A while back, I was talking to a friend whose wife had recently died. He said he didn’t like to walk into town on his own, because he felt that everyone was staring at him.
I told him that was silly, that nobody bats an eyelid at a single man walking through town alone.
And then I stopped and thought…
I have two days off in the week, and until I returned to work I was free every day. On week days I will happily bundle S into the buggy and wander off. We’ll go to the park, go to town, do some shopping, maybe go to another park, for a walk… whatever takes our fancy.
On the weekends though, I’m convinced the fact I’m a single mother sticks out a mile, and that everyone is looking at me, alone with my child, and silently judging me. I know this is ridiculous; I know nobody really notices one way or the other. But it still bothers me.
|This is what our weekends usually look like.
I dislike weekends, because those are the days when the dads are home from work, and people do things as a family. The parks are filled with dads pushing their kids on the swings, watching them go down the slides, or pushing them in pushchairs. Town is filled with families walking round the shops. Families in restaurants, families on buses, families in cars at traffic lights.
To me, it notices that I am still on my own on the weekends. Nobody comes home to spend the weekend with us.
On weekends, the loneliness notices more. People go out on a Friday or Saturday night; I have nobody to take me out, no reason to get a babysitter.
The friends I would normally visit or go to the park with are busy with their husbands or boyfriends, doing family things on the weekends. I don’t want to bother them by asking if they want to do something with us, and make them feel guilty for saying no. Or worse, make them feel so guilty they say yes.
In the week, I’m too busy clearing up after yesterday and preparing for tomorrow to notice that I have a 4pm curfew which is rarely broken. On the weekends though, it notices. And it’s depressing.
On a Friday evening, the weekend stretches ahead of me as two days where it’s entirely likely the only other adults I will speak to will be shop assistants.