"I am a Single Mum"

I am a single Mum and I am kicking ass!

I am a Warrior Woman.

It took a lot of thought, years in fact. I had many decisions to make and many consequences to consider.

I knew I didn’t love my partner anymore. I live by the belief that you only live once and so, you should never sacrifice your own happiness for somebody else’s to the point where it impacts the safety and wellbeing of yourself (and dependents), certainly not long term. As a result, I knew I had to leave. Taking my then 4yr old son with me, I packed and left, waving goodbye to my 8 year relationship, my beautiful home and my life as I knew it.

Photographer: Keith Lancaster (Coloured Lights)

I was under no illusions that it would be difficult but I hugely under estimated exactly how difficult it would be. Emotionally difficult.

Guilt. The guilt I felt and still feel 9 months on down the line is horrendous, a daily battle with my conscience. Every time I look at my son and every time he says “I miss Daddy”. The times I can’t be there for him because I must work. The nights I can’t put him to bed because I am either at work or he is with his Daddy and the days I can’t collect him from school. Although my responsibilities haven’t changed, I’m on my own now, just me and my army of reliable volunteers. More guilt. How will I ever repay these people for their kindness and support?

Only last week I collected my son from his friend’s house, they had picked him up from school for me at the last minute as my sister was ill and couldn’t do it as arranged. William was cross, tired from school and not wanting to leave his friend. In a tantrum he shouted, cried, threw himself on the floor calling my friend “a stupid idiot”. We left, I was embarrassed, upset and consumed by guilt especially when William yelled at me “You said Aunty Emma was picking me up”. I had, but the plan had changed last minute. This had a negative effect on both myself and William but I had no other option.

Then imagine you might want to go out! Oh lord. You may need a babysitter which is fine but you should really put him to bed before you go because he will hate you if you don’t, begging you not to go. Please just go out.

Failure. I have failed at my relationship, I have let my son down, I have let my family down and I have let myself down.

This has been the hardest part for me. Constantly thinking “I never wanted my life to be like this”. I come from a disjointed and at times dysfunctional family, my parents split up when I was 10 years old and our family has grown tremendously over the last 29 years. Marriages, step-parents, more siblings and more divorces. Although I love my family and really wouldn’t change it, it is not how I wanted my own family to be and not what I expected of myself.

It hurts, there’s no denying that.

There is always the hidden fear of being judged. Now, I’m not the type of person to give two hoots what people think or say about me but as a single mum you fall into a bracket. A stereotype. Which is obviously wrong but that’s life and it happens. Luckily, I have had no negative comments but you never know what people are saying behind your back and that wondering does eat away at you. It’s not all consuming, but it is there.

I only have one pair of hands. To those of you who berate your husband/partner, please take stock. I now must do everything (I hear you laugh that you do anyway) but you’d be surprised. When I’m washing up and William wants me to sit and watch TV, when I’m cooking tea and he needs me to listen to him read, when I’m reading a bedtime story but he wants Daddy to do it; I can only be in one place at a time, try explaining that to a 5-year-old who only wants your attention, and why shouldn’t he? So, you find yourself drawn again into the circle of guilt and the terrifying thought process that you are not good enough, that you are not doing enough, that your child is now actually missing out only living with one parent.

The very worst part is handing him over to Daddy when he’s looking at you like “Why are you making me do this?” and saying “I’m going to miss you Mummy”. The only thing here is you know you must maintain that relationship if that’s at all possible and also for your own sanity, take a break, write a blog, read a book, go out with your friends. It’s ok to do all those things, you’re allowed.

Photographer: Keith Lancaster (Coloured Lights)

To finish let me assure you that you are kicking ass, you are doing it and doing it to the best that you can. Your child/children will be better humans having a lone parent than living with two that argue and show contempt to each other, they will learn that it was for the best but right now they may disagree and you are the baddie, meanie and occasionally a rubbish Mummy.

Stay strong, keep the faith, have no regrets and keep mumming.

#CarolineBlake #Article #Issue1

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