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

 

 

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 

Single Mummy Life- 16  Time  management tips for a busy working week 

It’s been a busy week. I am back at work full time after being off work ill. The teens are  at  their new schools and colleges and life is settling into an Autumn rhythm. 

I have been  rushing around, fitting in  my daily commute, doctors appointments,  hair  appointments and an evening seminar along the way. In addition there is all the usual washing cooking and cleaning etc!

How do I do it? The answer is I usually don’t and some appointments get missed  (hair and hospital) and the pile of ironing gets higher and higher. In truth I have good days and bad days.

So I have decided to turn over a new leaf and get organised using some of the strategies that have worked well for me in the past plus some new ones I have read about and would like to try.

So here  they are my  Single Mummy Life strategies for getting through the week.

  1. Begin each day knowing what you would like to achieve,  be it geting out of bed on time or calling your hairdresser to make an an appointment, write it down if it helps. 
  2. Review your diary before you go to bed. Know what appointments you have, where you need to be and what travel arrangements you need to make. This will make getting to sleep easier.
  3. Try to get eight hours of sleep, a difficult one this and something I struggle with,  the best I can usually do is to be in my bedroom eight hours before I get up but it’s a work in progress
  4. Decide what you are going to wear tomorrow the night before, again I struggle with this but it does save a lot of time. My decisions are based on who I am going to see that day and how much walking I have to do. 
  5. Know where your vital bits of equipment are, for me this is my keys my phone and my purse In an emergency I can manage as long as I have these things 
  6. Make sure the kids know what their schedule  for the next day iand encourage them to follow tips 1-5!  Every morning Teen boy and Teen girl are looking for something they should have prepared for the night before and every morning I  remind them off it . It is boring for all of us.
  7. Set the alarm for 30 minutes before you need to get up. Enjoy the peace and preview your day and congratulate yourself in advance for a job well done. 
  8. Get up at least 20 minutes before the kids if they see you up and raring to go it helps them to get with the programme.
  9. Have something to look forward to, this could be coffee with a friend or a luxurious bath having something to look forward to will help you to get through the day 
  10. Make a plan for the housework wether it’s doing a bit each day or having a blitz on Saturday morning  ( that’s what I do) having a plan means not worrying about it. 
  11. Decide what you and your kids are going to eat each day. There is nothing worse then coming in from a long day and not knowing what the family is going to eat. I have decided to have a meal plan for the week , my next objective is to have as much prepared in advance as I can ( I will let you know how it goes! ) 
  12. Read your post!  I missed a hospital appointment this week because I hadn’t opened a letter! Don’t let this happen to you. 
  13. Get some excercise even if it’s a 10 minute walk to the shop in your lunch hour. I count my walk to  and from the station in the morning as excercise my next objective is to do some excercise at the weekend as well
  14. Drink! Make sure you hydrated drinking helps you with your concentration when you are feeling sluggish 
  15. Utilise your commuting time, I have an at least 2.5 hr commute every day I have decided to use that time productively to read or write for my blog, listen to a podcast  or to just rest, I am finding that I am now enjoying the time as an opportunity rather than a chore 
  16. Include a hobby, there is more to life than work , housework and the kids (however lovely they are) my new hobby is photography which I can do on the go and during my commute hopefully it will eventually save me money on photos for the blog! 

Well  that’s the plan to get through the working week . Saturday’s my shopping cooking and cleaning day and Sunday’s all being well are for me! 

What do think? Is it  a good plan?  Do you have any additional ideas that work for you? I would love to hear them so do  get in touch and let me know.

  
If you like what you have read get in touch and let me know you can follow the blog here, on my   Facebook book page or follow me on Twitter  @singlemumdawn 

I look forward to hearing from you 

Until the next time 😊

Single Mum Dawn 

     12 years on -Memories of my Sister  Aspiration Inspiration, Motivation and Hope 

      
    Bittersweet day for me today  as it is 12 years since my sister  Amanda died after having  breast cancer.

    I remember the date of her birth very well  we were so excited, my brother and I had a  50p bet (big money those days) on whether we would have a new brother or a new sister …. I won (I always win) 

      
    I was nearly a decade older than my sister, because of her I learned how to look after a baby,  a toddler and a little girl. I left home when she was nine as she grew up she became my best friend.

      
    My  sister loved  playing music and was a talented singer.   She sang professionally in  choirs, bands, TV and with recording  artists, won  talent competitions and travelled the world. She used the talents that she was given to best effect. 

    My sister was a single parent who had her daughter at 19, she was an inspirational single mother who worked hard to own her own home and started a career in social care to support her family while still pursuing her dreams in music. 

      
    Her breast cancer diagnosis in October 2000 came as a shock , I am still shocked.  She was so young and the cancer was so aggressive. I am a nurse by trade and you see another side to the NHS when a family member is ill. The Macmillan and hospice nurses made me proud of my profession.

    My sister was courageous  during  her illness. Postive , brave, never giving up hope,  despite her terminal prognosis , living  what remained of her life with courage and optimism which continues be an inspiration to me today

    Amanda sadly passed away on the 24th of August 2003 at Hayward house Nottingham City hospital. She was 26yrs old. I miss her every day.

    My memories of my sister are that she enjoyed every moment of her life and grabbed every opportunity it gave to her with both hands. 

      
    She was ambitious and entrepreneurial and also generous kind and caring. She loved to travel and enjoyed new experiences. She worked hard and was able to buy a house in Beeston which she loved. She adored the latest fashions and never left the house without looking on point.

    We liked to laugh together and we shared a  sense of the ridiculous a love of comedy and comedy clubs, she loved the Simpsons, Family Guy which are still going strong. She loved gadgets and reality shows.  She would have loved what they have done with Big Brother. 

    She was the first person I knew to have a laptop. So I know that she would have been very into Facebook , Twitter,  X Factor and IPhones if she were with us today so my personal interest in those things is obviously on her behalf, well that’s what I tell people I believe it is what she would have wanted.

    My sister. was a kind and honest person,  ( sometimes to the point of rudeness) a gifted singer and songwriter, choir director and leader, a loving daughter, mother and sister. She was a loyal and supportive friend. 

    I know that my sisters death gave me the to leave my marriage , get divorced and pursue my dreams in the knowledge that life is short and that its best to do what you have to do and live you life with no regrets.

    Twelve year.seems like a long time  yet not a day goes past without me thinking  of her. 

    I remember  her  not with sadness but with love, admiration, affection and joy and give thanks for the gifts  she left to me , aspiration, inspiration, motivation and hope.

    Till the next time 

    D xx

    Bonding with Teen Girl – Professional Photos or Holiday?

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    We have have all been tempted by inexpensive sounding  professional photos sessions and for  £60  and free photo, what’s not to like? Well after spending a eye watering amount of money getting some lovely photos plenty let me tell you!
    It was the day of the tube strike I went home a different way through Liverpool Street station because it was more direct with less chance of being caught out. I was hot tired and hungry never be hot tired and hungry when negotiating about money it will cost you a fortune, trust me.
    I thought I would get a sandwich and was looking around for a shop to buy one, that was my first mistake  (don’t look around) second mistake was engaging with the young man who caught my eye ( don’t stop ever).  I am usually so good at dodging people with something to sell chuggers, Jehovah witnesses, anyone with a leaflet  I am highly skilled at  polite avoidance, hard wired by years of  avoiding eye contact while commuting in London.
    Not on this day though ( I told you hungry hot and tired)  before you know it I have succumbed to flattery  ( third mistake) paid my money and booked a session.
    I tell myself it will be a good bonding session with teen girl ,it will be good  for her confidence, I will set a limit I will be strong!!!
    You can guess what happened next can’t you.
    The day came  and I really wasn’t in the mood. I had promised myself I would be organised  that I would prepare the night before  but I didn’t and I spent the morning flinging clothes round the bedroom and ironing.T hey said we needed four outfits. I struggle finding one outfit ( I have an aversion to ironing) never mind four, plus Teen girl needed four as well, so cue  generational differences in taste and judgement to be  exposed and found wanting.
    I got Teen girl  up two hours before we were due to leave, she  nonchalantly got ready at a leisurely pace like she had all the time in the world  which was infuriating. How long does it take to have  a shower and wash your hair for goodness sake. Too long in my view, so much for a cosy mum and daughter bonding session , time was tight and I was already fuming!
    So after a tense start, we finally  got there just in time with me making  a mental note to self  to remember whenever I have to be somewhere with Teen Girl, add at least an hour  to save time and frustration.
    The studio was lovely cool light and airy funky music  playing and beautiful people walking around looking impossibly cool. It looked expensive.  I am trying to set up a business as a freelance journalist and blogger,  so I am always thinking about costs and I  knew that this set up couldn’t be cheap.
    We had our hair and make up done. Teen girl looked gorgeous with very little effort.  I needed a bit more work.   I had had some similar photos done 10 years ago and I couldn’t help thinking how much I’d aged.  I  have started. thinking that more and more recently it must be my mid life ex wife crisis.
    The photographer was brilliant he made us laugh he didn’t judge our clothes , flattered our vanity and made us look and feel good.  It was professional as advertised. we had a fabulous time it was all I thought it would be  a confidence building  bonding experience mummy and daughter playing dress up.
    The photos were amazing,  I wanted all of them but the cost was prohibitive, think a week abroad for a family of four or a really good second hand car.
    We went from 90 photo to the 29 I couldn’t leave behind, I also had a fascinating conversation with the sales man  Aaron  about Apple Watches, the photography business, acting and music careers, plus marriage divorce and how ( and If)  it impacts on your life as a child ( we were all products of broken homes)
    Thought provoking and unexpected
    Needless to say I still can’t tell you how much I  paid  but let’s  just say I wont be going  for a mini break abroad ( which I could do with actually) and my credit card took  a hit!
    Before anyone asks I did offer Teen Boy the chance to have his photo taken ( he was having none of it ) he liked the pictures though ( I didn’t dare  tell him  how much they cost!)
    All in all it was a really positive experience me and Teen Girl spent the day together and got some cracking photos that we can use for business and personal purposes ( head shots websites  Christmas present etc.)
    As for Teen Girl she now knows that  life is about choices  head shots or holiday?  I made her choose, cruel yes but  I have  to get those life lessons in there somewhere.
    Would I do it again? Maybe… Teen Girl  and I have had a tough few months and it was great to share  a lovely day that we will never forget, we made some  good memories and laughed a lot which is all  ever want to do with kids.
    I have to say though  the next time a handsome young man approaches offering  me professional photo session for £60. I will smile politely say no thank you  hold onto my purse and keep moving.
    Till the next time D xx
    Have you ever done one of this  photo sessions? Did you pay more than expected or did you stay strong?
    I would love to hear about it (it will make me feel better)

    New Life, New Wife – My ex got remarried. Am I bothered no..? Did it rock me…? Yes!

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    My Ex husband got remarried a couple of weeks ago

    Was I bothered no… did it rock me yes

    I got divorced 8 years ago after a difficult marriage which probably should have ended a long time before it did

    My ex was hurt so it wasn’t amicable and he moved about a mile away from our house and maintained his relationship with the kids up, they stayed with him every other weekend and on Tuesdays. This continued until he met the lady who know is his wife and deteriorated further when they had a child together.

    There has been lots of “renegotiating” of the boundaries and expectations of blended families so to say I had mixed feelings when I heard about their impending wedding and planned move to the Middle East is a bit of an understatement.

    It was weird making sure they had smart clothes to wear so that they didn’t shame me, teen boy went with his girlfriend and teen girl invited a friend from school. They looked lovely and I took lots of photo’s (weird), the allotted hour came and kids being the lazy things they are asked me for a lift.

    It was a beautiful sunny day, I couldn’t help but think of my own wedding day it had been muggy and hot, and there had been a thunderstorms the night before, maybe that was a sign.

    We arrived, the first person I saw was my brother in law, he had been the best man at our wedding, he seemed pleased to see me and so did his wife, it was great to see them despite the bizarre circumstances.

    I saw my ex…. he wasn’t pleased to see me… I don’t suppose I can blame him. I think the bride was due any second.  So I made my excuses and quickly left with a lump in my throat mixed thoughts running through my head. One of them being why wasn’t I the one getting remarried. I had always intended to get married again and have another baby,things didn’t work out that way.. was it too late?

    What did I do with myself, I went on a shopping spree and I ate doughnuts.   I spent the day with a friend who made lots of tea, fed me and let me binge watch loads of television. It’s what I needed.

    Apparently the day was a huge success, I was desperate to hear all the details, who came,what did they look like, had they been guests at my wedding? The photos were great. Teen boy made a speech that made everyone cry,the photos were great and a good time was had by all.

    Me, I was shocked by the feelings that my ex’s wedding invoked in me, the regret sadness the emotions of loss and bereavement.

    I was determined not to cry- and didn’t for 3 days  but when it came it was heartbreaking  and desolate.

    I am writing this not as a woe is me piece but as a reflection that in spite of the passage of time and new partners coming and going (in my case), It is always a shock when your ex-spouse moves on to a new life with a new wife.  It leaves you wondering where you are in your life, considering why your relationship ended in the first place and if you did the right thing. I have to admit lots of strange feelings played on my mind for a while.

    On the positive side though I also felt it was time to move on, a time for new beginnings, a time to review my life and career,   decide what I want and go forward. I  have decided to start a blog, to do something different something for me.

    Now that one door  is now firmly closed  there are lots of windows open – the future is mine and my children’s and its  looking bright.

    Till the next time

    Dawn  x