To celebrate International Women's Day we have forum member and active Parent Peer Supporter @taokat sharing her single mum tips.
@taokat has been a single mum of her now 15 year old daughter since soon after she was born. Her favourite thing about their relationship is that, as the only parent she’s automatically the favourite parent!
She loves being able to make her own decisions and do what she thinks is best. But sometimes it’s a double edged sword as all the responsibility is on her shoulders. Whilst she’s automatically the favourite it means she’s automatically the least favourite too!
Here are her top tips for being a single mum and hitting it out of the park.
- Ask for help. 'I turn to my mum or friends a fair bit. I also turn to my daughter’s counsellor for advice or if I’m struggling with parenting. I find ReachOut parent forum a great source of support and practical advice as well. Feeling a bit awkward? ‘I found that after the embarrassment and shame I had felt, there wasn't a single service I spoke to that told me I was a bad parent or should be doing better. It also opened up the truth to me that I'm not the only parent struggling.’
- Make time to look after yourself. ‘I do Tai Chi and I exercise at the gym. I make sure I talk with my best friend who lives interstate each week. I like to get my nails painted – a little bit of pampering that doesn’t break the budget! I also enjoy the parent chat night on the ReachOut parent forum, which gives me an hour to chat with other parents about light hearted topics.’ Find it tricky? ‘I set up a timetable giving me blocks of time during the day where I was ‘unavailable’ for her, unless it was an emergency of course.'
- Look at parenting courses available in your area. 'I've found them really educational and empowering'
- Write your schedule down somewhere. ‘I use a diary to keep track of everything we have going on. For me, if it’s not in the diary, it doesn’t happen!'
- Budget regularly and carefully. ‘I work out all my expenses and how much I need to set aside each week so that when the bill is due, the money is there to pay it. I opened a separate account to pay my bill money into, and any automatic payments come out of that account. With gas and electricity, I pay the budgeted amount directly to the provider each week, and love receiving a bill that says I’m in credit!’
Want to chat to @taokat and other parents in our forums and get more help for single mums? Head here or click the 'Forums' button at the top right of the page and join our parent community.