The best things happen unexpectedly…

I remember a few months ago my friend trying to encourage me to give online dating another go despite my reservations about it, and I was adamant I wasn’t going to. However, curiosity got the better of me and so I decided to join just to have a look, but my heart wasn’t really in it. Then I started to get some likes and of course you can’t see anything unless you get a subscription so after deliberating for a while something made me sign up.

Fairly quickly I remember regretting it but decided to make the most out of it and so I put effort into my profile (rather than leaving most of it blank or vague) and put a few photos of myself on. I didn’t have much faith that anything would come of it as I had it in my head that realistically it would be unlikely to find someone that would entertain dating a woman in her 30’s with 2 young children.

However, I started chatting to someone, but I didn’t expect anything to come out of it especially as people often talk about trivial things and then things fizzle out or they just disappear! 

After numerous messages we decided to meet up…this was my first date in years! To say I was nervous was an understatement!

When you meet someone for the first time you never know if you are going to get along in person or how you will feel and so I was fairly reserved in my expectations of how it would go.

I remember seeing her for the first time and thinking how pretty she was and that her photos didn’t do her justice and that’s when the butterflies kicked in!

I never expected to feel so at ease with someone I had just met or to chat away about all sorts for hours…it was evident at this point I knew I liked her and wanted to see her again.

It makes me feel emotional to think of how amazing she is. She came into my life at a time when I had just found out I was pregnant, and she was with me throughout the miscarriage. She was incredibly supportive and caring and I remember feeling as if it was too good to be true.

I never imagined it would be possible to find someone special and to be in a relationship again let alone for someone to embrace my girls and be fully supportive of my surrogacy journey. It is safe to say that I feel incredibly lucky to have met such an amazing woman and I still pinch myself now.

My girls adore her, and it is very heart-warming seeing her with them. It certainly makes life easier knowing that they all like each other even if I still feel like it is a lot for her to take on. It’s one thing being in a relationship with someone without children, it’s something very different to be in a relationship with someone with children.

It is such a lovely feeling when you can truly feel like yourself with someone and I love the fact that we are so open and honest, and we have shared a lot with each other. It takes a lot for me to let my guard down and open up to people, but I feel safe when I am with her.

She has certainly put a sparkle in my eye, and I can’t remember the last time I felt this happy.

I am excited about what the future holds, and I am looking forward to embracing this new chapter in my life…no longer as a single mum!

Proud…

I have finally done it…. I have moved into my own house! I still can’t believe it and when I moved in a couple of days ago, I said it feels as though I am staying in someone else’s house (even though all my things are here!).

It has been incredibly hard and stressful and not something that I want to do again anytime soon!

Moving house is hard work on so many different levels but being a single mum to two young children, not having people around to help with childcare, packing, unpacking, DIY etc has been tough going. My Mum has been amazing and has done lots, but I was also very aware that I didn’t want her to overdo it and that she also had work and wasn’t very well.

To begin with I intended to pack whilst looking after my youngest daughter, attend college, continue with my placement and everyday life but it didn’t take me long to realise that maybe I had taken on too much as so I made strong duck come out of their shell and informed my tutor that I wouldn’t be in college, I rearranged clients for the following week and I asked my daughters childminder if she could have her for a few extra days. Even still I don’t know how I did it.

It made me realise that I don’t have many people in my life to call on which made me quite sad. People told me of how they had people rallying around helping when they moved and how someone had a pizza party in exchange for people helping out but if I had done that it would have just been me and my Mum.

I don’t know how people do it and if it hadn’t been for my Mum and Paige who came up to help empty my attic and pack and then again to help me in the new house, I don’t know how I would have managed. I realise that I am fairly determined and independent but more so because I don’t have a choice.

I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and I will have a go at pretty much anything but there is no way that I could have single handedly built my daughters mid-rise bed by myself as you really do need two people. Paige and I had a laugh doing it though as we had the most high-tech tools available (NOT!) and we laughed about the removal men who said to me, ‘I hope you’ve got a strapping lad to help you love.’ Paige said I should have said ‘No, but I’ve got a strapping woman!’ (Despite that being true, it’s not something I would have said to them!)

I had every intention of being incredibly organised with my packing and I wrote on all the boxes yet when it came to the last day the stress got the better of me and I ended up randomly shoving everything in bags and of course now I can’t find things.

However, I am trying to tell myself that as long as we have what we need it doesn’t really matter (even if I do get annoyed with myself about it). The day of moving was the final straw as I tried to take my bed apart by myself and struggled. I knelt there with tears streaming down my face feeling as though I couldn’t do it (by that I mean I felt I couldn’t move by myself, it all got too much). Eventually I managed and even attempted to assemble it at the new house my myself but after half succeeding, I realised I couldn’t do it on my own, so I early waited for Paige’s help.

It was funny when we tackled the bed as she struggled as much as me trying to get our hands into small holes with a screw which kept falling out the hole. When Paige had a light bulb moment, I hated her and loved her at the same time as she realised that there was an easy way to assemble the bed…. looking back, it still makes me laugh but I also feel stupid for not remembering from when I first assembled the bed nearly 3 years ago.

Yes, I ache all over, I’m covered in bruises, I’m exhausted, I’m still surrounded by boxes and not everything has a home, but we are in, and I feel incredibly lucky. The girls love it and the first thing my eldest daughter asked was if she could go on the grass…children melt your heart!

It feels as though this is a new chapter in my life (one that I never imagined would be possible on my own) and I am excited to see what the future brings.

To all the people out there, particularly single parents, I take my hat of to those that have moved single handedly, but we did it! (Which is why I bought myself a mini bottle of prosecco to celebrate this achievement).

Someone very special made this for me and when I opened it I had to hold back the tears!

The lyrics say it all!

I’ll never forget the judge telling me that I would never be able to afford to buy a house and therefore it didn’t matter how much I got out of my divorce (don’t get me started on that one, especially as I was the one with the 2 children and the victim of domestic abuse who had no choice but to flee the family home!).

At the time her words hurt deeply but I believe in fate and despite thinking she was probably right, as I am a single mum, so even when I work full-time, it would be very hard to get a mortgage on my own without a generous deposit.

However, in my village they have built some new houses and a few of them went up as shared ownership properties.

There aren’t many shared ownership properties around, and most are either 2 bedroom or they are more than £100,000. So, you can imagine my surprise when a couple of 3-bedroom shared ownership properties came on the market at a price that I could just about to afford thanks to my divorce settlement. I didn’t hold my breath though because it normally takes weeks to register and get approved for shared ownership properties and there is often a waiting list as there aren’t many around.

This would normally be enough to stop me even applying as I would think, what’s the point? But for whatever reason I decided to apply despite thinking that nothing would come of it but to my surprise my application was accepted the same day and I got offered a viewing!

I remember the day that I went to look around the house and how I felt.

I think because I hadn’t anticipated that I would get to this stage and because the other local developments that included shared ownership properties looked like houses that had been built without much care, I didn’t have high expectations.

So, when I went in and saw the lovely kitchen, the well thought out layout, the generous sized master bedroom, the quality fittings, and nice garden, I just stood there and cried tears of happiness. All that went running through my mind was that I couldn’t believe after everything I had been through and despite being told that I would never be able to afford a house of my own that here I was stood in a lovely house that could be mine. I couldn’t believe it.

After the viewing I went away and told the agent that I would like the property and shortly afterwards I signed a contract and put my deposit down.

At that moment in time, I was elated and shocked as I never imagined in my wildest dreams that this would be possible, certainly not for years to come.

Then when I heard Lily Allen’s song, F**k You, I thought it about summed up how I felt about that judge as well as my ex and her family who also believed that I would be left without a house and that eventually I would have to either go back with my tail between my legs or that I would have to send my girls to live with them because I couldn’t afford a house for me and my girls.

I have waited to share this news until I knew 100% that it was all going through and this week after a very long wait I have now signed all the paperwork and apart from waiting to confirm a completion date there is nothing left to do but wait and start packing!

By the end of this year, I will have moved into my very own house, I can’t begin to tell you how amazing that feels and I’m still not sure it has sunk in!

I really like where I live now, and I have lots of lovely memories and I am sure I will miss it, but it is rented, and I know that rental prices have gone through the roof here lately which would leave me unable to afford this house. On top of that housing benefit only covers 55% of the rent and its always at the back of my mind that I could be kicked out at any minute which makes me feel somewhat unsettled.

Knowing that this is my own house and that I can decorate it how I want and that I can’t be kicked out is a great feeling.

So, just another spinning plate to add to the mix! I know that it will be hectic and possibly stressful as it will be mostly down to me to do all the packing and unpacking and unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of being able to afford a removals company to help, so I will be sourcing someone who has a van I can hire and ideally someone to help me move some of the heavy items but once it is all done I know that I will definitely need to celebrate!

It’s funny how things turn out and this feels like an exciting new chapter in my life!

A new chapter…

So, in the past few months I have noticed that I am most definitely coming out of my shell…there’s still a way to go but it is nice to notice the difference in myself.

I spent years being a mouse…very quiet, not socialising, being a ‘Yes’ person ALL the time, putting others first ALL the time, not considering myself at ALL, I was very reserved, avoiding lots of situations and being almost invisible to others as well as myself.

However, this started to change a while ago through counselling and since I started training to be a counsellor, but I have seen the change in myself more recently and I like it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not the most social animal, I still get nervous about things, and I wouldn’t class myself as particularly outgoing but there are signs that I am starting to become more sociable and outgoing.

I ALWAYS avoided making phone calls, never answered my phone and would get myself worked up at the thought of having to ring someone and where possible I wouldn’t, or I would try and get someone else to do it for me. However, recently I have found myself choosing to make phone calls rather than avoid them. For example, I had a ridiculous letter from the water board claiming my water usage had quadrupled during lockdown and so my bills would be significantly increasing. Now those of you who have read my other posts know that I am frugal and being on a water meter means that I am very careful. This is the woman who uses water that’s left over after cooking to make gravy or wash up, the woman who has every water saving device possible, who when being particularly frugal will wash in an inch of water (or less!!). So, the old me would have crumbled but also felt powerless and would either have just paid the bill or would have possibly got in touch with them and believed them when they reiterated that my usage has gone up despite me informing them that it can’t have done. However, the new me got straight on the phone and put up a fight and despite it not really getting me anywhere they did agree to send someone out to investigate and it turns out the waterboard hadn’t read the meter properly!!! I could rant about this, but I won’t.

I have found myself standing up for myself and being assertive – both of these things are pretty new to me but is it bad of me to admit that I quite like it??

I have also started taking charge of my life and the direction that I want to take rather than almost bobbing along being too afraid to make decisions. It took me more than a year to start writing my blog because I was scared…looking back I’m not quite sure why. I suppose fear of being judged but at the end of the day it is up to individuals if they want to read my blog. It’s not like my blog is being read by thousands of people or that I am a celebrity!!!

I spent years being indecisive which I know came from not being allowed to make decisions, but it is hard to break that habit. You almost become reliant on others to tell you what to do as you don’t believe in your own thoughts or don’t have your own thoughts… again, because it wasn’t allowed.

It is quite empowering when you feel able to make decisions, be it what you want to eat to bigger life decisions. I’m quite surprised and proud of myself that I have started to make significant decisions without feeling that I first need to ask for permission from those that are close to me or that I need their approval. Of course, I will always want the likes of my Mum and close friends to be supportive of big life decisions but I know that it is my life to live and so I need to do what is right for me.

I have recently made a fairly big decision and I didn’t talk to anyone about it before I started the ball rolling, although I have since spoken to my Mum and a couple of close friends about it. There will definitely be blog posts about this when the time is right but until it’s set in stone, I will keep quiet.

However, the day I made that decision completely on my own and owned it, I had such a warm, almost butterfly in my tummy feeling and I was excited. Whether that is because of what it is or because I felt empowered, I don’t know, but I think this is the first time in more than a decade that I have felt like me and realising that I quite like me!