This is a love letter to all single mothers who have sustained families and lives throughout the global pandemic.
It's a day late, because I am one of them.
Why does that matter?
Because I am tired. I tried so hard to write this blog and publish it yesterday... I really did. But after rising at 6.30 to get all my children up and dressed and in to school for the first time in almost 4 months, flying through the house work, some essential life admin, speaking to a client and a doctor, feeding us all and finally falling into bed at 11pm, exhausted, it didn't happen.
Many things haven't happened this year that I am passionate about, that represent my career, my interests, my friendships, my relationships - it's hard not to feel like the pandemic has swallowed my personality a little bit. Outside of mothering and working when I can, there's not seemed to be much of me left.
If you read this and relate, Mama, I want you to know that I see you.
It's Festive Season! Hurrah! Glitter and parties and joyful stuff everywhere! Family dinners and warmth and connection and Rudolph and big sweaters and perfectly iced cakes and open fires!
But it's 2020 and thanks to Covid, a whole lot of that stuff isn't going to happen. To be honest, Christmas can just as easily feel like a season of arguments, stress, loneliness, disappointment, fear, cold and isolation. That was true, even before Covid. So if you don't love this time of year yet, don't beat yourself up about it - plenty of people have had sucky festive seasons in their pasts, and managed to enjoy them again. Whether any of us really get that Christmas Card holiday season experience is open to debate. But you CAN definitely have a festive season on your own terms that brings you and your children a whole lot of fun and connection - no matter what that looks like for you.
Over the next 12 days I'll be blogging every day with a little bit of festive food for thought to...
I have started this blog many times this week, and stopped because I do not have the words to adequately respond to the injustices and inequalities of our world. I know I do not understand the experiences of my Black and Brown sisters, I have far more to learn that I can possibly have to say.
I stand with you, in every way my heart can - and every way my business can support you, I will.
To all wonderful Mothers of Colour, I know I do not have the words to speak for you, or indeed for any group of people other than mothers who are parenting alone.
So it is simply to mothers who are parenting alone today I am going to speak.
To all mothers who are continuing to parent through this tumultuous time without school, childcare, a workplace, the community of friends or family you usually lean into, or any of the services or entertainments your family usually get to enjoy, I'd like to offer a hand to hold.
I want to speak to you if you are feeling...
This is what early lockdown looked like for us (picture shared with permission).
My older children only saw their father through the living room window for the first two months of lockdown. He visited them despite not being able to come in, brought them gifts to cheer them up and on one occasion ordered a takeaway for us all.
The kids and I ate at the dinner table and he had his outside the house, so that we could have ‘dinner together’ via video call. He’s been present, consistent and shown up and loved our boys, while staying within the boundaries of lockdown rules.
Every family has had to make their own decisions about how to move children between homes at this time. I’ve supported many mums to figure out the family law guidelines and apply them to their own formal or informal arrangements.
Every parent I have spoken to has wanted to keep their children and loved ones safe. Every parent has wanted to see their child. Not every parent has...
In two days time I will have been in lockdown with my three boys, aged 9, 7 and 2 for 10 weeks. Our lockdown life began back on March 15, when we developed Covid-19 symptoms and started to self-isolate.
I remember how long 14 days alone sounded at that time. We made a cute little post-it note panel with 14 stickers to cross out til we would be 'done'. I had a kind of naive optimism at that point that feels very far away today.
By the time we were done with being sick (three of us having full Covid-19 illness, followed by my own secondary chest infection then my toddler’s secondary croup infection) we were at home, fully isolated for 42 days.
100% responsible for three boys and myself.
The hammering my mental health took in the final week of that stretch is something I hope never, ever to revisit. I was exhausted, lonely, in abject despair if I’m totally honest. I cried, and I cried and I cried. ...
About ten days ago I was Highly Commended in a National Business Awards ceremony. My category, 'Established Star' was for Mums in business for more than 4 years who have made a significant impact and who are successfully bringing their magic into the world.
It's amazing! I am humbled, proud, emotional. I feel incredibly moved that my journey from brand new single Mum, with just determination and an idea about how to support my own kids, has grown into an international movement. I'm helping to change the conversation about parenting alone with #IamTheParentWhoStayed What an achievement! What a ride... What a buzz!
So... here's the rub. I'm also struggling to claim it.
This is something that I want to share with you about success and progress because it's part of #mystory and I bet if you are a woman with lived experiences like mine, it could be part of your story too.
Claiming our greatness is hard. It's hard to take up space, to step onto the stage...
I caught up with my client Joanna to ask her just how having Family Vision Coaching when she became a single mother really helped. This is our interview, and her story in full:
Tell me about life when we met, what was happening for you then?
“In 2017, I had left my marriage, and moved out of the former marital home with my kids. We were all struggling emotionally to be honest, with anxiety issues and confidence issues.
The relationship I left with their father was emotionally abusive. So I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself when we left, I was just surviving you know? Muddling through, focusing on dealing with the next thing, and then the next thing, right in front of me. You could say I was in a firefighting headspace."
What was important to you at the start of your single parenting journey?
"At that point in my life, I was trying to find out who I was now that I was out of my toxic relationship. I had been deeply affected by the state of my marriage and...
Family Vision has been a key turning point, and honestly life changing for me and my daughter. I understand more about myself than I ever have done in the past. The impact of this has been incredible!
Family Vision has helped me to leave my past where it belongs.
Alongside that, I have learned how to proactively step into a future that I want for my family. The whole journey I went on with my group and the connections I made with other mothers have been truly positive experiences for me.
When I found Nina’s book and realised there was a course I could join my daughter and I were just starting out on our own. We were two months into living in our own home and had spent six months apart from her father.
Ending my relationship with her father had been difficult; financial support and contact arrangements were all up in the air. I felt stuck and honestly there was an undercurrent of fear in how I was feeling about what all this meant for me and the rest of my life.
I was looking...
My journey to parenting alone was a slow process. After a long period of feeling stuck, unhappy and unfulfilled, I ended my 19 year relationship. I felt we had become dysfunctional as a couple, and could no longer work as a healthy family together. To cope with the shift to being a single Mum, I became completely absorbed in self care practices.
Self-care really helped me to cope with the stresses that accompanied the changes at home. Still, like anyone navigating such a big change, I had good days and bad days. There were days it felt wonderful. And others days I questioned what on earth I was doing, how would I cope longer term, had I fucked up my kids? How was I going support us… those days felt scary and overwhelming.
My decision to join Family Vision came after I had been parenting alone for two and half years. I was ready to leave the past behind me and turn my attention fully towards building a bright future for me and my kids. I like Nina’s no BS...
To the woman who is wondering where to begin… I’m holding out my hand to you. Becoming a single Mum hurts.
This is my story.
At the age of 39 I found myself a single parent to my beautiful four-year-old girl. I was feeling angry, disappointed and scared – wondering where my life had ended up.
Although my break up from her father had left me feeling excited about the new chapter I was about to begin, I was also feeling lost. I didn’t know how to make my life my own again.
After nearly eight years in a relationship that drained me, did not fulfil me, support me or help me grow, I was not living the best version of myself. I found myself as a new lone parent with a smaller support network, unemployed and miles from the place I had grown up. I found myself with no parents or family nearby to help me.
I was daunted but determined to turn our lives around.
Shortly after splitting from my partner, I was given a copy of ‘I am the Parent Who...
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