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.

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