Ever felt like one day carries the same mundane exhaustion as the previous and somehow you can’t get off this hamster spinning wheel? Well meet me! Single mum to two girls', one, a super hyperactive 3 year old and the other, a 10 month old who refuses to sleep at night for more than 4 hour stints.
I go through each day feeding, changing, washing, cleaning and doing nursery drops and pick ups and I am exhausted 24/7 (And no I’m not exaggerating). Life for me right now is relentless and unfortunately, I do not have a support network. My mum passed away at the fairly young age of 58 when my daughter was just 3 weeks old (the moment in life when everything lost its meaning) and my father who is in his late seventies with cancer and two heart operations is unable to provide much support. I am an only child of mixed heritage and my mother was the only one in her family to come to this country. In terms of friends well I have only just realised that my people pleasing ways and inability to say “No” have only made room for those who take advantage and just want me in their lives when it suits them – This believe it or not has taken me 35 years and a psychologist to figure out.
Don’t get me wrong I love my kids and they are my world but I’ve been dealt an unbelievably tough hand by life and its grueling. I go through months without seeing or speaking to another adult and loneliness can be torturous in so many ways.
I’m writing this because if anyone is going through anything like the above I want to let you know that you are not alone and despite my darkest moments I have somehow really dug deep and got to know myself so much better and like the phoenix emerging from the flames, I am stronger, more attuned and more determined than I have ever felt before. This did not happen over night and for the first time I am ready and happy to share my story.
The first momentous moment in my life when I realised that it was time for Change (Yes there is a capital C for a reason) was ending my 10 year relationship with the girls' Dad. This was not a decision I took lightly I was 28 weeks pregnant with my second child and had a 2 year old in tow. However, this relationship was incredibly controlling and abusive and I knew that if I ever wanted to feel that light airy breezy happiness again this had to happen. Unfortunately telling a controlling partner that you want out is not that easy and this took its toll on me big time.
The next problem I had to deal with was “who the hell would be there with me when I went into labour?” I was quite prepared to do this on my own, although let me tell you I was racked with fear and anxiety until literally the day I delivered. I did put the word out to my friends and my saviour was a secondary school friend of mine, who I had not seen in years and who lived in Southampton – only a mere 2.5 hour drive. To my absolute shock I called Sarah once I felt like my contractions were regular, called my Dad to travel from Luton to have my 2 year old and waitied for Sarah once I was in hospital. She made it! I gave birth in 4 hours, to a healthy 6lb 7 0z perfect little girl. Its amazing that when we are faced with situations our bodies do have a habitual survival mode instinct we just need to tap into it at the right time.
From here on, 4 weeks before Christmas, I was forced to move home by the council with a 4 week old new born baby and exactly 4 weeks before Christmas. I had lived in my home for 27 years and now had to move out in 7 days to a place which needed a lot of TLC. Let me tell you trying to find professionals in the weeks leading up to Christmas was near impossible, so we had no choice but to spend Christmas day in a hotel.
I remember going back and forth with my kids to the flat trying to sort things out in the freezing cold. There was snow on the ground and it wasn’t long before we were all sick. I didn’t think life could get much worse at this point in my life.
But strangely enough, my sleep deprived exhausted body just kept going bit by bit, day by day. Once the dust settled and we were actually able to move into our new home, I started to see light at the end of the tunnel – I know that’s utterly cliché but honestly there were moments when I thought God – just let me get through today and bring on tomorrow.
Fast forward 1 year and here we are battling life’s struggles with the best of them but here’s what’s different. I have coped in situations I never thought I would ever be able to. I have delved deep in order to understand what it is that I really want in life and what makes little old me happy. I dabbled in cooking classes, (although I couldn’t do many as I was relying on people to look after my kids whilst I did a course for a couple of hours). I attempted mummy and baby fitness and this was sometimes impossible as my baby was the screamer and there was only so long anyone could go through this without having to give up on the class. I now rely on doing exercise at home where possible even if it is only 20 minutes once a week. I started reading again which I always loved and somehow just lost along the way. I started drying my hair. I know this sounds minimal but trust me there were days where I didn’t even manage combing it. I started talking to a psychologist and we worked through my various issues I had. For example, I was unable to be assertive, had no confidence, never told people how I felt – always agreed to meet them, wherever, whenever, for fear that if I said “No” I would not be asked again. And slowly but surely changes are now prominent - I have made a few (not many) friends along the way – One of which I met at a stay and play and another at a domestic violence awareness course. I started having human adult interaction with actual people who genuinely wanted to get to know me and vice versa.
I also had no direction with regards to my career and did a lot of soul searching and applying for lots and lots of jobs which I did want to do and did interest me and eventually, I did get a job in an area I wanted!
What I’m trying to say ladies is that although that hamster wheel is still ever present I am feeling so much more whole than I have ever felt before. And despite times where my kids make me feel like I want to pull my own hair out, I owe so much to them because had it not been for their presence in my life I would never have had the strength to make the changes that I needed to make. They have truly helped me in ways that I never thought possible and for that, I want to say to my babies Zara and Sophia – Thank you so much and I love you with every last bit of me, always!
Ok, I’ll stop with the emotional overload and just hope that something I’ve written resonates with someone and you do something different for you! Something that makes YOU happy because ultimately we are all just trying our best.
Take care mummies – it’s the hardest job in the world but totally and undeniably the BEST! x