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How To Be A Badass Single Parent

1
I think it’s about time someone is honest about being a single parent- and by honest, I don’t mean all ‘doom and gloom’. Yes, single parenting isn’t always easy and yes, some days you feel like you’re acting out a scene from ‘I, Daniel Blake’, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and with a few minor tweaks, you can reframe single parent life and make it a really rather awesome and rewarding experience. So, read on Reader, because I’ve got 5 really simple sure-fire ways to help you nail this single parenting lark like an absolute
SelfishMother.com
2
badass:
1. Find your tribe
Let’s get the ‘controversial’ one out the way first. IMHO for you to flourish as a total Badass SP, you NEED other single parent friends; even it’s just the one. Of course, before you start trolling me, I’m not saying ditch your married friends, or even your single non-parent ones, but you’re gonna need to broaden your friendship base to include some SPF’s now (Single Parent Friends, not Sun Protection Factor, although please get some of that too, as it’s roasting out there…) and I’ll tell you why- you are
SelfishMother.com
3
gonna need that commonality and someone who gets it and who gets you, when you need to moan about the CSA (or any of those other pesky acronyms that only us other single parents will really know/want to hear about).

More to the point, as much as you need single parent friends, so too do your kids need friends with single parents. Having a SPF gives you that much needed context when it comes to tackling those awkward questions, like, “why do all my other friends’ mummies and daddies live together?”,  as it helps normalize other parenting models

SelfishMother.com
4
and reassure them that anything goes, “well, Hayley’s parents don’t live together either, but they both love her more than the whole world”…

So how do you find these fabulous single parents to hang out with? Well, libraries, soft play centres, mother and baby groups, but if you can’t get out much, I recommend downloading one of the new ‘mum apps’ out there. I admit, at first I felt incredibly nervous and a bit of a loser when I started ‘internet mum dating’, but the apps- much like dating apps in fact- allow you to identify other

SelfishMother.com
5
single parents in your area (dads, as well as mums) with similar interests and kids of a similar age. Want to find a single mum with three kids under ten who works part-time and also likes hiking, fencing and eating hobnobs? No problem! Technology, eh?

Yes, it all sounds a bit calculated, but you know what, I had a total result on there. I made the most amazing friend who is an absolute ray of sunshine and she and her daughter are now a huge part of my life. We joke about how we never would have met if we hadn’t been single parents and that’s the

SelfishMother.com
6
thing about single parenting, it forces you to make new friendships, to be brave and put yourself out there. Maybe you won’t have the family you always dreamed of, but you may very well find your tribe.
2. Get Thrifty
According to Single Parent Charity, Gingerbread, 47% of children in single parent families live in relative poverty- around twice the risk of relative poverty faced by children in couple families (24%), so you don’t need me to do the maths for you- being a single parent can be financially tough.

This, my friend, is why you need

SelfishMother.com
7
charity shops and baby sales (check out your local NCT for starters), but most importantly, this, my friend, is why you need Poundland.

A trip to Poundland is the ultimate high for you and your kid/s. Nowhere else can you walk into a shop all ‘Daddy Warbucks’, saying,  ‘Choose whatever you want, darling!’ and actually mean it. It literally is the best feeling ever and the ultimate way to make you feel like a total badass.

Better still, if you’re feeling really flush, give your kids a trolley each and let them play ‘Supermarket

SelfishMother.com
8
Sweep’. Hit the timer on your smart phone and see what they can only cram into a plastic bucket on wheels in 30 seconds. Who needs to know everything in there only cost a pound? Certainly not your darling kiddiewinks who will be far too busy playing with their new haul.
3. Choose A Celebrity Single Parent Spirit Animal
Does what it says on the tin. I choose Angelina Jolie (The Queen Of Single Parent Badasses) as my International one and Claire Sweeney as my UK one, after I personally saw her nailing it Badass SP style at Butlins last year, unfrazzled
SelfishMother.com
9
and unfazed with her gorgeous toddler in tow, all the while sporting white jeans without a mark on them. #lifegoals.
4. Contrast, Don’t Compare!
Guess what, you are not like everybody else. You’re in the minority now, with only two million of us fabulous single parents in the country. Maybe you were already a minority in other ways before you took on single parent life so you’ve already experienced other people’s judgment, but either way, I say, embrace who you are and be the difference. What is the point of comparing yourself to anyone else
SelfishMother.com
10
anyway? And yes, I know its bloody hard when you see a picture-perfect family with none of the pieces missing, laughing and seemingly having a wonderful time, but that’s just the filter you’re looking through and no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors. I speak from experience.

Let’s be honest, at parents’ evenings, weddings, dinner parties, anything which requires you to have an ‘other half’, you’re gonna stick out like a sore thumb, so you might as well have fun with it- chuck on a tie dye kaftan, sport a mohawk and a gold bumbag

SelfishMother.com
11
if you wish-  be bold, be brave and never make yourself small for anyone.
5. Creative Childcare
And finally, one of the most difficult issues a single parent faces is freedom- freedom to have a social life or even just to pop into Tesco’s alone. With no other half to share the load, it can be both expensive and time-consuming when it comes to childcare options. The prospect of a social life can feel like a luxury, a solitary night out requiring its own spreadsheet, Project Manager and budget code and subsequently, it can just feel a darn sight
SelfishMother.com
12
easier to give up, give in and save yourself the money/headache.

Well, the trick is to get creative. Childcare really doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Ikea has its own creche where you can drop your kids off for FREE for a whole HOUR. That’s 60 minutes to shop, nod off, or sit there refreshing the Daily Mail gossip page ­- whatever floats your boat. Another idea is the gym- most gyms have a creche these days. Now I know the point is you’re supposed to use that precious time to exercise, but for the Badass Single Parent, we know that gyms aren’t

SelfishMother.com
13
about running machines! No honey, they’re all about coffee machines. And cake. And wifi. Let your gym cafe be your own personal office for an hour so you can catch up on all that life admin- emails, cat videos, whatever you fancy.

And on that note, if you ARE interested in going out and doing some exercise (but feeling like it’s too much of a childcare ‘mission impossible’), might I suggest staying in? And by that I mean, stick on YouTube- you’d be surprised by how many full session workouts are on there- HIT, yoga, pilates etc- I often

SelfishMother.com
14
stick on a nice free Zumba class and sweat and grunt my way through it with my little one doing her own crazy version in the background. After all, we can’t all be celebs with a roster of personal trainers, can we? Sometimes, you just have to do what you can with what you have.

So, stay calm and carry on, wherever you are on your single parenting journey, because I promise you, you’ve GOT this! Maybe you don’t have anyone else to do the ole good cop/bad cop routine with, but guess what, you get to be both cops now and there’s nothing more

SelfishMother.com
15
badass than that!

 

 

SelfishMother.com
Alexis Strum

By

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- 10 Aug 18

I think it’s about time someone is honest about being a single parent- and by honest, I don’t mean all ‘doom and gloom’. Yes, single parenting isn’t always easy and yes, some days you feel like you’re acting out a scene from ‘I, Daniel Blake’, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and with a few minor tweaks, you can reframe single parent life and make it a really rather awesome and rewarding experience. So, read on Reader, because I’ve got 5 really simple sure-fire ways to help you nail this single parenting lark like an absolute badass:

1. Find your tribe

Let’s get the ‘controversial’ one out the way first. IMHO for you to flourish as a total Badass SP, you NEED other single parent friends; even it’s just the one. Of course, before you start trolling me, I’m not saying ditch your married friends, or even your single non-parent ones, but you’re gonna need to broaden your friendship base to include some SPF’s now (Single Parent Friends, not Sun Protection Factor, although please get some of that too, as it’s roasting out there…) and I’ll tell you why- you are gonna need that commonality and someone who gets it and who gets you, when you need to moan about the CSA (or any of those other pesky acronyms that only us other single parents will really know/want to hear about).

More to the point, as much as you need single parent friends, so too do your kids need friends with single parents. Having a SPF gives you that much needed context when it comes to tackling those awkward questions, like, “why do all my other friends’ mummies and daddies live together?”,  as it helps normalize other parenting models and reassure them that anything goes, “well, Hayley’s parents don’t live together either, but they both love her more than the whole world”…

So how do you find these fabulous single parents to hang out with? Well, libraries, soft play centres, mother and baby groups, but if you can’t get out much, I recommend downloading one of the new ‘mum apps’ out there. I admit, at first I felt incredibly nervous and a bit of a loser when I started ‘internet mum dating’, but the apps- much like dating apps in fact- allow you to identify other single parents in your area (dads, as well as mums) with similar interests and kids of a similar age. Want to find a single mum with three kids under ten who works part-time and also likes hiking, fencing and eating hobnobs? No problem! Technology, eh?

Yes, it all sounds a bit calculated, but you know what, I had a total result on there. I made the most amazing friend who is an absolute ray of sunshine and she and her daughter are now a huge part of my life. We joke about how we never would have met if we hadn’t been single parents and that’s the thing about single parenting, it forces you to make new friendships, to be brave and put yourself out there. Maybe you won’t have the family you always dreamed of, but you may very well find your tribe.

2. Get Thrifty

According to Single Parent Charity, Gingerbread, 47% of children in single parent families live in relative poverty- around twice the risk of relative poverty faced by children in couple families (24%), so you don’t need me to do the maths for you- being a single parent can be financially tough.

This, my friend, is why you need charity shops and baby sales (check out your local NCT for starters), but most importantly, this, my friend, is why you need Poundland.

A trip to Poundland is the ultimate high for you and your kid/s. Nowhere else can you walk into a shop all ‘Daddy Warbucks’, saying,  ‘Choose whatever you want, darling!’ and actually mean it. It literally is the best feeling ever and the ultimate way to make you feel like a total badass.

Better still, if you’re feeling really flush, give your kids a trolley each and let them play ‘Supermarket Sweep’. Hit the timer on your smart phone and see what they can only cram into a plastic bucket on wheels in 30 seconds. Who needs to know everything in there only cost a pound? Certainly not your darling kiddiewinks who will be far too busy playing with their new haul.

3. Choose A Celebrity Single Parent Spirit Animal

Does what it says on the tin. I choose Angelina Jolie (The Queen Of Single Parent Badasses) as my International one and Claire Sweeney as my UK one, after I personally saw her nailing it Badass SP style at Butlins last year, unfrazzled and unfazed with her gorgeous toddler in tow, all the while sporting white jeans without a mark on them. #lifegoals.

4. Contrast, Don’t Compare!

Guess what, you are not like everybody else. You’re in the minority now, with only two million of us fabulous single parents in the country. Maybe you were already a minority in other ways before you took on single parent life so you’ve already experienced other people’s judgment, but either way, I say, embrace who you are and be the difference. What is the point of comparing yourself to anyone else anyway? And yes, I know its bloody hard when you see a picture-perfect family with none of the pieces missing, laughing and seemingly having a wonderful time, but that’s just the filter you’re looking through and no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors. I speak from experience.

Let’s be honest, at parents’ evenings, weddings, dinner parties, anything which requires you to have an ‘other half’, you’re gonna stick out like a sore thumb, so you might as well have fun with it- chuck on a tie dye kaftan, sport a mohawk and a gold bumbag if you wish-  be bold, be brave and never make yourself small for anyone.

5. Creative Childcare

And finally, one of the most difficult issues a single parent faces is freedom- freedom to have a social life or even just to pop into Tesco’s alone. With no other half to share the load, it can be both expensive and time-consuming when it comes to childcare options. The prospect of a social life can feel like a luxury, a solitary night out requiring its own spreadsheet, Project Manager and budget code and subsequently, it can just feel a darn sight easier to give up, give in and save yourself the money/headache.

Well, the trick is to get creative. Childcare really doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Ikea has its own creche where you can drop your kids off for FREE for a whole HOUR. That’s 60 minutes to shop, nod off, or sit there refreshing the Daily Mail gossip page ­- whatever floats your boat. Another idea is the gym- most gyms have a creche these days. Now I know the point is you’re supposed to use that precious time to exercise, but for the Badass Single Parent, we know that gyms aren’t about running machines! No honey, they’re all about coffee machines. And cake. And wifi. Let your gym cafe be your own personal office for an hour so you can catch up on all that life admin- emails, cat videos, whatever you fancy.

And on that note, if you ARE interested in going out and doing some exercise (but feeling like it’s too much of a childcare ‘mission impossible’), might I suggest staying in? And by that I mean, stick on YouTube- you’d be surprised by how many full session workouts are on there- HIT, yoga, pilates etc- I often stick on a nice free Zumba class and sweat and grunt my way through it with my little one doing her own crazy version in the background. After all, we can’t all be celebs with a roster of personal trainers, can we? Sometimes, you just have to do what you can with what you have.

So, stay calm and carry on, wherever you are on your single parenting journey, because I promise you, you’ve GOT this! Maybe you don’t have anyone else to do the ole good cop/bad cop routine with, but guess what, you get to be both cops now and there’s nothing more badass than that!

 

 

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Alexis Strum

Alexis Strum is a writer/performer/mother from London currently appearing in BBC1's 'Wannabe' and Sky One's 'Sick Note'. She has just completed her first memoir, 'The Time I Almost...' and runs the event and blog of the same name www.thetimeialmost.com all about her former life as an Almost Popstar. Alexis enjoys building bears, singing 'Finger Family' and making dens- all with her daughter, of course! Her life goals are to get her book published and marry Channing Tatum.

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