I’ve been a single mum for a while now. February 1st my husband formally left, but to be honest he wasn’t around much for a while before that, and I did almost everything for and with Miss Rose even when he was around. Being a single mum is my natural state in many ways. It wasn’t what I expected to happen, it wasn’t how I planned to raise my daughter, but it’s a comfortable fit and even when it’s hard I feel like Miss Rose and I are a pretty good team and make it work for us.
I am now in a relationship with a man who not only expects to help, but seems to actively want to. It leaves me a little bit confused and perhaps at times seemingly ungrateful.
A couple of months ago Miss Rose got a bit poorly and started having milk in the night again. She hadn’t been eating well and was crying for milk, so to comfort her and ensure she had enough in her tummy, I provided milk. She is no longer poorly and the desire for milk in the night has increased not decreased. Last night she had three bottles of milk, and disturbed several times wanting it, and this is not uncommon. It is also completely unnecessary.
I told The Boy that he might want to avoid us for a few days because, as of tonight, I’m saying no more. She can go back to having her bedtime milk with her story, but after that I’m cutting her off. She didn’t need it before, she doesn’t need it now. However, I am prepared for a few nights of serious baby rage which will result in extreme tiredness and crankiness on both her and my parts. Her father would have taken the offer with both hands and either stayed at a friends house for a few nights or slept on the sofa, no point us both suffering, especially if he had work the next day like The Boy does. I expected a similar response. The Boy, on the other hand, assured me that he has no desire to abandon me to deal with it and will help in any way he can because we are in it together. Yes, it will be hard, yes he will be tired, but it’s part of the package. Take the bad with the good.
As I write that I feel a certain sense of smuggery that I am not proud of. But, come on, it’s pretty smug-worthy I think.
The thing is I am not great at accepting help. I am not great at admitting I need help. I don’t like admitting weaknesses or flaws, and to suggest I need help with my parenting implies I am both weak as a person and flawed as a mother. Neither of those things are things I am even vaguely comfortable with. Even getting him to help me wrestle her into her coat when she’s having a tantrum as we leave the house is hard for me, and whilst an offer he always gives without hesitation, it is one I try to avoid accepting unless I am really in need. Because it’s just me, it is just her, and that is our world.
If one day The Boy and I get married and make a baby of our own, will I feel the same way? I don’t know, I suspect not because by then I imagine I will be so accustomed to his help with Miss Rose that it will be second nature to me to accept it anyway. But maybe I will, and maybe I will make him feel pushed out because of my attitude. Maybe I made my husband feel that way with Miss Rose, which is why he involved himself so little anyway? Honestly I don’t know, but it does sound like the sort of thing I would do, so I wouldn’t be surprised.
It’s something to work on. Believing The Boy when he insists he’s comfortable and happy with helping, and admitting when I genuinely would appreciate that help. Because refusing to acknowledge the need and accept the offer, then complaining that I’m tired and worn down is both irritating for those around me and highly irrational.