Solo parenting sucks
If you follow me on social media you’ll know that I was solo parenting last week – from Saturday early afternoon a week ago until last night, to be precise. Hubs was away in Morocco on holiday with his twin brother and their best friend (and his best man from our wedding); he’d just finished a pretty stressful job, and has got a fair amount on his plate with an ill father, so it seemed right that he spend some chill time with these two key people.
Within 24 hours I was regretting encouraging him to go, I was already wiped out. I know there are lots of people who solo parent day in, day out, and I totally take my hat off to you, because it is tough. I did feel quite proud, when I finally collapsed in front of some catch-up Downton episodes with my glass (bottle) of wine, last Saturday night – I had single-handedly walked the dog with both girls (with C in her Ergobaby carrier), bathed them, fed them and got them to bed, and more importantly to sleep.
I was feeling all very smug, and then it started to go downhill. The first night L was ill, and was up again and again. She was awake when I went to bed at 11pm, we then saw 1am together, and 2am, then we had a bit of a snooze break before sharing the joys of 4am and 6am. I was then awake for the day and joined by C at 7am (L was asleep again at that point).
After a bad night’s sleep Friday night, followed by our up and down night Saturday night, Sunday saw me ready for an early night. I hit the sack at 10pm as I knew I had to be up early, but L had passed the baton on to C, and she woke me at 11.30pm, 3.15am and 5am. Fortunately each time it was just brief crying and she self-settled but it was enough to wake me up and I struggled to go back to sleep after the wake-ups.
I knew Monday morning was going to be tough – I had to collect the baby I childmind from the local train station (a 10 minute walk away) at 7.45am. This meant getting up at 6am to hoover the lounge, have a shower, breastfeed C, get me and L dressed and head to the station (breakfast would be upon our return). All was going to plan until I went to get C and discovered the biggest poo explosion ever, sorry for the TMI! It was a total change and baby wipe all over body wash.
Whilst this was happening L decided to climb on the side to look in the sweet cupboard, in doing so she set the (empty) microwave off, and yes, in my tired, stressed out state, I shouted at her. Which resulted in tears and cries of “you don’t love me anymore, you don’t want me, you only love and want C!”. Just what you want to hear at 7.30am on a Monday morning.
Of course she didn’t want to leave the house then as she wanted breakfast first, and didn’t want anyone to see she’d been crying. Somehow I managed to get all three of us out of the house, just 5 minutes late. Then as we were walking along, L suddenly cried out that it hurt “down there”, and wanted me to look and see what it was. So, in front of Pizza Express, I tried to jiggle knickers and tights, discreetly, so we could be on our way.
We managed to walk another minute before she started howling again, this time we were in front of Sainsburys, and in full view of everyone in the car park and all the commuters heading towards the train and tube stations. I told her she’d have to sort herself out this time as I was terrified of being arrested! After a very un-discreet sorting out of herself we carried on our way.
We made it home and through breakfast without any further drama, but if you saw me on Monday morning and wondered why I looked so haggard so early on in the week, now you know why.
Most weeks I find that the time flies by, but I have to say that last week crawled along, as both girls had disturbed nights every night, except one, while Hubs was away. I’ve aged about 20 years and have such a newfound respect for single parents.
The hardest part was attempting to juggle it all: a 6 year old, an 11 month old, walking the dog, feeding and dealing with the dog and 3 cats, childminding 2 other children 10 hours a day and hosting two different groups of French guests, not to mention all the usual household chores (washing, shopping, cooking etc).
I’m delighted to say that Hubs is back now, I am sharing the parental responsibility and work, and breathing a sigh of relief. Now bring on my holiday!