The last six or so months have been the start of something incredible. They’ve flown past, and barely a day goes by without someone with older children telling me to cherish this time because it’s over so fast. I don’t want to miss a second of these babyhood days, but then I think of how much you’re missing out on.
A cynical person who doesn’t understand the all-consuming love a mother feels for their child would say, “I’m so sorry he left you holding the baby.” As if it’s something terrible or burdensome.
It really, truly isn’t. Yes, some days are hard. He cries for what seems like an eternity or I get to sleep for what feels like all of one very broken hour’s kip. I wouldn’t trade those days and nights for all the peace and quiet in the world, because peace and quiet feels empty and boring these days.
“I know his kind,” they say. “He just wants to father as many children as he can without actually taking on the responsibility of raising them. He sees it as a measure of his manliness.”
In the beginning, it made me angry to think that might be true. I’d feel sorry for the kids that might never have a proper, doting dad figure. Now I realise you’re the one that deserves that pity. You’ll never understand what it means to be the present father, only the absent one.
It must be pretty wonderful for you to have the choice of whether to step up and be a dad on any given day. Personally, I don’t get that same luxury.
What I do have the luxury of is watching a beautiful little boy grow smarter, bigger and stronger every single day. I get to hear his happy babbling in the morning, laugh as he laughs, attempt to teach him to crawl and talk, read to him before bed and watch him fall into blissful sleep.
At first I felt bitter that my life had changed so irretrievably while you still get to go out and party all the time. Now I see that my life has changed for the better while yours just reverted back to teenage years.
I have to be a mother 100% of the time, whether I’m sick, exhausted or whatever else. I don’t get to say, “Sorry, not today.” (Not that I’d ever want to.)
Raising our baby alone makes me feel like a superhero. Like I’m invincible, and I could take on the whole world and still succeed. I’m doing something I previously thought would be impossible. I’m happily owning my single mum ‘situation’, and it’s amazing.
While I don’t have anyone to share the highs and lows of parenting with day in day out, I also don’t have to share cuddles with my little boy. Does that sound selfish? Probably, but I’m so glad to have him all to myself.
When he’s bigger, I’m sure it will be hard to fully separate his achievements from mine. Whenever he accomplishes something, I’ll swell with pride not just for him but also for myself. I raised that boy alone, I can already hear myself shamelessly saying.
It’s terrifying and daunting that this is all on me, that I have the sole day to day responsibility of bringing up a child. It’s just as well I have the love of not just two but two million parents to show him. I’ll make sure he always knows that.
Not having that solidarity of a big, unshakeable rock beside me is definitely a struggle some days. But you were never going to be that rock anyway. I am my own rock.