Finding time to see anyone other than my kids is a constant challenge as a single mum.
I only have the children under my roof eight nights a fortnight, so I prefer not to go out when they’re home.
But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to juggle. There are work functions I need to attend and events that pop up at inconvenient times or changes to the co-parenting schedule that throw me for a loop.
I’d been trying to catch up with my mate Dom all year and we’d finally managed to write September 18 in biro in our diaries. Then I realised I had the eldest because her dad and the youngest were at the National Skipping Championships.
I felt guilty about going to the pub, but I also didn’t want to cancel a date that had taken so long to organise. So I spent a few hours sipping cider and checking my phone and pulled the plug early to ensure I didn’t leave the eldest alone too late. Not that the eldest cared – she spends every night immersed in her phone or computer anyway, but still …
OK… I also abandoned her for an hour on Sunday night to drive DD to the airport. He was flying to a board meeting in Perth and the car trip was my only chance to see him.
It’s a bit ridiculous how little time I get with DD. And when I do it’s usually the briefest of encounters, such as his lightning meatball visit on Tuesday. He leads a crazy life of business travel and single dadding.
Trying to align our schedules is tough. I was solo parenting last weekend and the school holidays will throw both our routines out of whack … it’s lovely to get so much time with our kids, but geez it cramps the love life.
And then there’s the friendship deficit.
There are so many good friends I haven’t seen this year. That weighs heavily on my guilt-prone shoulders.
The kids are skiing with their dad next week, so I’m cramming the calendar with catch-ups. I’m out most nights with a different someone.
I do that every time the kids have a holiday sans me. And it’s a bummer if someone cancels at the last minute. I used to love a last-minute cancellation, as it meant I could remain on the couch. But the free nights to socialise are so rare these days that I’m a bit gutted if a precious free night is wasted.
Last, but definitely not least, is making time for my immediate family. My sister and I are lucky enough to live five minutes from each other, so we go through patches of seeing each other a lot and then weeks when we barely have time to speak – she has a mega-huge job in corporate communications AND she owns a Choices flooring franchise, so her life is way more nuts than mine.
But I’ve managed to block out her diary for a few days in the school holidays and we’re heading to Hawks Nest – where our grandparents lived until they passed away – with the kids. Mum and dad are coming too and have ponied up – bless them – for a few dodgy apartments by the beach. We will have three nights together as a family, which will be wonderful. Lots of beach walks and board games and pizza dinners. Hopefully that will adjust the balance a bit on the seeing-family score.
Then I just have to sort out some relaxed time with DD.
Do you find it hard to catch up with friends?
PS The kids and I had leftover meatball curry last night and it was delish again, so I thought I’d give you the recipe. It’s a cheat’s dish, but who has time to grind their own spices other than my ex-but-still husband?
Cheat’s meatball curry
1kg lamb mince
2 bread crusts, whizzed into crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 jar Patak’s Korma paste
400g can crushed tomatoes
400g can lite coconut milk
Rice & roti
Method: Mix the mince with the breadcrumbs and egg. Roll into small balls and brown in hot oil. Remove from oil. Add onion and ginger to oil, saute until soft, add korma paste, saute a minute or two until fragrant. Add tomatoes and coconut milk, stir to combine. Add meatballs and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with rice and roti.
Song of the day: Billy Idol “Rebel Yell”