I won’t lie, this week has been a bit of a mixed one. Eddy has been working away in Spain since Sunday and so I have had almost an entire week of solo parenting. He works for a European company and whilst he frequently works away and that’s fine, the last few months he has cancelled trips due to me being unwell so this is the first time since I think October that he has actually gone. I am still not feeling 100%, neither are the children truth be told and whilst we have been just fine it has definitely felt like a tough old slog.
I have a love/hate relationship with solo parenting, on the one hand it is tough doing absolutely everything. Entertaining the children the whole time, never getting a minute to myself, doing double bedtimes and bathtimes, cooking all meals and clearing up, being the one to get up in the night and not really getting an evening at all in order to get ahead for the next day, it can be relentless and overwhelming. But then on the other hand there is also a part of me that really likes it. I kind of love that we go by the beat of our own drum, that there is no change of activity/routine when Daddy gets in and no expectation that someone will be there to help, I just get on with it and if I wanted to stay up till 1am blogging, I just do (in hindsight when the littlest woke up three times that night it wasn’t a great idea). I just tend to feel like there is calm and a different pace to life on our own.
This feeling usually lasts a few nights before I am requiring just a little bit of respite though and I do feel lucky that he never goes away for too long. Or when he does, like last summer when he was away for a month, we get to go with him. Years ago before we had children he would have to fly across the other side of the world, in a completely different time zone for up to 8 weeks at a time and I am more than thankful he doesn’t have to do that anymore.
On Wednesday he rang to say that he was having to go away again in a couple of weeks. To get up super early and be on a 6am flight. On Wednesday the 1st Feb. Roma’s 2nd Birthday.
Of course for both of us, for all of us this isn’t ideal and we thought long and hard about whether it was the right thing to do, but this is work. This is what allows us the lifestyle we have, the roof over our heads, the clothes on our back and the presents ready to open on such Birthdays as this. It’s an opportunity he can’t miss out on, a trip much harder than any other but a necessary one all the same. So even though he won’t be here when that day arrives, he will be here to celebrate the day before; and when you are 2, and basically get to have two birthdays, that is a pretty great result.
Eva herself has had a bit of a tough week too. I am not sure whether it is tiredness, her allergies which have been bad, being unsettled due to temporary staffing changes at school or the fact that I have mostly been exhausted, multitasking and not present in the moment as much as I would like this week, but she has been a little overwhelmed and sad. I hate to see her like this at any time but especially when I don’t feel like I have the time to really talk to her and make sure she is feeling secure before getting cross because she is shouting at her sister for being too close or crying at the smallest of things and all I want to do is say sorry and give her a cuddle.
So on Thursday after school pick up I decided we would head out, I had bought these gorgeous yellow raincoats from Tu at Sainsburys the day before to brighten up our moods and we all adore them (except for Eddy who thinks they look like fisherman or that they work for RNLI) so we put them to good use and went to get some fresh air. It really did us all the world of good and instead of getting on top of one another at home they ran and played so happily together. It was so beautiful to watch and feel in the moment as I hadn’t felt that all week and I felt so guilty about it. So guilty because I do have time to stop, to do this and to make sure that as much as the house is clean and tidy and everyone is fed, that we are all having a great time too. It has also actually resulted in some of my favourite photos I have taken of them for a while. Happy and relaxed little ladies and I look at them and think that despite the fact I definitely feel like I could do with a lie down, a cold flannel and maybe a weeks spa retreat, I did it, and not only are we all still alive, but they are really happy.
The love/hate relationship continues but for now I was overjoyed to hear the key in the door earlier than expected on Friday afternoon and I am more than happy to be sat here writing by myself whilst listening to them laugh at the simplest things downstairs. Right now I am quite happy not to be solo.