Hello, everybody! You may have noticed that Awesome Parenting Is Not What I Do has been unusually quiet this week. Well, we have been going through some rather dramatic and unexpected changes.
I’m not going to hash out the gory details, but I am now a single mother to Big Girl, Little Girl and Squeak. Their father has left our home, to live with another woman.
This was something I could never have predicted. Less than a week ago, I was making plans for our future, and slogging through our daily routine with a smile on my face. I did not ignore the warnings because there weren’t any. So you can understand that I am in shock. As are my poor children.
I know that some of you will be shocked as well, because you know all of us. All I can say is, sorry! If I’d known I woulda clued you in.
But this post is not about him, so I’m not going to go on about that bit. It is about me, and my wonderful daughters.
Before this week, I would have said that there was no way that I would be able to cope as a single mother. I needed the support of a partner to survive. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how I would juggle all of their needs and safeguard their emotional wellbeing.
As usual, I was full of shit.
Because I am being fucking awesome at it. The girls are fed, clean and attending school on time. They are still smiling and playing, and have gone to bed without a peep since he left. My house is tidy, the washing is done. I have begun to apply for all of the money that I am entitled to, as much as it irks me that I have to.
I am not saying that everything is fine. Everything is far from fine. My entire world has been ripped apart, and I feel like I’ve been hit with a brick. If I was alone, I can guarantee that I would have fallen apart by now. I would be collapsed on the couch in three-day-old clothes, weeping my heart out and listening to some blubby love songs from Cher, or some shit.
Thankfully, I can’t do that. And more importantly, I don’t want to. Because I am surrounded by three needy, funny, odd, intense children.
And by surrounded, I mean like a team of fucking snipers. Duck!
I cannot press pause on my life. They need to eat, and bathe, and be read to. Homework has to be done and lunchboxes filled. And that’s just the practical shit. On top of that, I have to deal with all of the emotional fallout from them. The tears, the questions, the insecurities.
That is hard. Fucking hard. I would never do anything to hurt them and yet here I am, bolstering their self-esteem and showing them how much I love them.
There’s a good bit though. Children are really resilient, and even when faced with an enormous change they can still find it within them to be fun, to play and to laugh. And I get to see all of that. It is a warm bath for my poor broken heart when they say something funny, or do a funny walk, or throw their little arms around my neck and squeeze.
I’m talking about hugs, dude. They’re not trying to kill me!
You’ll be happy to know, I still have some funny shit to talk about. Even in the middle of a disaster, stuff happens that makes me laugh my ass off! For example, the story of the first triple child bath.
I haven’t run the bath in my house for fucking ages. Mark used to shower the big girls and I would bath Squeak in the kitchen sink, as it was easier. And by easier, I mean there was less chance of discarded food showering my carpet as I legged it to the bathroom.
Just so ya know.
But it’s not that hard, right?
- Turn on taps to correct temperature
- Put in plug
- Wait until water fills to correct depth
- Switch taps off
I fucked up at around about point 3. I just forgot babies were so goddamn short! When I put her in, the water reached almost up to her armpits. Probably at this point, I should have poured some water out before continuing. But do you know what? I’m just a bit bloody laissez-faire, I guess, and I figured it was only going to be for a few minutes.
And it was totally fine, for the few minutes. It all unravelled when I decided to wash her hair.
Squeak is at that blissful stage which is only a few steps up from completely bald. Her hair is thin, wispy and grows straight upwards in the middle of her head. But it means that all I have to do is dump a few handfuls of water on top of her head and it is clean.
So, that is what I did.
But you know when you do that, and they duck their heads when the water trickles onto their faces? Yeah, that happened.
Unfortunately for Squeak, rather than ducking into a pocket of air, she sploshed her face directly into the water.
She recoiled from the water with a porcine grunt. Then repeated it as the water trickled on her face. I swear to God, she did it about five times before I called it quits on the whole hair thing. Snort, recoil, snort, recoil, snort, recoil. Over and over again.
Um, I mean, totally not gonna do that again!
And let’s not even mention that yesterday Squeak insisted on bringing a fart machine on the school run with her. Flatulent echoes battered my eardrums as I prayed that she would fall asleep before we reached the school gates. She did, thank fuck!
So, here I am. My old identity is gone. I am not who I thought I was last week. And that is going to take a fair bit of getting used to. But I am going to carve a brand new identity for myself, right here in my safe haven with my beloved daughters. This week has shown me that I am strong, strong beyond measure. Strong enough to shoulder their pain and mine, without crumbling. Strong enough to push on when I feel like crawling under my duvet and hiding for a while.
And through the tears which I shed at random throughout the day, I am smiling. Because I have some really good shit going here. I have my daughters around me, who adore me and keep me going when the day seems dark. I am making new plans, and dreaming of a new future. One where I will feel less vulnerable and hurt and confused.
I am a strong woman, surrounded by strong women (and a few strong men as well!). Never in my life have I had greater support from my friends and family. I am not alone. I know that every step I take, someone is behind me urging me on, with arms waiting to catch me if I fall. Together we can laugh, and cry, and rage. And somehow, I will get through this.
I feel like Awesome Parenting Is Not What I Do may take a slightly different turn from now on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to write the funny shit you guys all love. In fact, I have one such post currently swirling around in my mind tubes, waiting to be created when I sit down for long enough!
But also, I will be talking about my life, and what is happening, and how I am feeling. Because this blog is my life. And sometimes life just isn’t fucking funny. I am hoping, though, that it’ll help me to pick out the funny bits. To laugh and enjoy the small achievements and hilarities.
That’s what life is about, isn’t it?