Wednesday, 24 August 2016

ON MY OWN



I've been trying to write this post for weeks now and I've been really struggling to articulate what I want to say so I apologise in advance if this isn't very coherent, but it's something I really wanted to write, even if it's not very good.  

A few weeks ago, Lewis spent four days and three nights in hospital which meant I was on baby duty all by myself for four whole days. And oh my god. It was hard. As a stay at home mum, I rely on Lewis getting home at 6pm, being able to hand Freya over and have an hour to myself. That hour keeps me sane and you don't realise how much you rely on your significant other for that bit of respite at the end of the day until they're not there. 

Without sounding like an absolute d*ck, I've always found being a parent fairly easy. I didn't struggle through Freya's newborn days, I spent the first few months of her life being told I'd taken to motherhood like a duck to water and I was proud of myself. I'd spent such a long time wanting nothing more than to be a mum, and to know I was good at it felt amazing. But I also had Lewis there. I had someone to grab me a drink if I was feeding Freya, I had someone to share the night feeds and nappies with, and I had someone who understood what I was going through, because he was going through the exact same thing at the exact same time. 
Caption from my personal Facebook: Lewis is in hospital again so I've had to take over bedtime duties tonight and oh my god my child is either the devil incarnate or she's really missing her daddy. Either way, it was bloody hard work, especially after being on solo mama duty all day too, and there's no way I could cope doing it on my own every single day so props to all you single parents out there.
And then he was gone. And I was at home, with a very active 8 month old. On my own. And I hated it. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with Freya and I know I'm incredibly lucky to be able to stay at home with her, but it was really f*cking hard. 7am - 6pm wasn't too bad, I'm used to having her on my own during those hours. I'm used to being on nappy duty and feeding duty and playtime duty and meal prep duty and a whole host of other duties. But after 6pm? That was a whole new ballgame. I was not prepared for how much of a toll those extra few hours would have on me. And I just couldn't do everything. I couldn't balance keeping on top of the housework as well as look after a baby 24/7. I just cannot stress how difficult it really is. 

How do you do it, single parents? How do you manage to keep your house looking respectable and play with your child at the same time? How do you manage to give your child everything they need as well as keep yourself sane? I didn't do any washing during those four days. Freya and I didn't eat a single home cooked meal (freezer fry up to the rescue). I'm pretty sure Freya only had one bath and I wasn't having my baths until 10 at night. It was just absolute chaos. Manic, if you will. 

Lewis has had a few hospitalisations since Freya was born but nothing quite like this one. His first two were when Freya was 2-3 months old, and as I mentioned before, I found her super easy at this age. I could put her down somewhere and not have to worry about whether she was trying to scale the bookcase or the TV. I could put her in the sling and wear her while I did some housework. She didn't require feeding anything other than her milk so I wasn't making three meals a day for her. I simply just found her easy, and I know I'm probably in a minority who didn't struggle with the newborn stage, but boy is Freya making up for it now. I've never known an eight month old as adventurous and fearless as she is. Just yesterday she climbed onto a kiddies sofa and started using it as a trampoline. On her own! I can't wear her anymore as she is too heavy for her sling, we can't really afford a toddler carrier and besides that, she's so bloody heavy I can barely move when I'm wearing her anyway! 

I didn't enjoy being a lone parent at all. Not one bit. As much as I love my daughter (and trust me, I love her like I've never loved anything else in my whole entire life), she can be a total nightmare. She has definitely inherited both her mother and father's stubbornness, as well as my mood swings and temperamental nature. Top all of this with a baby who is used to her daddy putting her to bed and playing with her in the evenings and what do you get? One mega grumpy baby and one mega grumpy mama. She must have found it difficult as well. She's such a daddy's girl and loves him with all of her heart, so to not see him for four whole days (minus one 1 hour visit to the hospital) must have been hard, and confusing, for her.  But we did it. We persevered and we got through it, together. As a team. A mama and baby team. 

Never the less though, I was so happy to have Lewis home. He drives me absolutely crazy and some days I want to smother him with a pillow, but he really is so special to me. We're pretty chalk and cheese when it comes to having things in common, we don't really have many similar hobbies and we don't usually like to watch the same TV programmes or eat the same food, but I love him. With all of my heart. And I really realised how much I depend on him while he was in hospital. 

Lewis has been home for a couple of weeks now and we are slowly but surely settling back into our routine. Freya has started being nice again (thank god) and she is probably more of a daddy's girl than ever before. We're still not sure what is wrong with Lewis, and he is due to have some further tests in the near future but he's here. And we couldn't be happier to have him back, even if he can sometimes be a bit of a drama queen. 

Thanks for reading, 

Grace x