I DID IT!

image from horseshoepets.com

image from horseshoepets.com

How I’ve missed writing for my Blog and writing in general!  Here we are well into 2013 and what an eventful year it has been already.

At the end of November 2012, after endless sleepless nights, hours and hours of studying, hair pulling, tantrums, tears, exasperation, elation, highs and lows, not to mention the physical toll it took on my body, I finished my communications degree. It then wasn’t to mid January 2013 that I found out my fate, which was that I had indeed gained the marks I needed for my final two units to complete my degree and now I am waiting for my official invitation to the graduation in July.  I DID IT! OMG I did it and I’m not quite sure how I did, but I did and the feeling is amazing yet somewhat confusing.

image from deepbox.com

image from deepbox.com

I am not sure if it has hit me yet, the fact I have finished. I mean I know I am no longer opening up text books, responding to discussion forums, writing into the wee hours of the night to complete assignments and studying up for exams – that of course is obvious, yet somewhere within me I’m struggling to adjust. My body is still on the same time clock of the ridiculous hours I kept and the lack of sleep. I’m feeling somewhat lost in not knowing what is next. I am missing my connections with my fellow university students and that feeling of truly accomplishing something.  Its crazy isn’t it! After 3 years of studying fulltime, working 3 jobs, raising a child on my own and all the other bits in between of managing, I should be ecstatic that I now have time to reflect, adjust, catch up and relax and more importantly to be a good mother to my son. I am not saying I wasn’t a good mother, as I know I was, but he was neglected to a degree as any spare time was taken up with studying or working. I did thrive for a balance and I feel in parts I achieved this and I also know deep down the end result was always in the back of our minds, and that there was a reason for all the sacrifices made.

301472_10151109792581553_1711493253_n-1As I take this time to reflect on my recent journey, I am realising what I have discovered and learnt goes way beyond the units I studied in my degree.  I found that there is much more to life than what is put in front of us. Knowledge goes further than the books we read, the papers we skim over or the television shows we watch.  We can become complacent in the mundane things in life, and that is ok, yet there is so much more out there in the big wide world to be exposed to, to absorb, and be exposed to. I truly believe now, that with determination, motivations, discipline, and making sure you surround yourself with wonderful loving people that anything is possible. It could be the smallest of goals or something on a larger scale, yet if it is something that you truly want, then there should not be anything stopping you in achieving it – YOU CAN DO IT!

From the depths of my heart I would publicly like to thank my amazing family, my wonderful friends, my beautiful university friends and to all who have supported me throughout this adventure. Your unconditional love, motivation, encouragement, ears for listening, your spoken words, the countless snuggles you have supplied and for believing in me…

I LOVE YOU and THANK YOU! XO

What is in a name?

image by fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com

What is in a name? How much importance does our name carry and what does it mean to a child?

On my son’s birth certificate, his surname is his fathers.  At the time, obviously you don’t think about the possibilities of not staying together so the name for me was not a major point of discussion.  Once we had separated, I started to feel uncomfortable whenever I had to use both our surnames, for example making a doctor’s appointment and so on.  I could sense people looking at me in a particular way, questioning my relationship with ‘MY’ child and acting curious of the background behind the two different names when read out loud. I had to deal with this and I did without anyone really knowing how it was cutting me up inside.  Then, one day my son started to question the difference in our names.  He was also suffering and it was causing him confusion and despair and he let me know he wanted the same as Mummy. I tried to explain the legal side although I did this poorly and quite possibly caused more confusion for the poor soul, however I did my best. I also explained what I thought was morally the right answer as I did not know better

As time passed, my son kept bringing up the subject of his name and asking if he could have the same one as me.  I felt awful as I wasn’t sure of the right answer to give him.  After some thorough researching and checking on my court orders, we (my son and I) came to the decision we would change it and we did.  My son’s name is now hyphenated with my surname first and his father’s second.  I had an appointment with the school principal who agreed graciously with the new name and from the following year, my son took on a new identity almost and he had never been happier.  I sensed he felt more connected with me now we shared a name and over time, my part of the name is more used than the other.

As I have sole responsibility (which in the older term was known as sole custody), I actually have the right to apply to get a new birth certificate with the desired name.  This is certainly on our ‘to do list’ and once we can afford this, we will be changing the name officially.  My son’s father was not happy about this decision at all and at times has caused stress and grief, and an overreaction causing embarrassment, yet at the end of the day it was in the best interest of the child. In my case, it was my son’s choice and after much discussion and counselling of the idea, I supported him and his decision and it could not have worked out any better.

I ask you if you, have been in a similar situation – if so, what did or would you do?

Do you feel it was right that I changed the name of my son although different to what is on his birth certificate?

Do you feel this decision takes anything away from the father, particularly if they do not play a major role in the child’s lives?

I would love to hear your comments and discuss this subject as I feel for many it is a sensitive issue for all involved.

Love and Light

xo

I have found some sites for those of you who are curious about name change and children’s rights.

Ferguson Cannon Lawyers:  http://www.fclawyers.com.au/fact_finders/view/120/category:3

Births, deaths and marriages registries:  http://australia.gov.au/topics/law-and-justice/births-deaths-and-marriages-registries

Australian Human Rights Commission – Children’s Rights:    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/human_rights/children/index.html

R U OK?

image by Free 3D Clippart

How stressed do you feel?  Are you managing? Do you have any negative thoughts?

According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, the workplace is creating more stress with 13% of people fearing for their emotional or physical safety in their job.  The highest group at risk is middle-aged single parents, or so says the national survey conducted by the campaign titled “R U OK?”

I query the survey and predict the outcome would be different if conducted on a larger scale. I do not feel anyone has the right or can pinpoint and decipher an ‘age group’ of who is stressed more than someone else whilst juggling work and single parenthood.  Technically anyone who is in a similar position would be facing the same challenges.  I am not a middle age person, although a single parent and found some of the harder times I encountered were when I was younger.  Over time I have become stronger, more assertive, and further balanced in life generally.  This is because of the experience and knowledge I have gathered over the years, not due to the age group I belong too.

The value in the article is when it discusses the importance of asking your work colleagues, family and friends if they are ok and to take note of any changes in behaviour as they can act as clues revealing something is not right.

According to ‘R U OK’ Director, Mr Cowan, ‘work stress has become pervasive, with many feeling it on a daily basis’.

Particularly surprising was that half of all people said they didn’t think management had procedures in place to make sure that little problems didn’t turn into big problems”, said Mr Cowan.

image by MLM Network Marketin

If more people are aware of those around them and take a little more interest, perhaps stress levels will reduce and more of us will feel supported and in control of our own situations.

I have found at times in despair not knowing where to turn. I have undergone counselling at periodically with a professional and within my personal network. I try to talk openly yet sometimes I am withdrawn and there has been occasions when all I have to say is “I am not so good” without elaborating, luckily my friends and family pick up the clues and checked to make sure I am ok.

The article is right in drawing attention to ways we can reduce stress and depression no matter which so-called group we belong too. Perhaps a simple question is all it takes, so I am asking you, Are you ok?

Lifeline – 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

 

Why share what I know?

To write about the life of a single parent holds great interest to me as I live and breathe it every day.  I have experienced many aspects of single parenting both good and bad which has brought me much grief and happiness within my journey.

A single mother raised me with my twin brother and although I admire and respect her in so many ways, it was certainly not a position I wanted to find myself in. Before I came to the decision, and before I found the strength to tackle this journey of being a parent on my own, my first thoughts were I did not want to be a part of the statistics. I did not want my child to grow up in a single parent environment.  Something I have learnt and I stand by is that life has no guarantees. Ultimately, we have to do what is right by those we love and who we are responsible for as well as ourselves.

I have become someone who is assertive in life and I practice this nearly every day. I have found strength from being a single parent and know even at the lowest of times I can gather myself and keep going, because I have to. I witnessed firsthand a mother who overcame so many obstacles in her path to raise two healthy, loving and high moral children.  What is interesting is I have followed a similar path to my mother.  Not only by becoming a single parent, which obviously was not in my plan I have also taken on studies later in life as my mother did. I have created a career in which I am working towards expanding, and I have created an environment for my child I feel he appreciates and values.

Often people ask for advice and two common questions is how do I survive and how do I manage? Throughout my journey, I have had to search for answers and I have endured some horrific circumstances that have left me in a crisis.  In saying this, I have found benefits of being a single parent and one of these is the power within and the knowing that I can do this, and do it on my own.  Through my experience, I feel and hope others can benefit from my knowledge and my journey. I hope they may learn something, feel supported and not alone, and find strength and power within themselves.