I went out one evening the other week for a drink with colleagues after work, a non-alcoholic one since I was driving, but nonetheless a sociable drink…in the week…on a school night…when I had Ellie.
Now I realise this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this is the first time I have been out like this with colleagues from my office since I went back to work over two and a half years ago. As I sat in the bar laughing and talking, I couldn’t help but feel a little giddy. I did, without doubt, check my phone on rather a lot of occasions in the time running up to the usual bedtime of 7pm and relay some of the sweet, reassuring messages from my boyfriend to others at the table (no eyes were rolled!), but I wasn’t worrying about getting back and I really did enjoy myself.
This is a big deal because it was symbolic of the fact that following our recent move Ellie and I have joined my boyfriend and his son to live together as a family. I am officially no longer a single parent – eek and wow to that!
There’s no doubt that there have been occasions where being a single parent was tough and there are lots of things I will not miss…paying the a baby sitter so I can go to the dentist is quite frankly depressing and knowing you’re out of petrol but can’t just pop to fill up until the morning…when it will make you late – is irritating.
Most memorable for me in recent months was when I attended the pre starting school parents evening – it was a rare occasion where I suddenly felt very lonely and really wished I had someone else there to share what I was worrying about. I ended up getting a little emotional and making a total prat of myself by crying as I left the school! I could try to explain but it would sound totally pathetic so I will save myself the blushes.
What’s strange though is that when I think about it I have to be honest and say that there are things about being a single parent that I know I really am going to miss. For one thing there’s something quite empowering about not having to explain or agree in any way your parenting choices to anyone else, and just being able to do it your own way without discussion or negotiation. For another thing Ellie and I have developed our own routine and pattern to our lives – adjusting this is a big change (for me probably more than Ellie!). I can’t deny that I’ve become just a little set in my ways!
Bidding farewell to being a single mum isn’t going to be easy. In our newly joined family we’re already discovering things that we do differently … the so called ‘chocolate cereals’ that Ellie eats are met with some horror, the fact that Ellie shouts about doing a poo and never closes the bathroom door is clearly a little distressing for the other half of our new family, and our really quiet time before bed is more difficult to achieve …to name but a few examples.
So there can be no doubt that as I look with excitement and anticipation to our future as a family, it is a fond farewell that I give to my time as a single mum.