First time mum/referee/ sleeve snot wiper to a wild toddler. Designated household bum changer. Blogging about this motherhood malarkey from a refreshingly honest and unfiltered perspective.

The 6 Hardest Parts (Solo Parenting)

It's constant

It really is. There are no breaks. No holidays. No time off. No days where I can say, "ah I think I'll just not do this parenting thing today actually, don't really fancy it. Maybe tomorrow." No escape. No sick days. Nadda.

I peak to a point where I'm just running on empty and I burn out. It is draining. Not just physically but emotionally, too. It's exhausting pouring all your energy into a tiny person, and trying to remember to take care of yourself too. 

Never again will I take advantage of a blissful piss alone. Five minutes peace to enjoy a warm cup of tea. A day where I can wallow in self pity on the sofa with a duvet and chocolate when it's that time of the month and mother nature is ripping apart my insides. (no that is not a tad melodramatic).

It's lonely

God, why did no one ever mention this? I mean, not once throughout my entire pregnancy did anyone ever hint at how fucking lonely parenting in general, never mind doing it alone would be.
It really is so lonely. I spend most of my days with just Arthur, and I'll realise, holy shit I haven't actually spoken to another adult in days.

When Arthur finally (italics for emphasis on the finally) goes down to bed, I feel even more lonely. What do I do with myself now? Can't ask anyone over, they're all out living life or spending time with their partners or going out for Date Night Thursday. I think that's when I feel most alone. I'm so desperate for some time to myself but when it comes down to it, time to myself is the last thing I need. I need conversation. I need excitement. I need to catch up with people I've missed until my cheeks ache from laughing so much. I need to perform some awful 'mum moves' and throw up in the back of a taxi at 3 am and confess my sins to Ed the taxi driver. (shout out to all the taxi drivers who have kept my deepest darkest secrets now and forever.)

It's double the work 

It's a tricky thing doing it all by yourself. It took me a while to adapt some form of reasonable structure so I could make this solo parenting an easier life. When I say structure, however, I do in fact mean, just giving in to everything. Arthur cries for a biscuit when I've already said no? Give him the damn biscuit. Arthur won't sleep in his room despite my assertive self telling him he needs to learn? Fuck it, bring him into bed with me. It's all about compromise.*
(being weak willed and unable to follow issued threats through *)

I sometimes find myself turning round to ask for help. When Arthur has leaked poo all over the place and I'm in desperate need of another set of arms to pass me more baby wipes as he wrestles to break free from my grasp before the curry paste spreads all over my new carpet, "Quick! Can you pass me more of the-" before I quickly remember that, nope, it's just me and I have to devise an immediate strategy to still the wriggler before comprising my carpet and muttering, "Oh, fuck it. It'll be covered in more by the end of the week."

I'll magically grow eight arms and prepare dinner, change his nappy (twice, because he decided to shit immediately after being changed the first time), take the bin down, wash the dishes, call to make that appointment, go do the shopping whilst entertaining a one year old, buy way too much shopping because I couldn't be arsed making two trips with this bulky piece of shit pram that is all uphill. Hoist a pram and six bulging bags of messages all the way home as they slowly rip due to my poor ability at packing (I get full blown anxiety trying to pack shopping at checkouts when my full fat cheese is being hurled at me by Deirdre Dure Face in an urge for me to have everything respectfully packed and off her counter by the time she asks for my money before she starts whizzing the next persons weekly shop. I am still packing, however and, before you know it, I'm leaving with Cat food and tena ladies because in my sheer mangled state of social hysteria, I've packed dear old Dots shopping in with my own. I have noticed, if not slightly a little late, but I'm too harassed so I'll take the cat food home and find a bloody use for it and now Arthur's crying and I'm crying.... and breath!)

Trudge up four flights of stairs, take Arthur out of the pram forgetting the buggy will, ultimately, capsize with the unbalanced weight causing the milk to burst and explode everywhere, unpack whatever is salvageable of my bashed shopping whilst said one year old shrieks in my ear to get the toy he's stuck behind the radiator again, make myself a nice cup of tea and something to eat and- oh wait, that last bit doesn't quite apply.

So, yeah you get the drift. I am required to be Octo-mum, split myself in two and work miracles.

All you see are happy families 

Everywhere, it's all I seem to see. Families, smiling, happy. Enjoying the annual vacation or weekend road trip and I sometimes feel my stomach turn a little thinking that should be me. Doing that with my kid, making memories for my child to reminisce. It's classed as the norm and, for my own personal reasons, I chose to become a single parent. I feel guilty, surmise that my son will feel the fallout of my choices because he doesn't have what everyone else has. That idealistic nonsense.

I know, really, he won't. If anything, it will make our bond stronger. He still has two very loving parents. He always will. He is no different to any other kid on the block. Though that isn't to say, I don't hope for my own hellish family weekend trips full of matching, itchy jumpers and squabble filled car journeys. 

It's boring 

Oh my god, it's boring! It's just so bloody boring. 
I spend that much time replying with "BA BA DA YA" to anything Arthur says and being brainwashed by Justin Fletcher that I can barely string together a coherent sentence on the odd occasion I am rewarded with adult conversation that doesn't solely revolve around discussing the best bed time hacks or how to get a shit stain out a sleep suit. 

But most of the time, I'm so damn bored. Life feels like a mundane cycle of eat, no sleep, Cbeebies, repeat.

You lose friends

This is a tough one. People come and go throughout all aspects of your life. It's a thing I've struggled to accept: that some people don't get to stay no matter how much we want them too. That sometimes it's for the best. That sometimes people come into our lives to teach us something or help us grow and then they're gone. I'm still coming to grips with that part, learning to let go, to trust that whats meant is meant and to not give my heart to simply anyone who is willing to carry it.

Losing friends when you have a baby is expected, but saddening.
Especially, with being a young mum, I found most of my friends and I were on different wave lengths. They were at the highlight of their lives, parties, nightclubs, reckless without abandon, no demanding responsibilities, hangover Sundays and sleeping till noon.
I was on a different par. Never feeling satisfied. Drinking every night because there was nothing else to do. Feeling lost, out of place.

Then I had Arthur and everything kind of clicked (for a while). My days were the polar opposite. Forming structured routines, nappy changes and being awoken at 5 am by the shrieks of a colicky baby. A night out for me was an escape to Morrisons where I would browse the aisles and text Art's Dad to say I was just getting a few bits when, really, I was just wanting to get away. 

I struggled to find the time to meet up. Usually because I couldn't remember what day it was, I was always tired and quite frankly, I couldn't muster up the energy to hop in a 5 minute shower never mind make myself presentable and go outside.

I found I had nothing in common with my friends anymore. Not really. They gossiped about holidays they had booked or recall of hilarious nights out (you know the 'you had to be there' types).
I fought to stay awake through the conversation, (due to sleep deprivation not blatant disregard for their ever event filled lives). I felt left out and a little envious that there days were so packed with excitement when I was merely sitting on the couch most days with a baby attached to my hip, perfumed with spit up odor and dried in milk.

It became difficult to meet friends for our usual brunch or dinner catch up in a restaurant because Arthur would wail the entire time, they would begin to get uncomfortable due to the turning heads, and I'd end up flustered and exasperated when I couldn't appease him and wish for nothing more than to go home. 
When the brunch was over, they'd head home to get ready for a night out, I'd go home feeling deflated and mentally gearing myself up for the battle of bedtime and a night zoned out in front of the TV. 

They didn't check in much, didn't really take much of an interest in my life or Arthur's. That hurt and I could never quite understand what was so different until I did.
Everything was different.

It isn't all so doom and gloom. I get to spend my time watching my little world grow. He has taught me so much over the last fourteen months. Humbled me in more ways than I knew I needed humbled. Made me feel a love I didn't think I could possibly feel. He puts everything in the world into perspective. What matters and what doesn't. What I need to focus my energy on and what doesn't deserve my time. He makes me strive to be the best version of myself and has taught me that I deserve happiness. All be it, just a little.

I get twice as many cuddles, twice as much love. What's not to be happy about?

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