Single Mummy Life – A year In review -How  was 2015 for you?-

So you did it! You  made it through  Christmas and now its just New Years Eve to navigate and we are done for another year!  I am still on holiday from work  and its taken till now to finally decompress and relax.

So what shall we do now I hear you say? As 2015  draws to a close it’s time to reflect on the year that has passed and look forward to the new one.

2015 was was a  roller coaster  of a year for me  with  big highs and some  very  lows days  for me. I am not sure whether I am glad to see the back of it to be honest but I guess I have to be thankful for the highs and I need to reflect and learn from the lows.

So here is my Single Mummy Life  2015  review with both good and bad bits included.

The best thing that happened to me all year  was starting this blog  (and it is doing great) I have found a rich vein of creativity that has inspired me to do new things with my life,  develop new skills. connect with new people and  start a business it has been amazing , transformational and has definitely changed my life for the better.

Another wonderful thing that happened  was that I had a piece published  in a national newspaper.  The article was about my experiences of being the single mother of mixed race children and how  black and mixed people are represented in the media. It was also a lesson for me in grabbing opportunities as they are presented to you, a journalist asked to write something following a post in social media and although I was scared I didn’t  hesitate.and the results were fantastic foe me.

The children  are a massive part of my life and we have been through a lot together this year. Teen Boy finished school and started university and  is now getting paid to play rugby part time  which is a massive achievement and  a culmination of years of dedication and hard  work. Teen girl  got into the performing arts school of her dreams  which was like a  reality TV fairy tale  and she  has been so much happier ever since.   Don’t get me wrong  we still have our  challenges but its wonderful to see your children go through tough times and come out the other side smiling

Coming to terms with the end of my  marriage and feeling a failure because of it was one of the recurring lows of this year. I had busied my myself with work education and the children in years since my divorce, never really dealing with the emotional side of a very difficult time, my ex remarrying and moving abroad has allowed to time to heal time to grieve and time to move on

I moved to London 30 years ago so 2015 was a time to celebrate my  career and all the friends I met along the way. I had a blast at two Nursing  reunions and realised that I have had a fantastic life so far one that has been filled with love laughter and happiness .

So that was my 2015  full of highs and lows but mostly highs to be honest and with 2016 just round the corner I am looking forward to more adventures, more friends more opportunities and loads of fun

How was 2015 for you?  I would love to hear from you and how it was for you.  you can tweet me  or message me on my Facebook page or leave a comment below. I would be really pleased to hear from you and always reply to comments about my posts.  I want to take this opportunity to thank you reading my blog for your support,thoughts and comments it is much valued and appreciated.

As we look forward to the New Year. I wish you peace,prosperity and all good things

Take care of you

Dawnie  x

 

 

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

15 Simple Rules for surviving with teenagers

Remember when you were a teenager. I do. I remember thinking I was very wise and that adults knew nothing, nothing I was interested in knowing anyway, how times change I am now really old and a single parent with 2 teenagers.

I love my Teen Boy and Teen Girl I really do they are kind talented and funny. They are brilliant company and a joy to be with but you don’t need me to tell you that bringing up a teenagers can be really tough. I struggle with untidy rooms and dirty laundry, if anyone has the answer to that please let me know.
Its half term and my Teens and I are on holiday this week, its winter and we aren’t going away, so we have been spending a lot of time together, well I say together we are in the same house they come down from their rooms for food and money. We are all still smiling just. So with this mind and with love I thought I would share with you 15 simple rules to surviving the half term holidays  ( or any prolonged period of time) with teenagers.

  1. Keep them fed and hydrated, make sure there is simple to prepare nourishing food available at all times, a hungry teenager is a miserable teenager.
  2. Remember whatever you say or whatever you do it  is embarrassing for them.dreamstime_xs_33196543
  3. Plan one trip with them it could be to see a film or going shopping it gets them out of their rooms and helps make memories. I am big on making memories
  4. Refrain from saying “back in my day”. They don’t care about your day it’s as relevant to them as the 1920’s are to you. They don’t know what a cassette tape looks like and care less.
  5. Listen, resist all urges to interrupt them when they are talking to tell them what you would do or about your experiences. I know it’s fascinating to you  but they just want you to listen.
  6. Do not negate their fears, you know that they are talented and pretty/handsome you know that they are going to be a successful adults but they don’t and it’s normal for them to worry about it.
  7. You don’t have to win at all costs, you know that you win any argument easily, let them win sometimes it will boost their confidence
  8. Try not to lose it when they lose or break your stuff they didn’t do it on purpose.
  9. Spend some time alone with them. I know you are busy and have loads to do. I find that you have the best conversations when you are alone together
  10. Talk and talk often, talk about the world what’s important to them what they think about politics, I was surprised (and pleased) at how left leaning my teens are, I use the opportunity to talk when I am giving them a lift somewhere.
  11. Make an effort to spend time with them, I watch Match of the Day with Teen Boy and The X factor  with Teen Girl, I know its television  but it works and gives us a common interest  that we share and talk about.
  12. Encourage them to see their friends it gets them out of the house and its good for them to have networks for when they are not in school.
  13. Be kind to their friends they are very important to them  and provide them  with support that you can’t.
  14. It’s natural to be wary of boyfriends/girlfriends, be supportive of any relationships during the good times and be there for your teens in the bad times.
  15. Enjoy! They won’t be a teenagers forever (they were babies just the other day!) They will eventually want to spend their time and their  holidays with other people (sob) Cherish this time and you will remember it with fondness.

Do you have any tips for surviving as single parent  with teens,if you have I would love to hear from you, leave a comment or contact me. I am looking forward to hearing from you

until the next time

D x

 

The Single Mummy Life Machine is broken! 15 things that won’t  get done when you are ill

I was  ill last weekend. Struck down by a heavy cold which went to my chest and left me feeling cold, weak and apathetic

I usually spend the weekend doing the washing the shopping the cooking the cleaning that I don’t get a chance to do during the week ( yes my life is that exciting)

As a result of being so ill I couldn’t be bothered to make my own dinner ( yes really ill) all that went  out of the window.

As I surveyed a mountain of unwashed dishes and a front room I couldn’t possibly let anyone see,  I thought I would  let other single parents  know (as well as Teen Boy and Teen Girl) what to expect when the single mummy machine breaks down.

  1. The dishes wont get washed.   As you are the last person on earth who doesn’t have a dishwasher you will realise the dishwasher is you and you are broken.
  2. The washing will pile up. You do have a washing machine but no tumble dryer and the energy to load and unload wet washing will be beyond you. As for ironing you will remember you never did it anyway.
  3. The kids will expect  all mummy services to be functioning as usual, the teens although sympathetic to your plight will still demand, lifts , money, your ear  and food on the table. You will start to hate them (a little) for it.
  4. You will feel disgruntled, being a single mummy is a 24hr seven day a week job with no pay or holidays, which is fine when you are well and happy,  but rubbish when you are not. You will feel fed up.
  5. You will long for the days of when you had a live in partner. When cups of tea  and meals magically appeared from nowhere and the washing up was not your problem. You will remember when you had an Au pair and be wistful for those halcyon days  your eyes will well up.
  6. You will watch trash TV  on repeat (Say Yes to the  Dress anyone?)  and enjoy the formulaic mindlessness of it all because anything else is exhausting.
  7. You will pass on the free tickets you won in a competition  to  see  Pharell Williams  ( yes readers this really happened) because you are exhausted and can’t be bothered to queue with healthy people who  have the energy to stand up for more than 5 minutes at a time
  8. You will struggle to get dressed and consider going to the supermarket (the fridge is empty)   in your pyjamas.  You will forget that there is such a thing as online shopping.
  9. The teens will claim  there is no food in the house minutes) after you have been shopping  when what they mean is there is no food which takes less than 2 minutes in a microwave to prepare. You will  order Pizza.
  10. You won’t call anyone because you are too tired to talk.
  11. You will feel friendless as you have not spoken to an adult for days, this will not be true it’s just you are too ill to call then (see number 9)
  12. Your hair will stay gray for another weekend but you won’t care.
  13. The  reading for work you planned to do at home this weekend won’t get done.
  14. Any cups of tea the teens make for you will taste like nectar.
  15. Getting the shopping finally put away after 2 will feel like a massive victory .

Is there anything I have forgotten?
So friends how do you manage when you are ill, on your own with the kids and you still have to parent them feed them and keep the house going?


Let me know I would love to hear from you 😊

Till the next time

Single Mum Dawn

40 Life Hacks for Single Mummy Life

Frippery Jar

I have been a single Mummy for eight years and loads of things have happened in that time. Some good things and some bad things.

I got divorced and I have fallen in and out of love (to) many times.

My children have grown into beautiful teenagers who are a joy and a challenge to live with.

I have had highs and lows in my career being made redundant 3 times and promoted twice.

I have struggled with my weight, losing 3 stone and gaining half of it back.

I have made friends, kept friends and unfortunately lost some friends.

I have also a started a couple of blogs and I am currently trying to make my writing hobby  a career.

I have also learnt a lot about myself about live, love and my career, so I thought I would take stock and share some of the lessons I have learned with you in the hope that it will help  you in some way.

So here goes

  1. Do not chase any man, the right man will find you, when you are ready
  2. If a man tells you something you don’t want to hear e.g. “I don’t want a relationship” listen and act accordingly (I have learnt this the hard way)
  3. Make time for your family they are a constant and will always be there for you
  4. Get some sleep, sometimes you will be so tired you will pray for unconsciousness
  5. Know where all your documents are driving licence, house insurance etc. you will never know where they are when you need them
  6. Don’t bad mouth you ex ( even when he has driven you to distraction ) to you kids, they are part of him and will see that as a criticism of themselves
  7. Find time to do something for yourself even if it’s watching Big Brother for  an hour, make this time sacred.
  8. Time is your precious resource use it well once it’s gone it gone
  9. Enjoy every moment of you kids childhood it goes so quickly
  10. Don’t be a slave to your job nobody lay on their deathbed and said “I wish I could have worked more”
  11. Take lots of photos of everything, your kids , your friends, everywhere you go and everything you do, its lovely looking back at good times
  12. Make memories with your children they will remember them with fondness as they grow up
  13. Have private jokes with your children,  catchphrases that only you know about, it will bond you as a family
  14. Take out one of those policies that covers the plumbing drains etc trust me  when you are ankle deep in sewage, they are worth there weight in gold
  15. When your kids tell you there dreams, encourage them  and support them 100% it motivates them to succeed
  16. Teach your children to cook as soon as they are old enough, this will help no end when you come home from work.
  17. Encourage your children to tidy up after themselves ( I didn’t) and it causes a lot of stress and arguments
  18. Save up and buy yourself something you don’t need. I put my spare change into a piggy bank I can’t open I call it my “Frippery Jar”
  19. At Christmas and Birthdays tell you kids how much you are going to spend and let them decide what they want within your budget
  20. If you have your own place keep it at all costs it’s your investment for the future.
  21. Make a will , if anything happens you would want to spare your children the worry of sorting out your estate when they are grieving
  22. Have a film that you watch when you are feeling down mine is “Moonstruck”  Cher is in it and it’s wonderful!
  23. Try and sort your child support payments amicably if that can’t be done work towards not needing them
  24. Know that your children love you unconditionally even when it feels that they don’t
  25. Be aware of your moods, and know you can sometime difficult to live with, my kids and I are slaves to my hormones.
  26. Say no to your kids sometimes. Practice it does get easier
  27. Beware of married men who want you to make them feel better about their lives don’t let it be at your cost
  28. Whatever you are aiming for you can get it,   be it  a job, a man, or a new skill it’s there for the taking. Go for it
  29. Look after your health, being sick as a single mummy is no fun, have a contingency plan for when you literally can’t get out of bed
  30. Watch or read the news every day you need to know what’s going on in the world ( and it helps with your general knowledge
  31. Laugh with someone everyday it keeps you young makes it all worth it
  32. Keep in touch with your friends their network of support is worth millions.
  33. Don’t be scared, you can do anything and achieve everything you set out to do.
  34. Have something to look forward to, it makes life easier when times are hard.
  35. Stay in touch with your friends who don’t have children be sensitive of their feelings and support there choices
  36. Don’t take work home, when you are at work, work hard, when you are home, be whatever you want to be
  37. Have some life insurance be reassured that your mortgage will be paid off. If the worst happens
  38. Make any tradesmen who come to your home  a cup of tea. They love it and it makes then nice to you
  39. Have one outfit that makes you feel really special, if you haven’t got one get one,
  40. Enjoy yourself  you are amazing , you only have one life so  live it, love it and laugh!

Did it help? Do you have any Life Hacks for single mums  ( and dads) you would be willing to share I would love to hear from you

Till the next time

Single mum Dawn

Letter to Teen Girl 2 : Reflections on applying to the BRIT School.

   
Dear Teen Girl

You have had a rollercoaster of a year!

You are an aspiring actress, you are really good with a lovely voice and excellent comic timing.  You showed promise at primary school and have been doing drama at the weekends for a few years,  you have  even been on the tele (House of Anubis Unlocked it was on Nickelodeon no one saw it) I was pleased and punch despite being unsure where that very posh voice you used came from.

You decided to apply to the theatre strand at The BRIT School in South London after watching one of those crappy reality shows (that we love) about life at a performing arts school.

I could write a book about the application process, there was an open evening, the highlight of which included me showing you up by lightly flirting with a very smiley Dad I thought l knew from work, only realising later it was the actor who plays Dr Sacha in Holby City! The shame! That’ll learn me to talk to smiley blokes who look vaguely familiar….

Anyway that was followed by a testing online application form, where you came up with meaningful answers (with no help from me) to questions such as….. What has been your best performance so far and why? Why do you think theatre is important?  You also had to present your year eight report which hadn’t been your finest hour frankly but we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.

You got an interview. You  chose a brilliant  and brave audition piece about  a girl who had mental health problems, which I found very moving, followed by what I thought was a really  testing panel interview  (I have had easier interviews for senior positions) where they grilled you  on your  motivation, commitment, school work and attitude.

I was astounded at your composure and maturity, at thirteen I would have wilted under the pressure, the interview over, I knew you had done very well but had you done enough?

Eventually the letter came, it wasn’t the big fat envelope we had been hoping for, instead a note thanking you for applying, saying that you hadn’t been offered a place due to the high number of quality applications and you  that were on the reserve list.

A bittersweet outcome, you were good enough to get in but hadn’t got in, what were you supposed do with that?

You were so upset it was so difficult to watch, all that hard work had seemly come to nothing, there was a glimmer of hope though (the reserve list) but it appeared impossible.

The pushy parent in me found out how many people were on the waiting list (12!!).  It didn’t look good.  You thought it was highly unlikely that anyone would drop out. I did too, I decided kept my doubts to myself and cross my fingers.

We decided to chalk it up as a positive achievement and to concentrate on making the best of your current school.  You decided that you would apply again for the BRIT sixth form in two years  and we reminded ourselves about the successful actors who hadn’t gone to the BRIT School

Life went on, to my horror you lost interest in acting and most things, I wasn’t sure if it was being a teenager or depression, your dad got remarried and moved abroad, you had some problems with your health. You were very sad. I was really worried about you.

As the summer continued we both began to give up hope, you stopped asking if I had heard anything and I stopped mentioning it. It was easier.

Just before September I eventually rebought your whole school uniform, it cost a fortune (grrr) and you went back to school.

You seemed resigned, happier, and smiled more than you had in weeks.

You decided to go back to drama at the weekends, I was relieved, was the old Teen Girl coming back?

Then….

Just when we thought that we had got it sorted, life delivers something that is going to change your life forever…

I was lying in bed reflecting on how rubbish the last few months have been when I got a phone call.

It was the BRIT!!?

My heart was pounding had somebody dropped out?

“Would you like some good news”

“Yes”

“Would Teen Girl   still be interested in coming to the BRIT School?”

“YES”

“Could you come to the school now to sign the forms?”

“YES”

It  was like when Simon Cowell rings the Wild Card on the XFactor! I can honestly say I now know how they feel. Somewhere between heart attack and orgasm (not that you would know anything about that!).

I waited until you came home to tell you the news, understandably you reacted with a combination of shocked surprise and concern.

You are delighted but fearful, you worry that you won’t make friends and it will be like starting Year seven again.

Your lovely friends are pleased and proud for you but sad for themselves. A bit like myself… There was laughter and tears, something for everyone.

You start on Monday!

I need to tell you that you are amazing, you have worked so hard and overcome adversity in so many forms, I am delighted that your talent has been recognised and I am so proud of you.

The message I guess is never give up hope and believe, as you never know what’s around the corner

I believe dreams do come true and I believe in you

Lights Camera you’re on, Teen Girl, take a bow, your sparkling   future is ahead …Congratulations

Break a leg!

I Love You

Single Mum Dawn x

Letter to my Teenage Girl as Dad moves abroad

  

Teen Girl you have had a tough year, your favourite teacher who believed in you, motivated and inspired you died very suddenly. You didn’t get into the school that you dreamed would help you pursue your talent and vocation and now your Dad has remarried and is moving abroad.

You were only little when we divorced, I have often wondered  how much you remember,  I know that you have sometimes blamed yourself  for the divorce and some of the difficulties we have experienced since then  I want you to know that none of this is your fault and that we both love and are very proud of you.

I sometimes think the true cost of our divorce is only becoming apparent now as you move from being a tween to being a fully-fledged teenager about to start your GCSE’s.

  
Your sadness is palpable, you have lost confidence, some of your infectious joy, fearlessness and ability to engage with everything and everybody with a smile. You have however maintained your ability to see the best in everyone including inexplicably Katie Hopkins!

You worry about your weight and your looks. You are developing your own sense of style and opinions about the world. You are tentatively discovering boys.  There have been tantrums and tears, we have hurt each other with thoughtlessness and cruel words.  I feel that you direct some of your anger at me because I am here, I try to understand what you are going through (I do remember what it was like) although it is difficult to deal with sometimes.

Your pain about your dad leaving makes me sad, I sense your bewilderment, it echoes the sadness I feel about the relationship with my own father who also lives abroad now. A distant tense relationship with so much anger and hurt remaining unsaid. I don’t want that for you.

I worry who will be your  safe male role model, who you will be attracted to, what sort of relationships will be your normal? I hope your experiences do not mirror mine, I hope that I can support you to spare you that.

I will help you maintain your relationship with your father (you are the teen queen of social media and technology) and I hear you when say that’s not the same and not enough. I will be here for you when you are finding it hard. It won’t be the same as it was when he lived a mile away it will just be different

You have seen so much in your short life, illness, death of family member’s, difficult friendships, rejection, turbulent relationships and divorce.  I know ultimately these experiences will shape you and make you stronger. I know its difficult now though and far from the idyllic teen life we see on the TV.

You are smart funny talented and braver than you realise, you have always been a delight to be with. I want you to know that although you have had a lot of loss and disappointment this year and your world is changing fast there is always light at the end of the tunnel.  Hold onto to your dreams, I know that you will be a success in whatever you chose to do because you are amazing and my favourite girl in the world

Love your Single Mum Dawn