You know, I don't for a second regret leaving my husband. Not for a second. But I have to admit that this single parenting malarky is a lot harder than I expected.
After a while, you feel a sort of grinding, perpetual tiredness that comes with the responsibility of being the grown up ALL THE TIME. You're always 'on', even when you've snuck away to bed for 15 minutes - in theory, to 'power nap', in practice, to listen to the kids bang eight bells out of each other downstairs. There's always something sodding domestic to do, and of course you need to be in a state of readiness to turn on your sympathetic/joyful/pleased/shocked/stern face for the kids at any given time.
This week has been tough. Saturday was a visit to my Dad and his partner, who has Motor Neurone Disease. My brother was there too, with his family (see previous post). Added to this was the complication that the boyf had to go to hospital for an operation, and needed some looking after. As I was unable to get there, I had to text his ex wife to ask her for help.
I found this stressful.
The boys objected to going out on Sunday, so it was proclaimed a day of rest - which of course means a day of fighting, arguing, shouting, hitting, crying. My period was a day late.
I found this stressful too.
Monday was the school run and a full day at work, followed by a lovely choir rehearsal. The kids were at their dad's. This was NOT stressful, but the sleepless night that followed was. My period was two days late.
Tuesday - work, followed by endless scurrying around dropping the kids off at cricket, swimming, sock darning... Period now three days late. Woke at 4am and took a pregnancy test in the half light of my digital clock. Negative. Thank fuck.
Wednesday - school run followed by work, followed by school run and parents' evening (my ex didn't bother turning up, obviously). Period came on with a tsunami-like rush, soaking through my knickers and leggings. I left a red buttock imprint on the school chair.
I'm now lying in bed having had a discussion with my 13 year old about the merits of homework, how to build a model of a Maglev train, how he hates his brain, how nobody gives him any attention at school. My back hurts. The washing up is waiting for me downstairs. Boyf's wife is at his house making him tea.
I am too tired to be stressed. In a minute, I'm going to pour out a vodka and send the kids to bed. Then, dressed in my old scummy but glorious dressing gown, I'll sip my drink, wish I had some Maltesers, and watch some shit telly until sleep overwhelms me and I wake myself up with an enormous snore.
Welcome to the life of a single parent.