I’m very lucky to have a husband that’s quite hands on with our child, and I try not to take that for granted. On one hand it means that I’ve probably had quite the easy ride compared to some mothers. On the other it has some drawbacks in a “too many chefs in the kitchen” kind of way, but for the most part I do really appreciate him being there as much as he is.
Not to mention that he’s entitled to be, because…you know….father of the child and all.
On a separate note, recently it’s become apparent that to me that my husband needed some time away. There’s been a fair bit weighing on his mind, and there’s one thing that always resets the soul – camping. His dad had also been asking when they were next going to go camping together, so it was perfect. He’s always been too worried about going away though, feeling guilty about leaving Luca and I on our own.
I put my foot down and made him to choose a random date in the future. He would have a boys weekend with his father, and I was going to get a quality mother-son time weekend. Solo parent Kelsbells.
It was to last Friday night through to Sunday lunch.
I was nervous
Admittedly, I was really nervous about it. Since having Luca I’ve discovered I relish my little bit of “downtime” in the evenings when I have some time to myself. Most evenings I get some time to myself when my husband cooks and serves dinner for both himself and our son (I have my Lite ‘n’ Easy that I’m doing to help lost weight) and the evening bath time. Not to mention once the little guy is asleep.
With my husband gone, it was on me to do everything all day, so I would really only have a couple of hours to myself at bed time.
The prospect of being solely responsible was intimidating. What were we going to do together that whole time? What if I needed to pee and he was being clingy? What if he cried? What if…what if….what if? All the questions jumped out at me.
In the end we had a great weekend together
In the end it wasn’t that scary at all. We played together a lot at home, went out with Nana, we shopped and dipped our feet in my sister’s pool. My aunt visited from Brisbane, so we went out with her to Noosa for a drive, before heading home for dinner bath and bed.
Today we went for a long walk with a friend and enjoyed a coffee (babycino for the little guy) before he fell asleep in the pram for a bit.
My husband got home at lunch time, and was thrilled to see us. There were lots of cuddles, and the look on my son’s face when he saw his father was just beautiful.
I have what it takes
I was happy to reconfirm to myself that when the moment arises I have the ability to do whatever I need to get through. When he woke overnight I was there. When he woke up at the crack of dawn ready to party, I handled it. I cooked quality meals (better than I can do for myself), we played lots of games and he had some great naps (1.5hrs Saturday morning, which was lovely).
Sometimes having such a hands on husband has made me wonder if the only reason he is so involved is because I’m not able to do it myself.
Not a rational thought I’ll confess, but I’ll admit the idea was there.
My husband is hands on because he wants to be, not because he needs to be
For my husband, having time away helped break those strings that tied him to staying home with the two of us.
For his part, he never doubted I was capable and has never said anything of the sort to me. The idea that I wouldn’t be able to handle it was likely an idea that manifested itself in my mind and I just assumed that was his line of thinking. But for me, it still gave me the ability to say to him “see? I’ve got this, you don’t have to do everything. You can stop stressing now and think about yourself for a change”.
This weekend I gave myself a bit of a slap around the head and banished any negative thoughts. No one was questioning whether I could do it.
My husband is hands on because he wants to be, not because he needs to be.
He’s the type of person that likes to help people, and serve people. He’s a hands on father, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Luca is very lucky to have him. But he needs to make time for himself, and he needs to understand that it’s OK to do things without us.
I would struggle to restrict my own time to 2 hours a day
What I learned over the weekend is that without having my husband there, my life would dramatically change. I wouldn’t have the luxury of being selfish.
I learned that in order to be a single parent you have to be so unselfish.
Maybe I should rephrase that to be in order to be a good parent you need to be unselfish.
Being a solo parent your entire life is distorted. At the end of each day I got about 2 hours to myself max. The only way I would have more time is if I stayed up and sacrificed sleep in order to achieve goals.
For example, on Saturday night by the time I got the little guy down to sleep, cleaned up and managed to make my own dinner it was 8pm. I still had a run on my schedule for my half marathon training, so I had to wait until at least 9pm before jumping on the treadmill (running with food in my stomach makes me sick). I was in the middle of folding clothes, so by the time I actually made it on the treadmill it was 9.30pm. I was lucky that I just had a 10min easy “recovery” run on the schedule, so I didn’t bother with a warm up/cool down. I jumped on, did 10mins, showered and went straight to bed.
I can’t imagine my life being restricted to 2 hours a day. I would have to sacrifice so much.
Single parenting is hard
I have so many things I like to do – running, writing my blogs, reading, watching tv/movies, general mindless activities like playing games on my iPad, craft, my 52 list. It would just not be possible to do all of those without having my husband there helping to give me some time to myself.
I have a friend who is a single parent, and she does it tough. She works extremely hard in a job earning an income to support herself and two boys. Most nights she’s falling asleep in front of the computer trying to catch up on her work at night. She doesn’t have much support around her to give her breaks, or just encouragement in general. She forgets to eat. At the end of the day she’s so depleted of energy that she has zero motivation for food, and even then, she’s only thinking about what else is left on her list. If it’s not quick and easy then it’s not a priority because she has everyone else to think about. I now message her every day to remind her to eat dinner.
This, my friends, is someone who needs a break.
This friend is someone who whenever I need her she’s there. When I went through a hard break up and was struggling emotionally, she reminded me to go for a run. She was the one who got me into running in the first place. We have been friends for longer than I can remember. She is honest, raw, and amazing at surprising you with heartfelt gifts. She doesn’t ask anything in return.
But she deserves the world.
To my friend, I raise a toast to you. Your strength and determination to get through every day inspires me. Your boys don’t understand it yet, but they have an incredible role model in you. Your ability to still have a sense of humour and smile amazes me. You attempt to see the good in everyone, and it takes a lot before you finally walk away.
I just hope you understand how amazing you are. You need to treat yourself better, you’re worth it (I think L’Oreal did a marketing campaign on you – look it up). And I hope I can be there for you as much as you have been for me.
I’m here for you all
To all of the other single parents out there, I know I will never understand your daily struggles. To be honest, I hope I never do (that means something happened to my husband and our relationship).
I only got a taste of being a single parent this weekend, but I was blessed with a little man that made it easy. He was well behaved, he slept and we had places to go. That’s not going to happen all the time. I had a lucky break.
I don’t know what I can do to help. But what I extend to you all is a shoulder and an ear. I’m here for you to lean on and talk to. I want to be there for you. If it’s to meet you for coffee for adult conversation, or to be on the receiving end of text messages with venting, I’m here. If it’s to come and sit with you, I’ll do it. Tell me what you need.
When it gets hard, know that you have support around you.
And you know what? This blog went in a whole other direction that I didn’t expect. I only meant to write a bit of a recap and a “hey I did it!” Kind of post.
But I guess all of this just needed to be said.
And to my friend, one day those boys will understand how much you love them. Because…
Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours. Because some people are worth melting for.
And if I don’t get points for that quote then I will be extremely disappointed.
Bet you’re googling it now to make sure you’ve got the quote right. Or maybe not, maybe you already know the quote already (more likely).
Anyways….thanks for being there x