Lately I’ve been going through blogs by other women where they talk about how they raise their children, and what everyday life is like in these typical family households. So I thought maybe I would do something similar. I expect that in some ways my life wouldn’t be like those of other families, because we’ve only got one “head” of the household – and it isn’t a man!!
But in so many other ways, life in a family with children always has certain similarities, no matter the individual circumstances.
However, I have to claim that I LOVE being able to wake up my children to go to school every morning in the way that I want. All the same, they HATE getting up in the morning to go to school. I’d like to remind them how lucky they are to get woken up with lots of tickling and stroking and kisses, instead of lots of screaming (although I do also do a lot of that, when tickling, stroking and kissing don’t work!).
It doesn’t make very much difference to them at 7:30 in the morning, though. All they want to do is turn over and go back to sleep!
Running a marathon with my kids to get into school on time is yet another new challenge every day. We got the tough luck of getting them assigned to a school about fifty miles away (okay, it’s more like just one kilometre, but try running one kilometre in ten minutes every morning!) because one year we arrived from Barcelona in the middle of the school year, and they didn’t get admitted to any other school.
I’m very pleased and happy with their school, though. It’s in a nicer neighbourhood than where we live, which means that the kids in their classes are generally from nice, well-educated, polite homes.
Being a single mamma means no lounging around in bed until a late hour, then ambling off to the local market for the day’s menus, the way I would probably do if I were a traditional Spanish housewife married to a working man.
No offense meant to stay-at-home Spanish housewives, of course, please don’t be offended! I know that housewives work veeery hard and here in southern Spain, still a bastion of machismo, even more so. However, I also believe that single mothers must still work harder than married ones, because we have to go out and win the bread as well as cook, clean and run the household.
We also have to pay the bills alone.
Having said that, I believe that we also enjoy a load of luxuries that married women most often can’t claim.
When the kids don’t have school, I can sleep until the hour that I want. Now that they are old enough to prepare their own breakfasts and entertain themselves……
I can cook what I want, and if I don’t feel like cooking, I can buy something frozen or ready-made at the supermarket across the street. I imagine if I had a hubby, he’d be roaring for specific menu items, and I bet Eroski brand Spanish tortilla just wouldn’t make the cut in his opinion!
We can do what we like on week-ends. Of course, being a “struggling single mamma” most often means that we can’t take luxurious outings, like going to theme parks, on a regular basis. But I do save up so that occasionally I can treat the kids to something a bit pricier, like a trip to the zoo for my son’s birthday.
Being single and a mother means that I have to go to work. That means that I can’t sit around every morning waiting for that slow-cooking pot of stew to boil, and lunch will often have to consist of something that pops into the oven and simmers there for just ten minutes. It means I don’t meander through the local marketplace every day, chatting leisurely with the merchants, and our routine usually consists of a once-a-week shopping excursion – except I’ve probably only got about half the amount of money to spend on these once-a-week shopping excursions than would a complete family with a working father and a working mother.
It also means, though, that I get to lounge around at home in the evenings and do what I please. I don’t have to give hubby a massage because he’s “beat from a long, hard day at work”. I don’t have to clean up hubby’s mess because his mamma never taught him to clean up after himself. I don’t have to give my son a shower every night if I don’t feel like it – after all, hubby will never know and be able to protest about that, because hubby doesn’t exist!
I also don’t have to put up with disagreements about how to raise our children. There are no forced catechisms for them, no boring masses on Sunday mornings when the bed and warm quilts are just soooooooooo much more inviting! I don’t have to leap up from the middle of a dream about “kissing Valentino in a crystal-clear Italian stream” in order to dash over to the in-laws’ for their traditional Sunday lunch.
So, all in all, I guess life’s tougher if you’re single with little kids.
But then again, if you’re married, you also miss out on so many small pleasures, like having no fights, playing what you want with the kids, feeding what you want to the kids and being able to watch all your favourite TV shows hehe!
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