These past few weeks have been.. challenging. My mother was away for a week.- A mere week, but it was enough to expose what a vital role she plays in helping take care of Maia at the end of the day. She comes home from work and -depending on the day and how tired she is- she’ll often have Maia for a few hours so I can go to the gym and generally get things done child-free. We have our little mother-daughter late-night-pep-talks and she reminds me life is good and that I will not always be a single mother – something I have to be reminded on a weekly basis…She always has the words and I go to bed in a better mood. (This is all on the days she doesn’t fall asleep at 7pm on the sofa, exhausted from her 5:30am start.) She’s always there, and I’ll often call her during the day at work to check-in if I’m feeling fragile after leaving Maia at nursery.
Two weeks ago , she was away. A close family member is terminally ill and she had to go and be with her.
The first few days were fine. I felt almost empowered “doing it on my own”, morning till dark knowing no one would be home at 6pm to relieve me. “It’s a challenge, I can do this” I’d remind myself. I was thriving.
Come day four, I’m sat on my neighbours sofa sobbing, having left Maia with her Grandad, CBeebies and a packet of hobnobs. The sleep deprivation tipped the scales into “fuck-my-shitty-life-Territory”. The tantrums became all too much and I needed my mother’s calming voice of reason. (She’s not always calm and it sure isn’t always the voice of reason but if I ever raise my voice at Maia, she’ll be the one to say calm-it-woman..)
My dear neighbour, who I’ve been to numerous times in such states (pre-Maia), sat me down, gave me a glorious helping of chocolate fudge and in her usual awesome way, told me of how a situation with her two year old (now twenty-something year old) once resulted in her locking herself in the garage. (She’s not crazy, she’s a badass, and I adore her.) She gives the best advice, gets straight to the point and always lifts my spirits . She also happens to be one of the most intelligent, quick thinking people I know. Oh, and she has great style, always has that effortlessly cool look, boyfriend jeans and loose t-shirts kind of look. Sometimes I secretly hope some of her cool will rub off on me..
Anyway. I’ve never had to lock myself away from Maia but I can see how a situation like that might arise, I did once go and sit inside the car for a much needed moment of quiet.
I regained composure and went home to find Maia asleep on the sofa. The rest of the evening was quite calm and straightforward, but she was still waking me up in the night and I remained sleep deprived for the rest of the week. (Bed at 8pm, to wake at Midnight, 4 am and 6 am is NOT OKAY).
My mother returned two days later and I’m now slowly recovering from the embarrassment of turning up at my neighbour’s in tears.
The whole experience only made me realise what a difference having a person missing in the household makes. My mum comes home, sees Maia, and has this big bright smile across her face, she lifts Maia in her arms and gives her a big kiss, she’s tired from work but you couldn’t tell. – This lifts me up too. She often brings back little treats for Maia like books or puzzles from charity shops. It only shows how one person’s energy can affect everyone else.
She’s been home now for a couple of weeks but she’s back to The Philippines again next week for a grand total of twelve days. – But I feel better about her absence this time.
This time I’m going to embrace it and do all the things I can’t do when my mother’s home. – Like give away my old clothes to charity and clear out the kitchen cupboards. Plus I do feel like it’s good to have some space from one another. We do step on each other’s toes a lot at home- and I mean literally, our kitchen’s tiny.
So I look forward to the challenge of going it alone for two weeks, I plan to try and be supermum of course. (Lots of baking, arts and crafts, trips to local country parks and absolutely zero TV or refined sugar.. will obviously try not to lose my shit and end up on my neighbour’s sofa with chocolate fudge this time).
My mother is very much my partner in raising Maia, though I do often still feel like a single mother.
Without her around I really am…SUPER-SINGLE-MOTHER. *adorns cape*