It’s not easy being a solo parent at the best of times. There are additional challenges when you’re the only parent 24/7 and your child also has ongoing health issues. I spend a lot of time actively focusing on the positives. Some days though, I still find myself having a quiet cry for a few minutes, sitting on the kitchen floor, because there’s no bench space to unpack her bag from our morning outing.
Of course it wasn’t really about that, or not really. It was that the kitchen has a tiny amount of bench space and one bench had clean dishes drying from the morning wash (needing to be put away), the other wee bench space had dirty dishes waiting to be washed from breakfast and making bread, and the top of the oven had the soy-free home-made bread cooling down. It was about the hour long meltdown she’d had instead of a nap and where I’d sat with her, soothed her, tried to help her calm her breathing, and tried not to think about everything that still needed doing and how much I’d rather be having a quiet cup of tea. It was about the fact that she’s been sick for 18 of the last 19 weeks and that this month has so far been a rolling series of allergy attacks. It was about the fact that I’d hoped to try and ring her dietitian while she was quietly napping and the frustration that she has another allergy and at the moment I don’t know what that allergy is (and there’s no easy way to find out because she has non-IgE reactions). It was about the chronic lack of sleep, and the 5am starts, and waking frequently in the night because she was scratching or to check her breathing. It was the stress of another growth spurt and looking through clearance bins for a couple of items that would fit her better and the teeth-pulling exercise of needing to get her to try items on in-store because they have a no returns policy on clearance clothes (honestly, you’d think I was asking her to sit in a cauldron of boiling lava not put on a singlet); and the guilt that I resorted to the natural fruit lollies still in my bag from the last hospital appointment to bribe her through the clothes-trying-on experience (not my ideal parenting). It was about the guilt of needing to spend so much time in the kitchen when she’d rather I be playing with her.
Lying with her tonight until she fell asleep, I thought glumly about the Biblical story of Mary & Martha and that I didn’t feel like super mum today. I try to think every evening about things that I’m grateful for and things which I have accomplished today (rather than the basket of clean clothes that is going to wait for tomorrow to be put away because I’d rather be typing this).
- We went to the playground.
- I bumped into a few mother’s I know while we were out this morning and it was a blessing to have a few minutes chat with each of them.
- I made allergy friendly bread, yoghurt, and peanut butter (as well as all of the normal daily cooking and food prep).
- I found her a summer hat that fastens under her chin and decorated it (hopefully she’ll actually wear it).
- We popped into the community nurse and she co-operated to get weighed and height checked. She’s grown on both which continues to be wonderful and amazing given her health challenges and how tiny she was as a baby.
- I dragged the small tree that fell down in the storm away to the compost heap. That was the last of the storm damage to take care of. All the rest of it got taken care of yesterday.
- I got through all of the multiple rounds of dishes, and hand washing the mat she wee’d on, and cleaning away the fatty cream she’d painted over the mirror, and picking up toys etc. etc.