Sometimes, its like living a life without rules, being the primary parent in failed family unit. With no spouse to tell you no, you can eat cake at midnight with the kids. Say yes to the pets they crave, that you know will fall to you to nuture, and in the main, do whatever you want.
Sometimes that’s a great thing, sometimes not so much when you end up single handed raising a small farmyard and three kids.
Sometimes being the only grown up around a bunch of children can be fantastically fun, getting to see them growing, living, learning to be young adults.
Sometimes, you can feel choked with the love and the pleasure of being allowed to raise three beautiful children single handed 80% of the time.
Sometimes you can miss having someone to share that exquisite joy with.
And, sometimes it can be hard.
Working a couple of jobs to make sure they have a roof over their head, and decent food in their tummies. But working those jobs around the school day to make sure they don’t feel let down by the one parent they reside with. Trying to be a foul mouthed Mary Poppins who can read bedtime stories in between work calls and collecting an older child from football practice. Working into the wee hours, just so you don’t miss a moment.
Sometimes it can feel impossible.
When you have worked all week, and the house needs some loving and the washing basket is full and the ironing pile topples in the corner. When all you crave is for a second grown-up to come and share some of the load.
Sometimes it can be sad.
When they are ill and you panic, and you stay awake most of the night, making sure they are ok – with no hope of catching up on the sleep ever. In my case, sometimes when you are on night 14 of foul blood sugars and you would sell a kidney for more than 3 hours straight kip without needing to do a blood test.
When the lack of sleep burdens your being, and someone offering you a rogue cup of tea is liable to push you over the emotional edge.
Sometimes, when you are tired, a wee bit sensitive, and possibly over wrought, you can feel the loneliness that I imagine all single parents share. When you tire a little of being superwoman, of raising the kids, paying the bills, mowing the lawn, going to work, on occasion tackling the fecking evergrowing laundry pile. When you just wish that you had someone, a grown up just for you, that could give you a hug and make a brew – and just take over for a while.
The face of a single parent is often beaming, the mind often manic with what happens next, which kid gets dropped where, who needs what washing for when, and the trauma of making meals to suit totally different palates that you are sure you raised the same.
My personality is loud, my face, I hope, mainly smiling. Like a swan gliding across the lake, the aim is never to let anyone see how frantically I am pedaling below the silent water.
But sometimes, inside, sometimes I’m just trying to make it through the day.
Sometimes, and I mean only sometimes, it would be nice to imagine life once more as a family in a fairy tale. Rather than being Cinderella, left back in her scullery maids outfit with three kids, because she split from Prince Charming for being a foot festish fool.
Sometimes, you don’t always see the real face of the single parent, because we carry on regardless. No sick days, no leave it till tomorrow, no household chores allocated to another adult.
We always know the path we chose, or the one that was offered to us to take. We know our part in opting to walk that path alone. And honestly, we don’t know if we will always walk solo, whether alone is our destiny to take.
It can feel hard.