It’s coming up to five long days without seeing the kids. I’ve gone from seeing them daily, co-sleeping and being their main carer to barely seeing them.
I now find myself in an empty house where the silence feels like noise in itself. The rooms that were cramped with toys and cluttered with chaos from the school run, are now clean and unnaturally tidy, with only a few toys as a reminder of the children who sometimes live here.
The busy morning rush on the school run has now turned into a calm and steady routine of getting myself ready. Granted, as people are saying I am looking better than ever. I have time to choose my clothes, put on make-up and even some time to do my hair. I can go to the gym before or after work. My life is my own. But is it all it is cracked up to be?
No amount of self-care, make-up or toned muscles, can replace the part of my heart that feels lost and broken without my babies. I try not to be too mushy or sickly about my feelings for my daughters and at the moment I am managing to put on a brave face. I am going through the motions. I am sorting out the basics of life again such as home, work, childcare, finances and trying to remember to eat.
There is part of me that feels like a bachelorette. I have been living off caffeine, sweets and the odd smoothie.
It’s hard to bring yourself to cook, when it is just for one. It is hard to sit at a table, when it is just you. All of these things feel like reminders of what once was.
So for now I am keeping my mind off things by going out lots, getting all my work done, finishing my book which is due to be published and seeing my friends who have been incredible. Oh and purchasing a lot of ‘guilt’ presents for the kids, so that they are excited to return home.
Am I the only single parent who doesn’t know what to do?
I guess the main issue is, it feels as if everyone else is starting to settle down, whilst I just want to go out and have fun to distract myself. I settled down, probably too young, and now I am free again to be me. I just don’t quite know what ‘me’ looks like anymore.
I have time to think, I have time to work, I have time be me.
I am trying desperately to focus on the positives of single mum life.
There are many pluses. I have got my old life back where I am free to do what I want (within reason) and when I want (if I don’t have the kids).
I have almost felt guilty when I am not with the kids because I struggle to think or even talk about them because it is too painful. I even find myself avoiding situations with other people and their kids because it is a reflection of what I have lost.
But I am sure it is all just too raw right now. Don’t get me wrong I have been enjoying myself, I have had the most amazing time with friends, my businesses are flying and busy and I even have time for my own hobbies.
I am so grateful to be where I am now, but I still feel like I am grieving.
I am hoping however, that this separation from the kids will mean we have more quality time together to do lots of fun things. I am hoping our bond will be remain strong and I am hoping they will enjoy having two loving homes.
I hope they won’t see themselves as a ‘suitcase kid,’ like I did, I am hoping they will thrive off having double the about of presents, double the possessions and an endless amount of love and support.
Have I forgotten how to be a mother?
But there is another dilemma. My confidence in being a mum. Before I got accidentally pregnant, I hadn’t ever felt a maternal instinct.
My mothering role however, just naturally came to me as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I suddenly felt like a mum.
I just knew innately what to do.
When my babies were born, I breastfed, I co-slept, I played and I went to lots of groups with both my babies. That’s what felt natural to me and it has continued over the past seven years.
I now find myself, however, missing my children but I am also nervous about seeing them. Will I still know how to mother them? Will they still see me as their carer? Or am I just a part-time parent? Is this just “mummy day-care”?
I am struggling to remember what to do. I am struggling to have the confidence in my ability to look after them. How did I do it for seven years? How have I been caring for them their entire lives?!
And now after a month of hardly seeing them, my instincts are lost. I am scared to see them. I am scared to say the wrong thing. I am scared to shed tears of relief that my babies are temporarily back with me. I don’t want to be that emotional mum. I just want them to feel love, fun and joy to be home.
Will they still love me back?
Yes I love them as deeply and unconditionally as ever. But things have been so difficult for us all, I am not sure they will know how to love me back the way they always have.
I hate myself for putting them through this horrible situation. But deep down I know this will be the better option for them in the end.
So for now I am just going through the motions. I am cementing my foundations and I just hope to God I will feel like a mother again.
What’s your experience of single parenting? Do you have any tips or advice? Please do comment below.