I guess everyone has it when you go down this solo mum by choice path. The wobble. Am I really sure this is the right decision for me? Can I really do this? That pause between one failed cycle and the wait to start the next. It let’s all sorts of emotions out of the woodwork. A gentle uncertainty of do I really want to give up on the dream. There are others I’ve met on this journey who are fine with that, they’ve made peace with not having a partner to do this with, they believe they will find one later down their path and I’m sure they are right. I sort of believe it too. Only that’s not the kind of relationship I want. I want to share this journey with someone. I want to share the joys and the hard bits. I want to curl up together and gaze in awe at the person we have created. To me that sounds like the most beautiful thing in the world to do.
The doubt is more than that though. It’s come about because I’ve been feeling shitty about myself lately and I’ve felt like no-one gets how bloody hard and depleting this single parenting thing is. It’s not just about raising a little one alone it’s everything else too. The surviving as a single parent in a world made for two, surviving on one salary in a world made for two incomes (or one decent one if you’re lucky), and surviving as a solo house manager in a world full of bureaucracy for two. It sounds silly. When our houses were just caves I guess it was easier. But now, we need someone on the case of all the bills, mortgage, moving money around just to make sure that one account doesn’t get overdrawn at the wrong moment, ensuring the nursery direct debit is changed in time, sorting the council tax, service charge, you name it. Then of course there’s the daily tasks of shop, cook, clean and repeat. It’s all so much some days. And with the lack of a second income (or hell just some crappy child maintenance payments would be nice) the luxuries of a car/ uber/ bus ride (depending on how far we have strayed from payday) become a distant dream.
I’ve generally got used to dealing with it all but there’s still a part of me that feels a big sense of resentment. Not just at the lack of support, but the lack of understanding. Now I’ve been parenting alone for a while I feel like the sympathy levels have dried up. My grace period of leeway or anyone thinking I might need support, is gone. However, the challenges single parenting brings are still here. They will likely never be gone. As a single mum this shit might get slightly easier to handle but it’s still bloody hard in a world made for couples. Emotionally, physically and financially.
So now that I’ve been trying for another, suddenly I can’t stop thinking what others will think. If I’ve lacked empathy and understanding with one kid, who the hell is going to turn around and support me when I have two? Especially when it’s “my fault”. It riles me just to write those words, but I can already imagine them in people’s heads, if not coming out of their mouths. Why should that mean I am unworthy of support? I’ve not heard any of my friends with two kids say that it’s easy, so I’m guessing a partner isn’t the solution to the struggles of motherhood. The reason parenting is hard is because we’ve turned a job meant for extended families and communities into something that couples, or solo people do. Sure, the lack of a second parent/ partner is likely to add to the hardness, but it’s not like it’s a walk in the park for anyone.
I’ve worked out what the answer is though, I just need to try and put it into practice. I need to stop giving a shit about what other people think. I need to stop getting upset by people who know and (supposedly) love me, not supporting me. I need to stop the emotions of anger and resentment washing over me.
I am going to (try and) have another child because I want to. Call me selfish, but I’m pretty sure it’s the main reason women have been having children since the beginning of time (or at least since contraceptives were invented). Yes it will be hard. Yes I would love it if you offered some support. But if you don’t, perhaps I’ll just learn to shut out the negative voices rather than worry about it all.
What I am about to do will be hard.
Every mother’s journey is hard.
If you are one of those who think that solo parenting is hard and I chose it so it’s my fault, then please feel free to look away now.
The rest of you who are still with me, here’s hoping I’ll be sharing some positive updates about my solo mum journey soon!