Hard Eight

We had a very rough night last night, as parents. All of our kids had trouble sleeping and every 45 minutes or so, we were trying to soothe the one with the teething issues, or trying to ease the hacking cough of the one with the cold, or trying to find something that would calm down the one with the night terrors. It seemed as soon as we got one of them to stop screaming, another one would start up. I can’t remember a night since the Little Miss was weaned with so much disruption, crying, and general horror.

Sir Monkeypants was even harder hit as he also has the cold, and he felt crappy before the night even started. Still, he was a total trooper and got up with me (and even before me) every time one of our kids called. I don’t know what I would have done without him, as he’s much better than I am at dealing with the night terror thing. And also the cold thing. And the teething thing, now that I think about it.

Some good friends of ours are getting a divorce and it’s really, really sad. Naturally being this close to the situation has both of us imagining what would happen if we were to split up, and I think it’s safe to say that we are totally horrified at the idea. We just both rely on each other so much, neither of us have any idea how we would ever survive as a single parent.

Like, if Sir Monkeypants didn’t live here any more, I’d never have made it through last night. I don’t know what I’d do to stop the night terrors. And within three days of his leaving, the internet would be totally busted and I’d have no idea how to fix all the little bleep-bloop-light machines. And who would dangle the kids upside down and chase them around the house and make them eat their vegetables? Who would shovel the snow and change the snow tires on the cars and hold the kids when they need to get a shot?

And if I were to move out, who would cut the kids’ nails? Who would work the washing machine? Who would make sure the sheets and towels got washed on occasion, and who would plan the meals? Who would clean the fish tank and label all our photos? Who would teach the kids to read and work on their handwriting and take them to gymnastics?

When one of us is exhausted, the other finds the energy to take the kids for their baths. When one of us is hungry or tired and getting too snappish with the kids, the other one gently takes over. When one of us is too angry, the other is there to mediate and step in.

It’s just overwhelming to imagine learning all the things you’d need to learn if your spouse was suddenly not around. It’s crazy to think of all the work involved in doing EVERYTHING, all by yourself. It’s madness to think of the emotional stress, all day, every day, with no break.

I swear I don’t know how single parents survive. They have to do it all, and hold down a JOB at the same time. That’s madness.

And it makes me extra sad for our friends.

5 thoughts on “Hard Eight

  1. Oh man, sounds like a rough night…the night terrors, especially. So glad Hana hasn’t had those in a while.

    I totally know what you mean about not knowing how people manage it all as single parents. I truly appreciate being able to divide the labour up between two people. There’s a vast array of stuff that I just don’t even worry about because I know my husband’s got it covered, and vice versa.

  2. My 5 1/2 year old has night terrors. They started when he was three and he’d have a couple a week. AWFUL. Now that he’s older, they’re much less frequent (one a month maybe) and only happen when he’s EXCESSIVELY tired. We can almost predict them now.

    But man, I still dread them. You feel so helpless, eh?

  3. The Man used to travel a lot, for his previous job. It meant that roughly half the time, I was SPing. You adjust, you’d get into a pattern. It would get so that when he came home it felt like he was mucking up the system. Yes, there were some hard nights. But you make do… because you have to.

    Still it’s nice to have support.

  4. My husband has recently joined about a bazillion committees and has taken on a major leadership role in our local agricultural society. He’s out at least once a week, which isn’t a lot, but it is if you aren’t used to it. I have no idea how I’d manage without him. I’m proud of all the work he does, but it that doesn’t quite help me get the homework done and the kids into bed. Really makes me appreciate him a whole lot more.

    As for the night terrors, my oldest started having them when she was 1 and in the beginning I’d bawl the whole time she was having one. She stopped around the time she turned five and by then I’d gotten good at staying close enough to make sure she didn’t hurt herself (she would sometimes run while she was having them), but far enough away not to freak her out and wait for it to run it’s course. If you approached her or tried to touch her she’d get even more hysterical. It was tough, but I’d focus on the fact that she wouldn’t remember it when it was over. Of course my heart would stay in my throat for the next 12 hours afterward. I am eternally grateful that my youngest has never had them. Touch wood.

Comments are closed.