I know I am a lightweight when it comes to alcohol and that after a drink or two I am a little merry and tipsy, which usually results in me becoming giggly and sometimes flirtatious! I don’t often drink and when I do, it’s often just the one (so I’m definitely a cheap date!).
However, last weekend I finally had the opportunity to celebrate passing my first year of my counselling training, and I was treated to a bottle of bubbly! The last time I drank champagne was on my 21st birthday, so it’s been a year or two!!!! It’s fair to say it went down very easily! The trouble is I’d not eaten a great deal, so it probably went to my head even more quickly than usual.
It felt really good to finally celebrate, though, as things haven’t been easy and at times it’s been hard to remain positive. For the first time since the first lockdown I went away for a couple of nights to the beach with my daughters and my Mum and had high hopes of us having a wonderful time as a family and the girls enjoying going to a farm and doing lots of things they’ve not had chance to do in over a year. However, unfortunately my youngest daughter had a sickness bug, and so I didn’t see any of the beach and instead spent the two days stuck in the hotel room. I didn’t even make it down for breakfast or get to paddle in the sea.
Of course my priority was my daughter, but on the first morning after my Mum went out with my eldest daughter, I remember sitting on the bed crying like a baby whilst my youngest daughter slept in between being sick. I admit that I felt sorry for myself. Not only for missing out on making memories as a family but also having paid for a holiday which is a big deal for me. Then I felt bad for feeling sorry for myself when I reminded myself that there were people far worse off than me and that at least my Mum was able to take my eldest daughter out and that we’re getting to spend some quality time together and that at least I had a window with a view.
I was also grateful for having my mum with me during the night as, although I would have managed, she helped me cope with looking after my daughter who was sick every hour and at one point I ended up having a funny turn which I think was down to pure exhaustion. On the bright side, I didn’t have to wash all the sheets and towels…although I felt bad about the cleaners having to wash them and left the room as best I could. The 48 hours of sickness felt like a lifetime, and it’s horrible feeling so helpless when your child is ill. Fortunately she’s absolutely fine now.
Both of my girls have had their fair share of bugs since returning to childcare/pre-school, but from what I can gather a lot of children have as it’s the first time most have mixed in months. Then when we went to stay with family who we’d not seen in months my eldest had an ear infection which was horrible and this led to another weekend of sleepless nights and not being able to make the most of our time away.
I love my children with all my heart, and they are most definitely my world. They give me strength and hope. They make me so incredibly happy every day, and they are without a doubt my greatest achievement. But I don’t think people admit or talk enough about how bloody hard it is to be a parent, let alone a single parent. I’m so lucky that my daughters are so well-behaved and easy going, but that doesn’t necessarily take away from how hard it can be.
Being a single mum is a 24/7 job with no breaks. People have joked about work being easier, but I know of parents who’ve chosen to go back to work, not for the one by but for a break!! And that’s OK. At work, you get to have adult conversations and talk about things other than CBeebies or hearing the word ‘Mummy’ every second. You get to wear clothes that don’t resemble a decorators outfit from all the food, paint, snot smears etc.
You have a reason to brush your hair and wear make up and can actually go to the toilet in peace!!! How amazing is that?! It’s a luxury that so many people take for granted! What I’d give to be able to go to the toilet, lock the door and have a few minutes peace! Instead, even if I manage to sneak off I’ll soon hear footsteps followed by ‘Mummy’ and then I have company. I read an article recently about a mum who locks themselves in the bathroom, so they can have a shower in peace, meanwhile their little one is constantly knocking at the door and shouting for them whilst they stand in the shower crying…crying because they feel guilty and also because it’s so incredibly hard.
No matter how good children are, it is still hard work. There’s no time for yourself, and all other parents seem to want to talk about us children things. You overhear parents talking and it is sooo dull! It’s like a competition over whose child has eaten more vegetables or whose child was toilet trained the quickest… I can’t think of anything worse! I adore my girls, and I’m so proud of them, but I don’t want to sit with a group of strangers talking about that or to feel I have to compete or have my children judged.
In fact, don’t get me started with potty training! I remember feeling so pressured and judged with my eldest that I was getting stressed about it! The best advice I was given was that they will do it when they are ready, and it’s so true! What I found most interesting is that children have very little control over their life, but that going to the toilet is pretty much one of the only things they can control. Does it really matter how old they are when they are potty-trained? Does it affect their lives? No! I’m 34, and I can’t tell you when I started using the toilet, and quite frankly I don’t care.
Sometimes I crave to feel like me and not just a Mummy, despite how much I love being a full time mummy. To feel like I can wear clothes that aren’t just for playing around in and have a reason to make an effort. Admittedly, if Mastermind did a category on CBeebies I’m certain I’d score highly!! However, I also need a bit of me time, we all do.
I’ve learned that in order to be the best that I can be for my girls that I also need to think of myself and take care of myself, which is something I still find hard. Especially when it comes to spending money on myself, as I feel it should all go on them (which it pretty much does).
Starting my counselling training has given me something to focus on that is for myself as well as my girls, and as the world returns to some sort of normality I hope to be able to dip my toe back into life outside of being a mum. Like a lot of parents, I have been mainly stuck at home with my children for more than a year, yes there have been so many amazing experiences, but it’s also been tough.
So, I nursed my ‘wine flu’ by snuggling on the sofa watching the men’s final of Wimbledon whilst telling myself I wouldn’t get hungover again! (Only time will tell!)