The Long Weeks

Single parenting isn’t bad, most of the time.

You know what is bad, though?

Single parenting websites.

Idiotic, patronising, faux-cheerful places.

Flea is with her Dad this week, on holiday. She’s spending two weeks with him – this is the longest time she’s had with him since she was 12 months old. Obviously that’s great, and I hope she’s having a great time. But the question of what to do with two whole weeks of “freedom” is vexing.

According to the experts I should be making the most of my free time by visiting friends and having lovely days out and generally pretending I’m 23 again. One website said, “Why not take a picnic and enjoy the gorgeous weather?” as though we single Mums have a convenient stash of friends happy to drop everything (including their own families) so we can skip off and live our own personal Timotei advert.

I’m not sure it works that way.

If this is the longest time Flea’s ever spent with her Dad, it’s the longest time I’ve ever spent away from her.

It’s an odd sensation. I miss her – she’s been my constant companion for the past seven years. It’s like a missing limb. I can feel the gap where she should be.

Truth be told, I don’t have a ready supply of single friends to entertain me. Most of my friends are married and spending time with their own children. Which is all well and good, but I’m not sure how much time I want to spend with THEIR kids when mine is overseas.

While it would be lovely to think I should be off frolicking in meadows and having lazy picnics, I’m trying to take the opportunity to stuff as much work into my week as possible, so we can relax when Flea does get home, and enjoy our summer. I don’t want to spend the 6 weeks of holiday she has left peering at a smartphone, checking emails 10 times a day.

So for these two weeks, it’s been one quick visit from my best friend, followed by a lot of long days at work and trips into London.

And when you’re sitting at a desk and nobody comes home at 4pm full of stories, and demands for pesto and pasta, you just keep working. And when nobody is playing on the lounge floor, there’s no reminder that you should probably both wash your hair and take a shower. There’s no need to take a break for play-time, or bed-time, or bath-time.

To be honest, the last few days, it’s only been when my eyes start to struggle focusing on the monitor that I’ve remembered to stop working. It’s not pretty.

I’m curious – what do other single parents do with this time?

How do you entertain yourself when your partner in crime is otherwise engaged?


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