single parent weekend blues

I like to write about anything that interests me really, from recipes to crafts to my daughter and her development.

As I am sharing this blog with you all, there are also things that are harder to write about, but I feel will resonate with other parents out there. Life isn’t just about sharing the ideal picture of the good stuff, as Facebook and other places would have us believe, with people’s carefully chosen and edited posts and pictures. We choose to share only what we want people to see and that is completely human and acceptable. I do it all the time. But with this blog,  I like to think people will be thankful of the honest and brutal truth of some of the other stuff I write that people often conceal and pretend isn’t happening. I just know others are going through similar experiences where they might feel alone in the world and I think it’s a positive thing to share those aspects of life too. Because life is the good and the bad. Its real.

I am a single parent to my three-year old daughter. Not by choice. You can give everything to someone and they can still be completely blind to your worth and dispose of you like you were never there. Last year I learned that life was just that cruel. His loss, as they say.Although, we all know it’s the very real loss of the person left behind that is felt for time to come, with the one having left being happy with their new status and oblivious to the destruction they cause along the way. Which isn’t unusual, but throw a child into the mix and you are faced with having your own life and this tiny persons life solely in your hands, it can be a daunting prospect for even the strongest of people.

Having had some time to try to get my head around things, I have made a sort of unsaid vow in my head to my daughter to keep busy, stay active, keep her mind focused on good things, regardless of the daily struggle I feel inside still at times.It also benefits me in not giving me too much time to sit and think. I literally don’t sit down all day, which, tiring as it is, is probably a really good thing. WP_20150925_15_17_24_Pro[1].jpg

We do lots of things together, me and my Emi. Walking in the park, picnics, feeding the ducks, garden time with messy water/sand play, visiting our adopted donkey at the local sanctuary, seeing family and friends where we can for tea and play dates. We are busy, all day, most days. Doing this, during the week at least, the days pass by pretty quickly.  You tend to find that routine and structure that keeps you alive. Get up, clean, dress and feed your kid, tidy up, pack lots of snacks, get out exploring, then all of the above in the opposite direction to wind them down for bed again. From about 6.00am until about 7.30pm, the day is filled up with everything that comes with caring full-time alone for a three-year old menace! The evenings are eerily quiet but as I am so tired from the long day I fill them and go to bed.I do gentle exercise, hobbies, a bit of boredom snacking, hot baths. Sleep is always welcome.WP_20150915_10_33_38_Pro[1].jpg

I am happy with my daughter and love our time together.

However, for some reason, the weekends, as a single parent, seem to last an eternity. Does anyone else feel like this? I mean, they are long! I used to wish along the week days for the weekends to come when I had a larger family unit with a partner and step son in tow. Sundays were exactly as they say, a day of rest, a day for family, a day to recharge your batteries. It’s not like that anymore. It’s not that I am wishing them away now. Far from it. I have a beautiful healthy daughter who I adore spending time with and who makes me laugh daily. Our time is precious, she will be older and moving out before I know it. I value and appreciate my time with her, but at the weekends, the world seems to slow down. I can’t in all honesty say that I look forward to them. I don’t really. Maybe that will get better with time. I am only 9 months into this single parent life, after all.

I think im not enjoying it because people associate the weekend with rest,love and security. Young couples cuddling up together all weekend with no responsibilities. Family units with young children snatching precious moments together whilst the children are young enough to still enjoy their company and attention. Older couples relishing their freedom, pottering in  the garden, going for a walk together holding hands to their own time tables. WP_20150928_10_48_47_Pro[1].jpg

For a single parent, it is honestly very hard to look forward to the weekend because it’s no different in terms of the constant work you have to put into raising a child than it is on a week day. It is a constant treadmill of endless washing, preparing meals that are hardly touched, piles of washing up, running around clearing up whatever they have smeared up the walls, endless tantrums over trivial matters etc. The only difference is that you feel alone. There are no play groups on to mingle with other mothers in the same position. Family is often tied up with their own lives and partners. You don’t get to have a weekend lie in as the kid is still switched on to wake up at their usual time (5am-6am at the moment!). It is just me and her most of the weekend and much as I love it at times it can be very lonely. It’s not a sob story, it’s the harsh truth. When you choose to raise a child together, you have some respite, some support. I used to be able to have an hour to myself to go and have a bath in peace. I could go out shopping knowing she was safe at home with her dad. After a long day of tears and tantrums I would get a foot massage on occasion, a supportive cuddle and a cup of tea made for me. It’s the little things in life that get you through as a parent and adjusting to doing all those things yourself is really hard. It’s just the way it is. WP_20151231_10_51_06_Pro[1].jpg

I think more than anything, once you hit a certain age, around thirty (Fast approaching in July!), adults your own age usually have a family and children. Most will work in the week and appreciate that time at the weekends to spend with their families because they simply don’t have the time in the week. This is lovely, but it does mean that no one has time for you on a weekend as they have their own lives to pick up after. And why not. I relished being in a relationship and looked forward to cosy evenings or trips to the park with the kids. All that simple stuff that mattered, I lived for. Now its just me and Emi, I tend to hibernate most weekends because the two weekend days are rife for family spotting! Parents and kids out for lunch, shopping together, raising their children together. No matter how well a single parent is doing on the surface, that is always a pain in the back of their mind and heart alike, something they wanted themselves and worked towards also that just didn’t work out for one reason or another. Personally, for now at least, I would rather not see it.

On the flip side, the weekends are not all bad. There are no nursery runs, no busy supermarkets to fight my way through, we bake scrummy cakes and spend hours in the garden come rain or shine. She gets tired and its me that’s here to comfort her. She wants a cuddle and I am here for her to reach out to. Those are the moments that I would not trade in for anything and am so glad im not missing out on. Real memories are made through persistence, blood, sweat and tears and through it all I am grateful for all of the incredibly happy moments I have with my amazingly intelligent and loving girly. I see all of the new language developments, personality traits, funny little quirks, I get to see every one of them first hand. I love that.WP_20160512_16_22_16_Pro[1].jpg

At the end of the day, it would have been nice to have someone who had my back and who was as interested in our family as I was. This didn’t happen for me. We don’t all get the ideal happy ending we are fed in all the nursery rhymes at school. Life just isn’t like this for some people. I am having to accept that life is not how I planned. I might not like it, it might get me really down some days, but what can I do about it?

For now, at least, I just look at this smile and that is enough to keep me going through today and to get up for tomorrow. xWP_20160420_06_33_40_Pro[1].jpg