Following the success of my last series, I decided that I wanted to share the stories of other inspirational Independent Mothers. I know that there are so many strong Independent Mothers in the world with an incredible story to tell and that many people could benefit from hearing their stories.
I am hoping that this series will help you to realise that you are not alone, you are much stronger than you think and that you will be able to navigate through this chapter in your life. It takes strength, perseverance and courage to get through, but I believe that you possess these qualities and much more!
I love to connect with Independent Mothers and to read everyone comments and stories about their own experiences with Motherhood.
If you would like to be involved in my Independent Mother series, please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"My name is Rachel and I am 32. I was born and raised in south London. I am a full-time working mother to Madison-Avery who is 19 months old. I studied Forensic Science at university. I’m a Sunday school teacher and recently I have taken on the role as an associate governor at a school in Lambeth.
Before I became a mum, I was just living a very carefree, selfish life, I did want I want when I want, and I was a workaholic. I remember before I became pregnant, I used to work all the time in a few months I just had 3 days off, I don’t know what I was thinking. I now know the true meaning of living life, it’s not all about chasing the money.
I was probably at my healthiest and active when I ran a ½ marathon for a charity in NYC. I am hoping to do another one in a few years. My main hobby is baking. I enjoy learning how to do nails, I’m pretty good at shellac nails and I do my own. I’m currently learning how to do nail extensions."
1. How did you become an Independent Mum?
"I knew from very early on - when I was two weeks pregnant that I would be going through this journey alone. I was prepared to do it alone however we are trying to co-parent. It has been and still is a hard struggle, very different upbringings hence different ideas of parenting."
2. How did you settle into your new role as an Independent Mum?
"My daughter’s birth was physically and mentally traumatic, so for the first few months I was struggling and now I can see I went through a bit of depression. Luckily my mum and midwife saw the signs, but once I attended therapy sessions and my physio I began to feel mentally and physically stronger, so I felt more at ease into motherhood and from there I began to really enjoy motherhood."
3. In what ways do you make co-parenting work for you?
"I think having conversations face to face or on the phone because what happens is communication via text can get misinterpreted."
4. From your perspective, what are the joys and lows of being an Independent Mum?
"The lows are probably not being able to be as carefree as you were, but I think that’s just a general adjustment that all mothers have to deal with. The lows will be the financial pressure that your income has to feed, clothe and cater for both of you. The joys are when we have such a good day together and I see the joy in her face when she has learned something new and she is so proud of herself."
5. Do you feel that there is enough support for Independent Mothers?
"I don’t think there is enough because a lot of stigma is attached, and people really do believe independent mothers wanted to “trap” the man and /or to get a free council flat / benefits, which is not the case. I think more support and outreach for those mums who feel isolated should be something that gets delivered in addition to the health visitors checks."
6. Who have been your biggest supporters?
"My family, friends and colleagues. My pregnancy was a very challenging one, I honestly say I have had and continue to have the best support network. I was in hospital for two weeks after birth and during that time my sisters, cousins, friends, godmother and brother in law came to visit. My sisters even slept in the hospital and at my home too, they literally had a rota system going to ensure that myself and my daughter was well cared for."
7. What stereotypes have you faced as an Independent Mother?
"So far luckily, I haven’t faced any negative stereotypes, fortunately I’m surrounded by great women both independent mothers and those with partners, who help me strive to be the best mum and woman I can be. I think society is changing and their views on single / independent mothers is changing for the better."
8. What advice would you give to other women who have just become Independent Mothers?
"Don’t focus on what could have been or what you can’t do and focus on what you can do. Just keep in mind many have done this, and many women will continue to. Ask for help don’t feel that you have to be this strong independent mother all the time."
9. What has being an Independent Mother taught you about yourself?
"That I can do what I put my mind to. Being a mum has really brought back my child like spirit, I have realised that there is more to life that material items and having a happy loving family is all that matters."
10. How do you juggle baking, working and raising your daughter all at the same time?
"I work full-time my job consists of days and night shifts, it’s a demanding job and at the end of the day all I want to do is go home and sleep, but mother duty calls. Raising my daughter is my number one priority, however I do have my own hobbies and goals. I try to bake on my days off or if I have to on my night shifts, but Madison-Avery is at the age where she requires more attention."
11. Please tell us more about Chardonnees Cupcakes
"I stated baking 2015 but was really rubbish at decorating so I gave up, but I really started to miss baking and then decided to have another go and Chardonnee’s Cupcakes was born. I really enjoy baking and have set myself some challenges for the end of this year, I stopped for 2017 as I suffered with Carpal Tunnel and De Quervain's Tenosynovitis in my wrist and hands which all stemmed from pregnancy, so I had to give up baking temporarily until I received physio and laser therapy.
12. I am really sorry to hear that Rachel. It is amazing how pregnancy can change our bodies in ways many would not even imagine. Pregnant women endure a lot, but we are strong and we were created for this; you are going to be alright because God's got you! I am happy to hear that you have set yourself some challenges for this year and I do hope that you are completely on the mend.
What motivates you in difficult times?
"I think I have always been a motivated person, but I think my main motivation is my daughter. I want her to see that regardless of my circumstances I won’t let it discourage me from what I want to achieve in life, my family is also a big driving force for my motivation, we are generally all motivated in our own ways."
13. What brings you the most peace?
"I think I am at my most peaceful state when my mental and physical health are all in balance. I have suffered physically from child birth complications, I was a very active person prior to my daughter and having to be restricted in doing certain things really got to me emotionally. I found I was not fully at peace, I kept on dwelling on who I was before, I have realised that life is very short, and I have learnt to embrace my new journey and life."
14. Please tell us more about “Mothers Love”
"Mothers Love began when I just wanted to meet up with mums who had children (no age restriction), the group is for all mothers, regardless of age, background or the community which they are from. I wanted to create a group where we get outdoors, attend museums, parks, local attractions and swimming. I wanted to have a good time enjoying my daughter, don’t get me wrong I enjoyed “ME TIME” but I loved being with my daughter more, so I found liked minded mums and just began arranging days out and it quickly turned into a support group, but the main focus is having play dates."
15. What does a typical day in your shoes look like?
"So, I’m up from 4am because Madi wakes up at that time for her milk (I’m trying to wean her off it now), then I sort out her things for the day and then get ready for work. I work shift work (12 hour days) which can be tiring, however I try to focus on the positives and look forward to my days off. If I’m on my day shift by the time I get in its literally dinner time, then our bath and bed time routine. If I’m on my night shift, I will try to sleep for a few hours when I get in and then stay up from midday, but I guess it depends on her sleep routine too."
16. What is your favourite thing to do after a long day to unwind?
“This is firstly to come home and get big cuddles and sloppy kisses from Madi, then to eat my dinner (hopefully in peace), I think it’s important for any working mum to have that 10-15 min alone time, so she can unwind before entertaining the family.”
17. How do you ensure that your daughter feels empowered?
“I think right now it is listening to her, she’s really trying to speak because she’s still so young. I think this is the only way for now I can help her to be empowered at the moment and feel that she is being listened to and hopefully she wouldn’t feel that frustrated.”
18. In what way do you promote learning at home with Madison-Avery?
"I use two methods EYFS and the Montessori method, I have set up her room with learning posters on the wall and a table and chairs to hopefully prepare her for the classroom setting. So far, it is working because I have seen her concentration has improved when she is sitting at the table. I believe that I have a very hands-on approach when it comes to teaching, we do at least one interactive messy play learning activity a week. We tend to read in the morning and if I’m at home for the evening I will do a bedtime story."
19. What do you enjoy doing with Madison-Avery as a family?
"I think the best activity we do together is swimming lessons, she began around 3 & ½ months and she thoroughly enjoyed it. We used to go every week, but with my work schedule if I can’t make her lesson I will take her on the weekend."
20. Finally, please tell us where we can find you on the internet?
@mums_shift – this is just an Instagram account for mums who work shift work, I tend to speak to many mums who are on night shifts because this helps the shift go quicker.
Thank you Rachel for sharing your story with us. You are a very busy woman and a diligent mother doing a lot of tremendous things. Thank you for setting up various platforms to reach out to mothers/parents. Keep up the great work!
With Love, Roxanne-Sasha x
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