(Original Publication Date, 7 September 1990)
Panel 1: When the front door slams, Elly smiles in a vaguely unsettling manner and monologues about the fact they're gone. They're back to school for another ten months.
Panel 2: She asks her reflection if she knows what that means and tells herself what it means. It means structure, peace, freedom and continuity.
Her use of the words peace and freedom are rather obvious. "Peace" means that her life is not interrupted by the baffling and irritating need children have to "waste" her time listening to their "meaningless" concerns. "Freedom" reminds us that she sees her children as cruel prison wardens who keep her from living a meaningful existence and also from cruel mothers who tell her that raising her children is actually the most important thing she will ever do despite her not getting a fucking ticker tape parade for doing so.
Structure and continuity are not immediately meaningful but hint at other irritating and annoying tendencies of hers. "Structure" would appear to mean that she despises the fact that she has to adapt to the children's schedules when, as the older person, they should adapt to her. Continuity would point towards her wanting to live in a world wherein nothing comes out of left field to shock her system. Case in point: in a world with continuity in it, she can plop a child down somewhere and she won't move around or expect attention and the like.
Panel 3: She then yells that with the slam of her door, she has regained her sanity.
Panel 4: When she asks Farley what he's looking at when she clinks her glass at her reflection, we get a mild joke at her expense about how insanity is hereditary, you get it from your kids, blah-blah-blah.
Summary: You know what would be a nasty thing to do to a crazy woman who hates having kids underfoot because she can't stand them? Watching her cope with an unwanted third child. We're about to see that.