Hey! I’m Willo. I’m a single mum, my son Dustin is 4 years old and my daughter Monique is 2 years old. I became a solo mum in mid-February 2017. It was not what I set out to do, as most of you will totally empathise with, but it’s what happened. My story is below and how ShareAbode came about and I’ve tried to keep it as short as possible, but I am a bit of an over-sharer!!!!
These days, I prefer to call myself Independently Owned and Operated. This mindset is something of a work in progress, as is the journey of life and it is this journey of life so far which led me to the creation of ShareAbode.
In February 2017 I packed my car full of everything I could, put my son and daughter in the car (at the time they were 3 months old and 2 years and 4 months old) and my dog, Roxy who was 11 and I drove interstate, leaving a relationship which was for years ill-serving, verbally aggressive to the point of abusive and had lowered by sense of self and sense of worth to levels I did not think possible.
I sold my business that I had founded and grown for 10 years and also the property it was on, paid off debts and had a bit of savings up my sleeve. I found the only place that I could stay in, that would allow dogs and at short notice and set us up there for a few weeks so the dust could blow over and I could figure out how I was going to take my next steps.
Those weeks turned into months and like most single mums and dads going through the initial experience of this, it’s totally overwhelming, highly emotional, physically exhausting and usually full of fear, confusion, anger, guilt, helplessness. Lots of nights were spent drowning myself in a glass or two of wine after the little ones were asleep and my days were full of keeping them occupied with a smile on my face, like there were no cares in the world.
Amongst all of this, I knew I had to make my first certain step which was to find a place and location to call home. Coming from NSW and then being ion QLD without my regular support system was difficult to say the least. My mum came up often to help out, but I kept most of this hidden from friends and family, I felt they would judge me, feel sorry for me or feel obliged to help and I just didn’t need the extra emotions on top of the ones I already had battling inside of me.
Finding a place to call home, an area to call home was SO HARD! I got knock back after knock back, I really had no idea what the areas where like before I got there so was stepping into the unknown and taking a 3 months old in a bassinet and a new 2 year old boy all over the open houses and in and out of the car was so PAINFUL. It would take so long to get applications organised, with the printing, scanning and emailing of them I was in and out of printing shops, internet cafes and spending so much time compiling them and emailing them. So DIFFICULT with my two little ones.
Finally, after months and months of disappointment, savings being spent on an expensive place because I couldn’t get anywhere else, I asked for help from the only person I could, my mum. We came up with a plan to go for a rental which was more expensive than I could afford and have her put her name down as the person renting and I would live with her. We would split the rent and she would come up and stay once every two months for a week and help me with anything and everything. We got the first house we applied for.
And that’s the start of how ShareAbode came to be. From my own experiences of frustration and disappointment to the experiences of co-living with someone, I knew that I had to find a way to help other single parents, so they didn’t have to struggle the way I did.
I hope that you can benefit from ShareAbode and find someone who you can create a friendship of support, trust and similar values with to help share the load of rent and expenses and cure those lonely nights and kid free weeks – to help you enjoy and get ahead a little but more in the often challenging journey of single parenting.
Xxxx Wilhelmina Ford