It's 2.57am, same Sunday, and inside it's bloody freezing. Your head won't stop thumping, you feel nauseous, your 10mth old won't stop crying no matter what you do, your 2yr old has been woken and needs attention; luckily your 5yr old is a good sleeper. The sounds of car doors and chatter register in the background as some faded reminder of a previous life but really only serve to increase the loneliness; despair is just a thought away as dizziness hits when you stand.
You'd give whatever you had to be able to settle the littlest one (new tooth maybe or same bug you have?), sort the 2yr old, hug them both and tuck them into bed. You'd also give whatever you had to get the same treatment, to be fixed, given a big hug and tucked into bed. Reality pops the fantasy bubble as you head for the toilet to throw up again, accompanied by the sounds of crying; your kids and probably your own (unless you're a guy and us guys know how bloody tough we are).
True/false? Most single parents will know this stuff is on the cards for them, have been through similar spots or have something to look forward to! Most parents will have experienced this even if not a single Mum or Dad.
There are endless variations in single parent families and homes, I know that. Some do it easier than others, but for most single parents who do it all, they have my respect and super thumbs-up.
I'll also throw in here that there are Mums or Dads out there who have a husband, wife, partner, whatever, but are mostly single parents anyway because the other half does nothing to help; ' that's your job ' mindset.
Without making it all doom and gloom there are advantages for the single Mum or Dad. First of all you can have a title; such as Queen of the house, King of the house, Managing Director, Head Honcho, No.1, The Boss, CEO, The Big One, OIC, The Dude or Dudette, The Man, The Woman; I guess that's enough.
As the Boss, you have no one to question your decisions, you run the show in your style and have your own routine. The kids won't have conflicting parents views and have to like it or lump it.That's the general picture.
There are disadvantages of course; No help, on duty 24 hrs a day, no one to talk to, no one to confide in, no support. no one to bounce ideas off. You can go from hero to zero for an unpopular decision with no one else to blame. There can seem to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
I remember years ago, visiting my sister (single parent) who was unwell but apparently recovering, Her young bloke, about 5, at school. My sister looked bloody awful, flopped on her lounge. I ended up sponging her face (in a sweat), making her tea, getting some tabs into her and cleaning up the kitchen. After a few hours she had picked up a fair bit, showered and recharged the batteries just a little. My short visit made a difference.
But what about the single Mum or Dad that has no one? And this happens. No friends, no contact, no help, no money. At 2.57am on a Sunday and head down a toilet? What misery. What if they are 18yrs old, in a dingy room and trying to keep and care for an unplanned baby?
It's a great thing that support services are out there and they could really benefit the single parent who has no one to lean on. A genuine 'How are you?' can go such a long way.
Thinking of single parents, especially young ones in horrible situations, often keeps my own moans and groans in perspective.
To all those single parents out there; you don't know me but I often think of you.