Sadly, I don’t mean TJ’s Dad in a romantic way – it has been ten years since we met after all.
I specifically mean his helping hand around the house, and this has never been more apparent since spending a fortnight lone parenting.
While TJ’s Dad travelled the globe for various work related reasons (Christmas parties mainly), I was left to hold the baby. Solo. Well, with a dose of Grandparent assistance added in.
Having come out on the other side of a far from fun fortnight, I have new found respect, admiration and idolisation for single parents. There’s an awfully cringeworthy scene in Sex and the City 2 where Miranda and Charlotte raise a glass to parents who go it alone and I feel a bit like that, although hopefully less vomit-inducing.
After my last blog, when I escaped nappies and naptime for a weekend of freedom, it was my turn to learn that hard way that there’s safety in numbers when it comes to childrearing.
Behind thinly veiled jealousy as TJ’s Dad boarded yet another flight, I saw neverending days stretched out in front of me and I wondered how I was going to get through it. I know a lot of parents go through this as I found out when experiencing it myself that many of my mum buddies face a similar plight on regular occasions. You’re all amazing for it.
I am used to keeping the baby alive for hours by myself – I got through 10 months of maternity leave while TJ’s Dad was out of the house for 12 hours every week day. But, any parent knows that it gets to a certain point in the day – usually as the witching hour approaches – that you count down the hours (OK, minutes) until Daddy gets back and you can pass the buck and open the wine. That didn’t happen.
TJ’s Dad is also responsible for battling the baby into bed in an evening while I escape downstairs to make dinner, do house jobs, or generally just enjoy a few minutes to myself. That didn’t happen.
The latter part of those evenings are usually a rather relaxing time of the day when I can stare at Facebook, watch rubbish on TV and let my mind drift to anything other than parenthood. That didn’t happen. A fear that TJ could awake at any second made my tummy flip and convinced me to keep the wine in the fridge before I crept up to bed like a burglar in my own home happened instead.
I did manage some time away and this is when I was able to open the wine. It was blissful while it lasted. I did have to miss out on one hotly anticipated night of freedom though due to childcare issues and that was devastating.
I did ensure I booked time in with fellow mum friends, which enjoyed varying levels of success. Thanks to the wonder of teething, TJ took the opportunity to tantrum in homes other than his own which cut many of our social appointments a little short.
By the second Friday – the night before daddy’s joyous return – I found myself driving around the neighbourhood with a sleeping toddler in the back as I had a little cry to myself. Pathetic, largely hormone-related but it was also out of sheer exhaustion.
I love being a mum and TJ is without a doubt the best thing that has ever happened to me – even with the mood swings. But, the best present I can get this year is for TJ’s dad to just stay put.