Natalie shares what she’s learned about how to handle not being a single-parent but mostly parenting alone. You can find her on Instagram as @andgreenandblue / She also has a refreshingly honest blog where you can enjoy more of her writing: http://www.andgreenandblue.wordpress.com
Dear Stupid parents,
Here’s what I’ve learned about being alone.
I’m not a single parent but sometimes find myself parenting alone. My husband works away a lot and right now we’re in the middle of a busy period where I’m finding myself flying solo Monday to Friday and to be honest, it’s shit. There I’ve said it. I’ve breached some kind of supportive wife/strong woman/superhero mum code. I am actually saying I’m a better mum when he’s around and not just because he’s the chef-in-residence.
I had this idea that I’d be a certain type of parent – the type who had her shit together – and that was it but now I realise you can’t be the same type of parent all the time. You can’t be the same when you’re ill, you can’t be the same when you’re sad, you can’t be the same when you’re busy and you can’t be the same when you’re without your partner. Something has got to give. And that something might be your standards. For me that means if dad is away 4 nights on the trot we get Mc Donald’s one night. This had made such a difference, not just because of the high quality food. It has just given me a break. No I don’t want them to eat McDonald’s every night but one night probably won’t kill them but might save my sanity.
Sometimes by the end of the Monday to Friday shift I lose my shit – I become impatient and shout and often that shout becomes a “just do what you are told” plea. For the love of god just do what you are told.
Then after the shouting comes the guilt…why do I lose it? I lose it because I mostly without a wing man to carry the load. I lose it because in these weeks I’m meeting the emotional needs of a 2 year old and a 9 year old with additional needs. I lose it because I’m worried I’m not meeting their needs. I lose it because I’m tired…so tired. I lose it because I want them to be in bed so that I can have some me time.
I am a parent, not a robot – the way in which I parent will change depending on circumstance and that’s ok. When Dad is not here, or I’m ill or life is too busy I keep the same principles and mostly the same routines for the kids but I just tweak the standards every now and then. And that is good enough.
Then I think that’s just the same across my whole life. I’m better at everything with support. I’m at my best with help and I’ve decided that’s ok too.