Is it all worth it? I bet it’s not something you really ask yourself. Its one of those questions in life that you are not supposed to ask yourself. But I bet you do, in quiet times, when you are folding the washing or feeling stressed about the house being a constant bomb site. Why do we put ourselves through it? Because there is no doubt at all that parenthood is both highly stressful and incredibly tiring. Those are the two main words I wold use to describe it. Yes, it is also rewarding, heartbreaking, time-consuming, happy, funny etc. But the two words that will impact your life the most are stressful and tiring. We are all supposed to say having a baby made us nothing but happy and we should be grateful as others out there are not as fortunate as us to have been blessed with children of their own.I think there is a huge taboo with questioning it and saying to yourself, actually, did I do the right thing? I know we all must have done somewhere down the line. I have.
It is not a question I asked myself whilst I had a partner. There is a lovely sense of security when you are fortunate enough to have a family unit and are raising your child together daily. I was happy with that. I had a partner, a beautiful daughter, a family unit, I had no reason to question anything other than the week ahead and what we were having for dinner each day! With her being so young too, I hadn’t reached the difficult toddler stages yet whilst her dad was still here. It was a lovely bubble that was soon to be popped.
Being initially left alone and in shock with a two-year old suddenly solely dependent on me, it really made me question everything in life, from love,location,loyalty and then at why people have children to then give up on a family so easily and walk away. I felt bitter disappointment towards how let down I felt as a joint parent to my daughter.This path wasn’t what I signed up to. I still do feel that way some days. It should have been the start of a new chapter but for me it became the end of my relationship. To get your head around how two people could be so happy with a joint decision like having a baby for one partner to then not live up to their title of either partner or parent is really hard to come to terms with. I instinctively put my daughter first and tried to continue to be everything to everyone else as I had been before. I could have been Mother Theresa but it wouldn’t have mattered. He wouldn’t have noticed. Before her second birthday he had met someone else, switched off and was mentally gone anyway. I often wonder if we hadn’t had our girl if he might still have loved me as he used to. Then I tell myself what is the deserved answer. I should have been more to him with every passing day after having her together. But the sad truth is, some people are just not cut out for the full-time job of being hands on parents and relationships are often sabotaged along the way. The initial rush of a newborn is often viewed as a chore by some after the exciting new thrill of a baby has subsided and I find this very sad but it does happen.
Above: Our tiny bundle. Very small, very real and rather life changing x
Since I had my daughter, I have been overwhelmed with love and contentment with regards to my feeling towards her personally. I adore that girl. It’s pretty plain to most. However, to have been given the gift of love, at what sacrifice has that come to me personally?
A relationship gone after eight years is loss enough and one that I will struggle to come to terms with. However, would I ever wish I didn’t have my girl in order to have kept my man? Not a chance. We both equally wanted her and I wouldn’t change that. Unfortunately, only one of us had realistic expectations about the work that is needed to support a family and new baby. I was, am and always will be prepared to put her first. If im not stood by for that, it’s better to be alone I imagine and focus on the true love my daughter sends my way each day than to be in a relationship where neither me or my daughter are properly supported.
I do feel sometimes we all get so carried away with the idea of a new baby when we are in a relationship that I don’t think many of us can honestly say when we plan for our first that we think about the practicalities too much. I say this because you simply don’t know how a child will affect your life until you have one! Yes, the thought is exciting,the pregnancy is special,you adore your partner and want an extension of that to bring you closer together but the reality unfortunately is that a child will either take you as a partnership one way or the other.
I know of some parents who after the birth of their first completely united and stuck with each other,are completely on the same page, raising their children in dedicated unison as a tight-knit family full of love and support. Thats the ideal and obviously what we all hope for. On the flip side, I also know of people who often wonder why they had children because all they seem to do is bicker with their partner, the children scream all day, they don’t feel happy and often find themselves leading separate lives with one parent focused on the kids and the other, often the man, feeling trapped and missing his single life back when he could watch the football without being hit on the head with a balloon over and over again. This is sad but it’s what happens sometimes. I have come to the conclusion that people either come together or get torn apart by the constant tiredness and stress that comes with having kids. We sink separately or we swim as a team.
When that child comes your world changes forever. Relationships are tested, parents snap at little unimportant things and most of all a persons inner strength and commitment are tested like never before.Some people have the strength and complete unselfish nature to be parents, choosing to nurture that child to their full potential without feeling like they are missing out themselves. They happily and without question put that childs needs before their own and think of their family unit before themselves. Other people, once the baby comes, feel a little let down with having to put their desires last to a child and simply cannot handle the massive adult responsibility that comes with having a baby. The thought was nice. But the reality for some is too much. Much better to leave and have a stress free life and see the child a few times a week instead. It is sad but true. Some people just are not cut out to be full-time parents.
I would like to think I am in the first category. I do put my daughter first and 95% of the time I wouldn’t change what I have for anything. But I am human. There are those rare moments when I think about what could have been had I not believed that love and family was a genuine option for us both.
- I gave up my job I loved to support her father and relocated 300 miles away from mom and childcare help to be a family here. I often do miss my independence, the feeling of freedom you have before someone else devoured all your free time and energy. I miss my job but I traded it in for the hope of having my own family and doing at the time what was right for us. If I turned back the clock, it would have still felt the right thing to do and I don’t think I would change it because I was human to have hope and want better. I loved that my sole focus got to be supporting my family and raising my daughter. I would not trade in that time for anything. I don’t envy women in high-flying careers for a second, the ones who feel they have to return to work 6 weeks after having a baby so that they remain relevent in the workplace. Boy, have they missed out on the many amazingly precious moments that come with spending that important time with a newborn.
As many of you might know if you have been in a similar situation, as a single parent who isn’t working, with a child under five, I can now either work full-time and pay most of my wages on childcare, never see my daughter apart from bedtime and weekends and be so run down I don’t enjoy that time. Or I can try to enjoy this precious time until next year when she has decent hours at school and it pays for me to be away from her and she’s that bit older and wont destruct the house so much and it wont be such hard work cleaning up after her. So for now, especially after everything this last 12 months, I choose happiness.
Some of you might disagree with that. I didn’t plan to be in this situation, quite the opposite in fact. I often have to laugh at the stereotypical view on what is it to be a single mom. I was at the chiropractor this week and he told me I had extremely weak glutes, saying “more than likely from all the sitting around you do not being in work”. No ladies, I didn’t slap him, but I wanted to! Single parents don’t get to sit down if they are doing the job properly! Yes, there are ones that watch tv all day, neglect their kids and spend all their weekly maintenance on cigarettes and drugs. Or there’s the rest, trying to come through difficult times, trying to be somebody again, getting out into the world again and keeping their kids happy, healthy and active. These, Mr chiropractor, don’t get to sit down much.
For every hater that calls me lazy, I am certain that there are women out there who are envious of the time I have been fortunate enough to spend with my daughter and wish they had experienced that with their own. I know her inside and out. We respect each other. We go out on adventures. She wants to be around me. Nothing is a greater compliment than that. She enjoys her time with me and me with her also. She wouldn’t settle tonight and simply wanted me to lye with her. She just stared at me, looking right into me, smiling, just happy I was there. She asked me to rub her back and I watched as she drifted heavy-lidded into a really peaceful happy sleep. That to me is magical. I wouldn’t choose a night out, a child free life or anything else over moments like that. Children really do change your outlook on life if you are the type of person that can put a child before yourself.
So am I constantly shattered? You bet! I am both physically and mentally drained by the end of the day! Do I wish I had a proper family unit for her? Of course I do. But she still has everyone around her she loves and it’s about trying to accept a new structure for her, which is hard for me but whats best for her so that’s what happens. When I feel at my lowest, I try to look at what I do have. And that is her ;-). She is amazing. She teaches me so much about myself and life in general each day. Just seeing the world as she does through new excited eyes is a pleasure. So many people are missing out on the simplest of pleasures in life and children are really great at opening your eyes to these things.
So was it worth it? Damn right it was. Even just in the last few months she has grown up so much, she is a proper little person and I can see only good things ahead for her as she grows up. Everyone will have times they feel like they are drowning. Everyone will answer the question differently and unfortunately some people will feel that having children wasnt the best choice for them. And I wouldn’t judge them. Because until you have the shock of having a child, you simply don’t know.
I think I always knew. I adore my baby. Shes the best thing ever. An amazing little person who I have felt blessed with since I held her in my arms three years ago. I guess life makes you doubt yourself and your abilities when there are stressful situations at play. However, I truly believe she was my saviour. I feel content with her. You will never know love like that of your child. Make the most of it. I am xxx