I have to say that, mostly, this solo parenting gig actually isn’t too bad. What? You’re surprised? Well it’s not. We have our little routine and the way we go about doing things; I don’t have to factor someone else’s decisions or preferences into choices I make at home; and if I don’t pick the toys up off the floor at the end of the day or we have toast for dinner then no one moans at me about it. Don’t get me wrong. Some days it is also really hard and I particularly notice this when I actually have someone around to help for a bit. It’s then that I have an aha moment and think “ooooohhhhh this is what it could be like with help. Wow!”. But for the most part we plod along ok. Sure I have my meltdowns but I don’t think they are exclusive to solo parenting. It’s more of a parenting in general thing.
Every now and then though when my house is trashed and I am doggone tired I plonk myself on the couch and allow myself to indulge in one of my favourite little fantasies: what it would be like if there was someone else around to help. I create a little list of all the chores I would have my one and only do in my unrealisitcally perfect little relationship. And of course they are only too pleased to do them. This is fantasy land after all.
The list tends to change depending on what is my biggest problem at the time but here is what my sweet cheeks is up to today:
- Cooking OR dishes every night that we are having a prepared meal. I’ll do one, he does the other. I think that’s pretty fair.
- Helping with bathtime while I cook or bedtime while I wash up. Fair trade off right?
- Asking if I need help with something if I look stressed.
- Anything to do with garbage. Sure I can do it and it doesn’t even bother me THAT much but if I’m going to agree to clean the toilet then you can rummage around in the trash.
- Anything car related – that includes putting petrol in it. I really hate doing that. It feels like the biggest waste of my time EVER. My mum has the best setup. When her car is low on fuel she just swaps vehicles with the step-dad and he takes hers to work for the day and fills her car while he is at it. Awesome! I want that. I also don’t want to have to consider washing the car, rego, insurance, when the tyres need changing, the oil needs checking/topping up or the service needs to be done. I can and do stuff around with all of these things currently, I simply do not want to.
- Anything yard related. If it’s outside it is done by him. I currently pay someone to mow my lawn. Not interested in doing it myself at all. I don’t garden either (although did recently buy clippers and garden gloves so I can chop down the neighbour’s stupid vine when it comes over the fence and threatens to take over my very well established passionfruit vine).
- Sorts out any handyman stuff that needs doing. I don’t care if he can’t fix it himself but he can be responsible for getting someone in to deal with it. Not. My. Problem.
Don’t worry. I’m not stupid enough to expect that I will get all this just because I want it to be so. My son’s dad was a fantastic parent but a terrible house husband. He didn’t cook, clean or do washing. He pretty much did nothing but work, parent, surf and relax. He did all those things very well though, especially the relaxing (and the parenting actually, he is a wonderful father). My point being that I realise that men, like icecream, come in many flavours and the one you like best is often the weirdest combination.
On the bright side Monkey is almost 2 now and showing great promise in the chores department! He is an eager little beaver and loves helping out. He helps unpack the dishwasher and takes empty plates to the sink after eating (so cute). At present he is a little unreliable though. If I’m not there to supervise we might end up with smashed plates, an incomplete task and an injured child so I’m holding off on exploiting him for now. And it might be a few years before he is strong enough to push a mower. <sigh> A woman can dream.