The ugly secret

Sometimes being a single mum really, really gets to me.

Like yesterday, which was a crazy, exhausting, infuriating whirl.

It kicked off with a text message about the youngest needing her band uniform for school photos. I hustled around the house getting ready and dropped it over to my ex’s place on the way to work.

Then I did seven hours in the office before rushing down the hill to my car, grabbing afternoon tea for the kids from a bakery on the way.

I collected the girls from the school gate and dropped the eldest to art class. Then I headed home with the youngest and helped her with her homework while simultaneously unpacking the dishwasher, making dinner, chucking a load in the washing machine and throwing a ball 500 times for the dog while he incessantly barked if I took more than 30 seconds to chuck it.

Then I turned around and collected the eldest from art class, detouring halfway after she reminded me she needed a bag out of her dad’s car – which remains parked near the school whenever he’s off boffing his girlfriend. I have his spare set of keys so I can collect the kids’ stuff from the boot.

In the early days following our break up, the sight of that car sitting as I drove the kids to school the next morning would cut me to the core. Nowadays I just glower.

When I got home, I served up dinner, cleaned the kitchen, set up the new computer printer, searched for sheet music for the eldest and printed it out, packed lunches for us all, hung the washing out …

And cursed under my breath a lot.

As I stood stirring spag Bol for dinner and flicking through Facebook I came across a story about the trevails of working motherhood, called The Ugly Secret of Working Moms.

The author … ah-hem … Starshine Roshell … wrote: “I have an ugly secret: For 18 years, I’ve felt like a fraud both at home and at work.

“From the moment I became pregnant with my first child, who graduates high school this month, I’ve had the unshakable sensation that I’m faking big chunks of my life, playing the part of a competent and confident mother and professional — but in fact always shortchanging someone their due.”

I used to feel exactly like that when I was married … totally rubbish at everything.

Then my husband left and things kicked up a notch. But at the same time, I finally gave myself a pass-out. I knew there was no way I could do it all on my own, so I’d just have to do the best I could.

The floors are constantly dirty. Washing is always piled on the dining table. We eat dinner in front of the tellie most nights.

But generally, it’s a happy home.

Last night wasn’t a happy one. I was thoroughly pissed off that every day has to be such a slog and that this lot was forced upon me.

But it’s hard to be incandescent, because my ex has simultaneously screwed up and saved my life.

If I wasn’t slogging it as a single mum I’d be struggling as a married one.

I know which outcome I prefer.

At 10pm last night, as Britain’s Got Talent finally served up the Storm Trooper dance and I briefly abandoned trying to insert the fricking ink cartridges into the printer, I managed to have a bit of a laugh … before going back to the printer to have a bit of a cry.

I finally got it working and crawled into bed – in my messy room – at around 11pm.

Now a new day dawns and I’d better go … I’ve gotta get the eldest to jazz band rehearsal by 7.15am.

Sending a huge hug to all those struggling to keep the parenting boat afloat.

Song of the day: The Beatles “It’s been a hard day’s night”



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