Each weekend, on one of the days, my little girl heads off with her daddy for adventures unknown. They never go too far but they always have fun. I don’t set a time limit on how long they spend together because she looks forward to it all week and I expect he does too. So as long as she is home in time for bed then I’m cool. Except, more recently I have been far less than cool. I’ve been a bit sad, a bit miffed and quite frankly a bit jealous. She comes back regaling me with tales of where she has been and what she has been up to and I sit there thinking, I wish it could have been me that just spent that day with her. I sat there and thought about what I did, who I was and realised I was just the every day parent… and yes I did say “just” the every day parent. It made me sad. Then it made me think.
I never really thought about it before but I suppose it’s because the circumstances have changed. He moved in with his partner a few weeks ago and a few months ago we had to welcome another woman into my daughters life (The Other Woman in case you’re interested) which is honestly one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
He used to take her out prior to meeting his partner but it’s only since he became a proper couple and basically a step-father to 3 other girls that my horrible green-eyed monster reared it’s head. She came back from being out with them the other day and they sat and told me how all 6 of them had gone to Pizza hut for lunch and ice cream, followed by a trip to the ice rink for lots of skating fun. They also all went back to his together and decorated gingerbread men and she did have a thoroughly exciting and fun filled day.
After he’d gone and I put her to bed, I sat there trying not to be crushed by the overwhelming sadness that was threatening to engulf me. It should have been me. It should have been us. I’d had it all planned and being a single mum had never been on the agenda. I was sad and jealous that he had taken my daughter out to play happy families with someone else AND that they’d been able to afford to do such nice things. I’m not poor but I’m not comfortable either which made the day sound even better.
I sat there feeling sorry for myself and planning a blog post in my head, this post and how I’d sit down and let it all out, rant a little maybe too. Then I stopped and really thought about it. I am the every day parent which I suppose makes him the trip out or exciting parent but actually when I stopped and really considered it, I knew which one I’d prefer to be. I remember as a child, my own father taking me out at the weekends whilst my mum was sat at home cleaning, working or trying to catch up on sleep, similar to what I do now. She perhaps did the same as me and wished it was her that was taking us out and making us laugh and beam with excitement.
However, like me she probably also thought that if she had been the trip out parent she would have missed the things she got from being the everyday parent. Yes I might be bloody exhausted because we’re still waiting for Alyssa’s surgery to help with her sleeping, but it’s me that gets to put her to bed each night. Read a story, tuck her in and kiss her good night. It’s me that’s there each morning when she’s bouncing out of bed and dragging me too. It’s me she calls for when she’s sad, scared or hurt. It’s me that gets to watch her grow and learn each day and laugh at the crazy new things she comes out with.
Neither of us planned to be single parents and if you’re one it’s highly unlikely you planned for it either, but it happens. If you’re an everyday parent like me, don’t be sad and feel like you’re missing out. If you’re worried you don’t do enough, don’t be or like me make a bucket list of things to do together. If you’re the trip out and exciting parent, thanks for letting us be the every day parent and thanks for sticking around to spend time with your child, as a lot of people don’t. I’m happy to be an every day parent. It’s a gift – a bloody knackering one, but a gift nonetheless.