Like many kids with divorced parents, Flea spends alternate weekends with her Dad.
Although she doesn’t sleep over at his place, she’s out of the house from 10am to around 7 or 8pm, giving me LOADS of free time. Single parenting can be tough sometimes, but all that free time? It’s a dizzying possibility.
In the early days, weekends without your child seem terrifying. What will I do without my baby? What if she needs me? I feel so useless and alone, you think, while mentally calculating how many glasses of Bailey’s are left in that bottle.
Then it happens.
Sanity sets in and you realise that this is your golden opportunity to enjoy all the things you can’t do when you’re in charge of small people. Reading books, watching box sets, eating toast for every meal. Going to the pool or the gym, gardening, long walks with the dog. Naps. I dreamed about long, relaxing naps.
If only that was what actually happens.
SINGLE PARENTING DREAM VERSUS REALITY
This weekend was Flea’s weekend with her Dad. And what did I do with my 18 hours of freedom?
Well, I didn’t read books and take long, leisurely swims, for starters.
I roped in my brother to help me move office furniture. We’re moving offices in September and in the meantime, the office furniture needed to be loaded into my car, and transported to the house.
To accommodate the office furniture, we needed to move two storage units from the dining room to Flea’s playroom. On the second floor. SECOND. Ugh.
After that I had to do the laundry, walk the dog, write some blog posts, schedule a bunch of social media updates on work accounts.
Sunday might be the day of rest, but didn’t feel like it. There was laundry to do, a pile of dishes to wash, some more work to squish in. Then I drove to my parents for lunch, and by the time I got home, there was just time to edit a couple of videos, and Flea was home.
As I’ve got older, I’ve realised a child-free weekend isn’t a weekend off when you’re a single parent. It’s just time to do all the parenting you can’t do while you’re actually caring for your child. It’s my own choice, of course. I just need to be better at protecting that me-time, and saying ‘no’ to other obligations.
Fellow single parents, please tell me I’m not the only one who never seems to get a weekend off?