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defeatist or realistic?

(21 Posts)
HellinArcher Thu 13-Jan-11 22:24:15

Just wondering what you manage to do when you are a lone parent to a young child (or children!)

Talking to some friends (couple with 2 dc age 3 & 5) recently who mentioned a favourite way they spend a Saturday - they walk down to their local market, buy lovely food and browse the stalls, wander home, spend the afternoon cooking up a delicious dinner, kids hang out and play etc.

I would love to do this, have a great local market, but everytime I go with ds (3.8) there is no way I could just potter and browse, choose ingredients, look at stalls etc. Because I have ds on my own, I have to entertain him, keep an eye on him, negotiate through the crowds etc. Stuff that would be easier with another pair of hands. Ditto the lazy afternoon cooking ... ds can join in with stuff but loses interest and wants me to play with him. Plus seems no point cooking a lovely meal for just me.

Am I being realistic or defeatist about this? I keep thinking that ds is too young to do this sort of thing without an extra adult to help take the strain, so I just need to hold on for a year or five two more when he will be better company and better able to entertain himself.

Allalone0 Thu 13-Jan-11 22:28:45

Im the same with the cooking. Don't see the point in making a nice meal when theres only me who will eat it. No one else to appreciate my cooking
As the kids are happy with pizza and pasta....

coldtits Thu 13-Jan-11 22:29:50

You don't really have to keep an eye on him, just hold his hand then he can't get up to much.

Appletrees Thu 13-Jan-11 22:32:43

Do different stuff instead, browsing in a market sounds boring for a three year old. Go to a farm followed ny cake baking.g, I dunno, a kid friendly gallery followed by topping your own pizza. Don't just give up, it is a while before he can look after himself.

HellinArcher Thu 13-Jan-11 22:34:47

fair enough coldtits though ds gets a bit fed up being on the end of my arm all the time. but his tolerance for this sort of thing is, understandably, pretty low. it allows for quick purchasing but not for pottering. but then perhaps I am being defeatist and not finding a way to make it more interesting? he's never been one for shopping!

HerBeatitude Thu 13-Jan-11 22:36:29


Don't try and put yourself through something that's agony for you and that your DS doesn't want to do. Find some other way of enjoying time with him that you and he enjoy. Just because it works for your friends, doesn't mean it can work for you.

My DC's love going down the market, but that's because I give them pocket money that they can spend in the out-of-date-man's stall - 10 mini mars bars, expire December 2010, for £1. Larvely. grin And they're older, so maybe he'll like it in a couple of years.

Or .. or... you could find a friend to go with and make it a little outing. As long as it doesn't matter about time and you're not focussed on getting specific shopping, it can be fun.

But if it doesn't, don't beat yourself up about it - go to the park, watch TV, play in the garden... there are loads of other things you can do with him.

Allalone0 Thu 13-Jan-11 22:36:51


HellinArcher Thu 13-Jan-11 22:42:12

thanks HerBeatitude. It just feels a bit crap that everything is always so child-focused, because there isn't someone else to take turns at occupying ds. anyway I was not trying to be all self-pitying!

justonemorethen Thu 13-Jan-11 23:07:31

Realistic but I don't think couples have all the fun. I listen to others moaning about tidying up after husband, not being appreciated all the usual stuff. They don't realise what they have so they don't actually enjoy it.
Son was at a sleep over last week so I had a lie in till 8.30. I really really loved it because it never happens but I remember a mum a while back being furious when her other half woke her at 9am on "her" week.

Sometimes if Ds is away playing at a friends I actually forget I can out because I'm just not used to it without feels wierd!

Snorbs Thu 13-Jan-11 23:12:57

I was still with my now ex-partner when our DCs were the sort of age your friends' are. We, too, have a great local market with fantastic food stalls selling all sorts of yummy things.

To be frank, the thought of dragging a 5yo and a 3yo round a busy market makes me break out in a sweat even with two parents on-hand. Their attention spans are too short, it's not something that's going to be fun for them anyway and there are way too many opportunities for mischief. Trust me, we tried it more than once.

I can happily do it single-handed now my DCs are a few years older but when they were that small? Nah. There were much more enjoyable ways of spending time together.

I know what you mean about cooking but I do make a point of having at least one meal a week that is something a bit different to the norm. Sometimes it goes down well, sometimes it doesn't. But I'm buggered if I'm going to eat the same guaranteed child-friendly stuff every day grin

globalmouse Thu 13-Jan-11 23:21:15

Its sad that some of you don't think its worth cooking a nice meal just for you and dc. I know the hassle etc involved when you are simultaneously letting dc watch tv looking after a kid and cooking, but it IS worth doing it just for you two!! I made a lovely lasagne the other day. It's lasted me and ds 2 days, and I wouldnt WANT to share it with anyone else cos its so delicious!
Totally agree with not wanting to drag them round a market alone tho.
but ds is nearly 4 now, and good company, and I do drag him to places I want to go - the beach, the forest etc - just often with a scooter in tow to keep him happy.

cestlavielife Thu 13-Jan-11 23:37:57

agree on the cooking - make nice stuff for you...

watch nigella again - she might not be your cup of tea but a lot of stuff she cooks a really nice meal then sits on her own to eat it ... and enjoy...

and yes theamrket biliss thing is prob not as it sounds

BeeandSon Fri 14-Jan-11 01:18:07

JustOneMoreThan said
They don't realise what they have so they don't actually enjoy it.

I could not agree more. In general I find it quite annoying but I do love listening my married friends going on about it, nodding in silence till they inevitably ... after the half an hour rant they realise they are talking to me.... the single mum who doesnt get a break...and end up feeling such idiots after all! smile

beingsetup Fri 14-Jan-11 06:01:47

OOOO I'm going to have to try taking my 2,3,5,and 8 year old boys to do that! WE'd have to do a runner before they made us pay for the damage but would be such a laugh!

No, but seriously, maybe when he's five? Or maybe give him a little basket and draw a shopping list of things to buy first,etc draw some fruit and he has to find it and so on?

Or maybe just stick to going to soft play until he's older?

MommyMayhem Fri 14-Jan-11 06:05:10

He's still a bit young. My son would enjoy browsing around a market then helping with cooking, but he's nearly 6. He would not have been interested in this when he was 3.8.

Maybe start with him helping you make some fairy cakes?

beingsetup Fri 14-Jan-11 06:18:11

RE my last post my kids actually do behave and haven't caused any damage so far, they just like running around.

Slinks off shamefacedly....

HellinArcher Fri 14-Jan-11 08:51:32

thanks all - you have reassured me that I am being realistic given ds's age rather than just giving up on doing something that could be fun if I gave it a proper chance.

coldtits Fri 14-Jan-11 09:44:34

It maybe wouldn't be very much fun, but it's do-able, and if you are a single parent you NEED to do things that are fun for you sometimes.

HellinArcher Fri 14-Jan-11 12:27:57

ah but therein lies the problem - something that is fun for me but not ds automatically turns into not being fun for me either as I have to deal with a whinging or impatient or bolting 3yr old instead of being able to enjoy the thing I set out to do!

Zanywany Fri 14-Jan-11 13:10:06

grin at yuor comments Beeandson my work collegue keeps moaning about how busy she is at home with a DH and a teenager. I do sometimes take a huge small amount of pleasure in saying 'I find that in me doing all the tidying up, DIY, car stuff and everything for 2 smallish DC's at least I have only myself to moan to if it doesn't get done'

Don't forget Hellin that although it is tough at tomes on your own the grass isn't always greener.

coldtits Sat 15-Jan-11 12:27:43

Honestly,Hellin, the grass isn't always greener.

And he won't be three forever and will probably enjoy it whenhe's 5!

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