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!

Achievements

It has been a very challenging 10 months, what with living through a global pandemic, court cases, getting divorced and the first year of my counselling course amongst other things!! 

I questioned whether to even apply for the counselling course with everything going on, and doubted my ability to get offered a place, let alone anything else. However, after a very intense and demanding interview, I got offered a place. I knew in my heart that my passion lies working with children and young people, and I found out about a local charity that offers counselling and different forms of therapy to young people and their families. I decided to get in touch to see if they offered placements (not expecting anything to come of it) and I got offered an interview. 

I had no idea what to expect, so I couldn’t really prepare for it and I remember feeling a little daunted as I was interviewed by 3 people including the founder and director. However, I loved the fact that her dog was also part of the interview panel, and although I was grilled we also had a giggle, and they made me feel very comfortable. I had no idea what they were looking for or how it went, but then the director told me that they have a secret code to say if they like someone and that they had used it, meaning that they’d like to offer me a place. I remember feeling myself grinning from ear to ear, and I was so happy. Not only had I secured a placement early on but also my dream placement! 

The course itself has been challenging as we spent the first 8 months online, therefore we’d not met anyone on our course, and we didn’t get that interaction that you’d normally get in the classroom or when meeting for a drink as we were in lockdown. We also had to work in triad groups practising our counselling skills online with strangers, bringing real material, and it was scary. I was very lucky that everyone I worked with was very supportive, and I have no doubt that they’ll all go on to be amazing counsellors. Despite the challenges I became comfortable having sessions online and could keep quiet in the background but this all changed when we had to go back into college and I admit I wasn’t looking forward to it. 

However, in the 2 months that we spent in class together, I think has seen the biggest change in me. I’ve certainly come out of my shell more and when I had my end of year tutorial with my tutor she commented on how much she had watched me grow personally and within the group and what a pleasure it had been to watch. It was lovely to hear such comments, on top of which, I also got told that I had passed all my assignments, case study and skills sessions meaning that I can go onto my final year in September and that I can officially start my placement! 

I am very proud of myself and everyone else on the course. We’ve had so much to learn and do in such a short space of time, and without the support of each other, I think we would have found it even harder. It’s hard to believe that in a years time I will have (hopefully) completed the course and be a fully qualified counsellor! 

It’s a shame that when we all went out after our last day in college that we couldn’t really celebrate as we didn’t have our results, but that just means that we’ll have to arrange another night out during the summer!!!

I don’t think we acknowledge our achievements enough, particularly as adults, yet I believe it’s important. We should feel proud and enjoy celebrating our achievements, however big or small. I feel that quite often achievements are taken for granted or just expected, but every achievement requires hard work, effort, strength, courage, resilience…to name a few. 

Sometimes just getting through the day can feel like an achievement and so that should be celebrated too, even if you just acknowledge your achievements and say well done to yourself, it’s worth doing as those positive affirmations are a vital part of our mental health. 

It can be useful to remind ourselves of what we’ve achieved by writing it down, as it’s all too easy to get swept away with life. Before I sat and wrote down everything I’d achieved since September, I didn’t realise, yet seeing it in front of me gave me a sense of pride and belief that I am stronger that I think.

I’ve not had chance to celebrate passing my first year yet, but I intend to! 

I’m very nervous at the idea of starting my placement, yet I’m also incredibly excited to be closer to achieving my dream of being a counsellor.