I’m not a single parent, I’m a double parent…

Thursday 4 May 2023

It is a Thursday evening. After a long day at work, I reach home around 7pm to find ex-hub in my lounge. He is stopping off for a whistle-stop visit to my youngest child, at the end of some 3-week coast to coast walk his employer decided he deserved. He is enthusing about his trek and I hear phrases like ‘sense of achievement’ and the ‘challenge‘ of just ‘having to get up and get on with it every day‘. I just stare at him with glazed eyes of bewilderment.

Because, quite frankly he could be talking Russian right now. His ‘demanding’ three weeks of trotting across the land, in the Spring sunshine are so far removed from the 21 days I have battled through that … I simply have no words. And, right there in that very moment, it hits me like a thunderbolt. The reason I am so (so very) tired is because I do all the parenting. I’ve always labelled myself as a single parent but I have been wrong. I am less a single and more a double parent!

Well, I say that out loud and could be forgiven for viewing myself as a pretty impressive member of the family circle. Cue, blogger Elizabeth Denham, author of ‘The Double Parent

If we were to do twice the work asked of us by our boss, we would be applauded, promoted and given raises … As a double parent, I am proud (that I) do double the work.”

I think she has a point! It certainly cheers me up. I even manage to nod and smile politely as ex-Hub moves on to wax lyrical about a glorious section of his walk through the Lake District. Because, my head, I am replaying the parenting achievements I have ticked off in the past fortnight. Full time job intensified by the looming exam season, shopping, cooking, cleaning for Small Boy and I, sorting student finance for next year, occasionally helping with Maths A Level homework, advising on work clothes for Small Boy’s new job and giving him a first day lift, jointly researching and pencilling in uni open days, helping my Eldest with some car problems and … hey I even rose to the challenge (from Prom dress Daughter) of minimising some undergraduate Economics function of inflation and unemployment rate, over the phone and at about 9pm after a progress evening event at work!

Woohoo parents. You should all do this. Because I am now feeling like ‘super mum’ and I am pretty confident that even more impressive parental feats will have been accomplished by most of you all over the last 10 days or so.

I zone back into the lounge. Ex Hub is now half-way through regaling us with talk of his next voyage … I pick up something about an ‘Italian villa with friends‘.

Oh forget those lightweight plans, say I. Let me update you with the weekend schedule for the double parent in the room?

I am setting my Saturday alarm for 05:45 to drive up and down to Edinburgh in a day to deliver Prom dress daughter’s new passport. Oh yes, my lovely girl, booked and paid for her holiday before ordering her new passport! She flies to Ibiza next Wednesday and the new ID arrives tomorrow (Friday). To complete the catastrophe of calamity, it does not arrive in the Scottish capital alas but…at my house! She did offer to come and collect it but she also has work shifts and a final Statistics exam on the Tuesday so … let’s just say I am a very nice mum!

Why in a day? I hear you ask? Well because on the Sunday I have to take my own incredibly lovely mum for a hospital scan. When I tell her about Prom dress daughter she just laughs and brings up some tale of my dad, back in the day, having to travel to London to get me a Polish Visa whilst I holidayed in Spain! In her eyes this is clearly karma!

But my weary eyes are beginning to droop now, so as this double parent heads off to plan a few lessons, I say three cheers for all the fabulous parents out there. We don’t need seek out challenge and a ‘sense of accomplishment’ by walking a hundred miles through the English hills, we do amazing work three hundred and sixty five days of the year by … putting ourselves out to put our children first …