I say that I’ve moved on, that I struggle to raise much ire towards my ex, but there is something that really bothers me about his departure … Other than the elephant-in-the-room reason.
It’s the financial devastation and the tsunami-like effect it’s had on my middle-class life. I say middle-class because it’s not proper suffering. I’m not doing it tough. I have a perfectly nice house, I eat good food, I buy myself the occasional new dress or two.
The single mum lot can be sooooo much worse. Horribly worse.
I really shouldn’t complain. Not when there are NSW flood victims still without power and people in Nepal with NOTHING.
How dare I???
But it niggles: I’d built a very comfortable life for my family pre-split, worked in high-powered jobs and made canny property investments. That’s why, just a few weeks before our surprise separation, I stopped working to spend more time with the kids.
I’d been back in the workforce for a year, but the pull to return home was too strong. I loved picking the girls up from school, making them dinner, being surrounded by pets and domesticity.
We were at a point where we could finally afford to live on one income. Our mortgage was tiny, our needs weren’t huge. We enjoyed travelling, but we weren’t extravagant in other ways. We had one very old car and no fancy hobbies to fund.
Ironically, less than a month after becoming a stay-at-home mum, my marriage break-up sent me back on the job hunt.
I live in a suburb where the ex-husband often earns enough to support two households, but that wasn’t my reality.
So I started working three days a week and unexpectedly loved it. I walked into the office and wrote about travel for seven or eight hours. It was bliss.
Now, I’m loving writing three days a week for the parenting site Kidspot.
But I’m teetering on the brink of what next?
As a single mum, the question isn’t quite as simple as it was pre-split. It’s about supporting my new life and family as much as it’s about enjoying my job.
So I’m wondering if I should consider a full-on career again. And I’m in equal parts excited about what I could achieve in the workplace and sad about the time I will lose with my kids.
It feels like there aren’t enough moments with them now, despite being there to pick them up in the playground every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon and having every Saturday together.
But I’m greedy … I’m on the slippery slope of them not wanting to hang out with their mum on weekends. They’ll be off with their friends instead. I want to cram as much time with them as I can, while I can.
And I’m angry with my ex for curtailing those precious moments with my daughters and narrowing my options.
I know he hates having less time with the kids too. It still sends an icy jolt through my veins to realise how devastatingly unhappy he must have been to choose living without them four days a week.
But that’s a whole other angsty blog topic.
Do you juggle being a single mum and working? How do you handle it?
Song of the day: my old favourite by Natalie Imbruglia “Torn”