Stephanie J's Story
Written by Stephanie J
I'm a 42 year old single mother of a 19 month old toddler. This wasn't the plan. My then partner and I were having some problems when I fell pregnant, and when 3 months pregnant we went our separate ways. I've always been quite independent and adventurous, so the thought of going it alone didn't really phase me. I wasn't quite prepared for the constant relentless lack of sleep that comes with having a baby and I'm still getting used to the fact that you have to be on your "game" 24/7. You take your eyes off my boy and he's sitting on the dining room table texting your friends on your phone (happened this morning - managed to send 5 texts). All the muttering aside, I've got a wonderful little boy who is the joy of my life.
Last year I managed to do 3 level 4 management papers at Polytech. I've got to do 8 to get a NZIM Certificate in Management. I'd like to do another 4 this year, but funds are running low and I'm starting to apply for full time work. I don't know how I'm going to cope working and caring for my son on my own; but other people do it so it must be possible.
I'm in a coffee group with a wonderful bunch of women. Sometimes I feel a little alien though. When they start talking about what their husbands do with their children, or when they plan nights out and I can't participate I try not to feel jealous, but it's tough.
I have my parents and my sister nearby, but they find my son a bit of a handful - very active - and aren't prepared to take him for more than a couple of hours once and a while.
I sometimes get depressed (not clinicly, just sad days). I started smoking again after my son was born - I think it saved my sanity. I want to give up because I can't afford to do it anymore, but am terrified to try and fail. It's become such a crutch. If I hadn't started again I probably could have stayed off work longer - I feel pathetic ... its a vicious cycle.
I can't say I love my life at the moment, but wouldn't have it any other way. Who knew you could love someone so much.