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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Low Ebb

I do normally try and celebrate all the joys of being a single parent (I know it may not seem like it) but today, well today is low ebb. And quite frankly, I'm not feeling it today.

I have just got back from taking the boys on holiday for five nights to Germany. We stayed on a fantastically family friendly farm, with one of my friends and her partner and children. By the third day, I was reduced to tears by the constant misbehaviour of my eldest son. Later that night, over a glass (or several) of wine, I confessed to my friend that quite frankly, I wanted to hand him over to his father. It killed me to admit it, I don't think I could ACTUALLY go through with it, but I'm exhausted. Bone bloody tired, and he is wearing what little there is left of my fighting spirit away. I cried again, when she said "I get it - we've always thought it was because he was over excited, or tired etc. But this is your life, every day." The fact that finally, someone whose judgement I really trusted, who spoke honestly to me, said to me: "Yes, your life is really fucking hard. It's not normal, or ordinary, and you are not making a fuss. It's hard," just made me break down.

The end of the week improved a small bit, then we're back at home and I have one, maybe two days of respite before his behaviour flares again. Then my youngest, probably feeling attention starved, plays up too. On top of this, today I spent the best part of £100 on shoes for both of them. That means I need to spend £30 less on food for three weeks to cover the extra expense. I'm only spending £50 max at the moment anyway.

Meanwhile, my ex tells me he has booked a holiday. So far he hasn't responded to my question about whether he now has enough annual leave to cover the rest of the school holidays. Did I mention that while we were away, he forgot we'd gone? He didn't know his own children had left the country. Jesus wept.

So today, in a bloody fury, I pummelled my hand into my kitchen cupboard, and broke down in frustrated tears at what feels like an endless bloody battle at the moment. I know that my mental state is not as steady as it was. I know that my depression makes everything seem harder than it actually is. I know that crying about it isn't going to make it any different. I know that my poor little six year old boy is struggling with his emotions, learning to adapt to one parent and testing his boundaries. But what I want to know is: Will it ever get any bloody easier?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Clash of the worlds

Hmm, exactly a month since my last post, where I talked about redressing the balance between work and home. Clearly, I've epically failed at that. I am not surprised.

Today I had a classic case of my worlds clashing together, in a way that when I try to explain to people they don't really understand why it makes me so anxious. Today was a huge event at work, in which I've been a central point in planning, organising and pulling off. I had to be at the office at 8am, and I knew I wouldn't get out of there before 4pm. This is my third event at work in three weeks. Meanwhile I also have to do all the other stuff I usually do, and facilitate a re-brand. Does that sound like a lot? Maybe it doesn't, maybe I'm horribly underachieving but the last six months have been exhausting, terrifying, exciting, challenging and a huge learning curve for me. All in 25 hours a week. And all this culminated in today, this final event of the year.

My Mum agreed to meet me at quarter to eight at mine and take the boys to various people for the day. I left for work at quarter to eight. My Mum is quite famous for not understanding why I get so stressed by my children. Last week, on my birthday, she told me the reason my kids get carried away and are so loud and hyped is because I'm 'harrassed' all the time. I frequently get told that when SHE has them, SHE just TELLS them, and they KNOW.

At half eight, as I ran from a marquee to the main hall, carrying chairs, umbrellas, and with seven people asking me questions, my mobile rang. Mum couldn't remember where she was supposed to be taking eldest, and he'd played her up so she was late and she was really sorry but she'd had to tell eldest off quite badly because he was just a NIGHTMARE.

(I had my phone clenched to my ear by my shoulder as I poured squash for 200 children.)

I asked the question: "Mum, what would you like me to do about this now?"
Her: "Nothing, I'm just telling you."


Later that afternoon when I picked the boys up (the event went really well by the way, I feel vaguely proud) it turns out she'd told everyone; Mums in the playground, my childminder, that my eldest had been a nightmare and that's why she was late.

Thanks Mum. I am now the working mother who is too busy to deal with her children, who are so bad even their own grandmother won't look after them.

What I find hard about being a working Mum is that the good scales are never even. Either it's working at work, or it's working at home. Sometimes it's failing at both. But I never feel like it's both working.