An alternative Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day everyone, or Mothering Sunday if you’re the traditional type! I hope you’ve all managed to get a lie in (what that means with the clocks going forward I don’t actually know), some version of breakfast in bed and have been presented with multiple homemade cards and presents. 

This year I’m definitely getting a lie in as I don’t actually have Charlotte for most of the day. 

I heard the shocked gasps then but it’s ok, I  promise.

My ex and I have Charlotte alternate weekends (with me doing the bits in the middle too) and this year Mother’s Day fell on ‘his’ weekend.  I didn’t realise until quite late on in the proceedings and wondered if I should attempt to barter to keep her for myself or shorten his weekend with her so I could see her. But then I thought… 

What does Mother’s Day mean for me? 

…and thinking about it, for me as a mum it doesn’t mean very much right now.

The first Mother’s Day after I split with my ex I had three cards from friends and family and multiple presents and flowers. It was nice as I wasn’t expecting anything, especially as my ex and I were not in good terms, but the past two Mother’s Day’s have just been a bit, well, depressing. 

Mother’s Day isn’t just about Mother and Child bonding. It’s meant to be a full family experience and I remember it so fondly from when I was younger. The Father is meant to take the child(ren) out to carefully curate the best present/card combo. The breakfast is made with help from the Father so no fires ensue or coffee isn’t spilt down the stairs. The Sunday Lunch is a full family affair whether out or in but, for better or worse, that’s not how it works in our little family of two. 

Crazy curly haired lady!

But I realised that, where we are now, I don’t need presents or a soppy Hallmark cards from Charlotte. I definitely don’t want presents brought begrudgingly by my ex. It melts my heart when she brings me a drawing home from school with a lady with crazy hair in the middle surrounded by hearts and flowers and says ‘I made this for you mummy’, but I am lucky that they happen every week for me, not just on one day of the year. 

I don’t need a lie in because I generally get one every other weekend and, believe me, I usually make the most of it. I know I have got it good compared to a lot of mum’s in that respect so I take full advantage! 

Last years attempt at breakfast in bed – the wine wasnt part of it, promise!

I don’t need breakfast in bed. She’s five. That would be a disaster and I’d have to go downstairs to find out what the crash was and supervise at some point therefore defeating the point entirely.

Our day trip to London last summer
I do, however, need quality time with my daughter. Like playing a new card game with her that her grandma taught her, and listening to her cackle when she’s on a winning streak. Like having tickle fights on lazy Sunday mornings. Like going on road trips to see something a bit different or Film Night Fridays with pizza and a movie. Like cuddling up in bed every evening and reading books. Just the two of us. 

And I realised that I am ridiculously lucky that I get that most days of the year, not just the one. 

So Charlotte can have her Daddy weekend because she needs and wants quality time with him too, and we’ll just pick up where we left off when she gets back. 

NB: I also know I definitely have two homemade cards hiding in various conspicuous places, so all is not lost.

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Back to work.

I keep starting posts about my hilarious dates that I have been on over the holidays but my timing is crap and at the moment I am seriously contemplating having to go back to work full time which takes away the flippancy of a date or two. This was a New Years decision I was hoping I wouldn’t have to make but I do and it seems like the only way for me to stay above the water at the moment…all be it still probably paddling furiously underneath!

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Another massive decision that goes along with this is having to put Charlotte in nursery full time. This one hurts my heart so much more than me having to go back full time. When I was dreaming about having children I wanted to be a stay at home mum, when I had Charlotte I knew that wasn’t going to be financially possible but I changed my hours, worked full time hours in four days and had a husband that, when in work could easily have Mondays and Tuesdays off leaving just two days to cover with nursery. When not in work he still only looked after her for the two days but that’s neither here nor there anymore. Once my marriage went down the pan and he decided that he wanted a 9-5 job the routine changed again. I could no longer do my full time hours in four days with nursery pick ups and drop offs all being my responsibility (ex lives about 45 mins away) so I changed to part time over the four days, put Charlotte in nursery one extra day and begged (something I am awful at doing) my parents to have her for a day to keep my costs down (ish). This worked for a little bit but having now done that for six months I am drowning and my overdraft is getting bigger and bigger with not much more stretch.

My parents have now decided they would like to live further down south so that’s one days nursery added and with the discount I would get for five days nursery seems like the best decision financially which also means I can go back to full time again. The fact I don’t want to doesn’t really factor in unfortunately.

So my idyllic ideals and my realistic vision are somewhat different and it still hurts a bit to realise that. I love my Fridays with Charlotte. I love my Fridays catching up with my mummy friends. I love the opportunity to make the most if my ‘long weekends’ but it’s about survival at the moment and the mummy bear instincts have kicked in so I will just have to leave her with some amazing, trusted other bears for a bit longer whilst I go out to forage for food and some bigger, more appropriate shelter and the weekends I have with Charlotte will have to be jam packed with fun times to make sure she still knows I love her and she is my top priority.

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I promise you’ll get my juicy date stories soon!!