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What women want - June 2017

01 Jun 2017

Shockwaves from spread sheet

By Abby Crawford

It’s funny how things can hit you out of the blue.

Things you think you are so comfortable with can suddenly jolt through every fibre of your being. Things you think you had a handle on, can escape your control and flood your heart and soul with sadness and fear. It’s like a splash of ice cold water when you least expect it, sending shivers across your once warm skin and causing your chest to clench and heart to race.

It happened to me just the other day. A seemingly normal email bounced on in and I was quite happily reading the updates of where my son’s rugby under 14s would be playing for the coming weekend.

It’s a wonderful club, very social, very caring and we all had a good giggle at appointing a “social director” to our team to organise get togethers. And with inspiring gusto, our social director had created and circulated a “cheat sheet” with a column for kids then mums and dads details - little prompts to who’s who in our zoo.

And somehow this neatly, methodically-organised spread sheet with all the boxes filled in made the sole empty “Dad” box next to my son’s name break my heart.

This was obviously not news to me, that I had been single for 13 years. I had felt that I was very well aware of that fact. I had felt that I had embraced the joys of single parenting, I delighted that I didn’t have to share access of my beloved son.

I didn’t hesitate to work around the clock to provide, I never wished to be on some hot date over being snuggled with him watching movies and sharing our time together. I really thought I was not only fine with being a single mum, but that I had embraced it.

The shockwaves that the “empty box” caused was unexpected, but it suddenly did feel that there was a big empty space. And whilst I can accommodate a big empty space in my heart, it was looking at all that represented for my son – that there was a big empty dad space for him in rugby, in his house, in his life – an empty space quite literally next to my son.

And my heart was filled with sorrow, filled with longing for a more complete picture for him. I suddenly felt panic that I wasn’t enough for him, that he deserved more than just a mum, that my dedication to embracing “single mum” and devoting my time to work and my child might have inadvertently stopped us both from meeting someone who could have filled that empty space.

And I felt that all I had left in the tank, was tears. And so I cried. I cried for what was lost, I cried for what could have been, I cried that a blank space could throw my reality at me like broken shards of glass.

And then, I did what all us single mums do. I pulled myself together, I scrubbed away the tears, I shut off the hurt inside to deal with at another time, and I turned and smiled at my son.

So this one’s for all the single mums – I know how hard it can be. I know how wonderful it can be. I know how lonely it can be. You need to know you are loved, you are enough, and everything will be ok.

What a woman wants is for everything to be perfect, but what a woman needs to remember is that whilst reality isn’t perfect, there’s a whole lot of love that is.

A mother’s love is perfection, whichever way it’s shared. This month please remember that it takes a community to raise a child, and for that I will be forever grateful, for the incredible love and support that is found in ours.

With much love,



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