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  • Gareth Ellis

Flying Solo

This past week, the first week of the summer holidays, I’ve been flying solo with both kids while Jess is bossing it at work.

Of course, I’m not completely alone like I was last month when Jess went down to see

her family, 120 miles away. She’d gone to spend some time with her sister and our beautiful twin nephews, leaving me in sole charge of the kids.

That meant I was in charge of bedtime, breakfast, making lunches, packing bags, getting Rupert to pre-school and keeping Emi entertained – and keeping the house tidy too. This then culminated in getting the kids packed and ready before driving them all that way to see Mummy again.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it was a tough few days, but there were elements that were/and are easier being on your own. NB – Please don’t ever leave, Jess.

I find that when you’re on your own, you’re in control of everything. That means I make the schedule; I decide what we do/eat and I make the rules around the house too.

For example, when Jess is away, I don’t get too het up about not tidying the house before I leave to take Rupert to pre-school, even though I know I often won’t be straight home after. I know the house will be tidied eventually, often when Emi goes for a nap.

And this isn’t because Jess is some slave driver, far from it, I just know that if she comes in from work and a couple of minor things need to be done, she’ll do them to ‘help me out.’ The reality is, she’s supposed to be working and I want her to be able to finish on time.

On another day, I met a friend at a class, and then we went to the park. There was no rushing back, no worrying about getting Emi back for a later lunch, my rules (and repercussions.)

That’s not to say I don’t miss Jess like crazy. Sometimes, as all parents do, I need five/ten minutes away from the kids to get my head straight before coming back into the madness. Or I just want to go and tidy upstairs but can’t leave the kids unoccupied downstairs.

Perhaps my biggest test when Jess went away last month was packing for the weekend for myself and the kids, while remembering two presents and making sure we didn’t leave too late.

Many may not see it as a massive achievement, but I did. I look after these kids all day every day but still, having to do that solo for three days was a test, and I think I smashed it.

For the record I know I’m extremely lucky. I have a great parenting partner in all of this, my lovely wife, who is willing to share the responsibility – even if she misses a lot of the poo changes.

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