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While the kids are away
June 15, 2009
by Jen Bakken

Many parents may look forward to a vacation away from their children.

Whether it be an overnight, a weekend, or a week, sometimes it’s nice to get a break from those little ones.

Being a divorced parent means my children leave me for a few weeks each summer while they spend time with their dad.

I’m ashamed to admit that, initially, I look forward to my children being gone.

The week before they leave, I begin to make big plans for my week alone. As one of those annoying people who makes those “to do lists” for every situation, I make one and it went something like this:

Mom’s free list

1. Clean out my eight-year-old daughter’s room, aka Pinky the Packrat, while she is gone so that she can’t see all of the things I throw away.

(Was able to check this off my list the first day.)

2. Make it to my friends’ barbecue Friday evening.

(Well, after cleaning my daughter’s room I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was still tired and opted to have a movie night snuggled up on the couch by myself.)

3. Clean out my 12-year-old son’s room, aka the King of Clutter, while he is gone and remember to wear gloves and face mask while checking under his bed.

(Have yet to be brave enough to open his door, but as I write this column, there are three more days to check this off my list.)

4. Go out with some friends, stay out late, and have some fun.

(I give myself half a check on this one. After being home alone for more than 30 hours, I forced myself to get ready and go out. Two hours later, before midnight, I was back home.)

5. Don’t miss the Dirty Jobs marathon on the Discovery Channel.

(Of course, I was able to put a check mark here, for sure, but I also managed to fall asleep twice.)

6. Organize my desk at the new Delano Herald Journal office. If you didn’t already know – we moved to the NAPA building located at 701 Babcock Blvd. E, Suite 110. (Check)

7. Take a really, really long and hot bubble bath, without any interruptions. (Double check)

8. Organize closets at home. (So far, I’ve avoided this task and have been afraid to open the doors.)

9. Make plans with my sister for a girls day. (This was harder than anticipated to coordinate and has yet to happen.)

Now as my mommy vacation winds to an end, I’m left wondering where the time went and why I haven’t accomplished more.

I have been home way more than planned. Occasionally, I’ve found myself sitting on the couch, with the TV off, listening to the unusual quiet. As I put my feet up, a smile would creep across my face and I felt completely relaxed.

Of course this was short lived because, like my mother, I cannot sit for long periods of time. I have to constantly be on the move.

Yet, without little ones to pick up after, cook for, referee for, and taxi around – I’m kind of lost. Thank goodness I had to work or I would have gone completely crazy.

This week has forced me to realize that I really don’t know what to do when my kids are gone, and I don’t really like to be alone. (Well, not for long periods of time.)

My girlfriend asked what fun things I did during my free week, and all I could do was laugh and say, “Well . . . let’s just say, this mom needs to learn how to play while the kids are away.”

Tiny Tales on Facebook

There are so many people on Facebook these days, and I thought it would be fun to set up a Tiny Tales group.

It’s another way to connect and share all those cute and funny stories about the little ones in our lives.

If you are a Facebook member, search for the Tiny Tales group, and join us to share pictures and your very own tiny tales.