Works Night Out

Thursday night was our work night out and I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks. I’m not really sure why. I mentioned last time that I had a complete new outfit and I was definitely looking forward to getting all glammed up. I think more than anything I wanted my husband, Barry, to see me and … be jealous? remember why he liked me? I’m not sure.

The day before Barry had arrived in the morning to take Hector to nursery. “I’ll see you tonight” I said as I left for work. “I won’t be here tonight, I’m here tomorrow” he replied. “Oh, OK” I say as I drive off, absolutely stunned. Barry always stays with the baby on a Wednesday night  and then has him on a Thursday. He had decided that he wouldn’t do that this week just because I was going out. I drove to work with the rage building up inside me. How dare he? I text him “I didn’t realize you were only allowed to spend one night a week with your son!” I was fuming. He had only had him one night the week before as well. He text saying he had made plans. I told him he was seeing Hector less and less and he insisted that he wasn’t. I was angry all day.

Thursday arrived and I went and had my hair done before coming home to Hector and Barry for tea. While he was looking after the baby I did all make-up etc. I didn’t want to put my dress on before Hector was asleep, which is usually about seven, because I had a feeling I might be needed. The baby was exhausted so Barry took him up with his bed-time bottle, and then Hector started screaming. “Hand him over.” I said. As soon as I had him he took his bottle and immediately fell asleep. I quickly went to put my dress on and found Barry having a little lie down on my bed, which I found rather annoying.

When I appeared in my outfit I could see him eyeing me and he asked

“New dress?”

“Yes”

“Nice” he mumbled.

The girls arrived to pick me up and I left the house in a swirl of smiles and perfume. “Have a good night” I hear him say as I close the door.  I told him I’d see him later, knowing I had no intention of returning home. I’d asked my mum to leave a nightie in her spare room for me.

The night consisted of cocktails, tequila, sambuca, a dance-off and a tiny bit of flirting. It was fun, and good to feel attractive again. However, I ended up having to tell more people about Barry leaving because they were asking how he was, if we were planning more babies etc. One friend who has been on maternity said “Oh I hate him! He can’t just do that! He has a family, he has to stay and work through it.” But the sad truth is is that he can do just that. There are no locks, no bars on the windows keeping him here. He’s a man, and can do as he pleases. What I still find shocking is how often it happens. My hairdresser was telling me how her husband left her with her three week old daughter! He came down the stairs with a packed bag: “I’m off to look after number one.”

“This is number one here” she says, referring to her babe-in-arms.

He repeats “I’m off to look after number one” and leaves.

Her pregnant friend’s husband was raging – “How dare he do that to you! That’s disgusting!” A couple of months after his own baby is born he leaves and goes to live in Magaluf! He sees his child each winter.

The thing is, I’m really worried that Hector is growing up and changing every day and Barry is missing it all. He is beginning to know his son less and less. When I settled the baby on Thursday I handed Barry the bottle and he put in on the dresser as he left. I asked him why he was leaving it there and he said in case the bay wakes up in the next half hour for the rest. “He won’t” I said, thinking, you should know that. On Sunday afternoon he picked him up to go out for a couple of hours and Hector screamed because he was leaving me. This is also a new development. Maybe he senses that daddy doesn’t know what he likes any more. I know that Barry loves us and he’s going through some kind of mental crisis but he is missing out on so much.

Last night Hector fell asleep in my arms and I sat watching his beautiful, angelic face. I felt a rush of overwhelming love, maybe even more so now that we are on our own. It’s me and Hector versus the world. An unstoppable force. I would never want to miss one precious moment with him. How can Barry give this up? What a silly, silly man.

Putting up the deccies

So last week I had to face the fact that, husband or not, I would have to put the decorations up and get into the Christmas spirit for the baby, Hector. I needed them out the loft and there is no way a short arse like me can get up there so I had to ask the neanderthal. When he next came round he took them down for me. The tree is really big and fiddly so I asked him if he could help me put it up because I couldn’t do it on my own. “Why can’t you do it on your own?” he says. D**k head!

Since he left I have to say that my family have really been amazing. I have always appreciated them but in this hour of need they have rallied around me and given me lots of support. I really feel for those single mums out there that have no family to rely on, or they live far away from them, because I honestly don’t know how I would manage without mine.

So at the weekend I went to see Father Christmas with my mum, brother and sister and nieces. (I had always thought that Hector’s first meeting with Santa would be one that both his parents were present at.) After the grotto it had been decided, by my mum and sister, that my sister and niece would come and help me put the tree up. My other brother also ended up coming to look after Hector while we worked because they are bezzies. I didn’t want all my nieces there as my house is tiny.

Letting them in was risky because I was worried that they would think I wasn’t coping. The house was a complete tip. There were toys, tissues, envelopes, odd socks and other random items littered all over the living and dining room floor; the kitchen was strewn with potatoes and Tescos carrier bags; in the bathroom the contents of the standing cabinet were scattered, mainly all my make up and a box of panty-liners, opened, and thrown everywhere. All this in addition to the usual clutter and crap that I never have the time, or the space, to sort out.

My seven year old niece looked the place up and down and asked:

“Is this why you didn’t want anyone else to come?”

“Yes” I admit, hanging my head in shame.

“I’ll do the living room.” she says.

I love my niece. She is a wise one, and she completely understands that my house will never be as clean and tidy as hers. My sister walks in and immediately takes action, clearing things away like a refreshing tornado. I really do think I’m coping very well but with working full-time some things take a back seat and running around cleaning up after the baby in the morning is one of them. I have found that Hector and I can get ready in a very civilized manner if I am not restricting him in his explorations. I would much rather he was happy throwing my panty-liners around than standing at his gate screaming to get in while I do my hair and make-up. What’s the point in that?

In no time at all we had the tree up, deccies and all. My sister and niece then went home to put theirs up and my brother stayed with me to have a drink and watch ‘I’m a celebrity’. Overall a very productive weekend.

One of my aunties said to me recently “You don’t need anyone when you have your family around you. You’ll mourn for a week.” Although I think it will take longer than a week to come to terms with the fact that my husband has abandoned me, I am starting to see what she meant. I can feel myself becoming stronger every day. I am completely exhausted, but strong. I have managed a lot in this short time as a single mother, including an inspection at work and applying for a new job. I am proud of myself. So, in order to celebrate, I have bought my self a fabulous frock, new shoes, bag and perfume for the Christmas do with work. Who knows – I may even try a little flirting! Now, how do you do that again? …..

Becoming a single mum

It has been three weeks since my husband left. My son turned one just over a month ago and my husband walked out shortly after. I was shocked.

I couldn’t understand how a man I had laughed with, cried with and grown up with could suddenly leave me stranded with a child. And think it was ok! The day after he left the baby developed a chest infection. Hello two weeks of no sleep. So, as a working mother (a secondary school teacher) I was having no sleep, then getting up and getting us both ready for work/nursery, doing a full day in work, cooking tea, doing the bedtime routine, then working some more and preparing everything for the next day before getting to bed myself. Get up at 6.30 (5.30 on a bad day) and do it all again.

In my time of need I turned to the internet to see if there were other mothers in my situation and I was shocked by the sheer volume of posts from new mums who had been left by their husbands. I really think there is something imprinted in men’s DNA that tells them: once you have fathered a healthy child it’s time to move on. Obviously there are men who deal with this better than others, but for those if us who are married to cavemen it comes as a complete shock. Husbands who have shared everything with us, had completely modern attitudes to marriage and relationships, suddenly can’t cope. There is no way of identifying these duds before the event. We have been together for thirteen years and I never suspected he would abandon me with child.

When I spoke to a male colleague in work about us struggling he asked me, “How old is the baby?” When I told him he said “Yes, men get itchy feet about that time. They’re scared of what the rest of their life will be like.”

I recently asked my husband if he had put himself in my shoes and considered how I was coping, to which he replied “No, you seem alright. The baby is happy.” At this moment he was very lucky I did not have a sharp object handy to impale him with! I never knew until now I had married such a selfish toad! “Of course the baby is happy because I would never put my needs before his like you are doing now!”

And so, it’s laugh or cry. Count your blessings or wallow in despair. I choose the former of the two. Yesterday I fed, washed and played with the baby as well as washed the dishes, hoovered and polished, put a wash in and showered and washed my hair, all before 9 am. In the words of Katy Perry “I went from zero to my own hero”.

Mums are superheroes.