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Single Mums Share the Best and Worst Things About Solo Parenting and Their Answers May Surprise You

Single Mums Share the Best and Worst Things About Solo Parenting and Their Answers May Surprise You

When it comes to raising kids, single mums are kind of a big deal! According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) last year, for the first time ever, there are more than 1 million single parent families in Australia! Maybe less surprising is the fact that a whopping four out of five of these families are headed by single mums – proving that they are indeed a force to be reckoned with!

In a recent episode of their podcast ‘Motherhood – A Beautiful Nightmare’, comedians Shanelle Franklin and Tamara Linke explored the ups and downs of single parents, and what it is really like to walk a mile in their shoes. Throughout the show aptly titled ‘All the Single Mamas,’ five mums openly share their personal experiences of going it alone with children, shedding light on what many single mothers go through on a daily basis, and it is both illuminating and inspiring in equal measure.

There is too much in the podcast episode to cover it all here, so we highly recommend checking it out when you next have some time to yourself. But, for those of you who always tried to get out of reading the book set by the teacher at school by getting hold of a copy of the Cliffs notes, here’s a run-down of the best and worst of being a single mum according to the podcast guests.

What is the best thing about being a single mum?

‘Getting to do it on your own and not having any adult conflict over…anything, but particularly anything that involves your child. For me I know it would have been a nightmare, for me, because we are polar opposites on almost everything in life, but also in parenting.

Also, the closeness it brings and having that quality time together. I love those moment, when we are just so bonded.’ (Nikki)

‘I’ve been single now with kids for about 3 years, so getting a really good rhythm now. I think the first couple of years where tough, just in terms of adjustment. The best thing for me about being a single mum is definitely, (once you’ve gone through the adjustment phase and worked out a bit more about yourself), is the ability to really parent the children on your own terms, making choices and decisions that are yours to make…and you can really show up for them in a way that works for you, without that compromise.’ (Cherie, 45)

‘Bringing laughter back into my house and finding the joy in everything we do every day. Obviously if you are a single mum you’ve gone through a situation, whether that be growing apart from your spouse, or going through a trauma, and I focus every day on finding the joy and laughing with my kids and being silly and becoming a kid again and kicking the ball in the backyard. Not to say that I wouldn’t do that if I wasn’t a single mum, but I get to be both parents and I feel like that is a blessing. I don’t see that as a negative, I see it as I get to spend this quality time with my kids, and I find joy in everything we do together.’ (Patrice, 36)

‘It’s the relationship I have with my daughter. It’s just her and I, and I genuinely love hanging out with her, and I tell her that all the time. We have great conversations, laugh and out daily life is like a musical. Like yesterday, we went for a bike ride and sang ‘You are my sunshine,’ the whole way. Well, until she cried because her legs were sore, sand was being blown in her eyes and she was tired. But I find the joy in the small, beautiful, simple moments. I have chosen the way I want to raise my child, and the lessons, values, and focus I bring to the daily choices and interaction. I’m not navigating someone else’s daily opinion and input.’ (Michelle, 43)

‘Hands down it would have to be the bond I have with him, because it’s just us two, it’s just this beautiful, special bond that no one else can understand, and I just love that. Because I don’t have a partner or a husband, I have had to intentionally foster community – friendships, and I’m also incredibly fortunate to have beautiful parents and a sister, a really supportive family of origin, that I can lean on heavily and they’ve got such a really close bond with him as well. I love watching him just make all these beautiful memories. Also, I don’t have to ask for anyone else’s permission to parent the way that I want to parent. I don’t have those arguments in my house. I really appreciate that I get to do all the parenting on my terms.’ (Chloe, 36)

What’s the worst thing about being a single mum?

‘The worst thing is the same thing as I said for best things – its doing it on my own. Sometimes it can be just fucking awful and there’s nobody else to pass onto when you’re about to lose your mind – which unfortunately does happen. That’s really challenging, and it takes a lot of work on self.’ (Nikki)

‘I think it’s about being outnumbered. So logistically it’s sometimes tricky, and I just need a spare pair of hands and it can feel isolating a little bit when everyone is in family units and you’re on your own. But, it’s probably mostly about being outnumbered and needing an extra pair of hands.’ (Cherie)

‘The loneliness, I think. I think, when you fill your days with work and sporting commitments, you have that moment when you put them to bed and you make yourself a cup of tea or have a red wine or whatever you do, and you sit on the couch, and just those few minutes of bliss because it’s been so full on, but then you feel lonely. I don’t feel like your friends invite you to as many things. They wouldn’t invite you to a dinner, just you, because there’s not someone with you to buddy up with the other spouse, so I would say that would definitely be something that’s one of the worst things. I focus on empowering myself and not looking for the bad things because I think that once you look for all of the bad things, you’ll see all of the bad things and you’ll focus on all of the bad things, and there is a lot I think, to be said for strong, empowered, independent single mums.’ (Patrice)

‘I don’t get to see her every day, and I miss out on some milestones as well as being a part of some of her big memories. It’s the reconciling of the new definition of family.

The mental load –  it solely sits with me. Someone isn’t coming home at the end of the day to provide relief, to clean the kitchen, to make school lunches, to pop to the shops when you need something. Someone isn’t there to debrief and share those funny moments that happy during the day. I have gorgeous family and friends who I call and share with, but it’s those natural, impromptu moments and sharing the joy of who your child is becoming. Workshopping parenting decisions, that’s hard. Not being able to do that with someone who is in the same trench as you and getting reassurance that you’re doing a good job and equally pulling you up on things when you’re not.’ (Michelle)

‘I would have to say the worst thing is the pressure – financial, emotional, physical and mental labour and pressure. There’s just no escape from it, and I can’t tap out if I need 5 minutes to myself. I can just run to the shops and say, “Honey can you just watch the kids?’ I don’t have someone to share the freak-out with when the interest rates go up for the 50th time this year. No one is in the trenches with you day-in and day-out, and that is sometimes heartbreaking and really scary. There’s too many times I can count, and this morning was one of them, when I collapsed onto the kitchen floor sobbing because sometime you just don’t know how you’re going to do it all.’ (Chloe)

You can listen to the podcast in its entirety by clicking here or  searching ‘Motherhood – A Beautiful Nightmare’ on your favourite podcast listening platform.

For those of you in the parenting trenches alone, we just want to say we see you and we salute you!

What would you add to the conversation? Are your best and worst things about single parenting similar to this, or completely different? We’d love to hear from you.

Podcast: Motherhood, A Beautiful Nightmare

It’s the podcast for the mother who is flying by the seat of her pants! Motherhood a Beautiful Nightmare is all about the badassery of motherhood and how to navigate this beautiful urban nightmare. Presenters Shanelle Franklin and Tamara Linke navigate the steep learning curve of the urban mother dealing with sleepless nights, the chaos of kids, tantrums, careers, relationships and self-preservation, all whilst trying to achieve the holy grail.

With seven seasons under their belt, two major features by Apple Podcasts Australia, guest spots on Mix 102.3 and their debut live shows selling out with extra shows added to meet demand before the 2022 Adelaide Fringe even started – Motherhood A Beautiful Nightmare is in the top 20% of podcasts in the world, and Shanelle and Tamara are breaking into the big time.

Largely drawn from their personal experiences, Motherhood a Beautiful Nightmare gives you permission to take a break and realise that your journey, like every other mother’s, is a work in progress. It holds a mirror up to the mum who doesn’t take herself too seriously and meanders her way through the awkwardness of parenthood. Essentially, Shanelle and Tamara live by their mantra, ‘Let’s make it up as we go along and pretend we know what we’re doing.’

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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