June 24th, 2008

I’m exhausted. My husband left for the US eleven days ago; I’ve been on my own with the boys since then and don’t expect him back until about noon on Saturday which suddenly seems like a long way off still. Beyond the physical exhaustion of parenting from just after six in the morning until eight at night – my three-and-a-half year old A is a non-napping early-riser – the emotional weight of being on call all the time is grinding me down. I’m tired of making all the decisions. I’m tired of being the sole disciplinarian. I’m tired of cooking dinner and distributing dinner and cleaning up dinner. I’m tired of giving baths and changing diapers. I’m tired of laundry. But most of all I’m tired of having to decide which child gets my attention and which one has to wait. I’m tired of saying not right now, in a minute, I’ll be right there, just as soon as I finish with your brother. I’m tired of always being the one letting somebody down, making somebody wait, listening to somebody cry. I’m tired of having to decide by myself how long to let C cry in his crib before I do or do not go rescue him. I’m tired of it being my fault that somebody is crying, that somebody is alone. I am tired of choosing between my sons.

It built up slowly, like being buried on the beach one grain of sand at a time. What’s one grain of sand, it weighs nothing, what’s one more grain of sand? But suddenly the weight of all those grains is compressing your chest and you can’t breathe and you can’t move and you’re buried, buried up to your neck and you don’t know how you got there and you can’t get out and all those grains of sand are so heavy. I’m up to my neck. I can’t stand another grain, I can’t stand another day of inadequately parenting my children.

How do single parents do this?

(If you’re wondering then how do I have the time to write this, it’s because my in-laws, bless their hearts, have taken A for a sleep-over and C is supposed to be falling asleep but there are an awful lot of tears involved and I’m trying to decide how long to let that go on and hoping that by the time I finish writing this the situation will have resolved itself.)

4 Responses to “Tired”

  1. Trish on June 25, 2008 12:25 am

    I think there should be a clause in the pre-nup that says “If you leave town for work for a period of three or more days then I reserve the right to either hire a nanny or exploit the generosity of your parents.”

    Exploit the generosity of his parents. If they start to waver, turn on the tears. This is not the time to act brave.

    My sister recently became a single parent (to 3, under 6) and I am in awe of her ability to cope, not just with the kids but with the emotional turmoil that comes with the unexpected and sudden end of a marriage. She is taking a break from the madness by moving in with our parents for a few months. That in itself is fraught, of course, but she is so grateful for the help.

    Good luck! I hope Saturday comes quickly.

  2. Jennifer on June 25, 2008 10:10 am

    Oh I am taking advantage of the in-laws. A stayed over there two nights last week, too – but it’s a delicate balancing act. He loves it over there – they live on a farm after all! – and loves them and loves to be there, but if he stays away too long there’s a bit of blow-back when he comes back home. Like once he’s back with me he realizes he was away from me, and missed me, and why did he “have” to go to the Farm? That sort of thing. Very normal 3 year old stuff. So I have to be very careful about the timing of Farm visits and how long they last.

    I’m sorry to hear about your sister and hope the roughest passes soon.

  3. Just fence me in at Magpie Days on July 1, 2008 7:30 pm

    […] past two weeks, I’ve felt pretty much like a sheep. I’m still in the weeds after my single-parenting stint; setting me loose in a field full of words in this state of mind is just a waste of perfectly good […]

  4. Sunday at Magpie Days on November 17, 2008 9:09 pm

    […] than it’s been a long week but I made it through the weekend, which was the melt-down point the last time R was out of the country for two weeks, without anybody losing […]

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