I seem to have had the children with me rather a lot recently. I’m not complaining – I do love them dearly even when they are driving me to distraction (any parent will know exactly what I mean). And, having recently made internet contact with my very first boyfriend again – from about 35-40 years ago if my maths is right – and heard that he and his wife lost a son when he was about 5 years old, I have those familiar feelings of guilt when I get angry because they’re so precious and I’m so proud of them and so lucky to have them. Likewise I have a journalist acquaintance who has not been able to have children but who would have loved to have done so, and so again I feel bad that there are times when I could happily give at least one of mine away!
Not that I really would of course. I nearly applied for a job down in Ambleside this week. It was a job I had applied for – and been short-listed for – at a time when Edward was still only one year old and David and I were still together. At that point I realised that I would not have wanted a long commute nor to be away from home for days at a time. This time the vacancy has arisen I have my head and my heart sorted in terms of working full-time (after all, as another friend pointed out, some children are at school full-time at Edward’s age), so long as it’s the right job, but then I realised it required weekend working as well. That tipped the balance and I started thinking about whether I’d really want the children to live with David ‘full-time’ during the week: and the answer is that I wouldn’t. Not only is his house a mess (which does nothing to encourage them to be tidier and cleaner and not to drop clothes all over the place) but, big-headedly, I’m not sure he’d sort out packed teas, dancing, swimming, Brownies, karate and piano lessons on top of work, school and nursery. And, ultimately, I don’t want them to spend all week with him for me only to see them at weekends. Because he’s only just down the road and we get on OK, they can almost go to and fro between our houses as they wish, which also feels good: when they’re not with me for a weekend they can, if they like, pop in – meaning that I don’t have the best part of 4 days completely without them.
So it looks as if a job with a feasible daily commute – allowing for school drop-offs – is still the only option, and I shall just have to wait and hope that something that I really want to do comes up and that I get it. Jobs, I feel, are rather like money – when you need it one always comes along.
The other thing of course is that if I was working away I’d only get to see the children every weekend, but weekends then wouldn’t be free for my own things. Selfishly, since David left I’ve enjoyed my ‘single’ weekends, as I’ve written elsewhere. I’ve joined a dating website and was Skyping a guy in France the other night – I couldn’t just skip off to France to meet someone if I had the children every weekend. I’m not necessarily going to rush out to France to see this particular man, but it’s good to have one’s options open – and of course I’m doing loads of singing at the moment as well. Since I last wrote in this blog I’ve been asked to sing the soprano solos in the Mozart Requiem in April. It’s ‘only’ a scratch, amateur, fund-raising event but I’m excited to be doing it, especially as it’s one of my favourite pieces of music – even if it wasn’t all written by Mozart himself.
I guess the conclusion is that I rather like the status quo. I’d like to earn a lot more money (who wouldn’t) – partly so I can afford to go skiing again next year, can fly off to exotic destinations to meet all these gorgeous men I’m going to come across through the dating website and to have exciting holidays abroad both with and without my children. But meanwhile we’re – the children and I – doing OK. I love being a family, and the children and I are family enough: I also love having my single time which is rich with potential for creativity, new encounters and adventure!
Perhaps I should have called my blog ‘single again’!