Maybe I have offended someone already, a single parent who hates to be labelled, or a parent who also does it all with a partner, for that I apologise but being offended opens our mind, that is, if you are welcome to being ‘opened’. And I mean ‘we do it all’ because we are the only person there to do it, so bear with me.
Today I waved my son off to school with a sigh of relief. I am exhausted after our weekend together. I alternate weekends with his father and those two nights out of fourteen are my saviour. I do however, love my weekends with him but it means having two of me running around (fictionally that is). I need at least two of me… I feel like a female-human-form octopus running around using each of my eight tentacles to multi-task: emptying the bins, on the phone, making the lunch, work, cleaning and my monopoly turn.
Whichever comes first really.
By noon Saturday I was exhausted. We had started the weekend by going for a swim straight from school on the Friday oh, and a game of squash. Home for dinner where I cook, feed the cat, clear the washing bags and school bags and get us washed and showered, all in the time it took for dinner to cook. Time for wine and a sit down? Not a chance, board games out and trying to stick to the bedtime routine which resulted with him in my bed …. again….
There may have been no need for the school alarm on Saturday morning, but who needs that when you have an internal clock. Maybe one day I can get him to make me a cup of tea in bed #wishfulthinking.
Then it starts again, tidying, entertaining, planning, cleaning, cooking, girl I did it all. I remember running in from the garden after emptying the bin, to “is lunch ready?” Yes darling… it’s on its way.
Now I realise, this is the life for many if not all parents, regardless of being a solo flyer or a duo team yet, I don’t have that other adult to moan at! I cannot ask someone to do the bins whilst I do the food, or know someone ‘might’ carry the pile of toys on the stairs up to the top. Perhaps this is your life with an other half – who does nothing. But you have each other to moan at, to collapse with or atleast to cuddle in bed with?
Don’t get me wrong. I love being a solo parent. I love my independence and I especially LOVE my two nights a fortnight for ME. Just me, no sharing. The weekend I don’t even have to look after myself if I cannot be bothered, which happens regularly. But being a single parent is hard. More than hard, it is tough. We are the serious parent, the clown, the carer and the main bread winner.
What do we want in return? We do not want a medal. We do not need recognition. We do not need help (well maybe sometimes). I think we need respect. The no-shaming, no-judging respect. Not all single parents are ‘media based sterotypes’.
We are serious adults, managing jobs, homes and lives with two arms and only a human form.