Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Separation: Staying strong for International Women's Day

When I knew my marriage was over, I started the grieving process. I'd lost something that was a huge part of my life and one day it wasn't there anymore. What was and remains the hardest part to process was that I wasn't just grieving for my marriage and the way all the good memories from the past were now tainted by how horrible the end was, but I was grieving for my family. I was grieving for what my daughter had lost. In one fell swoop she lost the normality of two parents, she lost her dad as a constant in her life and I lost my back up.

I'd always wanted to "do things properly" so marriage, kids, buying a house together, holidays arguing in caravans in Cornwall and whose turn it was to do the dishes. That was gone. I couldn't at the time imagine a way it was going to work just the two of us. I cried reading stories when the daddy comes home - Tiger who Came to Tea was particularly hard. My phone drowned in tears thanks to Adele, Coldplay and Spotify's break up list - yep that actually exists!

Then last weekend, I found myself sat in our local Bill's with my little girl having a cocktail (lemonade for her!) to celebrate one year of surviving each other. It wasn't sad and I didn't think about what could have been, I celebrated what we had achieved. Sometimes I'm her best friend, sometimes she doesn't like me and she doesn't want to talk to me. Either way I stick around because at the end of the day, she's a bloody great reason to celebrate life, not commiserate.

For International Women's Day I pledge to create a positive female role model for my daughter by being a single mum working hard to provide the best she can. This blog hopefully goes some way to showing my daughter that women can be strong, but still show emotions; tired, but still fighting; and thoughtful, but still fun.

Happy International Women's Day to all the amazing women, mums, daughters, sisters and aunties just trying their best.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

One year on: being a single mum

Today marks a day I've dreaded for the last couple of weeks and as it's got closer and closer, I've wished it would just disappear. Today is the day our three became a two. I still remember getting that text message saying it was over and due to it also being my first day in a new job, having to keep calm and carry on. It hasn't been the easiest year but here's what I have learnt.

  1. I'm not perfect. This has been a hard one to learn as I want my daughter to have the best, but sometimes I can't do that. I have low days, high days, stressed day, happy days and in between days just like everyone else and while I have to function, I am not a cBeebies presenter that always operates at full speed. 
  2. Mum guilt. I've really struggled with this one especially while working full time. I'd throw myself into weekends and want to have days of just the two of us, but would forget to have days for me, which would leave me cranky and tired. For the next 12 months I am going to try and claim a bit of me time back and make sure I'm looking out for me too. In order to be a good mum I need to feel able to be a good mum and getting stressed and anxious won't do anything to help that.
  3. It's lonely sometimes. Christmas, New Year, birthdays, Friday night.... Wednesday night! Despite number two saying I don't get me time, it's amazing how you can still feel quite lonely. I've got friends and family I can turn to, but we also have to function on our own and sometimes I find myself sat in the living room in the evening and just feeling so alone. There's no one else to help with the tantrums, late night wake ups, mountain of washing or messy dining table. It's just me. If I'm poorly and feeling ill... it's just me. Learning to deal with the silence has been quite a learning curve.
  4. I'm stronger than I knew. There's been some serious ups and downs but we've come out the other end the right way up. The bills get paid, the lunch boxes get made and clothes get washed. What more can you ask for?
  5. Laughing and hugs solve everything. Sure my kid may have just screamed down debenhams because she wasn't allowed a £20 Easter egg and I've turned a funny shade of horrified, but she's said sorry and given me a hug. Add a few laughs in and all is forgotten.

Being a single mum isn't what I signed up for, but it's what I've got. So time to look at the positives - more hugs, only one person to argue with not two and the chance to give my little girl a really positive female role model who works, cooks, cleans, plays, laughs, cries and most importantly is the best mum she can be*

*warning hangry is really a thing. She will learn arguing with mum when mum is hungry = no win!