Jody and Alfred (1 year on)

Name: Jody 

Alfred, 2

Location: Stockport, Greater Manchester

Last blog: 1 year ago, click for Jody’s Previous blog entry

Life has changed massively since I was on the blog. I’m now a single mother, working full time and seeing my son 3/4 times a week (rather than every day). This is a double edged sword that comes complete with a massive bucket of guilt.

On one hand, the fact that I have to ‘share him’ and grab snippets of him through the week (either side of work) makes me feel terrible, like I’m not doing my job properly as a mum. I’m aware that I’m missing things like new words and jokes and ‘first times’. I’ve relied massively on my own parents and friends for emotional support over the past 12 months and it’s highlighted how incredibly lucky I am to be surrounded by such a strong support network. 

Alfred has adapted to his new set-up like a duck to water – I’m really grateful that he’s such a chilled out little guy – although thinking about it, I grew up in exactly the same set-up and It never deeply bothered me either. The change in circumstances has given me a new and deeper understanding of what an amazing woman my own mother is. Her circumstances were harder than mine, and I take my hat off to any woman who has to go through the breakdown of their family without being surrounded by a support network. I’m so fortunate to have some wonderful people in my life. 

The other hand – the time that Alfie spends with his father – I initially filled up with distractions so I didn’t sit, staring at the wall, thinking, “how on earth has this all happened?!” 
I filled it with things that I’d forgotten I loved (as I’d begun to define myself as a wife and mother); music, art, friends, sport, reading, going out. It’s been a real journey of discovery, and for the first time in a very long time I feel like – and I’m comfortable with – me. I’m trying and loving new things that I would have never have done otherwise. It’s a new lust for life which I intend to keep this time round. 

Motherhood has been intense but amazing. I love being the mother of a toddler. Alfred just makes me laugh all the time, and I think we bring out the best in each other. We are quite similar – both wind up merchants – and have loads of fun when we are together. It’s great that we can have full conversations now too – although he’s become a master of selective hearing. 

With him being so chilled out, I’m still not very good on what to do if he throws a tantrum in public, as it’s so rare. He had one right in the middle of the Natural History Museum not so long ago and I just held his reigns while he rolled around on the floor. I could feel my face burning with embarrassment, so pretended to look at the stuffed birds, then just proceeded to kind of slide him across the floor to the next exhibit. 

The logistics are also more complicated with him living between my house, his dad’s and his grandparent in the day. Plus it’s emotionally quite stressful with the extra guilt incurred as we’ve shifted from being a ‘classic’ family to the kind of family we are now. But, truth be told, I’ve really taken to being a single mum. It’s just about recognising, and making the most of the positive aspects of being a single parent.

I’ve definitely changed since the last blog entry, massively so. However, I think it’s becoming a single mother (rather than motherhood in general) that has been the catalyst for that change. Surprisingly it’s made me a lot more chilled out than before and open to new things. I worry less, I have fun more and It’s given me fresh eyes to see the sort of attitude I want Alfred to grow up with. 

At the moment, the hardest part is maintaining a positive relationship with Alfred’s Dad (which we seem to be doing OK at) and dealing with the guilt of not seeing him all the time – although I’ve noticed the hardest parts change from one month to the next! If you’d asked me 2 days ago the answer would have simply been, “getting out of the door on time without him taking his shoes off, rolling around on the landing and refusing to come down stairs 2 minutes before I needed to leave for work.” 
I’ve also found hanging out with other families very hard. Kids parties especially. Then I feel guilty again, because I really don’t want to be there pretending to be all happy and jolly – in fact I just want to crawl under the table and eat all the party rings and not feel so exposed as the one who hasn’t brought their partner.

The best part of being a mum is being told, “I love you mummy” – no feeling compares to when I hear these words (apart from when he says the same thing to a snail on the way out of the house and I realise he’s not fully grasped the meaning)… but it’s still the best music to my ears. 

I don’t wish I’d known this was how motherhood would turn out. I’m glad I didn’t know what I was in for, because otherwise I may not have done it and I’m eternally glad that I did.

Any more advice?: Keep your child alive for consecutive 24 hour periods until they are 18. At which point, if you have done a good job, by then they should be able to do it themselves. Do it the best way for you and don’t care what anyone else thinks so long as your house is filled with happiness, laughter and respect. Oh, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with wiping your own child’s nose with it’s sock if it’s the only thing to hand.

Jody earns pocket money by making cake stands, bird feeders and jewellery trees out of vintage china.

3 thoughts on “Jody and Alfred (1 year on)

  1. You are amazing. Be proud. Can't tell you how much respect and admiration I have for you. Keep up the fantastic work (in employment and out!)


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