It is Tuesday night and I'm at home.
My ex-husband, who still travels every week with work - and has since we were dating - is here with the kids.
Every week, he has a new schedule. Some weeks, he can watch them on Tuesday night because he is traveling from Wednesday - Friday. Some weeks, he will watch them on Wednesday or Thursday. Each week, I have to ask him which night he will watch the kids.
If I happen to need a night that he is traveling, I pay a babysitter to watch my girls.
The ex-husband lives with his brother. I arranged this when I asked him to leave the marriage initially. The ex says he would like his own place eventually. He has never lived on his own. His brother is a bachelor who has no children.
They live like kings over there.
There is a TV in every room. My ex is a fabulous cook. My ex-brother-in-law basically has a personal chef that prepares a gourmet dinner every night (save those nights the ex is traveling). They eat steaks and seafood and drink martinis and wine while basking in their sports on every television.
Every Sunday that he has the children, he still offers me whatever they made for dinner that night when I go to pick them up.
This past weekend was baby back ribs, homemade potato salad, corn on the cob and Bourbon Peach Cobbler made in an iron skillet. Yum.
When the girls stay over there, the ex can still get up and go for a run or go to the store or do whatever errand he has to do. He can leave the kids at home because there is someone else there.
My ex-brother-in-law loves my children but has a very low tolerance of them. They also live 30 minutes away from our house.
When I ask my ex-husband to watch the kids, above and beyond what he normally does, he volunteers readily.
Then I find out that it is his mother that actually watches the children while he goes out or enjoys a nice quiet evening at home.
When the ex has the children on his "one night a week", he will pick them up from school, take them to dinner and then hang out at my house. Since their school is 2 miles from my house, he gets them bathed and to bed here. He's out and heading home by 9:30 at the very latest.
When my kids are around me, they are glued to my side.
In other words, even though the ex is here, he is currently sitting on the couch reading a book. Meanwhile, my children are right here next to me, asking me questions or talking to me while I try to write my blog.
And if I'm making a correct assumption here, that would mean that it is not a night off for me. Unless I stay away from my own house.
Our divorce papers state specifically that the ex will take the children for one month each summer.
He was flabbergasted when I reminded him of that.
He doesn't think it is possible for him to watch the kids for a month. He actually asks me, "What would I do with them?" Or, "I don't think my brother can handle an entire month with them."
So when I have my surgery in 3 weeks, I have to ask my network of friends and family to assist me with my children while I recover. The ex can only watch them for one week.
I am a very lucky girl, in the grand scheme of things. I have bragged about my wonderful co-parenting relationship with the ex over and over again. Truly, I know there is not much to complain about.
Sometimes, it seems like his version of single parenthood looks a lot easier than mine.