13th May: Champion eater award please 🏆

I wanted to rush and get the food shopping done before my Dad arrived to help us out for the day. This is dangerous as if my car goes near a McDonald’s before 10.30 it automatically pulls into the car park. Once I was out of the car staring at the golden Ms there was no choice for it but to have a breakfast.

As I am a champion I ordered the pancakes and syrup, flat white, sausage and egg mcmuffin (single, I’m not a monster) and hash brown.

I’m sure you will be pleased / disgusted to note that I finished it all. Whilst I did this Emily was very slowly working her way through courgette and apple (unseasoned and microwaved):

She was getting a lot of praise from an old couple next to us and the manager. Babies get praise for very little. I had just eaten two breakfasts and nothing. Then one of the McDonald’s guys came around with a tray of cheese bacon flatbreads.

Now even a glutton like me is aware this is bad news. It’s 90% cheese and bacon for gods sake. And I’d just eaten two breakfasts. Anyway the baby is obviously on a mission to have a squishy comfy mummy for all the babywearing and ate her food so ridiculously slowly that I was forced to take one to fend off boredom.

I’d like to say I was stuffed, that I regretted my actions and felt sick for ages. However my body is accustomed to this. I felt fine. And that thing about not going food shopping on an empty stomach…I came back with nearly 30 chocolate bars anyway.

Non, je ne regrette a rien.

Feeling like a failure

Some days I own the title single mother with pride. Single mothers do everything and that makes them extremely capable and strong, who can’t be proud of that! When I read other women’s stories of how they became single mothers I think well done, you had a tough situation and you got through it and thrived. Not that I can say I’m thriving yet. Ultimately I just feel like I’m surviving and the real test will come when I go back to work almost full time and have to manage my time very carefully with a house and clingy co-sleeping baby to deal with.

But other days, to be honest I am embarrassed. I feel like I need to justify myself. I feel like I need to tell people I was happily married, as if to justify that this was a carefully planned and wanted baby. Given that my husband left me quite soon after she was born I worry that people think I am some very irresponsible woman who had a baby with a man she didn’t get on with. Maybe they would judge me more if they knew the truth, that I thought the marriage was strong but ultimately my husband didn’t. How stupid am I not to realise that?

The joke is that when I think of the single mothers that I admire, some of them didn’t plan to have the baby at all. It’s the fact they didn’t plan it and life threw a surprise at them and they not only coped but did a great job and didn’t let it stop them pursuing careers and relationships and happiness.

I wouldn’t judge other single mothers so why do I judge myself? Maybe because I am generally a conventional person in what I want out of life. This is so far removed from what I ever wanted or considered possible that I think I judge myself for letting it happen (not that I really had a say in the matter). One of the things I liked about my husband was that he was dependable and loyal and a family man. Obviously I didn’t really know him, people must be thinking that either I was stupid to not realise that having a family wasn’t for him…or that family life is for him but that I’m such a nightmare that he felt he had to get away from me.

At the end of the day I’m wasting time worrying about what people think as the famous saying goes:

“You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do”

– Olin Miller

And ultimately since sharing with people that I am a single mother I basically have had an outpouring of support. So many women from all corners have offered a shoulder to cry on / ear to moan at. People I barely know have been so kind including generosity from friends online sending an amazing care package to people from my past I haven’t seen in years sending their love and sympathy.

I’ve always had the opinion that people are on the whole good so I don’t know why I waste energy thinking they would perceive me badly for being a single mother. And those that do probably aren’t worth having the good opinion of anyway.

I know a brilliant supporter of women who would be telling me to dust off my crown now so I guess I will.