Friday, April 30, 2010

All The Single Mamas

Last night I came this close to crossing the line into to the land of loony-tunes. Keith was in Canberra and dinner with the kids was like being a serving wench to a couple of disgruntled lunatics.

Ivy had the post-pre-school emotional jitters and Teddy is currently eighty-two flavours of crazy. He shouts 'ME MINE MORE!' all day long, and even- at 3am last week - in his sleep. At dinner I heard 'ME MORE SOSS!' until my ears bled.

It took me twenty minutes of soothing talk about good times to calm Ivy down enough to sleep at bedtime. For me, it felt like dredging the bottom of a tapped-out emotional dam.

Some weeks when Keith is away are like that. By the time he is home I feel the weight of his emotional half-share lift off my shoulders with relief. Not for the first time, I thought about my single-parent friends, who carry that weight all alone.

Last week, after gastro ripped through the family like an evil fairy, I was all out of patience. I'd been dealing with irritable sick children for days, and one dinnertime, I had lost all my mummy mojo. Ivy refused to eat, and I had nothing left but grumpiness. Eventually, Keith appeared.

'Are you feeling very grumpy, Ivy?' he asked.
'Yes,' she whimpered.
'Do you know why you feel so grumpy?' he asked.
'No,'' she said, and burst into tears.

He folded her into a Dad-hug, and explained about sickness, and recovery, and trying to talk nicely to other people even when you felt very yukky inside, and he promised that tomorrow she would feel a little bit better.

I felt very grateful to have a Keith. And I thought of my single-Mum friends, without a Keith, who dredge that emotional dam all the time, and do it so well, and I felt very, very proud of them too.


  1. You made me cry.

    Also: sauce is a vegetable. Otherwise I'm a bad mother.

  2. Yes indeed. I don't know how they do it but I know they're amazing. I'm facing three weeks of single motherhood in June and already starting to feel out of my depth...

    And on a lighter note my word verification code was 'appboobi'. How apt.

  3. Yes. I have some single parent friends here in Warsaw, and I have no idea how they do it. None.

    I sent you an e-mail this morning, BTW, as you requested. Let me know what's up! ;)

  4. thanks rachie:)

  5. You've put it so eloquently - the emotional dam being empty is spot on.

  6. I play at being a single mum during the summers, when I work at a sleepaway camp and Jess brings home the bacon in town. Seriously? I'm ready to off the lot of them after 8 weeks...and am so grateful to be part of something bigger when we're all reunited. (But...I can wear long skirts and shave and odd intervals all summer, so that's a plus!)

  7. I do very small bouts of flying solo with my boys... And pray the whole time that I'll never be asked to have to find the inner strength to do it permanent-like. Interdependent partnersips like yours (and mine) make that sort of resillience seem impossible I reckon! But you know, we'd do what we had to in different circumstances...


Thanks for talking to me. I don't got cooties. Oh, except for when I got cooties.