We have all suffered from heartache, pain, loss and sadness. In two weeks I will have been a single mum for 14 months. My son will be three-and-a-half, my daughter will be one-year-and-four-months-old.
Throughout my journey so far, I cannot count how many times I have had advice similar to “you just need some time, after all time heals all wounds.”
I never felt much connection with that way of thinking because to me, it’s not the time that does the healing but what you do with the time that heals. Like any other aspect of life, mourning and transition are an active process, not a passive one.
I became a single mum because I wanted a more peaceful, positive and healthy home environment for my kids and for myself. When I made the decision to leave my children’s father I was faced with various hardships, the emotional, mental, physical and financial.
Holly Wainwright wants to defend all the shouty parents out there. Post continues after audio.
I had to dip into my savings to get a place for us to live temporarily and this was difficult. I had to find a place at short notice, that would accomodate a dog and that was also far enough away that we couldn’t be found. Physically, emotionally and mentally I had to be 100 per cent switched on, even more so because I felt I had to justify my decisions and actions.
One night over another glass of Pinot Noir I finally lost it. After holding it together for a month, I cried and cried into a pillow so the kids sleeping couldn’t hear me and I said over and over again, “This isn’t how it was meant to be. I didn’t sign up for this. This is so unfair.”
In the morning, with strong coffee, I watched my kids and I realised that this parenting gig and our lives might not be the way I had imagined but it was most definitely my choice. And because it was my choice I should own it, be responsible for it. Taking responsibility got me out of feeling like a victim and more of a decision maker so I decided to look for rentals and “start” this single parenting thing, for real.
The journey was real and I faced roadblock after roadblock from the real estate agents. I had no rental history, I had no current income to show as I had taken time off to have my baby and be mum at home. I had no past references because I owned my last home and business and sold both a few months ago and because I had a two-year-old and four-month-old and look after I had limited time for open houses and doing applications by the deadlines.
Two months in with loads of money spent on the holiday house and equal amounts of time going from open house to the next and putting one application after another resulting in rejection, I was a little deflated. I told my mum all about it and she said she would come with me, put in the application, say she was renting it and that we all live together. With her income, references and persuasiveness we got the third house we applied for.
This process was a transformative one and when I said in the beginning it’s what we do with our time that heals us, not just the passing of time, it’s a great example. The challenges I endured had impacted me so much emotionally that I created ShareAbode, an Australian wide platform that connects single parents wanting to share the load of rental and living expenses.
Completely free and not for profit, it works on the principle that two single parents raising children together, sharing resources, rent and living expenses can achieve more than one going it alone.
Single parents can rent a bigger home, with a backyard, in a better neighbourhood together when the household bills and rent are split. They can share household chores and lighten the burden of parental responsibilities. Single parents who have no rental history can benefit as they can utilise the others recommendations or move in to a home which is available through another single parent.
This service gives single parents a profound amount of stress relief which alleviates fatigue and depression, allowing healthier interaction with themselves (self-confidence), with their children and with life in general.
The reality of the system hangs on single parents proactively searching the database for other single parents and creating a listing which allows them to be visible in searches. It’s a system that needs single parents to be proactive also in relationship building and maintaining.
Like any relationship of platonic, friendship, romantic, work – whatever it may be, a successful relationship must be built on honesty, transparency, good communication and the ability to compromise. These things lead to solid, dependable and fun friendship experiences.
ShareAbode connects single parents but the single parents must make the effort to connect with one another and make it work if there is the mutual ground and desire. It’s as much as a personal development opportunity for the parents as well as with the kids who get to see how a healthy relationship works and adapt that into their life.
By offering this platform to Australian single parents as a connection for house sharing and friendship, I hope to make a significant difference in the social and economic lives of single parent families from all backgrounds and from all experiences that led them to become single parents.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.