....and the sole parent.
I always said that when I was pregnant, it would make evolutionary sense that I also grew an extra set of arms .... I know I could have used an extra pair of hands when my children were small.
....and then this week, I haven't needed more arms, I really need a clone. So many places that my children and I need to be, so few minutes during which to be there.
...and its times like this that I feel overwhelmed by this sole parenting gig*.
I never planned to do this parenting thing alone.
I never realised how oriented our society is to families with two parents (and apparently, endless other willing aunts, uncles, grandparents who are all fit and healthy and ready to help).
Between school excursions I can't get my child to and am almost begging for someone who can drop them at the meeting point, to music camps that I have absolutely no hope of ever being on time to collect a child from, I get the tut-tuts of those who say that they are sad that my children are "missing out". (Like I have a choice? Like they aren't already missing out on having a father? Like I haven't asked for help already?)
When I explain that it Just Me doing everything, nobody gets it. I've tried variations of the following to try to explain....
Feeling seedy yourself and a child starts vomiting? Guess what, you're up on vomit duty. All night if needed.
Fighting through a mountain of work and a child is not dealing well with their grief? Guess what, you're up for endless hugs, backrubs, hours of listening and calming and worrying about just how messed up they are. Your work can just sit there and wait.
Fancying a bit of "me" time with a glass of wine and a good book? Someone is bound to require you to drive them somewhere and you forgot that you promised to drive them.
Too tired to make dinner? Tough luck, it's you cooking or the kids eat toast for dinner for the third night in the week.
Child needs surgery in hospital and you are falling apart at the thought of it? Suck it up and be strong, this isn't about you right now.
They nod, look concerned, then offer me no help whatsoever.
So now I think that since I never grew that spare set of arms and I can't convince the local scientific institute to clone me, I guess I am going to have to learn how to juggle.
* - I am not looking for anyone to offer me "solutions" on what I "should" do, I am just sharing in the hope that someone else says "yeah, I get what you are saying. Sole parenting IS hard".