flying solo…let’s get real
She may be dramatic but sometimes I feel like making this face, too.
Whenever I sit down to work I spend fifteen minutes (sometimes more) perusing blogs. Because I work from home you could liken this journey around blogland to a walk around the office; instead of chatting with co-workers I read your words. Lou just wrote about the crazy hour(s) – that dreaded witchy time that involves dinner – negotiation – mediation – dirty dishes – shower/bath – stories – answering questions – sleep encouragement – back rubbing – twinkle star singing – attempting not to fall asleep yourself. She’s about to embark on three weeks of solo parenting and she’s feeling a little overwhelmed. She linked to me in her post and said she was taking notes on how I’m coping.
I’m five-and-a-half weeks into this solo parenting gig and I have about seven, maybe eight weeks to go (there is no definite flight home for Daniel just yet – the nature of the film industry). To be blunt, some days are fine and other days are shit (no other adjective is quite right). I don’t think so much about the crazy hour but more about our crazy days; embracing them for what they are instead of wishing they were something else. For now, this is my reality and I’m going to see it through.
But that’s not to say that I’m doing it graciously. Far from it. Yesterday the guy in the fruit shop asked me how many weeks I had to go and when I told him he said: “Wow, you’re devastated, aren’t you.” I almost cried. Later in the day I was chatting to Daniel on facetime and I bawled my eyes out, told him I missed him like crazy and this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Then, when the beautiful girl delivered my organic box in the afternoon, I engaged her in what can only be described as a counselling session; I’m pretty sure I told the kids to jump on the bed because I needed to have an uninterrupted adult conversation. I cried to her, too. Last night, I revelled in the opportunity to be out of the house for two hours – even if I was attending the parent information night at school.
Am I coping? Yes, I am. But I’ll admit that this experience is emotionally challenging in way that I never anticipated. It’s a hard slog and as I juggle work and parenthood and housekeeping I’m trying my best to work my way through the sadness and the missing and the inevitable jealousy. I’m pondering the different roles that mothers and fathers play, considering the future of his and my career (and what it means for our family) and believing, more than ever, that distance really does make the heart grow fonder.
Lou, my advice: eat regular meals, ask for help and take it when it’s offered, buy fresh flowers, go to bed before 10pm, keep dinner really simple, take it one hour at a time, lower your expectations, laugh at the madness of it all, cry unashamedly, buy and use dry shampoo.
Some days you’ll feel exhausted and defeated and at other times you’ll experience a profound sense of achievement and empowerment. As a friend said to me recently: sacrifice always brings rewards.