The most important thing about me is that I am a single mum. I have been a single mum for three years now. Even if I marry or find myself in a long term relationship I will still feel like a single mum. When you’ve had children with someone with whom you are no longer coupled your separation defines everything.
Apparently, good separations do exist. Good separations are where everything works swimmingly, payments arrive on time, your partner sticks to arrangements, you agree on schooling choices, you have similar approaches to discipline, food, television.
This is not my reality.
I am making a mental note to get one of these kinds of separations in my next life!
Another thing about separation is that it makes clear something that coupledom obscures, or at least it certainly obscured for me, and that is that even when we were together I was ultimately on my own. I was the one getting up at night, doing all of the feeding, the nappy changing, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning. I was also paying half of the mortgage and half of all of the bills. I was working full time. Now that I am a single mum, there are no illusions that someone else is doing their share, it is just me, and actually it is a whole lot easier.
It has been three years since we separated. I am happy. I have found my single mum peace and equilibrium. The bitterness has dissipated. My ex’s desire to punish me through manipulation and anger seems to have declined. I have learned to negotiate to make co-parenting work.
Cygnet is happy as a child of separated parents. We separated when he was five months old so co-parenting has always been his norm.
People say that you forget the pain of separation, the pain of failure, the anxiety and the crushing desperation. I don’t agree. I no longer feel the pain, but my god I remember it, the memory of that pain will be with me forever.
What you really forget is the love…