2016 in 3 words

I was sitting on the couch today at my Grandparents house, with my Grandma beside me, both watching Miss Z parading in front of us.  She was walking around in circles and then backwards (her latest trick), snuggling and patting her precious (very ugly) dolly, babbling, singing, dancing and basically anything else that seemed fit at the time.

She saw some pillows resting on an arm chair and decided she wanted to pull them off the chair and onto the floor.  We sat and watched her struggle as she couldn’t quite get there.  They were heavy and it was all a bit awkward but she was getting so close.  Just one more BIG pull was all she needed to do.

As a 15 month old, she obviously couldn’t see the progress she was making or how close she was and eventually stomped off in a huff.  My Grandma and I were sitting there saying ‘you are so so close, just one more pull and they will be down, KEEP GOING’.

She had given up and that was that.

I thought to myself, wow, if only she knew how close she was and how far she’d come.  She would’ve literally been only seconds away from marvelling at her own accomplishments.  Instead she gave up too soon and was left feeling defeated.

Now because of the girl I am, and possibly because I am looking for anything to help spur me on through these days post separation, my brain started ticking.    To think how often we may have been so close to achieving something, only to quit because we thought it was impossible or too hard.

It is all too easy to question the progress you are making when you can’t physically see it.  It makes it doubly hard when you have NO idea how far you’ve got to go, like 99.9 % of the time!

You can talk yourself out of anything if you let yourself.  Sometimes you can actually convince yourself that it is easier to give up.

You may have been one more step away from making that break at work;

One more step away from finally cutting yourself off from your ex in a way that meant your FREEDOM;

One more step away from the workout that makes you love exercise again;

And only one more message away from your ex actually listening to your pleas at leaving you alone.  Messages that test every part of your being, when all you want is a big hug telling you that everything will be ok.

Giving up crosses my mind often and the concept of just being miserable forever almost seems inviting in a f%^*ed up way!

But seeing my little girl trying so hard today, to then just give up so easily, so close to succeeding, has lit that flame within me again.  By no means is it burning enough to give off any heat, but still enough to keep me getting out of bed each morning and remaining optimistic.  Optimistic about my future as a single mum, about my future with any relationships and the future as me!

Although I can’t see the progress and sometimes I actually feel I am going backwards, the wonderful thing is that I could be so close!  Close to start feeling the rewards of walking away from a marriage that was slowly soul destroying….   The hardest thing I hope I’ll ever have to face in this lifetime.

Some may call this clutching at straws!  Some may even call it simply being hopeful and yes, I’m with you on both there.  I’m liking the word optimism because it leaves everything open!

Instead of looking forward into 2016 and making resolutions and putting any big plans in place, I’d like to just add two more words to my ‘word’ of the year (currently freedom thanks to our home made Christmas bon bons)…..

And add optimism and perseverance!  I’m sure there are no rules for having 3 words for the year?!

I will try my very best at remaining optimistic that I will gain a sense of freedom and space in my mind for new wonderful things, through sheer perseverance!

Jen xx

 

 

My First Video!

I have to start off by saying I’m pretty darn proud of myself.  After countless hours and a missed yoga class I have figured out all on my own (with the help of google of course) how to:

  • Increase the upload size limit on my blog aka my safe space, The Grounded Mum
  • Create and edit a video that I made on iMovie
  • Open a Youtube account; and
  • put it all into a post!

It’s amazing how much you can do without a small child around.

Miss Z went to her Dad today.  Oh I miss her! Her cuddles, her beautiful smell, her sweet laugh, her cute attempts at trying to say the word apple…. Appa and of course the way she says Mumma.  A beautiful reminder that YES I AM HER MUM! Arrrrr what an emotional day!  It can be overwhelming at times.  I feel such an ache in my heart,  like i’m almost not a proper mum.  The joys of being a single parent.  Somedays it feels it is getting harder!

I had her for a long time this last fortnight, so it feels so empty to be childless!

I have gently reminded myself many times today that in this moment, it’s just me and now that matters.  The clock quietly ticking away and the hum of the dishwasher.  It’s all I’ve got and apparently is enough!  In a strange way I believe it.

Today is the last day of 2015!

It has been a massive year and I have so much I want to write over the next 24 hours.  I feel very sad thinking about this past year.  I’m feeing a great urge to hibernate and just stay low.  I want to really say a proper farewell to this year.  A year that saw a separation from my husband and hence broke up the family structure I once new.

This is a year I will never forget and I need to give it the closure that it deserves and the closure that I need.

Until I have done this, I don’t think I could go forward into 2016 with the clarity and strength that I KNOW I have somewhere inside.

I have my bed beckoning me, my cup of tea and my current book Almost French, so I can fall asleep somewhere in the middle of Paris!

I can’t forget my Video! Click the link below….

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Jen xx

Love, magic and a poo explosion

Christmas Day itself has now officially passed, however I’m really feeling that the magic and love associated with Christmas is still here in all its glory.  Yes, some moments I’m having to look for it more, but the fact that I am even looking for it, and not getting caught up in the story is saying something about where I’m at.

This Christmas was spent with just my immediate family.  The 5 of us including my little one.  It was the first Christmas in 10 years that my Mum and Dad hosted. Previously, they were either out of the country or too far away within Australia.  In saying that, due to my situation in the past, it meant I could never travel and see my family on Christmas Day because we needed to be at home to see my ex husbands’ kids in the afternoon.

I feel such freedom and gratefulness that this year I can be with my special people.

Since arriving at my parents house, my beautiful (slightly older) sister and I have begun our day with a 5.7 km run (and don’t I feel every kilometre of that).  My parents back onto the most magical bushland, so as you can imagine we are truly in the thick of the bush within half a km.  We jog past kangaroos, joeys, more birdlife than you could possibly imagine, as well as other runners, walkers and cyclists.  Its been such a special time of each day where we have a bit of a chat, or just run in contented silence (aside from the faint hum of my attempts at sucking oxygen into my lungs as I try and spot any landmarks that show we are almost home).

I think the running helps me feel more confident about myself in my new position.  If I wasn’t looking after myself (and yes, looking after yourself totally includes chocolate gelato and Christmas pudding) I could really struggle with this.

The reality of being single.

The guilt – Miss Z having to go without her Dad for stretches of time.

The uncertainty of my future.

The comparisons.

With positive self talk, having an awareness of the choices I am making each day and being grateful for even the small things, it all helps!

This morning at 5 am,  Miss Z had woken up with THE BIGGEST poo explosion I had ever seen!  Everywhere! To the point where all items involved were thrown out, as well as the towel that cleaned it up off the floor. Sorry Mum.

We were standing in the shower, the steam making the smell even worse and I was feeling so tired and daunted by the day ahead.  I noticed myself feeling like this immediately.  So I decided to stand quietly for a moment (still with Miss Z in my arms squirming around). I reminded myself that I have the biggest privledge (for me anyway) in the world to be a mum, and that this is ALL part of it.  I reminded myself how bloody lucky I was to even have her, and that it is useless to think about what would be happening in two hours time!

Shortly after, out of nowhere, I felt that another part of me wanted to be heard.

Loud and clear!

It told me something that had been playing on my mind for awhile!  Something that I subconsciously felt insecure about.

It reminded me that my saggy tummy after days of indulging does not define who I AM!! Nor do the bags under my eyes, the lack of nice clothes due to lack of excess funds, the sunglasses, the watches or the perfume my friends were getting from their significant others.  The bad skin from stress.  None of it.

For the first time in a really long time, I believed it!

I felt a happiness and peace enter my body.  I could almost feel it being pumped around my veins with every beat of my heart.

And that my friends is how I CHOSE to start my day!

 

 

The gift of a marriage separation this Christmas!

It is almost Christmas and I can feel myself getting more anxious as the days tick over. My first Christmas without Zoes’ dad, without the family I thought I’d have. Yet another reminder of my reality.

Since the separation there is a feeling that seems to creep into the pit of my stomach. I normally notice it building. Sometimes I push it away and instead deny its even brewing.  This normally ends badly!

Too much chocolate.

Incessantly checking Facebook like the internet will be  switched  off at any moment.

Or maybe, god forbid bringing up the past and feeling like it would be therapeutic and healing to have a fight about it! 10 times out of 10, it is anything but healing!

It is such a strong feeling which consumes me.  I keep functioning, attending to my little girl, answering my phone etc but I am the furthest away from being present and in my body.  Anything but grounded. Rationality goes out the window and I’m left feeling a bit pathetic really! Sometimes I can’t even pin point what it is that I’m feeling.  Sadness, loneliness, fear, defeat, shame, vulnerability or anger.  Maybe all of them! What a concoction. A vodka lime soda is more the concoction i’m after.

As Christmas is getting closer I could feel the anxiety starting to creep in.  I was starting to get scared that maybe I’m was going to have a complete meltdown and feel those heavy tears roll down my cheeks? Again.

Maybe I wouldn’t cry, I would just feel numb all day?

Maybe it would be fantastic and I would feel all warm and fuzzy being surrounded by my family?

The truth is, and this isn’t earth shattering stuff, but no-one knows.  I do know there is no point getting sucked into the stories that my mind conjures up, Oh this is going to be so hard, it’s going to be this, it’s going to be that, poor me! Pour me a glass of wine!

I do know that dealing with heart break is savage.

The aftermath of a broken heart and broken dreams are still raw. Some days, actually lets start with parts of certain days, I feel so strong, almost to the point where I feel guilty for feeing so good. (Guilty for feeling good, gosh I’ve never written that down before, it’s almost laughable.)

Then in the same breathe, Hellooooooo separation, helloooooo teething, craft mess, sickness, early rising, poo explosions, tantrums, food refusal, tears, dinner, bath, bed times, bill paying, christmas cards, financial woes, day after day with no-one to bounce it off with, or have help with!

I know what things can help! I even wrote a post about it, but there is no amount of yoga, green smoothies or sleep that is as gentle on the soul as interacting with my sweet, intuitive and loving little girl that I helped create.

Truth is, I need her as much as she does me.

The sound of her feet, that she has only recently discovered how to use, pitter pattering on the floor boards as she totters around, instantly brings a warm feeling to my heart.

It’s in these exact moments, in the very next breathe, that I’m back, back with all the strength in the world to remind myself everything that I’ve learnt and soaked up over the past few months and everything that I strive to be in this new stage of my life.

I remember that as long as we have now, nothing else matters.

What we feel like on Christmas Day, how we felt 2 days ago, or last Christmas for that matter, is irrelevant. The consuming feeling I get is healing, the tears are healing, the fights… no, the fights are not healing Jen! My point though, It’s nothing to be fearful of.

This Christmas there is a bitter sweet sense of relief and sadness, gratitude and despair and joy and pain. It’s in these peaceful moments of relief, gratitude and joy that you can give yourself a gentle reminder that you CAN deal with anything, not always well, but you will cope, what ever form coping comes in.

To anyone out there that is feeling sad, or apprehensive this christmas, I want to give you a little box of courage. It is what I have given myself this year (great for the budget conscious). It can be opened anywhere and as often as you like. I’m visualising long deep breaths to fill my lungs with all that I know and need.

Courage, patience and acceptance of the present moment.

Sending love and peace your way this Christmas!

Jen xx

5 tips to survive those first couple of months

The clock reads well after 10 pm and I’m still awake! This is becoming a bit too common, but the likelihood of that changing is low.

We had a 40 degree day today. You know the type, when the aircon struggles to keep going. Actually, when anything alive struggles to retain momentum. I swear the minutes were taking hours to tick over.

Anyway, I’m Jen, a mum to my beautiful daughter Zoe who is now 15 months old.  

8 weeks ago I moved out from the home that I lived in with my husband (now ex), Zoe and my ex’s 3 children from his first marriage.  We separated after a period of 4 on and off years together and after a mere 18 months married. The lead up before the separation was probably harder than the ‘clean up’ after the separation.  It was tough. So much paperwork, visits to Centrelink, hours on hold to Centrelink, tension, fighting, confusion, sadness, gosh you name it.  However, here I am. I’m In my new place, creating new memories, having good days and bad days, making mistakes, learning from those mistakes (after the umpteenth time), learning how to best co parent with my ex and most importantly looking after Zoe and me (I’m sure that’s the correct grammar)!

This space that I have created will be home to photos, videos, posts on coping with separating and the hardships that come with being a single parent, as well as the positives – the amazing things that come with being a single parent and whatever else is happening in my life that would be fun to write about.

Over the past 4 years I have kept journals so I have a looooooot of content about what I was going through. It has been great to read over them post separating, as I am able to be reminded how much I did work on our relationship and how hard it was at times.  Every now and then I get an urge to burn them in case I die.  I’ve told my best friend where they are so she can get rid of them in a hurry if need be! I’m sure some of the writing will come out in future posts….

I wanted to share my ‘Top Five Tips’ on how to survive the first 8 weeks post separation.  Every case is so uniquely different but these are what have worked for me.

Tip 1 – Keep up some form of regular exercise.  It is important not to lose self respect.  For me when Zoe slept I would go outside and do this 30 minute workout 2-3 times a week. I LOVE it and it’s free!

Tip 2 – See a counsellor, hire a life coach or find an online course that will keep your mindset in check. It is so very easy to get petrified thinking too far ahead, or getting furious thinking too far back, which affects everything. I started a Life Navigation Course by the beautiful Jennifer Louden which is giving me something to look forward to doing each week.  I am able to set goals, identify what could be tough for the week and is helping me at least try to remain the person I want to be.  This tip alone has been my life saver.

Tip 3 – Dont beat yourself up when you make mistakes, like loosing your cool, slipping into bad habits or reacting to something without even thinking and giving yourself a chance to breath. You have an unlimited amount of passes to begin again.

Tip 4 – Try and do some writing each week.  Literally pen to paper non stop for 10 minutes. It’s amazing what comes out. Tension, sadness or fear that you’d been holding onto.  It is extremely therapeutic.

Tip 5 – Last but not least, CONGRATULATE yourself for progress. Like seriously, acknowledge out loud (or when you’re writing) for all the things that you have got through or completed. I’ve found that the firsts are the hardest.  First birthdays separated, first long car trips, first weekend alone and I’m sure first Christmas….but once you’ve done it once, the second time is easier!

So nice to have you here! Feel free to comment if you can add what may have worked for you.

Until next week, Jen xx