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.