‘My Son…My beautiful blessing…Amen…My Gift…My Grace…The Biggest Part of MY World…’
I thought I was in love. Maybe I was…but this love hurt. What I do know however, is out of what it was came a blessing I am so grateful for.
I made a choice, naive at the time I will admit. I made a choice either way. A decision that now moulds my every day, but one I would not reverse naturally.
Being a mother has been the biggest lesson yet, and I am still learning. Each and every day I learn something new about me and about life. I never thought I would have children. I didn’t even think I was the settle down type to a degree, but hey…a girl did day-dream occasionally. I mean I wanted to fall in love, but in that idea I thought I’d be loved back. My white picket fence and my green grass. ‘Disney’ Right…They sold us all this amazing fairy tale and for some it comes true and for some it doesn’t appear in the way we dreamt it would. You have to work out your own happiness. Your own story.
My son has taught me so much about love and I am still learning. About self-sacrifice, about hard choices, and unhealthy decisions, that not only impact them, but ultimately is self-harming to you. I have made mistakes and I have also succeeded. It’s a learning curve each and every single day.
Firstly I became a single mum. That didn’t mean dad wasn’t involved, just that my day-to-day didn’t involve him. My first battle before the joy. Dealing with a relationship breakdown. And not because you don’t love them. Actually loving to the point of self-sacrifice. Unhealthy and misplaced. Anyone who has been through a break-up or is a parent would appreciate the gravity of these two combined. Head spinning, hurt burning but trying to smile to the world. Hey, I’m a New Mum…
Play-Groups and Baby-Shopping… No one promotes a broken home or heart. Just smile…that was my strategy…cry alone…night feeds and sleepless nights… alone. Sadden memories, a shadow casted over what should have been delight and joy. My family worried…just breathe…it will be okay. Just breathe, slowly.
That wasn’t what I expected. Stupid really, as the signs were clearly displayed but I had my head in the clouds and was too scared to face my reality. I was on my own emotionally and physically. I had fallen from my pedal.
Head of Department at 26 in a Secondary School, and doing my Master’s Degree at Warwick University. I turned 5 GCSE’s into a First-Class Honours Degree and A Post Graduate in Education. What a rude awakening! Keep it together as you do. It isn’t just me anymore. All I knew is I loved my son and I needed to get myself together…quickly!
They say don’t cry over spilled milk but sometimes when you have no closure to the heartfelt wounds, it is very hard. Don’t love me but love your child…Emotionally damaged, we were both lost. Mum and Dad. But I cannot even start to think about his wounds. I have my own. Aged 26 and not grown. Aged 26 years and I just had no clue. I thought I knew pain but this was a depth I couldn’t even comprehend. Like being shot in the heart. Literally. I was winded…more for the rejection of my child, than anything else…
Where are my flowers aka my friends, I need you now, is all I kept thinking. Where is ‘My God’, please give me strength, forgive me for my sins and give me ‘Grace’. My Friends, My Flowers, My God. This was just the beginning of a very rocky road.
Over the course of the last 5 years much has happened and I have had many successes as well as learning blocks. Not failures. Each difficult situation I have faced has taught me something. Not always seeing the ‘Value in The Valley’ (Iyanla Vanzant), but one of the most important factors is that happy mummy, makes happy child. These learning lessons are processed, when I can digest them. Not always seen at first, but as I said the ‘Value in The Valley’. Reflect on it. Hear my own voice and my own breath.
Forward to now…my beautiful son. Who is confident and full of love! Who brings a smile to my face every single day! (Well most days…let’s keep it real.) I learnt to embrace, the fact that I didn’t have a Disney ending in that given situation, God had something else in store for me. My own Disney…At that time I was emotionally unhealthy and toxic within myself. There was work that needed to be done. Still needs to be done in some ways! God doesn’t give you what you’re not yet ready to have however, and he doesn’t give you what you want, but what you need. I believe that.
Having a relationship wasn’t the hard part for me, it’s the quality of the relationship that you are prepared to have. I was not willing to present a postcard picture to the world and have a shambles behind closed doors. Who would you be fooling, the world or myself? I wanted a relationship, that involved two people, whom equally loved each other and put in the same level of work to making it successful.
So what is the purpose of this particular post? To share a little intimate insight and also some key points on staying focused on the joy and overcoming the challenge. These are only my opinions and you can take it or leave it. We are all different. But as a mum, be it a new or old role for yourself…this post might be a nice reminder of some useful points to remember when riding a storm. Further, it is also a reminder that although at the time we may not understand why things are happening, if we can have trust and put ourselves first, God will allow you to meet someone in a loving relationship, that not only loves you but also your child/children. Don’t sacrifice yourself.
- Stay Positive
It does get hard and it does get emotional. Take control of your feelings and know that you definitely are not alone. There are so many mums, both on their own and married whom are struggling. Give yourself A PAT ON THE BACK! There is NO book that will set you up for what you will experience and everyone’s child is DIFFERENT! Stay focused on the positive, as the negative will drag you down. Like I said ‘happy mummy, happy baby.’
- Be Honest
If you’re having a crap day, say ‘I am having a crap day!’ You are allowed. Don’t fall trap to the idea that we are all these smiley puppets, and perfect mums. No-One is! Just because they make cookies, or do the school volunteering or whatever, don’t think for one second that they don’t have bad days. Hell, they may even have a bad month or year. Being honest with how you feel isn’t a crime, the important thing here is how you deal with it. If you need to take a moment, take a moment. If you need to talk, then talk. But always try and do it in a safe environment and controlled. If your sad and your children see, speak to them. Obviously keep some details to yourself, hey their children, but tell them ‘mummy is just washing her eyes and her soul’. Big hugs. Your children just want you to be okay. Your their rock and world.
- Stay Connected
It is important to have other mums to talk to. Other friends whom you feel like can relate. People that you feel like you can be honest with. Friends that are going to tell you the things you need to hear, to help you get back on your feet, and help you overcome the obstacles. You don’t need anyone who cannot listen or forces their opinion. Someone whom can listen to your heart and really embrace what you are saying, without judging! This journey is hard and when you are doing it alone, it can be scary and overwhelming. You are propelled into a situation, that maybe you were not really mentally prepared for. You need to speak. Don’t bottle it up. Do it in a safe environment and in a controlled manner. Stay connected to people that help you enjoy the highs but are also there for the lows.
- Have a Day Off
I am generally a perfectionist and I find it hard not to be this way. I also can be argumentative, as I hate to see what I think is injustice. In the beginning there was teething problems with creating a balanced environment of shared parenting. Taking responsibility from my son’s dad’s side, was at times difficult. This isn’t to judge the man in anyway, as we were both so young and unprepared. I believe we all fall short at times in our lives, but it is how to come back that matters. Fortunately my son has amazing grand-parents, uncles and aunties. Although my son’s dad should have taken some of the intensity off my shoulders, it wasn’t plain sailing. I did have to use my support network.
My sister, my blessing, was my backbone at times. My son’s grandma on his dad’s side, stepped in and took his place. Did it feel good, no! I was angry. Why does he get to live this lavish life of freedom? But I needed time for me. A close friend said to me ‘choose your battles wisely, don’t spite yourself, because you’re angry and don’t spite your son’. You can’t be your best if your tired, and emotionally worn out. Have a day off and recharge your batteries. As long as your child is well taken care of, fed, clothed and safe. Take a DAY OFF!
- Don’t be ‘Bitter!’ or ‘Spiteful!’
This is an absolute must. If you are consumed with bitterness, firstly it does not taste nice. Secondly and most importantly, if you are consumed with bitterness, then you are not focused on you, you are focused on them. How can you improve your life, or your situation, if you are focused on someone else? They have their journey. Bitterness does not manifest anything positive…and being spiteful only hurts you. Don’t use your children as weapons or pawns. In my opinion this is a Golden Rule.
Children should not suffer as a result of their parent’s decisions and actions. They do not asked to be born, nor do they fully understand what is happening at times. All they want is happy mummy and happy daddy, or just a happy place to grow and shine. Children don’t really know that their lives are different, because to them it’s their ‘normal’ and in today’s society, right or wrong it is the ‘new normal’. Many homes are not happy because of parental fighting and arguing. Do you want your own child’s experience to be clouded with that? Work out your issues, choose your battles and swallow your pride. Time is a great healer and people reap what they sow.
If you have an Ex, try to remain amicable and mature, even when it is so hard. If you have a slip of the tongue, don’t beat yourself up, just start as you mean to go on. Keep things professional and free of emotion when you are speaking to your ex. This helps especially if you still have emotions for them. Keep your boundaries and manage the expectations you have of yourself and the other person.
- Smile You Are Allowed To!
Find your sunshine. No-one wants to look back and see a shadow of themselves in their photos and memories. Trust me, I did that and I’ve been there. Reflecting on photos, my eyes were not smiling. I was there physically but I wasn’t really there, if you know what I mean. My spirit was void and broken. I was consumed with my emotion and in order to get by, and I just accepted the low and didn’t feel or authenticate me! Deal with your hurt in a safe place, but when you’re in a moment, enjoy it. Laugh, smile, and scream joy…don’t look back and see your beautiful baby and then see, that you were not really present. This time will not be given back to you. I am so annoyed even now when I realise I wasn’t present in moments! Flip-me, I just want to slap myself and scream wake-up. What the heck.
- Make Peace with Yourself
So it isn’t perfect…it didn’t live up to the fabricated fantasy you had in your head. It’s harder, you were not ready…It’s not perfect…what is? Nothing… You have made some mistakes. You shouted at your child, you lost your job, your mum is annoying you and no one understands.
Make Peace With YOURSELF. It happens. There is no rule book, and although this may not have been the path you thought you would be handed, it has come and gone. I have job hopped for 4 years. Don’t get me wrong, I am bloody good at what I do, but because my soul was unsettled and I hadn’t made peace with some of my own issues, I bounced around, never wanting to get too involved. Broken hearted and a broken spirit, I was always looking for a new beginning to start over…
Happiness, stability and peace cannot be pinned down to material things. A lesson that yes, many of us continue to keep being reminded of. Heal inside you, whatever it is. Deal with it no matter how long or hard it is. Be kind to you and forgive yourself and those around you.
- Don’t Take Life Too Seriously or other People’s Opinions
This is a funny one, as I am a very serious person. But I am also silly and I like to be silly. I am loud and I like to do adventurous things. I have a short-term plan of what I am speaking into my life, but it is important to not take life to seriously. Stress is not natural to the human body, and if we are not careful we can have underlying stress, because we are constantly worrying. This has been something that I am working on daily. I am trying to be present, present in my mind and my thoughts and listening to myself. When I feel myself getting worked up, I put on some music, mainly gospel for inspiration and humbling. I take time for me. To just get back to a balanced-self.
Manage the expectations you have of yourself. Don’t set yourself up to fail in your own mind! Know that life will have a few wounded moments. Knowing that this is life and that actually it is unexplained and sometimes unexpected, helps you deal with the fact, that you maybe have experienced another learning block.
Don’t worry and stress yourself, things will work out, but first you have to be in the moment and just focus on what needs immediate attention. Things will work out okay…Don’t worry about what others have to say.
- Manage Your Time and Invest in Yourself
Example: I started jogging about 8 months ago. I use to hate it but I now NEED it. Once a week. I go for a jog. It’s my uninterrupted time for me. MY OUTLET. MY ENERGY.
When and how do I get time to do this? Well it is hard when your child is under a certain age, so I empathise with those whom have very young babies. However now my son does extra curriculum activities, I bring my kit, and when he is doing his gymnastics, swimming or whatever, I throw on my running shoes. I make that time count! I fit in what I need, my outlet.
- Do Not Blur Boundaries with Parent and Child and Have a Life!
Our children become our focus. They take so much of us, that it is only natural that they become our complete focus at times. However, they are your children and you are their parent. YOU ARE NOT THEIR FRIEND! You have the hard job of being both kind and harsh. You are building them to be good, well-rounded people, who can go on and have healthy relations.
Many of my friends and I in the past have discussed, the fact that at some point in our lives, we have been with unemotionally available men. Men whom are still attached to their mothers aprons. Now yes, men and women are different. However, if we review how some of us as women have raised our children, we have forgotten that our children are not there to keep us company, nor replace the partner we no longer have! They are our children. You must make a life for yourself. You must make your own friends. You must go out with company your own age. You must not replace your lost, with blurred lines with your child/children! This is very unhealthy. Your children may not always like you, but you are teaching them hard lessons in life! Do not feel the pressure to be your child’s friend.
When you get a day off, make it about you. Yes, you may have some errands, we all do, but do them quickly and then make time! ‘#I’m your mother, not your friend’. A famous line from my own childhood. But wise words that were reinforced.
In no way is this list exclusive or am I saying I am right, this is just my opinion and some wise words from those around me. There are so many points that can be shared by myself and others. But these are a few of the key points I have learnt so far or have been shared with me, on my journey and have become invaluable to me and my survival. Know that this is a road unpaved and there is no set of rules. There are only lessons and experiences. Be happy with yourself and be okay with who you are. Don’t fear loneliness or being on your own, with you. Take time to realign who you are and speak what you want into your life. Embrace the challenge and know that no one gets things perfect, even if they look the ‘Joneses’.
Don’t feel pressure from society or those around you and listen to your inner voice. You know what is right for you and what you are ready for. Don’t feel pressure to date or move on, if you haven’t dealt with your emotions. Don’t expect your situation to be the same as your friends. It won’t. We are all different. Embrace that and know that there is really no mistakes, but lessons. I sometimes forget to not use that word, so bring about positive language in your life, to change your mind set. It does work, when being practiced. Know that the adverts of these perfect mums, is just that, an advert. There is no perfection. None! There is just contentment and that is what you want. To be happy!
All Contents Copyright © 2016