Something I rarely talk about is being a Single Mother. The exhaustion and frustration I feel through enduring a life that I didn’t ask for.
I chose to have children with a man I love. When he got in from work and the house looked like an explosion in Toys R Us, he would tidy things away without me having to say a word. He knew I had spent the day looking after the children, and he much preferred me making memories than keeping the house spotless. He would empty the dishwasher, and put nappy washes on, and ‘just nip to the shop for me please because I really really NEED a Snickers right now’. In the night I would deal with George, and if Toby needed anything, Jason would see to him. Aside from the practical things, he was my sounding board. He was my reassurance that I was doing things ‘right’ as a parent. He would cuddle me at the end of a tough day of tantrums and pooped pants. We were a team.
In hindsight I took that for granted. I wish I could go back two years (and 8 days) and say thank you. Thank you for holding me just at the right time, before I reached the end of my tether and shouted at one of the children. Thank you for getting me that Snickers, a little luxury at the end of a day where I didn’t get a second to myself. Thank you for taking the pressure off me, and for reminding me that it’s ok to not be perfect.
Thank you for making me feel like the most amazing Mummy in the world, even when we didn’t even manage to get out of our PJs that day.
On August 28th 2014 I became a Single Mother. A pregnant single mother. A pregnant single mother with absolutely no clue how to hold her life together because the man she loved dropped dead at work in really horrific circumstances.
Instantly I had to re-learn everything I had spent over 4 years learning. Bed time, bath time, story time, meal time, play time, day time, night time, ALL THE TIME. Old routines thrown away because they simply no longer worked with only one person in charge. New routines practised and cursed because they just made things worse. There was no handbook to becoming a lone parent, you just get thrown in at the deep end and you wing it.
You learn to survive.
You use the iPad as bribery for staying in bed. You forgo the treat of a bath because it will take much too long. You give up reading or watching TV because there is no period of time longer than 2 minutes and 12 seconds where you are without a child attached to you somehow. Your house is overwhelmingly messy and you wonder if blowing the whole place up would be easier than cleaning it.
It is exhausting. Both physically and mentally.
It brings resentment and guilt. Why the hell would you leave me like this, Jason? Why do I have to do this alone? Why do I have to choose between having a poo in peace or tidying my kitchen? My children deserve more than to be made to wait for a drink because I have a mountain of washing to fold. My children deserve to have me go into them if they cry in the evening, instead of me running round turning off lights and feeding cats so I don’t have to get back up after settling them back to sleep.
Why was this life chosen for us?
Why has my team been split up?
Most importantly, when the hell will I get a good nights sleep again?!
I want to take this opportunity to say the hugest thank you to my Dad, who stepped up to do all he could to keep me sane. Taking the boys one night a week so I don’t feel so overwhelmed and touched out, and being a rock to me. Thank you for being part of the new team.
I am going to ask you to do 2 things for me. Firstly, if you know a single mother, tidy her house with her or tell her you love the ‘messy’ (read: unbrushed) look of her hair. Secondly I urge you to thank your teams. The people who pull you back from the edge, and the people who see that you are exhausted, but still make you feel like you rock just for surviving the day!
Without your team, life is tough.