Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Trusting other people with your children

It can be hard to let go of our children, particularly if we have come out of abusive or difficult relationships ourselves. Single parents can sometimes feel like no-one else can really be trusted with their children but most of the time there will be no problem. I am not saying that you do not have to be careful about who looks after your kids but I would encourage you to let other people get involved if possible.

1. Your kids get the benefit of a variety of good adult role-models, male and female. That old saying 'it takes a community to raise a child' is so true. The more positive people in your child's life the better!
2. They get to experience new environments and people, enabling them to think widely and be better prepared for independent life as they grow older.
3. They may learn new skills, new hobbies that you are unable to provide them access to logistically (let's face it, we cannot teach our kids everything on our own)
4. Children learn how to make healthy friendships and relationships by learning social skills in a variety of contexts
5. Allowing your children to develop relationships with other adults widens their group of 'safe' people whom they can confide in if they have a problem, if your kids are too shy or scared to talk to a parent they need other options!
6. You and your kids get breaks from one another - a good chance to reset and reconsider any parenting issues.

I encourage you to take these opportunities for your children when they come up :)

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Bad Habits to Feel Good?

I'm not going to make you all reveal your personal secrets here but what helps you get through the day?
Most of us have a mixture of healthy and not so healthy habits in our lives.
What you do when you are stressed, lonely, bored or frustrated? Maybe you ring a friend, or go for a walk, or watch a movie - no problems there -but what if your friend is not home, or it's raining, or maybe there aren't any good movies on.
When there isn't another adult around for company (which is often the case as a single parent) we often fill our lives with other things.

Some examples of less-than healthy ways people fill the gaps in their lives:
Overeating (or comfort eating)
Sleeping with random people
Obsessive cleaning

None of us are perfect that's for sure, we can probably all think of someone who has problem with each of these issues (if not ourselves). But I am not here to judge. I am just trying to make you think about your life and what is affecting you.
If you need help with any of these issues make sure you find it, it can be as simple as joining an anonymous forum online. Acknowledging the problem is a good start though.
Have a great week everyone xx

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Dealing with Serious Conflict

I decided to separate this from low level conflict as a serious conflict often needs attending to differently.

If your conflicts are getting out of hand, if there is physical fighting, verbal abuse or even a lot of yelling then you need to do something about it. Sometimes conflict can also be discreet and quiet, but nasty, so be honest with yourself about your situation and if things are really ok.

If your (or any other) children are witnessing any serious conflict then your first priority needs to be getting them away from it, because kids need a stable home and life. Simple as that. This does not necessarily mean they can't see any of the people involved but they need to be away from the unhealthy situation.

There is no way that you are not being affected as well in this circumstance. Your stress levels will be high and your ability to think clearly becomes affected, which then affects everything else in your life. If you cannot find a way to resolve a conflict then you need to get away from it. Having time away from the other person can help you (and them) to have a clearer look at the situation and make better decisions. Get yourself some counselling if possible. In some cases you may need a go-between person to help you sort out practical issues (esp. with ex-partners etc.).

If you need help to get out please find the help, put aside any embarrassment or shame (you can deal with those feelings later). Call the police if you have to. A little bit of conflict is normal,  high levels are not healthy. So keep yourself and your children safe :)

I would love your comments on this issue, if you think I have missed anything let me know. It is so important.

Dealing with Low Level Conflict

This is a biggie. Conflict is something we all have to deal with at some point, and it sucks. Most of us have certain people in our life that we rub up against, it could be a friend, family member, partner (or ex-partner) or even your child.

What is important first of all is determining what level of conflict you are dealing with. Low level disagreements can be very frustrating but a little conflict is normal. If you have on-going problems with someone that are causing you stress then you need to find a solution.

Do you need to have a sit down with the other person and have a serious conversation, maybe with someone else present as well? Sometimes just verbalising your frustration can help both of you to find a solution. Try and be patient, fair and reasonable and the other person might respond the same way. Communication is so important. So many conflicts are the result of misunderstandings or unresolved feelings.

You could discuss the situation with someone who is not too close to the conflict. They may have new ideas that you might not have thought of. Sometimes time away and space is necessary too. I know its a well used line but you can only control yourself. If you are getting angry a lot or knowingly starting arguments you need to address this, or if you are the type who just gets upset or is unable to express what you are really feeling then have a think about that.

If the other person is not interested in seriously improving the situation then you may need to keep some distance between you long term.

Look after yourselves guys :)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Time alone

My kids have been away since yesterday and I am enjoying some time alone - it doesn't happen often! I'm not going to lie, the house is wonderfully quiet. To be honest I am not rushing to get extra housework done, I'm not filling my time with as many social situations as I can but instead I am just being lazy. I know that my patience has been thin with my kids over the last couple of weeks and that I just need a break.

I regard days like this as reset days. I do what ever I want, watch TV, eat at odd times, stay up late (or sleep in late!), and spend as much time on the computer as I want haha. So by the time my kids come back I am a little more satisfied, and chilled out, because I have been able to do what I want to do for a while.

I guess my point is that your free time is precious. You may only get an hour or two here and there or maybe you have a couple of days. Make sure you spend some of that time just relaxing, you have my permission not to feel guilty about it! and it is good for your kids too. If you are happy, they are happy. I know from my experience that if I have had break from obligation for a little bit then I feel more energised to take my kids out, or spend more quality time with them when I see them again.


Sunday, 28 April 2013

Single Parent Resources

For all that are interested I have second blog which concentrates on practical information, tips, budgeting advice, recipes etc. for single parents. I use these resources too and I want to share them with you all with the aim of making our complicated lives easier and less stressful. Enjoy!

Let me know what you think!

Who do you talk to?

Do you have people in your life that you can confide in, discuss things with or even to check in with at the end of your day?
As a counsellor I have the privilege of hearing things from my clients that they are unable to share with anyone else, but it is not always deep emotional stuff. Sometimes people are just stuck with an issue that they cannot see a solution to. It might be deciding what job to takes to or how to handle an ex-partner.
When you are a single parent especially you do not always have another stable adult who is close enough to your situation to help you with decisions in your life.
It is so important to talk though.
When we verbalise our problems to someone else two things happen:

1) As we hear ourselves tell the story of our problem it can sometimes sound different to what it seemed to be in our head. A solution may suddenly seem obvious, or something we were worried about may seem a little less awful.

2) We have an audience! It is so helpful to bounce ideas off other people. They can often have different ideas that we may not have ever thought of, point out issues that we had not been aware of, or even give us a wake up call if we are on the wrong track.

So I would encourage all of you to find a way to share your thoughts with someone, maybe a friend, a certain family member, a safe online forum or an affordable counsellor. I have been a client myself and know first hand the benefit of talking through your stuff. If you have no-one else then leave me a message here :)

Saturday, 27 April 2013


Why start with this topic? well it hits pretty close to home at the moment. I am on a benefit and used to work part time, but since I started my degree I have been POOR. I tried working a little last year as well as studying but it was too much. I was stressed and stretched too thin, and my kids were not getting the best of me during this time. But now that I am not working it is a struggle to get everything paid week to week. I want my kids to do sports, to learn to swim, go to scouts etc. but to pay for these things I have to swallow my pride and get financial help from my family. I don't enjoy doing this. It hurts my soul having to ask for help at a time of my life where I should be financially secure. Have any of you felt this?
Further more I can't afford 'nice' new clothes for myself, I shop second hand which I don't mind but as I am in my 30s now I can't really go for the 'grunge' look anymore haha!
It is hard to pay for everything your family needs when there is only one adult to earn the money and care for the kids, when there should be two. Such is the life of a single parent.
Lack of money is something I have to accept at this point. I am looking forward to finishing my study and getting a 'real' job but sometimes that seems a long way off....


Hello world! I was sitting alone at home one night (situation normal) and feeling frustrated about having no-one to talk to so it struck me that I could start a blog and expose the world to my thoughts and ponderings.
So who am I? well I am a single parent, but that is not all - I am nearly finished a counselling degree, which is awesome, and I am currently counselling at a couple of locations. I am passionate about helping others change their lives, make decisions or express their deepest thoughts.
This blog therefore is about two things, it is certainly about sharing the trials, tribulations and celebrations of a single parent life, but it is also a way to reach out more deeply to others in a similar situation, to interact with you, encourage you and journey with you :)
I have school age children now but have been a single parent for a few years now, including when 2 were pre-schoolers. I have experienced times of despair and times of joy, days where I have felt like the worst parent in the world and periods of loneliness. I have learned hard lessons about pride and acceptance and I also know it is possible to move forward in life whatever the circumstances. We do not have to be 'stuck' in the same place in our life forever.
I encourage you to interact with me here! xxoo