There’s been a longer than usual gap between posts on the blog and it’s due to me being sole parent in charge of Tilly for the past week or so while my wife shepherded a school trip around Greece.
Although I’m now well-practiced in the role of primary carer for our daughter, I was nevertheless taken aback at just how much harder it felt to look after Tilly 24/7 with no breaks or anyone else to call upon.
The most noticeable thing about managing a toddler alone is the sheer relentlessness of the schedule with a complete absence of time to yourself.
Morning requires negotiation and arrangement to hurriedly get washed while the toddler is occupied. Shopping allows no opportunity to bring bags in and unpack without the child looking to bolt off down the street. Even evenings which typically offer some time to ourselves are drastically curtailed as bathtime done by yourself takes a good deal longer than normal and when the toddler is finally settled you have to think of something for dinner and start from scratch.
By the time you’re done it’s time for bed and that much-anticipated time to yourself has mysteriously evaporated. Whereas normally I’d use quieter points in the day to tidy up, I found I had to use brief nap times to catch my own breath before the next six hours of activity got underway. The house looked a mess, I looked a mess and thoughts of switching on my laptop to blog or idly peruse the web felt a distant dream.
Happily this wasn’t the case for the whole week as I called in the family cavalry to provide assistance to help maintain sanity on my part. It would have been hard work without as our usual toddler groups and activities had paused for Easter.
Time away with family in new surroundings proved an excellent way to occupy Tilly, even when the weather wasn’t the best. Simply having different family members around is a reliable distraction for children as they have someone new to interact with and impress rather than their boring old parents.
Although we didn’t visit any major sights while away, we did discover that fairground rides and Victorian parks are now firm favourites. I suspect funfairs in particular will become a fixture of many visits this summer.
It felt good to return to the familiarity of home at the end of the week, however the change was met by grumpiness and disrupted sleep on Tilly’s part. Mummy’s return the following day couldn’t have come soon enough and with those challenging mornings and evenings suddenly felt much more manageable again. Best of all though we’ve still got a second week of the Easter holidays to enjoy together as a family.
The experience of sole parent for the week has made me reflect on how fortunate we are. Just getting through a few whole days proved relentlessly demanding. Those who do it permanently are to be respected and supported – something not to be overlooked with a general election just around the corner.