The Power of One

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I have not had the time to miss my still absent husband in the way that I would like to.  My Self BC (before children) would have missed him by thinking of him often, calling whenever I could and longing to be near him.  I may have mentioned before that he has already been away for a couple of weeks for leisure, then work and now there is one more week away for sport.

I do miss him.  I miss his support; I miss his practical help; I miss his zest for life and I miss the way he makes our lives easy and fun with his light touch and optimistic outlook.  But I don’t have the time for love-sickness per se I am just too busy for that.

My Self with three kids under the age of three and a half at home alone for this stretch of time has given me a new respect for parents who raise their children by themselves ALL THE TIME!  There is no way to describe the level of commitment that these parents (usually women) need to have to their children.  How do they summon up the huge reserves of courage and stamina required to do a ‘good job’ day-in and day-out?

I have had smatterings of help here and there from family when they are available and not working.  And I am fortunate to have childcare placements a couple of days a week.  This has given me some time to exercise occasionally which has helped me to cope better to just keep going.

I find it is the daily grind of meals, getting dressed, cleaning teeth, finding shoes, breaking up fights, skirting danger, entertainment, answering questions, being vigilant . . . and many other things in this vein that is most exhausting to deal with for one person.  It is physical and mentally challenging beyond anything reasonable.

Parenting already carries such weighty responsibility and then on top of everything you do there is always a guilty sense that you haven’t done enough.  Doing this job alone means that you give yourself away to your children with every beat of your heart.  It’s relentless, it’s tiring and it’s lonely.

I have learned a lot about myself during this time.  I have learned that I can be more patient and that life goes on even with a messy house and piles of dirty washing blocking the back door.  I have also learned a lot about my sons too.  I just adore the times when they calmly snuggle up to me on the couch with a book and ask ‘what do the words say’ or just come up out of the blue and say ‘I love you Mummy, let’s be married’.  I melt when my baby boy gurgles at me and his eyes sparkle.  If I was too busy stressing about what chores I had to do I might have missed these golden moments.

Ultimately, all parents either together or apart are doing the best they can one moment at a time.  I think what’s important to realise is that being a single parent may not be a choice for that parent.  People are single for all kinds of reasons including divorce and death and we shouldn’t judge them as quickly as society often does.

When my husband sneakily informed me at the last-minute that these three different trips away were all back-to-back I was without doubt, pissed off.  But part of me secretly coveted our bed to myself.  It’s bad luck for me that the extra bed space has been quickly filled by sneaky children in the middle of the night!

Are you a single parent?  Or have you had a significant stretch of time without your partner to help you?  How do you keep going?  What do you do?

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9 thoughts on “The Power of One

  1. Like you, the small doses (smaller that what you are enduring) without my spouse have given me an appreciation for those who parent alone. What strikes me is their ability to give their all, sleep and then get up and do it again. No respite in sight. Nobody coming home to share the load.

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    1. Hello! Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post, I really appreciate it. Yes I agree, it must be so hard to do it all alone all of the time. I just have such a respect for that, but then I guess these parents have no choice, they simply must get on and do their best everyday for the benefit of their children. I can see though how some people would not cope under the pressures and how easy it would be to have a family fall apart under such strain. My heart really goes out to all single parents! Kind regards, Hayley

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  2. Have been dealing with this one and off in small and larger doses over the past 2 years, and about to do again for around 10 weeks. As a result, like you both have noted, I too have a better appreciation of single parents. Even more so the parents that still hold onto a job, have very little or no assistance from outside their family.

    I feel even more for the parents with sick children, trying to be there for the sick child and still be manage to be a parent to other children. My son has been sick on and off for 18 months or so (nothing serious just ear infections), but it is exhausting when you are getting up to your sick child through the night, and then still manage to be a functioning parent for rest of the family during the day.

    There are times I to go ‘stuff it, the house can stay messy, the folding can stay in the basket, dinner is slapped meal or takeaway – it’s time to have a break and enjoy being a family!”. I’ve learnt that you and your kids need to run around, be silly and carefree and let the worries slide for a while – they will still be there after the fun. ;o)

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    1. Hi Fee, yes kids’ illnesses take their toll on the whole family. The constant night time waking for the sick child and for the parent checking on them! I am doing a bit of that too lately as the endless rounds of cold and flu pass through. I still have Master 2 waking in the night as well for no real reason so I usually end up with everyone in the bed with me as I’m too tired to care!

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  3. being a single parent is not easy.but i can say its a fulfilling “career”, though for most
    of the time (asean people) we have to be away to give them a better future.we dont have child care to look aftr our kids but we can hire all around maid which i’ve tried but still own blood’s care is different.lucky i have my parents helping me when im away. whenever kids are sick, wake up every now and then to check them.and when problems occur just cry alone at night telling myself ” im strong, i can do this, because i have my 2 angels with me”
    .hardest part is thinking what will happen to them when u “leave” forever.
    will they still get the same love and care im giving them???

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    1. thanks for taking the time to read my post Maria. Yes most of the time parenting is a wonderful career but I think much more enjoyable with strong family support, which you will see is the topic of my next post 🙂 Like you rely on your family, I rely on mine but from a distance. Do you mean that you worry for your kids’ future when you die?

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