I have always lived in a beautiful bubble of fantasy. Growing up I was always dreaming of the day I met my knight in shining armour, getting swept off my feet in the most romantic way possible and living happily ever after in my house with the white picket fence, having a tribe of gorgeous babies and the perfect husband. I always thought I’d end up with a man like my father. Hardworking, generous, a loving dad whose wife and children were ALWAYS at the forefront of his priorities.Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to fall pregnant at 19. Not only pregnant, but unwed with a man that life was never going to allow me to work out with.
This was just not done in my family. Everyone was married with children, divorce was unheard of and everyone did live happily ever after. I thought this was the way my life was also supposed to be.
Motherhood was such an amazing experience for me. It was so natural and immediate- I knew I was meant to be a mummy. The joys I felt and continue to feel are paramount to any emotion I had ever felt in my life.
After a tumultuous relationship, I became a Solo mum by 21. I had so many emotions filling my head.
1. Failure, I couldn’t believe I didn’t make this work. I never wanted my child to come from a broken home, I’d never experienced it myself and was terrified of the outcome for my precious child. I was scared it’d be at her detriment. Had I failed her by not sucking it up and living a lie.
2. Embarrassment, I felt completely judged by everyone. The young and dumb mother ruining her life. How was she going to handle this and who was going to have to take the reins and help me out of this mess. I was so worried about people waiting for me to continue failing and what they were saying behind my back- sometimes even to my face.
3. Fear, was I capable of this task? Was I strong enough to raise a child alone. How could I live, how could I afford this responsibility, and would I do it right?
4. Am I a good enough mum? This question still pops into my head.
5. Sadness. I was grieving what was, and trying to emotionally deal with everything happening in my heart and head
6. How could I do this on my own?
I moved back with my parents for 3 months to wrap my head around what was my new life. I managed to get a parttime job, and saved up enough to rent a cute little cottage nearby to them. In my first few weeks of living in this house I had an epiphany. It was a night we both got food poisoning – the WORST kind. One bathroom and both of us fighting for the toilet like it was the last piece of cake. It was a disastrous evening. Trying to be there for her when she was ill was so hard when I was also needing to hug the toilet bowl.
In this moment I realised I needed to teach her everything she needed to know to survive. I had to make sure she was capable of feeding herself, cleaning up after herself, and had the skills needed that if I was out of action for whatever reason, she could function.
I was so blessed that my daughter was always so mature for her age. Everyone always would say to me that she had been here before, she was so soulful. She really was/is.
We took to our new lifestyle as a team. Yes, she was still a toddler, but so amazingly independent she could be helpful.
We started living such an organised, routined life that everything started to fall into place without too much daily stress.
We would wake and she would help prepare breakfast. Within a few months, she would actually get up and have a piece of fruit, pour her own cereal and get herself dressed. I could get ready for work, give her a cuddle and sit down to my coffee and a chat with her before our day started without ripping my hair out.
Then we moved on to sandwiches. They honestly looked like she had taken to a loaf of bread with a chainsaw, ripped apart and butter, jam, vegemite usually all over the kitchen – but she could do it. She was always so proud to make me a sandwich and I was always happy to indulge in her creations. Don’t get me wrong, I loved making her lunches and breakfasts but I needed to know she could also fend for herself if I was sick.
Weekends consisted of us sharing the housework. (She would often create more mess, but was trying)
We got to a stage where, she could sweep the floor, I’d mop. She’d dry the bathtub when she’d get out, I’d use the chemicals. She would check the letterbox and remind me of bin day. It was great.
She was my rock and I was hers. I got so much of my strength from her stubborn and motivated nature. If I got stressed about money, courts or even work, she’d say “we’ve got this mummy.” And if she fell, bumped her head or needed guidance I was there for her every need.
We were closer than ever and bounced off each other’s emotions daily- it wasn’t fun if one of us was in a bad mood, but we even learnt when to give each other space and when we could be in each other’s bubbles. We both had our quirks and needs. I hate confrontation- yet she automatically brings her issues to the surface. She is so super calm, yet has a fiery temper when it decides to flare. I am quite highly strung – happily or not, I can take on any situation without giving away my feelings, hers are written all over her face. We are both incredibly stubborn, strong, sensitive, emotional and capable.
When my brother passed (her Uncle), she managed to brighten everyone’s days. The words that would come out of her mouth provided so much comfort to everyone- where did this 3 year old come from.
One of the biggest things I’ve always wanted was my daughter to feel for people. I never wanted her to have a selfish outlook on life. We are all accountable for our actions and emotions. She is very much like this. It is so beautiful to see even if someone tries to drag her down, she tries to see every situation from their perspectives.
I’ve always had a completely open conversation policy with her. If she asks I answer. Some of the topics I never thought would need discussion, however I feel being open now will avoid secrets and lies later in life. I never judge what has come from her mouth- it is my job to ensure she knows things correctly and what level of knowledge she has.
When I bought my business, this little angel took the reigns and everything we did needed both of us to make our lives work. I had to be on the ball to make sure I always had quality time balanced into each day, and she developed the understanding that at times the business had to be a priority in order for us to be financially able to survive each week. Even my clients loved seeing her each day. The last 2 years of having the business she developed so many people skills, could make teas and coffees, could sweep the floor and help me count the till. (She could have run it better than me lol)
As our lives have developed together over the years, I’ve realised being a solo parent wasn’t as scary as I first thought.
I don’t worry at all what others think of me. People still judge the relationship we have, and the conversations we have. I know she will be well prepared for her adult life and some of the situations we have been in haven’t been ideal, however together we get through whatever this crazy world throws our way.
This insightful little human has taught me so much about myself as I have taught her. We can conquer the world. It has been an honour growing up together with her by my side