I recently turned 40 and like every other milestone birthday I’ve ever had, I had a big party. Mama loves a good party! I love being the ‘special one’, I love getting dressed up and I love getting all my nearest and dearest together in the one room to celebrate me! Sometimes I think the only reason I got married was for the above reasons. Weddings weren’t really my thing. Love? absolutely, but weddings… I found the whole thing a bit tacky to be honest and at the time I’d rather have had the money on my home loan. So instead I said ‘I do’ in a pink dress, in a park, without a bridal party and then threw a cocktail party an hour later to celebrate! I had a ball. But my happily ever after only lasted five years! Maybe if I’d just worn white and served beef and chicken we’d still be together. (nah, who am I kidding!)

So that brings me back to the big 40. There was never any question about whether I would have a party or not, I’d been thinking about it for years. But there was just one problem. I’m really not where I thought I would be at 40. Single. Did I really want to make myself the centre of attention up the front by myself? So much has happened in my life over the last fine years, post divorce, that I am really proud of, and from the outside my life probably looks pretty rosy with all my MamaMag fun. But on the inside it has been a long and lonely journey. There is a massive hole in my heart with no one by my side to share these accolades with (and to give me a birthday smooch). But I knew I’d hate myself afterwards if I let this one silly thing stop me from celebrating, so the party went ahead.

An amazing school mum friend, Lyla, organised most of it. Being a Virgo this totally went against my inner control freak, but with my sub-standard drive to have this party in the first place it was actually a godsend. Lyla can see my loneliness (probably because we have coffee almost every morning of the week where I share all my online dating stories with her and bitch about single mum life!) and she always helps fill my life with a bit of laughter and love. She took charge of my photo boards and made me the most incredible video. She even made me a life size social media frame so everyone could pose for photos. Only mine wasn’t the traditional Facebook or Insta frame, it was Tinder #singlelife! My video had a bevvy of all the horrendously inappropriate men I’d found on Tinder (who I screen shot to Lyla every so often to give her a laugh), it had surprising birthday messages from my Step mum and my half brother in London, my Dad and his partner in France, (yep, Dad’s on number 3, hardly paved the way for my life of happy marriages did he?!) and a personal message from the gorgeous Sam Wood (Snez and Sam’s story always gives me hope of finding love again) followed by some clips of my two gorgeous kids asking “will you accept this rose”. So cute.

My kids are the biggest advocates for me finding love again. Milla is convinced I should be the next Bachelorette! They are always asking when I’m finally going to get another boyfriend and would love nothing more than to see me happily in love. But how do you find love again? Where do you find good men these days? It’s not like back in your twenties where you went out all the time and met nice boys in bars. I’m a busy mother of two kids, I run a business and my kids only go to Dad’s on weekends. Sure I get a lot of weekends off, but all my friends are married and busy playing happy families then, they don’t want to come out and be my wing-woman. Online dating is the obvious choice. We find everything else online, so why not men? I met a lovely boy this time last year. Kids the same age as mine, he lived nearby, ticked many boxes, but he hadn’t been separated long and although I knew this should be a red flag, he was so lovely I couldn’t resist. I never pushed him into anything too serious, we were just having fun dating, both busy juggling time with kids and work, but 5 months in he freaked out and decided he needed more independence. Ironically a month later he started dating another girl who didn’t have kids, could see him any night of the week and he was now questioning how to reverse his vasectomy. WTF? Not sure that’s my definition of independence. Oh well, good luck to him. If it’s taught me one thing though it’s don’t settle for anybody just so you can have somebody. I’ll take waiting over settling any day.

Online dating is bloody exhausting. It’s so hit and miss and let me tell you it’s a jungle out there. But when you do finally find one worthy of a right swipe and you match it can be pretty exciting. You engage in some idle chit chat and try to get to know a bit more about each other, and if it feels right you then might meet in person. But when I’m only getting 1-2 nights off a fortnight and I still have to fit my own personal social life, work events or a kid free night on the couch in there, it doesn’t leave much time for ‘first dates’. Plus when you do make time and it’s a flop, you feel like you’ve just wasted an entire fortnight. Don’t get me wrong, if I found a man I really liked, I would make the time to see him, but those firsts dates, as fun as they can be, can also be a pain to make happen!

So I’m forty and fabulous. Fabulously single, but I’m ok with that for now. I’ve got some amazing friends in my life, a business that brings me more passion and fun than I could ever have imagined and I’m really beginning to believe that love will find me when I least expect it and probably not from swiping right. My Mr Right is out there somewhere. Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.

x Sarah