The mouse will play. In this case I am the mouse. My husband has been away for the last two weeks. He travels regularly but has never been away for so long before. Here is what I played at:
- Plumbing – I am not a plumber. I have no qualifications in plumbing and there is a reason people do. Our downstairs toilet broke. The tank kept over-filling. I felt the best way to deal with this was to at first ignore then leave it to late to contact anyone about it. This resulted in me spending four hours with one hand encased in a rubber glove in the tank and the other hand holding my phone playing YouTube videos on toilet fixing. Quell Surprise it didn’t work. I spent one long night getting up every hour on the hour getting up to flush the toilet. The next morning, I gave in and phoned a plumber. I didn’t even smirk using the words ballcock and masking tape in the same sentence.
- Fire and Safety Officer- We have smoke alarms. I have an over active imagination. One night I imagined a fire gripping the house in vivid detail. These vivid imaginations only occur when I am home alone with the children.I did not sleep so well. We now have many many more smoke alarms. Their alarm is loud enough to pierce an eardrum and they light up and flash too.
- A Brave Person- I do not like the dark. I never have. I have a night-time routine that ensures at no stage am I left in total darkness. Then came the night where I was lying in bed and I saw the boy trotting past my door not making a sound. I called him and got no reply. I waited and nothing so I got up. I called him again. I went downstairs and found him sitting in the pitch black on the sofa staring at nothing. My immediate reaction was to scream and run back upstairs and hide but then I remembered I was the only grown up in the house so I tried to wake him and got him back upstairs, all the time he was reminiscent of the boy from the Sixth Sense. Had he mentioned seeing dead people, I probably would’ve left the house.
- Brave Person Part Two -Another night I was lying in bed and could hear banging from outside. So I went out with my coat and wellies to check the side gate. Delighted with my bravery I got back into bed and then the banging started again. At 1.45am I had to walk down the side entrance of my house, over our decaying Christmas Tree ( I know) and kids bikes and relock the side gate. Absolutely shitting myself. Another night with little sleep.
- A Doctor and A Nurse- My children are rarely sick but of course they were during this fortnight. I cleaned up puke, rubbed hair, took temperatures, bribed them to take medicine, sat up all night,gave cuddles, gave the chemist and doctors a lot of money.
- A Scuzzy Person – I am not proud of this but on at least three nights I went to bed fully dressed. I eat crackers and cheese for my dinner more often than not in the last two weeks and I reached a new low the other night when I got into bed fully dressed with a carton of ice cream and a bottle of caramel sauce. I poured the sauce directly into the carton with no delph or no shame, apparently.
- A Person with no Job – I do work. In the last two weeks it was nearly impossible to work because there was no break whatsoever from the children. Granted they were sick so that didn’t help but the time I got them to sleep at night, I was practically comatose myself and couldn’t get the energy to turn on computers and during the day I couldnt get out to appointments or post offices. My earnings nose-dived in the last two weeks.
- A Grumpy Mammy- My children are amazing. I love every ounce of them but I am a better parent when I get a tiny bit of time alone every day. Two weeks without this has made me not such nice a person.
- A Grumpier Wife- Facetime is a remarkable means of communication. I spoke with my husband most days for free on Facetime and we could see each other. It was like he was there in the room, so much so I even managed to have a face to face argument with him despite him being half a world away. Just to note, I was arguing, he was not. I am that wife.
All the above were fine though as was doing the male things that the husband usually does in this house- bringing out bins, locking up at night time, carrying the ridiculously heavy children to bed every night, putting water in the car blah blah blah, those things were fine, I don’t like doing those things but I can do them.
There were two things I hated in the last two weeks
- Sitting up with a sick child in the middle of the night with a sky-high temperature and having nobody there to get their opinion, I was arguing with myself in my head about whether her temp was coming down or did she need a doctor. I was back to imagining worst case scenarios and had nobody there to tell me it was ok or yes she did need a doctor. Also, it dawned on me, had I needed to go to A&E quickly in the middle of the night with a sick child, I would have needed to bring all three children with me.
- I went to my sons first parent teacher meeting. No big deal to anybody but me and his father. It was brilliant, I was bursting with pride. I wanted to tell everyone every single detail but I know nobody else wants to know every single detail and I missed that my husband wasnt here to discuss in great detail this prodigy we had created.
Anyway we survived, we had fun, we did not have much sleep. I am glad all is back to normal though now.
I am not likening two weeks alone with the kids to single parenting, I know it is not comparable. I have friends and family who are single parents. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about their lives as such but if I did I would think about the big things that may be difficult such as childcare and finances and things and have never really given much thought to the little things such as not having somebody to share the elation with after a parent teacher meeting or reassurance when a child gets a fever at 3am. The little things might well be the hard parts and really single parents deserve a lot more praise,support and crowns and applause. Or its probable I haven’t a clue what I’m talking about. Wouldn’t be a first, wont be the last and I am sleep deprived………