Call me old fashioned, but these days (now in my mid-fifties) I really embrace a slower, quieter pace of life – I mean I’ve done the non-stop rush-rush-rush of juggling full time work with childcare and keeping a home going, but seriously, those days are long gone. Sometimes I look back at that period of my life and wonder how the hell I did it all and somehow still kept going, sleep or no sleep, but I guess being young helped. That, and not knowing anything different.
It’s not that I was ever a career girl, just a young single mum trying desperately hard to keep a relatively stable roof over our heads while teaching my kids some kind of work ethic by setting what I thought was a positive example. My youngest daughter says now she often wishes I had just stayed at home on benefits like so many other mums did, because at the time she always felt they came a poor second in my life, that going out to work was far more important to me than just being their mum.
Even now I still think it’s such a difficult call to make after divorce when child support maintenance is not forthcoming from the children’s father. Do you sit back and live off state handouts while staying at home, or do you go out and earn it yourself however much your daily absence might potentially affect your family in the long-term? With hindsight I can see why my youngest feels that way, it hurts me to know I hurt her but I made my choice for what I honestly believed at the time were the best of reasons.
I can accept deep down that perhaps it was far from an ideal situation for my children, leaving them effectively with two absent parents, but sadly there’s no going back for any of us. All I can do now is learn to forgive myself for being so young and inexperienced, for struggling in very difficult emotional circumstances with far too much pressure to comfortably deal with alone, so allowing myself to move forward into a new future with my beautiful family with compassion and understanding…