I’m writing this basking in the 20 minutes (so far) of peace I’ve been granted with my 1-year old napping and gloriously, for the first time in weeks, my 3-year-old being passed out in the sofa post-nursery (thank you nursery and your free play!!) but I don’t feel relaxed at all. I’m not having a cup of tea with my feet up. I’ve taken the time to tidy up the disaster of lunch and check my work emails. Like any mother I’m trying to juggle looking after the kids (just literally stopping them doing anything that will kill them) with the washing up (after 2 hours it’s like we’ve had a family of 10 round for lunch I don’t know why!), the laundry (So. Much. Laundry.), that’s putting more in, getting more out, hanging it and putting the other pile away. Somehow my husband thinks the magic fairies put his socks in her drawer paired together…
Anyway, I digress. I’m not here to moan about all the jobs you do as a mum, I want to talk about doing this ALONE. And I’m not even talking about the heroes that are single parents. I mean they ARE heroes, they do this day in and day out AND at weekends…I’m talking your husband working away Monday to Friday and you live 4 hours away from your parents. Most of your friends don’t live near you, and the ones that do work or have their own lives and kids and classes, nursery pick ups and routines. Now I’m not one of those people who craves the constant companionship of others, as harsh as that sounds. I love my friends, I love a girly night out with wine and gossip, I love playdates and catching up but I find myself quite a lone wolf. I mean I rarely get to pee on my own during the day, and my eldest (at just over 3 years) has mastered the English language to the point of being a conversational wizard most of the time, and the days pass mostly the same (SSDD – Same Sh*t, Different Day and all) and our routines are down pat. It’s exhausting being a full-time mum (and running your own business but before that, I was still exhausted…) but the mental responsibility of keeping these two amazing beings alive, fed, entertained, challenged, educated etc etc is sometimes a heavy weight to bare. My folks come down as much as they can but being in their 60/70s it’s not easy, so most of the time I am the kids everything. I sometimes worry that I’m going to fall down the stairs, or have an aneurism and the kids will stuck in the house with their unconscious mother not knowing what to do. There are days when I don’t speak much to other adults and so when a kindly stranger (yes I mean you old lady in Sainsburys café, check out lady at M&S, stranger at the garden centre who thought Harriet was a boy), I verbally vomit on them, words tripping out of me like I’ve just learned how to speak and most of sentences don’t make sense and I’m giggling like a school girl.
I get jealous of mothers who have their parents living in the same town/village/postcode as them, and they can do things like attend doctors appointments without having 2 loud, squirmy children hanging off them and pissing off about every other person in the waiting room. I’ve been to the doctors twice this week and I feel wrung out. My eldest had a chest infection and needed antibiotics, so off we went, her crying the whole time we waited (for 35 minutes) and my youngest, at just over 1, so desperate to be on the disease-ridden floor to crawl about, practically jumping out of my arms…me feeling like the worst mother for them having to be bored and feeding them disgusting carrot baby crisps so they are occupied for 1 minute. Then I got an ear infection and also needed medication so off we all went once more, the same boredom, the same baby wanting to crawl and the same half hour late appointment. AH!
SO, I feel like I can never ever switch off. so when Izzy goes to nursery some days I just think, great – it’s totally someone else’s responsibility to look after, feed and entertain her for a few hours a week (someone that I completely trust obvs). Now I only have 1 child to keep alive for a little while, and it’s glorious. Even when it’s bedtime, and I’ve done all the jobs for the day I still have a constant ball of anxiety in case one wakes in the night, is ill or needs something as I’m quite literally the only one who can do anything. They rely on me and only me Monday to Friday 110%. I relish the weekends when we can focus on 1 child each or I can go to the supermarket alone. It’s like a spa day! But when my husband (as he sometimes but rarely does to be fair) asks if it’s Ok to go watch the cricket or rugby on a random Saturday, I always say yes (as I’d be total moo if I didn’t unless for a real reason), I cringe a little inside. Another day of 24/7 parenting lone-wolf. I sometimes envy him at work, being able to read the news on the commute, feed himself, pop to the shops without it being a major mission. Peeing alone, or peeing whilst also watching your 1 year old try and pull a bookshelf on herself for instance. Also, being able to use your brain for something other than scrubbing Weetabix cement off the highchair. So glad I’ve got am MSc, ha…but then if again I have to say…given the chance I would NOT go back to work. No way. The kids are only this age ONCE and I would hate to miss out on them. On any of their firsts. On anything at this age. Hate for them not to remember me being there. I can show them the importance of a working mother when they are at school and for the rest of their lives. I’m not saying that to be a judgy mother at ALL. It’s hard either way. Despite me sometimes having to drop Izzy off a nursery with my PJ top under my coat. Just keep strong you mothers who are alone 99% of the time – the kids will thanks us! x