Being a single mum is hard, and it is exhausting, but in so many ways it gives you a relationship with your child that is so much closer than it might otherwise be. Miss Rose and I were just that, Miss Rose and I. We spent all day together, every day, and after she went to bed it was just she and I in the house, every night. Miss Rose and I were living in a very insular, very us-focused, little bubble.
Then came The Boy and suddenly we found ourselves not a family of two, but a family of four complete with a younger brother. Our days were spent in the company of others, our evenings were spent with our new family, and at night she shared a room with Z and I with The Boy. Overnight everything changed.
Last night we had the rarest of rare things, a boy-free-house. Z was with his mother, The Boy was having dinner with his father. Miss Rose and I fell into our pattern that, despite being a long time gone, is still so deeply ingrained in us that it comes naturally.
We ate pizza and watched Bing Bunny. We had a bubble bath and splashed around washing the day’s summery grime off her skin and washing her hair whilst she sprayed me with squirty toys and giggled. Then cuddles, milk, and bedtime. She fell asleep fast, something of a rarity these days, and slept nicely and calmly.
Evenings on my own used to be standard. Occasionally I would spend time with a friend or a boyfriend who came round, but usually it was just me. Me, my TV, my computer, and my own company. I am so used to coming downstairs and spending that time with The Boy, talking and laughing and watching Netflix together, that the house seems to echoe emptily when he’s not there. I wasn’t lonely as such, I have a wide network of people to text and friends to Facebook, Twitter feeds to read and anti-feminists to get into fights with. But I was aware. I was aware of the absence of the person I am now bonded to and I missed him.
I was unsettled by his absence once I went to bed, until I got the text to say he had missed his last train home and therefore I wouldn’t see him til morning because he’d be bunking on his dad’s sofa. Once I knew he was safe, and I knew he wasn’t returning, I suddenly found myself assuming the star fish position and settling off to a deep and comfortable sleep. Miss Rose came sneaking in at around 2, slid under the duvet next to me, and immediately realised she got a whole pillow to herself and became my mini star fish bedside companion. Just like before.
Even though it was unplanned, Miss Rose and I wound up having a single mum night again. Dinner, bedtime, and sleep all just us. We woke up in the morning and she said “I lud you mama” and then farted loudly. We rolled out of bed and headed downstairs for breakfast, settled in front of the TV, and here we sit now. Just us. Just like before.
Whilst I don’t miss being a single mum, and I genuinely believe that with a father and brother Miss Rose has flourished, there are elements of it I do miss. I miss having that much focussed time with my little girl. Sharing a special bond which came from our lives being so tightly knitted together, and which since we allowed others into our bubble is less co-dependent. Yes it’s a good thing, but yes I miss it at times.
The Boy will get home today, currently sat on a train whizzing towards our little town, and soon we will be in the company of both him and Z once again. Our new normal. And that is a great thing because I miss them both and Miss Rose has confused as to where her daddy is, not upset, just confused, and I know it would quickly to turn to upset if he never returned. I wouldn’t wish for many single-mum nights, and I wouldn’t ever wish to be a single-mum again. But just occasionally, just for us, a bit of she and me time in the evening to just be us again is nice.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!