Saturday, 8 November 2014

A Day as a Single Parent

The thing is, is that no one really sees the amount of work we do. Everyone is quick to call you a bad parent at the first sign of your baby being grumpy. Or worse, they give you the really condescending phrase, "oh, the poor little boy!" (Yeah, poor kid. Having such a bad parent like me - tough life, huh?) and it is driving me crazy. So, to clarify the amount that I do actually do, I thought I would compose a list of my day to day activities of trying to keep my eight month old son happy.

7am - I am up at the crack of dawn, as this is when my child wakes. I say 'dawn', but it's actually still dark outside. The first thing I do is change a charmingly poop-filled nappy before popping on the kettle for my morning tea.
7.30 - After Rhys has gotten bored of crawling around, and of me picking him out of the cat litter tray numerous times (I can't turn my back for a second with him!), I then plonk him in his high chair and feed him his yoghurt. Which he gets everywhere.
7.45 - Rhys will have finished his yoghurt by now and I'll be cleaning him up. He gets ratty very easily but I try and keep him entertained by putting on Milkshake for him in the mornings. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But when Peppa Pig comes on at 8.15, he's a lot more interested.
8.15 - I finally get to start getting myself ready. I get ready in all of fifteen minutes, by washing and moisturising my face, brushing my teeth, putting on a scrap of mascara, brushing my hair and sticking it up in a pony tail, and chucking back on yesterday's jeggings, converse, and a fresh jumper. I then wash up Rhys's bottles and pack his changing back ready for the day: a pack of wipes, a changing mat, five nappies, 3 bottles, a small pot of milk powder, biscuits for him, water for me, his nappy cream, my purse, keys, phone, and a toy for him. 
8.30 - by this point Peppa Pig has finished, my getting ready time is over, and Rhys is screaming blue murder. I give him a fresh nappy change as well as a fresh change of clothes, put him in his pushchair and chuck my coat on, and we're out the door by 8.45.
8.45 - I'm taking Rhys for a walk in his stroller. This will usually help Rhys get back to sleep as he finds the movement comforting. I can take him for a fifteen minute walk around the block, or if I have things to do he'll stay in the pram for longer, and will nap until 10.00am. 
10am - Grumpy wakes up, usually grumpy. I give him teething gel, a fresh nappy change, more milk, his toys, a cuddle, whatever it is he needs to make him stop fussing.
10.30 - I discover that trying to please him isn't working, and by 10.45 we've walked over to the park. He'll play on the swings and the see-saw until 11.00.
11.00 - we'll head back home, and try again with playing with Rhys's toys. I give him one of those large bouncy plastic footballs to chase around the living room, his walker that has an interactive front side to it, his favourite toy lamb, and building blocks. I try to wait it out until 12 so I can give him lunch to fill up his tummy and get him to sleep again. 
12 - Rhys's nap time. I tend to take my lunch and do the housework at this time, sweeping up, cleaning his morning bottles, doing the washing up, putting the laundry on, and tidying the living room.
1 - Rhys will wake up again. I give him another fresh nappy change, and then decide by his mood what we'll do for the afternoon. If he's okay, we'll try and play indoors for the afternoon. Once again I'll put all of his toys on the living room floor for him to play with, and this sometimes lasts for an hour if I'm lucky. If he's already grumpy, I'll put him in his stroller and take him to the local soft play centre. He likes to watch the older kids play and likes to imitate what they do. I don't like to go here everyday as it can get quite expensive, but I do take him here at least a couple of times a week for a break for us both. I like to stay there with him for at least three hours, by letting him play for a bit, giving him a biscuit and some milk to snack on while I have a coffee, and then playing for a bit again before we go home. 
4pm - we'll leave the soft play area and be home by 4.30.
4.30 - Rhys will take his afternoon nap and sleep through until 6pm. In this time I'll do what housework needs to be done before taking a nap for myself. I hang out the washing and take the bins out in this time.
6.00 - Rhys will wake up from his nap and want to play again. I also feed him his dinner, and give him a long bath time before putting him in his cot to sleep at 8.30pm.
8.30pm - I'll have my microwave meal dinner while watching Eastenders. I'll then do the washing up from my dinner, and Rhys's bottles from the afternoon. 
9.00pm - I'll take a quick evening shower, dry my hair, and if I'm lucky, be in bed by 10.00pm, before waking up again at 7am the next morning. It's so important to get enough sleep when you've got a baby, so when I knacker myself out during the day, I sleep well at night. 

This is what I do on a daily basis. It's repetitive, it's not as straightforward as what I've made it out to be as a lot of the time when I put Rhys to sleep, he fights it and sometimes I have to let him cry himself to sleep from where he's been so grumpy and stressful throughout the day that I am too physically exhausted to tolerate his whinging, when I know he is fine. Sometimes it does get very hard to cope as I'm doing a job that was intended for two people, by myself. Rhys is at a very clingy stage at the moment as well, and I'm trying to wean him away from that, as I physically don't have enough hands to carry him at the same time as doing all the stuff that needs getting done. What I'm trying to say, is that it's damn hard, and I'm sick of being judged as a bad person when all I ever do is try to make my son happy, without ever expecting anything in return. I know this is coming off as a rant, I don't mean it to but I feel very passionately about this subject! 

At the end of the day though, I have to remind myself that I was one of the lucky ones - I have a beautiful, healthy baby boy, who at times is very hard work, but I wouldn't change one thing about him. He is the reason I smile every day and seeing his smile, is worth every second of hard work I put into him. 

Love as always,

Sammi-Jane x

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