Successfully Single.

Last week I was sitting on the edge of a cliff at sunrise looking over the ocean with a cute boy who could smash a plate on his stomach. I know. Sounds like a movie right? And to anyone who saw us, it probably looked like one too. But what those people don’t know, is that I go home to an 11kg toddler who still requires rocking to sleep, and who occasionally shits on my bathroom floor.

I first started this blog to reach out to mums who were sitting at home wondering what they were doing wrong. I learnt pretty quickly that there is no right way, and that even women with the most perfect instagram asthetic, and post partum six packs are still going to end up with cracked nipples and hairy legs. Now as I embark on my new adventure as a single mother, I have a whole new insight into the world of dating or as I like to call it, ‘the train wreck that is my life’.

As we all know ladies, even at the best of times dating is a challenge. I mean how long until you break it to them that you don’t have naturally luscious eye lashes and Bondi Sands coloured skin? And let me tell you – trying to make sense of the feelings of a 31 year old man is more complex than the 4000 word essay I wrote on Statutory Interpretation in law school. Add to that the fact that I’m running on about four hours sleep a night, and my alarm clock is the shrill scream of a 2 year old which can only be compared to a small animal being brutally murdered – and now you’ve got some idea of what I’m working with.

So let’s talk about the first three months of a relationship. The awkward ‘getting to know you’, ‘are we or aren’t we’ first three months, where you’re hesitating enough to protect your feelings but also secretly planning your trip to Europe together in five years. Girls, you’re still making the effort to wash your hair every two days, and guys you haven’t farted in 12 weeks. This is the make or break time, when you’re getting to know their habits, meeting their friends, and doing a thorough self-conducted psychoanalysis of why they’re still single.

Enter Cute Boy. Fire fighter by day, bachelor by night. Charming, funny, and did I mention the fire fighter thing? He takes me on dates, makes me dinner, and when I had an asthma attack at his house he told me I looked pretty when I was half-dead. In the last three months, I’ve learnt almost as much about myself as I have about him. The thing about being a single mother though – is that I’m in no rush for a happily ever after. I’ve got a little man in my house that already runs my life, and to be honest – part time dating has its perks. I get my mum time, Cute Boy gets his Cute Boy time, and we are both better people for it.

So. No my life isn’t a movie. And yes I’m so tired that I recently answered my own mobile phone saying “Ambulance, what town or suburb?”. I’ve got no dating or parenting advice because I’m learning as I go. But what I can confirm, is that no matter how perfect people look on the outside, everyone at some point feels like putting on a shower cap and smoking a cigarette. And that’s OK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are we officially dating?

A few months ago my Dad looked at me in exasperation running his hands over his bald head, (which incidentally is probably largely a consequence of my teenage years) and said “Laura for a very intelligent girl, you’re very stupid”. What he was referring to was my impulsive nature, which clearly came from the milkman because everyone else in my family likes to carefully plan their days, starting with their first trip to the toilet and ending with what time their first REM cycle will begin.

He was right though. I make very quick decisions which are often ill informed – a trait which i put on my tinder profile as “mysterious and exciting”. Now as you all know my mysterious exciting side was in full force in 2014 when I decided to get engaged at 21, married at 22 and drop 15k on a wedding, only to separate three years later. As hippie as this sounds; rather than get tied down in regret, I like to look at it as a learning curve – and I can guarantee you I’m a better woman for it.

So fast forward to 2018. Im 26 and more or less divorced, with a toddler and a 25k HECS debt. In other words, a bloody catch. Even so though, I gave myself a very serious talk about rushing into dating, and decided to put it on the back burner until such time as Henry wasn’t so needy and I had the time to shave both legs in one shower. But then 10 weeks ago, a cute boy slid into my DMs. He was witty, and just arrogant enough to get me interested but not annoyed – and so for the first time in my life, I went on a date with a stranger.

Let me set the scene for you. Its 36 degrees, Im hungover, and I’ve had 4 hours sleep. Good start Laura. Im sitting in front of the mirror with a fan blowing my hair around like I was starring in a Schwarzkopf add and I’m trying to slap makeup on my face, cursing my alter ego Sweaty Betty who had taken over my body. Its as good as its going to get, I jump in the car and start the 40 minute drive to cute boys house. Makeup – Check. Hair – Sweaty, but Check. Deodorant x 4 – Check. Tell someone where I’m going in case cute boy is an axe murderer – Check.

On arrival, I note that cute boy is definitely cute. His house was clean, and well decorated, and even though his bedroom looked like it belonged to a 16 year old skater. I decided I could work with it. He says he’s going to take me to lunch. Awesome, I’m starving and I’m hoping he’s not expecting me to eat a salad. We jump in his two seater ute – the trademark of a bachelor, and drive to a burger place. “Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll have salads there” he says. I looked at him half in amusement and half in alarm hoping he hadn’t read my mind because at that exact moment i was thinking about how sweaty my butt was on the leather car seat.

Lunch was nice. I ate a burger, and held in a wee because I thought I should be ladylike. We left, and cute boy kissed me on the road – “lets get the first one out of the way” he said. Would have been romantic if i wasn’t busting for the toilet. So we get back to his place, its still 393 degrees, I’m beginning to feel the tequila shots I had the night before, and he hits me with “lets go to the beach”. Oh man. I should have had the salad. Im imaging what my melting face looks like and thinking it can’t get much worse, so sure lets get the mum bod out. I throw on my bikini, and decide it will be fine I can still look glamorous I just won’t get my hair wet. You can can imagine my horror when I realised the “beach” was actually manmade baths which require jumping off a cement platform and entirely immersing oneself in the water. Awesome. I must have done it gracefully, because as I came to the surface of the freezing cold water trying to get my breath back cute boy looked at me in concern and said “umm i forgot to check – can you swim?”.

Now to my point. Ten weeks, 8938 text messages, and a million dates later cute boy is still coming back for more. He now knows better than to try and feed me salad, he’s faced the ultimate test – meeting my friends, and he lets me leave my shampoo in his shower. My best girlfriend recently asked me the question of the hour.”So, are you officially dating?”, and I realised I actually don’t know. So ladies and gents, I put it to you. What constitutes official? Is it simply not dating anyone else? Or is it the day that “this is cute boy” becomes “this is my boyfriend, cute boy?”. And more importantly, does it really matter?

Table for three?…

As a mother, dating has proven to be a whole new kind of challenge. And not the normal kind of challenges like spinach in your teeth, or peeing quietly during the night. I’m talking full on crazy stuff like “hey this dinner has been really nice, but I have to get home to read Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy and go to bed at 8:30”

Recently I went to breakfast with a guy. We made plans for 8am. In my past life this would have involved two hours getting ready to achieve a perfect “I didn’t get ready” look, a pep talk with the girls at around 7:30am, and 4 outfit changes at 07:58am. What it actually involved, was making two bowls of cereal because one was pegged at my head, washing my hair because of said cereal pegging, trying to dry my hair with a 12kg baby climbing my leg like a tree, and the only person who got a last minute outfit change was Henry because he shit himself.

Anyway, I went to breakfast in the skirt I pulled off the dirty washing pile, half wet hair, and a pep talk from yours truly. So I’m sitting there eating my breakfast thinking I probably should have ordered less so the cute boy doesn’t know I eat like a sumo wrestler and also that I probably would have thought to order less if I had the required prep time this morning, and to be honest I would have shaved my legs as well.

Now luckily the cute boy was blinded by my charm and dazzling personality, and for some time now I’ve managed the juggling act of being a mum and the perfect date all at the same time. But next comes the elephant in the room, when do the two worlds collide? And all of a sudden instead of worrying about your average run of the mill issues like “do I sleep in my makeup” and “when do I start leaving my toothbrush in his bathroom” – I’m dealing with when do I let the cute boy and the human I’ve created in the same room as each other. The worst part is they’re yet to write an article about this in Dolly magazine so it seems I’m on my own.

So ladies and gents this brings me to my conclusion. After collecting data from very reliable sources such as gossiping at work, and online quizzes I’ve realised that there are absolutely no rules. There’s no handbook that someone forgot to give me, because lord knows if there was I would have found it by now. So for now I’ve got one foot in both doors, and it’s working just fine. It means sweat pants by day and little black dress by night, and to be honest if anything I think the juggling has made me better at both. And really, is forcing your date to watch Wiggles Dance Party going to benefit anyone?

Oh. And I already left my toothbrush 😉

She’s a single mum…

A few weeks ago I was at the airport service desk having some issues with checking in my bags, and the attendant had to call her manager for assistance. I wasn’t really paying all that much attention to what she was saying on the phone, but what I did notice was that she referred to me as “a single mum” like it was going to make some kind of difference to the outcome of my bag check. I mean what kind of difference could it possibly make? Are there special prices for single mums? Different coloured bag tags? And for that matter, how did she even know I was single? I mean aside from the baby attached to my chest, the lack of wedding ring, and apparently the large sign pasted on my forehead🙄

Anyway, so Mr Manager walks over and after much deliberation solved my bag issue, but not before giving me pity eyes and a metaphorical pat on the back. It’s funny how life stages can really change the way people look at you, and in turn affect the outcome of subsequent events. I have no doubt if I arrived at the airport with a husband and a baby, or even a group of girlfriends that I would have been standing there arguing for a lot longer and probably would have left $120 poorer due to my overweight bag 💼

When I first had Henry I got “young mum” a lot, which was nice I guess only because it’s better than “old mum” – but still curious that people feel the need to distinguish between them. The difference between “young mum” and “single mum” though, is that for some reason the latter carries the connotation that I’m struggling through life, dragging my baby into Centrelink to pick up my welfare check at 9am on a Thursday so I can buy ciggies and a new dressing gown. So I would just like to clear a few things up – Firstly, Centrelink opens at 8.30am on a Thursday. Secondly, I’m doing just fine. I’ve got an amazing family network, who love my son more than they love me and I’ve got fabulous friends who drag me out and force tequila shots down my throat when I need it.

Now don’t get me wrong, being divorced with a toddler at 26 certainly wasn’t in my life plan, and it’s really gotten in the way of my career as a Victoria’s Secret Model. But what I’ve learned is not to get caught up in what might happen next week, because let’s be honest ladies – sometimes getting through the day without murdering your child or taking up heroin is an achievement in itself. I have challenges I never planned for, like opening a first date with “hey I’m divorced and I’ve got a 2 year old, what’s your favourite movie” – and that has definitely been a road block but I find if you look super cute while you say it, it’s not so bad.

In conclusion, I love my kid more than life itself, I would take a bullet for him – and being a Mum is a big part of my life, but it doesn’t define the person I am. And honestly, my biggest worry right now is organising dinner time around Married at First Sight – so don’t feel sorry for me.