I always wanted to be a mum…a good mum. It’s really quite amazing how we envisage motherhood before we have children! Much different to the reality of it.
Moreso, when you end up doing it on your own!!!!
Single Motherhood is a challenge to say the least. It can hit you like a freight train in the night. You just didn’t see it coming!!! Well I didn’t. . . . .
Raising my daughter completely on my own wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I had her. I pictured the happy family, more kids, growing old together - but here I am years later and much wiser.
Nursing a broken heart for the family that I
wanted to have is one of the hardest things I had to do. Repairing myself . . . so I could be there for my child in every way. Its incredibly easy to close yourself off to the world and I believe that to a degree it’s a must. To coat yourself in armour while you have time to grieve what you feel you lost and find a new way of coping and dealing with what’s ahead of you. Because it’s a long tough road, not something that needs to be sugar coated. There are a lot of tears and crying ‘out loud’ for help along the way.
Which way to turn first……..I had no idea. I felt like my whole world had caved in on me and no one was there but me. . . . .it was frightening. Much like an animal caught in the headlights.
Through time and patience with myself, I came to discover that I had strength - strength to get up in the morning and carry on with my day even though my entire life had shifted. I was surrounded by newness, which scared the hell out of me. Thrown out of my comfort zone, in to a turbulent city that I didn’t know my way around. I felt thrust out of being a mum, which was always my first and only priority, into working for someone else and putting my daughter in to fulltime care, to enable some kind of life. The guilt was enormous and I hated being away from her when all I wanted to do was be with her, and the only thing that felt like ‘home’ was my special girl!
Being a sole parent can be totally exhausting and incredibly frustrating a lot of the time, but it does have it rewards and special times. It is so important to look for those moments and enjoy them for what they are. Cherish them, because you will need to draw on them when times get tough. And they will. One of the most crippling parts of being a sole parent is the financial side. If you choose to be a stay at home mum, which I have, life is quite difficult. There is not much money flowing around, so less of those special outings. I chose to be a stay at home mum when my daughter was born, and I felt it was not fair that she should have to suffer less time with me because of a decision out of her hands. On the flip side, there is lots of spending time together and getting creative to do enjoyable things. You learn to enjoy the simple things in life!!
Make friends - because they will be who you turn to, especially if you don’t have family near. But beware….don’t get caught up in any downward spirals of others. It’s really important to stay positive and see the brighter side. It pays to be choosy about who you socialise with when you are on your own. You want them to add to your life, not take from it. Its is very easy to get caught up in someone else’s drama…..pay attention and always pull back to yourself if you feel you are taking on someone else’s problems. You have your own things to get through and you need a balanced head to do it. Prepare to be judged and ignored but let it wash off and push your way though!
I must say within the first 3 years, feeling worn down is a regular emotion. Not getting much time to yourself and not really having any money to spoil you or reward yourself.
This single motherhood doesn’t sound very appealing….does it?? So why did I sign myself up for it? ...
Because I knew before I came here (to this planet) that I had the strength to endure it and raise my daughter. I seem to have this ability to always put her first, no matter what. I am used to missing out so she can have what she needs. But that is what being a mum is all about!!
Are there any positives to single motherhood? …… Of course!!! You discover what you are capable of, what strength you have deep down inside of you that you never knew existed, what you might like to do with your life, that you have stamina like no other. How many other people could stay up with a sick child, keep a full time job, come home and cook dinner and take care of your child and get up and do it again day after day…it’s Character building!!! On the journey you come to realise who you are, learn new skills and also what you will and won’t accept from others. You learn to balance life, you learn to take no shit from anyone!! You discover passions that you want to pursue, you learn that YOU are important and YOU matter and YOU are allowed to do or be whatever you want. You also learn to use your intuition and pay close attention to it. It might take some harsh lessons, but you will hear it eventually. You learn to be your own best friend.
I’ve now come to realise after being on my own for some time that it’s the loneliness that bites. When you have spent the time discovering who you are and what you want and you want to share it all with another. The hard part is getting the opportunities to find him!! But not only that, you realise that your expectations of who you will let into your life have risen……..drastically…….. they have to be good enough for your child and not only you. All of a sudden there is a criteria…a prerequisite….for who you want. Anyone will simply not do….he has to be right in every way. And once you have had a child you realise that you can never love anyone more than you love your child……
You certainly learn to believe in your own ability! Its one of the hardest and most underpaid jobs going………
Fear………another of the hardest things to get around when you are a single parent. Fear that others will judge you, fear that you wont fit in, fear that you cant afford it, fear that your life will never feel the same again…..and FEAR that you’ll never love again. The one thing that feeds on itself and can ruin what you have if you let it. I have found that it has come and gone in phases…..one moment I’m soaring like an eagle and then ‘fear’ grabs at me, for whatever reason, and I’m straight back down to it. One of the best ways to conquer fear is to hit it ‘head-on’ and send it packing!!! What is it that instils so much fear in you?……narrow it down and tackle it. At times you may need to indulge yourself in someone else’s story to give you the empowerment and strength to do this…..there is no shame in that, and it soon becomes a regular thing. I often read and search the internet for empowering stories of people similar to me or topics that interest me to encourage myself and rid the fear. And the fear that you are not as worthy as anyone else……….please, don’t buy into that one……..it’s simply not true . If anything you are more deserving. You are doing ‘double’ and getting less!!!
Advice from others is also a common event. When you are on your own, most seem to want to ‘fix’ you. However, be confident and put the vibe out that you don’t need fixing, you just want friends like anyone else. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of others lecturing you – pick from what people say, don’t take it all to heart and chuck what doesn’t suit!!
It is my belief that most people underestimate single mothers. We are one of the strongest stock around. We can endure a lot and still take on more, we give more than we’ve got most of the time, we make all the decisions and take any consequences. Life for us is on two shoulders not four…
We should be proud, we do a good job!!