I used to be a single mum, so I know just how damn hard it can be. I also know it can be pretty rewarding too. When I saw how my mate Danielle from Keeping Up with the Holsbys was nailing her stint in Single-Mumland, I begged her to share her wisdom. Here are 10 things she knows.
- When people say that their partner works all the time and they’re practically a single mother, it doesn’t piss me off because I know that feeling too, and it does feel like what you imagine it would be like.
In truth, it’s not really the same at all and it’s a bit of a dicky thing to say.
- Standing in line at Centrelink is one of the most levelling experiences you’ll ever have. All single mums have to do it because you need to tell the government what you’re doing and you’re usually doing it at a crisis point so it totally tastes like despair and failure. But it isn’t. It’s just another line. Do some kegels, take some deep breaths and remember that everything is going to be better than okay.
- I wondered if I would ever find love again but I have. Yes, it’s complicated, and I have kids and there is a whole minefield of considerations I’ve never even thought of before but you know what? I’m still young and I’m deserve love and intimacy so when you’re ready, you get back on that horse. You can make up the finer details as you go. Just take it slow.
- Even though 50 per cent of marriages end in divorce, I still feel like people judge me when I say I’m a single mum.
- Your ex doesn’t need to be your enemy. In fact, the sooner you can get past the bullshit, the better it will be for the kids. Obviously, not all exes are created equal and some should never go near the kids again, but dads are kinda important, so if you can be civil for the children’s sake it better for them in the long run.
- Putting out the bins, mowing the lawn and catching spiders isn’t as bad as you think after you do them a few times. These were never my job when my husband was in the house and now I’m Chief of the Spider Catch and Release Program.
I lied about the lawn. I have a man for that, because I can.
- When my kids miss their dad or cry for him it burns me every time, but I cannot afford to feel guilt. I made the best decision for me and us, and one day they will understand. In the meantime, I’ve made friends with Facetime.
- People often me ask how I do it all. How I do everything I do and look after two kids? It’s easy. Just like everybody else in the whole world who is busy and focused – You. Just. Do. It. All mums are busy, all the time. I’m just a busy mum.
- I will always be a bit sad that things didn’t work out the way I planned. I will always be a bit sad that my kids didn’t have both parents living together to keep them in line and love the crap out of them at the same time, but if I’ve learned one thing from all of this it’s that you can’t plan life. All you can do is keep heading in the direction you want to go, and roll with the curve balls.
- Even on the longest, crappest day from hell, with crabby kids and no cavalry coming to save you, the sun will set and bedtime will come, and there will finally be silence.
Danielle is a writer, producer, photographer and a foul mouthed swiller of tequila. She lives in Sydney with her two young kids and a cat name Mister Fluffy Pants who’s a bit of a jerk. Luckily, her kids mostly aren’t jerks.
When she’s not freelance writing she likes to tell it how it is on her blog Keeping Up With The Holsbys which was nominated in the Top 5 Parenting and Personal Blogs at the Kidspot Voices of 2014 awards.
In her down time she likes to dance in her socks in the kitchen.
Want more from our 10 Things I Know series? Try:
10 things I know about making a tree change
10 things I know about hormone imbalance and weight loss
10 things I know about making a career leap
Great post and good insight. I am a FIFO wife flying solo two weeks at a time and sometimes refer to it as solo parenting. But it’s not and I really shouldn’t say it because after two weeks I have the relief of another adult in the house. Yes, a dicky thing to say. Thanks for sharing your 10 things Danielle x
Hey, the FIFO life is nothing to be sneered at either! I tip my hat to you as well. 🙂
Kudos to you Danielle & all those who parent singly. It’s becoming a regular thing in my kids’ friendship groups & in my own family. Breaks my grandma heart but I take my hat off to those who can & do parent singly .. My DD included at top of that list. Thank you for sharing. Denyse x
Thanks Denyse – even sadder of course is to stay in a sucky relationship. Hope your DD is much happier now. x
Great post. I really love Danielle’s blog and I am sure if I knew her I would love her too. It is fucking hard, all of it. So glad that a year on she is doing so well though.
Holsby is unsinkable. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your top 10. I love #6! When I lived out of home by myself I too was Chief of the Spider Catch and Release program.
My stint as a single mum didn’t last all that long. It may or may not be related to number 6…
Love this post, it’s a bloody hard slog being a single Mum. I’ve done it, and my daughter does it. I don’t go near her after she goes to Centerlink – she absolutely hates it. She works hard, but feels judged. There is light at the end of tunnel though, just when you think things couldn’t get any worse – something always comes along. Or, that’s what I found anyway. Kathryn x
Totally agree, Kathryn! x
“All you can do is keep heading in the direction you want to go, and roll with the curve balls.” One of the many, MANY, many reasons I freakin’ love Danielle. x
And there are so many…
I’ve been a solo parent (no weekend respite here) for six years. It’s bloody hard work, but better than being in an abusive relationship. And no parenting arguments, no undermining of your authority – what I say, goes and that’s it. And I get ALL the kid love. Can’t imagine being back in a relationship though, kudos to you for making the effort.
Kudos to you, Dorothy! My mum was like that – she lived alone with us from when I was 6 and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She called all the shots, and she was wonderful.
Being a parent in any of it’s various guises is really tough. Being a single parent especially tough. Great post and excellent insight for those that haven’t been through this. Thank you for being so honest. xx
That Holsby woman pulls no punches. One of her best qualities.