Category Archives: Solo Parenting

Single parenting

Thank Heavens A Settlement Has Been Reached!

A few weeks ago I shared my feelings about the property settlement I had been trying to achieve with my not-so-interested Ex (and father of my son).

It’s an enormous relief to be able to share the news of a result!

We went to mediation yesterday. I felt quite a lot of anxiety about coming face to face with my Ex to negotiate him giving me my money back.  He has not wanted to give me a cent! Unexpectedly, we were able to reach an agreement reasonably quickly and with minimal angst. I can’t express the calmness and solace I now feel in the knowledge that the fight and the wait (it felt like an eternity) was worth it. It’s over!

Thank you lovely lawyer – you cost a bomb but now I know you were worth it!

It’s a beautiful day here on the East Coast. I’m taking Mr D to the beach. Later, we’ll make a Christmas cake. Life was good, but life just got a whole lot better! It will be a truly Merry Christmas for us this year!

Merewether Beach Image Courtesy Of "Newcastle AU"

MegsX

Confessions Of A Busy Single Mum

Sometimes, I don't give Mr D the attention he deserves. Being the only person to wash, cook, clean, sooth, nurse, play, shop, work  (I work 20hrs per week to bring in a little extra cash) and now blog, means that I tend to spread myself a little thin in some areas. This week I realised it was in the area of play with Mr D.

I've been so focused on learning how to blog and organising Christmas for Mr D and my friend who's arriving from Ireland on Christmas Eve – and how to pay for it all, that I lost sight of the present moment. The Quote of the Day by Diana Loomans from "If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again" posted 23rd November 2010 really hit home to me.

So, this week Mr D and I have been spending loads of time together doing fun stuff. We've made playdough, gone to Nanna's for bubble baths, been to the beach, played in the paddle pool, built robots, had bike rides, made ginger bread men and read loads of books.

 

Playdough, trucks and a green smoothie – life's good!

 

The blogging has been a bit light on, but my boy is much happier and more agreeable than ever. Now it's up to me to work out that elusive dream of balance – I'm getting there.

Living in the present moment – I totally recommend it!

Calm, Mindful Mothering…?

Sometimes, the possibility of calm and mindful mothering can seem like a distant, unreachable tropical island in a sea of dirty nappies, whining, and tantrums. I recently finished reading an incredibly helpful, inspiring, and motivating book which is a practical guide, specifically for nurturing mothers and offering guidance and support for what can be an emotionally tumultuous time for a woman. The loss of a career, time to ourselves,  independence, freedom, desperate worries about if our children are “normal” are all significant and profound changes which can be difficult to integrate into our “new” life. The best bit? You don’t have to be a practicing Buddhist to get a truckload of useful, practical advice out of this book.

Buddhism for Mothers

Buddhism For Mothers – a calm approach to caring for yourself and your children by Sarah Napthali is a wonderfully reassuring,  comforting and practical handbook which offers a gentle and calm means of coping with the everyday challenges of motherhood.

Using Buddhist practices, Napthali (a mother and practicing Buddhist) offers empathy and instruction for parenting mindfully, finding calm, dealing with anger, releasing the grip of worry about our children, creating loving relationships, living with partners, finding happiness and losing our self image.

Basically, Buddha’s teachings are founded on the four Noble Truths:

1. There is suffering.

2. Attachment causes suffering.

3. Suffering can end.

4. There is a path to end suffering.

To quote Napthali “…suffering and unsatisfactoriness won’t end today, but by embracing some Buddhist practices you can start today planting the seeds to improve your life.”

Napthali focuses on finding the joy and bliss in mothering. By being in the present moment, mothering becomes a more rewarding and fulfilling experience. Buddhism For Mothers also explores the more reflective, inner workings of what makes us truly happy and offers guidance for developing inner resources to help nurture ourselves when our lives can feel like complete pandemonium.

Buddhism For Mothers is the kind of book, that once you’ve finished reading it the first time, you want to start at the beginning and read it all over again. I have found this book to be a wonderful reference guide when times are particularly challenging. Mothering a willful toddler is difficult at best. Doing most of the disciplining myself and not having a direct, open course of communication with his father, makes it even more challenging. Feelings of guilt and anger are peppered through my daily thoughts and at times are overwhelming. During these moments I head for Buddhism For Mothers (which I have conveniently left on my bedside table) and frantically flick to the chapter/s which are most relevant to the moment. Today it’s dealing with anger. Tomorrow? Who can say. All I know is that this little book is a gem!

Buddhism for Mothers

Down Home On The Farm

“I hear the train a comin’. It’s rollin’ ’round the bend. And I ain’t seen the sunshine, Since, I don’t know when…” Sing it for me Johnny. Louder now!

“Farm Mama, Mama Faaaaaarm, Moo Moo’s Mama, Mama Moooooo Mooo’s, Ooh Neigh Neigh Mama, Mama Faaaaaaaarm, Farm Mama!”.

Louder Johnny – c’mon baby, not much further now.

Big sign – Ashmar Farmstay. Big sigh. We’re here! Gravel crunching under tyres, bull dust flying like a bridal veil behind us, heavenly emerald green pastures embrace us, tranquility is inhaled with every earthy breath I take. Meanwhile, a frenzy of farmyard possibilities is forming in Mr D’s toddler mind as he absorbs the countless unfamiliar sights worthy of pioneering exploration…

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than this!

As I swing the car into the small car parking area and turn the motor off, a man appears wearing an old baseball cap, a broad grin and smiling blue eyes. I open the door. “Hello, you must be Megan, I’m Ian”.  It honestly felt like we’d come home.

Ian showed us to the self contained heritage cottage set in a beautiful country garden with spectacular views across his property and beyond. It was so quaint – and absolutely spotless! The cottage has 3 bedrooms and can sleep up to 12. The best bit? It’s the only cottage on the property – you get to have your farmstay all to yourself!

Country Quaint A-Go-Go

Our 4 nights at the award winning Ashmar Farmstay was simply the perfect break for our little family. We were joined by some good friends with a couple of kids which made for plenty of laughs and adventures for all.

The pioneering explorer discovered a few new pieces of machinery – one particular item of focus was a brand new big red tractor! The joy on Mr D’s face was priceless! The highlight was definitely the hay ride around the 500 acre property – a big red tractor and just plain old good fun!

Brand New Shiny Tractor!

The highlight was definitely the hay ride around the 500 acre property – a big red tractor and just plain old good fun!

Hay Ride Shennanigans

The kids delighted in the amazing collection of baby and not-so-baby animals. The miniature horses and kooky looking alpacas were particular favourites!

Honey the Miniature Horse and admirers
All Together Everyone… Awwwwwww!

We loved it so much, we’ll be heading back next year! Thank you Gayle and Ian, we had a magical time.

Court Day

I wrote a post on Saturday sharing my current personal situation.

Today is Court Day.

I was really stressed all weekend about going to court. I even woke up with a stonker of a headache on Sunday after falling asleep thinking about it.

I received a letter from my lawyer yesterday which was both pleasing and shocking. I was pleased to learn that I didn’t have to attend the hearing today as this session is only about the judge giving direction for the case. The direction will be (as it has to be for family matters in NSW, Australia) for both parties to attend mediation and attempt to come to an agreement.  The shocking part was the bill! I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked – lawyers really know how to charge. Thankfully she is reasonable and we have a payment plan agreement. It just looks like I might be paying her off for a very long time! Lol.

Now I can concentrate on the important stuff today – picking a winner in the Melbourne Cup!

Champagne anyone??

Champagne Anyone?

Where I’m At…

I haven’t shared much personal stuff yet. So I’ll share a short run down of where I’m at with my son’s father. We split up just over 2 years ago now. My son was 5 1/2 months old at the time. We eventually moved out and into a rental property where my son and I have been ever since.

When I moved in with my son’s father, I had sold my half of the house that I owned with a friend, and took with me the small amount of money that I made from the sale. I was already 3 1/2 months pregnant. I bought some permanent things for my ex’s house to make it more comfortable for our family after the baby arrived and also facilitated some painting etc. We went halves in a bigger car and I did most of home making.

When we broke up I had just enough money left to secure bond on the rental property we live in now, I owned a few sticks of furniture that I had collected over my years and a baby in my arms that needed my attention 24-7.  I had to apply for single parents support from the government as I have a strong belief that I should parent my own child and not give him to someone else to parent (at least at such a young age) while I go to work.

Applying for government benefits was probably the hardest part of the whole situation. I had been a self-sufficient independent woman for more than 20 years – it was such a blow to my sense of integrity not to mention my pride.

My ex gave me use of the car and nothing else. He is a professional and employed in a position of responsibility at a significant firm. He pays Child Support as he is required to by law in my country. Other than this, he has offered me nothing. I feel I deserve some of the money back that I invested in his house. I worked hard for the money I spent on his home and would like to one day be able to have a house of my own again. I have tried for 2 years to work out some kind of agreement and have requested financial documents to try and work out a fair deal. He has not supplied them.  It’s for this reason I am going to court on Tuesday.

At times I wonder if I’m doing the right thing – it’s damaging my relationship with his parents – and they have been nothing but good to me. Then I think about how he’s treated me, his arrogance and his disrespect and his lack of understanding. I’m a determined person and I intend to stand up for what I believe is right. I may not be popular with some people as a result but at least I will have fought for what I believe in.

I’ve always wanted to be able to say to people “My Ex has been very fair and supportive” but I’m afraid I can’t. It hurts me deeply to have to pursue this but I know that if I don’t I will never forgive myself for not standing up for myself. I only want peace, harmony, integrity and fairness in my relationships with everyone. I hope someday I will have this with my Ex and his family.

Peace Is a Wonderful Thing!

Fight The Nestle Monster

Boycott Nestle Week October 25th – 31st 2010!

For years Nestle have been throwing their heavy handed marketing tactics around. I first became aware of the insidiousness of this company when I was at Uni – nigh on… well lets not talk about how many years ago that was, let’s just say a bloody long time! I was shocked and stunned and a little bit amazed that this company who loves to give the impression of wholesomeness was promoting it’s baby formula in developing countries as better than breast milk! Lets break that down. In developing countries you are lucky if you have any fresh water available at all let a lone boiling it, buying bottles, washing them up, sterilising them and feeding your baby while you’re trying to tend the crops, forage for food or tend the family!

According to Unicef, it’s estimated that improved breastfeeding practices could save some 1.5 million children a year. That’s a shite load of kids!

Before I go on, and I hope I haven’t lost you (I’ll forgive you if you’ve moved on though). I believe breast is best BUT and this is a BIG BUT I believe more in the Happy Mummy – Happy Baby philosophy! I tried to breast feed my son for 6 weeks but we both just couldn’t get it together. I will talk more about this and the guilt I felt personally and the guilt that got laid on me by his father at a later stage. This boycott is about making artificially feeding your baby safer too!

I’m a bit tardy to officially join this boycott campaign but I’ve been boycotting this company unofficially for years!

Here is a little excerpt from the baby milk action group.

“Nestlé is the target of a boycott over its aggressive marketing of baby milks around the world. International Nestlé-Free Week (25 – 31 October 2010) is a time for those who support the boycott to do more to promote it and for those who don’t boycott to give it a go, at least for a week, by avoiding Nescafé, the principal target of the boycott, and other Nestlé products. Nestlé is one of the four most boycotted companies on the planet, according to GMI, and the boycott has forced important changes. During International Nestlé-Free Week 2010, Baby Milk Action is calling on the public to email Nestlé over its latest global baby milk marketing strategy. Nestlé is targeting mothers and health workers with the claim its formula ‘protects’ babies even though babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die. Nestlé is accused of undermining the ‘breast is best’ message by claiming its formula is ‘The new “Gold Standard” in infant nutrition’ (image below). Nestlé is also accused of refusing to provide important information to parents and carers who use formula. Nestlé has already received thousands of emails, but is so far refusing to drop this marketing campaign.

The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981, prohibits companies from putting idealising text and images on labels and limits them to providing scientific and factual information to health workers, who are given responsibility for advising parents.

Nestlé is also accused of refusing to warn on labels that powdered infant formula is not sterile and may contain harmful bacteria and the simple steps to follow to reduce the risks. Following a Baby Milk Action campaign, such warnings now appear on powdered formula labels in the UK.

EEEERRRRWWW!

Woe is me. Am still afflicted with the scourge of the play group – croup virus. Challenging day at best. Amusing small child with Red Dwarf episodes did not go well… what??

I ended up watching playschool lying on the lounge while the toddler made ‘bewful mooosic’ with the piano… Tomorrow I will laugh if it doesn’t make me cough.

Bless the Out-Laws for their swift rescue tonight. Navigating relationships with ex’s and their parents can be tricky! Occasionally – it works!

And I get the vapouriser all to myself!

It’s back to the lounge for me – might give Miss Marple a run!! Night Night.

Ooooh! Time For A Martini! (Source – unknown)

Sharing

Toddlers aren’t renowned for their ability to share. Mine is no exception.

However, I have found one particular area where toddlers are quite happy to share the love. Illness. Any particular illness will do. The indomitable toddler will kiss and cuddle you, clutch and slober-over your food. Put their fingers in your mouth, nose, ears, eyes then cough or sneeze in your face.

My gorgeous boy has just had croup for the second time in 2 months. Poor little guy. He loves his Mummy sooo much he shared! Just lucky I’m a grown-up or the neighbours would think we just bought 2 German Shepherds!

My Toys!

By the way, I found that propping him up on 2 pillows and using a vapouriser at night helped immensely with his cough. Looks like I’ll be buying a matching one!

Dear Diary

Blogging is addictive. As I trundle about my day I’m finding all sorts of topics to blog about, so I’m going to share with you some of the goings on in my days – or daze rather. I’ll be blurbing about all sorts crazy day to day goings on as a single mum of a toddler.

Jump in, hold tight, enjoy the ride!

Not My Problem! – (image courtesy of haleysuzanne – www.photobucket.com)