Being a single parent, was my choice, made with consideration and with courage. I own it rather that describe it as being coerced upon me by a crumbling relationship with my son’s father.
My brown suitcase was packed with hope, I walked out the door and did not look back to see my white picket fence burn down. My mother was a lone parent, I understand now her struggles and forgive the exhausted shouts or the week every couple of years she took to go on holiday solo.
We all could do with a break.
The emotional weight of responsibility day in day out…it’s exhausting. You are not weak to admit it. I understand more than I want to the hardships of being solo on the parenting road. Sometimes I coped sometimes I didn’t, money was tight and if it wasn’t for the 2ft of blonde haired boy in the bed beside me night times could have felt overwhelmingly lonely. I sometimes felt isolated yet NEVER alone; the hardest part was the judgement of others often whispering in the background. Some days I felt I had fallen back into 1920. Tut tut. People do not know how sometimes a flippant comment can hurt someone deeply.
It was him and I, he and me, and it was hard but we were happy.
I remember one evening I finished work and collected my boy from nursery early. I put blankets on the floor and we ate ice cream with sprinkles. Before dinner. I kissed his sticky hands and we watched the lion king twice. There was no need to factor in anything or anyone but each other.
If I could bottle respite I would send it in gallons to single parents, with my love. There is no gold standard in parenting, in families, there is just parenting. Good or bad, relationship status is not a determinant of either.
I would be lying if I said I had not wanted a family…to raise a child within a triangle, to share the joy and the challenges. My son is five and I have been in a two adult one child, ‘perfect on a form’, family unit for a good while now. I love the weekends when the three of us can go to the beach or in the early morning when my little boy craws between us. The laughter. When we walk down the street boy swinging between our hands and a person walks past and smiles there is only acceptance in their gaze. A self-conscious part of me admits I feel safe.
There are also tough times that my single parent self never considered. It is also hard maintaining a relationship with children involved, it is different. Sometimes difficult. If you have a romantic picnic someone little will eat all the cheese and cry when they spill fizz on the blanket.
Drinking a few bottles of wine and chatting till dawn is a romantic concept until you have to be awake an hour later.
After a long day at work, I pick up my son from school, feed him, bathe him, wrestle him into pyjamas and hunt for batman. He is always stuck down the side of the bed. Then cook tea for my partner. Well, most of the time, sometimes the sight of the oven makes me murderous. By the time he comes in sometimes all I want to do is sit in a duvet and watch reruns of silent witness and eat my weight in carbs. Or stare at a wall. After being independent so long I am stubborn, I like my own space but time is not the friend of parents, it slinks away in a blink.
Time is clumsily divided into the three of us, just the two of us and me time.
Be kind to each other.
Parental compromise, jugging different routines and trying to separate the adult time from the child time can be crystal maze difficult. I am going to build both my boys a garden shed.
There are times I miss being a single parent. There are others where I would never want anything but the family I have now. Jane Austin never wrote her books from a parent’s perspective. I would like to read about Elizabeth Bennett after she had children. When Mr Darcy would come in from work and fall asleep on the sofa. In a haphazard, lengthy manner I am trying to say relationships and parenting are NOT perfect as a single parent or within a family.
You take the good with the challenges and strive for balance.
Balance suggestions a straight line, like a tightrope. Parenting is more a wobbly dance, like how you (used to) shimmy in a club at 2am after a few tequilas…you bob and weave, and tumble in the dark.
There is no white picket fence Vs ice cream and sprinkles. The grass is not always greener, treasure what you have.
Both sides have grass.
If you are needing some support Relate are fab to talk to in regards to relationships. If you are fed up of each others faces and the mass sleep deprivation is causing tensions. Because it does. Gingerbread are there for single parents needing a kind ear when you need an adult that doesn’t solely want to talk about small cartoon pigs…Bloody Peppa pig.
This post was first published on Selfish Mother http://goo.gl/cBvA7U