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

 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