How I Make It Work – Single Mum Hacks by Tamsin

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How do you manage your work life balance as a single parent? What do mornings look like when you’re parenting alone? Single mum Tamsin shares her single parent hacks and the secrets to a smooth day.

Advice for single mums

My name is Tamsin.

My family consists of me and my son William, who is four years old and in his first year of school!

I’ve been a single parent since I found out I was pregnant in December 2015. My son’s father made the decision not to be involved straight away so it’s been just the two of us right from the start.

My work life balance is difficult at best! I work full-time as a retail manager so the hours are unsociable and all over the place. It’s a juggle that I don’t always get it right but we try to make it work. This year’s been especially tough as I’ve had to work longer hours over lockdown and now it’s Christmas time, I have no work life balance at all! My parents help out a lot with childcare and I try to make the best of the time that I do have with William.

My secret to getting everyone ready in the morning is…I don’t have one so can someone let me know?! I’m late for everything and I normally forget something! I’m the mum that’s running into school at the last minute every morning. Mornings just aren’t my best!

My support network consists of my parents, who are the best grandparents to William. He has such a close bond with them and they help out so much. I also have an amazing group of friends that always involve William in whatever we do.

The bit I find the hardest is the stigma attached to being a single parent. People always seem surprised that I have a job and that I lead a ‘normal’ life as a single parent. Assumptions are made about me, both in work and in my personal life. It feels like I always have something to prove before I’ve even started.

My me time consists of dinner on the sofa with a glass of wine! I don’t get a lot of me time, normally it’s just evenings when William is asleep upstairs. One the rare occasion I do get a night out, the mum guilt is real!

If I could change one thing to make life easier it would be making the rest of the world ready for single parents. There’s too many occasions you’re made to feel like the odd one out. From being the only single parent at an antenatal class when I was pregnant to being asked if dad will be joining me when looking around primary schools. Often people don’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable, it’s just the way the world is, but that doesn’t make it any easier to navigate.

One thing I love about being a single parent is the bond me and William have. It’s always been just us so we’re really close. He’s my little sidekick and I really wouldn’t change being a single parent.

Dinner time at our house is normally a rush! Because my work pattern is all over the place, dinner is always at a different time. But on my weekends off, we normally have a pizza and games night which William loves!

Our bedtime routine is always ‘five more minutes’! William loves to read a story and always wants ‘just one more’. So it’s never quick, buts it’s a routine that happens every day which is nice when the rest of life is so chaotic!

My best single parenting hack is trust your instinct. Everyone will always have an opinion and want to share it, but your gut is normally right. As long as your child is happy, that’s all that matters.

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