One hour and 17 minutes.
That is how long I have been sitting in my children’s room, waiting for them to fall the f*ck to sleep. Specifically the small one.
It is Saturday night, and it’s almost 8.30pm. By now I’ve basically read the whole of the internet and I have 11% battery left on my phone. How the hell people parented before smartphones I just don’t understand. I bet it was shit.
I’ve misjudged it twice so far; got up and, as stealthily as I could, tiptoed out of the room only to be followed minutes later by a small, screaming, angry human. You’d think he’d get the drill by now, but NO. Leave too soon, before he’s properly, fast asleep and my god you incur his wrath. I’m here for the long haul.
I am NOT giving in tonight.
There is wine downstairs in the fridge and goddamnit it I need some time to myself. I’ve been up since 5.40am
This is usually a two-person job, but Daddy is away this weekend, and since Friday morning I have been alone with the kids. Obviously I’m very used to looking after them on my own, even doing bedtime; but for some reasons it’s so much harder at the weekend.
Weekends are when I breathe a sigh of relief.
At 5pm(ish) each Friday, I hand over the reins and a weight lifts (or, alternatively, mentally berate Daddy with each second past 5pm that he is not home).
Weekends are sacred. OK I’ve never actually managed a lie in, but I do get to go back to bed for an hour or two and even if I’m not actually asleep I can pretend I am and the kids aren’t my problem. Bliss.
We can do those things that really take two parents to do; have lunch out, for fun. Go shopping. Things that experience has taught me not to brave on my own with both children.
During the week, I like to get out and about; to the farm, the zoo, a play group, the park, soft play, the garden centre, even a trip up to London. During the week, when the world belongs to the under fives, I can rock parenting. But at the weekend, places become busy and filled with big kids, there’s nowhere to park and everything is a monumental effort, and when it rains, like it has done this weekend, I really need my teammate – my comrade – my back up.
A trip to the lake became one soggy hour in the rain before we came home and watched films under a duvet, with two out of the three of us falling asleep (yes, one was me).
Films and duvets were pretty much my plans for Saturday, but you can’t pull that shit two days in a row. No one is about at the weekend. Added to this was the fact that I realised we had two birthday parties to attend on Sunday. Yes, that is two children’s birthdays; one AM and one PM. On my own, with two kids*.
Around lunchtime today, the small one woke from his nap and I realised I need to go out and buy petrol, food, nappies, wine and birthday presents (not necessarily in that order). Around the same time, my sister popped in on her way home from work. More fool her. I decided to take the opportunity and drop the kids at my sister’s and go off to do a shop.
Doing the supermarket shop on my own was like a holiday.
I read packets. I dithered and I took time to make choices. I didn’t forget to buy anything. It was wonderful.
So yea, that just about brings you up to speed.
I’m now almost certain he’s asleep, so downstairs I must go. It’s 8.36pm. Practically bed time for me, and I have to tidy up the wreckage of the front room and eat something. And drink wine. And so, I bid you adieu.
*After this, I thought I’d read the invites, and maybe do a little bit of Google Maps-ing in preparation. They’re next week. That actually makes three third birthdays in one weekend. That’ll teach Daddy to go away.
I am well aware that there are so many amazing parents out there who do this parenting alone shit all day, every day. Single parents who don’t get to hand over the reins and don’t get a break. You are all heroes.