Written by Svetlana Smit, as part of the Beanstalk ‘Single Mums Sharing Stories’ series.
I am Svetlana Smit, I am a mother, a single mother. My current supervisor has been with me for the last two years of my journey. He always says to me I must become a motivational speaker. I have a lot of strength and wisdom I can share with daughters and mothers in similar situations.
For now I just want to celebrate the past ten years of hard work and determination.
My journey starts in June 2007, ironically on Father’s Day, with no idea of how it will play out.
‘Thank you for doing all that you do for us, we appreciate and love you very much. Happy Father’s Day’ I texted him on Sunday morning after he left for work.
That evening when he got home and the kids were in the bathroom … his words hit me like a pile of bricks: ‘I wasn’t looking for this, but I really love her. If you think back, our marriage was over a long time ago.’
So this is how it looks when two people live in the same house. You don’t know until you need to know .. and I was as blind as a bat.
I was 32 years old, married since I was 21, had two beautiful girls ages five and eight, and suddenly a single mum, with no job or any idea how to do this alone.
When I was 16 and wearing the pink glasses, I was definitely not dreaming of being a single mum, driving up and down the whole week to and from kids’ activities, trying to make their lives as normal as possible.
I stood up in my second sitting room and decided ‘this is now my life’. I need to make it work, for myself and my kids.
Two weeks after that fateful day I had an apartment, a job and was living with my two girls .. alone.
I pulled myself up by the bootstraps. I have always, since school, wanted to become a chartered accountant that worked in the big glass building when you enter Pretoria, our state capital then. The building is still there, I don’t even know what they do there now.
I finished my Management Assistant Diploma in the first three years after my divorce. I started university for my degree in Financial Management. I then got a job at one of the country’s biggest companies as document clerk, moved up to secretary for the Finance department two years later, and started to work as accountant two years after that.
I have bought a new car (in my own name). I have moved back into a house, and moved again, this time a bit closer to my work. I am enrolling next semester for my Financial Management Diploma and rotating to different departments currently to gain experience in all fields available in finance.
Strangely enough, while I was in school my dreams were pretty much what I have achieved now, except for the happily married part ….
Now, 10 years later, and a lot of tears, drama and break throughs, I am proud .. very proud of myself.
Raising my girls was a great effort, with lots and lots of rewards.
I admit it does take a village to raise children. Their father went overseas six years ago, so I really was doing this on my own. I am so very grateful for the help, love and assistance I received from everybody we knew. You don’t know how much people care until you need it. It is very precious.
After all the changes, moves, upsets and drama my daughters remain my rock and my compass. In this journey from where we began, up until now, where the oldest one is final year of school, we three supported and kept each other strong. They have grown up under my nose into two beautiful young ladies. I don’t always know when it happened or even how, but I did it. We did it.
- When I couldn’t even move the first six months after the separation, the older one fed and bathed the little one, and looked after me in the evenings when I cried myself to sleep.
- When I picked up the pieces when they realised their dad is what he is, and it isn’t anybody’s fault, it is just where we are now.
- When I dried the tears and built up the self-esteem, encouraged the ambition in both of them.
- When took turns sitting next to the little one’s hospital bed when we didn’t know what was happening to her
- And when we laughed so hard our stomachs hurt and no sounds comes out.
The journey was worth it, I am a proud mum. I don’t care if it is a single mum … it doesn’t matter anymore. I am grateful and blessed to have been given the gift of motherhood.
Life doesn’t work out the way we plan. It doesn’t have to fit in a box, be given a nametag or classified in a category.
… but with revision, dedication and love we can make it wonderful.
This is dedicated to my two girls, Marni and Anel. I love you to the moon and back.
I will always be there.