This week I have come to experience a tiny fragment of what life must be like for a single Mum, and I can honestly say I do not know how they do it!
I am extrememly fortunate in that I have my wonderful husband to share all the duties of running a houshold and taking care of the children. I am also one of the lucky ones who has grown up with both parents and they are still happily married, to be honest with the statistics as they are today I class myself a very very lucky girl.
The 2011 census showed there were 2.9million lone parent families a rise of 9.5%, and I think in most cases they do get a bad rep. O f course I know there are single parents out there who are willing to sit on their behinds and do nothing to better themselves and their children but my experience of single parents has been nothing but the opposite.
This week my husband has been away on business in Spain and although he travels quite often for his work he has never been away for more than a couple of nights and I have been able to keep in constant contact with him throughout. With him being in Spain contact has been minimal and I can honestly say I have felt quite lonely. I have also been extrememly tired, with it being the first week back at work after Christmas we have had to jump straight back into the morning routine, which is stressful at the best of times. This week I have found it even harder having to do it on my own, then coming home after a hard day at work and start all the cooking, cleaning, bathing and bedding on my own has really taken it out of me and I am definitely looking forward to the weekend.
If I had to do this on my own all of the time I think I would have had a nervous breakdown by now and my children would hate me. I can not imagine how difficult it would be being a single parent, having to be both Mum and Dad to your children is hard enough but then put working and looking after a household on top of that its amazing how well rounded (the majority) of these children and families are.
I have a friend who is a single parent, she has a good job, a nice flat and a lovely little girl. For the most part she has spent the last 4 years on her own, making sure she is doing what is best for her daughter and trying to better herself for the sake of her little girl. I can not imagine how tough that must be as I know that what you want more than anything after a hard week at work is a nice cuddle on the couch with your partner. For her, like many other single Mums, to put that aside for 4 years for the sake of your child I think is an emensly selfless act. She rightly has not wanted to bring a stranger into her family and introduce them to her daughter just for them to walk away again.
Being a parent, in my opinion, is one of the hardest jobs you will ever do. The constant guilt that you feel being a parent, you either aren't spending enough time with your child, you are being too tough on them, your being too soft with them, they don't have what the other kids have etc. To have to go through all that on your own must be make things 10 times tougher.
As a parent I know that it is important to have 'me' time, but even when the girls are with their Dad I still feel guilty that I am spending time on myself rather than with them. This 'me' time is even more important for single parents and I think sometimes society is too quick to judge and they can often label single parents as being selfish just because they have a night out or go for a coffee with friends and they haven't got their child strapped to their leg. Why shouldn't single parents get to enjoy themselves without their children? As long as they haven't left their child at home alone, which I am sure no sane parent would do, why shouldn't they let their hair down once in a while?
It annoys me how single parents seem to get the blame for the down fall of todays youth a lot of the time. Whenever there is a story in the news relating to young people or gangs it seems the nation rolls its eyes and mutter under its breath 'bet they are a from a single parent family'. The majority of single parents do an outstanding job bringing up their children and maybe people should think before they judge.
After this week of stress, tiredness and loneliness,I am extremely thankful that I have my husband to help me out and I will be saluting my friend the next time I see her.