Yep, I survived my week of solo-parenting! Nobody died, and very little blood was drawn. I’d call that a success! More importantly, I survived a week almost completely disconnected from the internet (other than checking the weather forecast at night)! No blogging, no email, no web browsing, and absolutely no social media.
By itself this doesn’t sound like much of a feat, but please consider that it’s been almost 25 years since I last went without internet for more than 48 hours. Yes, it’s really been that long!
While it’s easy to see the negatives of not having access to the internet, last week gave me the opportunity to re-learned some important lessons about life, productivity, and why not having the internet can be a very positive thing…
Starting The Week Off Sick
Going into my single-parent week, I started things off on the wrong foot by getting sick. On Saturday night I had some kind of allergy or weird sinus issue, that actually turned out to be a cold. (Mrs. Tako flew out on Sunday morning)
Ugh! I hate being sick, but it’s one of those things that just randomly happens. The kids bring the viruses home from school, and I almost always end-up catching the sickness from them. Bad timing for me anyway.
Having to take care of sick kids is no fun, then add to the fact that I was also sick, and you have a recipe for a tiresome snotty wonderland… I’ll spare you all the details. Originally I planned for the week to be considerably more difficult than usual, but I no idea we were all going to come down with a cold.
Oh, the joys of parenthood! I had absolutely no energy for anything the first 3 days of last week — other than the basic survival necessities. Feed the kids, pack the lunches, get them to school, pick them up from school, do the laundry, make dinner, get them bathed and to bed, and then finally fall into a sleep coma myself.
Avoiding the internet during this part of the week was actually really easy. I was just too sick to care. I had too much other stuff to do in the ‘offline’ world.
New Found Appreciation
By Wednesday I was starting to feel a little stronger, and the cold symptoms were letting up. If there’s anything I learned from my week of single parenting, it’s that single-parents don’t get enough appreciation for everything they do. There is no “second” parent to hand-off parenting duties to when they get sick — they just have to go it alone like I did.
For most single parents there is no sick-day advantage. They just have to hang in there 24/7 and 365 days a year. No breaks. I only had to manage two kids by myself for a week, and that was plenty difficult.
One thing I did learn was a new found appreciation for Mrs. Tako last week. For example: Mrs. Tako usually packs the kid’s obento (‘lunch box’ in Japanese) the night before. Having to do this by myself last week made me truly appreciate what a great job she does packing delicious, healthy, and beautiful lunches for the boys. I did my best, but they weren’t nearly as good as hers.
In my experience, couples tend to fall into a pattern of doing their individual tasks without adequate consideration for what the other is doing. He mows the lawn, and she does the laundry. Or, he cooks the meals and she vacuums and cleans. That sort of thing. It becomes second nature, but you sometimes forget (or don’t appreciate) all the work that goes into the other person’s task.
Changing things up like we did last week can make a huge difference in understanding or appreciating your partner. It certainly did for me.
It’s a great way to see the other person’s side and I highly recommend it. Just try it. Take a week and swap tasks with your partner. It’s a eye-opener, and I think you’ll be surprised by the new found appreciation you find for your spouse! I certainly was!
Increased Productivity Sans Internet
Once I started feeling better, my week got a whole lot more productive. Not only did I perform the usual tasks of cleaning the house, doing laundry, and prepping meals — but I also took-on a bunch of yard-work that needed doing this spring: Mowing the lawn, weeding the yard and garden, edge trimming, cleaning some old junk out of the garage, and sawing up the remainder of our broken trees from last winter’s storms.
(One storm in particular broke a ton of trees last winter, and I’ve been cleaning those trees up for the last couple of months.)
I found myself being more productive than usual, and I attribute this mainly to just being off the internet. I even got a solid start on clearing out some of the weed-ridden dirt patches around our house.
Those dirt patches use to have ornamental bushes and trees (which I never really liked anyway). They required constant weeding to look nice during the summer months. On top of that, the dirt from those areas would always splash up on the house when it rained.
Personally I’m not into weeding or constantly washing the house for fun, so I decided to weed block these areas and put down some river stones. Similar to how I finished our front yard in October 2016.
It ended up being really a productive couple of days. I got a ton of yard work done. This got me thinking — I won’t go without the internet forever, but how about I institute some ‘no internet days’ to put a little rocket-fuel into my weekly productivity?
It’s an idea I’m going to try-out in the coming weeks.
Missing All The Tariff News
Being off the internet for the week, I also missed most of the news about the new Chinese tariffs. While much of Wall Street was freaking out about the prospect of higher Chinese tariffs, I was blissfully unaware of all the market volatility.
I simply opened the computer on Saturday morning and noticed stocks were down for the week — our portfolio lost a few percentage points in value.
Honestly I’m not bothered by the tariff news. I thought stocks were overpriced before, and now they’re slightly cheaper. That’s not a bad thing in my book, because I’m a net acquirer of the businesses those stocks represent. I will always be buying stock and I absolutely want lower prices.
Sure, there could be a little temporarily economic disruption (perhaps even a recession), but I believe these fears are mostly overblown. The Yuan is already sinking in value, which makes my US dollars go even further in China. Should the yuan continue to fall far enough, the net impact of higher tariffs for either country could become entirely negligible.
What’s more, there’s plenty of competition for the manufactured goods I purchase. If there’s a new “cheaper” country to manufacture goods in, odds are pretty good that some capitalist is going to seize that advantage by bringing lower cost goods to U.S. consumers.
That’s capitalism for you. Efficiency will find a way. I’m absolutely not afraid of inflation or my monthly expenses increasing significantly. I just don’t think it’s going to happen… other than a few short term blips while supply chains get re-jiggered.
I track my expenses monthly, so if there’s a sudden increase in my cost of living, it’ll be entirely obvious when or if it happens.
While this isn’t the most exciting family post, I just wanted to do a quick recap and let everyone know that “I’m back” and “I survived”. The children didn’t eat me… although they definitely tried. 😉
Honestly, a week of solo parenting was a great experience for all of us (despite being sick). Mrs. Tako had a great opportunity to learn and travel for work. I got to practice and appreciate doing many of the things that Mrs. Tako regularly does, and the kids got to experience some time away from Mom. We all had the opportunity to learn and grow.
All in all, it was a good week, but I’m very glad things are now back to normal.