It’s Saturday, I’m single, and I just spent the last few hours mopping the kitchen, living room, office, and foyer floor and vacuuming the carpet. I cleaned the powder room. I set the table with a table cloth, napkins, and both forks. House beautiful.
Being single on Saturday means I did all this for no one but myself. Because I’m worth it.
Two years ago these acts may have carried with them the emotions of resentment, self-pity, and self-righteousness. I was angry that I had to do all the housework and that no one ever offered to help. I sometimes entertained the fantasy that I would do nothing and see how long it took for someone else to do the dishes or take the trash out or grab a broom.
A year ago this weekend inaugurated my journey as a single mom. I have been the only adult in the house for the first time in nine years, and over the course of this year I have discovered the truth – as much as I did around the house, I didn’t do as much as I thought I did. Taking the trash down to the curb was “his” job. Mowing the grass was “his” job, and using that weed-whacker was most definitely “his” job. Building shelves and storage was “his” job, as was fixing water heaters, clogged sinks, and stopped up toilets.
I used to think the reason I didn’t make the bed was because he was still sleeping in it. I learned that I don’t make the bed because I get lazy.
I used to think the reason the laundry was all over the place was because that was “his” habit before we got married. Well, it may have been “his” habit then, but it is most definitely “mine” now.
I used to think the ring around the tub was “his” ring . . . apparently I leave a ring, too. And the lid to the toothpaste is just as much me. Who’d have thought?
I used to blame the state of the floors and carpets on the dog. Still do. Sorry Jake. Maybe I shouldn’t; after all, he does lick up most of the spills.
Taking time this Saturday to really scrub those floors was a spiritual experience and an act of self-care. There is no one here who expects it of me, and no one here who will pat me on the back for doing it. Just me. I appreciate it, and that is enough. It’s a very satisfying feeling, especially considering how many months have gone by since I’ve used the mop. And that’s okay too. I can take as long as I want to let the grime build up and the dishes pile up and the laundry multiply. It’s up to me how little or how much I can stand.
Being single on Saturday means it’s my choice, just like it always was my choice. Not just the actions of keeping my environment pleasant, but the attitudes that went with those action. I chose resentment, self-pity and self-righteousness. Today I choose gratitude, service and love.