Sunday, March 23, 2014

This single life

I can't believe that the Six Nations has come and gone and I haven't had time for a quick blog. It was a great tournament with a really exciting new England side. We didn't win the tournament but we took home the Calcutta Cup, the Triple Crown and our very own Wiltshire boy, Mike Brown, won player of the tournament. Bring on the Rugby World Cup, we are ready!

One of the reasons I haven't had time to blog much, or indeed work on my next book, is because I have had to go back to work full time, not by choice but by necessity.  The law in this country stacks the cards against the single parent. Having previously spent most of our joint income on raising our children, the Ex is now only required to give me the equivalent a day's pay. He earns more in a week than I do in a month, yet I am still expected to shoulder the lion's share of the burden of paying for our children, hence the need to return to full time work.  Although I have always worked, bar a few years when we trotted around the world with him in the good old days of the film industry when they put you up in nice hotels or apartments, it is a long time since I have worked full time. It has been a bit of a shock to the system and for the past two weeks my house has looked, for all intents and purposes, as if it has been burgled. I could really do with a cleaner and someone to do my ironing as I don't get home much before 6.45pm but there is no money for that.

Lack of time aside, I have been lucky to land a great though not spectacularly well paid job working in child protection. It makes me realise just how many feckless parents there are who are completely unable to prioritise their children's needs above their own. I know all about that!

A year, post-separation, I am loving life and the new found freedom I have. No more walking on eggshells, no more pandering to someone else's moods, the children are happier and we have made our lives as a unit of three, not four. We have no contact with The Ex's family, all bar one of whom didn't even bother to send us a Christmas card. Bizarre behaviour after 23 years. His tenuous grasp of the truth means that I have had to suffer emails from his siblings asking what I have done with all his money (a few home truths were exchanged on that one!) and constant excuses for his shabby behaviour. To be honest, I'm bored with it all.

The Ex remains nothing more than an occasional visitor in the lives of his children and to be honest, we quite like it that way. He barely knows his children any more, who are more inclined to send his calls straight to voicemail than answer them. They didn't even acknowledge his birthday. Statistics show that 1 in 4 children lose contact with the absent parent within two years of separation and we are well on the way to that. But who is the loser? Not us. The Boy and Girl have been saving their  money to take me out for lunch on Mother's Day, the Girl and I went on a road trip to Brighton to see Haim and I've just booked tickets to see Elbow at the 02 in London with a friend.  I am back in contact with many old friends and my free time, such as it is between ferrying the children around, is my own to do with what I like without having to ask anyone else's permission.

My ukulele group continues to be a source of huge joy and friendship and as we are becoming better known, the requests for gigs are coming thick and fast. I love the gigs. They are so much fun! Last night we did a charity gig for WaterAid in Bath.  It helps me channel my inner rock chick!

The future feels very positive, despite the financial strictures of being a single parent and the emotional strain of being the only parent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I feel I have re-found the real me. The one who loves new adventures, loves to laugh and believes that life is for living, not merely existing. The past year has also empowered me to ditch other people in my life who were dragging me down so what I'm left with is a fabulous core of truly great people. If you are one of them, thank  you!

The idea of being single in your middle years can fill some people with horror but I'm here to tell you that it's actually pretty great. My children are spreading their wings, getting ready to fly the nest and make their own mark on the world and I am ready to write the next chapter of my life story.


Dumdad said...

Yes, wasn't the rugby great this year? England did themselves proud. Some great skills and kicking on display all round but these guys take such hard punishment physically. I'm surprised no one's been killed or severely maimed. And yet after the battle they all shake hands and congratulate each other. Unlike the surly soccer prima donnas!

Sarah said...

Good for you! I missed the episode where you said you'd split, so I didn't know about that, but I'm with you all the way as I found myself in a similar situation. I love the independence, and it's true the kids are much happier.

Enjoy the freedom!

Curry Queen said...

Huzzah MmeJ (or should that be Mlle J now?!) Good to know you are feeling so positive x

Wylye Girl said...

Hi Sarah, I did post about it but took it off line as I started dating and decided I wanted to be the one to tell the story.The downside of having an internet profile! To cut a long story short though, the Ex buggered off last March having been caught out in the double life he was living with some ex-casino worker from Macclesfield. I'm sure there's a book there! He took all our money and didn't support us for 6 months while he sat on his arse in Manchester, 300 miles away, living off his new girlfriend, and claiming there was no work to be had. Since then he has only seen his children a few times. He feels no need to keep a roof over our heads, he thinks the local Council should do that, and has recently moved into a big 3 bed house while we are looking to downsize into one that won't even have enough bedrooms for all of us when the Boy goes to University. He's turned out to be a complete twunt but still thinks that everything will be all right. Ho hum!

Wylye Girl said...

Hi CQ, still Mrs until the divorce. I keep trying but he won't sign the papers

Helen Devries said...

Most unfair that the person responsible for the situation...and who has more money...should get off so lightly.

But although money has been so tight for you...hasn't getting out from under his shadow given you all new, great lives!
I know who the loser is...

And as for families.....three years after their mother's death my husband's brother - her executor - refuses to cough up his share of the estate.
He claims my husband is dead and I'm after the money!

Sarah said...

Oh wow, selfish doesn't even begin to describe that! It must be hard on the kids to have a father who refuses to help. They don't cease to exist just because he wants to be elsewhere.

Perpetua said...

I can't comment on the rugby, but I'm very glad to see that you've come to terms so positively with your new life. You didn't choose it, but it sounds like it's the best thing that could have happened for all three of you. Yes, full-time work is hard with children to care for on your own, but you sound like you're finding time and energy for some fun too. Enjoy your freedom.

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