Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Hi ho, hi ho…

on April 3, 2012

Little Girl has chosen a bad night to show no interest in going to sleep.  I have given up and left her playing in her cot.  I have to run around packing things together, making a packed lunch, finding my work mobile phone, getting nursery things together – it’s the last day of my maternity leave.

I’m not sure how I feel about going back to work. On the one hand, I look forward to seeing adults on a regular basis, making a to do list and doing it (rather than getting halfway through the first thing and then stopping to empty a potty while consoling a crying baby), drinking a whole cup of tea while sitting down, and spending as long on the toilet as I like.  On the other hand, I have really enjoyed being on maternity leave (yes, really. If you ignore the whole ‘marriage breakdown’ thing, that is) and enjoy being with my children and doing all the things I do during the day – largely to do with the NCT branch I’ve set up during this maternity leave.

And I don’t want to be away from my children, particularly as I’ll not only be away from them during the three days I work but then they will also be away from me at other times when they are with Ex-Husband. I just like them. They are funny and interesting and I like looking after them.  And I just think my life is going to get really complicated.  On working days I will have to get up, get washed and dressed, stuff them into some suitable clothes, throw them into the pram and sling, gather up my things and leg it to work, do a full day’s varied, challenging and unpredictable work with people who sometimes get cross, occasionally reasonable so and sometimes because it’s my fault, then leg it to nursery, collect them, bring them home and feed them, bathe them and get them to sleep.

Alternatively, I’ll wait for Ex-Husband to pick them up (hoping he’s on time), then leg it to work, leg it home, eat something, wait for my precious babies to return to me already fed, chuck them in the bath and deposit them in bed.  I seem to remember from my time at work after maternity leave with Big Girl that the evenings were stressful and bedtime was quite often difficult.  I can’t imagine that and extra child and one less adult will make this easier for me, but at least I’ve become more awesome since then.  After that I will have to rush around doing housework and getting things ready for the next day, then go to bed and get as much sleep as I can before starting the whole process again.  There’s just nothing about the process that sounds like fun.  But that’s the joys of single parenthood.

And speaking of the joys of singleness, I read this article in Saturday’s Guardian Weekend magazine on the rise in the numbers of people living alone and felt incredibly excited.  I particularly loved Colm Tóibín’s description of his single life.  Just now, living alone is incredibly hard because I’m dealing with a lot of hurt and looking after two incredibly small and demanding children. But I can imagine a day when I relish my singleness: finding things where I put them, being accountable to no-one, having a whole room full of books, evenings to myself – already I marvel, every other weekend, at being able to go where I want, stay out as late as I want, having to plan around no-one but myself. I haven’t had this freedom for 11 years and I really really like it.  This article gave me hope for a fabulous future.

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8 responses to “Hi ho, hi ho…

  1. Ruth edson says:

    Hope it goes well tomorrow. Will be thinking of you. Think it’s really lovely that you really like being with the children. See you soon x

  2. seaswift says:

    Wishing you good luck.

  3. Simon H. says:

    Don’t worry, I won’t throw much at you. It’s learnt behaviour, blame Claire.

    You’ll be fine once you get in work. Do you have set hours?

    • 21 hours a week Weds-Fri – I’m not sure if I said 7 hours a day or if I said 7.5, 7, 6.5 – really hoping it was the latter. I’ll just check.

      Yup, the latter.

      I can throw as well as you can. Probably better.

      I might actually just cry all the time. You can distract everyone. Point out of the window and say “What’s that?”. It’ll be fine.

  4. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently, and actually, I really enjoy living by myself. Yes, single parenthood is hard, and it would be be easier many times to have an extra pair of hands, but I like being able to do what i want, when i want. have the house hopw i want it. if i want to eat nothing but soup for three days, i can. I don’t have to pretend to care about someone else’s opinion. The space is all mine. Parenting decisions are all mine (mostly, obviously there are somethings that get decided between me and R, but generally whilst J is at mine, its all my decisions) I can go to bed at 8, or i can go to bed at 12.

    Yep, it would take a lot for me to want to live with someone else.

    • I liked that sharing and compromise and co-operation that came with being married. I liked the company. I liked parenting together. And just now, when they are so small, it is so hard being on my own with them. I wouldn’t complain about the lack of free time because I would have them all the time if I could, if they didn’t need to see their dad. But at the moment I feel like I get very few of the benefits of being single.

      However, the benefits I do get, I really enjoy. And the longer I am single, I think the more I will like it, the more I will feel that I own my own life. I think I will probably one day have another go at having a relationship, see what happens. But I want to try singleness properly first, create my family with my two little girls, before trying to decide whether I want to add anyone else to it.

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