Sadly, this isn’t about TJ’s dad in a romantic way. It has been ten years since we met after all. I specifically mean his help around the house. This has never been more apparent since spending a fortnight as a one-parent family*.
While TJ’s Dad travelled the globe for various work related reasons (Christmas parties mainly), I was left holding the baby. I got to see what life is like as a one parent family. However, I did have a dose of grandparent assistance thrown in for good measure – thank fuck.
Having come out on the other side of a far from fun fortnight as a one parent family, I have respect, admiration and idolisation for real single parents. There’s an awfully cringeworthy scene in Sex and the City 2 where Miranda and Charlotte raise a glass to parents who go it alone. Right now, I feel a bit like that – although hopefully less vomit-inducing.
In my last blog, I escaped nappies and naptime for a weekend of freedom. So, it was my turn to learn that hard way that there’s safety in numbers when it comes to childrearing. Being part of a one parent family is bloody hard work.
Behind thinly veiled jealousy as TJ’s dad boarded yet another flight, I saw neverending days stretched out in front of me. I wondered how I was going to get through it. I know there’s lots of people going through this on a regular basis when their partners are away for work. You’re all amazing for it.
I am used to keeping the baby alive for hours by myself. I got through 10 months of maternity leave while TJ’s dad was out of the house for 12 hours every week day. But, any parent knows that it gets to a certain point in the day that you count down until daddy gets back and you can pass the buck. That didn’t happen. Life continues around the clock as a one parent family and that hit me hard.
TJ’s dad is responsible for battling the baby into bed in an evening. I usually escape downstairs to make dinner, do house jobs, or generally just enjoy a few minutes to myself. That didn’t happen.
The latter part of those evenings are usually a rather relaxing time of the day when I stare at Facebook, watch rubbish TV and let my mind drift. That didn’t happen, either. Fear that TJ could wake at any second made my tummy flip as I crept to bed like a burglar in my own home.
I did manage one evening away from my one parent family thanks to the grandparents. This is when I was able to open the wine. It was blissful while it lasted. But, I did have to miss out on one hotly anticipated night of freedom due to childcare issues which was devastating.
I also ensured that I booked time in with fellow mum friends, which enjoyed varying levels of success. Thanks to teething, TJ took the opportunity to tantrum in homes other than his own. This cut many of our social appointments short.
On the night before daddy’s joyous return, I found myself driving around with a sleeping toddler in the back as I cried. Pathetic, largely hormone-related but it was also out of sheer exhaustion as I struggled with being a one parent family.
I love being a mum and TJ is without a doubt the best thing that has ever happened to me. But, the best present I can get this year is for TJ’s dad to just stay put. Stop going on nice work trips for Christmas get togethers – it’s time to be a party of three again.
*This blog was written way before the one-parent family status became a permanent state … reading this one back makes me laugh at how I couldn’t cope – but also proud that I take (most of) this one parent family stuff in my stride now. How times change.