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
Loved this! I have been a single mother for most of my daughters life. I have been trying to do whatever I can to provide her with the best. Unfortunately sometimes it feels like I am lacking. This post made me feel better! Thanks so much for sharing!
I really like this piece. I often think about our own relationship, and how challenging it is when you’ve got a baby in the middle. I’m surprised more people don’t break up. I sometimes wonder how we haven’t…
The demands, the need for constant attention. It strains us. And it strains our roles as lovers. I’m the breadwinner. That’s something I never thought about. His injuries at work forced him to stop running and pause, be with me, with our baby. And while I love it, I wonder about “traditional roles” and what that all means. Sometimes it bothers me. Most of the time I appreciate the help.
Thank you for sharing yourself.
Thank you for such a beautiful heartfelt comment. Having a little one adds a whole new dynamic and I think its important to realise that it sometimes is a challenge. You sounds like you are doing an amazing job, its hard as whilst I was still with my sons dad I was the breadwinner too but he still expected me to fulfil the role as mother and housewife too..I sometimes feel torn between being seen and perceived from traditional and modern woman views. x
This is a gorgeous post, I’m so happy to have read it. As you know, I am a single parent (for just about a year now), and I feel like I’m getting used to it. I wasn’t my choice to split up with my kids’ dad, and I still struggle with that side of things, but I love reading stories like yours that make me realise that there is a chance of finding love even with little children in tow. And you’re totally right – being in a relationship doesn’t automatically make everything easy.
Thank you darling, we think you are amazing! Love is for everyone and If and when your ready I hope you find someone that deserves you 🙂 xxx
Gosh I so feel this! There are so many times when it was easy just to think of me and my girl, and now we’ve added an Adam into the mix, who is lovely, and a great support to us both. Although, I rarely cook him dinner now though! He gets home too late and I go to bed. ?
Ah thanks for the comment lovely, I just thought I spent most of my solo parenting time thinking It would be great if I had help but actually it is also challenging when you have to adults in the mix too…guess it just made me think I need to appreciate what I have whatever that is xx
So very well written. I’m a single Mum and I often think that in some ways, I have it easier than my friends- no one else to please except myself and the little man.
I really do miss that dynamic, I love my partner but there is something really special about the time it was just my son and I ..it is really hard being solo as a parent but its also hard as a family, no one has the perfect or best life we just appreciate what we have 🙂 xx
I think you have written this beautifully with very thoughtful insights. I agree with you that the grass isn’t always greener and totally that at the end of the day the children need love. Brilliant post. Thanks so much for sharing. #stayclassymama
Its crazy that single parenting can be perceived a worse scenario than raising a child in an unhappy family unit. Its just a load of old-fashioned nonsense of which you are right to pay no mind! Also i love silent witness too #stayclassymama
Haha silent witness fanclub…I don’t think there is a better or worse just different, perceptions are hard to break down..xx
Beautiful post. It sounds like you’ve done a fab job both as a single parent (which has to be the hardest job in the world) and as part of your 2+1 family. No family is perfect, as you say, but we all love our kids and we’re all doing our best. That’s all that really matters. #stayclassymama
Thank you for such a lovely comment darling 🙂 perfect is an illusion xx
Just beautiful. When it comes to solo or duo parenting, one is certainly not better than the other. A child needs love. And nurturing. That can come from any kind of family, really. Big or small.
Exactly, beautifully put my lovely xxx
Love this. Beautifully written and definitely sums up single parenthood! Sometimes I feel as though I’m cheating because I’ve been living with my mum for the past year and she helps out a lot, but that brings its own challenges. #tribe
Thank you lovely lady, haha living with your mum is not cheating! I had been thinking about it for a while and hope it read ok!xx
Beautifully written and I take my hat off to any single parent, whether through choice or not. My mum raised me as a single parent for a few years… I don’t know how you manage to juggle it all if I’m honest.
With my stepdad working in the forces the majority of mine and my sisters life was almost single parenting. I guess it’s hard not to be able to share your stresses or take five minutes to yourself in the day.
So happy that you know have a family unit though 🙂 xxx #TribalLove
Thank you darling, how are my posts readability at the moment I changed the site and want to ensure its easy for you to access 🙂 Ps hope your leg is on the mend 🙁 xxx