Do you have any advice for someone who is going to have children as close together as Noah and Matilda? How do you split yourself evenly and stay sane? If you could do it again would you have two so close together again?
Ah, goodness… I don’t know. It’s a ball breaker of a job. I’m barely sane. I yell more than I should and my house is never quiet. Ever.
I’m a single mother, which I did not count on. They’re fifteen months apart. It has it’s ups and downs. Every age gap does.
Here’s the nitty gritty:
They play well together, they’re sort of like twins. They don’t know life outside of having a sibling. On me though, it’s a demanding job. Even when Joe was still around and we we’re even-numbered it was tough. Now it’s like, my life is a fucking circus. I’m outnumbered!
7am - Two breakfasts, feed both. Try feed myself.
8am - Playtime. Educational and stimulating activities.
9am - Two morning teas.
10am - Matilda’s nap, (Play with Noah)
11:30am - Noah’s nap, (Play with Matilda)
1pm - Two lunches.
2pm - We leave the house for an outing. (Kill me now…)
3pm - Matilda’s nap, (Noah watch TV while I clean up)
4pm - More educational junk and games, and a snack.
5pm - I cook. (both kids cry and kill each other)
5:30pm - Two dinners, mine goes cold.
6pm - Bath both kids at once, dress both, milk, story etc. (HECTIC)
7pm - Kids in bed.
8pm - Clean up entire house, again.
9pm - Pass the fuck out.
Things you need to consider:
Getting two kids in and out of a car on your own is Hell. Taking two kids grocery shopping, is Hell. Wrangling a feisty Toddler running away in public while having to carry a clingy emotional baby is also, Hell.
Plus I also have a dog. A job. My health and appearance. Joe. My friends and other family. All these things I’m trying to maintain as well as raise my kids up to be top humans. Considering your other life stuff is a good idea, like your job and also how you’ll manage to keep your relationship running smoothly.
The nappies. Both are in nappies, you’re basically changing a bum every hour. Some days I change seven shits, back to back.
The toys, you need double. I thought, cool they can share one lot of toys… Nope, they’re both at two completely different intellectual stages and require different toys.
The dirty clothes, I do two massive loads of laundry a day.
The space, two kids means twice as much crap. I live in a three bedroom house with two bathrooms and it’s still too small in here. Same with my car, my lap, my tolerance level… All too small.
The cost, two kids… Double the expenses. Double the food, nappies, wipes. Two car seats, a double pram, two highchairs, ten thousand sippy cups, etc.
Also, when one gets sick, you’re all sick and then you’re just totally fucked. Call whatever back up you have at this point.
Would I do it again? Well, put it this way, my next two hypothetical children will not be this close. Would I change a thing about my current life?
Nope, not one thing.
I adore my babies. I love everything about our chaotic lives.
on single motherhood
i know i said i was taking a break from all of this but the demonization of single mothers has me fucked up
the demonization of single mothers is a well accepted and publicly practiced form of misogyny
there’s this prevalent attitude that single mothers are evil, ungrateful, money hungry sluts who only care about themselves and spend any child support they receive on themselves. men’s rights activists in particular talk about the mythical inattentive single mother. she gets pregnant, usually on purpose, in order to spend a man’s money on clothes, alcohol, and other frivolous items and leaves her child to fend for themselves and a man broken hearted and destitute. she’s incompetent, lazy, and selfish, and most importantly, a bad mother and a bad woman.
this attitude is not only dangerous but also completely false.
there seems to be this common thought that raising a child is easy, and all you have to do is feed it, clothe it, and put it on the bus to go to school, and after that, your work is done. this is an over-simplification of what it means to be a mother and quite frankly, an insult and a disgrace.
single motherhood is a full time job. you do not get breaks, you do not get vacations, you do not get a free pass. you are that child’s sole provider from the minute you’re left alone with them until they are fully formed and independent.
single motherhood requires full attention. single mothers take on many roles- the parent, the teacher, the mentor, the caretaker, the emotional supporter. they are the ones responsible for every aspect of a child’s life. a two parent team has the option of splitting the responsibility for child rearing- a single mother has to do everything on her own. raising a child is difficult, and many two parent households have trouble with it.
the myth that single mothers do not take proper care of their children is one that is steeped in the idea that women are incompetent and cannot take care of themselves, let alone another person.
recently, there has been a post circulating tumblr showcasing a single mother spending a child support check on a pair of shoes for herself and a manicure. many of the comments on this post are disparaging, calling the young woman a bitch, an awful mother, and asking why she didn’t spend the money on the child instead of herself. because of course, the single mother is a bad mother, and of course she only thinks of herself.
what people don’t understand about child support is that it is not enough to live on, and is usually used as disposable income. single mothers are lucky if they get 200 a month. 200 a month is not enough for one person to live on, let alone two. the average single mother does not live on child support checks. it is impossible. and even then, it takes more than money to support a child.
single motherhood means always being there. it means always knowing where your child is because no one else has to or can. it means making sure the child is well fed, groomed, clothed, well rested, and healthy. it means making sure the child is going to school and doing their homework. it means birthdays and holidays and sleepovers and extra curricular activities and downtime, and yes, that means the child has toys and books and things to occupy their time and make them happy, because being a mother means wanting your child to be happy. it means maintaining a house and working a job or two and making sure that you’re still alive and moving. it means doctors visits, dentist appointments, glasses, braces, broken bones, the flu, shots, surgeries. it means tending to broken hearts and broken friendships. it means puberty. it means prom and homecoming and driver’s permits and first jobs and internships. it means college applications and parent loans. and it means doing it all on your own. even when you’re sick, even when you’re tired, even when you’re depressed, even when you’re stressed out. the child depends on you and only you.
if a single mother has the opportunity to take an hour out of the thousands she will spend as a mother to get her nails done, it is not the end of the world, it does not make her a bad mother, and it does not mean she is irresponsible. because before all of that, she takes care of her child. she does not stop being a mother because she is getting a manicure. she does not stop being a mother because she bought herself shoes.
raising a child takes years. to assume that during which a mother should not be allowed to treat herself to something nice is to reduce her to chattel. it is saying that women do not deserve nice things because they only exist to breed and raise children. it is saying that women’s sole purpose is to be a broodmare. it is denying a woman agency and the right to be happy. it is misogyny.
to single mothers- if you want to get your nails done, fucking go for it. you deserve it. you deserve to be happy, you deserve to treat yourself, you deserve to take care of yourself.
and to the men who leave women to raise their children alone- you do not get to dictate how she lives her life, spends her time or money. and you certainly don’t get to decide if she’s a bad mother if you couldn’t even be a father.
I know that we need our troops and I have respect for all of them and their families. I just don’t think that I could be that girl who’s husband is a soldier and gone for years in service, sitting there worried about if they’re going to be coming home safe and sound. It would be awful. If I had kids and my spouse was out in the field, I’d practically be a single mother. We’d move all of the time and we’d have very long periods away from each other. I commend those that can deal with the distance and the worry. I just couldn’t do it. If you really really really want to join the military, then that’s what you should do, but I don’t think I could be your wife. I hope I never have to choose between you and war.