I have been looking over some of my old blog posts recently. Its nice to go back and remind myself what it was like when pregnant or in the early days of Callum being born – you so quickly forget!
One that I read recently was this one 39 weeks, 6 days - 3 weeks, 1 day old and I thought it might be good to reflect back and to see how things changed along the way, if at all.
The first is I realise now, looking back, was how well I was actually doing at that stage. Comparing it to what other people say about those first few weeks, I was getting myself up and ready and even on one day for a 9am appointment!!! I found it tough at the time but I managed it. I was coping rather well with sleep deprivation too. Although, I do also remember that it wasn’t until about 3 weeks later that I started to fall apart a bit more! I’ve mentioned to friends that maybe it was because Callum was early? Perhaps he slept more in those early weeks than other babies? Who knows. I remember wondering what everyone else complained about. A friend asked me how I was managing to get out of the house and I didn’t get what she meant. I was like, I put Callum in the car seat/carrier pick up the change bag and leave the house! lol. Maybe I was just lucky. I should read on a few weeks now and compare how things changed.
The post also talked about how I was adjusting (or not) to the lack of freedom I now had. I was actually welling up at the point where I was writing about an argument Stuart and I had had.
Here is a paragraph I wrote:
What I've never wanted once I had children, was for my husband to just tell me when he is going out or to just expect to go out when he pleases and for me to feel like I need to ask permission to go out. This is what I've seen happen to others and it is completely unfair. The responsibility of looking after the children should be shared and each parent should treat the other as they would wish to be treated. I hope the former doesn't happen to us.
Unfortunately, this never did change. Its just one of those things you have to accept! If I do ever get a courtesy call to ‘ask’ it is more a rhetorical question. Largely it has been down to circumstance and I kind of accept that. Stuart was in London, a long way from home so it was easy for him to go out and difficult for him to get home if I wanted to go out myself. I’ve spent a large amount of time out of work and when I was working it was with people that didn’t socialise after work and, again, even if they had it would be a mission to arrange so that Stuart could get home to pick up Callum. If I did arrange a night it took lots of planning, I often had to avoid certain days which were busier for Stuart so harder for him to get home, it would often have to be later than my friends because Stuart would get home later than their other halves to do the swap over. Ultimately, cos I was closer to home and Callum’s nursery, it was my responsibility to pick him up. Also, it was rarely without complaint, not cos I was going out but because of the effort involved to get home so I could go out. I remember on multiple times saying arranging a night out for me could never be straightforward or without hassle.
So now, with us in Bournemouth, things should be easier but I don’t work so still can’t do the after work drinkies and I am at the early stages of trying to make friends so certainly can’t just call up a girly friend for a quick drink in the pub (admittedly this last point is no different for Stuart – I at least am making friends outside of the workplace….kinda, I guess mummy friends are part of the workplace in a way).
Its not something I’ve found easy to accept even over 3 years later. Mainly because I don’t think Stuart can ever understand how difficult not having this freedom has been. If I knew he understood and could just try to put himself in my shoes, it’d be easier but to understand it is to experience it and that’ll never happen. But, I’m not alone and, in fact, there are many single parents (whether they are mums or dads) that are worse off than me so I shouldn’t complain. Its just one of those things I wish could be different but can’t be! No use going on about something that will never change!
In relation to the rest of the post one thing I can safely say has worked well for us is the being mutual parents when coming to decisions about Callum. I think we have tended to make most of the decisions (particularly the important ones) together. I have always been confident of leaving Callum with Stuart without a long list of what to do and when like many of my friends have had to do – Bobby (made up name, not thinking of someone in particular – any similarity to a child or parents is purely coincidental) has this for breakfast at 8am then has a snack at 10.30am……his bedtime routine starts with baby massage, this CD, 4 oz of milk, I’ve laid out the PJs and story….he likes his head stroked to get to sleep……etc, etc,…..do not leave him watching TV all afternoon….etc, etc.
Even down to the bedtime routine, I tried to let Stuart find his own way rather than enforcing my way on him. I would share with him what I did but it was up to him if he did it – in fact, I remember I actually adopted something he did because it worked better than my method. Dad’s aren’t always inept, its about relinquishing some of the control and letting them think for themselves. The result is – they are more than capable of looking after your children all by themselves!
Admittedly, I wouldn’t expect the house to be tidy, washing up/dishwasher to be done, washing in washing machine hung out and a new load started…etc, like I would have done but at least I can relax safe in the knowledge that our son would be safe in his company without the step by step instructions.
So you lose some and you win some.