Few of us aspire to be a single mum. It was not part of my carefully laid life plans. And yet, sometimes the most difficult parts of our lives can result in the most unexpected and wonderful results.
Becoming a single mum is a unique journey with challenges that only another single mum will understand. It is like starting over. It is daunting but exciting. And like everything in life, it is what we make it.
I went through the motions and slowly adjusted to my shiny new status of ‘single mum’. The biggest lessons were learning to co-parent and coping financially. The practicalities of life had got a whole lot harder. There was nowhere to turn for support. I was tired, I was stressed and, as I watched my friends winning in married life, I was lonely.
It’s at breaking point that the most wonderful things happen in our lives. I think of the phoenix rising. Bit dramatic maybe, but hey, I’m a woman, I love a bit of drama.
We get one life and I felt as though I had a second chance at mine. I became fuelled with passion to create a space that provided everything I had reached for as a single mother but had been unable to find. The seed that was Beanstalk was planted
I would love to tell you it was easy, but instead I’ll be honest.
I was working full time whilst I created the foundations of my business. For six months bedtime was a strict 1am. Coffee was my best friend. And I reached deep inside my soul for the desire to succeed that fuelled me every day.
My daughters, then six and nine, were (and still are) an integral part of my journey. I explained to them what I was doing from the beginning. They are my biggest fans and are the first people I share my business wins with, even today. I believe I have taught them to follow their dreams; that hard work pays off; and that when mummy’s eyes are glazed with tiredness at 7am, don’t ask for sugar on your Coco Pops.
There were many. Never get too disheartened by them. Wasn’t it Sir Richard Branson’s failures that made him a multi-billionaire? My lowest point was leaving work with the belief that my business would support us, only to return to the same job with my tail between my legs a year later. Looking back, I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to return to work. When I left the next time, it was for good!
I spin many plates, and I do it with skills and tricks that I use daily. Some are obvious, but I’d like to share some that are not so:
- The power of organisation is under-rated. If you are organised everything else will fall into place. I promise.
- Compartmentalising outweighs multitasking every time. Concentrate on one task at a time. Do it properly. Then move on.
- Minimalism will change your life and excel your business. A clear work place creates a clear mind. My business is 100% paper free and the advantages are huge.
- Perfection is your worse enemy. Don’t waste time making everything ‘just so’. Get your idea out there and use the response to adapt.
The most pleasantly surprising part of having my own business is all the wonderful, like-minded business women I work with daily. These are ladies who have taken an idea and run with it. We connect. We collaborate. We care. And by pulling together we are reaching further and wider. I am honoured to be amongst them.
Now, when I think of my pre-single-mother-life, I can’t believe how far I have come. I would never have started my own business in my married days. I would never have believed I had the strength or the ability. But I did. It is almost scary to think that if I hadn’t become a single mother, I would have never have discovered these attributes hidden deep within me.
It doesn’t matter what life throws at us. We will overcome it. And as we do, we learn. Never be limited by circumstance, instead embrace it and live your very best life. It may not be the life you envisaged .. but the chances are, it will be even better.
About the author
Lucy is the founder of Beanstalk. She sits at the centre of the think-tank of modern-day single motherhood and is a sought after social commentator on single parent issues. She’s appeared several times on national television, speaks regularly on national radio and writes articles for online and print parenting and business communities.