Frolo’s 20 Questions with Single Mum, EmilyBy Jo Middleton
Emily became a single mum at the start of 2019 and has since gone on to meet a new partner, also a single parent. Here she tells us about herself and her blended family.
How long have you been a frolo?
Since the start of 2019 so about two and a half years now.
Tell us a bit about your frolo family.
I have a four year old son, Teddy, who is starting school this September. I met my boyfriend just before the first lockdown so I also now live with him and his five year old daughter who is with us 50% of the time. Plus two labradors and a cat!
How do you manage a work-life balance as a single parent?
I’m really lucky that my work is so accommodating. I went part time (three days a week) after maternity but when Teddy starts school in September I’ll go back to five days. My days will be slightly shorter so I can do school drop off and pick up.
What do you like to do when you have time away from children?
Catch up with friends and enjoy being able to date my partner. And have a lie in! Once the world opens up again I’m looking forward to enjoying some city breaks.
What do you like about the Frolo community?
It encourages single parents to feel proud of their single parent achievements instead of ashamed of their single parent status. Parenting is hard enough when you’re doing it with someone, doing it on your own shows incredible strength – even if you don’t always feel strong.
Describe parenthood in three words.
Exhilarating, entertaining and exhausting
What advice would you give your younger self?
To stop worrying about what other people think of you.
Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?
Always remember, this will pass. Although it doesn’t always seem like it when you’re in the midst of teething or the terrible twos!
Who or what is your greatest love?
My son. He was so longed for and has been greater than I ever imagined.
Where is your happy place?
A beach in Cornwall – come rain or shine.
Is there a book you’d like to recommend to other frolos? A podcast?
The podcast “How to Fail” with Elizabeth Day. It’s all about celebrating the things that haven’t gone right. She interviews some brilliant people, I’ve just listened to the one with Graham Norton and it was brilliant!
What is your motto for life?
It’s cheesy but “Be kind”.
I think my friends would say my divorce made me kinder to people. So much of the hurt in this world would be stopped if people remembered this a bit more – my ex-husband and I definitely forgot this along the way.
What is your greatest achievement?
Writing a children’s book – which is coming out later this year – and accompanying product for single parent families. I wrote it because I used to get so annoyed that there weren’t many children’s books featuring characters from single parent families. Even if no one else buys it Teddy often requests it as his bedtime story so I’m happy! You can watch this space at @pop_goes_perfection.
And it goes without saying, Teddy!
Lots of questionable decisions but I’m very happy where I am now and they’ve all led me to here so no, no regrets!
Biggest life lesson?
That happiness is a choice. Best summed up by the quote “you can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”
Last time you laughed hard?
Even on the worst days someone can usually make me laugh, even if it’s tinted with hysteria! My birthday last week was spent in Cornwall – we took the kids kayaking and ended the day with a three generational water fight. I laughed so hard that I got a stark reminder of why those pelvic floor exercises are so important!!
Last time you cried?
Funnily enough I’m writing this to take my mind off things after a weepy moment. Teddy was told at the weekend that his dad is expecting another baby and it’s confused him a bit. He often says that he wants his daddy and his mummy together but tonight he told me he wants his dad instead of me – he didn’t say it to hurt me but it still did!
What song would you add to the Frolo playlist?
I’m a long way beyond this now but probably I Hope by Gabby Barret – it was my post divorce angry song and summed up all my feelings at the time!
What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their single parent journey?
You’ll get lots of advice. Listen to it all, take it all in and then make your own decision. Be confident in your choices.
What have you learned about yourself through being a single parent?
I’m stronger than I thought, with more imagination and creativity than I gave myself credit for. But that I still don’t believe in myself enough sometimes!
Have you enjoyed finding out about Emily? Read more from the 20 Questions series now.