It all happened little more than a year ago.
In 2019, my story suddenly changed. I went from being (what I initially thought of at least) happily married to feeling like a captive on a stolen ship, caught in the storm of the century. I had two little girls, who idolised their father, and what I really thought was a stable home life. Then life happened and we were forced into a completely different living arrangement. During this time, the cracks started to show, and a few things became glaringly clear – not only were our priorities completely different, so many other things were also at odds. We didn’t cope in the same way, see the same things as being a threat, or even saw success the same way. I love celebrating small wins, he only sees small failures. I go with the flow; he needs to control every last second. Money was an issue, and since I have always struggled with a scarcity fear this made me feel unsafe.
We fought, all the time, and on more than one occasion either one of us or both threatened to leave. After suffering a life altering bout of depression, coupled with severe angst and panic attacks, I realised something was majorly wrong. Why was I feeling so out of touch, not only with myself but also with the people I love? My family felt far away, my friends out of reach, yet I saw all of them often, and spoke regularly.
Eventually, he found work overseas (after being unemployed for almost a year) and I saw my escape. I just knew that there was no way that we would make it, all alone in a foreign country, with no support system, and a marriage that was already wonky (by lack of another acceptable term). Although I loved him, I just knew in my heart, that if I went through with the move, I would die a slow death, each day a bit more, until there was nothing left of me. And what type of mother would I be if I were only an empty shell? So, I told him, and the backlash was severe.
In the space of a week, I had moved out, with the kids, moved into a new house, unpacked, tried to settle in, and helped the kids say goodbye to their dad. Even though it had been my choice, it was heart-breaking. I grieved, not only for my own failed relationship and the future we would never have but also because my kids were grieving. They had lost so much, and the process was only starting. As part of the normal grieving process, I went through the anger phase and camped out there for a bit longer than what I would have liked. During this time, I realised all the little bits of me that I had allowed to be changed, removed, even buried. Clawing my way through this phase, I eventually entered the calm bay of acceptance. Here, I started to put my life back together.
For the first time in my adult life I had the freedom to decide who I wanted to be. From how I wanted to dress, to what I wanted to eat and drink, when I wanted to go to bed, who I wanted to speak to, what I wanted to watch. All my choice. The kids and I took our time to decide how we wanted our new routine to look. We did their room the way they wanted it, and we moved and settled into the house in such a way that they were accommodated.
But then the real work started. I had to face the reality – I was a single mom, with 2 businesses to run, an income to supplement, kids to keep happy and healthy, a household to manage, and more. And it was only me. Time to become a superhero.
And so I did. Amazing what you are capable of if you have the right mindset, a strong support structure, and the willingness to ask for help.
Today, 6 months later, I can say I have two beautiful girls who are thriving, a happy and stable home life, and a future I am excited to see happen. What a nice change, right?!? How did I do it? A lot of dumb luck, stupid bravery, naivety, as well as a good dose of solid time management, strict money controls, simplified routines, and buckets full of fun. We did it! I did it. And you can too.