I wrote about this topic once before, only then I was new to being a mum, still married and still not living my true life. Now things are different. Little P is just that little P, she’s not baby P, she’s not toddler P, she’s a little girl and life is a lot different, I’m a lot different. We’ve survived a lot, we’ve grown a lot, hell we’ve got through a global pandemic relatively unscathed and (touch wood) not had to do a dreaded 10 day isolation period (I’ve only gone and bloody jinxed it now haven’t I?) Quite an achievement really.

So why am I writing this again? Well because I’ve reached a different stage in my life. Initially when I became a single mum I had to learn how to cope and how to overcome the ongoing trials and tribulations of legal fees and a long divorce process and period. Then that ended, I was ready to put it all behind me and really start to build the life I wanted…then covid hit and said, “whoa whoa whoa sunshine, don’t be thinking you can have a life full of adventure, you’re house bound only allowed to venture out for essentials wearing a face mask and doused in hand sanitizer” yeah cheers Boris!

Now, you’d think I’d be jumping for joy as the world starts to re-open up, that’s it now I can build the life I want and get on with those adventures me and little P can embark on, I can start to enjoy my freedom even more. Yet I’m not. Partly because, well it’s all a bit strange isn’t it? It’s all a bit hard, we’re all coming out of this difficult year, apprehensive, tired, drained and well quite frankly suffering with a serious case of the lockdown, lack of social interaction blues. It’s just all a bit weird, like I can’t wait to do things and see people but I can’t be arsed at the same time – I’ve always been a bit fickle haven’t I?

I also think it’s because, I’m trying to navigate through what I want my life to be, as a mum and as well me because I’m more than just a mum. Now, it’s not that I lack social events, good friends and people/places to go, if anything I can sometimes feel overwhelmed and not know where to start with what to do and who with. It’s more that, what do I like nowadays, what do I want to do and how do I strike the happy balance between the quality time and fun I want to have with my daughter and the things I want to do for me, as just me.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my adventures with little P, she’s my mini me and the two of us have a ball together, I never realised that a 3 year old would make me laugh harder than anyone and that her unconditional love and kindness would make me melt so easily into a million pieces. But I am my own person and I’ve fought hard to get back to being my own person, I don’t want to be a watered down version of myself, not watered down by my daughter, a friend, a partner or anyone, I need to still have that element of me that’s me. Not the mum, the teacher, the friend, the whatever, just, well me.

My friend sent me a link to a facebook post of a blogger I now follow. A fellow single mum who talks about metaphorical rebuilding, the re-building of your life following divorce piece by piece, almost brick by brick. She talks about building up activities, friendships and ways of life that eventually go beyond the foundations of survival that you lay initially, but then go onto be the ornaments, decorations, paint and wall paper that you put on this imaginary house of your new life. And I guess that’s just it, I’m at the decorating stage, I’m choosing the colours and making the mood boards for how I want my life to now be and I’m just playing around with the ideas and dip my toe into the water to see how I want it to pan out.

Realistically, I don’t have to make any firm decisions, hell, it’s my life and these choices only effect me and it’s only about places I choose to go and which friends I choose to go with. So it seems such a small thing when you put it like that, but it’s more than that because these friends and events are my life, they’re my family, because otherwise my family is just me and P and we’re more than just me and her.

The thing that’s key for me right now is making sure I make and take enough time for me. My life and world revolves around little P (as it should) but I’m a person too and I need to learn to sometimes put my needs higher up on the priority list. It’s not just a single mum thing, a lot of mum’s need to but I often find it harder to do so without the spouse there. Little P doesn’t see her dad or that side of the family, there isn’t a regular slot so it’s me and her all the time which is great, the perfect set up for us but that can lead to me forgetting and being reluctant to plan some time for myself without her that’s not work or a trip to the supermarket.

It’s just all about balance isn’t it, making the time for me, making the time for us and making the time for the people we love and care about. More importantly it’s about evolving, external factors plus little P growing up means the picture changes, the priorities alter and the life we’re building needs a bit of re-decorating and sprucing to keep us happy.

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