Closure

I met the mistress the other day. She’s been playing step mum to my daughter since she was 9 weeks old and I had never met her. Now I’m divorced she’s the girlfriend and I’m the ex wife. A lot has happened and I’m out the otherside but I was still anxious. It was about time though. I don’t want to be her friend and I wasn’t going to have a cuppa with her but it was good to put a face to a name and see how she was with my daughter, which is even more important as my daughter has started to reference her name when talking. She is a significant other in my daughter’s life and as I pointed out to my douche bag ex, I had a right to know who was looking after her.
My anxiety dimmed as soon as I walked into their house they have bought together. He answered the door where far too much neon for a man of 36. He also had a bandage on his wrist from a sports injury, which amused me as he reminded me of Keith Lemon minus the ginger hair and moustache! I looked around carefully and noticed a few things about the decor. Several things were things I had talked about doing with ex when we had a bit of money. He clearly stored those ideas and when he needed to start from scratch again he remembered them. He boasted the dcor “was all his idea’. Of course dear, who else would get a look in? There were also photographs we had taken together of our favourite parts of Manchester city centre and a painting from St. Ives, one of our favourite spots we used to holiday. It started to dawn on me how different men are or at least he is to me. There was no nostalgia there for him. They were simply cool places and he could separate them from the person he experienced them with and even continued to experience them with his new girlfriend. I, on the other hand, rarely do anything that I used to do with him but perhaps that is more out of circumstance as I am a single parent and therefore dont have the ‘freedoms’ he has and i have thrown myself into motherhood and doing everything for baby girl.

The ex. no wait. Sorry - Keith Lemon.

The ex. no wait. Sorry – Keith Lemon.


Then there was her. Literally the polar opposite of me: tall, skinny, olived skin (mixed race?), beaky nosed and very young. His vanity clearly demanded he chose her not ‘boring’ family life. Excluding looks, she allows him to have the same relationship we had before I became pregant and ulitmately thats what his affair was all about. Selfish and shallow doesn’t even cover it.
I didn’t feel jealousy. It’s been a long time and I’m not in love with him anymore. I’ve learnt to live in a world without him. What I felt was closure. More so than getting my divorce through. I have no more hurdles to jump anymore. That’s it and it wasn’t that bad. I think it helped that it cemented and confirmed that he is just living the same old life, even in the same part of town, all the freedoms so he can have fun, get drunk, walk in the country, play sport, swan off backpacking for weeks at a time. He’s even dressing far too young for his age in a bid to stay ‘cool’ and ‘urban’ and youthful for his own vanity and his girlfriend, no doubt. He can do all the things we used to do but occasionally punctuated with my daughter who he can have fun with and hand back so he still gets his lie ins and go to the pub. Glamorous Dad.
Once upon a time I would have raged with jealousy that this girl was living my old life. But the closure I felt was not only because he was the final hurdle but because his existence is ulitmately shallow, selfish and self centred. My life is so different and unlike him I don’t consider it a sacrifice. What else is there in life that has more meaning? My bond is so special with my daughter who I get to see every day and cherish. When I wake up to her and go and greet her in her cot it’s like Christmas every day and I wouldn’t change it. It’s the best love I’ve known.

Furberised

My 20 month old has been a bit of a monkey at night in recent weeks: clingy, separation anxiety, wanting cuddles, calling out for water. This, and what I thought were sleep terrors and she most deifintely sleep talks. It was hard getting up loads in the night and getting to work. My job is hard and it has been exhausting. Now, dont get me wrong, I’m not stranger to sleep training as has been documented on here. I’m a tough cookie and have done some hard core ‘crying out’ sessions. But this is not only hard but hadn’t been working. She is of an age that all letting her cry would do was whip her up into a frenzy and tantrum that she coudln’t calm down from.
I was at a lost. What worked before no longer worked. I called the health visitor for advice and spoke at length about it. Twice. Were her tips hepful? No. Some of my other Mum friends were having similar issues too, so I just excused it as a phase. I was going to give up and succumb to baby girl getting in my bed for a good night sleep but in my heart of hearts I knew this was a slippery slope. She needed to learn to sleep for herself.
It all came to head last Thursday. My daughter had spent her regular Wednesday night at her Dads. He greeted me moddily stating she had woken up 9 times in the night. Say what?? 9 times! He was clearly sleep deprived and moody to boot as a consequence and insisted I sleep trained using this method he had found on the internet. I was fed up with his demands especially as he has always reaped the rewards of my hard work. Glamourous Dad is his my nick name for him. “You do it”, I said. There was a heated exchange, in which he agreed, in the end. He agreed to take her for the week.
Once I had cooled down from ‘Dad of the year’ giving me advice on how to sleep train I rang a dear friend who I had recalled used the Ferber method which he had suggested. She swore by it as her son went thorugh a similar phase which kept everyone, including her older son up at night causing a very tired household. I listened to sage advice and realised it was the way forward. I did it myself on the Saturday night and although it was hard the system makes sense and she got the best night sleep in a while. It was hard to let go when her dad came to collect her the next day. I had control and ownership of all her parenting since birth. But it’s not about control. It what’s good for baby girl and me. I didn’t have the energy, due to work pressures, for another bout of sleep training and the other part of me wanted the ex-husbnd to know what its like. Not just sleep training but getting up to work and doing the nursery run too.
So, Furber needs a Nobel Peace prize. Does he have one? Within 3 nights, including my go at it, she was sleeping through. The method is simple and what I like was you don’t leave your little one to cry for huge amounts of time. Tonight she is back with me. I have appreciated my day with her so much for not having her for a week. And it’s a relief to know she had a good time at her Dad’s but clearly missed me as I had the best cuddles and kisses today. Tonight’s bedtime was the calmest and easiest ever. She was in bed 730pm on the dot. No fuss no crying as I walked out the door. Happy Days.

Review

I find it hard to squeeze in blogging nowadays as a working single mum. My job and my 20 month old are very demanding. However, this week I got a week long sabatical from her whilst she stayed at her Dad’s. Her sleep has been poor of late with sleep terrors, sleep talking and genral neediness for cuddles in the night and I felt too exhausted to go through yet another round of sleep training. “You do it” I said when her Dad moaned and insisted on a new sleep regime last week after she had kept him awake on her weekly stay at his. You could have heard my jaw hit the floor when he agreed. I miss her terribly but the smug bugger has seemingly cracked her sleep problems. Win win. I’m just glad he knows what it’s like for once and that I didn’t have to do it. For once.
So, this week, I have been working late in a bid to get all my school prep done so I don’t have to work my summer holidays. It’s been weird not having to do the nightly bath and bedtime routine and I’m suprised at how long my evenings feel. Even with doing school planning I have had time to come to the keyboard to type somehting for me and not for work purposes.
Whilst looking over my blog I re read the “Bombshell…..” It was the first piece I every wrote and it was lucky enough to get posted on Any Other Woman too. It feels strange reading my words and yet knowing I was in a much different emotional place back then. I’ve come a long way. I thought about the list of dreams for the future I wrote nearly 18 months ago now and thought I would review them. The original list is as follows:

1.Cherishing every day with my daughter and keeping a video and photographic diary of her milestones.
2.A 2 bed little cottage somewhere, which I can furnish how I like. Bring on the soft furnishings and scatter cushions.
3.Working part-time
4.Swimming lessons with my baby
5.Learning to horse-ride with my daughter
6.Going on a girlie holiday (friendship has won out through all of this)
7.Meeting a man who will spoil me
8.5* holidays (not the travel lodge or hostel)
9.Running a B&B in St. Ives
10.Learning to scuba dive.
11.Re-marrying with a fairy tale wedding day I didn’t do the first time around.

I have actually managed to accomplish 1, 2 & 3. Well, it’s not a cottage but a more gorgeous than most terrace with a massive garden for baby girl. I swim regularly with her but have not done actual lessons with her. In 2 weeks I can tick of No. 6. I am off to Majorca with 2 friends and one of them has become a single parent too so is bringing her kiddies too. Should be fun – villa with a pool and guaranteed sun. Whoop!

As for the rest… time is needed. That B&B has retirement written all over it. As for meeting a man, well I have dated several to know what I want now. The fairy tale wedding no longer seems important. I do know that I want someone to spoil me and I don’t mean with material things. Generosity of actions and words is so important. I want someone who can put me first for once. I’ve discovered I don’t need a man but I would like one as I would like to be a family still as it was something that was taken away from me. So, someone who has family values is a must. But most importantly I want someone who brings out the best in me and makes me and my daughter feel content and carefree. I wonder if that person exists?