20 Frolo Questions: Daisy De Sparham

Daisy is a solo mum by choice to her daughter Hope and lives in London with her best friend Anna

  1. How long have you been a frolo?

I have been a solo parent by choice since deciding to go through with it solo at the age of 21. I froze my embryos for IVF as I was diagnosed with infertility. My daughter is now 13 weeks old.

  1. Tell us a bit about your frolo family.

There’s me, Daisy: I’m 27 and I got diagnosed with premature infertility at the age of 21 due to stage 5 endometriosis. I had 3 round of egg collection and two cycles of IVF before my perfect daughter Hope was born on 9th June 2020. We live with my best friend called Anna who is helping me raise Hope, which is just magical.

  1. How do you manage a work-life balance as a single parent?

I’m a private nanny, but I’m obviously taking a break from that at the moment! I’m currently working for a few friends as their PA from home, which is most likely what I will continue to do as I would love to be able to work from home and raise Hope without missing anything. 

  1. What do you like to do when you have time away from Hope?

Hope is currently only 13 weeks old, so I haven’t ventured out anywhere without her yet. To be honest, everything I like doing is in places I can bring her with me: going to restaurants, or to see my family and friends. I’m currently so in awe of her that I don’t want to be away from her! 

  1. What do you like about the Frolo community?

I have found a lot of people on Frolo who are in the same situation as me which is great! We are yet to meet up because of the current pandemic, but hopefully in the near future we can meet which would be amazing!

  1. Describe parenthood in three words.

Dream come true.

  1. What advice would you give your younger self?

Not to stress so much about not becoming a mother in the future, as it’s finally here.

  1. Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t listen to unsolicited advice.

  1. Who or what is your greatest love?

My daughter Hope – I’ve never felt love like it.

  1. Where is your happy place?

At home with Hope, just living our life together.

  1. Is there a book you’d like to recommend to other frolos? A podcast?

Mummy made me, by Jodie Grieve. It’s brilliant for solo mummies.

  1. What is your motto for life?

Live with hope and what’s meant to be will be.

  1. What is your greatest achievement?

Falling pregnant with Hope via IVF and actually becoming a mother.

  1. Any regrets?

None.

  1. Biggest life lesson?

Life throws horrible curve balls at you and you have to be strong to get through them.

  1. Last time you laughed hard?

Hope was face-timing my mum and she could hear her in the phone so she pushed up her face up against the phone.

  1. Last time you cried? 

Watching One Born Every Minute. It was an episode where someone else was going through IVF and I just know their struggles.

  1. What song would you add to the Frolo playlist?

Doris Day- Que Sera Sera. I sing it to Hope daily.

  1. What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their single parent journey?

You are strong. You will be the best parent. You can fulfill both roles. Your love will be so strong.

  1. What have you learned about yourself through being a single parent?

I’ve learned how strong I am, how confident I am as a parent, and how much love and happiness Hope has in her life.

Thanks for answering our 20 Frolo Questions, Daisy!

You can follow Daisy and Hope’s journey together on Instagram @daisyde05.

20 Frolo Questions: Sally Whittle

Sally is a journalist, blogger, and single mum to 14-year-old Flea

  1. How long have you been a frolo?

I’ve been a single parent since just before my daughter was 2 years old, so that’s 12 years now.

  1. Tell us a bit about your frolo family.

My name is Sally, I’m a journalist and social media marketer, and I live in Lancashire. My daughter Flea (we use her family nickname online) is 14 and we live with our slightly anarchic dog, Teddy. We both have a passion for travel, and exploring new places together. I’m a single parent by choice, in that when I got divorced I wanted my daughter to grow up with as much stability as I could give her, which meant one Mum and one Dad. Although now she’s a teenager I’m slightly panicking about the whole “dying alone” thing.  

  1. How do you manage a work-life balance as a single parent?

It’s harder as children get older, which I didn’t expect.

When Flea was younger, I was able to give her all my attention between the hours of 7am and 7pm, then I’d have my evenings free to work.

Now Flea is a teenager, she tends to go to bed at almost the same time as me, and she gets upset if I am on my laptop in the evenings, instead of spending quality time with her. So at the moment I work while she’s at school and try not to work if I can help it during evenings and weekends. That’s not always easy when you run your own business.

  1. What do you like to do when you have time away from Flea?

I don’t have a lot of free time, but I like to meet up with friends for coffee and a chat. I’m lucky to be my own boss, so I can take a sneaky break here and there. I’m a big fan of cinema, especially in the afternoons when it’s quiet. And I love to swim, it’s great for my overall wellbeing.

  1. What do you like about the Frolo community?

Single parenting can be so unbelievably lonely. Splitting from a partner or spouse can involve losing friends, and single parents often need to move house, and into new areas. Added to which we can’t always afford babysitters to get out and about and have the same social life as married people. Meeting people online, sharing experiences, realising you’re not the only one feeling this way – that’s enormously powerful.

  1. Describe parenthood in three words.

Challenging. Humbling. Hilarious.

  1. What advice would you give your younger self?

To stop worrying about the relationship my daughter had with her Dad. I felt horribly guilty at making the choice to split our family and for a long time, I tried to impose my view of what their relationship should look like, when inevitably my daughter grew up and developed her own relationship with her dad, on her own terms. I wasted a lot of emotional energy on that one.

  1. Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?

You feel what you feel. My Mum told me this a long time ago and it stuck with me. The idea is that sometimes you feel tired, or bored, or frustrated, or angry. Trying to make yourself not feel those things, or feeling guilty for having those feelings is a waste of time and energy. Accept that you’re human and you can’t control your emotions. You can only control how you respond to them.

  1. Who or what is your greatest love?

My daughter. I was adopted, and she’s the first and only person I’ve ever been physically related to. There’s something so precious about that, to me.

  1. Where is your happy place?

California. I love the sunshine, the open beaches, the laid-back lifestyle. We’ve been there for the summer four times now, and each time we hire a car and spend a month or so driving up and down the coast, stopping here and there to explore. For me, California represents an escape from everyday life and some of our happiest, most carefree memories.

  1. Is there a book you’d like to recommend to other frolos? A podcast?

I read all the time, but I’m not sure anything single parent-specific springs to mind.

I’ll tell you what I did read recently that’s stuck with me, though – it’s a Young Adult Fiction book called Dear Evan Hansen and it’s about how no matter what mistakes someone makes, their life is valuable and they are worthy of being loved, and saved. As someone who has a tendency to dwell on my past mistakes and choices sometimes, that was an important message for me to be reminded of.

  1. What is your motto for life?

It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how. My family for a long time thought I was “frivolous” because I spend money on travel and adventures, not home décor and expensive clothes. But the recent lockdown really brought it home to me that I don’t regret a second of our adventures. Replacing those skirting boards can always wait.

  1. What is your greatest achievement?

Apart from being recognised at the grave of Jesus (true story, which I’m only permitted to tell once a year), probably just raising a great person, while keeping us afloat.

  1. Any regrets?

Loads. I am that person who wakes up at 4am worrying about whether I’ve offended someone, or said the wrong thing, or behaved poorly. But I also recognise what another single Mum once told me – there are no wrong choices. Only choices that felt right at the time. So I try and live by that.

  1. Biggest life lesson?

It’s better to be happy than to be right. I spent a lot of time in my teens and twenties wanting to be right. Oh, the arguments I had during my divorce!

These days, I don’t care. I will apologise freely for things I don’t think were my fault or let it go when someone behaves poorly, because I have learned it doesn’t matter what everyone thinks is right or wrong – it matters what I think is right or wrong. If I know I’ve done my best to do the right thing, with good intentions, then that’s more than good enough for me.  

  1. Last time you laughed hard?

I watched The Office back with my daughter and laughed so much. It’s controversial, but I love the American Office better than the British version.

  1. Last time you cried? 

About two days ago, when I wanted to make a special lunch for us and my teenager was in such a grump that I told her she’d ruined it, and stomped to my bedroom. Sometimes it has to be said, I’m more teenager than she is.

  1. What song would you add to the Frolo playlist?

There’s a country song called “Sway” by Danielle Bradbery and it’s honestly just the BEST song to play to cheer yourself up and dance around the kitchen.

  1. What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their single parent journey?

Don’t neglect you. You’re a better parent if you have good friends, and something else to balance your parenting life. If you don’t have time to go out and make friends in real life, then don’t dismiss the Internet. Some of my very best friends today are people I met online when my daughter was young.

  1. What have you learned about yourself through being a single parent?

That I really should have learned more DIY when my Dad was alive. 

Thanks for answering our 20 Frolo Questions, Sally!

You can follow Sally and Flea’s adventures on Instagram @thesallywhittle and her blog.

20 Frolo Questions: Ian Redmond

Ian co-parents his sons with his ex-wife. He lives in Dublin and is the primary carer for his dad who has Alzheimer’s

  1. How long have you been a frolo?

I became a single parent nearly two years ago.

  1. Tell us a bit about your frolo family.

I’ve two sons. Beau will be 13 in July and Boon is 15 months younger than his brother. 

  1. How do you manage a work-life balance as a single parent?

Myself and my ex co-parent our sons. Although, at the moment, they’re staying with her full time as I’m primary carer for my father who has Alzheimer’s.

  1. What do you like to do with your kids?

We love to travel. We’ve been skiing twice and taken two great road trips around California and Nevada.

  1. What do you like about the Frolo community?

Being able to connect with people who’ve been through the same experiences.

  1. Describe parenthood in three words.

One beautiful adventure.

  1. What advice would you give your younger self?

Do it exactly the same again!

  1. Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?

Behave as parents how you want your children to behave as children.

  1.  Who or what is your greatest love?

 My sons.

  1. Where is your happy place?

Lying in bed with my sons cuddling them both.

  1.  Is there a book you’d like to recommend to other frolos? A podcast?

How To Fall Apart by Liadan Hynes is a great podcast.

  1. What is your motto/mantra for life?

I am safe. I have enough. I have value.

  1. What is your greatest achievement?

Raising two kind and gentle young boys.

  1. Any regrets?

None.

  1. Biggest life lesson?

Nothing is forever and relationships have to be worked on. If you don’t grow together, you grow apart.

  1. Last time you laughed hard?

Yesterday with my Dad. He was trying to remember a prayer that his parents used to say every day throughout his life. He gave up and, with a wry grin, said it wasn’t one of his favourites!

  1. Last time you cried?

Two weeks ago. A friend called me at 3am to say her brother had just died suddenly from a heart attack. He was 54 and left behind two 18-year-old twin boys in their final year at school.

  1. What song would you add to the Frolo playlist?

Alanis Morissette – Guardian. It’s a promise to her young son to protect him for life. I posted it on the Frolo feed!

  1. What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their single parent journey?

In one year’s time you will be ok – things will improve.

  1. What have you learned about yourself through being a single parent?

I’ve learned that I’m stronger apart than I was when I was in my marriage.

Thanks for answering our Frolo Questions Ian!

20 Frolo Questions: Graham Mulcahy

Graham has been a co-parent for 14 years and lives in Ireland with his new partner

  1. How long have you been a frolo?

I’ve been a co-parent for fourteen years and I’ve been part of the Frolo community for just over six months – but I only really started to get actively involved when lockdown hit.

  1. Tell us a bit about your frolo family.

I have an 11-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son who both live in different parts of Ireland with their mothers. I had two relationships in the last 14 years and had a child in each relationship. Sadly, both relationships broke down.   

  1. How do you manage a work-life balance as a single parent?

It has been difficult, as I can only see my children at the weekend but weekends are also my busiest time for work. So I have had to sacrifice work to see my children.

Money comes and goes but children are for life and I would not change a single thing. My kids are my world and I would do anything for them. 

  1. What do you like to do when you have time away from your kids?

Cycling, walking and work mostly.

  1. What do you like about the Frolo community?

I like how there is someone for everyone; someone to help them through what ever situation they are dealing with.

  1. Describe parenthood in three words.

Rewarding, unconditional, and tough.

  1. What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more careful when choosing the things and the people in your life.

  1. Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?

That someday your kids will have their own voice and mind to choose what’s right for them.

  1.  Who or what is your greatest love?

 Helping people.

  1. Where is your happy place?

Anywhere with people.

  1.  Is there a book you’d like to recommend to other frolos? A podcast?

Not really my thing – sorry !

  1. What is your motto/mantra for life?

I’m a big believer in the “Seven Ps”: Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.

  1. What is your greatest achievement?

That I have been able to be part of my children’s lives.

  1. Any regrets?

Not getting to have the family life I dreamed of as a kid.

  1. Biggest life lesson?

Learn to listen, not react.

  1. Last time you laughed hard?

With my current partner at my 45TH birthday.

  1. Last time you cried?

Last week. Being in isolation on my own – with no kids, no partner, no one to hug, and no human contact – is tough.

  1. What song would you add to the Frolo playlist?

Elbow – One Day like This.

  1. What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their single parent journey?

I’d advise them to be patient and considerate; to always be aware that there are two sides to a story, and to remember that it’s ok to ask for help.

  1. What have you learned about yourself through being a single parent?

I’ve learned that I have a compassionate side, that it’s along road ahead, and not to be so hard on myself!

Thanks for answering our Frolo Questions Graham!

Graham co-hosts our weekly Frolo Cocktail Hour every Friday at 9pm. Head to the app to find out more.

20 Frolo Questions: Sara-Lou Brown

Sara-Lou is is a graphic designer living in Oxfordshire. She has been a single mum since 2018, when her husband Ben was killed in a car accident

  1. How long have you been a frolo?

Just over two years.

  1. Tell us a bit about your frolo family.

It’s just myself, Ida who’s three, Ev who’s five, and Charlie our Beagle. We’ve been a unit of 4 since March 2018, after tragically losing my husband Ben in a car accident. Our lives were turned upside down overnight.

  1. How do you manage a work-life balance as a single parent?

I’m very lucky in that we have great family, friends and a community around us – plus I have a flexible job.

I usually work three days a week from home and use grandparents, neighbours, and school wrap-around care for the two days I go into the office. It’s full on, and there are never enough hours in the day, but as time goes on I’m definitely getting better at asking for help. I’ve always been fiercely independent, and a bit of a control freak but I’m finally learning to let go a little as you can’t do it all!

  1. What do you like to do when you have time away from your kids?

Mainly catching up with friends, or doing things that I can’t get to when they’re around. Long walks and running would be such a luxury right now, and are probably up there with seeing friends and family on my list of things I’m missing during lockdown!

  1. What do you like about the Frolo community?

I love how Frolo has introduced me to a whole new set of friends that completely get where I’m coming from. They’re a great support, have similar life experiences and interests, and have just made me feel normal again.

The social side is amazing, especially on the days that I may feel lonely. I know that I can dip into the app and there’s always something happening or a discussion that I can get involved in.

  1. Describe parenthood in three words.

Enlightening, emotional, hilarious.

  1. What advice would you give your younger self?

Try and go with the flow a little more, listen to your instincts, take each day as it comes and enjoy it. You’re stronger than you realise and you ARE enough.

  1. Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?

You know yourself and children better than anybody else, do what you feel is right and what works for you.

  1.  Who or what is your greatest love?

 I can’t narrow that down to one thing! Ben, the girls, music and food.

  1. Where is your happy place?

Home.

  1.  Is there a book you’d like to recommend to other frolos? A podcast?

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry – particularly for the days when I turn into shouty mum – and the Happy Place podcasts.

  1. What is your motto/mantra for life?

Be thankful for your life, spend time in nature, breathe deeply, let go of your worries, forgive yourself and others, and build a life around what you love. This is actually an Instagram quote I’ve saved and often refer back to.

  1. What is your greatest achievement?

My beautiful girls.

  1. Any regrets?

Not listening to myself.

  1. Biggest life lesson?

Never take anything for granted and focus on what you already have.

  1. Last time you laughed hard?

This morning when Ida was parading around in my eye mask pretending it was a bra. The girls make me erupt into tears of laughter daily!

  1. Last time you cried?

Two days ago, when trying to decide what the hell I’m meant to be doing when it comes to sending my daughter back to school! It’s at times like this that I miss Ben the most. I’m still trying to find my way without him when it comes to making those big life decisions (oh the tears I cried over picking primary schools).

  1. What song would you add to the Frolo playlist?

Soulmate by Lizzo.

  1. What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their single parent journey?

Find or create your own support network. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel guilty about having to ask for favours from people, but if you have a number of different people you can lean on you won’t feel like you’re being a burden (and chances are you’re not being one anyway).

And, most importantly, make time for you and don’t feel guilty about it. You need to stay fully charged and happy to be the best parent you can be!

  1. What have you learned about yourself through being a single parent?

I need my own space. Whether that’s getting up a few hours before the girls, or going to the loo on my own. I’m so much calmer and more patient when I’ve had a bit of a break from the girls.

I’ve also learned that I can do those ‘man jobs’ that I was never allowed to do before, and it’s actually quite rewarding having to learn new skills – even if it takes 100 YouTube videos to work out how to work a drill!

20 Frolo Questions: Mel Johnson

Mel is a social infertility coach, campaigner and and solo mum by choice to Daisy, who is two

  1. How long have you been a frolo?

I decided to try to have a baby on my own four years ago, when I was 37, and then, two years later, had my daughter in February 2018.

  1. Tell us a bit about your frolo family.

I have a two-year-old daughter who I conceived as a solo mum with a sperm donor and IVF. I decided that I may miss out on motherhood if I waited any longer to meet a partner, so at 37 I started my solo mum journey. At 39 I had my daughter Daisy and we live together very happily just the two of us. I have a big extended family made up of family and friends so it never feels like we are just a two!

  1. How do you manage a work-life balance as a single parent?

I work four days a week in a Global HR role, as well as having my own coaching business called The Stork and I.

I coach women considering solo motherhood as well as those looking to live their best life as a single parent. Finding the right balance can be tough. Daisy is in nursery three days a week, with her Granny one day a week, and I have one day off with her as well as the weekend. Most of my coaching is done in the evening after she is asleep. I am comfortable that she sees me working hard on subjects I am hugely passionate about.

When I am with her, I try to be 100% present so she gets my full attention. I also work from home, so that means I get to spend slightly more time with her. It is a constant juggle, but one I feel I have got into a good routine with.

  1. What do you like to do when you have time away from Daisy?

I love to practice yoga and go for runs. I also love to just sit in the sun and read. I do enjoy a night out with friends once in a while too!

  1. What do you like about the Frolo community?

I love meeting other people who are in similar situations and really ‘get it.’

And I just love meeting new people. This is such a good way to do that.

  1. Describe parenthood in three words.

Rewarding, exhausting, elation.

  1. What advice would you give your younger self?

Be comfortable in your own skin. Be the best you can be. Own it and rock it, whatever you’re doing.

  1. Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?

Focus on you and your child and figure out your own way. Don’t worry what everyone else is doing.

  1. Who or what is your greatest love?

Daisy.

  1. Where is your happy place?

My happy place is in my little back garden, sitting on my bench, watching Daisy play (quite possibly sipping a G&T as the sun goes down!).

  1. Is there a book you’d like to recommend to other frolos? A podcast?

I loved Catherine Gray’s The Unexpected Joy of Being Single.

I am about to launch The Stork and I Podcast, which is going to be exploring some of the themes about being single, dating and relationships.

  1. What is your motto for life?

Just because it could have been different, doesn’t mean it would have been better.

  1. What is your greatest achievement?

Having my daughter as a solo mum is by far my greatest achievement.

  1. Any regrets?

I regret that I worried so much what others would think about my choice to be a solo mum.

  1. Biggest life lesson?

You can’t rely on others to make you happy. If you aren’t happy with your life, you need to work on how to resolve that yourself. Relying on someone else for your happiness will not have a positive outcome.

  1. Last time you laughed hard?

My daughter makes me laugh hard every day. She is hilarious. The things she comes out with crack me up!

  1. Last time you cried? 

I cried when I heard that we would be going into lockdown and that I wasn’t going to be able to have my normal support network around me for an untold number of weeks.

  1. What song would you add to the Frolo playlist?

Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder.

  1. What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their single parent journey?

Get your support network in place. Look to meet others in similar circumstances – the Frolo app is a great way to do this. Focus on the things within your influence, not the things that are out of your control. If you are overwhelmed right now, please know that it will get better and easier!

  1. What have you learned about yourself through being a single parent?

That I have bucket-loads of resilience when I need it.

Thanks for answering our 20 Frolo Questions, Mel!

You can follow Mel’s journey on Instagram @the_stork_and_i

20 Frolo Questions: Zoë Desmond

Zoë is the founder of Frolo and a single parent herself

  1. How long have you been a frolo?

Since summer 2017 – when my relationship with my son’s dad broke down just after he turned 1.

  1. Tell us a bit about your frolo family.

It’s me and my boy Billy, who is now almost 4. When I first became a single parent I felt like our family unit was broken, but I feel differently now. I feel happy and at home in my little family of two. 

  1. How do you manage a work-life balance as a single parent?

It can definitely feel like a juggle so I have to fit it all in where I can. I co-parent with Billy’s dad which means I can play catch up with work during the weekends he is with his dad if I need to (which I often do!). But I also make sure to prioritise getting some downtime in and seeing my friends (and frolo pals!) regularly. 

  1. What do you like to do when you have time away from Billy?

I love meeting up with my other frolo friends (when we are off-duty) as many of them also know what it’s like to co parent and how much of a contrast the weekends can feel like. It always helps being around people who can relate to it all. I also like catching up on things that I wouldn’t get to do when I am with Billy – like a little trip away, a night out, or sometimes doing absolutely nothing except hibernating and recharging my batteries! 

  1. What do you like about the Frolo community?

I might be slightly biased but I love everything about the Frolo community. I have so much gratitude for Frolo – the support I feel and the connections I have made through the community have changed my life (and Billy’s) in a profound way. 

  1. Describe parenthood in three words.

Beautiful,  challenging, life-changing 

  1. What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t give up the piano!

  1. Best parenting advice you’ve ever received?

To trust my own maternal instincts. 

  1. Who or what is your greatest love?

Billy.

  1. Where is your happy place?

Being snuggled up with Billy.

  1. Is there a book you’d like to recommend to other frolos? A podcast?

For the book, I’d recommend The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Podcast-wise, it’s not really Frolo-related, but I love The Tim Ferris Snow Podcast.

  1. What is your motto for life?

Life is not a dress rehearsal .

  1. What is your greatest achievement?

I have two that I am really proud of: 1. Billy and 2. Frolo  

  1. Any regrets?

I have made tons of mistakes and questionable decisions in my life – but all of them have led me to where I am today, which I feel is absolutely where I am meant to be. So no regrets.

  1. Biggest life lesson?

To trust my gut

  1. Last time you laughed hard?

I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was – I find Billy hilarious so he’s always giving me reasons to laugh. Other than that I am lucky to have some very funny and fun to be around friends. I’m grateful that laughing happens regularly these days.

  1. Last time you cried? 

Watching the frolo testimonials on the Frolo Crowdfunding video (coming soon)! I bawled.

  1. What song would you add to the Frolo playlist?

Follow the Sun – Xavier Rudd

  1. What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their single parent journey?

If you are overwhelmed right now please know that it will get better and easier!

Sign up to the Frolo app to make some frolo friends in your area and use the Feed to seek any guidance, support or tips you need. Having a community of other frolos to connect with and call on will make the world of difference for you.

  1. What have you learned about yourself through being a single parent?

That I am stronger and more capable than I ever knew.

Thanks for answering our 20 Frolo Questions, Zoë!