Home alone: on a few days of solo parenting

November 8, 2012

Baby crawlingAlex has just returned from a few days away on a work trip to Barcelona, during which time Eliza and I were all by ourselves. It was the longest the three of us have been apart and it’s fair to say I really wasn’t looking forward to it.

In a lot of respects it was much easier than I’d dared to expect, as we just made our way around our normal routine of park, shops, hanging around the house, meeting NCT mums, cake and so on. However, he was away for three bath and bedtimes and the day he was due back was the eve of tooth number four; it was also really hard.

As well as the big things – at the end of an exhausting day I can’t be the only person who looks forward to my husband coming home to help out, right? – it really made me grateful for the little things. You know, like having someone to make you dinner after a lengthly bedtime, bring you a restorative glass of wine, or give you a hug after a 3am wake-up, when there’s finally the golden sound of silence through the baby monitor. And of course, the magic of the bin emptying fairy.

Having a baby is at times both relentless and exhausting, and you can see the potential for it to have a massive impact on your relationship (especially during times when one of you is full of post-birth hormones and general resentment, hasn’t slept properly in days and is awake for the fifth time at 4am and the other person, even though they can’t do anything as they’re not the one breastfeeding, dares to be asleep). Yet the overall amazing enormity of the shared experience – plus you both made another human being! And she’s just brilliant! – can also bring you much, much closer together, and the emotional support this bond gives you is completely vital too.

Eliza is obviously far too young to understand the concept of time, but her whole face lit up when Alex got back and she was pretty pleased to see him. Needless to say, we missed him, and we’re so happy to have him back.


  • Jenni

    November 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Glad you survived your time alone! Neil went away for a week when Nye was much smaller. I survived one day at home alone before I got lonely and drove to my parents house, so you definitely did better than me. I hope you have a lovely weekend together as a family 🙂

    1. gillian

      November 10, 2012 at 8:58 am

      I would have done that if we had a car though! It was only the thought of not being able to put down a bored baby on a train for two hours that was stopping me decamping to my parents 🙂 Thank you, have a lovely weekend too x

  • Emily Dew

    November 9, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Yay – welcome back! Love that little look of recognition on the babies face when they realise they know who it is x x

    1. gillian

      November 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      So cute isn’t it? 🙂 xx

  • Sarah

    November 10, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Solo parenting is hard! My kids are 11, 9 and 6 and I hate it when my husband goes away. The one good thing I find though is we often get sorted out earlier in the say – I don’t have to wait until 7pm to eat and then have all the clearing up to do when I’m getting the kids sorted for bed. I just eat with the kids around 5 and I’ve magically created a couple if extra hours to ease the stress of bedtime!
    Found you on MBPW by the way!

  • Kate on Thin Ice

    November 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    You coped. Well done. I always have such respect for single parents who have to do it all all of the time. And that relentless word about parenting is so spot on.

    1. gillian

      November 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      Thank you. Yes, I have no idea how single parents do it, they’re all amazing!

  • Home alone – lost in…south east London? |

    November 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    […] (to Manchester, slightly less sunny than the Barcelona of his last trip). Whereas last time it was just me and Eliza, my parents came to stay to keep us company this week. In my head this was going to involve lots […]

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