Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Being a Single Parent part 5: Running on empty

Sometimes being a single parent is shite.  Sorry, there's no other word for it.

I've written in the past about the positive side of raising children on your own, but sometimes...well sometimes I can't see past the negatives.
  1. There's nobody else to help out at home. Putting a shelf up, mowing the lawn, settling an argument between the girls, speaking to a teacher who my daughter says is 'picking on her', nipping out to the shops for a forgotten pint of milk, making a meal, paying the bills - all done by me. 
  2. Lack of emotional support - who is there to reassure me when the going gets tough?  To pour me a glass of wine or put the kettle on and tell me why everything will look better tomorrow?
  3. The Teenage Years - I need help with the hormonal surges in this house (mine and theirs!).  The Teenager knows how to push my buttons, and today she told me that I'm not a real mum because if I was I would know that she was upset about something;
  4. Facing the future alone. One day in the not too distant future my girls will fly the nest and I will be home alone. 
  5. Illness: when a single parent is ill, and I mean really ill as in stay-in-bed type of ill who is there to take care of everything else?  Or even worse, when you get taken to hospital and told you have to stay overnight - who is there to look after the children?
  6. No social life.  I have one or two babysitters I can call on, but more often than not I have to turn down social invitations because it's just too blinkin' difficult trying to sort out childcare arrangements.  Or, if I do go out it has to be an early dart home, just before things get going,  to get back in time for the babysitter.  Although as time goes on I can't be bothered staying anyway. Or even going out in the first place.
  7. The loneliness of being a single, single parent. You know, single as in not having a boyfriend. When do I get to go out to meet anyone? And if I did meet anyone, the times we could see each other would be very restricted (see point 6).
  8. Exhaustion. I'm tired of being the only parent pulling their weight. Tired, tired, tired.  Being a single parent can sometimes be an unremitting, grinding slog. And today it feels like one of those times.
Tell me tomorrow will be better. Please.