February – The Month of Love?

Single Mum's Survival Guide Illustration 13February is traditionally celebrated as the month of love. Statistics report that here in the UK £557 million will be spent going out on romantic dinners, £461 million on presents, £173 million on drinks, £211 million on flowers, £115 million on chocolates and £57 million on cards. So where does that leave single mothers? Some of you will be going out for that dinner, receiving the card and marking Valentine’s day with a happy heart. You may be embarking on a new relationship, in the throes of early lust or love and wondering if he’s Mr. Right. You may even be contemplating introducing him to your children. This Valentine’s day could be a perfect test, to see if he matches up to your romantic expectations!  In my book, I give you some suggestions for how to tell if he’s right for you.  Continue reading

What’s More Important – The Journey or The Destination?

I attended a meeting in Somerset today – that’s many miles from where I live and you might think that when I discovered it would be 3 hours’ drive each way this would put me off going. Actually, no it didn’t because I had already decided to enjoy the ride. It was a perfectly still morning, with sunshine just breaking through the mist. The traffic flowed freely and I’d allowed enough time, so I wasn’t feeling stressed or anxious. Much of the countryside was new to me, so I enjoyed the glimpses of rolling fields and the different look and colour of the old cottages in the hamlets and villages I passed through. After listening to one of my favourite albums nice and loud and singing along to the choruses, I decided to continue with my education and played the rest of a personal development audio programme by Brian Tracy that I’ve been working through for the last few weeks. The hours in the car gave me calm and peaceful reflection time and a chance to crystallize what I’d heard into new thoughts and plans to put into focus the actions I’d be taking when I got home. A lot of people spend their time obsessing about the destination (when I’ve finally found a new partner/made my millions/lost 2 stone, then I’ll be happy). But what if now is all there is? The past is history, the future’s a mystery, as they say. So you might as well make the most of the journey and not while away your life waiting for some day to finally come!

On Thursday 11th September I am co-hosting a free seminar in Brighton with a family lawyer, a financial planner and a mortgage broker. It’s your chance to get informed with free and friendly advice about the best way to deal with financial, legal and accommodation issues you may be facing – not to mention the steps you’ll need to take to build a happy new life. I’ll also be signing copies of my book. So come along for coffee and cake and a chance to “get savvy”! It’s free – all you need to do is to choose the best time for you (10 am – 12 or 7 pm – 9 pm) and book your place by emailing sparsons@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk or ringing 01273 223220. See you on the other side…

My book, “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available on Amazon and selected bookshops. For your free audio download entitled “How To Build a Happy New Life”, please fill in your name and email in the form below. 

Routines – Bore or Blessing?

OK, so I’m a creative person, a free spirit, spontaneous, fun; routines are for boring people, routines are dreary and dull…or so I used to think. I have to admit though that over the years I’ve come to realise that if I’d embraced routines earlier in my life I would have made things an awful lot easier for myself when I was a single mum! Routines are very helpful when bringing up children because they save you all a lot of stress at the last minute. Routines I especially love at present are my son’s launch pad, where he gets things ready for school the next day and a similar process I have for planning my clothes, packing my bag or briefcase and mentally (or physically, on my “to do” list) ticking off things I’ll need for the next day – especially if I have an early start. I’ve also come to love coming down to a clean kitchen in the morning, with all of last night’s supper things washed up or loaded into the dishwasher. It’s the little things in life that get you down (think how much damage a mosquito can do!) but it’s also the little things that build you up and help you fly.

On Thursday 11th September I am co-hosting a free seminar in Brighton with a family lawyer, a financial planner and a mortgage broker. It’s your chance to get informed with free and friendly advice about the best way to deal with financial, legal and accommodation issues you may be facing – not to mention the steps you’ll need to take to build a happy new life. I’ll also be signing copies of my book. So come along for coffee and cake and a chance to “get savvy”! It’s free – all you need to do is to choose the best time for you (10 am – 12 or 7 pm – 9 pm) and book your place by emailing sparsons@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk or ringing 01273 223220. See you on the other side…

My book, “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available on Amazon and selected bookshops. For your free audio download entitled “How To Build a Happy New Life”, please fill in your name and email in the form below. 

Stand By Your Man?

As the lurid news continues to unfold surrounding Paul Ross and his drug-taking and gay affair, my heart goes out to his wife and mother of his four children. She has decided (at least for the time being) to stand by her man. Whilst some may find this incomprehensible, I can understand only too well how a mother’s instinct to keep her family together can kick in at a time of extreme crisis – even faced with the news of such humiliating indiscretions. When I first learned of my (ex) husband’s affair, my instinct was the same; in order to keep my precious family together I,too, would have stood by my man. In my case my decision was irrelevant – he’d made up his mind to leave. Later I realised what a huge compromise it would have been for me to accept his behaviour and continue with the marriage – who knows if I would have succeeded, or been happy living with the lies and betrayal. But I would say that you never know what you’d do until or unless you are faced with that situation, so it remains for me to wish her well in the painful throes of this very public dilemma. I hope that – at the very least – she has plenty of support and some expert, impartial advice to help her decide what’s best for her and the children.

On Thursday 11th September I am co-hosting a free seminar in Brighton with a family lawyer, a financial planner and a mortgage broker. It’s your chance to get informed with free and friendly advice about the best way to deal with financial, legal and accommodation issues you may be facing – not to mention the steps you’ll need to take to build a happy new life. I’ll also be signing copies of my book. So come along for coffee and cake and a chance to “get savvy”! It’s free – all you need to do is to choose the best time for you (10 am – 12 or 7 pm – 9 pm) and book your place by emailing sparsons@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk or ringing 01273 223220. See you on the other side…

My book, “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available on Amazon and selected bookshops. For your free audio download entitled “How To Build a Happy New Life”, please fill in your name and email in the form below. 

Back To School

After a long – and surprisingly hot – summer, it’s back to school for many families as term time starts again this week. In the case of my youngest son this has involved some considerable changes; not only have we discovered that he needs glasses for reading, he’s also had to learn to tie a tie as his school uniform now includes a blazer and tie! Being the tender age of 14, once the novelty has worn off he will adapt to both these changes with ease and life will carry on as normal.

Adapting to changes as an adult can be a whole lot scarier and a good deal more difficult. If you are a newly-single mum you may be grappling with emotional changes, financial changes and all the legal implications of separation and divorce. I’d like to help you with these changes, so that you too can adapt with ease and grace and the minimal amount of panic possible. On Thursday 11th September I am co-hosting a free seminar in Brighton with a family lawyer, a financial planner and a mortgage broker. It’s your chance to get informed with free and friendly advice about the best way to deal with financial, legal and accommodation issues you may be facing – not to mention the steps you’ll need to take to build a happy new life. I’ll also be signing copies of my book. So come along for coffee and cake and a chance to “get savvy”! It’s free – all you need to do is to choose the best time for you (10 am – 12 or 7 pm – 9 pm) and book your place by emailing sparsons@mayowynnebaxter.co.uk or ringing 01273 223220. See you on the other side…

My book, “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available on Amazon and selected bookshops. For your free audio download entitled “How To Build a Happy New Life”, please fill in your name and email in the form below. 

Love Is a Verb

4TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARYToday is my 5th Wedding Anniversary and I have naturally been musing on love and marriage. You could say I’m the marrying kind – after all, this is my third marriage! Dizzy Romantic? Hopeless Idealist? Well perhaps once upon a time but two divorces and a good deal of hardship and heartache must have knocked all that out of me, wouldn’t you think? It’s a testament to my husband, really, that I would even consider walking down the aisle again and risk having my heart broken again – but I did it gladly, with my eyes wide open, and I’d do it all over again.

I’ve learnt that love is a magical feeling – that feeling you get when you catch sight of him and your heart does a little flip or the warm inner glow that you have when you’re apart and you think of times you’ve spent together. It’s a smile, a kiss, a hug. It’s physical. It makes you feel unreasonably, contagiously happy.

But perhaps more importantly: love is a verb. It’s not static and it requires action in order to flourish and thrive. My husband shows me how much he loves me in the many things he does. It could be the fact that he always senses when I’m not happy or if I’m awake worrying. If I’m feeling weary and procrastinating over some chore he’ll offer to come and keep me company. When we do things together it’s always quicker and more fun. It could be his many thoughtful and generous words  and deeds – or the fact that he’s fiercely protective of me and always on my side, always ready to back me and support me in any project. It could be the many hours he’s devoted to my children – whether it’s helping with revision or homework or discussing their thoughts and plans, or spending time having fun with them. And yes, I know that he loves them too and it just comes naturally to him but it’s something I will never take for granted.

Love is a verb. I saw that throughout my years as a single mum and I see it now that I’m happily married.

RB and boys Eiffel Toweri’ll never forget it and I try to live that way – in my marriage and most definitely with my children.

“THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available now in bookstores and on Amazon.

http://www.thesinglemumssurvivalguide.com

vivienne@thelifeyoudeserve.co.uk

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.

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.

Hear No Evil, See No Evil?

Today I was invited back to Allison Ferns’ show on Radio Sussex to do a review of today’s papers.

One of the stories I picked to discuss was the fact that former “ladette” and wild child, DJ Sara Cox has been discussing that now she has a young daughter, she is far more censorious about what she and her daughter watch or listen to. She even finds popular show “Come Dine With Me” too raunchy these days, complaining that someone is always stripping off or showing too much cleavage. On the music front – and despite being a Radio 1 DJ before her recent move to the more sedate Radio 2 – she also has concerns about the suitability of some of the music that is getting airplay these days. Sara mentions rapper “Pitbull”, whose sexist and aggressive lyrics degrade and disrespect women.

What do you think and as a parent yourself, how do you seek to control the constant stream of inappropriate content bombarding our children these days?

My book, ” THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available now from Amazon and hits the shops on 1st July.