Single Mum – failure or new beginning?

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” —Johnny Cash

As a single mum, whether by choice or somebody else’s design, it’s hard not to feel a failure sometimes. Why did the relationship break down? Why haven’t you been able to create that magical “normal” home (you know the one: it’s often featured in adverts on television, with the shiny happy couple and their adorable kids)? When I was a single mum it sometimes seemed like everyone else was in a couple and all the other children except for mine had a dad to play football with at weekends and take them to the park. What I didn’t appreciate at the time was that I was by no means alone – it’s one of the reasons that I wrote my book: to reassure other single mums that they don’t have to deal with single parenthood in isolation and that help and support is sometimes closer to hand than you could ever imagine.

What I also realised little by little (and what I encourage my readers to embrace) is the fact that you can choose not to describe the breakdown of your relationship as failure but instead as the beginning of a brand new life. Where will you go? What will you be? Which dreams can you now resurrect and how long do you have to wait before you realise that NOW is all the time you have – so get busy working on your new beginning!

Read about my book in the Huffington Post (article by Suzy Miller) http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/suzy-miller/single-mums-survival-guide—would-it-have-helped-me_b_5029874.html and look out for the release of THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE (eBook version) on Amazon tomorrow!

 

Happy Mother’s Day to the single mums!

Ahh – Mother’s Day…a cup of tea in bed, followed by a day of treats and pampering. But most mums with small kids know that this royal treatment often takes a bit of behind-the-scenes prompting and encouragement from Dad. So what if there is no Dad on hand to organise it all? I remember one year that due to seriously bad planning on my part, my boys were spending Mother’s Day weekend with their dad and his new wife. Now whilst I might smile and pretend to go along with people when they claim that it’s all commercialised nonsense, dreamt up by the greeting cards industry, I discovered that particular weekend just how much it means to me to have my precious sons around on this day of all days. Because as all single mums know: the upside of being the only one there to wipe away the tears, clean up the mess, sit up all night with them when they have a temperature, see them off on their first day at school is the phenomenally close bond you build with your children through the years. So Happy Mother’s Day to all you single mums out there – you’re doing a great job and as your children grow older, they’ll tell you how much they appreciate you. The message on the card from my 13 year old today reads: “Happy Mother’s Day. Thanks for always being there for me when I need you”.

My book, “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How to Pick up the Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available in eBook form on Amazon from 1st April and hits the bookshops on 1st July.

Inspirational Single Mothers (Part 3)

I’m the author of a book entitled “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How to Pick Up the Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” (available for pre-order now on Amazon and in the shops from 1st July). In the course of writing the book I interviewed some real-life single mothers, whose stories feature on the pages of the book. I also did a lot of research into well-known single mothers who have inspired others with their attitude and achievements. Here are a few…

Naomi Judd – Before becoming the elder member of a popular American country music duo, Naomi Judd was a single mother living on welfare and trying to get ahead. Along with her daughter, Wynona, Naomi has earned five Grammy Awards, and eight CMA awards. I’ve had women tell me that when their daughters see them taking care of themselves, and being defined from within, and thinking for themselves instead of thinking about that silly culture out there, it’s powerful modeling.Naomi Judd 

Diane Keaton is an actress, producer, director, and screenwriter with a career spanning decades. Though she’s dated famous men like Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, and Al Pacino, she never married. At the age of 50, she decided to become a single mother and adopted her children Dexter and Duke. She maintains that motherhood “is the most humbling experience.”

Annie Lennox– Scottish singer, songwriter, campaigner and activist, Annie Lennox is celebrated as an innovator, an icon, and a symbol of enduring excellence. Annie’s music career is peerless with over 80 million record sales to date and winning countless awards, while her tireless charity work is widely praised receiving prestigious awards and honours. Annie is also a single mother. I have different hats; I’m a mother, I’m a woman, I’m a human being, I’m an artist and hopefully I’m an advocate. All of those plates are things I spin all the time.”Annie Lennox  

Maria Montessori – no doubt you have heard of Montessori schools, but did you know the person who developed that particular method of education was a single mother too? One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.Maria Montessori  

Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, editor, and professor who wrote the books Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, and Beloved, amongst many others. She divorced her husband in 1964, becoming a single parent to her children Harold and Slade.“My children are delightful people, whom I would love even if they weren’t my children.”Toni Morrison 

Lisa Nichols is a single mother, a best-selling author, a popular public speaker, a powerful coach, and a charismatic teacher. Her participation in the self-development phenomenon, The Secret, catapulted her popularity across the globe. In addition, Lisa is the founder of Motivating the Masses and CEO of Motivating the Teen Spirit, LLC. Her transformational workshops have impacted the lives of over 210 thousand teens and over 1 million adults.

Dorothy Nyswander – As a single mother, American Dorothy taught in high school while pursuing a doctorate degree, then later went on to be known as the “Mother of Health education.” Her career spanned over six decades and several continents. During this time, Nyswander was an advocate for community health and rights. She lived to the ripe old age of 104.Her daughter Marie was known for her work developing methadone treatment for heroin addiction . “Just enjoy life, dear. Have as much fun as you can and love people.” Dorothy Nyswander

Debbie Phelps – A middle school principal and mother of three who believes in encouraging children using continuous praise and positive reinforcement, Debbie Phelps encouraged her son, Michael, a child who suffered from ADHD, to join the local swim team to give him an outlet for his energy. The rest is, quite literally, history and Michael is now the most decorated Olympic athlete in history.I don’t like to use the word ‘disorder’ when I talk about ADHD. A child with ADHD has many gifts — they just need to channel their energies in the things they love…The words “no” and “can’t” aren’t really in my vocabulary, so I would just say “before you go to swimming, you need to do your work. Are you able to accomplish that?” Debbie Phelps

JK Rowling, whose personal wealth is currently estimated at £560 million, wrote the first book of the Harry Potter series following her divorce while living on benefits in a cold Edinburgh flat with her baby daughter. Now remarried, Ms Rowling has stayed true to her roots and is now president of Gingerbread, a UK charity that provides expert advice and practical support and campaigns for single parents. Rowling is said to have donated over £104 million to charity.“Seven years after becoming a lone parent, I feel qualified to look anyone in the eye and say that people bringing up children single-handedly deserve, not condemnation, but congratulation” J K Rowling

Pauline Trigere – fled from the Nazis in 1942, she designed and made dresses to support her boys, eventually becoming a well- known designer who dressed the likes of Bette Davis, Josephine Backer and Hattie Carnegie. There was no drive because I wanted to become a great designer. … I had two small children and a mother, and we all had to eat. That’s the drive I had.” Pauline Trigere

So, just remember: like these well-known single mums, as well as the women in my book and the millions of single mums across the world, you are not alone and you’re doing an admirable job!

If you’d like to claim your FREE chapter of the book, or sign up for your FREE coaching session with me, please use the contact form that follows.

Inspirational Single Mothers (Part 2)

As the author of “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How to Pick Up the Pieces and Build a Happy New Life”, I have spoken to many inspirational single mums in person- and as background for my book, I’ve researched a lot of famous single mothers, too. This -the second part of my blog series- features more inspiring stories.

Erin Brockovich – Erin was such an inspiring single mother that they made a film about her, but what really sets Erin apart from other s is her ability to fight for what’s right and still do anything it takes to ensure her family is happy. “I believe that our perception of things become our reality. It is how you choose to see yourself, your character, that can actually determine your fate…Most people don’t know that my favorite movie is not “Erin Brockovich” but “Pay It Forward”. All of us should pay it forward but not with the expectation of seeing a reward, that is not why we do it. Pay if forward because it is the right thing to do, reward or not…If you follow your heart, if you listen to your gut, and if you extend your hand to help another, not for any agenda, but for the sake of humanity, you are going to find the truth.” Erin Brockovitch

Laurel Burch – Laurel was an artist and businesswoman who used to hammer out junkyard metal into jewellery to support her two children. Her hammering eventually panned out into a full-blown multi-million dollar business. Throughout her life she battled a rare congenital bone disease. This inspirational mother and artist eventually lost her battle at the age of 61 but will continue to inspire others through her artistic legacy and the way she lived her life.

Rhonda Byrne this single mother of two was at a crossroads in her life when she received the inspiration for her bestselling global phenomenon, The Secret. “Every single second is an opportunity to change your life, because in any moment you can change the way you feel.” Rhonda Byrne

Eva Cox – As an inspirational Australian writer and sociologist, Eva put herself through school as a single mother during the 1970s, then later went on to inspire millions of people with her writing and activism.

Sheryl Crow After recovering from a split from fiancé, cyclist Lance Armstrong and beating breast cancer, this talented singer and musician decided she was strong enough to do parenthood on her own. She adopted her oldest son, Wyatt, in 2007, and her second, Levi, in 2010. “Kids change your life — period.. The first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think of at night is them, and every decision that you make in between is dictated by their welfare.” Cheryl Crow

Hilary Devey is an English businesswoman, television personality, entrepreneur, philanthropist  and commentator. She appeared as a panellist on the programme Dragons’ Den. Her wealth is estimated to be around £50 million. A born survivor, who has suffered adversity and sorrow, her personal life has been beset with tragedy, ill health and challenges. She has been divorced twice and has stated publicly that her beloved son is a former heroin and crack cocaine addict. Thanks to the emotional and financial support of his mum and his own self-will, Mevlit, now 24, is off heroin but his well-being continues to be the driving force in her life. “We are really close and I will always be there for him.” Hilary Devey

Stanley Ann Dunham – Mother to the 44th U.S. President – the first African American President, to be exact – Dunham had to work hard to encourage and inspire her son, Barack Obama. In an interview, Barack Obama referred to his mother as “the dominant figure in my formative years … The values she taught me continue to be my touchstone when it comes to how I go about the world of politics.”

Mia Farrow – Divorced from Woody Allen, Mia continues to love and support her growing adopted family of more than 13 (she’s also a survivor of polio). “And I have the most wonderful children. I`ve been very, very blessed.” Mia Farrow

Jodie Foster – Apart from being an actress, film director and producer, Jodie has proved that she has what it takes to be an inspirational single mother for her two sons. My kids are young and my life with them is really stimulating and really full and significant.” Jodie Foster

Whoopi Goldberg Multi-award-winning film and television actress, comedienne and talk show host became a mother in her late teens and a single mother shortly afterwards. Prior to her enormous success and critical acclaim, she did a wide range of jobs to support herself and her daughter, including bricklaying, washing dishes and cutting hair before ending up on benefit. She explains that her mother taught her that there is no shame in asking for help when you need it. I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities.” Whoopi Goldberg  

If you’d like to apply for your FREE chapter of the book, or claim your FREE coaching session, please use the contact form below.

Until next time….

Inspirational Single Mothers

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” Nido Qubein 

Single mothers are in the spotlight at the moment. At the recent premiere of new film “The Single Moms Club”, producer and star Tyler Perry and fellow actors discussed how the film’s theme resonated with them. Actor William Levy was himself raised by a single mum. Perry dedicated the film to his aunt, who was also a single mother. He went on to mention Jared Leto’s Oscars speech, in which he thanked his mother for raising him single-handedly.

Don’t let your situation prevent you from living out your dreams. Here (in the first part of my series of blogs on inspirational single mothers) are some real- life examples of single mums who have inspired the world, not to mention their children.

Chris Affleck – Mother of actor and director Ben Affleck, is a teacher who raised her two boys alone to keep them from their father’s terrible drinking problem, teaching them empathy, consideration and humility. She was also Ben’s date to the Academy Awards where he won an award for the film “Good Will Hunting.”

Maya Angelou – Before she became the Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University, and long before reciting her poem at US President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, Angelou held a number of jobs to help raise her son Guy, including dancing, acting, writing, waiting and waitressing.“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.” Maya Angelou

Mary Kay Ash – Mary Kay divorced her first husband and lost her second husband to death, but she still managed to create and run one of the largest cosmetics businesses in the world with help from her son.

Halle Berry – is an American actress, producer and model, face of Revlon cosmetics and Versace. She is the first African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Halle’s parents divorced when she was four years old; she and her older sister were brought up by her mother. After splitting with her long term boyfriend Gabriel Aubrey, Berry became single mother to their daughter Nahla.Career is important, but nothing really supersedes my role as a mother. That’s the most important thing I’m going to do in this life at this point.Halle Berry

Elizabeth Blackwell – America’s first woman doctor. Graduated first in her class in the 1840′s, Blackwell adopted an orphan and raised her as her own daughter. She later opened her own hospital run by an all-female staff.

Not forgetting someone you know… – Aren’t YOU an inspirational single mum that deserves to be on this list? 

If you would like a free chapter from my book, The Single Mum’s Survival Guide, which will be published on 1st July, please let me know in the contact form below. I also offer Skype and face-to-face coaching and if you are a single Mum you can claim your FREE session!