I have learnt 3 things about myself in recent weeks. I’m strong, I’m a good Mum and I’m good at adapting. Bloody good job. What else was I to do? Do a runner? Not get up in the morning? Not me. Besides, I have to set some standards. Start as I mean to carry on. Be a good role model for myself and baby girl. Obviously, my situation still hurts deeply as it’s not even been 3 months. The sense of betrayal is phenomenal. I didn’t want to be just a Mum- I wanted to be a family with my husband and daughter and I never saw it coming. So, I’m hoping my positive demeanor and attitude will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. A friend succinctly summed it up as ‘fake it until you make it’.
So, how have I adapted and survived so far?
- Friendship: old and new; close and far away. If anyone is pregnant or thinking of being pregnant sign up to an NCT course. My NCT group has been invaluable support and the lovely ladies have become firm friends. As they are also on maternity leave it has meant I have not gone stir crazy during the day. Instead, lots of tea, cake (I’m allowed. I’m still breastfeeding), baby advice and gossip.
- Family (Obvs.).
- Discovering the art of play with my daughter. It’s amazing how many hours you can kill just by being very silly with a baby and the giggles and smiles you get in return are second to none.
- Keeping busy. There are lots of baby/toddler activities out there: http://www.mumsintheknow.co.uk/
- Patience is a virtue.
- Getting on with it – there is no respite as a single parent.
- Joining a gym with a crèche. When I exercise, it’s the only time my mind is clear.
- Blogging and Twitter: The new therapy.
- The one-armed bath time. It’s quite a skill. All without drowning my baby and she bloody loves it (phew!).
- Routine. This is good for baby girl and me. It means I can compartmentalise my day. Bath and bedtime has gone from being my most stressful time of day to my favourite. But I’m not sure whether that is because baby loves bath time or whether once she’s asleep I get some ‘me time’!
However, I’ve not just had to adapt to singledom, motherhood and single motherhood at that. Socially, my life is so different. Pre-pregnancy, I was out all weekend – getting drunk with friends, dancing ‘till dawn and traveling the world. Now, as a single Mum, there is a whole new meaning to ‘pulling an all nighter’ and the only dancing I’ve done recently was to ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’.
I’m coming to terms with my social life being different. Apart from to very close friends, I was known to people as part of a couple. So now I’m single and a Mum I no longer fit into the world I used to live in. Now my social life only exists in daylight hours and I will never have a lie-in again. Oh, and I’ve never watched so much bloody telly. And I guess, once my maternity leave is over and I’m back to work, my social life will only revolve around my wonderful baby and only at the weekends. That’s not so bad, I suppose.
When I’m feeling sad I mourn for my old life and feel lonely. When I’m feeling positive, I look back with fond memories and I hope that with a bit of perseverance, my life could be even better. Different but better. That was then. This is now.
I’ve already gained the immeasurable joy and love of my beautiful daughter. I’ve been forced to adapt and as a consequence I feel very different. I’m a Mum and will be forever now. It’s a new stage in my life but I never thought I would be doing it on my own. You’re not meant to be a single parent as the joy and love should be shared between both parents. I will share it with family and friends instead. I wonder what unknowns await me in my new life I am adapting to? It better be good.