A memo to all single mums

This is a memo to all single mums out there, putting on their pyjamas and possibly pouring themselves a glass of wine on a Saturday evening. Little ones bathed, read to, sung to, kissed on the cheeks, watched as they drift to sleep; beautifully perfect (tantrums forgiven as you ponder how you could’ve created such a precious little human). You’ve probably cleared the carnage of mega-blocks and plastic toy paraphernalia from the lounge floor, scraped uneaten suppers off plates and washed the dishes. You’ve mopped up the bathroom, fed the cat; realised you’d put some washing on at 3pm and it still needs hanging. Then there are the things you need to do which you can’t do with a little person craving every ounce of your attention; – work out when your car MOT is due, update your CV, make a birthday card, brave the never ending phonecall to Tax Credits, write a letter to a nun in India (okay, maybe that one’s just me!) … only,  you haven’t actually had supper yet, and all you want to do is crawl  into bed (because you can be sure little darling will be up at 5am.)

You scroll through social media and everyone seems to be dressing up ready for a good night out. And it’s fucking lonely; no matter how much you love your kids (and I know your heart bursts for them; it’s what we do …) Sometimes you look at the parents at nursery, or in the park – and imagine the perfect family dynamics, the loving gazes over the breakfast table and the way he/she gets in from work and helps with the chores but also provides adult company/conversation. And then you beat yourself up for being a single parent in the first place – if only things had been different; what if you’re irrevocably damaging your child by not raising them in a “family unit”. What if you’re just messing it all up?

2am, maybe again at 3.15 and 4.08, you’re shouted for. They need a cuddle, or a drink, or have had a bad dream. Sometimes you’ll crawl into their toddler bed and sing to them until they go back to sleep. Sometimes you bundle them into bed with you, hoping beyond hope that you can all get some sleep before morning (and never admit you do this as you’ll inevitably be accused of making a big fat rod for your own back). You wish there was someone else to share the night time calls. I know that sometimes you lie awake wondering what you’re going to cook for tea tomorrow; if you’ve got enough money to last til pay day; what you’re going to do with the rest of your life to better provide for their future …

This might be the hardest thing you ever have to do – but you’re doing it. Every day you get up, and put your kids first; they are fed, clean, chaotic, noisy, bumbling children. They adore you. Sure, there are days when you just want some space; you just want to hide behind the kitchen door and cry because you don’t want to watch another episode of Peppa fucking Pig; but you take a breather and deal with it. You are showing your children what it is to be strong; what it is to be resilient. Raising little people is not an easy task whether you’re in a relationship or not; but the emotional loneliness of doing it by yourself can be all consuming. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that you’re doing an okay job.

And that’s why I’m writing this memo, and raising my glass of wine to all of you/us, in this together. Hang in there, sisters; we are doing something wonderful in every cluttered, endless day. It may not always seem it, but we are.

 

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It’s what Mum’s do …

When I started this Blog; pregnant, single, and slightly overwhelmed – I didn’t know where it would lead, or what form it would take. Over the past 3 years I’ve sometimes sought solace in WordPress, detailing the ups and downs and inbetweens. Many a night I used to snuggle up with a cup of tea/glass of wine and my laptop after Freddie had gone to sleep, and write. I think/hope it makes a good record for Freddie when he’s older – the little achievements, the anecdotes, as well as the raw heartbreak of losing his beloved Grandad. Snippets of our world.

image5I haven’t Blogged for a while; life has been quite turbulent recently and there is much of that I don’t want to share here  – but I DO want to share the joys and occasional frustrations of an ever growing little boy. Sometimes I look at Freddie and am shocked at how big he is, how long his legs have become, and how I grew him; or to put it more bluntly; gave birth to him.Wow. I’ll never quite get over the wonders of childbirth [neither will my pelvic floor….]

This cheeky little chap now regularly tells me “be careful mummy don’t fall down” on the stairs, or “don’t fall in the duck pond mummy, you don’t have your armbands on.” He understands so much, and is articulating more every day. Last week when I dropped him at nursery he said “mummy go to work and earn some money then pick me up.” He doesn’t know that I’m actually signed off work for a couple of weeks, but that’s not the point.

No one warns you of the huge guilt associated with motherhood. There have been many image3reasons to cry this year, and by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done is try to be a good mother through the tears. You are their safe place, their comfort, their security – the person who kisses things better and makes it okay again. I don’t want Freddie to look back on his early childhood and remember a mummy who was sad; yet I also want him to know that emotions are real and life [and death] happens. Its okay to be sad sometimes. I used the phrase “Grandad died” from the very beginning, and Freddie still talks about Grandad, and will now ask, where is Grandad, or tell me that he misses him. We now have  a beautiful plot in the local crematorium, and Freddie likes to water Grandad’s plants …

image1As a mother you constantly doubt yourself; I’ve had a particularly bad week of worrying that I’m not quite doing it well enough. Then I look at this bruiser of a toddler dashing around with his toy aeroplane, grubby faced and smiling; and my heart bursts with both love and pride. We are doing okay, Fred and I. This little boy who shot into the birthing pool, continues to blow me away. “Don’t be sad mummy” he said to me on Sunday, “come and play with my aeroplane.”

And you swallow hard, clamp down on your lip, and swirl around the lounge making aeroplane noises … because its what Mum’s do … we’ve got this.