In 2015 I was a solo mum to a five-year-old daughter, working full time in the city to pay a mortgage and spending much less time with Emmie than I wanted. Something had to change. I decided that the best way for us was to go travelling in Asia, where living was affordable and we wouldn’t be stuck in routine and rigidity.
Six months later we had sold almost everything, rented out our house, and in February 2016 we set off backpacking. Emmie had just turned six and we spent most of the next two and a half years exploring Asia together.
It was the best time of my life. We had freedom, I had very few responsibilities and we had all day every day to learn about the world. There’s nothing better than spending time together. We were so fortunate we got to be together whilst travelling and learning about culture, religion, history and the environment. It was just magic.
As a solo mum, I used to struggle with feeling stereotyped or that I was less worthy than others in relationships. But I don’t feel that way anymore. I am me and I am not defined by relationships or partners (except Emmie!). Travelling made me stronger, and proud of myself, and it made me see what was important to me.
I think that most of us are doing our best no matter what our circumstances are. I’m just an ordinary person who made our dream to be together come true in a pretty unusual way. If I can do it so can you.
Why you think single mums need to be congratulated
These women–warriors, really–single-handedly shoulder the day-to-day responsibilities of raising their families. Today’s families helmed by single mums are proving that there is no longer a typical family, nor a typical single mum, either. Mums and the kids they raise can and do wear many hats. Thanks to the strong, admirable women who raise them, many of their kids are independent and capable of taking care of themselves. They carry the entire financial, emotional, logistical and physical needs alone, by themselves, usually whilst working 2 – 3 jobs to make those things viable.
What are some of the struggles you have seen single mums overcome through Shareabode
When problems and struggles are shared there is a profound sense of stress relief and anxiety and this relief create a more balanced and happy mother and a more balanced and happy mother means a more balanced and happy child. Sharing resources and reducing commitments financially, physically, logistically and emotionally can be the difference between depression, homelessness and feeling like a failure. It increases the success of the single mum and child journey to be one of ease and enjoyment.
As a single mum yourself, what do you admire and appreciate in other single mums
Single mums work harder, force their smiles when they are worried, seldom complain because they have chosen to be who they are and best of all they give all the love they have to their child because they are their happiest when they get a smile, a thank you and an “I love you mum” from the one person they sacrifice everything for.
We also have a call to action if it is appropriate to raise vital funds for our platform to be rebuilt so it can help connect more single mothers to one another for co-living. We have started attracting some financially stable single parents and homeowners putting their home on the system at a reduced rent in exchange for helping with property maintenance, errands and kids help so they save time and this gets single parents that are homeless (couch surfing, living in cars and hostels) to get into reduced permanent housing and on their feet and also allows those stuck in DV and abuse to have a way out that isn’t into homelessness because of lack of finances. The link if you felt putting the CTA there is here to donate:
Why do single mums need to be celebrated?
1/Single and solo mums need to be celebrated for the enormous contribution they make to their children’s life. Motherhood in itself is a lesson in giving and selflessness and it’s even more so for single mothers. In my experience -the phrase ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ just doesn’t apply – it’s more like “A one-woman show!” … However, there are positives in that – my daughter is very proud of the life I have created for us and that is something to celebrate!
What are some of the struggles have you overcome?
No one day is ‘easy’ for a single mother – but I do feel the ‘extra’ difficulty on a day like Mother’s Day as a single mum. The reality is that not every solo or single mum has family on hand to have the celebratory lunch, buy the presents and special cards or take the children shopping to pick out something special. For a single mum on Mother’s Day, it can sometimes feel like a cruel reminder that you are truly alone, especially when the mother has babies who are unaware it is Mother’s Day at all!
Without a doubt, the death of my own mother unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm has been one of the biggest struggles I have had to overcome. There isn’t a day that goes by that I feel her absence and becoming a mother made her loss all the more palpable. A mother represents comfort and security no matter what your age, and learning to be a mother without her is something I have had to overcome and learn to integrate her memory into my life.
As a single Mum, who do you admire and appreciate?
I admire all my fellow single mothers who raise children solo. There is no break and no one to run things by when you are unsure or celebrate the milestones with. Most of all – there is no one in the world who cares about her children close to how she does. While a beautiful thing – it is also a heavy load to carry one person’s shoulders. I admire any woman who carries that completely alone. It’s a big job!
Suzie Wilks is an Australian TV personality most known for being the first woman to host a prime time show in Australia. Visit suziewilks.com or follow her on Instagram at @suzie_wilks
My mum, Cinzia Cozzolino, taught me that you can be and do anything, despite your circumstances. As a young child, I saw her strength and determination as a single mum. She left a really challenging marriage, with 2 young children and no support. As we were growing up, we watched her juggle several jobs to be able to put food on the table. Despite what chaos was going on in her life, she would still be there for us at drop off and pick up, with a positive attitude and motherly love.
At 42, she decided to make a big change to better the lives of our family. She went to university for the first time, sat her first ever exams, and graduated as a clinical nutritionist. This taught me that you can change your life at any age.
When I was 13 I became a really fussy eater, and my mum was hellbent on getting to the bottom of it. After lots of trial and error of trying to get good food into me, she stumbled across the idea of pre-portioned smoothie boosters. She combined all the superfood powers, fibre, nuts and seeds in our pantry into ‘Bombs’ to boost my smoothies with. She made it taste like I was having a chocolate milkshake but I was really having a boost of nutrition.
After seeing its success with me, my mum turned her home recipe into a fully fledged business called ‘The Smoothie Bombs’. 9 years on, the business is thriving and she sells her smoothie boosters throughout Australia, USA, New Zealand, Singapore, Dubai and 6 other countries!
I admire my mum’s perseverance and her positive outlook, no matter how dire the situation. She taught me what a powerful woman looks like, and how to be one.
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