FASHFEST 2017 Masthead
Woman thinking sad_feature

Confessions of a single mum

Joanne Michelle

Single parent noun. a parent who has a dependent child or dependent children and who is, divorced, widowed or unmarried.*

Single mum. When we hear these two words we think ‘struggle, amazing, hard work, lonely, strong’.

It’s a yoyo world for us. We are up one minute and then down the next. One thing can put us out of whack, like when we need to be in two places at once. We forget to sign the school notes or realise we haven’t brushed our hair for school drop off. And on top of it, we need a social life too… for some, we don’t even know what that is, and the thought of loving again is terrifying. Throw in the endless bills that come up and health issues… yes being a single mum is hard work and a struggle at times.

One week we feel amazing. We can take on the world and cook up a storm of healthy meals while we’re at it. Then the next, we’re exhausted and asking ourselves ‘why me?’, making toast for dinner and grabbing the remote for Netflix.

Some days we look at the bank account and think ‘yes we are on track’ only then to pay the bills and ‘think where did the money go?’. We might have the most amazing sleep and then the next night is spent all screwed up with worry and waiting for the next dollar to hit the bank. We look at our wardrobe and wish we could buy new clothes, but then look at our children and realise they have grown 5cms and need new pants.

Yes, it happens to the best of us. Even the ones who are ‘in control’ of our lives. We all have our bad days and our good days. We are human, and we are superwoman at times. We keep going day in and day out. We are strong women even when we don’t want to be and we do make it at the end of each day. We realise there is no Prince Charming to come and save us and that the world of dating at times is so crazy it’s almost impossible to meet decent potential partners, ones that will not only protect us but support us in the way we want.

Single mums at times are just that. Single, solo, alone. It can be a blessing in some ways and not in other ways. We feel exhausted at the end of the day because we have worked our arses off just to make sure we can pay the bills. And then trying to keep fit and cook dinner and clean and wash and race around town to sports drop-offs and pickups. It really never ends. And when we do have that small amount of time to ourselves, we savour every moment. In some cases, we prefer to be in our PJ’s and in bed early, than to be out with the girls socialising.

We become the hero in the house, and the good cop and the bad cop. We now have to do all the chores around the home, and this includes the killing of scary insects – the nasty spiders that always seem to multiply when we kill one. It’s the responsibility of doing everything in the home, and maintaining the household with one income and no emotional support. Throw in a family get together and the questions start or the looks begin – ‘single mum’, ‘poor you’, or worst, the question; “Do you have someone special in your life now?” (thanks for the reminder) and then we decide to avoid everyone because it’s too much.

We date. We love it at times and then we fight with ourselves because we think could he be worthy as a step dad. Sometimes we go about dating the wrong way – looking for an outcome before we even meet someone, only to be disappointed. We freak out when we like someone because we can’t commit – we have children. We are tough on ourselves, we dress up, we dress down, and we don’t know what we want. We spend hours online chatting only to then meet and think we would rather be home watching Netflix, or hanging with the kids.

Just maybe, being a single mum is rewarding. Even through all the struggles and guilt we have day in and day out. We also have independence. We have cuddles and laughs with our children. We have the joy of knowing we are happier now than in an unloved relationship. We have choices. We have opportunities to learn, to learn more about ourselves that we would never have done if we stayed in that relationship. We have a chance to grow, to evolve, to be exactly who we are without justifying ourselves to anyone but to ourselves

So yes, even with all the stuff that goes with being a single mum (and even though most of us never set out to be single mums), we are pretty amazing and we can take on the world, even if others don’t see it like that. We fight every day to be a better version of ourselves than yesterday. We stand strong and take on anything and everything that comes our way, in our own way. We fall and we get back up again, we side step the cr*p that is thrown at us and high five the wonderful things that happen. And one day, if our perfect match does come into our life, we are strong enough to not need them, but want them, as they compliment our life, not complicate it.

* Collins Dictionary

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Joanne Michelle

Joanne is Founder of Joanne Michelle and is a certified Health Coach and Divorcee who has set up Canberra’s first one-on-one break-up coaching program; offering health and wellness advice and practical techniques to help provide much needed support to women after their break-up or divorce. Joanne’s mission is to support and EMPOWER women to rediscover their identity after their break-up or divorce. With lack of support during her own personal experience, Joanne wanted to ensure women have the much needed support on offer. Going through a break-up or divorce can often be a mentally and emotionally devastating time, not to mention stressful. With this in mind, Joanne is now providing a coaching service to support women after their break-up. Joanne is caring and approachable, and knows first-hand, life doesn’t end once you divorce. For more information, please visit www.joannemichelle.com.au or email [email protected] More about the Author

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