Being a mum to James has given me the ability to become who I always was and really am. My story is certainly not how I had pictured my life turning out. There have been surprises around every corner and life lessons at every turn. However this time I listened to my instincts and I really feel I’ve been brought into another world.

The fashion industry was my home for over half my life and still is in many ways. At 16 I was on the catwalks in Paris surrounded by the most beautiful people I had ever seen. It was a whirlwind of travelling, work and parties. A dream for some, a nightmare for others. Some girls survived but some sadly fell prey to numerous vices and bad people. I lived the dream though. I loved meeting new people and travelling to exotic places and I’ve lived all over the world. During the height of my modelling I suffered from depression though and there was an emptiness inside I just couldn’t fill. I filled it with parties and travelling. Always busy and never giving myself time to think. I loved kids and longed for the right man to come along and sweep me off my feet and then we could all live happily ever after.

I thought I met the right man but it ended in pain and not long after I left I discovered I was pregnant. It was an incredibly difficult time. My childhood dreams had just disappeared and how on earth was I going to cope? Having suffered health difficulties in my 20’s I had been told it would be difficult for me to conceive. I now had the one thing I had always dreamed off but no one special to share it with. I became determined to have a healthy and happy pregnancy and developed a drive and ambition like never before. As James grows that drive becomes stronger as my focus is and always will be on being the best Mum I can. I was scared and felt very alone during this time. When I met James I was in shock I simply couldn’t believe I had given birth to such a beautiful little boy.

My Mum has been my angel and in the hospital she turned to me and said ‘do you see how much you love him? Well that’s how much I love you’. On hearing those words my life was changed forever. I have a deep appreciation for everything I have now. I suffered very bad Post natal depression and the journey back has been tough. Juggling work and being a single Mum can be very hard but I’m lucky to have some incredible people in my life. I love what I do. I research and write about parenting and through this industry I have met some of the most inspiring people and lifelong friends. I still model, MC events and have just finished a night course in business. I have also just started my own business and have decided to redevelop my own website alisoncanavan.com.

How do I do it? I work late into the night and yes every day I’m trying to find a better work/life balance. What drives me is the belief that in life you get out of it what you put in. Hard work does get rewarded you just need to believe in yourself. If I was to sum up the last two years I would have to say. I’ve never had less but I’ve never had more. I’ve learnt the meaning of true happiness. I know it’s not something you can buy as when I gave birth to James I had about €100 in my bank account. I also know that the grass is not always greener. I’ve chased the dream and lived the life. The ability to have happiness is inside every single one of us. We need to be honest with ourselves and the decisions we make.

Every night I put James to bed I can’t wait to see him the next morning. I often stand over his cot at night just staring at this person I love so much. The day he smiled, sat up, crawled and walked were some of the best days of my life. Every day with James is an adventure and every day is different. Being a parent can be very difficult but the rewards are more than worth it. What James has taught me is what I’ve been looking for all my life- the ability to be happy, live every day from start to finish, work hard and help others. We can achieve so much more together than we can alone. Our children are a gift. Reopen that gift every day and you’ll discover something new. As a mum when you’re having a really bad day know that’s ok too because the bad days make us appreciate the good days more. I’m a great believer in ‘Mum knows best’ so trust your instincts and always do what’s right for you.

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