When I became a single mum, I honestly thought that I had failed. Although I knew that I was making the right decision for myself and the kids, there was still an overwhelming sense of
"How can I do this by myself?"
I went through my stages of endless crying, hatred, anger and stress, but after I had worked my way through those emotions, the next feeling I go was STRENGTH, and it was sensational.
I was a fucking mess when Drew and I first broke up. I was putting up a front when I was around others, just to go home and cry on my kitchen floor because I absolutely hated my life. I spent my birthday alone and covered in vomit when Madi came down with gastro, I couldn't listen to music or movies because they reminded me family times and I was just an overall mess. I couldn't go out on a Sunday because all I would see were families together - it was hard.
I can remember the exact moment that I decided to not be a sad sack of shit anymore, and that was when Drew told me to move on. I was on my kitchen floor uncontrollably crying and the minute he walked out the door I wiped the tears off my face, looked in the mirror and said to myself "Fuck you, fuck this, I'm better off without you". Lauren Patterson was back.
When you discover your strength as single parent, you become indestructible. The crying and the sadness stopped, and I was ready to take on the world with my 2 beautiful children. How did I celebrate? Well, I thought fuck it, I'm joining Tinder.
After being with the same person for the last 4 and a bit years, I was certainly not used to the caliber of conversation that happened on this app. I mean I was only really on there because I wanted someone to talk to because when the kids went to bed at night, I was lonely! That phase didn't last long though because I realised how much effort that I needed to put into conversations and I wasn't ready for that yet - plus I was sick of receiving photos of random penises.
At this stage, it was a chore to talk to my kids' father. To put it simply, he was being an absolute asshole and I couldn't stand him. I was actually grateful for it because it helped me get over much much quicker than I thought I would. As long as the kids got to see him, I didn't need anything else from him. The kids needed their dad, but I certainly didn't.
I started to realise how much fun it was to be by myself again. I was going out with my girlfriends, training, working, studying and I felt like MYSELF again! I was happy, outgoing and excited about life! With strength comes happiness, and that's exactly what I felt. Nothing could stop me and I was LOVING IT.
Looking back at photos, I can still remember the pain I felt when we first separated, but fuck me dead do I look HAPPIER THAN EVER! I am grateful for going through such a tough experience as I've never been so driven and determined to be such a good role model for my kids and give them the life that they deserve. I doubted myself in the beginning, because I never thought I'd be able to pay the bills or buy clothes for the kids as they grew, but somehow I've managed to stay afloat and have so much fun along the way!
Now that being said, behind the scenes is tough. I share most aspects of my life with you all, but obviously it gets to a point where I didn't want to whinge so much that it probably looked like I wanted sympathy - because I didn't. Yes being a single parent can be fuckin' shit, but it also makes you stronger than concrete and absolutely unfuckable withable (that's my word for saying that no one can walk all over me anymore).
I've had to take nights off school because life just got too much.
I've lost my shit at the kids at times because I was angry that I had to do it myself.
I've gotten a babysitter over just so I can go for a drive by myself.
I mutter 'for fucks sake' under my breath countless times a day.
I've broken down into tears because it's absolutely impossible to have a clean apartment.
I've gotten in bed and hid under the covers because both kids were screaming at me.
But you know what? I decided to turn those things into a positive, and reach out to other women who were going through the exact same thing. We all have tough times, and the worst part of it is feeling alone. Social media honestly became such a resource for me because I was able to talk to other people who had been through a separation and I made so many amazing friends.
Going through a separation is life changing. You will know if it's the right thing to do and if it's the right thing for you, it will be the right decision for your kids too. They can see their parents fighting, their mummy crying and they can notice when there's no love in that household. I formed such an incredible bond with Madi and Max when we moved. It was just the 3 of us and I feel like they can now look at their mummy and be so proud - just like I am proud of them.
I absolutely love the life that I've now built for myself and my kids. We're healthy (well the kids are anyway, I'm getting my heart sorted at the moment) - we're HAPPY and we're doing really well! I never would have pictured this 6 months ago when everything happened. I can safely say that I made the best decision and I love the person that I've become because of it. And guess what? It motivated Drew to change his life too. He quit smoking after 15 years, started excercising and now is an absolute joy to be around.