Single Parents I Salute You

4 Jun

Last night I watched on from the comfort of the sofa the ritual that is my wife getting ready for a night out. I have no idea what happens during the hour that passes but there is lots of noise, lots of indecision and lots of “how does this look?” ‘s. I still don’t really know the ‘right’ answer to that question, I’ve tried honesty and I can assure you that it’s not always the best policy and I’ve tried lying through my teeth and she sees straight through it.

I don’t relish the nights when me and Max are left to our own devices. He smells my fear and with 50% fewer parents to contend with he goes all out to break me. He kisses his Mum goodbye and looks for all the world like butter wouldn’t melt. But as soon as it’s just me and him he looks at me as if to say “you’re my bitch now”. Food, bath, PJ’s, books, milk, more books, teeth, more books, bed are all ticked off the list but the ticks are great big angry red ones that tear right through the page. Food is thrown, bathwater drunk, PJ’s are resisted, books are ripped, milk is dribbled, teeth clamp down on brush and bed is just somewhere to perform some toddler cabaret.
As if that isn’t enough to have you reaching for a bottle of something strong you spend the next couple of hours, cooking, cleaning, tidying, washing up and putting out a large glass of water and a couple of Berocca’s for the party girl (this is reciprocated when I over indulge), to the backdrop of your child doing everything in their power (banging, bouncing, screaming, kicking) to resist arriving in the land of nod. At around 9:30pm all goes quiet and you allow yourself a whopping 30 mins of whatever constitutes relaxation before hitting the sack and mentally preparing yourself for a 2am wakeup call from a slightly slurry wife who can’t quite understand why you don’t share her enthusiasm for a blow by blow account of her evening.

I’ve recently made friends with a local single parent and she has become my hero. The strength this lady has to raise her beautiful child so well, to provide for them both, to run the house, to find some way of nourishing herself and doing it all with a smile on her face I find incredible and I am completely in awe of her and I tell her that regularly.
Every single time I find myself about to complain about how hard parenting can be I stop myself. Every time Max wakes up in the middle of the night and Anna goes in to settle him I am thankful. Every time I need a quick timeout Anna steps in and I am thankful. Every time I question my ability to parent Anna is there to tell me otherwise and I am thankful. Basically every time I need someone Anna is there and I am truly thankful for that.

With this in mind I would like to pay tribute to all the single parents. I don’t often wear hats but if I did I would take mine off to you. I am sure there are times when you feel like everything is conspiring against you and I just wanted to tell you that you are all heroic in my book.


26 Responses to “Single Parents I Salute You”

  1. Wendy June 4, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    I totally agree with you! ! Hubby has gone away gor work at times and I really appreciate him when he returns!!

    • daddownunder June 4, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      It must be incredibly hard, I couldn’t even imagine. Still its nice for hubby to go away and get a nice welcome home : ) thanks Wendy

  2. Sarah @ Slapdash Mama June 4, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    I think this every freaking day. They are amazing. If it weren’t for my husband I would be in the funny farm. For realz.

    • daddownunder June 4, 2013 at 10:21 am #

      For realz indeed! I suppose you always find that bit extra but to have to do it day in day out is amazing. Thanks for stopping by Sarah

  3. Me June 4, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    I totally endorse what you say in this post. When A was working in Taiwan for a month on a month off, I really battled to manage the month he was away. I think I only cut the grass once in the month, the washing would pile up, quick meals were snatched when possible, homework was skimmed as there never seemed to be enough time after finishing work, doing the school pick up, getting groceries and making sure she went to bed at a reasonable time.
    I too salute single parents, and if I was wearing a dress would courtesy as a sign of respect !!!!
    Have the best day !

    • daddownunder June 4, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      You cut the grass one more time than I would have! I hope it came across that I wasn’t trying to patronise those parents, I admire them. I’m terrible when Anna goes out I just let things fester until the morning. Thanks Me

  4. Lisa June 4, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    my Mum was a solo Mum, and as soon as I became a Mum myself I grew a whole new level of respect for that beautiful woman. any parent doing it on their own deserves a medal!

    • daddownunder June 4, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      I think your absolutely right Lisa, half the people equals double the workload and no support. Hats off to them

  5. Sus June 4, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    I completely agree! Just having someone to say ‘do you think we should do this?’ ‘Can you please help with that?’ makes such a difference. I think single parents are incredible.

    • daddownunder June 4, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      And I definitely don’t mean it in a “poor you” kind of way – I just don’t think I’d be strong enough to do it myself. I think generally speaking we are talking about some incredibly strong people. Thanks Sus

  6. Dominique June 4, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    I don’t know how partners of people in dangerous jobs take care of their kids and deal with the stress of worrying about their other half too! Eg. Army wives/husbands.

    • daddownunder June 4, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      Blogger wives have the same issue Dominique ; ) it must be a tough gig, I know you always find a bit more but I’m not sure i would be strong enough. Thanks Dominique

  7. Carolyn June 4, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    I think parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world, but without doubt the most rewarding. I am a single parent to 2 toddlers and I am definitely envious when I hear about friends nights out or see pics of their recent holidays (I don’t really have anyone who I can call on to babysit) but I wouldn’t change anything about my life.

    I work part time and am also studying so sometimes it feels like I am on a treadmill, constantly on the go but never going forward. I avoid telling people I am a ‘single Mum’ as I get sick of the assumption that I am a welfare bludger.

    The kisses, cuddles and snuggles when they creep into my bed early in the morning make all the hard work worthwhile.

    Your post was lovely to read so thank you.

    • daddownunder June 4, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Thanks for your honest response Carolyn and could i just say that since posting it I’m concerned that it may seem like I’m patronising single parents. I’m not saying poor you I’m saying I’m a little bit in awe of you because it m not sure i would be strong enough. I’m glad that you get so much from parenting and that you are rewarded by the love of your 2 children.

  8. Karen Reid June 4, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    I’ve recently joined the ranks of single parents. My beautiful son was 2 in January. Things hadn’t been well in our relationship for a while so it wasn’t a great shock. He works away on the mines on a 3weeks away 1week home roster so was used to doing things on my own to a certain extent, but def loved the break when he got home. When it 1st happened I was completely terrified about being a single mum but I have a lot of support so now I think I might not be too bad

    • daddownunder June 4, 2013 at 11:57 am #

      Sorry to hear you guys split Karen. I’m sure it is the thought of going into the unknown that’s so scary but you always find a bit more. You will do wonderfully

  9. Chrissy June 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    I too take my hat off to all the single parents out there…my Mum was a single parent and I know the sacrafices she made over the years for me and my brother…you truely are special people…
    I’m staring down the barrel of running the show solo for 2 years…my Defence Husband has been posted to Sydney and I have made the hard decision to stay in sunny Darwin with our two boys. My Master nearly 17 is in year 11 and is also a school based apprentice as a Diesel Mechanic (his dream job) and I love my job in the Offshore Oil Industry and well Master 7 is just along for the ride! I know in my heart that this is the best thing for our family but I also know there will be days when I think I’m totally insane.

    • daddownunder June 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      What a tough decision to make Chrissy, but it sounds like your doing the right thing for you and your family. As others have mentioned you do always find a little it more in the tank and it’ll be pretty special when you do all catch up. Good luck with it Chrissy

  10. Rory Mouttet June 4, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    I’ll say. 2 hours with mine and the house is a proper bomb site. This afternoon I found Siena with a mouthful of crayola. She had consumed a great deal of it and there was carnage everywhere. I was so relieved as soon as Amanda got home. Single parents are seriously heroes in my book too.

    • daddownunder June 4, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

      Haha I think we suffer from the same problem Rory, happy child would be achievable, happy house not so much. Such a massive workload

  11. Julie June 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    Maybe I need to leave Jarvis alone with Justin more. In the last 18 months he has only been “in charge” one night when I was in hospital, once when I had a massage in Fiji and yesterday for half an hour when I had my first haircut in forever. Not that I drink, but maybe I should go out drinking one night, just so he can experience what you did. The night time struggle.

    • daddownunder June 5, 2013 at 2:38 am #

      Julie I refuse to believe your haircut takes thirty minutes, are oyu sure you’re not underselling poor Jarvis? Every Dad should be left to do a few solo nights, just to realise how lucky they are. Thanks for commenting.

  12. IrishMum June 4, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    Hi from A Beach Cottage! When you wife asks THAT question, the answer is ALWAYS, “You look great!!!” Get it? Jeeze, men!

    • daddownunder June 5, 2013 at 2:16 am #

      Thank you Irish Mum, its good to have you and your advice about the place, i’m learning already ; )

  13. Vanessa Beattie (@BabblingBandit) June 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    I’m a single mum. It is really effing hard but I am so lucky to have a really supportive family, particularly my parents whom we live part time with. I’m currently going through a rough time with my health so my family have all gone away to my parents house in the Blue Mountains taking my 4.5yo with them so I can have four days to recharge my batteries.

    The hardest thing I find about being a single parent is not the actual work involved, like bathing or feeding or sending to bed. It is the discipline and the decision making. I am always worried I’m doing things wrong and there’s noone to say that I’m not. Yeah, my family tells me what they think, but I don’t take it well from them. If only there was a man in my my son’s life who was also responsible for him I think it would make a big difference.

    I think of myself as a feminist and that I can do anything a man can do but I really believe now that my little boy is craving that love and attention from a male parent. I build lego with him and play superheros and that sort of stuff. But I’m not into sport or other male things. My son is extremely close to my dad but my dad doesn’t give the time a little boy should have with his own father. My dad didn’t give me and my sister the ‘dad time’ we needed. He just not that into little kids. I’m not dissing my dad, he is the best, but for the first time since my little boy was born I feel bad that he doesn’t have a dad of his own.

    Sorry for the essay on your blog! You daddy bloggers are all so awesome but sometimes when I read you guys and see how wonderful you are with your kids it makes me a little sad too that my son doesn’t have a father just like one of you.


    • daddownunder June 9, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      I can imagine that not having someone there to back you up on the daily decisions would be really tough, I need Anna to sometimes reassure me that what I’m doing is right. Your boy will get his fix of boy stuff from kinder and school, far better he has one devoted parent than two unhappy ones. Good luck with it all and don’t be too hard on yourself

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