Gemma’s Story: When your life falls apart but you can’t because you’re a mum

8th Oct 2017 2 min read
Category: You Rock! — Tags: gemma bray, how to cope as a single mum, lone parent, single mom, single mum, single mum support, single parent, the organised mum

If you have been following the blog for a while you will know that for a time I was a single mum (It was just me, Tom and Jonny who were 4 and 18 months old). I won’t bore you with the highly predictable and stereotypical reasons why my first marriage ended but I will tell you this. …that time was by far the saddest and eventually the happiest of my life. It was the best of times and the worst of times…. so bloody true! 

I was suddenly faced with challenges that I thought I would never have to overcome and it was through these challenges that I became a stronger and happier person.

I was living alone for the first time (I had been with my first husband since I was 16) and this was very hard to get used to. What really knocked me sideways was that one day you know the minutiae of a person’s life (what they ate for breakfast, what deodorant they used, or if they had a bad night’s sleep) to not knowing where they were living.

At first I struggled. I didn’t eat (the divorce diet helped me lose the last of the baby weight). I remember feeding Jonny in his highchair and crying, I remember phoning the solicitor and crying … I couldn’t get the word divorce out and I hung up with embarrassment. I remember feeling very cold all the time … it was the Summer so I guess I was in a state of shock.

But as a mum I couldn’t totally sink because I still had to function. I couldn’t go to bed with a bottle of wine. I had to take Tom to the park and get him ready to start primary school. I had to change Jonny’s nappy and make sure they were both happy, fed and loved. As well as meeting the needs of my kids I also had to sort out practical stuff too. I had to suddenly work out how to cope financially on my own. I had to sell a house, find a new house to rent, sell a business and find a new job that I could do from home (this is when I started writing – never looked back!)

Anyway you know what I’m like …. I decided I needed a plan of action. So I came up with a way to cope. A way of being able to keep moving forward and not sink.

I got up every day and promised myself that I would do three things that would have a positive impact on my day and on my future.

These were:

Do something emotionally positive. Like read a book, have a bubble bath, meet a friend.

Do something practical: Make an important phone call (that maybe you’ve been putting off!), do some DIY, batch cook some nutritious meals.

Do something physically positive: Do some meditation, get a haircut, do some exercise.

These basic prompts gave me enough focus without overwhelming me. I found that in those really dark days (when all I wanted to do was hide away from the world) that these tiny actions really helped me to move forward. At the end of each day I knew that I had managed to keep going and this felt good.

Things are very different now, I am married to Mike, we are happy and Ben has joined the gang too. But I look back at my days as a single parent with pride ❤️