Sharing.

I became pregnant because I wanted to be a Mummy. Moreover, I wanted to be a family. I wanted to share in the happiness and joy that it would give me; that it would give us. But that was taken from me. She stole it from me. They stole it from me. I don’t get to share in my daughter’s joy. And when I feel ill or a bit run down I remember that and it hurts. Still. Instead, I get to share via facebook. Or, in telephone conversations with my family, where by the time I speak to them I’ve forgotten the minutia detail that made my heart sing at the time or made me smile and by then it’s a half story. And, yes, I do get to share with family and friends but it’s all too infrequent and most of the ‘firsts’ and amazing things tend to happen when it’s just me and her.
Hold on a minute…..let me just re-write that last bit and read it properly: most of the ‘firsts’ and amazing things tend to happen when it’s just me and her. I do get to share. I do! Of course! Stop being a melancholy fool! 
That was never the purpose of this blog or writing. It was always meant to be therapeutic and has served as a useful tool in the healing process to stop me being bitter. I do get to share. I share with her. With my daughter. And I can’t think of anyone better to share things with.

My daughter turned 2 at the end of October and we have been having proper little conversations for a while now but she is getting more and more articulate and creative every day. This afternoon, whilst we were playing, I suggested we listen to music and sing as we usually like to do. However, this time my daughter took charge and said we were to play a new game, saying, “we play Gaga game Mummy’. She said this over and over as I listened to what she meant. She waddled over to her keyboard and pulled out her toy guitar. She then said, “We sing ga ga song, play ga ga game, like ‘Let it go’ Frozen”. I said, ‘What is the ga ga game?” She replied, ‘The gaga game is…. and trailed off with a little puzzled look n her face as she tried to find the words. So, I still wasn’t sure what this game she had created was so I told her to go first. She gently pressed on her keyboard and sang ‘Ga ga, ga ga’ to the tune of Baa Baa Black sheep. She then encouraged me to do the same with the guitar and so I did. We then swapped instruments on her instruction and of we went again, in unison, “Gaga gaga ga” but this time to the tune of ‘Let it go’. All the while, my daughter instructing the game and what to sing and me following. It was a funny game and we laughed our heads off doing it. She then led me from place to place and toy to toy in our house. We danced in the kitchen to the Frozen soundtrack with, my daughter singing all, yes all, the words with arm actions and facial expressions to match. I pushed her around on her toy car singing “Hi ho Hi ho it’s off to work we go!” as she announced, “Me off to work. I work with computers’. She also stuck stickers all over my coffee table claiming, “me make Mummy’s house look beautiful’.

And you know what my darling? You do. You make everything beautiful. In these moments you astonish and astound me and give me so much joy. We share in this joy together as we experience the fun and the giggles together. WE share. I realise I don’t need to share with anyone else. As you get older and even more chatty and creative I can’t wait to share more good times with you. I mold you just as much as you mold me. You teach me things every day – about how to be the best Mummy I can be and to develop your wonderful creative nature and language even more. And I can’t wait until we share something special or new again.

The Holiday

Holidaying with friends with kids is the way forward- especially if you’re a single parent. I have another friend who recently became a single parent recently but incredibly sadly through widowhood. Puts my shit into perspective. Anyway, we chatted one day about holidays and you could see the lightbulb go on in our heads & so we decided to go together. I have another friend, who does not have kids but simply wanted a break and a beach holiday and was cool with coming along. She is awesome- I would have never gone in holiday with other people’s kids if I had had none. She also was happy to help with the kids and it meant we had an extra person for baby sitter so we could take it in turns for 2 of us to go out at night. Result. 
However, fun was everywhere and I can honestly say the holiday surpassed beach holidays Ive had in my previous incarnations as a party girl in Ibiza. My friends were chilled and there was lots of lovely girlie chat, the area in Alcudia, Mallorca was fantastico for kids, we had an aircon apartment I arranged with it’s own swimming pool and we were yards from the town centre with markets and close to the beach. We were also close to a water park. In my head it was practically Ushuaia in Ibiza- a pool party but with kids and water slides! Me and baby girl even had a boogie in our swimming outfits by the pool! She excelled herself, just as she did last year in Hong Kong.
My douche bag ex recently commented “what’s the point in taking her on holiday? She won’t remember it or appreciate it”. Nonsense you fool. It’s about my memories of her paddling, playing, making friends with my friends’ kids and playing in the sand. It’s about reminding her of the bird show, water parks, pizza and enormous amount of ice cream she ate. It’s about recording her running in the sunshine and trying to buy things at the market. It’s about her development and seeing her face light up at all the experiences. I feel like I can take her anywhere and do anything with her. She’s the love of my life. Who says life ends with kids? It’s only just begun.

Closure

I met the mistress the other day. She’s been playing step mum to my daughter since she was 9 weeks old and I had never met her. Now I’m divorced she’s the girlfriend and I’m the ex wife. A lot has happened and I’m out the otherside but I was still anxious. It was about time though. I don’t want to be her friend and I wasn’t going to have a cuppa with her but it was good to put a face to a name and see how she was with my daughter, which is even more important as my daughter has started to reference her name when talking. She is a significant other in my daughter’s life and as I pointed out to my douche bag ex, I had a right to know who was looking after her.
My anxiety dimmed as soon as I walked into their house they have bought together. He answered the door where far too much neon for a man of 36. He also had a bandage on his wrist from a sports injury, which amused me as he reminded me of Keith Lemon minus the ginger hair and moustache! I looked around carefully and noticed a few things about the decor. Several things were things I had talked about doing with ex when we had a bit of money. He clearly stored those ideas and when he needed to start from scratch again he remembered them. He boasted the dcor “was all his idea’. Of course dear, who else would get a look in? There were also photographs we had taken together of our favourite parts of Manchester city centre and a painting from St. Ives, one of our favourite spots we used to holiday. It started to dawn on me how different men are or at least he is to me. There was no nostalgia there for him. They were simply cool places and he could separate them from the person he experienced them with and even continued to experience them with his new girlfriend. I, on the other hand, rarely do anything that I used to do with him but perhaps that is more out of circumstance as I am a single parent and therefore dont have the ‘freedoms’ he has and i have thrown myself into motherhood and doing everything for baby girl.

The ex. no wait. Sorry - Keith Lemon.

The ex. no wait. Sorry – Keith Lemon.


Then there was her. Literally the polar opposite of me: tall, skinny, olived skin (mixed race?), beaky nosed and very young. His vanity clearly demanded he chose her not ‘boring’ family life. Excluding looks, she allows him to have the same relationship we had before I became pregant and ulitmately thats what his affair was all about. Selfish and shallow doesn’t even cover it.
I didn’t feel jealousy. It’s been a long time and I’m not in love with him anymore. I’ve learnt to live in a world without him. What I felt was closure. More so than getting my divorce through. I have no more hurdles to jump anymore. That’s it and it wasn’t that bad. I think it helped that it cemented and confirmed that he is just living the same old life, even in the same part of town, all the freedoms so he can have fun, get drunk, walk in the country, play sport, swan off backpacking for weeks at a time. He’s even dressing far too young for his age in a bid to stay ‘cool’ and ‘urban’ and youthful for his own vanity and his girlfriend, no doubt. He can do all the things we used to do but occasionally punctuated with my daughter who he can have fun with and hand back so he still gets his lie ins and go to the pub. Glamorous Dad.
Once upon a time I would have raged with jealousy that this girl was living my old life. But the closure I felt was not only because he was the final hurdle but because his existence is ulitmately shallow, selfish and self centred. My life is so different and unlike him I don’t consider it a sacrifice. What else is there in life that has more meaning? My bond is so special with my daughter who I get to see every day and cherish. When I wake up to her and go and greet her in her cot it’s like Christmas every day and I wouldn’t change it. It’s the best love I’ve known.

Furberised

My 20 month old has been a bit of a monkey at night in recent weeks: clingy, separation anxiety, wanting cuddles, calling out for water. This, and what I thought were sleep terrors and she most deifintely sleep talks. It was hard getting up loads in the night and getting to work. My job is hard and it has been exhausting. Now, dont get me wrong, I’m not stranger to sleep training as has been documented on here. I’m a tough cookie and have done some hard core ‘crying out’ sessions. But this is not only hard but hadn’t been working. She is of an age that all letting her cry would do was whip her up into a frenzy and tantrum that she coudln’t calm down from.
I was at a lost. What worked before no longer worked. I called the health visitor for advice and spoke at length about it. Twice. Were her tips hepful? No. Some of my other Mum friends were having similar issues too, so I just excused it as a phase. I was going to give up and succumb to baby girl getting in my bed for a good night sleep but in my heart of hearts I knew this was a slippery slope. She needed to learn to sleep for herself.
It all came to head last Thursday. My daughter had spent her regular Wednesday night at her Dads. He greeted me moddily stating she had woken up 9 times in the night. Say what?? 9 times! He was clearly sleep deprived and moody to boot as a consequence and insisted I sleep trained using this method he had found on the internet. I was fed up with his demands especially as he has always reaped the rewards of my hard work. Glamourous Dad is his my nick name for him. “You do it”, I said. There was a heated exchange, in which he agreed, in the end. He agreed to take her for the week.
Once I had cooled down from ‘Dad of the year’ giving me advice on how to sleep train I rang a dear friend who I had recalled used the Ferber method which he had suggested. She swore by it as her son went thorugh a similar phase which kept everyone, including her older son up at night causing a very tired household. I listened to sage advice and realised it was the way forward. I did it myself on the Saturday night and although it was hard the system makes sense and she got the best night sleep in a while. It was hard to let go when her dad came to collect her the next day. I had control and ownership of all her parenting since birth. But it’s not about control. It what’s good for baby girl and me. I didn’t have the energy, due to work pressures, for another bout of sleep training and the other part of me wanted the ex-husbnd to know what its like. Not just sleep training but getting up to work and doing the nursery run too.
So, Furber needs a Nobel Peace prize. Does he have one? Within 3 nights, including my go at it, she was sleeping through. The method is simple and what I like was you don’t leave your little one to cry for huge amounts of time. Tonight she is back with me. I have appreciated my day with her so much for not having her for a week. And it’s a relief to know she had a good time at her Dad’s but clearly missed me as I had the best cuddles and kisses today. Tonight’s bedtime was the calmest and easiest ever. She was in bed 730pm on the dot. No fuss no crying as I walked out the door. Happy Days.

Six Months of Separation

This post took me forever to write – it is a well edited ramble of the crap that has whirred through my head the last 6 months. Friends and family have heard it a million times so I needed to dump and organize these thoughts onto paper so they are free from my mind. I can’t afford a therapist and I’m sick of these thoughts. I also wanted to write about my experiences to hopefully help others in a similar situation – even it is just to inspire them not to be bitter. Bitterness is a heavy load that I don’t want to carry. So, if my friends are reading this and I ever mention my ex and what he did again – just tell me to ‘shut the fuck up!” (in the nicest possible way of course). I’m getting on with my life……..

I hated being pregnant. I was exhausted, I was grumpy and I mourned my old life where I could do what I want when I wanted and I could play sport or get drunk and have fun with my husband, who was my best friend. Suddenly, we went from doing everything together to hardly anything. Instead of staying in and adapting with me, he found other people to do the things we did as couple. My moodiness was not all the time but occasional, although was exacerbated by a husband who wouldn’t adapt with me. But we had sweet times too, or so I remember and I genuinely thought my husband understood the burdens of pregnancy. My change was temporary. There was an end and a goal that we both wanted in sight. Apparently not.  By the time I was 6 months pregnant I could feel him slipping away and distance himself from me. I swept it under the carpet, telling myself that all couples like us must go through the same and that pregnancy and being parents naturally changes a relationship.

It is six months on from separating from my husband after finding out about his affair and he still tells me that it was partly my fault and that it is ridiculous to just blame pregnancy in order to absolve me of any blame. But yes, it does. Try it. Before I had been pregnant, I don’t think I understood the burdens of pregnancy or how vulnerable you are or fragile in the early days of motherhood, where I most definitely had the baby blues. The hormones & anxiety coupled with sleep deprivation and the physical exertion of pushing a human being out of my body was overwhelming. I was not myself. Yet, he still doesn’t understand. He has said he waited for the old me to come back: what a joke – 3 weeks after watching me give birth he jumped into bed with another woman.

But I suppose it’s easier to blame his short comings on me than admit to himself what an arse-hole he was to his partner of ten years, his wife, his best friend and mother of his child. What I will take the blame for is not talking about our fears and worries. I just told him to stop moaning as I was doing all the hard work. Although, would talking have helped? I used to tell him I felt lonely and seemingly he didn’t care. And I was doing all the hard work – he should have just grown a pair, played the long game and honoured his vows.

But there was more to it than my change in pregnancy. He was shitting himself. And I knew it. He thought his life was over. No more freedom, no more amazing holidays. He didn’t understand the long game of parenthood and thought that my change was permanent. He went out more, I had more anger and hormonal outbursts due to loneliness and so we both grew to resent each other. I didn’t like him much at this point but love is stronger than like and I figured we’d get through it once the baby came and the initial hard early days were through. We’d been together for 10 years and everyone said adjusting to a baby was hard. But how wrong I was. It just goes to show that unless you talk things through you can never know what really goes on in someone’s head. He totally did and emotional runner from our relationship and couldn’t even persevere for our amazing past, our potential future, our family and his own flesh and blood. He used to tell me he was the ‘King of manning- up’. What a joke. And then whilst drunk or hungover he made some very stupid and shortsighted choices….

6 months on and we are civil for our wonderful daughter’s sake but it has been a rollercoaster ride getting to this point. I know he regrets his actions every day.  I know this because he tells me. He’s not a bad person just flawed and weak. He also tells me that he knows he should have been stronger when times were tough and recognizes that my change was temporary. He also tells me he is not that happy and now our daughter is growing more wonderful he misses her and regrets it more as he wonders what could have been. He has also told me that he is not over me yet and seeing me twice a week when he collects our daughter leaves him in bits.  I know he still loves me and I him. We have a beautiful daughter together. You cannot switch off 10 years in 6 months. But it’s not the right kind of love and that rage I feel will always be between us. It will die down but what he did will always be there. The betrayal is huge and he is right that I would never really trust him again. And sometimes love is not enough. You have to like and respect the person you are with too.

Maybe he is just telling me what I want to hear. They’re just words. It doesn’t change anything and we both know it. I could never be with someone that weak and selfish having had to be so strong for myself and to raise our baby single-handedly. Ultimately, I have my wonderful daughter everyday and her love and joy is pure. She makes me happy and I still have love in my life.

In the mean time he is in a relationship with the person he had the affair with. My ex is very persuasive and could persuade you that black was white. I have no doubt from the beginning he has convinced himself and his immediate family that he loves this girl and therefore couldn’t stay in his marriage. As if it’s beyond his control. Love conquers all. So what? I’m sure he does love this girl now. He has put all his eggs in one basket and has little else and I know he doesn’t feel for her what he once felt for me. However, loving this girl doesn’t make him any less of an arsehole for what he did to me and by proxy his daughter by not giving her the stable family she deserves. And it certainly doesn’t make her any less of a home-wrecking bitch. Hopefully, he can redeem himself by being the Dad he claims he wants to be and our wonderful daughter can make him a better man.

From my experience 6 months on, my biggest advice to anyone in a similar situation would be to take your time in a divorce of this nature. I rushed into making decisions when I was still in shock and adjusting to motherhood. Before I knew it, I had thrown out my husband and had put our house on the market. 6 months on it’s sold, I live in a lovely rented cottage and now we are discussing divorce papers. I only consulted solicitors a week ago and I finally felt fully equipped with knowledge to go forward so that my daughter and I are not ripped off.  It also helped to wait to so that I was in the right emotional place where by discussions with my ex were just that and not blazing rows which get us no where.

I have also always thought it important to strike a balance between what is moral and what is legal. I need to be true to my nature and if I had listened to solicitors, some friends and my Dad I would be taking my ex to the cleaners in spousal and child maintenance. This is where I would also advise taking your time. Don’t make a rash decision in bitterness unless you are financially insecure, to shaft the other party. In my eyes, he is part of my life through my daughter for at least the next 18 years and so I don’t want further bitterness because I dragged our divorce out over hot coals in the courts. He is a good Dad, albeit part time and I can see the love for him in our daughter’s eyes when we are together. I will never bad mouth him to her or come between that love. She is too important to me. I suppose I am also fortunate that I am a professional with a well paid job and so is he, so the maintenance I receive will be more than adequate and that is even before the spilt of monies for the house. I’m sure others are not as fortunate. And I’m sure divorce is never easy, even if the ending of the relationship is mutual and not in such terrible circumstances as mine, whether solicitors get involved or an agreement is made amicably.

Discovering my husband’s affair when I was feeling so vulnerable as a new mum was totally devastating and it has hardened me. I suppose the strength I have had to find raising our daughter almost single handedly is not always positive and I have also not enjoyed not feeling myself in that respect. So, 6 months on I finally feel a sense of peace and relief that things are tied up and our futures are sorted financially. And my future in other matters – well, who knows….I’m enjoying getting my mojo back and attempting dating……Hopefully, there is someone out there who can soften my edges again. I wonder how many more adventures on my list I can tick off and how many more I can add. It’s only been 6 months. The world is my daughter and mine’s oyster!

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Sleepless in Sai Kung

I couldn’t sleep last night due to thinking about my ex, my baby’s Dad. I was thinking about what an idiot he is. Since our break up (discover why in Bombshell), I have had to give myself a firm talking to on several occasions about my feelings towards him. I have to communicate with him with regards to our beautiful daughter and am keeping a lid on a myriad of emotions in order to be civil. But one emotion I vowed I would never feel is sorry for him, no matter how often he tries to make out his life is shit.

However, since coming on a long haul adventure to Hong Kong to visit a dear friend, I do feel pity for him. And that’s what I was thinking about last night whilst the aircon whirred in the background and my daughter snuffled in her sleep next to me.

Why pity? Well, I think I pity him because of his pathetic and short sighted choices. No one said being a parent and adapting to how life would change was going to be easy. But in the early days of baby girl’s life, when I was an anxious, sleep deprived mess and she was a screaming baby, I know he thought, ‘is this it?’, ‘life’s over!’. He never tried to persevere or play the long game that I knew parenthood was. But I knew that life wasn’t over but just different and a new adventure with our daughter was ahead of us. It was meant to be a new beginning not the end. I knew that then and I know it even more now, hence my traveling to Hong Kong. I used to go on such adventures with her Dad. Well, he didn’t want to come along for this new adventure in parenthood, so we will do it together the two of us in a different but no less exhilarating way.

It is a totally different holiday to one I have ever taken. I have to be careful about the heat because if I am overheating sure enough, baby girl is. I’m not out getting drunk and am in early doors, but that’s fine as I’m staying with friends and we can make our own fun by catching up. My friends live in an area called Sai Kung. It’s a lovely town by the sea and out of the hussle and bussle of Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. It’s lovely for families and therefore perfect, for me and baby girl to explore.

Jet lag has not seemed to be an issue as I have just gone with the flow with her naps and sleeping. She has been curious and absorbed all the new sights and sounds around her. The locals are treating her as a celebrity with her blond hair and big blue eyes and she is charming the pants off them in return. She is smiling and giggling at them and has even learnt to wave on this trip as she has been waved at so often! ‘Hello!’ I say and wave and she waves with both arms too. So adorable! She has been no trouble at restaurants and will happily join us on my lap with little fuss. She has even learnt to drink more water from her cup because of all the heat – she must be thirsty! We also took her for her first boat trip to the beach, which was her first experience of sea and sand. Her first swim in the sea was in the South China Sea, no less and of course because she loves the water, she smiled the whole while, even though the sea was a bit chilly. Baby girl has excelled herself on this trip and I couldn’t be more in love with her.

So yes, I feel pity for my ex. Sure, she’s cute with him but he has her for such a limted time that he may never see the wonders and joy she brings to others and her alert, gregarious and sociable nature. All the wonderful things she does and her cute expressions he may never know because I have the time and unique relationship to bring out the best in her. It should have been shared. What an idiot. Pathetic. In the wise words of Mr. T: I pity the fool.

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So much to do. So little time…..

Please excuse the hurried and brief post but I’m about to move house and travel long haul on holiday, all with a small baby, all in the next two weeks. Arrgghhh!!

Everything has happened so bloody fast. Separated from my husband, house on the market, house sold and now it’s time to officially move. And it’s only taken 4 months for it all. I’m actually quite excited rather than sad about leaving as I have actually found the perfect little 2 bed cottage for me and baby girl and I didn’t have to move to Cornwall to get it! I only found it on Saturday morning and until then I was feeling kind of homeless: neither here nor there. So that’s number 2 I can cross of the list (what list? Check out ‘The Bombshell..”). It’s still in south Manchester but in a quiet little conservation area I didn’t know existed as it’s hidden from the main streets. When the sun was shining when I went this morning to measure up the place it felt like I could be in Devon or Cornwall. Perfect.

I cannot wait to move and settle in. A fresh start that has nothing to do with my ex or any memories, good or bad, to make me feel sad. In the mean time I have a huge house to pack up, some furniture to sell, other bits to donate to charity that I don’t want to take with me, blog,  tweet, remember to vote for the Bibs, look after a baby and then 3 days after the completion date I fly to Hong Kong to see my dear friend. Phew!

When I get a minute I shall let you all know how I’m getting on!!