There are a couple major times in my life that I ever considered being a single mother.
I do not ever want to become one if possible, because it is DAMN HARD to raise a child with two people, let alone with just one person alone, plus with a fractured relationship with a significant other whom you are tied to for life?
No thank you.
If I can avoid it I will, but I am also not a sucker.
The first was when I was pregnant with Baby Bun and the second was when I actually had Baby Bun around 7 – 18 months…
PREGNANT WITH BABY BUN IN THE OVEN
When I was pregnant with Baby Bun, my partner went into insane, overprotective father mode.
Like.. deranged but also not deranged.
You know how some mothers turn into Helicopter Mothers even before the baby is born and they just want to control and do everything then burst into tears from all the hormones coursing through their veins all the time?
That was my partner, but father-style. He wanted to control everything I ate, how much I ate, making sure I took in a LOT of calcium for the baby, I didn’t eat anything that could possible harm the fetus, to yell at me at 5 months because the doctor weighed me again and said that the baby was very underweight inside, and I was doing too much which was the reason why the baby wasn’t growing.
He did it of course, all out of a fear that it would harm the baby if I did this or if I did that.
It was such a stressful, screaming, yelling, painful time for me because I really felt caged in, and imprisoned by my own body, with all of these food and lifestyle rules, that I really was quite unhappy for a good part of my pregnancy..
I wouldn’t say TERRIBLY unhappy but enough to make me (with my swirling hormones), declare that I would be totally 1000% percent prepared to raise this baby completely alone so that I could breathe again, because if this was going to be any sort of indication that my life was going to be no longer mine, and I would have to live by some seriously ridiculous (to me) rules, I was not going to have it.
The straw that broke the camel’s back on this, and relieved all of the pressure was one night when in a fit of frustration and rage, he screamed something along the lines of how one day he would just walk out and never come back if I wasn’t going to take this seriously.
I burst into tears of course, and then I sobbed as I went up the stairs that this for me was forever, and I was serious — I did not see us ever breaking up and it was FOREVER. I remember screaming back at him:
I am with you for life, it is done.
There is no one else for me.
He stopped, and I think what I said back to him must have really hit him in the core because from that day on, he realized that it was true — I was tied to him for life not just with the baby, but inside my heart I was also committed forever.
I did not see separation as even an option, it was just not possible in my head for our relationship.
We managed to repair the relationship to the point where he backed off a little (it helped that he was working a lot out of town, and my parents, though mostly my mom, was feeding me whatever I was craving without his explicit knowledge), and things got much better when he wasn’t watching my every bite to make sure I wasn’t effing up the child.
WHEN I WENT BACK TO WORK
The second painful time when I did consider being a single mother AGAIN, was when I went back to work and my partner stayed at home for the first time with our baby, but also in general with a child to take care of 24/7.
For the most part, it was fine, but as the months dragged on and he didn’t find a job, he became quite irritable and grumpy to the point where he would scream at me for not getting home on time when I leave so early.
For some context: I would leave the home at around 6 a.m., sneaking out so that Baby Bun would not cry when he saw his Mommy Bun leave (I thought that was best..), and I would go into work super early, and then leave as early as I could, around 3:30 at the latest, sneaking out guiltily, even though I was there RIDICULOUSLY EARLY.
The only problem is that the traffic was horrific.
If you know anything about highways and the bridges we have here, it is ridiculous how a simple 10 minute drive can turn into an hour with our #*$@’d up turnoffs, and people swerving left and right trying to make their turnoffs that are way on the other damn side of the highway.. a complete clusterf*ck really…
Anyway, I would leave early, but if I got caught in a snarl of traffic I would not be home on time at 4. I’d arrive home maybe at 4:30 or 5.. and that is how one day, I scraped my car extremely badly on the side because I had rushed home, and in a fit of fatigue (I wasn’t sleeping at night either, Baby Bun was waking up crying every 3 hours for Mommy and/or milk), and I just went SCCCRRRRRRRRCCCCHHHH on the car, and screwed up the side.
I walked into the apartment, and burst into tears. I was so stressed trying to rush and kill myself to make it home for 4 to “relieve” him of his baby duties that he had been taking care of Baby Bun all day, that I screwed up the car, felt like a failure, and was so incredibly stressed that I wasn’t doing anything right.
All I wanted when I got home, was to just hang out as a family, eat dinner, talk, but to make matters worse, the MINUTE I walked into the door, he would go into the bedroom after a “Hello” and lie down on his side and watch documentaries until he fell asleep.
WTF, you must be thinking..
I was then, alone with Baby Bun, feeling like a single mother.
I don’t even know if I can express all the stress I felt in working full-time, being sleep-deprived, rushing home to make it home early so I could take over as the second shift.
To make matters worse, I didn’t even get time to myself on the weekends like I do now.
I also stayed home with Baby Bun 24/7 on weekends, feeling completely guilty about missing him during work and then having to get all this other stuff done.
I had zero, ZERO time to myself, I didn’t take care of myself, and I felt completely alone and distressed.
I felt like I was raising this child with a stranger. We never saw each other, really talked to each other, or did family things together. It was all so separate.
Very alone, lost, and it was when I started considering being a single mother. It had to be better than whatever this was, at least I’d be able to hire help to watch him and not feel guilty about being home on time, and I could just raise him alone with less stress…
It wasn’t until we had a major blowout over him screaming that I had to be home by 4, or was it that I did something like wipe his face again with a dirty cloth I had JUST used to wipe his face…?
I have no idea, but he was extremely sleep-deprived, stressed because he wasn’t working, and he was f*#$&%ing miserable to live with.
He was so miserable that we had an epic blowout and I screamed: If you go out that door, don’t even BOTHER TO COME THE #*%#( BACK.
He came back, and we worked it out through more screaming until we were both exhausted.
It wasn’t though, until he got a job, that he finally calmed the eff down. I realized in that moment that my partner is a guy that needs to work and make money, like me, to feel valued and useful.
He wants to retire early, and he is stressed when he doesn’t reach that goal, AND he had such perfectionist tendencies that he expected the same of me, but I had nothing left to give of my soul and energy because I was already working full-time, taking care of Baby Bun the entire rest of the time, and trying to just survive, let alone care about being perfect.
Things finally calmed down as Baby Bun grew older and into a Little Bun, and we settled into a routine where he has learned to be more tolerant, less perfectionist (and to turn a blind eye to crumbs on the counter, and dust balls in the corner), and I try to give him his own time, by asking him to go take a bike ride alone in the summer (his favourite activity), or to go out and do things alone with his friends.
In the end, if I can pass on anything to anyone who cares about any of this, it is:
1. Having a child doesn’t bring people together, it tests how strong you are as a couple..
If your relationship is already rocky and as brittle as glass, it will surely shatter your relationship.
Children DO NOT strengthen anything. They TEST YOU until you are on the brink of a nervous breakdown, and then on top of that, you have to deal with your relationship crumbling.
2. Partners need to let up on each other
Give each other a break.
We each need our own alone time. We also need to step in when we see the other person stressed to their limits and swoop in to take over.
We need to back each other, and when you don’t get that support, write an email rather than screaming it out 6 months later in a fit of bottled up rage.
Writing an email is a better call, it lets you calmly say:
Please, let’s work on NOT screaming at Little Bun together. It makes him stressed but us as well. I will try my best to lower my voice and not yell at him, but you have to try too, we have time to change this behaviour so that we don’t ruin him and shape his attitude towards fear and fighting forever…
…instead of screaming out at him 2 months later when he starts screaming at him, and you’re screaming back and it turns everyone into a puddle of tears.
3. Everyone needs their own alone time and space.
His comes when I am at home. Little Bun sticks to me like glue. He is my baby shadow and that is how Daddy gets a break.
Mommy gets a break, when she physically parts herself from Little Bun.
This is why I leave every weekend for at least 5 hours to recharge my batteries. I go out, I run errands, I go to a cafe, I read a book, I chill. I listen to music, watch videos, blog, do my budget.. you know, stuff I CANNOT get done when I am at home with Little Bun because he is always on me like white on rice, asking me to play with him or whining when I talk to Daddy or work.
Alone Time is a REQUIREMENT.
Give it to them. They will come back a happier person and more productive.
Even if it is just one hour a week, they need to be alone.