Inner strength.

"You will never be truly happy with anyone else until you are happy with yourself. Love yourself first."

I would never have intentionally chosen to have a child by myself, but it sure has taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined. Under these circumstances I have learnt that I am capable, that I can achieve when I put my mind to something, I've discovered skills I did not know I had, but mostly I have learnt that happiness comes from within.

By being thrown into this deep end of total responsibility, I uncovered a sense of self-reliance and eventually kissed goodbye to co-dependency.

Nine months. Nine short months was all the time I had to turn my life around and prepare to take on full responsibility of another person's life. It was all down to me and that was incredibly daunting but I never questioned whether I could do it. I knew before he was even born that I would do anything for this child of mine. Challenge accepted!

Acceptance: I feel this is a key word here.

It took me a long time to accept the choice that Etienne's father had made. At first, I faced denial. I refused to believe that he would really turn his back on our child. I convinced myself that he would change his mind the moment our son was born. When that day came and he didn't show- that's when I knew that he had meant all of the things he had said and although I gradually stopped hoping for him to come back, I still hadn't really dealt with it.

I wasn't ready to give up trying; shamefully, I bombarded him with emails and photographs of our son, trying to convince him that he would love him if he just offered him a chance. 
I knew that if he was to meet our son even just for five minutes- he would adore him. I guess that's what he was afraid of; because if he fell in love with him in that moment, how could he possibly leave again?

I let go when Etienne turned 1. On his first birthday, I looked around and I realized that every single person in that balloon-filled, hideously noisy village hall, loved him. I caught him smiling and scoffing birthday cake, loving life as always, and although he wasn't able to vocalize his feelings that day, I know with certainty that he felt special and so very loved.

 Inevitably, there is a series of emotional stages to travel through; a process to work through; feelings to deal with; before you can reach the point of acceptance. But when you finally accept the situation for what it is, and you allow yourself to grow and develop from it; that's when you'll realize that you really don't need anyone else.As much as you might think you want them at times, you don't need them.

We are a hell of a lot stronger and more resilient than we realize. This journey so far has been a test of my strength and sanity and believe it or not, when it comes to relationships - I've had more heartache and disappointment since. Admittedly, I allowed myself to fall weak.  By putting up with an unhealthy relationship and allowing my emotions to be controlled by another person, meant I'd temporarily forgotten everything I'd previously learnt. I allowed myself to fall back under the belief that I needed someone else to validate my happiness and throughout the duration of that relationship I was stressed and unhappy. My negativity and lack of self worth was prominent in our home and I am not proud to admit that Etienne completely picked up on those vibes. 

Its a vicious circle because when you allow another person to drag you down and drain your happiness, you become weak. And when you're weak, you forget what you deserve and how much you're capable of, so you seek comfort and reassurance- but you look for it in the one person who is the whole reason you are weak to begin with. Thus, it's a downwards spiral. Until you wake up, find that inner strength, remove the toxicity from your life and take note of the lessons learnt along the way.

Only now am I realizing the truth behind this statement:

"Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person to control your emotions."

Heartache is a painful experience, it really is, but when we take control of our emotional well-being and allow ourselves time to heal, we soon adapt. And then we grow.

Though sometimes my vision is clouded and some days I'm not quite in my  "strong independent woman" mode, I soon bounce back and I know that I have grown from these experiences and that, actually, I wouldn't change anything in my past if I were given the chance, because every experience has lead to my understanding of self love and I aim to pass that understanding to my son as he grows up.

I'm all for teaching my son respect; to respect others and to respect himself.  What sort of role model would I be if I wasn't respectful of myself in that same way? 

"Don't you get lonely?"

This is a question that I am asked far too often.

I constantly get the "I just don't know how you do it" comments (always meant in the nicest possible way of course) and every time, I answer with the same line:

"It's fine, you can't really miss what you never knew, can you?"

I mean, it's totally not fine but in many ways, this is the truth, I don't know what I'm missing. 

I don't know what it's like to have a partner take care of my heavily pregnant self.
I never saw my baby's father holding him the moment he was born.
We never got that first family holiday or our first Christmas "just the three of us

So in some respects, no I don't miss what I've never known or experienced. I guess I don't really know how to miss it. 

Taking care of a two year old, alone, constantly, can be exhausting to say the least. Which is why, more often than not, I can't seem to find the time to feel lonely. By the time Etienne is in bed, I am too tired to care that I am by myself in a silent flat. Most of the time I don't even bother to switch the TV on. I am not afraid to be alone, I am not afraid of my own company. In fact, I quite like it these days.

<Luggging the sleepy head up the stairs>
I spend a good 12 hours a day being a mum, rushing around and meeting someone else's needs, that by the time evening comes around, it is nice to relax and unwind in total peace. It gives that same feeling you get when you finally sit down for your lunch break after a busy morning at work. I totally shut off.

For myself and Etienne, this is our version of 'normal' and neither of us have any idea what it would be like to be part of a larger family, we are happy and healthy but I still wouldn't wish this situation on anybody.

 No child nor parent.

 It is hard work. Emotionally, physically, financially. It's bloody hard. 

Nobody should have to feel abandoned.

 No pregnant woman should have to face nine months of hyperemesis gravidarum (severe, persistant morning sickness incase you weren't sure) alone, without the support of a partner. 

No child should have to wonder where their other parent is or why their friends all have daddies but they don't.

So yes, there are times when I wish we were 3 instead of 2, because I would rather my son had his father in his life. There are times when I would really appreciate some help and support, times when I would love to be a part of a cute little family planning holidays and sharing the joys of parenthood together. 

There are definitely moments when I fight the lump in my throat upon watching fathers with their children at the park or seeing men kicking a ball about with their sons, though normally, these are brief moments of sadness and the "what if's" shortly followed by reality and normality. 

I can't imagine there's any mother out there in my situation who doesn't sometimes wish things could've been different, but I don't necessarily wish for a partner to be a part in my life, I just wish that my son had two parents who cared about him and loved him as much as I do. 

Some days are harder than others.

Weekends particularly SUCK, because this is the time when I am reminded that we are the odd ones out. 

Throughout the week we have a great social life, Etienne has plenty of play dates and I have enough coffee dates with my friends to have lead me to, what has now become, an actual caffeine addiction. (Oops. But it could definitely be worse!)

 However, at weekends, these friends tend to disappear. They disappear because it is family time. Their partners are off work so they're enjoying Sunday roasts and seafront walks together. It's really sweet, but for me it can be somewhat bittersweet. 

Sometimes, I appreciate our situation. Sometimes I am even thankful for the fact that we have a peaceful life together, minimal conflict and plenty of freedom. We have so much quality time with one another. We are together near enough 24/7, with the exclusion of two mornings at nursery per week. We are crazily close and a lot of the time I think we resemble best buddies more than mother and son. 

It's definitely not all of the time that I picture an alternative to the beautiful little family setup we already have.

Without a doubt, Etienne is my family and he is the BEST kind of family. And if changing our situation meant any less of a bond between he and I, then I most definitely wouldn't be switching any time soon. 

As long as I have the company of my little love, I don't really need much else. 

Besides, when there's nobody around, nobody can hurt you, right?

Two years on; a quick catch up!

WOW, it's been a loooonnngggggggg time since I've posted.

Are we really almost into June?! Wait. Is it really 2016?!

Where the hell have the past 2.5 years gone? I really would love to know.

I thought I'd post a (very) short but sweet update as I plan to get my blog up and running again!

So, Etienne is turning THREE at the end of this year (OMG) and it's been a roller-coaster but truthfully.... times have been hard!

I think the 'single mum life' finally caught up on me since battling with a strong willed, super intelligent, hyperactive toddler...and jeeze, is it hard work...

YEP, we are well into the lovely stage that is the "terrible twos" and the only words of reassurance anyone can seem to offer on this are "wait until he turns three, 'threenagers' are so much worse!!"


I look back now on those early newborn days (generally speaking, those days were as follows: the baby would spend hours cooing in the corner whilst I spent my time restoring old pieces of furniture and sipping on a latte) and I ask myself this: when did it become so full on?

At what point exactly did I end up spending my time scooping a floppy, jelly-like mini human off of the ground? And when I say "the ground" I really mean the germ-ridden floor in the cheese aisle of Tesco.

When did Etienne decide that he hates wearing trousers/nappies/hats/really just anything other than his 'nee-nor' top?! I've lost count of the amount of times I've sat wrestling with him to get him dressed, only to leave the room for five minutes and come back to find him naked again. *Sigh*

I can't pinpoint when exactly my easygoing little baby became so fussy. Did he just decide overnight that he hates anything green and won't so much as put it anywhere near his mouth? (Unless its a leaf or something, in which case, it goes straight in the mouth!)

Example: "mmmm I love cucumber mummy, it's my favourite!" *takes one bite and regurgitates it within 0.5 seconds, never to ever touch cucumber again for as long as he lives..*

It's true, you don't notice these changes taking place until all of a sudden, everything has changed and it's somewhat overwhelming to say the least. I'd be lying if I was to say that I haven't felt out of my depth at times. To say that I haven't, at times, wished for some help, would also be untrue. 

In two years, I'll admit I have found plenty to stress about and more than enough to moan about, but I can wholeheartedly say that for every single negative I have encountered, I have found at least one positive. 

Some days, it's been hard going and I've been curled up in bed by 7pm with a stress related head ache and probably a few tears. Other days, I haven't even wanted bed time to come around because I've enjoyed Etienne's company so much that I wanted to make time stand still.

Some days, I've lost my cool and let the challenges of motherhood get the better of me, like that time I ended up bundling my grumpy, argumentative toddler into the car just to drive ANYWHERE as a last resort at preserving my sanity.....and the engine wouldn't start- that was a SHIT  terrible day. 

Screaming toddler + car refusing to move = STRESSED mother

(Thank God for the RAC man who saved the day!)

Other days, I like to think I have resembled super mum (almost.) 

There have been rubbish days, and I mean really rubbish.... BUT....there have been wonderful days, there has been hysterical laughter and there have been "OMG I love you so much I think I might explode" moments, too. Plenty of those, in fact!

It seems with every defiant, contrary, highly-strung-toddler comes a whole lot of character. And with a whole lot of character comes a whole lot of laughter. 

There have been so many new milestones; walking, talking, singing, bird-chasing, bossing mummy about...the list goes on. 

But the one thing that really stands out right now is personality. It is now that I am fully getting to know my son and all that makes him his own person.
Etienne might only be small but his personality is HUGE. 
And if there was one thing I could've wished for my son to inherit from his absent father, it would've been his humour :)

God, have we laughed along the way!