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

 

Single Mummy Life-30 years in London, Nursing Reunions and Asthma Attacks  25 things I have learned in the last 10 days 

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 

  1. 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.
  2. Teen Girl is good at acting, I watched her in a school production and  was very impressed by her and her classmates.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. It doesn’t matter how often you see people true friends are always there for you.
  6. I used to have a  waist!   
  7. Teen boy is maturing into a lovely young man. 
  8. Despite my marriage ending in recrimination and tears I am glad it happened I got 2 cool kids as part of the deal.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. A lot of my friends are or have been single parents.
  12. If it all ends tomorrow I have had a wonderful life
  13. I am happier now  than I have been for a long time
  14. Selfie sticks have a button on the handle to take the picture ( I did not know this)
  15. I want a selfie stick they are fun. 
  16. I love taking pictures 
  17. Drinking wine during the day has consequences.   
  18. I couldn’t work on ward again I am too old (and too tired) 
  19. Nursing has made me the person I am today. 
  20. The eighties was a great decade great music, bad fashions and lots of laughter. 
  21. London is the best city in the world 
  22. The NHS and all the people who work for it are wonderful. 
  23. I am grateful for my heritage as the fabulous Naomi Campbell said “black don’t crack”  
  24. Reunions are fun nostalgic but also bittersweet, people no longer with us were notable by their absence 
  25. 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

  

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 

    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