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.
- Hit the snooze button on the alarm clock.
- Try to remember what day it is.
- Hit the snooze button again
- Realise it’s a week day which means I have to get up.
- Hit the snooze button one last time.
- Try to remember what’s in the diary for everyone as I grab just a few minutes more shut eye.
- Remember that this is the day I wanted to get in early because you have a lot to do.
- Get up
- Work out how long it it’s before I have before I have to get kids up when the peace will be shattered
- Get in shower.
- Decide what to wear, go for what’s clean and doesn’t need ironing.
- Find socks (Top tip I only buy black socks so I don’t waste time looking for pairs)
- Get kids up ( they ignore me and go back to sleep)
- Go downstairs. despair at state of lounge and kitchen.
- Ask the kids to get up again.
- Do a quick wash up tidy up in the kitchen and put a clothes wash on.
- Look at clock and realise it’s later than I think
- Ask the kids to get up again!
- 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…
- Decide which shoes are easy to find in a pair and quick to put on.
- Decide against boots go for comfortable shoes!
- Finish talking to my friend look at the clock, do a quick analysis, do I eat breakfast or run to get the train.
- Decide to go for the train.
- Teen girl decides now is the time to ask for money to buy tickets for a concert that goes on sale at 9.00!
- Sort out teen girl it quicker than arguing
- Leave house
- Walk/run to train station ( this why I comfortable shoes!)
- Swerve the man asking for any spare change
- Feel guilty
- Arrive at station just in time see my train leaving the platform
- Wait 20 mins for another train while silently cursing my luck
- Miss the connecting train -really fed up now
- Get the connecting train its packed
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- Remember whatever you say or whatever you do it is embarrassing for them.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Try not to lose it when they lose or break your stuff they didn’t do it on purpose.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be kind to their friends they are very important to them and provide them with support that you can’t.
- 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.
- 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
It’s been a hectic couple of weeks I am still recovering from a very bad cold had a couple of asthma attacks (scary) been to see Teen Girl in a play (very good) and been to 2 nursing reunions ( brilliant) here are 25 things I learned about myself, others and the world
- Asthma can come from nowhere I last had an attack before I had children so wasn’t expecting it. If you have ever had asthma please have an inhaler at hand in case you need it, asthma is no fun and can kill you.
- Teen Girl is good at acting, I watched her in a school production and was very impressed by her and her classmates.
- Teenagers have funny ideas about the NHS and hospitals, the play was set in a mental illness word and the “patients” all had pyjamas on, looked like they had lobotomies, the doctors were sadistic and were literally armed with tranquilising drugs! Things have changed since the 50’s guys.
- True friendship is a precious gift I.had the pleasure of meeting up with people that I have been friends with for 25 -30 years. With people that I have with whom I have shared my brightest and darkest days the experience was humbling and enlightening.
- It doesn’t matter how often you see people true friends are always there for you.
- I used to have a waist!
- Teen boy is maturing into a lovely young man.
- Despite my marriage ending in recrimination and tears I am glad it happened I got 2 cool kids as part of the deal.
- I only have 2 friends who are still with the person they were with when I was 18 (Leessa, Simon John and Tracy I salute you).
- I used to get cabs everywhere, I don’t get a cab anywhere now , if I can’t walk get a tube or drive myself, I won’t go.
- A lot of my friends are or have been single parents.
- If it all ends tomorrow I have had a wonderful life
- I am happier now than I have been for a long time
- Selfie sticks have a button on the handle to take the picture ( I did not know this)
- I want a selfie stick they are fun.
- I love taking pictures
- Drinking wine during the day has consequences.
- I couldn’t work on ward again I am too old (and too tired)
- Nursing has made me the person I am today.
- The eighties was a great decade great music, bad fashions and lots of laughter.
- London is the best city in the world
- The NHS and all the people who work for it are wonderful.
- I am grateful for my heritage as the fabulous Naomi Campbell said “black don’t crack”
- Reunions are fun nostalgic but also bittersweet, people no longer with us were notable by their absence
- All in all it’s been good times! It’s 30 years since I started training as a nurse, a small town girl in a big city. I have had some amazing experiences and met some wonderful people. In the last 10 days I learned to count my blessings and that life is short and goes past in a flash. I know I have had a ball and to mis quote the Areosmith song “I wouldn’t want to change a thing”
Have you been on a reunion what are you thankful for I love to hear from you
Until the next time D x
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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! )
- Read your post! I missed a hospital appointment this week because I hadn’t opened a letter! Don’t let this happen to you.
- 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
- Drink! Make sure you hydrated drinking helps you with your concentration when you are feeling sluggish
- 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
- 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.
I look forward to hearing from you
Until the next time 😊
Single Mum Dawn
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- You won’t call anyone because you are too tired to talk.
- 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)
- Your hair will stay gray for another weekend but you won’t care.
- The reading for work you planned to do at home this weekend won’t get done.
- Any cups of tea the teens make for you will taste like nectar.
- 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?
Till the next time
Single Mum Dawn
In my previous post 40 Life Hacks for Single Mummy Life Life hack #27 was beware of still married men who want you to make them feel better about their lives don’t let it be at your cost.
Here is a cautionary tale about why I said that.
A friend of mine had met the love of her life on a free online dating site so I decided to have a go.
I put up a profile that was very simple with a rubbish picture so that anyone I knew wouldn’t recognise me.
Surprisingly I had loads of responses as I was totally honest about my kids my body type etc.
I chose to go on one date with a guy called Bill .
I have changed his name and to protect the innocent and to protect me! I don’t want him coming after me!
He looked fairly ordinary on first meeting average looking, average height etc.
We had talked pleasantly enough on the phone before we had met. I found out been married twice and that he was separated from his current wife and had recently split up from a girlfriend.
He flattered me, made me laugh, had a job, so I was looking forward to the evening what could go wrong?
Plenty! During the date he told me that although he was a born again Christian he had addiction to prostitutes and pornography which is why his marriages had ended. This was about 20 minutes in!
I should have gone then really but it was all morbidly fascinating.
As I nurse I am used to people confessing their deep dark secrets. The nurse in me was interested in why this guy was committing dating hari-kari.
Perhaps it was because I was a nurse that he felt comfortable, so comfortable in fact that during our meal he took a phone call from the girl he told me was in love with ( she was treating him badly) , told me about the logistics of queuing in a brothel ( you never see the other blokes apparently) and confided in me that his Dad had Paraphilia (look it up) and liked having sex with women who looked like their arms were broken with their arms in sling!
I swear this happened but honestly could you make this up?
I told him that I didn’t blame his wives for leaving him as he was obviously a nightmare to be with. He told me I was very forward with my opinions but he liked talking to me as I was a good listener!
We went to restaurant on top of the Tate Modern which is lovely with a fantastic view I would highly recommend it, so I can honestly say it was the best and worst first date I had ever been on in my life!
We parted at the train station, he said he would call me. I said that would be nice (! why did I say that?) I went home.
Needless to say I didn’t see Bill again.
He texted to say I was lovely ( yeah yeah) but he was in love with another ( the phone call). I was relieved to be honest, it was a lucky escape.
He texted again a few months later saying he had made a mistake, the love of his life was no more and could we go for a coffee.
I ignored it, I haven’t got time for people who text and don’t call, give therapy to the porn addicted with a familial tendency for weirdness or be a consolation prize and anyway I didn’t like him.
Their are three morals to this tale.
Firstly find out as much as you can about someone before you go on a date with them and be wary if they are on the rebound.
Secondly make sure to go to a nice restaurant if the date is awful at least the food will be nice!
Thirdly don’t confess your addictions on the first date. It will ensure you won’t have another!
You’d think that would be enough to put me off online dating for life but it wasn’t (more another time) it really was a weird experience I have got loads of mileage out of it as a dinner party story though, so every cloud…… 😊
Till the next time
Single Mum Dawn