Article written by Lucy Good from Beanstalk Single Mums.
The world is changing, thankfully. What was once considered unacceptable, is acceptable. The mind of society is opening. People are able to live comfortably as they wish, not as they feel they should. I love it. But what I love even more is my unique and utterly imperfect one-parent family.
Looking back six-years to the tragic time of our family breakup, I choose to focus on the positive parts. The bits that made me stronger. That changed me immeasurably. There are many.
Yet, I will never forget my shame at having to explain to my daughters’ primary school teachers that my husband and I had separated. I half expected to be put on the naughty step or given detention.
I needn’t have worried though. It seems that while I was desperately trying to hold our family together because ‘everyone else seemed to manage it’, I had missed the fact that not everyone was ‘managing it’. The teacher’s responses were flippant, in a strangely reassuring manner. In one class, it looked like the new separated-family status, was in fact, the norm.
For me, it was a turning-point. My family, for all its broken bits which I had lovingly mended the best way I knew how, was infinitely special. We are a family that tried bloody hard, (and I include my ex-husband in that statement) but eventually had the balls to man-up and admit that it wasn’t working. We didn’t fail. And I challenge anyone who uses that word around a relationship. We simply couldn’t see it through, so we adapted and we found another way.
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Now what do I have? I have a life I had never envisaged. The house with the white picket fence, the stereotypical family time and the growing-old-together is all gone. But in its place is something new and wonderful.
I have peaceful, happy home which I share with my two wonderful, worldly daughters. I have the experience, strength and empathy to support others. I have weeks when I share every moment with my girls. And mornings when I wake-up entirely alone. I have Christmas’s that have to planned and shared, but end-up absolutely fine.
Most importantly, I have children growing into strong resilient, understanding, capable young adults. They have watched their world fall apart and been part of re-building it again, brick-by-brick, to make it the special space we evolve in today. They live happily in the knowledge that families come in all shapes and sizes, and as long as there is love and security, that is enough.
Sometimes I look back at what could have been. But only in a brief moment. Today, I would much rather spend my time looking forward. Or just looking around me, at the family we have created. For all its cracks and crazy eccentricities, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Lucy works with hundreds of single mothers through her business and popular FB group, the Single Mum Vine. She sits at the centre of the think-tank of modern-day single motherhood and is a sought after social commentator on single parent issues. As well as having her own blog and podcast series, she has appeared several times on national television, speaks regularly on national and local radio and writes articles for online and print parenting, news, lifestyle and business communities.