[Image of Humuhumu on the London Air Line running from Royal Victoria Docks to North Greenwich. Has nothing to do with the content of the post, just wanted to share.]
The bloke went to a meeting in Switzerland on Sunday and will return late on Friday evening. This leaves me single-parenting Humuhumu for six days.
Both of us have done longer stints than that solo since she was born, and although we now both know some tactics for coping with it, it's still very difficult. I don't think I truly appreciated how tough single parenting is until I had to do it myself, and I'm lucky enough to be able to afford help (e.g. having full-time nursery care, having a cleaner, taking a taxi when I'm too tired/pregnant to walk the mile and a half from the house to the train station).
In terms of tactics, I now know to make at least two large "dishes" (e.g. mac and cheese, chilli, fish pie) at the weekend that I can heat and serve when I get home exhausted during the week so I don't have to cook in the evening. I know to clear the laundry basket at the weekend. I know to fill my rucksack with snacks and water for the toddler and me on the train. I know to download shows onto the tablet on iPlayer, and I have a screen set up so she can choose these or her games. I know to pack my lunch every night, and to bathe before bed so that I don't have to attempt to shower with the toddler wreaking mayhem outside. I know to lay out my clothes so that I can leap into them if she wakes up before my alarm goes off. Each of these things helps save a tiny bit of energy that I can then expend on my day job. But if I had to do them on my own every week and every weekend, I would be so tired I wouldn't be able to see straight. I would have no energy to maintain a community of friends, in meatspace or online.
I find that the little kindnesses shown to me by the people I encounter in passing mean even more to me when I'm single-parenting. I was struggling to calm Humuhumu, who was squirming in her pushchair and crying, "Down! Down!" about 200 metres from the nursery's front door, and a woman passing by bent down and made a funny face at her, saying, "What sort of a face is that?" in a strong Brummy accent. Humuhumu stopped fussing and chuckled, and the woman said, "That's better." I smiled and thanked her and we went our separate ways. It was literally seconds of interaction, but it was so helpful. Then there are the people who offer to help me lift her into or out of the train, or just wiggle their fingers at her when she's looking at them - again, it's just a few seconds, but it lightens the weight of solitary responsibility considerably.
In conclusion, I'm about to make myself a dandelion-and-burdock vanilla ice cream float as a reward for getting through today.
This entry was originally posted at http://nanila.dreamwidth.org/941389.html. The titration count is at .0 pKa.