Saturday, March 29, 2008

Single parents should be issued with medals ... at least annually

Posting’s been pretty light on AiB this week. Mainly due to an enormous folder of paper that needed to be read and considered for a meeting on Thursday night and all day Friday. Oh, and the small matter of going back to work on Thursday too.

(Don’t read the next bit before breakfast!)

But the other reason has been a sick Littl’un. There’s some kind of tummy bug going around, and boy has she got it. But then she seemed to be perking up on Thursday afternoon again. Bouncy enough that Mummy headed off with a student group to Derry, leaving me in charge!

But the sickness came back. Stories read, and tucked up in bed, I’d left the room to put the smelly nappy in the bathroom bin. I’d just reached the bin when I could hear her wretch.

And that’s when being on your own stinks. A child to mop up, change and comfort. And a bed to strip down and remake, sheets to get into the wash. It all happens at once. “Stay with me, don’t go” is the weary cry that can’t be ignored. Yet the numskulls inside my head are listing all the things that need to be done to make sure that the dirty sheets and pyjamas get washed and dried quickly to become the backups for the next occurrence.

It can be so much easier with two. But on your own it’s constant. A responsibility that cannot easily be shared. And there are moments when you just want ten minutes or half an hour to yourself. But it’s hard to be out of earshot of a child whose next puke will come without warning, and when you least expect it.

Littl’un and I looked after each other for a week before Easter. We had a great time and lots of fun. And grandparents were very hands on and appreciated. But it was still exhausting. Getting her to nursery, driving back into work, picking her up again, food, bath, stories. And knowing that if she woke up crying in the middle of the night, there was only one person in the house to go and comfort her. A pleasure to be a parent, but hard work.

So I’ve an amazing respect for single-mums and single-dads who manage to do all this day in day out without complaint and without looking as knackered as I feel on those rare occasions when I’m home alone with a wonderful three year old. (I’ve an amazing respect for Mummy who copes all those times I swan off to London with work for a few days or a week!)

No matter the circumstances, I suggest that medals are pressed and issued. At least annually. To show appreciation for hard work, nerves of steel, and love that really gives. Not in a patronising way. But to honour parents who are constantly going the extra mile. To mark a set of people, many of who are the most organised and capable people I know. People with a heart that often extends beyond their own household and improves life for lots of other people too.

Think I hear a car pulling up outside. The bus from Derry has brought Littl’un’s Mummy home. Better pop the kettle on. Could be a long day … even with the two of us.


Grannymar said...

There is nothing like a helpless sick child to sort the priorities in life.

CyberScribe said...

I hope Littl'uns better and the Big' uns haven't got the bug too.