My story sadly isn’t uncommon. I was thrown into the big wide scary world of single parenting and although it has only been a matter of months so far, here are a few things I’ve learnt about what it’s like being a single mum (and a few secret confessions)…
1- There will never be a moment where you are not slightly (or in my case overwhelmingly) petrified about the sudden realities of raising your child alone. Note – you are not alone. Accept help, you don’t get a medal for doing this alone. You will need all the support and help you can get. Drop your pride, take the help and be damn thankful.
2- In the evenings, I check on my sleeping daughter at least ten times before finally going to bed myself. Yes, I check if she is breathing much like I did when she was a new born. She is almost 5.
3- This also goes for locking up at night. Now I am the only adult in the house to check the doors/windows and I am the one who will have to kick some ass if we get broken into. I check the doors multiple times a night before going to bed. I was never good at karate kicks!
4- Over the first months I have lived mostly on carbs. I will sacrifice eating nutritious meals so my daughter can. Plus cooking for one is a bitch.
5- The worry about finances, bills, school fees etc can be consuming. Wine helps – you will also discover that $5 moscato isn’t that bad tasting after all.
6- I have learnt to appreciate the little things more, for I have learnt they can be taken away from you in a flash. Instead of getting my daughter home from school rushing to do dinner/bath/bed, sometimes we will go for an afternoon swim and gelato by the beach. I realise now just how precious these moments are.
7- Your child was is and always will be your entire world. But when you become a single parent, although you never thought they could be more important to you, suddenly they just are. In every single way.
8- Communication with my ex husband is internally absolute torture. I hate speaking to him and seeing his face. BUT each day he and my daughter FaceTime, we keep each other updated regarding her and I have to see him at least once a week when she stays with him. I’ve learnt very quickly that it’s ok to loathe him, but in my daughter’s eyes, he is her wonderful daddy. So I die quietly inside and bare it through gritted teeth but will never let her know how I truly feel towards him. She deserve an untarnished view of her dad.
9- Housework tends to wait a little longer than before. Before my husband left, every night he would arrive home to an immaculate home, candles lit, floors vacuumed, dinner cooking. Now, I do housework but don’t feel the pressure to have everything done by 6pm. It’s one of the very few perks!
10- Don’t be ashamed of your new ‘single parent status’ – there are so many of us out there, the more you talk the more you will find in the same boat.
11- Your girlfriends will be your saving grace through it all. Thank them, be there for them too. I hate to think what I would do without my ladies!
12- It will take you a little while to realise that you have an entire bed to yourself! It took me two months to realise that I no longer had a ‘side’ of the bed anymore but in fact I could lay in the middle! This is also a little perk.
13- Be kind to yourself. I am still learning the art of this. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither can your new chapter in life. Baby steps.
14- Be smart! Document everything. Conversations with your ex, agreements, split payments. Every. Single. Thing. Now is not the time to be complacent.
15- And finally. Do not- I repeat- DO NOT come under the false illusion that you are ok to watch movies such as P.S I love you, The Notebook and Love Actually. You will become a crying blubbering mess sobbing into your wine surrounded by a million snotty tissues. Take my word for it. It ain’t worth it sister.
Much love The Newbie Single Mama x