• Fri. May 24th, 2024

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5 TOP TIPS FOR UNSINGLE SINGLE MUMS

BizziMumzi Ashley and Adiya (7)-93113c13

 By Ashley Verma, Bizzimumzi

My husband is away for huge chunks of time for his work in Uganda. That makes me what we call an Unsingle Single Mum.

Yes, we’ve laughed about that, but I am pretty much raising our daughter on my own, and there have been times when I’ve struggled. Having and raising a child is a magnificent mix of amazement and wonder, and while it is a glorious gift, it can also be exhausting and overwhelming with a side-order of near-crippling self-doubt. There are occasions during my limited phone calls with my husband when I find myself reluctant to share that I’m ‘not so great’.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate that my husband being away for work is not as hard as being an actual single mum. Although not in the form that many married mothers enjoy, I know that I am fortunate to still have the support of a partner. But being a mum can be isolating and not experiencing extreme moments of loneliness is rare. A mum’s struggle to comfortably breastfeed in public is still not normalised. A mum’s struggle trying to juggle work and be 100% present for the child is not supported. A mum’s struggle to find herself again postpartum is not supported enough, for some, not at all.

Here are a few ideas I hope are useful to both single mums and unsingle mums.

  1. If you are not taking care of yourself first, then how are you taking care of your child?

Carve out weekly time for you. I have to remind myself of this almost every day, but when I am in a good routine of making time for myself, I notice that I am being more present for my child. If your child still naps, get a workout in. Better yet, take a nap! Take the pressure off and put your feet up and read a book, click on Netflix (other streaming services are available). You need this and you are also allowed to want this. The dishes can wait and so can the clothes piling on the floor. There is no award for a sparkling home. But you will feel rewarded taking care of your mental health.

  1. Start talking!

I was feeling guilty and wasn’t talking. Honestly, my other half needs to hear and know that parenting alone is hard. It’s way harder than anything he is doing. I will never apologise for saying that, nor should you. Speak with a best friend, a grandparent, a therapist. You need to let out your emotions. For Mums, there are so many moving parts in the day. From sun-up, to sun-down it is constantly ‘full-on’ with a child. We need to be able to let go of the heaviness that can build up inside. This needs to be normalised. I try my best to make this a normal conversation every week. Why should I suffer in silence?

  1. Watch the coffee!

I love coffee but your sleep is beyond important, so take note of how much caffeine you are consuming. You may find cutting back or stopping drinking the delicious latte after 11am will enhance your sleep and decrease the jitters/anxiousness that coffee can bring on. This also goes for that glorious glass of vino at the end of a long day. I hear you, see you, and cheers to you, but this can also lead to foggy brain and a backlash to irritability and a sleepless night.

  1. Routine is very important.

Routine gives your child a sense of security. Sit around the table for dinner, get involved in homework, make lunches with them, create a specific routine in the evening. Even when I travel with my daughter, I try to stick to certain routines, so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed and completely off track. We also have nightly dance parties. I think this dance party is more for me, but my goodness do I ever love to jump, dance around. What a release!

  1. Find a trusting class in your community that you can look forward to weekly.

This can be arts and crafts, or dance, or swimming – whatever works for you. Local coffee shops always share great community gatherings. Expand your network and find like-minded parents. If you are on the shy side and have a hard time meeting people, here is a little tip: there is always the ‘chattiest Mum’ in the group, sit near her and before you know it you will be in conversation. There are also fab parenting apps that will highlight classes and events in your area. We, as single parents, need to remember it’s important to find others to lean on. There is no award for struggling through on your own, so don’t.

Bonus and probably the best tip.

I tell my daughter every day that I love her, like a million times. I now also look at myself in the mirror and tell myself, I love you. Does this sound silly? Perhaps, yes. However, I acknowledge I am a priority, I am strong, I am capable, and I am doing a darn good job being an ‘Unsingle, single Mum’. And so are you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley is a mum, founder of the Bizzimumzi podcast, and Define London fitness studio. She is a former Broadway performer and celebrity trainer. Through Bizzimumzi Ashley has created a welcoming community to share the highs and lows of parenting, and inspire others to feel empowered in their journey. Ashely believes the most perfect picture of parenting is simply when you are trying your best. Bizzimumzi is a safe space that helps parents to inspire, educate and support each other to be the best parent they can be.

https://bizzimumzi.com/

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Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-bizzimumzi-podcast/id1621084132

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