When I think about the time I get to myself without children, without needing to do groceries, vacuum, water the plants, or any of my other never-ending jobs around the house – it is very little.
On Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays, if I am not at work, I am with my children. On week days I get home at 2.10pm from work, and they are home at 3pm. In that time, I get to change out of my work uniform, unlock the door, and get ready for their grand entrance – complete with stories of their school day.
On a Thursday, after dropping the kids off at school, and before I go to work myself, there is a three-hour gap. But these three hours are normally dedicated to grocery shopping and housework. Grocery shopping alone, without my children, gives me some of my sanity back. So lets scratch that time off.
Now, I generally think I am lucky because I have Wednesdays off (Sunday is my other day off). Even then, my schedule for the day is generally written off. My oldest son has choir at 7.30am, so it’s a 6am wake-up for us both. Then I’m back to getting my younger son ready for the normal school day. 9am comes flying around, and I am now back at home gearing up to start the housework that was missed out on my work days. I make the beds, vacuum the house, mop if needed, clean the toilets, clean the kitchen, put our washing on, fold our washing, meal plan for the upcoming week, and write out a grocery list. I am lucky if I get to the jobs such as cleaning out my car, or weeding my garden.
Before I know it, its 3pm, and we are bundled into the car zooming off to make it in time for my sons piano lesson.
But I have a whole school day to myself..
Six hours right? Man, I should be as happy as Larry. No bitching here. Well yes, I could come home from the school drop off, sit down, pick up a book, and read until I hear the door open at 3pm. But, then where will I squeeze in all that housework that I left? It’s still there, and if left unattended, will not take very long to become a mammoth task.
So, when I really think hard about my life, the time I have to myself outside of my job, my children, and every day household jobs….is when my children are in bed. I normally go to bed at the same time. I read for an hour or so, until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. So I guess an hour or so to myself each night is not much, but in looking and really thinking about it, it was there. That time alone.
Being a solo parent is hard on any given day. Some, like me, do not have a second parent in the picture. The other parent may not be around for many reasons. For example, they may have passed away, they may not be fit to be a parent by the courts, they may have deserted their child early on, or from the beginning. They could also be in prison, another country, or even around the corner and have their children on weekends or holidays.
Whatever the case, being a solo parent makes us super parents. We are both parents to our children. I, for one, 100% nurture my children, pay for them, love them, raise them, teach them right from wrong, educate and inspire them, treat them and reprimand them. I wouldn’t change it for the world – and not even if it meant that I could have two hours a night instead of one 🙂
So if you are having a day, week, or month where you feel like you get out of bed and work hard, parent hard, and clean hard, without any down time, then try to find that shining beacon of light in the distance. That precious hour wherever it is, here and there that you have to yourself – you may not have even realised it’s there.