Ben arrives home tomorrow after being away for 10 days. As we cruise into the finish line, I am exhausted but I feel like we’ve done okay, the little Loves and I. Quick tally on some vital stats over the past week-or-so of single-parenting:
Number of times Charlie has been asleep before 9pm: 2
Number of mornings Sam has slept in longer than 6am: 2
Number of nights Sam has slept in my bed: 5
Number of nights Mummy has enjoyed a sneaky wine: 10
Number of unscheduled hospital visits: 1
Chances of Daddy arriving home to a clean house: 0
But he will arrive to whole lotta love from his little family ;)
In the more challenging moments, I have mourned the absence of my partner-in-crime and his ability to swoop in when I particularly need practical support and emotional backup. While sometimes Ben and I might feel like ships in the night as we attend to the needs of small children and work commitments, it’s nice to have a special person to debrief with at the end of the day, to share the highs and lows with. And trying to do that via Skype isn’t quite the same, especially when fighting for screen time with three little people (especially Nicholas, who is a self-confessed screen hogger ;)
But I have found it an interesting experiment in parenting over the past 10 days and, in some ways, it’s been easier and more calm. I feel as though I’ve been more organised, more willing to ask for help from the village, more patient with the boys, less stressed about nutrition and more concerned about ease. I have tried to lower my voice, rather than raise it. I’ve focused on the basics, on what’s really important, and haven’t worried about the rest. I haven’t set unrealistic expectations. Of course, that’s got nothing to do with Ben, his absence or presence, and everything to do with me. And, it got me thinking, does it have to be hard? Why can’t I focus on the important stuff, have more realistic expectations and not be so hard on myself every day of the week, rather than just when Ben’s away? I haven’t come up with any particularly good answers, but it has given me food for thought.
PS. Thank you to all the friends and family in the village who have checked in to see how we are, or hung out with us, providing stellar company, food, the occasional glass of wine, other kids to distract mine, usually a pool and sometimes even Christmas craft. You are the greatest x
nicholas: One of my favourite books when I was little was ‘Where Did the Baby Go?’ by Sheila Hayes. Oh, you’re still my baby, but I see those legs growing longer and that little face looking older, the way you attempt to put your own clothes on and keep up with those big brothers. I love your sense of humour and the ‘conversations’ we have. You are a delight, Nicholas Love.
sam: You have stepped up as the man of the house while Daddy’s been away and you’ve been such a good helper. You are a beautiful soul, Sam Love. I love when we walk through school and I hear you call out and say hi to people by name as we pass, regardless of whether they are teachers or students in Prep or another grade. I love that you remember people’s names and make them feel special, and that people remember your name too.
charlie: Your ability to make a game out of anything, to find delight in the ordinary, never fails to inspire me. You have made me giggle so many times this past week – my favourite was probably when we were playing on the ground and you pressed down hard on my chest and asked, “am I breaking your heart, Mum?” You appear tough as nails sometimes, but I know you are a sensitive bunny and I am trying harder to listen to what you’re really trying to tell me through your actions. You are a unique and beautiful character, Charlie Love.
Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of each of my boys every week in 2014.