  2. Must say you're making the best of what you have, Tom. Keep plugging away.