Losing It

As UK television reports the trial of a once-loved public figure, now discredited and due to be stripped (quite rightly) of his honours and his medals we know that nothing can make up for the loss of innocence of his numerous young victims – the loss of their childhood, really- I’ve been reflecting on loss.

When my husband left me with a three week old and a three year old, I felt acutely aware of the loss for my children of that happy family unit that their mother had once fondly imagined they could take for granted. Added to that, I was going through something that quite frankly felt like a bereavement – the loss of my 15 year relationship.

I also realised quite quickly that it was impossible for most people to really understand or empathise with this loss unless they had some kind of experience of it. It’s one of the reasons that I wrote this book and why I work with single mums in my coaching practice.You are not alone, and this book will help you to deal with that loss of life as you knew it and create a new beginning.

I’m launching my book, “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” on Friday 4th July, 7.30 – 9.00 pm at The Steyning Bookshop, 106 High Street, Steyning, West Sussex. If you’d like to come and meet me and get your signed copy, come and join me for a glass of wine and some nibbles and you’re welcome to bring a friend.

The Fine Art of Negotiation

During a meeting I was chairing today I was faced with a choice: ignore a general feeling of discontent around the table, take refuge in the prescribed routine and press on regardless, or open up a potentially negative discussion. I chose the latter, knowing that this situation has been brewing for a while and the longer it remains unresolved, the bigger it looms. In the end, the discussion was a very productive one. We each had a different position, yet there were areas of agreement to work on, which I believe will result in an outcome acceptable to us all.

As a single mum faced with difficult choices over a situation you may feel you have little control over, negotiation can be a powerful tool. In the chapter in my book on legal issues, Dawn Tarter -who is a certified family mediator, lays out some of the key things to bear in mind for a successful outcome. Isn’t it time you took the initiative and learnt how to work confidently towards a best-case scenario? You know what’s best for you and I’d be willing to bet you know what’s best for your child. Take back your power!

For my readers who are based in Illinois, visit www.dawntarterlaw.com for further details about her mediation services.

I’m launching my book, “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” on Friday 4th July, 7.30 – 9.00 pm at The Steyning Bookshop, 106 High Street, Steyning, West Sussex. If you’d like to come and meet me and get your signed copy, come and join me for a glass of wine and some nibbles and you’re welcome to bring a friend. If you can’t make it, the book is also available from Amazon and will be in bookstores from 1st July.

The End of The World As You Know It

Sound dramatic? That’s how it feels when you’re dealing with a breakup, whether it’s your decision or his (but especially if it’s his).

Today I took my visiting Spanish student to the new Tom Cruise film, Edge of Tomorrow. Without giving too much of the plot away, Cruise’s character gets lots of chances to improve the drastic situation he finds himself in. But only if he dies first.

To me – and to many of the single mums who tell their stories in the pages of my book – the end of my relationship did indeed feel like a death. The curious thing is, though, that like the character in the film, we all (in different ways) found that this gave us a unique opportunity to start again, wipe the slate clean and improve our situation. I want all single mums out there who are going through those nightmare early days to use the book as a resource, to get through to the other side. Writing the book certainly changed my life – and I hope that reading it will change your life for the better, too.

I’m launching my book, “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” on Friday 4th July, 7.30 – 9.00 pm at The Steyning Bookshop, 106 High Street, Steyning, West Sussex. If you’d like to come and meet me and get your signed copy, come and join me for a glass of wine and some nibbles and you’re welcome to bring a friend.

Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day and my husband is currently fast asleep. In a moment, I’m going to wake him up with a nice cup of tea. He’ll get his (step) Father’s Day card from my sons and then a cooked breakfast. Today he’s going on a bike ride with my eldest and our Spanish student, followed by a pint of beer and a pub lunch. In households everywhere, families will be celebrating in their own way.

Spare a thought, then, for families where Father’s Day is fraught with emotion because that “normal” family unit is fractured. I know of one example where the child’s father walked out shortly after his birth. He grew up with a lot of questions about why this had happened and one Father’s Day it all came to a head. After a visit to his paternal grandmother, where she had insisted that he make his father a card, he came home in floods of tears. He said to his mother “I don’t see why I should send my Dad a card – after all, he left as soon as I arrived. what kind of a father is that? He doesn’t deserve a card!”

As a single mum, you are often left to pick up the pieces of a broken family. Tread carefully and don’t let your antagonism towards your ex damage that vital relationship between a child and its father. So even if it’s with gritted teeth, encouraging them to send a Father’s Day card might be one way you can do this. And yes, my sons sent a card to their real Dad, as well as giving one to their step Dad. Such are modern families today!

“THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available on Amazon and hits the shops on 1st July. If you’d like to meet me in person and get a signed copy of the book, do join me at my book launch on Friday 4th July, 7.30 pm at The Steyning Bookshop, High Street, Sreyning, West Sussex. There’ll be wine and nibbles and you’re welcome to bring a guest.

Football Fever

The opening ceremony in Brazil last night kicked off the World Cup and England is gripped by Football Fever. I have a Spanish student staying for the next month and he is a football fanatic. I managed to find a lesson plan all about Brazil and Pele and for the last two days I have been teaching him English football terminology. Teaching a language is all about finding ways to engage your student, so that enthusiasm and the desire to communicate provide the means and motivation required for learning. After lessons he does activities and knowing how keen he is on sport I have lined up a cycle ride with my husband and eldest son, a tennis lesson, golf and today’s activity is badminton with me and my friends (my regular Friday fixture). I’ve got to throw in some culture too, so there’ll be some sightseeing too but I’m pretty confident that he’ll have a good time, as well as improving his fluency.

Organising his agenda takes me back to the days when my boys were little and all the sports and after- school activities I encouraged them to partake in – football, swimming, karate, athletics and drama to name a few…this took time, money and effort but as some of the single mums I interviewed for my book pointed out, the benefits outweigh the sacrifices. One spoke of how cheering your child on from the sidelines can actually lead to new friendships with the other parents there. Everyone agreed that it was important to encourage their interests and as one lady pointed out, you do it because your kids’ happiness is the most important thing.

“THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available on Amazon and hits the shops on 1st July. If you’d like to meet me in person and get a signed copy of the book, do join me at my book launch on Friday 4th July, 7.30 pm at The Steyning Bookshop, High Street, Sreyning, West Sussex.

It’s Not Fair

As a single mum, particularly in the early days, when you are still adjusting to the situation, it becomes all too easy to spend your time bitterly bemoaning your fate. “It’s not fair, why me? What have I done to deserve this?” You wistfully imagine just how much rosier life would be if you were in a relationship. Then everything would be better. You wouldn’t be worrying about making ends meet, or dealing with lawyers, or finding childcare, or dealing with all this emotional upheaval. If only you had a loving partner,then everything would be OK.

The truth is that it’s not just what happens to you, it’s how you deal with it that counts. Sure, you’ve had a basinful, but there are ways to deal with those challenges that will minimise your stress. It’s why I wrote the book and why I have included chapters on the most common issues that single mums face – dealing with the breakup, keeping your head above water financially, the legal stuff, all the emotional and practical help that I wish I’d had at the time. My book is for you, so that this time in your life can become one of your proudest achievements and a chance to create the life you deserve.

“THE SINGLE MUMS SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available to order on Amazon and hits the shops on 1st July. If you’d like to come and meet me and get a signed copy of the book, come along to The Steyning Bookshop, The High Street, Steyning, West Sussex on Friday 4th July at 7.30 pm. We’ll be celebrating, so there’ll be wine and nibbles and you’re welcome to bring a guest.