The day I became a single mum was one of the best days of my life.
I didn’t know it then of course. But without that specific day, the way it played out, and the consequence of those words and actions, I would not be the mother I am nor would I have the very special bond I have with my beautiful son.
On that very day I was in floods of tears, ringing every woman in my life seeking advice, consolation and some sort of healing.
My baby was 6 weeks old and although I am a strong individual, I found myself wondering round the house hysterically asking the four empty walls ” how am I going to cope? I’m all alone!” (Not the first time I’d been in that place I’ll grant you).
Suddenly I was very aware that no one was going to be coming through that front door tonight.
No one was going to walk in, and ask me about my day, take my little baby from me and give me time to have a relaxing bath, feed myself, get some rest or just ring my mumma.
No one was going to listen to me anymore.
No one was going to come home all excited to see me and give me that warm embrace everyone wants/NEEDS when they’ve had a long day.
And no one was going to save me when I was at my wits end.
What I didn’t realise then, was that there was someone, something that would keep me going, keep me stronger than any partner could…
Becoming a single parent can happen to anyone. And although it doesn’t have the stigma it used to, you still tend to get the following ALOT:
“Aww must be so hard for you!”
“Oh no I’m so sorry what happened?!”
“Oh gosh I didn’t realise, you are so strong! How do you do it all on your own?!”
“Well at least I have John, I don’t how you do it on your own!”
And my favourite one: “How are you coping?”
You start to dread meeting up with family, couples, friends who have partners… Not because you feel you’re less than compared to them, but their pity makes you feel uncomfortable.
The way they seem to instantly put you in a box of “lacking in some way”.
When in fact in many ways you are so much more whole.
Being a single parent gives you one of the bestest super powers: You are the lone wolf with your cub. You’re a kangaroo with your little roo in your pouch. You are two peas in a pod.
When there is one primary care giver, the bond that is formed is special. You are together 24/7 and know each other inside and out.
A relationship like this is more difficult to form when there are others in the household or a partner to share parental duties with.
And I certainly know that had my partner and I stayed together, I would NOT have the amazing connection I have with my son that I do today. It just wouldn’t be possible.
The intensity of being 1:1 is unimaginable unless you’ve experienced it and with that comes this natural, magical, awareness of one another.
Something I’m so immensely grateful to be able to feel and witness in my life every moment of every day.
And then comes the self-reliance.
It’s the middle of the night and you’re just nodding back off after a night feed. Suddenly, you realise your baby is choking and you have NO IDEA what to do.
Once the drama had ended, baby is safe and well and you’re standing half naked in a dark room clutching this precious piece of life, the loneliness hits you like a pan to the face. And the tears come. And then of course the “why me”s.
I’ll tell you why.
Because you are strong.
You are capable.
You are powerful.
You are the only rock this little ray of sunshine has and you’re going to damn well make sure he/she does not miss out on ANYTHING because someone decided they weren’t enough.
Once you start letting go, truly accepting and recognising that this is you, this is the job you have to carry out, you have no other resources other than yourself to keep you going, you will surely find a huge amount of respect for yourself.
And the pizzas for one become a valuable moment to spend with yourself. Checking in, spending time alone with your thoughts and reconnecting with the woman you once were.
RATHER THAN maintaining somone else.
Meeting someone elses’ needs.
Listening to their problems.
Finding solutions for them.
Having arguments over who is most tired.
Justifying your decision to parent in a certain way.
Compromising on your needs and wants.
That time alone is mine and mine only. I don’t have to share my energy or time with anything else and I truly appreciate that.
But most of all here, I want to talk about empowerment.
Do you have any idea how much being a single parent is EMPOWERING?
When I became a single mum and ended up on benefits, I felt awful. I felt like the classic “cheap” single mum who was bumming off the government.
What I didn’t realise then, was that THIS is much more than that. This task, this life-long journey of being a parent has so much more VALUE than that.
And seeking financial support and giving up work are signs of strength and dedication.
I am strong enough to realise that to give my child everything they need, I must recognise that he needs my un-divided attention, he deserves everything I have got and more.
Unfortunately for some, they’re not aware of this. And feel divided and almost “small” because they are just a stay-at-home mum.
No darling. You are THE world to the future. You are the creator of the next generation. You are a 21st century female soldier fighting tooth and nail to bring your child up as a whole, happy, balanced individual DESPITE them ALREADY being let down by their other parent.
We are not lacking in life by not having a partner. We are incredibly whole individuals who have our priorities straight.
Our lives are incredibly satisfying. Every single moment of every day we are witnessing the immense amount of growth that WE have created.
You and only you have fuelled this tiny little being to grow and learn.
And if that doesn’t make you feel good I don’t know what will!
I can walk around with my head held high that I am a SINGLE WOMAN giving my child everything they could possibly need when others can’t hack it, when others can’t make that leap and love unconditionally.
Because that’s what this is.
I am a 21st century woman, empowered, fulfilled, aware AND best of all, in control of my own life, finances and parenting. That means the world to me.
Best of all though, my son gets to watch his mum be the strongest version of herself which will in turn give him a strong image of what and who women are/can be. Who wouldn’t want that for their child?