Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Valentine's Day: Table for One?

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Valentine's Day: Table for One?

So another Valentine’s Day is upon us. Another opportunity to declare how thankful we are that our beloveds chose to be with us. Another chance to shout from the rooftops about everything that is so special about our significant others and the relationships we cherish. Another day of uncharacteristically public and saccharine declarations of devotion. Well, Husband, stand down. For that is not going to happen here.

Husband seeks out affection

This year, the ever looming threat of Valentine’s Day has got me thinking about all of those who are going it alone. All of those parents who are wrangling the beasts without the back up of a partner, some of whom are even cruelly outnumbered whether it be out of choice, relationship breakdown or worse. These people are heroes. These people deserve our respect.

A parent who is cruelly outnumbered

I cannot imagine how it feels to be alone (not lonely which is an entirely different status) at this juncture in my life (i.e. with two high maintenance squatters in tow.) My fears can easily be lumped into two camps:

1.The fear of lone parenting

All single parents out there, I do not know how you do it.

There are days when I find myself sitting watching the clock cumbersomely tick round in, what appears to be, slow motion willing Husband to make his entrance unprecedentedly early. I am sure that this feeling was once rooted in passion at a time when our relationship was in its fledgling state but it is now embedded in sheer desperation for him to take over the role of The Ugly Sisters (which he is remarkably good at) or combat the torrent of inane questions that toddlers only ask when they are utterly exhausted and yet refuse to be ignored. For example, “Mummy, why am I 4?”, “Mummy, why is my brother younger than me?”, “Mummy, why is that bunny called Bing?”, “Mummy, where are Bing’s parents?” Well, actually she’s got me there but you get the drift. I swear when Husband opens that front door, after I have had them for the day, it is to the sound of a chorus of angels and he is surrounded by a halo of light while his cape billows behind him. 

Not all superheroes wear capes. Some wear backpacks stuffed with baby wipes.

2. The fear of re-entering the dating game

Again I do not mean to infer that lone parents are lonely and I am sure that there are those who are entirely contented as they are. However, were I to find myself freed from the shackles of matrimony (don't worry Husband, I am not plotting anything) I would like to think that I would find an "other" at some point, a team mate to share my load. Someone to bring me a cup of coffee in bed in the morning, someone to tell me that I am great when I need to hear it the most and someone to love me as I deserve to be loved. (Again, obviously.)

Who will treat me as a Princess?

But how does one go about finding an "other" in today's world? I have been out of the dating game since 2005. In fact, having met Husband at university I don’t actually believe that I was ever in the dating game so much as standing on the sidelines; I would have no idea where to start. Online dating? Speed dating? Blind dating? Dipping my toe in the dreaded work pool (no pooping where you eat and all that, unless you are a toddler then you'll pretty much poop wherever)? I will admit that I harbour a secret desire to exercise the old swiping finger on Tinder but then I don't have the attention span for online clothes shopping so how would I ever focus for long enough to find a soul mate. Plus, how do you verify that they are not an axe murderer, juggling two other families or worse, a budding CBeebies presenter? You know none of their people and they know none of your's. Who vouches for them? And that is before you factor in the offspring. Will they be put off? Will your children like them? Will they be good role models? So many questions and that is before I have swiped to the right.

Considering the perils of online dating as a parent

Whilst these questions seem daunting now as I consider the hypothetical they must be terrifying when the option is before you. For those of you who are out there courageously lone parenting whilst also looking for your other, you got this. If you can do three meals a day, the nursery run, the games, bath time, bedtime and all the tantrums in between you can find your other. You are superstars.

One night of lone parenting is too much for some

As for me, it looks like I shall have to stick with him. This way I can have the occasional lie in and forgo the body hair maintenance for weeks at a time. To be honest, once you’ve worn them in/down they are like a pair of comfortable shoes that you know you probably don’t look your best in but you are such a nicer person to be with when your feet are comfortable.

Like a pair of old brogues

Shank You Very Much
Rhyming with Wine

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