This weekend has got to have been one of the most tiring weekends of my life. While my other half went away for the weekend I was left alone with our (near) three year old daughter and three month old baby boy. And it was hard. Hard, hard, hard. To tell the truth I only had to spend one night on my own without anyone (which, by the way wasn’t terribly difficult) and I did have adult company around me most of the time, but I honestly haven’t a clue how single parents do it all by themselves. I had already planned quite a few ‘fun’ activities; slumber party with the cousins, movie night, golfing, spending time with the grandparents, etc., but it just wasn’t the same without their Dad. I don’t think it ever is the same when one parent is missing.
Today I had a family friend of the in-laws come over for tea / late lunch, and her lifestyle was a bit of an eye-opener for me. Single parent, one daughter, working all hours, totally dependent on childminders, and barely any family members to ask for support. Her daughter was totally reliant on her and expected (quite rightly so) her mother’s undivided devotion. Consumed by guilt that the absence of a father or male role model may lead to an inadequately adjusted young girl, this family friend had perhaps over-compensated her love towards her daughter (if there ever were such a thing as to overcompensate a parent’s love towards their child); the little girl was attached to the extent of burdensome. It suddenly dawned upon me how naive and cocooned I have been for such a long time. Life is so unimaginably difficult for so many families out there and yet somehow, even with family surrounding me completely I can sometimes become so restricted in my view that I can’t see beyond my own little world to realise how utterly insignificant and trivial my so-called ‘problems’ can be. I felt bad for her, and yet in a way I felt very grateful that I still have so many people I can talk to and rely on. People who love me and my children very much and who I can trust to help out as often as I like.
I have suddenly have a new found respect for all lone parent families. I salute you all. What you bring to society is immeasurable, and I truly hope that your children take care of you in the same way you have looked after them.