Before my husband left I had no idea how single mums coped.
Miss Rose is exhausting. She is demanding, stroppy, and very active. She pushes boundaries, tantrums, and creates chaos everywhere. She doesn’t sleep much at night and roars when she doesn’t get her own way. My mother has raised two children and assures me that Miss Rose is indeed a more high maintenance child than most.
At her age I would sit and watch a television programme. This is not something Rose will do. It involves too much “still”.
We usually get up at five. Sometimes half five or six if we get a real lie in. Before my husband left I would, occasionally, get him to get up with her. If I felt ill or she had been particularly disruptive during the night, i would need the lie in. It wasn’t often, every couple of weeks or less. Of course, after he got up early with her he would have to have a nap in the afternoon to recover, but at least I had the chance for a bit of sleep.
Now I don’t have that option. Good night, bad night. Headache or sickness. When she gets up I get up. Some days it is truly deadly but at the same time knowing I don’t have any other choice makes it easier.
I used to run my parenting decisions by him. It ultimately came down to me, I am the main care giver and therefore any decision made had to be one that worked for me, but he was in on the discussion. If he had objections then a different choice was made. If he didn’t like a decision I stuck with then his feelings were known.
Now I just do it. It’s all my decision. When I decide I am ready to make her stay in her bed overnight I will deal with that choice. Until then she comes in with me when she is ready. My choice.
I am no longer disappointed. Leaving the dishes from dinner to go and do bedtime and hoping I would come down a couple of hours later to find them done, and instead find him playing Xbox or napping, and the having to deal with the disappointment was hard. Now I know if I don’t do them before we go up they will be waiting when I come down. Knowing it is not a question, knowing it’s all down to me, means that doing the chore itself doesn’t cause me such annoyance and I don’t have to feel let down.
Believe me, I am not saying being a single mum is the easier option. Nor the best. The choice I had made was to raise her in a loving and committed relationship with a man I adored, but that choice was taken away. The perfect choice is to have the full support and help of a partner, to be a committed team dedicated to raising your child in love and stability, to have respect and trust and communication. But that didn’t happen even when we were together.
Being a single mum is not the “easier” choice, but in many respects it’s not the harder one either. In many respects life is easier when your only concerns are yourself and your child.
I hope I won’t always be a single mum. I’d love more children, and I hope to be in the partnership I craved with Miss Rose when I do. But until then, until I am ready, I don’t have a bad lot. Rose and I make a team. Admittedly one member of our team thinks it’s acceptable to fling prunes hither and yonder… Thinks “smash” is a legitimate idea for a game… And roars in absolute fury when I try and clean the poop off her ass… But we are still a team.
Being in a team with Miss Rose can never be a bad option, and can never feel like the worst situation.