In August my world as I knew it fell apart. My husband and partner of 13 years left me. I didn’t expect it, or see it coming. We had 2 children together who are 3 and 8 and my stepson who lived with us who is 17. I thought we had a pretty good life, we had recently bought a new house with a beast of a garden, we had planning permission to do a huge extension on it, we went on great holidays, had recently got a holiday cottage in Scotland, had 2 dogs and plans for the future and over night it all changed.
I had 2 massive fears – being a single mum and being alone. I didn’t think I could do it. Didn’t think I was strong enough and didn’t think I’d cope. We’re only 5 months in but these are the things I have learnt so far.
I’m not a single mum. I have such an incredible support system. My friends and family have stepped up above and beyond where they would ever have needed to. If I’m poorly there are always people offering to do the school run, go shopping for me, walk the dogs etc. There is always someone willing to listen if I’m having a bad day, or feeling low and always someone willing to go and get drunk with me if I need a blow out!
I can survive without seeing my kids every day and not feel guilty!
Aside from a couple of days away with my friends, I have never been away from my kids. I was very reluctant to let my husband have them to start off with so he saw them at our house and was really understanding about it. Eventually I agreed to him having them after school once a week and now he has them every other weekend and sees them a couple of times a week after school. Guess what? There’s no guilt involved because they’re spending quality time with their dad and I can get my work done, see friends, stay in bed all day with a hangover if I need to, go shopping, do all of the boring stuff they never want to do! And even better, on the weekends I have them we now spend proper time together, not just running around doing errands but watching the film’s they love that I’m normally too busy to watch with them or playing games, taking the dogs out on long adventure walks or making Christmas decorations! I’m enjoying them more. Don’t get me wrong, I have down days when I miss them like crazy but the trick is to keep busy.
Kids are very adaptable. My 8 year old was a mess to start off with and still has the odd wobble. He didn’t want to go anywhere with his dad for the first few weeks and only wanted to be with me. He had a lot of meltdowns and I thought we’d ruined his childhood. Now he has exciting weekends with daddy and looks forward to seeing him, he understands that he has 2 different houses and he’s okay with it now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the ideal situation and I would rather never have seen him go through what he did, but he’s okay.
There is life after divorce. I now have much more spare time than I had before and can have a life without feeling guilty for leaving my kids with a baby sitter. I’ve met new people, my confidence is slowly starting to come back and I just feel so much more capable!
Being a mum is so bloody hard regardless of your circumstances. Sometimes you can feel like a single mum even when you aren’t, I have friends whose husbands work away, a friend who has 4 young kids and another on the way whose husband is a marine and is away for months at a time and she’s like superwoman! I always wondered how on earth she managed it but now I know. Because you have no choice. You have little people who are inquisitive about the world and learning every day from you and everyone and everything around them and you have to put your big girls pants on and get on with it, because it’s not so much what’s going on around them that can affect their childhood but how you deal with it that matters. Don’t get me wrong, I cried none stop for over a month at the beginning, they saw it, that’s fine, they learnt that it’s okay to be sad and show your feelings. They’ve then learnt that mummy carries on regardless because my job is to look after them and when the shit hits the fan, we don’t just give up.
We’ve got some massive tasks ahead of us, like selling the house and starting a fresh, I either need to work out how to maximise Lulibelle’s potential or will have to get another job alongside this to have a guaranteed income, we need to get used to our new life, there are always up and down days but it’s definitely becoming more level. Most importantly I have become a lot more independent, I don’t want to have to rely on someone else, I need to do what I can to make my boys lives are an incredible adventure. Thankfully I recognise that that doesn’t require money! On Friday night we dragged mattresses into the lounge and loads of bedding, borrowed 3 dvds from a friend and had a sleepover. They haven’t stopped talking about it since!
Another thing I’ve learnt is that I’m still a hopeless romantic. I genuinely thought I would never want to be with anyone again, or be able to trust anyone again but I really think I am capable of both now. Just because one person broke my heart it doesn’t mean there is nothing left of it to love again. I don’t need to be with anyone to be happy, but I’m absolutely not against being with someone anymore either.
We still have a long way to go, I will keep you updated as things happen. If anyone is in a similar situation and needs to talk then don’t hesitate to pop me an email. Speaking to other people that have been through it or are going through it helps more than you could ever imagine.
Lynsey @ Lulibelle xx