Frolo’s 20 Questions with Single Mum of Four, AliBy Jo Middleton
Ali has been a single mum to her four children for six years. Here she tells us a bit more about her busy single parent life.
How long have you been a frolo?
Nearly six years.
Tell us a bit about your frolo family.
I have two girls aged 13 and 11 and boy / girl twins aged seven. We also have a very old tabby cat called Lara and a three year old Yorkiepoo called Jessie.
How do you manage a work-life balance as a single parent?
I’ve always been a very organised person and love a routine so that’s the only way I can fit in working, looking after the kids and home. I have a very good support network of friends and family as well. I could not do what I do without them.
I love my work because the kids are with me apart from one night / day a week. It’s a distraction and gives me another focus, which is really important. I work three days a week for a mental health company and have just launched my own coaching business, The Lifevine, which helps empower and support women through overwhelm, transition and divorce.
What do you like to do when you have time away from children?
See friends, read, workout, dance, drink coffee, drink wine, eat what I want and sit in silence!
What do you like about the Frolo community?
It’s an amazing community, so much help and support and connection – I love it. Being a single parent is emotionally, mentally and physically hard work so having the support of others in the same position as you is invaluable.
Describe parenthood in three words.
Beautiful, emotional, a rollercoaster.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You are so much more capable than you think you are, be bold, have faith and keep going.
Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?
To be honest I think being on your own with your kids is the best advice you can have. You learn so much. My Mum always says “don’t rise to it” and actually as the girls get older and start to push boundaries I definitely try to remember that!
Who or what is your greatest love?
My kids. Red wine and crisps are a close second.
Where is your happy place?
My bed with a book or when the house is full but everyone is content and happy.
Is there a book you’d like to recommend to other frolos? A podcast?
I love reading. I never used to, but when my marriage broke down almost six years ago I wanted to understand what had happened and that was the start of my journey into finding myself again. I read a lot about mental health, healing, and self help books. I’ve just recently read Atomic Habits by James. The first book I read after my husband left was called ‘Runaway Husbands’ by Vikki Stark. I would recommend it to anyone who is or has gone through a similar situation. I recently started listening to podcasts – How to Fail by Elizabeth Day is great.
What is your motto for life?
I have a mantra when things get tough to ground myself – I am enough, I have enough.
In the early days when the kids were very young and everyday was physically and emotionally very hard, I used to say to myself over and over – this is only temporary, things will get better.
What is your greatest achievement?
My kids and how I have grown over the last few years which has resulted in me starting my own business The LifeVine. Without all the struggles, the pain and heartbreak I would have never got this far. If you start with nothing you have nothing to lose but everything to gain, sounds very cliché but it’s true.
Maybe a couple online purchases after a couple of glasses of wine, but no it’s all part of life.
Biggest life lesson?
I would say the last six years have been the biggest life lesson and it’s still evolving. I think with any loss, grief or transition there are days when you feel you are happier than you have ever been and are totally smashing it and then next day you feel you are right back where you started. As time passes I remind myself when I’m in those dark moments that things will get better and this feeling will pass. So I would say I have learnt to try in the process and feel all the feelings.
Last time you laughed hard?
At the weekend, I was at a friend’s bbq. I have the most amazing bunch of friends who totally get me and support me.
Last time you cried?
I cry a lot!! I think when you become a parent something happens – I feel so much. But that’s ok, it’s very therapeutic.
What song would you add to the Frolo playlist?
I love house music so probably Strings of Life (Stronger On My Own) Soul Central.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their single parent journey?
Be kind to yourself, breathe, get the right advice and support. Take it day by day or even hour by hour. Have faith you will come out the other side I promise.
What have you learned about yourself through being a single parent?
Wow so many things!! Through losing what I thought was my everything I gained so much more. Love is not just between a couple, there is so much more than that love. I have very deep connections with my friends, family and of course my children. I am much more confident in my own decisions and have rebuilt my self worth. Of course I have my flaws, we all do, I’ve realised I have very high expectations, particularity for myself and I’m very impatient! But overall I have greater empathy, resilience and overall a kinder human being.
Have you enjoyed finding out about Ali? Read more from the 20 Questions series now.