I’m a single mum.
Although it doesn’t define me, as I am so much more than that. I am an employee, a friend, a daughter, an avid reader, a wannabe blogger. There are lots that ‘I am’.
But it’s the single mum bit that I LOVE. Yes, you heard me right. I’ll put it another way: I LURVE being a single mum.
This may surprise some. The term ‘single mum’ is one of biggest misconceptions of our modern world. Some consider single mumdom the place for those that have failed to conform to what a blinked society considers normal. What the hell is ‘normal’ anyway?
In fact, there was a time when I myself fuelled this fire.
When I first exited my marriage, I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I needed out. I hadn’t considered the up-hill struggle that lay ahead. With my family members a world away, quite literally (we had recently emigrated from the UK to Australia) I was faced with emotional, financial and even physical (OMG, who will take the bins out?) challenges way beyond anything I had experienced before.
The craziness of my circumstance hit me one day when I was on my lunchbreak
There I was in the middle of a park on the phone to the ATO shouting ‘I can’t pay it… I’M A SINGLE MUM’. There was a pause on the line… and an almost inaudible sigh from the other end. The world stopped spinning for a second. A nearby bird rolled its eyes.
Quite frankly, what did it matter if I was a single mum? And why did I feel the need to bestow this piece of information on everyone? In my minds-eye, I saw a re-run of the last year of my life, whinging and moaning to anyone who would listen. I seemed to hashtag everything negative in my life with being a single mum. The reason I was poor. The reason I couldn’t go out. All because #Iamasinglemum.
This was my turning point (when a bird rolls its eyes at you, you need a turning point)
My thought process changed, and I developed defiance about being a single mum. To start, I was indescribably lucky to have two beautiful daughters. But I also felt protective of my status and of all other single mums. How dare society lay this negativity at our door? And why was I fuelling it with my own pessimistic thoughts?
It was time to rewrite my script.
I started to feel more positive about being a single mum. You don’t have to look far to find a successful, happy, inspiring single mum: on the media, in government, in the school playground. Like hairbands in my all-female household… they are EVERYWHERE.
Independence was no longer scary. It was exciting. Not having a partner was no longer lonely. It was liberating. Even though my life hadn’t panned out as I’d expected, I still wanted my happily ever after for my children and me. And you know what? I was going to get it.
It was the beginning of my mission to reinvent the status of single mum and take it to a positive and empowering place.
I wanted to shout out my newfound lust for life from the rooftops, but instead I did what any modern day mama does … I started blogging. I wrote about everything single mum related. And it all had one thing in common. It was inspiring. I believe that single mothers are best supported within a positive space. My blog grew and grew, and from it I planted the seed of my business, Beanstalk.
Based on the belief that being ‘just OK isn’t enough’, the Beanstalk offering is a web-based sanctuary of light-hearted conversation, practical advice and wonderfully transformative tools, uniquely designed to support single mums. It is about appreciating what it means to be a single mum, and making the very most of it.
I now chat to single mothers daily on my Facebook Group The Single Mum Vine. It is here that ‘seasoned’ single mothers and those still adjusting to their shiny new status, support one another, share experiences and feel companionship amongst like-minded women.
To give you an example, a single mum posted today that she had mown her lawn for the first time. Yay! She was rewarded with over thirty posts telling her how flippin’ amazing she was. With no one else to tell her, she needed us. And we needed to hear of her success. It made us feel good. Of course, we go deeper than household DIY, but you get the gist, I’m sure.
Empowerment within a female group is almost spellbinding. But for single mothers, often isolated by circumstance, it is even more special. For we are a unique, powerful species. We are strongly connected by our experiences. We are proud of who we are and what we achieve.
We. Are. Single. Mothers.
And I, for one, wouldn’t change that for anything.
(I’d just like to add that the ATO issue is all sorted now. In fact it was a misunderstanding… of course, nothing this single mum can’t handle.)
Bio: Lucy is Founder of Beanstalk Mums, an online space which empowers single mothers to re-find their potential and re-build their confidence through a website that delivers targeted information and support. Lucy lives in Queensland with her two daughters, where she continues her mission to hunt down resources of benefit to the single motherhood.