Not all partnerships end happily-ever-after. But children are a lifelong commitment. Here we talk to two single supermama’s about their solo parenting journey.
Liz: mum of Isla age 9, Clover age 6 & Daisy age 3
Abigail: mum of Isaiah age 6 & Esmae age 1
How old was your child/were your children when you and your ex separated?
Liz: It was a little over two years ago, so they were almost 7, almost 4 and 10 months.
Abigail: Isaiah’s dad and I have been separated for a couple years. Esmae's father is not on our journey at this time.
What helped you get through the early days of solo parenting?
Liz: I felt very sure that in a year from then that I would feel really content and settled, I just knew that I had to get through that first tough period. So I held the vision, I did a lot of manifesting and was very intentional about how I wanted my life to feel. I also really enjoyed having my own space initially and not arguing with anyone!
Abigail: I have a beautiful group of women friends, support, and community. I’m not gonna lie, it was quite challenging in the beginning. Even having Mae…there’s something so fragile about a newborn…I am like “They are so small, I can't do this shit. But I can, I did, and I continue to do the damn thing. It is so rewarding and I am so thankful.
How did you explain your separation to your child/kids?
Liz: They were quite young so it was mostly my eldest that needed it to be explained and it was pretty simply that dad would be living in his own house now so we that could be happier.
Abigail: Isaiah’s dad and I are really good at co-parenting. Isn't always easy, as we may not always agree, but our priority is always bub, no matter what, and because of that explaining our situation is easy, because we choose him, everyday, no matter what. It also shows him, even though Mum and Dad chose not to be together, and that is okay, we will always make him our Number 1. Period. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. That's my Honey, that Boy. As for Esmae’s dad…I will be honest when the time is right, however it unfolds; but that story still being written.
Do you practice any regular self-care rituals that help you replenish your energies?
Liz: I don’t have a lot of time off mum life so my self care is often more about small moments weaved into the day like making my coffee in the morning and taking it out to sit in the sun on my veranda and doing some gratitude journaling and manifesting. Recently I have had some family in Qld who can help with the girls and I am loving waking up early a few times a week and going to do some exercise, grabbing a coffee and an açaí bowl on the beach alone, feels like an actual holiday and I am soaking it up while I have the extra help!
Abigail: Dance, dance, dance! I am a movement/dance teacher. I always come back to me. The body always brings me back.
Do you have a motherhood mantra or uplifting motto that helps get you through the hard days?
Liz: It’s so cliché but ‘This too shall pass’ is so nice to remember when things feel shitty. There’s light and dark in every aspect of life and motherhood is no different, some moments are just sucky but I always know that it’ll pass and that a beautiful moment is just around the corner.
Abigail: Anything Maya Angelou, gets me through life honestly. But always, when the days get rough, “Like dust, I rise” I have it tattooed to me neck.
What advice would you give someone who has just become a single parent?
Liz: I always tell newly single mamas that they will be happy again! Happier than ever! The first year is punctuated by hard things, but it’s also amazing because you’re learning how fucking capable you are! Also, one of the hardest things for me was the feeling of failure. I felt like I had failed at my marriage and at the family I wanted my children to grow up in. But I’ve since realized that there’s nothing braver than deciding that you want a different life for yourself and for your kids even if it’s scary AF to get there. Divorce isn’t failure it’s epic bravery and authenticity.
Abigail: Ask for help, even when it is scary. Ask for it. People are there. WOMEN are there. Women are rising up right now in so many ways, especially mothers to mothers. The healings we can do for each other…I always find to be incredible and I am so blessed to have the awareness of that fact. Women and mothers, are the nurturers and healers. The more we allow support and love, and shift the way we have been – the change is there, the change is everything. Support. Hold each other down!
Are there any single momma support groups here on the Sunshine Coast or online that you can recommend?
Liz: I’m not aware of any.
Abigail: ‘WMN Circles’ are a wonderful resource of support in holding women up. My friend Marie of Soul Flow Collective also started ‘Mumma Village’ meets to support women to take time while other mothers watch their babies and switch. I personally offer Mums & Bubs Dance Classes Fortnightly at Verrierdale Hall. I mean the resources are out there, and they are wonderful. I am always sharing in support of anything that supports mothers to be their best selves.
How do you navigate co-parenting? Any tips?
Liz: So far I haven’t experienced co-parenting in the sense of sharing parenting duties. Our situation is semi unique I guess in that I have 100% care of the girls and their dad is currently living interstate.
Abigail: Routine. My life is routine. I believe freedom is also beautiful, but my daily life is very organised as a single mama, I have to be. My house would be nuts if I didn't, I am looking at a pile of laundry right now. Haha.
What is the hardest part of being a solo momma?
Liz: The hardest part is when there’s a dead animal in the house and you’re the only adult to deal with it. Legit. Those are the moments that I think “fuck this shit” and consider burning down the house. Basically when there’s some type of “situation” and another adult would come in super handy it sucks. But those are also the moments that make me realize how bloody capable and strong I am! When the girls are sick it’s pretty sucky not to have anyone who can dash out for groceries etc., but that’s pretty rare and I have some of the most amazing friends who I know would do a grocery run for me in a heartbeat.
Abigail: You know what, I enjoy it. I used to be very co-dependent in my life. To know I can do it, that I am raising these children and they are happy because of me, that is pretty powerful. I know when the time is right, someone will be come be part of our journey but for now, allowing them to feel, play, explore…that is my focus, and it’s so freaking rewarding.
What is the best part about being a solo momma?
Liz: The best part is definitely feeling like I am 100% being true and authentic to myself. I have never felt more ‘me’. My friendships have never been more authentic and real because I am just completely myself with everyone I meet now, there’s no pretending. My daughters are going to grow up knowing who their mum actually is and seeing her be happy - even though she swears too much and cooks toast for dinner pretty often.
Abigail: Cuddling with my babies in the morning. I look up at the ceiling and just think how lucky I am, that I am doing it on my own and I wouldn't change a thing. Everything I do is for my children to make sure they have a happy and fulfilled life. When I pass on, I want them to say, “Thank you Mum, for loving us so much, protecting us, and allowing us to be.” If they say that, in this life time, I did it. I am doing it! And I will continue to do it. My children are my heart. No-one can take my heart from me.