I have written previously about the fact that unlike a lot of single parents, I find myself in a rather lucky situation as a single mum. Whilst I have to face the upset of having far more time away from my son then most Mum's who live with their children's father's, I do on the flipside get a number of evenings to myself. This also equals in theory to getting a number of lay-ins each week although I haven't exactly found that to be the case as my body clock has quite clearly adapted to Milo's hours and whether he's here or not I tend to wake up at his normal time anyway (even after returning home after a late night out at 4am!). I count myself lucky though. This extra me-time gives me more time to focus on my business, time to meet with friends, time to date and even the chance to have a child-free holiday like I took with the ex back in January. Nothing to be sniffed at!
There are however some downsides that regularly rear their heads; a number of which I hadn't taken into consideration at all before becoming a parent. Some of these I think alot of parents, single or not, experience but the whole single parent part tends to exacerbate the problem that much more.
Here's the ones I am regularly facing right now...
Becoming a parent is nothing less then shocking. It's wondrous, amazing and terrifying all at the once. Not only that but it's a steap learning curve. You have to learn to pretty much adapt everything you do and this includes getting used to the fact that it takes tripple the amount of the time to leave the house (especially in Winter when you have to layer up a wriggling, crazy toddler or baby!). Dealing with co-parenting adds a whole other level of issues you need to take into consideration on a daily basis.
When Milo was a baby and ready to leave his Mum for a bit, his father used to take him Mon - Fri for 2 hours and then a bit longer at the weekends. It was welcome time to theoretically get some things done and to even rest (although I spent most of the time cleaning, doing the washing and uploading the myriad of photo's I had of Milo onto the computer). The problem with this however was that it added another time and place I had to be somewhere. With a child so much of your life becomes about schedules and having to do certain tasks at certain intervals, add any more on top of that and it becomes a bit of a nightmare. Whenever my friends were organising to meet up, I always had to consider what time I had to drop Milo off to his dads and whether or not there would be enough travel time to achieve this and whether or not it was worth the hassle. When Milo turned 10 months I started dating someone for the first time since things ended with Milo's dad and this involved having 1 1/2 hour dates within the period's Milo's dad had him, with regular telephone call interuptions from Milo's dad with ridiculous questions.
Problems such as above have become less and less now as the time that I have Milo and the time his Dad takes him has become more solid and lengthier but it's still an issue.
This is really part of the logistical issue but I wanted to keep it separate. I have always been very lucky that my family has been very supportive in helping me buy clothing for Milo and between them and the bits we received from Milo's Aunty based here in Berlin, Milo has been pretty well kitted out. Since he's turned 1 1/2 or so though the amount of clothing I have for him is less and less and between his time at Nursery, playing at the playground and meal times, he is managing to get his clothing dirtier and dirtier at an astonishing rate! This means that Milo pretty much needs to different outfit each day when he goes to nursery as they have complained previously about Milo wearing dirty clothing. On top of that, they need to have a number of pieces of clothing for emergencies should Milo get wet, ruin something etc etc and then his dad needs a number of items for each weather possibility and then I need a good amount too! That equals ALOT of clothing between 3 different locations. Keeping track of it all is a nightmare and I have often experienced it that I will put Milo in a top that I absolutely adore, he'll go to his dad's, will come back wearing something else and then I won't see that beloved top again until it's too small! I have learnt to try and remember to not put Milo in clothing that I really love when he's going to his dad's but sometimes I slip up.
Not of the literal kind of course, rather of the kind which involve miscommunication. This is probably one of the ones that those living with the father of their child can relate to as well. Milo stays with me 4 days of the week and with his dad 3 days of the week. It is almost always the case that he's at his dad's Tues and Weds eve and then either the Friday or Saturday night (we negotiate this each week dependent on our plans). This means that I take Milo to nursery on Tuesday morning and then don't see him again until picking him up from nursery on Thursday afternoon. Of course there are often messages from the nursery on the days in which his dad picks him up but as I then don't see his dad that day (we actually only see each other at the weekends for swapovers) the message will more often then not not get back to me. This has in the past caused tension between the nursery and us and it's a frustrating situation. They know that we don't live together and I hope they keep this in mind but I think it sometimes gets underappreciated.
Hmmmm, I'm sure there are more things but I figure that'll do for now.
What are issues you feel you face either with co-parenting, single parenting or even when living with your child's other parent?
I love to read your comments so please feel free to let me know what you think...
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