My girls’ Dad is still very involved in their life and he sees them regularly, which is great for them. However, this means that every couple of weeks I have two or three days when they go and stay with him and I am home alone. I have found this is one of the strangest things about being a single mum and has been one of the hardest to adapt to.
One the one hand, day to day life with small children is hard work, and as much as we love our children, it can be draining. The daily routine, housework, discipline, dealing with tantrums can all be emotionally exhausting, so having some time to recharge the batteries is much needed.
Things like having a bath in the middle of the day, or an afternoon nap or spending a couple of hours reading a book or magazine I have found to be great ways to have some ‘me’ time when they aren’t at home. They are very indulgent and things that you just don’t get time to do as a mum of two little children. I also make the most of being able to go to the toilet unaccompanied, and drink a hot cup of tea when I made it, rather than having one cold mouthful an hour later!
But I miss them dreadfully. Being a full time mum means everything about my life is about them, so when they aren’t here I feel lost. The house is empty, quiet (and tidy!). I miss my morning cuddles, them climbing on my knee for a story or snuggling on the sofa to watch Peppa Pig. I miss us all sitting down for tea together and talking about our day and hearing them chat to each other when I’ve put them to bed at night.
The first few times they went I enjoyed the peace and quiet for about half an hour and then wandered aimlessly round the house or round town, convincing myself I was ok. But I wasn’t. They had a life I was no longer part of and it hurt. I wondered what I missing out on, would CJ take her first steps whilst I wasn’t there? (she didn’t!), what fun things were they doing? did they miss me? I felt angry that the time that should have been our ‘family time’ I was now excluded from.
But as the months have passed I have got more used to them being away. The girls love spending time with their Dad and come home full of stories which they can’t wait to tell me. So, I try to make the most of my time. I arrange to see friends and family, I go shopping and actually looking at things, I even stop for a relaxing coffee and cake! I’m on a fitness kick so I go to the gym, go swimming and I have even been away with a friend!
In many ways it’s like I have been given a little bit of my pre baby life back. Just enough to make me feel like me again….and make me even more grateful for my two gorgeous, funny, cuddly little ladies when they come home..