Singlemummylife -Top 10 tips for managing Christmas as a single parent 

I love Christmas always have but the holidays can be a lonely and stressful time for single parents  and I  know that I feel a bit lost in having to manage the day on my own. So here are my  top 10 tips for managing at Christmas

  1. Decide where you will be. Make a decision as soon as you can.  Factor in your  co parent if they are  around and your network of support. If someone invites you for Christmas bite their hand off and go.
  2. Plan some time off  to do your shopping, every year Christmas comes as a surprise to me so I need a day or two to get myself sorted.
  3. The internet is fabulous,  use it well. I am saving a lot of time doing some of my shopping online ( what did we do before?)
  4. Make a plan for who you are going to see and when over the holidays.  At Christmas I try to see as many friends and family as I can and as we live all over the country this requires a lot of strategic time tabling.
  5. Plan some time when you don’t go anywhere  or do anything treat it as a date with yourself.
  6. Ask the kids what they would like and specify a budget. My kids are too old for Santa so I ask them what they would like and try to fit in as much as I can. It’s also useful to have if friends and family ask what the kids would like for Christmas.
  7. If anyone asks you what you would like for Christmas ask for stuff that you would like but wouldn’t buy for yourself. Make up, earrings, fancy bubble bath that sort of thing.
  8. If you can, buy yourself one thing that you wouldn’t dream of buying during the rest of the year. Wrap it up like you would for a loved one, then open it on Christmas Day and keep everyone guessing as to who bought it.
  9. Create  family traditions that make  Christmas time special one of ours is playing intergerational  (and very competitive ) games of scrabble and Monopoly.
  10. If you do have to spend some time on your own at Christmas make the time into a massive treat. Stay in your pyjamas, wrap up warm and binge watch your favourite films/ Tv series. Eat nice food, drink wine and congratulate yourself on  the great job you have done all year.

So there you have it,  my tips for  managing Christmas as a single parent. I have probably missed loads out and you  guys will have your own tips. If you have let me know.

Have a good one and take care of you.

Dawnie x

A Video Phone Call with the ex – its time to move on

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My ex Face Timed  me yesterday. I haven’t spoken to him since his move to the Middle East, I was at work so I was  unprepared for it  but it was good as I was in professional mode and able to deal with him.

We talked, he showed me round his 4 bedroom detached (with servant) house. He told me he was doing well and everything was better than in Britain, his new son was in a private school everything was rosy and that he had made the right decision to move out there.

He told me that he wouldn’t be coming back to the UK for a least a year. We talked about the children.  We talked about the things that they are up to, how they were doing, the things we used to talk  about when he was in the country and living about a mile away, things that seem strange to talk about to a person who now lives 3000 miles away.

As we talked I felt a myriad of emotions, some sad, some jealous ( I would kill for a servant). I felt sorry for the children they miss their Dad and probably  won’t be able to visit because of the prohibitive cost and logistics of school and university timetables.

I felt a kind of sad rage because I reckon my ex got off lightly, while he is apparently living the life of Riley I am here in  rainy London really struggling on my own  with no servant, no money, and what feels like no life.

Now I know that life isn’t that black or white nobody is completely happy or sad. We all present our best selves to the world but let me sob in my own little pity party just for one post.

I have been a single parent for 8 years and I can honestly say I have never felt so alone as a parent. I hadn’t realised the fact that my ex  was in the same town made such a difference to our family, even when he wasn’t doing anything or contributing anything. The fact that he was there made it manageable.

The conversation continued. He made the usual promises and asked for a couple of favours.  I didn’t complain or ask for anything because there was no point. We said our goodbyes

As usual the contact with my ex the experience was a bittersweet one, we aren’t friends and perhaps were no longer enemies, we are nothing to each other and that is a weird feeling. I was left with a feeling of acceptance and some sense of peace.

What was good was good in our marriage and I can now remember the good times as they were without them being clouded by the bad.

I think all single parents have expectations of their ex partners which are impossible for anyone to live up to. I think the time may not healing all wounds but it does makes them smart a little less.  My ex  has moved on its time for me to do so as well.

Until the next time


Single Mummy Life- 36 things single parents do before breakfast

I read an article this week called 14 things that successful people do before breakfast  it annoyed me a bit it includes things like drink water, exercise, work on a priority project network over coffee (!) and write down everything your grateful for. So far so worthy, I give “props” ( proper respect” to the amazingly successful people who manage to do all of these things before breakfast, while thinking about all the amazing single parents who don’t manage to all of those things but are keeping it all together. So with a nod to all  you single parents out there here is what @singlemumdawn (follow me on twitter) actually did before breakfast this Monday.

  1. Hit the snooze button on the alarm clock.
  2. Try to remember what day it is.
  3. Hit the snooze button again
  4. Realise it’s a week day which means I have to get up.
  5. Hit the snooze button  one last time.
  6. Try to remember what’s in the diary for everyone as I grab just a few minutes more shut eye.
  7. Remember that this is the day I wanted to get in early because you have a lot to do.
  8. Get up  
  9. Work out how long it it’s before I have before I have to get kids up when the peace will be shattered
  10. Get in shower.
  11. Decide what to wear, go for what’s clean and doesn’t need ironing.
  12. Find socks (Top tip  I only buy black socks so I don’t waste time looking for pairs)
  13. Get kids up ( they ignore me and go back to sleep)  
  14. Go downstairs. despair at state of lounge and kitchen.
  15. Ask the kids to get up again.
  16. Do a quick wash up tidy up in the kitchen  and put a clothes  wash on.
  17. Look at clock and realise  it’s later than I  think
  18. Ask the kids to get up again!
  19. My best friend rings . She is in her car on her way to work and in the mood to chat  so I  try to conduct a sensible conversation with her  while gathering my bag and…
  20. Decide which shoes are easy to find in a pair and quick to put on.
  21. Decide against boots go for comfortable shoes!
  22.  Finish  talking to my  friend look at the clock, do a quick analysis, do I eat breakfast or  run to get the train.
  23. Decide to go for the train.
  24. Teen girl decides now is the time to ask for money to buy tickets for a concert that goes on sale at 9.00!
  25. Sort out teen girl it quicker than arguing
  26. Leave house
  27. Walk/run to train station ( this why I comfortable shoes!)
  28. Swerve the man asking for any spare change
  29. Feel guilty
  30. Arrive at station just in time see my train leaving the platform
  31. Wait 20 mins for another train  while silently cursing my luck
  32. Miss the connecting train -really fed up now
  33. Get the connecting train its packed
  34.  Play a passive aggressive game with the other passengers on the train  of  “who is getting the next available seat” . I win. I am good at the game.
  35. Finally sit down on a train fully intending to look at my  work emails on my IPad but instead decide to play my music and stare vacantly into space.
  36. Finally get to work, no earlier than usual and start my work day.

Guess what I didn’t get a chance to have my breakfast!   There are variations on the theme each morning, like which child will ask me for money just before I am leaving the house and sometimes I will leave the house in shoes that look very pretty but hurt my feed and I go back home and get my comfortable shoes on. I usually miss the train or decide that I am going to miss it anyway and have my breakfast. I never network over coffee ever.  

Yet I am successful, I hold down a full time job, I write a blog,  run a house while bringing  up children  on my own. If that’s not successful I don’t know what is. 

I love those articles though they are motivational and inspirational. I share them and I even give advice myself but I  refuse to let them think badly about myself, we are all have different circumstances and for me getting up and out there makes you  amazing. 

What do you get done before breakfast. Is anyone networking before coffee? Let me know I would love to hear from you 

Until the next time 

Dawn x