Parent

News.

I don’t know where to start.

I’m on my route to work trying to hold it together after TJ didn’t on the way to nursery this morning.

I’m feeling guilty because he was clinging to me – maybe because I didn’t make enough time for him this weekend.

I’m feeling concerned because I don’t know how his day at nursery will go. I’ll wait for their phone call later to hopefully tell me that my boy is happy and playing with his friends like he normally does.

I’m feeling sad because this is a sign of the future.

After 10 years, TJ’s Dad and I have decided to go our own ways. I’ve felt every emotion under the sun in that last decade and in the recent weeks since that decision was made.

We’re both house hunting. Our house is up for sale. We’ve planned childcare routines. And we’ve both bottled up how we actually feel about this huge change.

It was my decision. A thought which had been on my mind based on the difficulties we’ve faced together. I love him but I think we’re unhealthy and destructive forces to each other.

But now, in the words of All Saints, my head is spinning. I don’t know how to follow it through. I don’t know how to cope with missing so much of TJ’s life. I keep telling myself that it’s so common for this to happen – one in four children is raised by a single parent. But that doesn’t help. When it comes to me and my life, the thought of not seeing TJ every day wrecks me.

I am hoping for the best when it comes to how to maintain a relationship with TJ’s Dad. We can be grown ups, friends, and co-parents to the most amazing result of our time together. I think we can do this and still be civil, happy, and enjoy each other’s company when spending time as a family.

But TJ doesn’t know that. He won’t understand why his two parents aren’t around all the time anymore. He won’t understand why we will have to spend lots of time driving up and down the M3 between mummy and daddy’s separate homes. I think the battle I just faced to get him to nursery will be a drop in the ocean compared to what those journeys may be like.

So what do I do? Do I abandon the plans of separation and try even harder to make my relationship work? Or, do I bite the bullet and hope TJ is young enough at 17 months to accept the change and grow up not to know any different?

Answers on a postcard please.

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Mums, Parent, toddler

Sleep

Ah, there’s a loaded word when it comes to parenting. Prior to producing people, it could only have positive connotations of beautiful slumber following a day (or night!) of life.

Now, it’s not such a pleasant thought or experience.

And this time I’m not talking about the baby.

At 17-months-old, TJ is (mostly) sleeping through the night. Aside from one problem. He wakes at around 5am for a cry. It’s short-lived, doesn’t require assistance, seemingly for no real reason and yet it’s primary function seems to be to wake me up.

This has become such a regular occurrence that I wake up at that time, whether TJ does or not. It also happens even if I am not at home, as I’ve been painfully reminded when I’ve had a night off and stayed with friends.

That little sod of a body clock ensures my day starts bright and early anyway … and continues to wake me up every 30 minutes until TJ is ready to start the day/I finally concede defeat in getting more shut-eye and get up out of lovely, lovely bed.

I know I am lucky that TJ is sleeping well at night. I know that I am also lucky that he doesn’t seem much interested in getting up before 7am. I also know that I could (possibly) remove this issue if I switched off the baby monitor and did some sleep training of my own.

But I won’t. I love feeling like the little man is right with me by having a black and white version on that screen on my bedside table. I also still feel a duty to keep an eye on him or listen out for if he needs me for anything overnight.

So I’ll just hope that the 5am wake up calls make a hasty retreat soon – and that hopefully they are not replaced by an even earlier call to action.

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