Just after my Squidge was born (January last year):

– I was still with her dad.

– We had temporarily moved in with my parents so that we (I) could save for a mortgage.

– We were looking at where we were going to invest for our family home.

– I was already planning when I would be going back to work full time.

– I was even thinking about how long it would be before I could apply for a Leadership role again!

 

Roll on just three months later…

– I was a single mum who had just agreed to go part time at work (I did this while I was with her dad – he said we would manage together, but then he left).

– I had just been diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure.

– A Cervical Cancer Scare was on the table.

– I had a new baby who had just been diagnosed as partially deaf.

– I had to learn how to make time for myself!

Things had changed dramatically, so I came to the realisation that my outlook on life would also have to change!!

If YOU feel like you need to love yourself more, why not join my 21-Day Self-Love Challenge?

 

Mortgage / Money

Although I love the “idea” of owning my own home, I am a single mum who works part-time and has Heart Failure – Mortgage companies won’t be diving over each other to offer me a loan!

Squidge’s nursery (where she goes while I’m at work) costs me £1020 a month!! This means that I cannot save anything much at all until she starts full time School (in just over 3 years).

I have actually spent quite a long time looking at Childcare.co.uk to try to find a private babysitter – it could save me at least £400 EVERY MONTH!! Not bad!

Rather than having those savings just sitting there, knowing that I won’t be able to build on it for at least 5 years, on top of the fact that I’ll probably struggle like crazy and be super stressed about mortgage payments etc., I thought about it properly…

WHY do I want a mortgage? 

  • So I can decorate the place how I want and know it’s mine!
  • So I’m not paying someone else’s mortgage off instead (pretty much what renting is)

Do I want to give the property to Squidge when she grows up? 

  • No. I grew up knowing that if I want something, I have to work for it.
  • I want to instill that work ethic in my daughter. Nothing comes for free in this World and I want to teach her that. Might sound harsh, but I want her to be a strong woman from the get-go!
  • Besides…she might not even want the property!

Do I NEED a mortgage?

  • No

So, I stopped saving for a mortgage, and started putting money aside for “enjoyment”. 

This has taken away a HUGE stress from my life and although it seemed like a big decision to make, it really wasn’t.

I now look forward to and get excited about something that is coming, rather than worry about something that is coming.

I have managed to reach the tender age of 30, without ever travelling outside of the UK (crazy, I know!). We both got our first passports this year! My “savings” have paid for us to have so much fun travelling!

Squidge and I have gone to Paris, Venice, Vienna, Mallorca (twice), Barcelona and Greece this year, and we are hopefully going away one more time before we hit 2019!

Also, when Squidge gets to full time School and I am able to save again, who knows, I may start looking at a Mortgage again, but right now – in this moment in time, I am living my life and enjoying it.

 

Relationships

After Squidge’s dad left us, I was in panic mode! 

My ideal “fairytale” family was no longer, my dream of singing Christmas songs with mummy and daddy by a piano (yes, I’m that kind of cheese!) were no more, the fun of sharing Squidge’s special moments with my partner were long gone and…well, I had nobody to hold at night or to feel loved by.

Ugh! Sort it out Sarah!

It took me a good few months of feeling sorry for myself before I realised that what’s done is done and there is absolutely NO point in dwelling on it. 

There was no point in looking to the future and being sad about the “fact” what I wanted wasn’t going to happen.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that actually, I am more blessed than I ever realised! Squidge has an AMAZING relationship with my parents and my brother.

They are my rock.

They are who I share my ups and downs with.

They are the ones we sing Christmas songs with and who we celebrated her 1st Birthday with.

And guess what…it is awesome!

I’m no longer looking to the future and worrying about “never finding a man”. I actually went on one date after about a year, but have since began to attempt a reconciliation with Squidge’s dad.

If it doesn’t work out with him (I don’t want to think about that again, but I’d be stupid not to), I know the right man will come in time.

Why worry about how or if you will find that special someone?

Be happy with yourself.

Stop your negative thinking and beat the anxiety!

Be content and secure in your own space.

Embrace the love that you already have around you- your family and friends.

Focus on building yourself to a better you and loving yourself before you start thinking about loving another.

 

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Health

Having a diagnosis of Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure means that, although I could well be alive and kicking in 30 years (I bloody hope I am!), there is a chance that I might (gulp!) die from my condition before then!

This might sound depressing to someone just hearing it, but it isn’t to me (anymore). It is now a reality check, and a kick up my butt to get me doing what I should have done a long time ago.

Rather than sitting here worrying needlessly thinking about the future and what MIGHT happen, I started doing things to help prevent them from happening.

I went to a counsellor to discuss things like REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy). I started to learn about WHY I worry about my health and WHAT I can do to get rid of these worries. 

To start getting fit again, I started exercising, going to Cardiac Rehab, I gave up smoking (ok, I still vape, but hey ho!) and cut down drinking to about one glass a week. I also cut out the crappy food, started eating healthy-ish (I still like my chocolate) and started to get a better sleep.

I also joined Tai Chi, Pilates and the gym.

Instead of worrying and moaning about your health – do something about it NOW!

Make those moves right now to heal your body from the crap you’ve put it through and put into it over the years and start creating a foundation for a “new body”.

 

Work

I have always been a career woman. 

Before Squidge, I had been a full-time motivational educator for 6 years and had been working with young people for 8 years.

After Squidge, I moved to part-time teaching.

I always pictured becoming a Head of Department or Deputy Head of School, but this started to seem impossible.

With the late home-times, late bedtimes, night wakings, fatigue from my heart condition and generally being a single mum, I simply do not have time to do ANY work at home.

I can just about get the work that I need to get done at school in my spare time and lunch breaks and the little time I have after school.

But, I can’t even stay late at work to do the work I need to because I have to get back to collect Squidge from nursery.

There are time management and productivity techniques that I used to make my life a heck of a lot easier though.

However, I very recently decided that maybe, at the moment, looking forward to how I want to progress my career is not the best way to live. 

So, in December I took the huge step to quit my career!

I now have a great work-life balance and am focussing on being a mum and working on this blog.

 

Children

I used to panic about what would happen to Squidge if I died or became hospitalised.

Would she be loved?

Would she be allowed to see my family? How often?

Where would she live?

How would her carer/dad learn about her hearing aid and her loves and hates, her fave things etc.

Would my wishes be adhered to?

Would she even know who I was?

So, I started to put things in place to ensure that she IS ok after I go!

I don’t mean saving money for her – I’ve already made my thoughts clear on that matter. I mean putting it all in writing. I’ve started writing my will!

I thought about all eventualities and put down my wishes.

All her little quirks and fave things.

This hasn’t entirely pushed all of the worry away, but it has made life a lot easier to deal with.

Now instead of worrying about the future, I make sure I think more positively and I have things in place if anything were to happen.

I can enjoy every day with her now and know that she will be safe and well-cared for by my parents, if not by her dad.

The stupid misconceptions that I had heard about single mothers was always a concern…until now!

I also started creating videos of all our holidays (like this one from Venice) and our happy moments together so that she has visual memories of us that she can watch endlessly as she grows up.

 

Where To Live

Live for today

As I said earlier, I moved in with my parents while I was pregnant to save for a mortgage. 

Those plans went arse-upwards, so I have had to think about where we will live 

next.

Although I do not want a mortgage, I DO want a stable home for my daughter. I want us to be able to make it ours. Plenty of landlords allow for long tenancies. They also allow the tenants to decorate or do what they want with their home.

Within reason – don’t go knocking any walls down just yet!

I looked at a social housing, but at this rate, I’ll be on the list for about 10 years. As much as I love my family, I’m not staying at my parents home for that long!!

I looked at Private renting.

But.

From no lack of trying, there seems to be NO landlords willing to allow a single mother on part-benefits to live in their house!!

The stereotypes still amaze me!

On a full-time wage, I can’t afford to send Squidge to nursery AND pay rent. I wouldn’t be able to work at all on that basis.

On a part-time wage, I still can’t afford to send Squidge to nursery. Unless I claim part-benefits – which then stops me from getting a private rented property.

I was even told by lawyers and council advisors that my best option at this moment in time is to “quit work and go on full benefits until baby is 5 years old.”

WHAT??!?!?! This is why so many single mum’s don’t work! This is the PATHETIC advice they are given.

So…

Rather than worrying about all of the above (which of course, I have done a lot), I decided to just apply. Apply. APPLY!!

Keep looking at places, keep applying to landlords, keep applying to council properties…just keep on it!

Eventually, it will happen!

In the meantime, I have been jet-setting around Europe on my own with my Squidge. In 2018 alone, we travelled to 7 countries, 10 cities and went on 14 planes.

Check out these posts if you are thinking of travelling with (or without) a toddler or young child:

Ultimate Guide to Vienna

Venice with a Toddler: Survival Guide

 

The Moral of this Post?

Now, I live my life day-by-day and have stopped looking into the long-term future. Some may say that is stupid, some may agree completely – I don’t really care because this is working for me right now.

Since I started living like this, my anxiety has reduced significantly, my worry and stress is almost non-existent and I am generally having much more fun with life.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just live some crazy kind of party life – Haha! I’m a single mum, as if! I just don’t worry about the future like I used to.

We all dream and push for things we want to do, be or achieve. 

But at what cost?

I decided to #LifeIt and live my life in a way that makes me happy RIGHT NOW.

In THIS PRESENT moment in time.

That’s all that matters. 

Don’t stress about things you can’t change or about things that might never even happen.

Life your life, your way…but make sure you enjoy whatever you do!

I used to be the person that planned everything (I still do now, but it is all VERY short-term!).

 

Will you #LifeItOrNot ??

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Stop worrying, start living

stop worrying, start living for today