things i learned while mr TOPP was away

I have been solo-parenting for three whole months while Mr TOPP has been in Italy. It’s been bloody hard work, let me tell you. It hasn’t all been bad though, far from it. The Ms and I have had some adventures along the way. I think in some weird way all four of us have benefited from the last three months.

As our time without him comes to an end I have been thinking about all the things I learned while Mr TOPP was away.

1. Being a solo parent is bloody hard work

While Mr TOPP has been away I have been more tired than ever before, often not stopping and sitting down until 9pm, having got up at 6am. Tuesdays are a particular ball ache – meeting after school, pick up kids, race home, shove food down necks to be able to leave for rainbows 30 minutes after we get home, AND it’s bin night. GAH. I have alway respected single parents, and thought how hard it must be. Now I actually know. Hats off to those of you that do it permanently. You work bloody hard and deserve a medal.

2. I am ridiculous

As if my life hasn’t been crazy enough over the last twelve weeks, we have just had the bathroom done. Three weeks without a fully functioning bathroom, tools and dust everywhere and washing my hair in the kitchen sink? Why not.

3. We have amazing friends

I’ve always known we have great friends – why would I be friends with someone rubbish? – but the last twelve weeks have shown me just how amazing the people we have around us are. Some we have known for years, others we have only known for a few months, yet they have all helped out with school runs, babysitting, emergency cover when I discovered school was closed for the election. They had my back, and I am eternally grateful.

4. I can actually cook

I have never been the cook in the family. Do you remember this? But, in a bid to give the Ms a balanced diet while their daddy was away, I have had to make a real effort. I have discovered that the slow cooker is my friend and it has become a regular feature our kitchen. And also…

5. Meal planning is the way forward

I have seen people blogging about their meal plans for years and often thought that we should do that. But then never got round to it. One of the things I learned while Mr TOPP was away is that the Ms don’t argue with a black board. If it says it’s fruit for pudding then it’s fruit for pudding.

My personal favourite was Friday of this week…


excellent meal planning right there

6. Bribery actually works

Just before Mr TOPP went away, we introduced pocket money. We wanted the Ms to realise that you have to earn money, you don’t just get given it, so we linked it to jobs. They each have to make their beds, tidy their rooms and put clean washing away each day in order to get their pocket money at the weekend. It hasn’t been foolproof, but it has definitely helped.

7. Grass grows too fast

It is usually Mr TOPP’s job to cut the grass. I have done it in my life but could probably count on the fingers of one hand how many times. My main reason for not doing it is that it borks my neck. Anyhow, while Mr TOPP has been away, I have had to cut the grass myself in order to avoid having a jungle out there. Which is regularly. Stupid fast growing grass.

8. We have a lot of crisps

When we were having the bathroom done (see #2) one of the kitchen cupboards* started to fall down. Only slightly, but enough to make me panic and empty it completely. We will be getting a new kitchen in the next few weeks (again see #2) but in the mean time I have bought some plastic boxes to keep the stuff from the cupboard in. I filled an 18L box with crisps. I don’t know whether to be proud or disgusted with myself. I am erring towards proud.

*it was the treat cupboard, obvs.

9. netflix is the way forward

While Mr TOPP was away, I discovered netflix. I like to watch a series a few episodes at a time – waiting a week between them is so 2012.

(this isn’t sponsored, just a genuine discovery)

10. three months is a long time

It is you know. Three months. Twelve weeks. A quarter of a year. A Bloody Long Time.

Mr TOPP is home on Friday, and people keep telling me how quickly the time has gone.


It has been a long, looooooooooong twelve weeks. There have been days when I have just wanted to curl up and cry under the duvet, or hide on the sofa, But there have been other days when the Ms and I have had the best fun ever. We have argued, we have cried, we have shouted. But we have also laughed, played, had adventures.

I am so ready for Mr TOPP to come home and argue/cry/shout/laugh/play/go on adventures with us again.

I am also ready for a lie in.




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