Not for one second in my life did I think I would have to do the parenting thing completely solo, and by solo I mean completely alone, until I was left to. Life can unravel your intestines, knit a scarf and then strangle you with it on a normal day when all you were thinking about was whether today was your son’s turn to be Bakerman and if so, would muffins from the 24 hour garage shop do.
Right from the beginning, I never really experienced the glow of parenting. I was married too young, had kids too young and divorced too young, which explains (to me at least) why I find it so difficult to relate to the tips and advice on the topics of single parenthood dished up on the net. Because when I Googled it…
“Ask family and friends for help with meals or transport to and from school a couple of times a week, once in a while ask them to look after your children for a whole night so you can catch up with friends or take a long bubble bath without being interrupted”.
This may be helpful to those who were either widowed in the 18th century or who are Amish. But what if, like me, most of your family is spread evenly through three of the countries provinces? Your friends are mostly childless and not even cooking for themselves most evenings a week, as they’re having dinners in fancy restaurants and/or drinking cocktails somewhere fun and glamorous. The friends with children (single or not) barely have the time to answer their phones, let alone fulfill a request for lifts or a cooked meal.
On a rare night out I will absolutely NOT be running a bubble bath. I will be hauling on the least creased shirt from the tumble dryer and hightailing it to a bar, where I am met with open arms by the childless friends and the bars proprietor. Just like the days when the boys father didn’t live a domestic flight away and every second weekend was spent there re-living my youth and embracing conscious uncoupling.
So for one sweet night I can order a double Jack and Lime, swear out loud and dance without being subjected to the teenage eye-roll because on the inside I’m still 21, and even though that’s what got me into this mess in the first place, I still love it. I hope that’s what the writer of such a gem of advice meant by ‘catch up with friends’.
So in the absence of the true grit of what its like being a single mother of two, in my case, sons aged
15 20 and 9 14 this is my personal journal of what its is really like. Why public? Because some other single parent may stumble across it and go..oh thank God she’s not making healthy school snacks the night before either and she also hangs three day old dirty school shirts in the window to air out because she forgot to wash them (again). And that will be my contribution to a world of suffering. Because frankly, I don’t have a spare cent, even for charity.
This will just have to do.