Get sat down with a cuppa because today’s post is a bit more of a personal one…
Some of you may or may not know that I’m a single parent, I mean I don’t openly speak about it very often but it’s fairly obvious considering I never mention Reuben’s dad. I won’t go into much detail about his father as he hasn’t seen him in months and it’s an entirely different story. Today I want to share a few things that I’ve learnt from being a single mum, nothing negative, just the truth. I often say I find it hard being a single mum, which sometimes I do, but there are also so many positives to it that I want to share. I’m hoping that if anyone reading this is going to be or ever becomes a single mum that this may ease some of your fear, and for the rest of you, you might just find it interesting to hear a bit more about my personal life. So here goes…
Every parent is very protective when it comes to their children, especially if they are still little baba’s. HOWEVER. Being a single parent, for me anyway, has made me so much more protective over my little one. He spends all of his time with me and barely any time with anyone else, in turn this has made him a very clingy little boy that likes to know where his mummy is at all times. I’ve gotten a little better with handling my feelings over it now he’s nearly one, but I’ve never liked leaving him with anyone because there is nobody else who knows his routines or how to settle him when he cries. I was always so scared that he would get absolutely distraught and nobody would know how to deal with it, but now he’s a little older and tantrums are the norm, I feel a bit better about it.
Being a single parent has made getting into a relationship a lot harder than it would have been without kids. I mean I think this is an obvious one really, of course it’s going to, but it’s not something that bothers me – it’s just one of those things. Some may not find or have found it difficult at all, but for me personally, with a baby still so young, it’s been tough. I recently got into a relationship with someone I really liked and it was good for a while but it gradually became really hard to maintain it whilst raising a very young child on my own and we broke up. I mean it’s bound to be hard when someone new walks into your life and you already have a 9 month old baby who they don’t know, ya know, it’s life. It isn’t that they have to take on your child, it’s just that you already have a routine going and it’s going to ultimately change which makes things more difficult. It doesn’t mean you CAN’T get into a relationship with someone that isn’t the father of your child, obviously. It just isn’t as natural as following the house, marriage, kids process and when the child isn’t theirs, it’s a little more complicated.
Since becoming a mother, I have gained SO much confidence. I’m not really sure why or how, but if anyone has known me for a long time, they’ll probably remember what a timid little thing I was a couple of years ago. I got a bit more confidence when I moved out to go to Uni, but even then I was still very quiet and shy. When I was really young, I wouldn’t even walk into a shop on my own and a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t even answer the phone, like I had severe anxiety and confidence problems. I’m just a completely different person these days, I can’t tell you how much I’ve changed. I spend hours on the phone ringing people up every week, I couldn’t imagine myself EVER doing that not long ago. It seems like a really small thing but for someone with anxiety and confidence issues it’s huge. I still have anxiety issues and struggle with certain things like travelling on my own or going to busy places (like London) but I would if I had to or really wanted to do something. It’s just crazy, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I think being a single parent and having this little person completely dependent on me has just made my confidence grow so much because I’ve had to be able to be the person that he can rely on for everything.
This one is a bit similar to the whole confidence thing because I never used to stand up for myself due to being so quiet. I let people walk all over me, I let my uni tutors treat me like crap and I was just generally quite a ‘weak’ person. Since having Reuben, I’ve said goodbye to that girl and become a very strong independent person. I sometimes wonder if it’s a good or bad thing, but I just won’t take shit from anyone these days. I’ll quite happily stick up for other people too if I think they are being bullied or are getting abuse that they don’t deserve. I’ll complain if a company is trying to con me or mess me about. I won’t let PR’s talk down to me like they are better than me. I just don’t stand for anything! I try to remain professional as much as possible, but I basically just don’t take any crap whatsoever. I mean some may think this isn’t great, but when you come from the past I have where you’ve let so many people treat you like a doormat, it’s a bloody fantastic feeling. I have to be strong for Ru, he needs someone who is going to always be there for him and fight all his battles whilst he’s still young and I am going to be that person! Who needs superdad when you can have supermum?
I think this goes for all parents, but Reuben has brought so much positivity to my life since the day I found out I was pregnant. I was scared and unsure of my future, but he was like a tiny ray of sunshine lighting up my life. I won’t go into it too much but I was going through a rough patch around the time I became pregnant and I was feeling so low. I was in a very dark place where I had nothing but negative thoughts and as soon as I found out I had a little Reuben inside my womb, all that darkness went away and I have been in a happy place ever since. Babies are truly blessings, I can tell you that!
Being a single parent is challenging as hell. Every single day is a challenge, but now we’re almost 11 months in, I think I’m getting the hang of it. I mean I thought the newborn days were hard when I was getting no sleep, but they were an easy ride compared to these days. He’s now crawling, almost walking, standing, climbing, opening cupboards, drawers… you name it, he’s doing it. It’s SO hard to keep an eye on him 24/7 and that’s without factoring in my job(s)! I work from home earning ££ from being a freelance graphic designer as well as blogging and trying to keep on top of them both whilst having eyes permanently in the back of my head isn’t an easy task. But I do it, and I have been for the past 10 months so it’s possible. I took on a huge freelance design job when I had just given birth (because it was really good money) and completed it even after getting a womb infection and spending a week in hospital… so if I can conquer that, I can conquer anything! Being a mum might not be a career but it sure as hell teaches me skills that are going to come in super handy for when I eventually do want to get my career back on track.
All mums make sacrifices for their kids but when you’re the only one putting food on the table, there’s a lot more sacrifice to be done. I kinda gave up my career to be a mum, I was still in Uni when I found out I was pregnant so any expectations of getting a job in the industry immediately vanished, but that’s okay. It’s just one of the reasons I cherish my blog so much. I never started my blog as a form of income and never ever expected to get this far with it, but it’s so nice to be sent makeup and other beauty bits when I sacrifice buying it so I can afford to spend money on my child. There are times when I will have a bit of money saved up to be able to buy myself nice things, but usually I have to decide what that is. Over the past few months I’ve barely bought myself anything because I really wanted to save up to take Reuben on his first holiday, so the only new makeup I’ve had is anything that I’ve been gifted to review. I did buy myself a couple of clothing bits but even then, nowhere near what I’d usually spend or ideally need. I don’t mind sacrificing stuff for him though, it’s just stuff and he comes first over EVERYTHING and he always will. But I am well and truly grateful to anyone that gets in touch with me to work together on a collab, it keeps me sane and enables me to get some treats every so often! Through having to sacrifice a lot, I’ve learnt to prioritise which is such a good thing for someone who’s terrible with money and planning!
I don’t think I’ve ever been very ‘immature’ but becoming a single mum has definitely made me grow up a lot faster. I still feel old now that I’m 23, but in reality, I feel way older. I never imagined moving out of my family home so soon after Uni, I thought people stayed at home for years! I’m so independent now with my own house and a baby to look after on my own, it’s all just forced me to grow up a lot faster than usual. I often feel like a granny with how early I like to shower and get into comfy clothes, or how early I’ll get into bed some nights. But it’s just how my life has panned out, I spend all day running round like a mad woman and once Reuben’s in bed, it’s the only time I really get to chill! I definitely cherish my chill out time these days, I used to take it so for granted. Because I’m a lone parent, I don’t have anyone to hand Reuben over to so that I can get a bath or pop out or anything, so as soon as he’s in bed it’s the only relaxation I get. I’d definitely much rather be the responsible grown up that I am now than someone who spends all their time out drinking with no cares in the world.
Nothing I’ve written in this post is negative to me, it’s just what parenting is and how it’s changed my life. I wouldn’t change any of it – except for maybe winning the lottery? 😉 But in all seriousness, Reuben is my absolute world and I’m currently sat here on the sofa with him stood next to me trying to poke the keyboard with his little wooden stick whilst having a big cheeky grin on his face and it’s just everything to me. I’d take this life over anything else any day 🙂