There’s loads of things I could tell you about being a single mum…how about –
It’s BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS.
OK, OK – that’s enough of the awful parts!
It’s also the most BONKERS, and REWARDING thing I’ve ever done.
I didn’t plan it like that.
The Universe gave me not one, two but three seriously challenging relationships to cope with, as I just didn’t seem to want to learn!
I ended up with child one from my marriage, all hail single parentdom first time…and 6 years later (cos I hadn’t learnt) child two from a disastrous time with an abusive alcoholic.
Single parenthood, twice.
Had I learnt my lesson?
Yep – I needed to recover so I decided to go it alone for a while…
It took all my courage but neither my kids nor I needed any more messing about.
Here’s my 10 step survival plan as a single mum
1. Landed a permanent admin job in a school
Hurray! Financial security and working hours that fitted in around my kids needs.
2. Got out of the house, a LOT
Geez did I need to get out of the house! We went on walks, trips, picnics, anywhere to amuse the kids, get exercise and be in the great outdoors…hmmmmmm!
3. Got super organised and made the most of routines
Planners for me, planners for the kids stuff, got the kids in bed at the same time and up at the same time. Used baths and stories for bedtime.
4. Did all the housework during the week
Game changer! then we had the weekend to do whatever we wanted, no washing clothes or cleaning the house!
5. Switched to grocery shopping online
Cor when I found this I immediately cut my weekly budget by an incredible THIRD!, spent less on my fuel and saved 3 hours a week not having to go the supermarket!
6. Created a 28 day meal planner and put it on the fridge
I took the hassle out of wondering what was for tea every night! It kept me on budget too. The kids got involved and chose what they wanted. Did away with the endless whinges “What’s for tea?” and “Oh, I don’t like that“
7. Saved money for the holidays
Being creative with cheaper meals on the weeks before the school hols meant I saved extra money for trips and ice creams – yum!
8. Put on music and danced around – all of us!
This was probably my top life saver. On a Friday at 6pm, after tea and clearing up, we’d stick on our fav tunes and dance about the house for half an hour. Geez was THAT therapeutic!
9. Asked for help
Hmmm…a biggy for me as I wanted to do it all and not admit I couldn’t BUT you’ve gotta get help. It’s EXHAUSTING being a single parent. I found that whoever I asked without fail always wanted to help AND took great pleasure from it.
10. Gave us all a break with lots of love and hugs!
This one probably goes without saying but it’s impossible to get it right ALL the time. I learnt as I went along, saying sorry to my kids when I got it wrong (A LOT!) and, super importantly, being kind to myself.
I owe a big shout out to Shakepeare with this quote “to thine ownself be true“. It helped me believe in myself in my darkest, single mum times.
When you find yourself in a position you never, ever expected, how you cope with it is entirely up to you.
Will you make like an acorn and put down roots to survive or will you allow yourself to be blown away by the wind?