Last week I received some really exciting news. What that news is I cannot say because it’s not my news – but the news itself is not important for the purpose of this post.
Regular readers will know that I am going through a pretty rubbish time at the moment. I’ve been off work for almost 3 weeks and I am back to the doctors on Wednesday to see what the way forward is. I’m very much living in my own bubble at the moment and as much as I want to get out of it, for the way I am feeling it is safe to stay in this bubble. Looking forward is really hard at the moment. I can’t see past the day I am in. I’m trying to look forward to Christmas but even that is happening on auto pilot.
So, last week, I got some news completely out of the blue that I never expected to get. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time but for purely selfish reasons. To say it made me smile is an understatement. It brought tears to my eyes for a good reason. It’s also made me look forward to the future, which is less of a blur now. I wrote the title to this post meaning it. I haven’t felt genuinely excited for a long time but about this, yes I am.
Life is still hard day to day, I’m sat here writing in my pyjamas, looking and feeling a mess with no motivation to get showered and dressed because I know it won’t make me feel happier. I’m not looking forward to 3pm when the girls come home because I have to paint on the smile for them. I’m not looking forward to the doctors on Wednesday as I have blood results to get which have been giving me nightmares and I’m scared of what he might tell me. Suddenly though I can look forward to the mid term, the not so distant future. To get there I have to get through today, tomorrow, Wednesday, next week, Christmas etc. So in a way, the news of the future is getting me through today – and hopefully by then I’ll have found me again too.
Oh and a message from my depression…………
“The exciting news won’t happen. Something will change and it’s not going to be. Then you’ll come running back to me with open arms because I am safe, I’m the only thing you can depend on for the rest of your life.”
Ok so I have banged on about happiness a lot lately. It is honestly just sheer coincidence that I have found happiness since writing this blog – or is it that the writing down of feelings and discussion of issues has helped me focus and find my happiness. Who knows! However, I am conscious that when I wasn’t so happy what I wanted more than anything was some advice on how to be happy rather than listen to someone else bat on about how happy they are. So with that in mind, here is my guide to being happy…….
- Take some time each day to think about what you are thankful for. Today I am thankful for not being alone. I had been due to have my 1st child free weekend in 3 months but my ex is stuck out of the country. I am thankful that means I get extra time with my girls and we have so far had a fantastic weekend.
- Think about what you have achieved recently. I don’t just mean the big things like the fact I have started work in the last month, but the little achievements. I sorted out my food cupboard today, threw out the out of date stuff that I will never use and actually was very happy with myself when I had done.
- What have you done to make someone else smile? B smiled lots today, when I let her help make tea, painted her nails and play with bubbles outside. H smiled when I videoed her talking about Peppa Pig and when I told her to get back in bed for the fourth time tonight!!
- What has improved in your life recently? For me this is financial ease. The fact I can take the girls on holiday this year, run a car and not worry about my debts. But on the whole I try not to focus on money because to me it’s not the be all and end all.
- Do something that makes you happy every day – this is something I had to really think about in the beginning. I found it hard to give myself the time to dry and straighten my hair every day rather than tie it back wet. I completely stopped wearing make up other than for going out and I can’t remember the last time I had a hair cut or manicure. But now I make time, I do my hair and make up every day, I make myself a cup of tea every morning, and allow myself time to drink it. It’s the hardest thing to get used to doing but even if some days it is only 5 minutes, make sure you fit it in because it will really make a difference.
- Always find the positive. I used to always let the bad things really get me down. Now no matter what I look for the positive. Like the volcano cloud meaning I can have extra time with my girls rather than dwelling on the fact I still haven’t had a lie in!!!! As a parent, I just have to look at my girls to know the true meaning of happiness. I am a firm believer of “Happy Mum, Happy Child” and I do have my days where I doubt myself as a single mum, but when I look at the smiling faces on my girls I know I can’t be going far wrong. They are my world and ultimately they are my happiness, so when you look at your kids, no matter how many times they wake in the night, or refuse to eat your cooking or do something just to wind you up, smile and know that happiness is what YOU make it. There is no magic formula and the above is what I do, it may not work for you. If you found something else that helps with your happiness I’d love to hear about it!
I have been re-evaluating my finances this week, because I have gone back to work, come off Income Support and all my other benefits, Tax Credits and the like have changed. Even Child Benefit rates changed this month! So instead of just going mad with the new healthier bank balance I have done the sensible adult thing and sat down with a list of my income and outgoings and worked out how much better off I am. I am also quite lucky in that it all ties in with my divorce too, so my outgoings have reduced due to the settlement we reached. Anyway, as was expected I am much better off being at work. Although I do owe Bank of Mum and Dad for my loan for the car and have to pay for this years holiday too before I start going crazy with the cash.
Anyway, it all got me thinking, what am I actually going to spend the extra money on? Once my debts are taken care of, what then. Yes I can better my children’s lives………..although they already have clean well fitting clothes and shoes and eat a good diet, and get out to places for days out. So we can go out to more places, further afield too now I have my own car. And I can better our home life in that I can buy new matching furniture with the storage we need, buy B her new bed and really organise her room. I can save for gadgets, my iPhone and BluRay DVD player are now within reach. I can get the Wii fixed. I can sort out my long term savings and save more for the girls.
Will all this make me happier though? I mean it’s not that I’m not happy now, but will more material things make me happier – or is it true that money is the route of all evil and the more I get the more I will want. By no means am I going to be rich, but I spent my first 10 years after leaving home in a marriage full of debt. Some months we struggled to even eat properly. Looking back now I don’t know how we kept our heads above water – not only did we have no money but the debts were growing month on month. It did get better and by the end of our time together they were no longer “bad” debts. Since being single I have been on maternity leave and then onto benefits and have been in the black every month, but literally had enough money to pay my bills and live. The difference now is I have the extra.
I think just knowing that money won’t make me happy is enough to keep me on a level, but if not and I begin to sound like it’s all gone to my head just remind me……….
Money cannot buy happiness, all the money in the world can’t buy you friends who are true, love that is real or a stress free life – be positive about all that you are and that will attract the things that hold true meaning in life!
Today I came home from work and was greeted with Mumtoj’s latest Blog post about her 10 free things she likes and it got me thinking of so many things I take for granted because they are things I don’t have to pay for. I’ve actually had to take things out to only have 10 here, and this is what I came up with:
- Picking H up from nursery and hearing “Mummy!”, with a huge smile on her face and running to me for cuddles. Although it does make me feel a little guilty for leaving her, I know right now it’s all new for her and it won’t take her long to adjust. But it makes me realise I am as special to her as she is to me and that makes it all worth while.
- Hearing B when she tells me she loves me, or that I am the best Mum in the world. I know I am not perfect, what parent is, but that she is able to feel love for me and appreciate me as a parent means so much – I know I’m on the right track even though she has been through so much especially in the last 2 years.
- Reading a book to relax – now officially this does cost me as I buy my books, but I also use the library and borrow books from friends and family so I have decided to include it. I spent so many years being a non reader, not understanding how such a thing could be relaxing, but I have to say I am a readaholic and am never without a book on the go!
- Spending time with family and friends. Knowing that time with those who mean the most to me doesn’t have to involve days out, it can simply be visiting each other or going for a walk, because it’s the company that’s enjoyable.
- Activities provided by the Children’s Centre – although my involvement in these will be limited now I am back to work, I have to include it because it still is at this point in time a big part of my life.
- Fresh air! May seem a little strange but when was the last time you breathed in proper fresh air? The air quality where I live is much better than inner city air, but having lived so long up in the North of Scotland, even now after 2 years the air down here is not the same so I really love it when I go to the coast, or visit friends up North and get some real fresh air!
- Having a shower – ok again technically not free because I have to pay for water and electricity, but even if I didn’t shower I would have to pay for those so I am kind of cheating a bit!!! But I hate baths, I don’t feel clean after sitting in water containing my dissolved dirt from my skin. A shower really does wash away the day, leaves my skin feeling tingly and refreshed and makes everything better!
- Sleep! I love my sleep. No two ways about it, without sleep I am ratty and not a very once person to know! So I am including it because whilst I love the feeling of being asleep, I also love the fact that after a good nights sleep I am a much more balanced and focused person.
- The dawn chorus. I know, I love sleep and that includes not having to get up early, but this last week I have loved hearing the dawn chorus, the soundtrack to life. Each little bird adding it’s own unique sound to natures choir. It reminds me that everyone and every other living thing, contributes to the bigger picture in ways that we can’t always understand. We are all important in so many ways and that is something to shout about.
- My broadband – yep I get free broadband so it makes it on to the list because as a single parent it’s one of my main ways of contacting and meeting people when the kids are tucked up in bed. It enables me to write this blog, read other blogs, tweet, play games, connect with friends and family and without it my life would be very different. I can discuss things, vent, laugh with others and still feel like a part of something even when sat at home on my own.
So there we have it – like I say I had to cut some because there are actually lots more. I am also quite shocked at how deep some of my answers are considering the time of night it is! I’d love to hear about your Ten Free Things You Like too, so please comment or blog about this yourself, and if you do let me know so I can come and have a look!
It’s 2.30am, bump has been wriggling about since I came to bed and all I want is a hug from my man who has been working away for 6 weeks and is on his last night of night shift before our long awaited weekend together. I hear the bedroom door open and the words “Are you awake I need to talk to you”. I know it’s over, after accusing him of seeing someone else, and being told not that he loves me and never would want any other, but that it says a lot about our relationship if I trust him so little. But the words hit my heart like a knife as he tells me it’s not just anyone but my best friend of 15 years, who had stayed with for the 6 weeks he was working away. Bump kept wriggling in oblivion of the fact my world has crashed. In the next room B sleeps deeply in her world of dreams. Even the dog is walking around tail wagging not realising life has ended. The knife is twisting and hurting even more as I listen to the words that seem to fall so easily from his lips, the lips that only 24 hours ago were mine. It’s not an affair, he loves her, he never loved me that way, it’s over, he will move out, I can stay in the house, he wants to be with her, he has always loved her since the 1st time he saw her……….why all the words, surely with this amount of pain my heart will burst and so I will die and I don’t need to be told this as life is over.
NO life can’t be over, bump is still reassuring me inside, the kicks are strong now, stronger than the pain and I know what I have to do. It will be hard, there will be tears and I will miss my friends, my work and my life but I have to go and start again. A new life. I have to go where my heart can heal. I have to be with people who can help me, support me and most of all I have to make sure my children don’t feel the pain I am in right now. I have to go to the only place I can think of going, where I know there will be open arms, where I know there is unconditional love, I pick up the phone….”Mum, can I come home?……….”
Picture Credit: h.koppdelaney
That was almost 2 years ago. I’ve proved myself wrong and everyone else right – I can do it and I do it every day without even thinking about it. Oh don’t get me wrong, the thought of that night, writing it down and recalling the emotion is still hard because you never loose the memory of pain that betrayal causes. But I am 100% happier than I remember for a long time. Being a single parent was something I never thought or planned to be. I didn’t think for a second that H would end up with a half sister only 13 months younger than her. But life does sometimes throw the unexpected at us. And to top that, other people throw stereotypes around and think that because my marriage ended while I was pregnant and that I moved the length of the country, that obviously I had the affair, and the baby must not have the same Dad as B. Oh and because I went into the benefits system I am now a scrounger, even though I lost my job due to the combination of moving, maternity leave and the credit crunch.
So why write about this? Why now if I am so happy? Why bring this up again, everyone knows my story, everyone knows it’s been hard and I have learnt to shrug the stigmas off and not care what others think! Well it’s because now I feel I can walk away from the old life and truly run into my new life. I wake up everyday with a smile and my girls are happy (well, excluding the usual kids stuff). I’m starting work soon and I have just had a brilliant end to my week which has made me realise “I’ve done it!” This brilliant end to the week included a day of non stop laughter and smiles with three people who I can say are my best three “Since I became single” friends, i.e. they didn’t know me in my old life. So, here’s the sentimental stuff, Friend #1: Thank you for showing me that this sort of crap happens to others and that not only can I take help I can give it too, we’ve had some fantastic times, too many to mention here and you know I love you and here’s to many more. Friend #2: I for one wish you weren’t moving to Oz, sod the kids missing each other, I’m going to miss you and our mid week trips out with the kids. I hope you find happiness and I do understand that sometimes a new place can mean change in a lot of ways – Good Luck! And Friend #3: I gave you Twilight and you gave me blogging and boy oh boy am I grabbing this by both hands! We’ve had some laughs and if ever your feeling like you need a laugh I will gladly thread a bracelet and then drop it everywhere – your laughing now aren’t you!!!
Picture Credit: aussiegal
I’ve probably bored all my other readers now, but the moral to this tale is simple; life only throws at us what we can deal with, and that which doesn’t kill us makes us a hell of a lot stronger. Change might not be wanted but we have to grasp it in both hands and make the most of it and who knows, we may end up happier in the long run – I have, every morning I wake with only 1 certainty, that there will be satisfaction guaranteed!
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