Our column opens up the life of a single mum – juggling life, love, work and of course kids on her own.
Sal Higgins is an author and journalist and mum to five kids, ranging in age from 19 to two, and is now raising them on her own. Her estranged husband has the usual alternate weekend arrangement, which means most of it’s down to her. She lives just outside London with her kids and their dog, Jamjar.
Here, she tells of her new life, the ups ands downs, the laughs and tears and the search for a new love – who, of course, will be her children’s new dad.
I have a friend who has just had a baby. It’s an amazing time. Exciting. Bewildering. A brave new world. And when you’ve had your own kids – holding a new born again is heart-wrenchingly splendid. The smells. The snorts. The little noises they make. I fell in love with him – he has a crop of red hair, beautiful blue eyes and tiny little fingers.
It takes you back to when you first cradled your own baby. You do become besotted with everything they do. How they open their eyes. How they start looking around. And of course the smell of your newborn is something that you will never forget. You can inhale your new baby. I loved holding mine close, breathing them in, kissing every inch of them and relishing every moment spent with them.
But that’s the good side. There is the other one.
No sleep. The 24/7 care. Trying to get the breast feeding/bottle feeding routine right. Making sure you don’t shut out the other children you have as you tend to the new member of the family. Making sure all the grannies get enough cuddles. Making sure everyone else in the family is fed. The kids go to school. The shopping. The ironing. Bath-time. Bed routine… it’s simply exhausting.
And then everyone wants to see the new arrival.
I remember people coming and me making tea for them and running around. I remember the day after giving birth to my second son, making the tea for the family. No really. Women just get on with it. We try to please everyone and keep everything working as clockwork – as if nothing has changed.
But it has. You’ve just given birth. Your body is trying to adjust to not ‘growing’ another person. But unless you have a great family network – and not many people have that – women just get on with it.
And so I ask you – if you know someone who’s just had a baby. Pop in with treats and goodies. Make them some tea. Go and do their dishes. Do a shop and make some meals for the freezer. I’m not saying forever, but offer your help.
Women look after women. And if you’ve had a new baby. Take the help. You don’t have to be supermommy. And let’s start looking after one another.