Somebody asked me the other day why I created Confessions of a Single Mum. I know why I did create this site all those years ago but time goes on, lives and circumstances change so I thought I would reiterate why I created Confessions of a Single Mum and why, even though my circumstances have changed, I still have Confessions of a Single Mum.
Then – I divorced well over 10 years ago. About 8 years ago I met my now partner. In the early years of our relationship we went our separate ways a few times. It was during one of these times I created Confessions of a Single Mum. I already had another blog so I knew how they worked and another thing I know a lot about is being a single parent. I have had heard all the jibes, had the sneered comments and have well and truly been tarred with the same brush as most single parents get painted with. I knew what it was like to have days when the only adult you talked to was the postman if you were lucky. I knew what it was like to juggle work, child care and a life. I did the online dating, I did the cringe-able dates and I did everything else in-between. I wanted other single parents to know it was actually ok to be a single parent. So I created Confessions of a Single Mum to shout about it.
Now – You see although I have been with my partner 8 years, we have never lived together. Nor have we made plans to live together. So I still do all my parenting alone. Yes when there is the big things to deal with, the children’s Dad and I do unite and we can be in the same room longer than 10 minutes without bloodshed. But at the end of the day I am still a single parent. I still have to do day to day parenting on my own. I still juggle work, money and children. There are still days I can be the only person I have talked too. There are still days I have to decide to eat or put the heating on. Yes they are now teenagers which in some ways is easier but in other ways it’s a whole new adventure and nightmare.
I still have a voice and I still think its ok to be a single parent.
So that’s why I created Confessions of a Single Mum and why I still have the blog.
I read the other day that the average mum spends 51 hours preparing for the big day. The big day? You know Christmas Day. I use to think that it was just when the kids were young that the preparations took so long but I am fast learning this isn’t true. The older the children get and less they believe in Christmas (well actually they don’t believe at all) the more I try and put the magic into it all. But with all this preparing it is ok to enlist help, share the work load out and cheat a bit.
I always think November is my favourite month then December the 1st arrives and I am like ‘oh wait no December is my favourite’ . True to form its happened again this month. I also heard on the radio the 1st December being refereed to as tree day, you know ‘put up your Christmas tree day’. I can’t decide if to put mine up today or not. A quick ask on Facebook last night had mixed results.
I asked who is putting there tree up on the 1st?
Six replied no way, 12 days before or a week before. Oh and one on Christmas Eve.
Four replied already done (…ekkk)
And then there were a four saying yes to putting their tree up on the 1st.
This tells me a lot of my friends are just big excited kids like me. For me I love sitting there looking at the sparkly tree as I go about my work. It reminds me of the magic and glitter of Christmas. Yes I know there is no actual real magic and all that but I do think we create our own magic. They say if you smile it fools yourself into thinking you are happier then actually might be. So with that in mind at the grand age of 40+ and with children well into their teens and no whiff of believing in Father Christmas or such like – I believe in the magic of it all because I make myself believe it.
So when do you put your tree up ?
When it comes to Christmas I am worse than the kids. This coming Sunday is tree day ( 1st December so the Christmas tree goes up- keep up) and then after that I am just one excited, glitter covered, crafting making Christmas ball of excitement. For me it’s all the traditions and the build up to Christmas that I love, on the actual day I am rather deflated and somewhat exhausted.
So Christmas Traditions, do you have any traditions that you trot out each year and make everyone join in?
We all like to dream that we could win the lottery one day, but the reality is that we probably won’t! That doesn’t stop us hoping though, and buying a ticket every now and then. These days, the choice of which lottery you play is far wider than it was a few years ago – it’s not only the UK National Lottery you can have a crack at!
Dating a single mother might seem a daunting prospect. They have added responsibilities and commitments which will inevitably come before a relationship. However, there are plenty of good reasons not to rule it out. Here are some of the pros and cons to dating a woman who has children.
I know I don’t have to spell it out but this ‘money is tight’ thing isn’t half going on and on. Then just when we think we have a handle on it all British Gas announce its increasing gas prices by 9.2% and electricity by 10.4% and SSE are increases their prices by 8.4%. Just lovely. If you want to check if the increases affect you have a look over at the BBC’s personal inflation calculator.
Now I would normally now waffle on about how putting an extra jumper on, closing curtains and shutting doors is the way forward but when most of us are already doing all that what else is there for us to do? Hold on just in case a teenager has strayed onto the page ……..SHUT DOORS and wear and EXTRA JUMPER before you complain it’s cold. Anyone who is a parent to a teen will completely understand that last bit. Now I was saying how we are probably already doing the little hints and tips so this time I have gone geeky and tracked down nerdy ways to save money and it doesn’t involve huddling around your laptop to keep warm.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to explain if you can’t afford the price increases then you need to either find ways to increase your income or you need to use less of the electric stuff.
The Energy Saving Trust has some nifty advice on saving money around the home and they also have a Home Energy Check questionnaire that can potentially save lots of more. The questionnaire asks you some questions on your home like glazing, heating, the building materials and lighting in your home. They then send you a report via email on how you can make improvements and save money. When I did mine I could save up to £800 a year after implementing their suggestions. (eeekk!!)
You could look into fixing your electric prices of switch supplier. This would stop you getting any nasty surprises but do check the terms and conditions of the fixed price deals at the suppliers websites. When you are checking out the competition do check your own supplier as you might not be on the best tariff and a simple call and switch of tariff could save some pennies.
The Government has told energy suppliers that by 2020 all UK homes and businesses are to have smart meters installed. These new gas and electric meters will make it much easier to save money on energy bills. The Governments information page on these new smart meters has links to the six main energy suppliers meter pages. There will be trials but you can apply to go on the waiting list.
I know this one is one of my fall downs- wasting money by leaving things on standby. They reckon that just a few laptops or pc’s and TV’s left on standby can mount up to between £50 and £90 a year. That’s £90 for a little red light in the corner of the room when you’re asleep. Ecotek’s Standby Saver has space for 4 spaces for things that don’t need to be left of standby and two handy spaces for the important things like your router that does need to be on.
If you’re on a water meter and have a teenager then first off you have my sympathy, the two don’t go well together. To save your voice and your nerves some clever person (I bet they were parents of teenagers at the time) invented the water pebble. It sits in the shower by the plughole and monitors the water going down the plughole. It measures how much you used the first time and then on subsequent showers it flashes a bit earlier in hope of getting you out of the shower a bit quicker which means you’re using less water.
If you run a re car you known that petrol and diesel prices differ from place to place. The most up to date info on the pump prices can be found at petrol prices. It has around 10,000 UK petrol stations that after you login in (free) and enter your postcode it will show you all the prices in your area.
Saving Money on Shopping
When Argos has stock it needs to shift it sells it off cheaply on ebay on buy in now prices and also at this website. Needs a bit of patience to dig out the really good deals but well worth knowing with Christmas around the corner. Apple also has a special deals section which is another good to know place. Best deals on refurbished models but have a butchers yourself.
Hot UK deals is a wealth of info and savings. Also check out voucher codes.
We all know how supermarkets like to put prices up and down and all over the place and they all boast they are the best. But if you go to mysupermarket or even their app you check the price on something, if the price has been going up or down and if the other supermarkets are selling it cheaper.
It’s all very well living in a modern (ish) house but when they built this house the fashion was for no fire places. Hardy any power sockets either which is a bit surprising as electricity was hardly a new invention back in the early 70’s so it must have been obvious electricity would be here to stay. Consequently the rooms in this house have a rather plain box feel about it. It’s also rented so whipping out a wall and building in a fireplace isn’t something I can or want to do. But winter is knocking at the door and I want to be cosy. Queue cheating in the form of a pretend fireplace. I literally popped into the local DIY store, very kind lad put it in the car and then took home and unpacked it. No fiddling, no putting together just removed cardboard and plug in. I am amazed with the result and it looks like it has been there for the last 40 years. Cosy wintery/Christmassy evenings can now commence. Though there are a few other things needs to make a proper winter/Christmas evening so here is my essential list:
If you’re looking to get away from it all with a family break, getting trains to Devon might be the perfect way to do it. England’s south west has plenty to offer throughout the year, so don’t feel you need to wait until next summer to pay a visit. Here are a few things we think you might enjoy even in poorer weather:
As every parent to a teenager knows, teens are notoriously difficult to please. While they might be happy glued to their smartphones and computers, as parents, we want to make the most of family time, creating those fond memories together that last forever before they fly the nest.
And, family holidays are a big part of this. While travelling with small children is never easy, when they get older it can be just as tricky as you try to coax a smile out of your teen, who is sulking over the devastating lack of Wi-Fi at your resort and the total embarrassment of being seen with their parents.