OMG I’m 40!

Yep, that’s right, two weeks ago I have turned the dreaded 40. Well, dreaded is what I originally thought and it wasn’t so much because I saw it as ‘old’,  but more that it represents half your lifespan.

In an article by the ABC, Dr Caroline West states that ‘according to some psychological research, we face two events that will change our lives forever. The first crisis is adolescence and the second is, you guessed it, turning 40’. Dr West continues by explaining with so many of us turning this age, we all have our own interpretation of what it means and outcomes of where we go from this point.

Leading up to the milestone in which I share with my twin brother, I became quite depressed and needed to do some hard-core soul-searching. I reflected back to when I turned 30 and to be honest, not much has changed…well so I thought. I am still a single mother, I do not own property, I have one beautiful child (had hoped for more), we are still living on a low-income, I’m not married or even close, and I’m still in a similar position career wise…for now.

Yet after a few loving conversations with my dearest friends and family who helped me see the light with the things I have achieved, quite a lot is different from a decade ago:

  • I have finished a degree (HUGE milestone)
  • My son made it through primary school and is now at the end of his first year in high school and remains a beautiful, thoughtful, and genuine soul (I’m truly blessed)
  • I have achieved considering my low-income many things financially and my son has never really gone without
  • I am stronger, assertive, I hold my own and have become a woman with integrity
  • I have actually built on my career creating new opportunities and networks
  • I have travelled
  • I have further developed my skills in all aspects of life
  • Finally I have maintained and created beautiful and treasured relationships that I do and will hold close to my heart forever

It may not be perfect nor is it anywhere near where I envisioned life would be at this stage, yet now I can say I’m proud of my achievements.

In fact, I am continually inspired from the amazing women in my life who are of my age or older.  One woman in particular is my beautiful Mum who changed her career at 40 and has never looked back.  As time goes on,  I realise how many similarities I have with my Mum and how much of an impact she has had on my life.

There are many women within my professional network who are moving and shaking the world like there is no tomorrow. I am in awe of their awesomeness and the footprints they are leaving.

Now when I think of the ‘40’s’ club, and look deeper into the personas based on whom I know and what I have seen, there is an element of contentment and acceptance. Why is this?

Is it because we reach a place in our lives that we start to not worry so much on others opinions and judgements? Is it because we have had 40+ years of experience and know a thing of two? Is it because we’ve worked bloody hard to get to this point and should feel darn proud? Or it just how it is and I should not try to over analyse it.

images-2Sooooo after all my evaluating, debriefing and soul-searching, I decided to take on this new phase of my life holding my head high and making sure I leave my 30’s with a big bang.  My twin and I hosted an awesome party with a rock theme and created a night we’ll never forget.

Throughout our teenage years, my brother and I were in a band, he on the bass and I was the lead singer.  For months leading up to our party along with friends making up the band, we jammed and rehearsed in a studio preparing for the night to play a 40 minute set. We were the entertainment and I was nervous as hell.

Feeling sick in the stomach with nerves, I embraced this moment with my brother, family and friends and we rocked the house.  Ok, perhaps I was shaky for the first couple of songs but then along with this new focus towards my future I went with it. I had a ball, I felt good, I was happy, I was smothered with love, and I was content!

Here’s to turning 40 and the next phase of my life and I say…BRING IT ON!

Happy New Year!!!

Image by adobeveterinarycenter.blogspot.com

Happy New Year to all!

May this coming new year be filled with much happiness, ease, peace, smiles, snuggles and most of all love.

I will be bringing in the new year with my divine little soul – my son. This will be our first NYE together since he was a baby and I can’t wait to share this one with him. 2013 has been an extremely testing year for me, and I would have to say one of the hardest to date I have had to deal with.  I feel quite positive about 2012 with it representing my last year of study; my son finishes primary school;  my determination and motivation to get healthy, and well again and to turn fat into fab. I am also taking on the lessons I have learnt this past year and know I am now stronger than ever before.

If we only have one person in our lives that loves and supports us, I feel we are extremely fortunate, let alone if we have more. I am personally surrounded by the most amazing, inspirational, loving, caring, supportive people and I truly feel blessed. I would not be doing all I do and succeeding the way I am without such people in my life. I would like to publicly thank each and every one of you who has touched my heart, my soul and has helped carry me, love me and support me in this last year.

I would like to wish all of you a fantastic start to the new chapter in our lives and one year ends and another begins.  If we can all try and live in peace, do one to others as we would like done to us and cherish all the lessons we are thrown to manage, I feel this world we live in would be such an amazing place.

Love, light and peace until the new year.

Take care of each other – give that extra special someone another hug and bring on 2012.

Shelly xo

What is “Family”?

image by Clker.com

A couple of years ago, my son was in an emotional turmoil.  He was questioning “What is family”?

He didn’t understand where he belonged in the scheme of things.  He knew he had his Mum, Uncle and Aunties and all his cousins and special cousins BUT he felt incomplete in some way. I feel it was a stage in his schooling that made him question where he fitted.  He would cry, get angry and lash out with this confusion.  It was my aim to find something that could help him understand that “Family” is made of up of many dimensions and indeed a family and a wonderful one at that.  I searched book stores, online and anywhere else I could think of for something appropriate to help ease the pain he was enduring. There were books and articles for “My parents are divorced”- I didn’t get married to name one example and I could not find one thing that I felt was appropriate.

image by author

With this in mind, I decided to write something myself. I would love to publish a book one day and I have all the visual in mind of how it would be displayed.  Pushing the goal aside I focused on my main priority which was to help my son in understanding the values of what family really means.  Through my poem it helped and he feels more love than anyone with the family he now recognises is his.
I would like to share this poem with you (it’s a work in progress) and I am searching for a title.  What would you suggest?

I know I am loved
This much is true
I’m normally so happy
But sometimes I feel blue

My Mum tells me I’m handsome
So clever and so smart
I have so many friends
Yet sometimes I get an ache in my heart

 I sometimes feel confused
And I often ask why
So many questions
But no answers so I sigh

I know we can be different
We are not all the same
Mummy says life can be like this
And I am not to blame

Mummy says we are normal
Just because there is only us two
Families are made up of so much more
And our family can be me and you

Some kids have two mummies
Some might have two Dads
There are some who are adopted
Or brought up by Grandma and Grandad

Mummy says that no matter
Families come in all shapes and forms
As long as there is love and security
There are no such things as a norm

I sometimes feel angry
And want to kick and scream
I cannot explain my feelings
And often it feels like a dream

I know Mummy loves me
Although I sometimes feel I am missing out
There are meant to be others who care for me
And with this I feel angry and want to shout

Promises are often made
Many times they are broken
I feel frustrated and let down
Like a bad dream and then I am woken

I still have questions unanswered
And maybe that is how it will be
Yet in my heart I now know I’m so loved
And feel lucky for all who are around me

I came across this article and wanted to share it with you. I feel it is a great reference in understand what family really is.  It is not so much who it should be, yet what we can supply for ourselves and our loved ones. As long as we can provide the main elements, we all can provide a “family” 🙂

http://singleparentsnetwork.com/Articles/Detailed/245.html

How do you do it?

image by jevigar

I am often asked, “How do you do it?” when it comes to my life of studying. To be honest I have no idea. What I do know is that I am managing somehow even if the eyes are heavy and shaded with black and bags have become extra luggage on my face.

I think the idea of doing something like studying while you are a single parent, working, plus dealing with all other challenges of life is daunting and almost an impossible concept. I came to the decision to study after being unemployed for a long time. I felt I was at a roadblock and to be able to move forward, I had to either work fulltime (which was not an option at this stage of my life) or look at alternatives to create a more financial, stable and satisfying life for me and my son. Some of my goals which assisting in the pursuit of studying was to finally see the back of Centrelink, to create a comfortable life and to feel I am able to move forward and be successful in my chosen career.

I had no idea how the life of a student was be lived let alone one who was a single parent and working. Not many of my friends have studied at university level and really the only person close to me who had done something similar was my Mother when I was younger and she too was a single parent. Certain questions I was asking myself before taking on the study was; “how am I going to afford this”, “how am I going to manage my time”, “will I fail as a Mother if I undergo studying at the same time as being a parent and working” to name a few. I had to bite the bullet and live without fear…I enrolled into University.

Research is paramount in finding the right option for you. I found Open Universities Australia (OUA) the best option at the time as this decision allowed me to study via distance, offered flexibility, and I was able to keep working while creating my future. There are other institutions that offer distance learning and may work better for you. I called Centrelink as I am on a Single Parenting Pension to see if there was any aid available which there was although a very small amount. It all helps towards ongoing costs such as text books, printing, Internet usage, stationary and so on.  I was able to gain assistance with the university fees from Fee Help obtainable through Centrelink where they also offer other forms of support for anyone looking at further education and training.

I had the financial side of things covered for now and so began the workings out of how to actually do this while keeping some form of  ‘normality’. I do have to admit I feel and have felt major disadvantages in choosing this path as certain parts of my life

image by weddingbycolour

have suffered.  My mental state at times has been very low and I have to dig deep to rise up and keep the motivation going. My love life has suffered as there really isn’t any time to invest in finding the right person. My weight and health has suffered quite dramatically at times due to the lifestyle and I often find I am suffering severe sleep deprivation.  The other person affected by my choice of studying is my son. I feel my son now understands (I think) why I am doing all this and trust me with my choice to study, yet I know I will never get the times back that I have missed.

I suggest to maintain some form of order and routine, keep a diary or calendar marking it  clearly when assessments are due along with other important date. You defiantly must be strong in saying “NO” to social outings and other distractions when you have a deadlines. Read texts and lecture notes when and where you can.  You can find time to study while traveling on public transport, watching the kids while doing their sports, at the doctors in the waiting,and of course when the kids go to bed. Something I still need to learn and doubt I will before the end of my degree is to get decent night sleeps. I do know this will help to keep the mind crisp and sharp and for the body as a whole to cope with the lifestyle. Maintaining a ‘to do list’ is another way to assist in managing your time and each time you tick something off the list, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and it all helps with the motivation.

My number one tip is to believe YOU can do it and trust in yourself – you have made the right decision.

I strongly encourage anyone considering studying to just do it! 

image by dorsetsearchdogs

I already feel the emotions of pride, satisfaction and delight that I am not only coping with my hectic schedule and somehow managing a reasonable balance but that I am actually getting great grades. I can now see light at the end of the tunnel and I am feeling quite excited about what my future holds. In my opinion, strength is a given and be motivated. Self discipline is paramount also if you are going to succeed at studying and particularly be a good parent while working. You need the strength to get you through when you hit the low points as it can knock you around a lot emotionally.  It is without doubt very important to create networks with people who are in similar positions. I personally use the social media tool Facebook which to me has been a lifesaver and my rock many times. I have made amazing friends who support and believe in me. I am truly blessed to have a fabulous family who think I am incredible along with my darling friends who are so proud of all that I am achieving. Without this support, I don’t think I could do it on my own, yet at the end of the day, it is only us that are going to make it happen…and it will happen.

You are not alone!

Do you feel the emotions of disappointment, failure, loneliness, victimisation to name just a few as you enter or live in the syndrome of single parenthood?

Do you find yourself asking, “how the hell am I going to do this”; “how am I going to find the money to survive”; “how will I ever find love again”; or “am I the only one going through this?”

The choice of raising a child on your own quite possibly is the hardest decision you will ever make and not one to take lightly.  For others this lifestyle was not a personal choice and one-handed to them by default.  Whichever way you have found yourself in this predicament, we all hold our own stories to tell, and nevertheless we live a life of similarity.

Why this Blog is for you
Do you often have questions where you feel it is impossible to find the answers? If you do, then you are like me and the road of walking as a single parent can and is daunting and quite isolating. Sadly the statistics are proving there are more single parenting families in current times than ever before. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported in June 2011 just under a million homes consisted of lone parent families, and of this 83% were single mother families.   When looking at this ratio, it is obvious those of us who can feel alone know we are not and it gives more reason to have places and associations available where one can obtain relevant information.

Single parents have a duel responsibility in their households and get tired beyond belief. Compared to two-parent households, lone parents have not only reduced money but also half the adult time resources available as cited in a journal by Salome Bronnimann from The Master’s College.  Single parents try to fit everything into the day and still be available for their children’s emotional and psychological needs and doing this is a juggling act whilst maintaining some form of sanity, dignity and individualism.

Where to begin
Solo Talk SP will provide information on various issues of single parenting, relating between emotions one could feel, through to the dramas of cooking, dating and finding love. The Blog will also provide links and posts associated to organisations that exist and may supply the data you are trying to find.  Centrelink, Child Support Agency (CSA) and Relationships Australia are just the starting point in finding the answers among others who offer a variety of services which can assist you in the healing process and to help you move forward.

By following this Blog, you will be sharing in a personal journey of a single parent, while finding answers too many of your questions along the way. You will find encouragement and assurance in knowing you are not alone in the world of single parenting.

*image from dudoism