Accepting being a single parent

Posted Tuesday 2nd September 2014   By Ericka Waller

Once, when in a madcap mood, I read the girls a Fireman Sam compendium in a Welsh accent. It was fun the first time. They can’t tell the difference between Welsh and Indian inflections which helped. I regret it dearly. Now they want me to do it every single night “Talk funny again mummy” they say sitting up expectantly and passing me the (huge) book.

Most days I don’t feel like being funny. I feel like an old flannel, wrung out, frayed and sour. The last thing I want to do is animate a story about Norman shagging Price setting fire to something. I just want to sit in the bath and pour Poppets into my mouth while the dog licks bubbles off my back (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it).

Some nights I wish that my eldest daughter would fall asleep while I was reading to the little ones. I can’t really blame her for not managing it. If you are going to do something you might as well do it properly and Norman Price has a loud squeaky voice. I like to do it justice. When I finally stumble out their room I know she will be waiting on the landing with her crayons, or collection of rocks and a big grin that says “my turn with mummy!”

It’s a big job, this mothering alone. I hate the amount of times I tell the girls “I only have one pair of hands” or yell “can I just take my coat off before you start your demands?” 

I’m not ashamed to say I miss my husband and co-pilot. It was much easier to steer this ship with him at the helm with me.

And yes, I miss sitting down with him at the end of the day and sniggering over something our girls pronounced wrong, or the latest ridiculous place Thing-three did a poo (this morning it was in a putting hole on the golf course. It reminded me of that cartoon dog squatting while the owner screams “no no, I said SIT!”)

Single parenting is an odd mix of never being alone and yet always feeling lonely.  When I am with friends and their husbands call to check in, I remember a life I used to have and it makes it hard to breathe for a second. The pain of failing to give my children the happy ever after I’d planned will always be within me.

But I have my Welsh/Indian accent, slightly kinky dog and children that can’t seem to get enough of me, so I guess I’ll be okay.