Managing conflict with your ex

Sara Davison – also known as The Divorce Coach – is on a mission to help people survive and thrive after separation and divorce. In this blog post, she shares her secret weapon for managing conflict with your ex.

A woman who is managing conflict with her co-parent

 The Secret Weapon for Dissolving Conflict

Conflicts between people are always going to be part of life. Looking forward to a future relationship? There will be conflict at times. Navigating a co-parenting journey with your ex? There will be disagreements from time to time there so you need to learn about managing conflict. 

There is a technique I practice with my clients that’s incredibly powerful and transformative – it’s my secret weapon for dissolving conflict. Shoe Shifting, as I call it, is really a very simple idea. It requires you to step into the mindset of the person you are at loggerheads with and describe the conflict from their perspective. That means trying to look at the situation through their eyes. To whatever extent you can, you need to think about what this must be like for them, with that person’s limiting beliefs, their communication style, and their emotional baggage. 

I remember at one of my workshops, I was on stage teaching this exercise with a woman, Gillian. Gillian and her ex, Wade, had split earlier that year, when Wade left her for somebody else. He and Gillian had a son together and conflicts kept erupting between them as they navigated co-parenting. One particular issue had Gillian absolutely furious: a new desk. 

She was shaking with anger by the end of telling her version of events.

So what had happened with the desk? Well, as Gillian told it in her first step of the Shoe Shifting exercise, her son was in need of a new desk. She and Wade agreed that Wade would pay for it, as part of their splitting the costs of parenting. Gillian picked out a particular desk that would fit with their son’s décor, as well as physically fit perfectly into the spot she’d prepared for it. She sent the link to Wade for him to order. Weeks went by without any desk, and Gillian kept reaching out to Wade about it, asking him if he’d ordered it yet. Finally, weeks late, the new desk arrived at Gillian’s house – but it wasn’t the desk she’d picked out. It didn’t match the new furniture, and didn’t even fit where she’d planned to put it. When she called Wade to confront him about it, she found out that not only did he order a different desk – his new girlfriend had been the one to pick it out. 

Gillian was furious about this. When she told the story on stage at the workshop, over a month had passed, but she was still shaking with anger by the end of telling her version of events. Clearly, it was about more than just the desk. Gillian described how she felt completely belittled and ignored, how she felt that Wade was trying to make his new girlfriend the decision-maker when it came to her son, and how frustrated she was when she thought about having to deal with this kind of thing for years to come. 

On stage, I told Gillian to stand up from the chair she’d been sitting in. Then I told her that when she sat back down, she would be in Wade’s shoes, and would tell us what happened from his perspective. “Ugh, I don’t even want to be inside his head for a second,” Gillian groaned. But I urged her to give it a shot, and she relented.

So she sat back down, and started telling the story again.

“Well,” she said, slowly at first then picking up speed, “I’ve never been good about getting stuff like this handled. I have a bad habit of forgetting little tasks like ordering stuff we need. I know I do it, and it stresses me out, but I just procrastinate and forget things. So I kept forgetting to order the desk for weeks, and I felt really guilty about it. When I finally went online to order it, the desk that Gillian had picked out was out of stock. I felt awful. My girlfriend is good at interior design, she’s a real estate agent, and I’m no good at that stuff, so I asked her advice. She picked out one that she thought would work, and I ordered it. I thought Gillian would be happy that I ordered a good replacement, but she was just furious. Which only made me upset, because I always feel like nothing I do is good enough for her.”

When Gillian finished her retelling, she had a shocked look on her face.

“Ok great,” I said. “Now one more time, from a trusted third party.”

After just a few minutes, all of her anger evaporated.

Gillian started telling the story again, from the perspective of their son’s teacher. “It’s clear to me,” she said, “that both Gillian and Wade are making Seth a priority here. They both care about his schooling, and are both trying to do their best when it comes to this new co-parenting arrangement. But they’re both holding onto a lot of baggage from their relationship, and it makes it hard for them to communicate about things. I think it’s clear how much they love Seth though, and that he’s what matters most to them.”

By the end of the Shoe Shifting, Gillian was laughing at how angry she’d been. After just a few minutes, all of her anger evaporated – and that anger had been boiling for weeks. Right then and there, she texted Wade to apologize for being so upset, and thanked him for making the effort to get Seth a great desk. 

That’s the power of Shoe Shifting. It can take all of the negative energy around a conflict, even if that conflict and energy have been boiling for a long time, and just dissolve it all. 

So the next time you get stuck in a conflict, or start to feel those negative feelings building up around a conflict, just pull out this secret weapon and fire away. 

About Sara Davison

Sara Davison is a bestselling author and an award-winning authority on breakup and divorce, best known as ‘The Divorce Coach’. For a one to one coaching session with Sara or to book her online coaching course please visit:  www.saradavison.com

The Frolo Reading List

Book recommendations – whether they’re empowering reads for newly single parents or beautiful picture books that help explain separation to kids – are constantly being swapped on the Frolo app, so we thought we’d gather them all together in one handy list.

Books for adults

Books written by frolos

Frolos are a pretty accomplished bunch – some of them have even written books about their experiences as single parents. Moving, relatable, and insightful – every one of these is well worth a read:

Self-help books

Even if, previously, self-help books weren’t your cup of tea, they can provide real solace and motivations when you’re adjusting to life as a single parent. Here are some frolo favourites:

Books about separation and divorce

Separation and divorce can be a confusing, as well as emotionally difficult, process. If you’re not familiar with the legal terminology and the different stages involved it can seem pretty overwhelming. Frolo recommend these books to guide you through the process emotionally and practically:

You can read our detailed and informative Family Law Q+A with Laura Naser here.

Books about dating and relationships

If you’re thinking about dipping a toe into the waters of dating as a single parent – or you’ve been dating with limited success – consider reading up on the topic:

For advice from an expert, check out our Q+A with dating coach Lydia Davis, where she answers questions from frolos about dating as a single parent.

Parenting books

Transitioning to parenting on your own – while potentially navigating some big feelings and tricky behaviour from your kids – can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Check out one of these books recommended by fellow frolos for sound advice:

We gave frolos the chance to sit down with a child psychologist and get her expert insights on a range of questions – read the full blog post here.

Books for kids

Books about separation and divorce for kids

Books can be a really helpful tool when your family is transitioning to a new normal. These are the books that frolos recommend for helping children understand separation and divorce:

Books for older kids

Books for younger kids

Books about race, racism, and diversity for kids

If you’d like to introduce more diversity into your child’s bookshelf, these books which celebrate diverse families and educate kids on the history of racism are a great place to start:

For more book recommendations and advice on talking to your children about race – check out our Q+A with Uju Asika and Orla McKeating.

Frolo.com contains some affiliate links. If you purchase something via a link on the Frolo website we may receive a small revenue share.

How to have an amicable separation or divorce

Separating amicably, isn’t easy but it is possible. There are a series of steps you can take to help the process run more smoothly and avoid some of the more dramatic outcomes you may have read about or seen on television

The shift of emphasis could be neatly summed up as going from making small compromises for a harmonious life to an ongoing negotiation, hurdling points of principle and, sometimes, the feeling that the other parent is getting their own way.

It’s quite the adjustment – but defining a new way of communicating with your ex and talking to your children is crucial in giving them stability and maintaining a close relationship.

Here are some pointers for successful co-parenting:

1. Make sure it’s over

According to renowned therapist Dr John Gottman, there are four communication problems that signal if a relationship is failing – criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stone walling. An unpleasant cocktail of all of these suggests that it is over. A combination of the first two might be broken down by individual counselling, while the latter two could benefit from couples counselling. However, couples counselling only works if you both recognise that there are problems in the relationship and that there’s some hope or reconciliation. If there’s no hope of this, counselling may have a role in an amicable parting – but you have to be clear that’s what it’s for.

2. Breaking the news

Plan what you’re going to tell your partner and tell them at a time when you’re unlikely to be distracted by anything else, e.g. children, mealtimes, etc. Essentially, you are there to say: ‘it’s over, I’m sorry this is so hurtful, but I’m decided, and I won’t change my mind.’ Explain that you hope to discuss, as soon as is next convenient, how best to make arrangements as amicably as possible.

3. Allow a period of adjustment

Rushing things could cost you both time and money. Just because you are ready to move on, that doesn’t mean you partner will be. The person who didn’t make the initial decision to divorce is in a different place. They are still feeling raw emotions like shock, denial and anger. The more the person who started the separation gets impatient, the more their partner digs their heels in, and things grind to a halt. 

4. Don’t assume you need a lawyer

One way that people try and rush things is to immediately hire a solicitor. While you will need to be aware of legal procedure (see below), amicable believe that most people can and should do much of their divorce themselves. A solicitor’s advice tends to focus on what’s best for the individual who is seeking it. This can lead to unrealistic expectations, a lengthy and expensive court process and a toxic atmosphere.

5. Do your homework

Negotiating an amicable divorce or separation is best done from a position of knowledge than one of emotion. Understanding basic legal information (often, as with amicable, freely available) gives you every chance of coming to fair financial split, and also dramatically reduces the possibility that you’ll have to spend thousands of pounds in legal fees. 

6. Prepare for the asset split

The legal starting point for dividing assets is 50/50. This is then adjusted by taking into account a number of factors, including: children’s welfare; earning ability; financial needs; contributions made (both in terms of childcare and finances); marriage length and age and health.

You’ll need to list and agree the value of all the items you own, and you’ll also need to provide any financial commitments you each have. You can do this yourself – or use a tool such as amicable’s app

If you or your partner can’t agree a split the court will order you to fill in a long and complicated document known as a Form E.

7. Create a timeframe

amicable’s divorce coaches often tell us that the longer a divorce goes on the harder it becomes to reach an agreement. The person who asked for the divorce gets frustrated and angry, their ex is left feeling bullied and confused. It’s really important to try and control these strong emotions as they can very quickly derail an otherwise amicable process. An agreed timeline covering emotional, practical and legal tasks will help keep up the momentum.

8. Look to the future

Don’t spend your time, energy or money arguing over the past; look forward to enjoying positive futures apart. Change the conversation from ‘How do we split our stuff?’ to ‘What do we need to do to be happy in future?’ and ‘What we need to do to ensure our kids are happy?’. You can read the Frolo guide to co-parenting amicably here.

Final thoughts

When you prepare you feel happier and more confident about the way forward. This knowledge helps you manage your fear, uncertainty and emotions, as well as those of your partner and kids. 

amicable

This blog post was created for the Frolo Community by amicable.

amicable offer a straightforward, cost-effective and fair service to couples who are separating or divorcing.

If you’d like to learn more about amicable and what they could do for you, head to their website where they are offering frolos an exclusive 20 minutes of free advice over the phone.

amicable.io

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!

How single parenting changes as your kids get older

Jo Middleton, also known as Slummy Single Mummy after her brilliantly honest and funny blog, shares her reflections on the way single parenting changes as your kids get older

I’ve been a single parent on and off for nearly 25 years now, which seems like a crazy thing to say as I’m sure I’m only about 28 myself, but there you go.

I first became a single parent aged 19, when my eldest daughter Bee was two years old. It was tricky, especially financially, but I had a wonderfully supportive family who took care of Bee while I drove up and back to university, and we lived a simple but quite happy life, despite lacking some of the basics. (We only went without a fridge during the winter, which just meant leaving the milk outside on the back step.) I do remember it being tough, but I also remember a strong sense of freedom and autonomy, of being in charge of my own life.

My second daughter, Belle, was born five years later, when I was 24. I was in a relationship with her dad for nine years, but part of me wonders how much I really let the single parent mentality leave me. How much of his apparent hopelessness was actually down to him, and how much was enabled by me, not wanting to relinquish control after having had to manage alone?

We separated over 12 years ago now and although I’ve had long term relationships in that time, I’ve never felt like I was able to share the role of parent, I have always been a single parent in my heart and practically too, even when I’ve lived with a partner. Perhaps I’ve always chosen badly (I absolutely have) but it’s always felt more like having an extra child to look after than an equal that I could depend on. I’ve always known that the buck stopped with me.

What I’ve found most interesting over the years as a single parent is how children present new and different challenges at every age. When my girls were little I was convinced, naively, that the older they got, the easier parenting would become. I counted down the weeks and months until they started school, ticked off milestones as they grew up, all the while waiting for that tipping point where the sense of responsibility started to fall away.

Spoiler alert: it still hasn’t.

They have ever-changing, complex emotional needs, needs that aren’t easily met any more by a firm hug and the offer of chocolate buttons.

Although the physical demands are different – (sleepless nights and early mornings are far less common, although not unheard of) – their emotional needs have grown. They don’t have tantrums in supermarkets any more, but they do have ever changing complex emotional needs, needs that aren’t easily met any more by a firm hug and the offer of chocolate buttons. Toddlers are intense for sure, but they are much more straightforward and although their tears are exhausting, there is a satisfaction in being able to easily put a smile back on their faces.

Parenting teenagers and young adults is a completely different ball game and one that I’ve found much harder to deal with as a single parent. I felt the lack of another adult much more strongly as they’ve grown up and the challenges they face have become more complicated. More and more often I’ve found myself longing for another parent to share that responsibility with – someone to talk to, share ideas with, someone to reassure me that I’m doing the right thing and that everything is going to be okay.

I don’t think I really appreciated just how much I missed that person in my life until about six months ago when I started a new relationship. My new partner is a father of four himself, but more than that he’s a kind, thoughtful and emotionally intelligent man – something of a revelation for me after all this time. For the first time I truly feel like I have someone who I can rely on, someone with whom I can share that sense of responsibility, someone who understands what being a parent is all about, even when your kids do get older and start lives of their own. It had made me realise just how much, emotionally, I was carrying on my own, and how often we focus on the strain of single parenting small children and forget that being a single parent of teens can be just as hard work.

If I’ve learnt anything as they’ve grown up it’s that you never stop being a mum, no matter how old your children get.

It’s ironic perhaps that I’ve met a potential co-parent just as Belle is set to become an adult, but if I’ve learnt anything as they’ve grown up it’s that you never stop being a mum, no matter how old your children get. It may have taken me 25 years to finally feel like I’m not a single parent, but it’s definitely better late than never.

About Jo Middleton

Jo lives in Somerset with her 17-year-old daughter Belle.

She’s also written a novel – Playgroups & Prosecco – which you can check out here.

www.slummysinglemummy.com

@slummysinglemummy

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.

How to co-parent amicably

The process of separation and divorce is daunting, but it can be amicable. Perhaps the hardest part of it is embarking on the journey of co-parenting.

It’s not what you expected or hoped for, but you can make it work.

The shift of emphasis could be neatly summed up as going from making small compromises for a harmonious life to an ongoing negotiation, hurdling points of principle and, sometimes, the feeling that the other parent is getting their own way.

It’s quite the adjustment – but defining a new way of communicating with your ex and talking to your children is crucial in giving them stability and maintaining a close relationship.

Here are some pointers for successful co-parenting:

1. Put on your own oxygen mask first

This air travel analogy is particularly appropriate here. You can’t be effective in helping others – i.e. your children – unless you are in a place of security yourself. Make sure you have what you need. If this means therapy, get some professional support from a therapist who specialises in divorce.

2. Define the new co-parenting relationship

Your dealings with your partner have to transform from familiar and emotional to courteous, polite, calm and respectful. Make proposals not demands and start conversations positively by asking for your co-parent’s opinions.

3. Be flexible. Plan ahead. Be consistent

Total control is not an option. Your ex will do things differently to you. So, set aside some time to agree on some basic ‘house rules’ and shared hopes and visions, and find some consistency.

When you have agreed on a way forward, you’ll need to revisit arrangements every 6-12 months to make sure that your kids are getting the most out of them. It would also be useful to think about longer term plans too – how are things going to look in 10 or 20 years?

4. Technology is your friend

Anything minimising the possibility of miscommunication, and therefore conflict, should be embraced. Apps and communication tools, such as shared calendars, can be invaluable for time management: helping everyone to remember doctor’s appointments, piano lessons and so on.

5. Talk to your kids

Striking a balance in communicating with your children can seem challenging. If you keep things simple, age appropriate and avoid placing blame, you’re half-way there. Be truthful but not explicit (after all, your private life remains your private life) and, most importantly, listen. Giving your children your full attention while they express themselves is vital. They may not be making the final decisions, but they should know that they have been heard.

6. Have each others’ backs

Separated partners should always back each other up in front of their children, even when one of them might not understand the reason behind a decision their ex-partner has made. Children need and value consistency from both parents. Issues such as use of mobile phones, tablets and screen time generally are particularly challenging ones. Talk to each other to try and arrive at an approach that works.

7. Keep your children away from any conflict

Research shows that divorce is most damaging for children when they are caught up in conflict between their parents. If you do have disagreements or arguments, avoid discussing those with the children.

amicable

This blog post was created for the Frolo Community by amicable.

amicable offer a straightforward, cost-effective and fair service to couples who are separating or divorcing.

If you’d like to learn more about amicable and what they could do for you, head to their website where they are offering frolos an exclusive 20 minutes of free advice over the phone.

amicable.io

Co-parenting through a time of change

Carmen Campbell, a coach and advocate in wellness for single parents, shares her thoughts on managing your co-parenting relationship when everything around you is in flux.

woman and children Skype coparent

Co-parenting through a pandemic is pretty challenging, right? You might be feeling anxious about the state of the world at the moment. Are you left spinning with scenarios of how to manage shared care?

Never in our lifetime have we co-parented through a pandemic.

Maybe you’re wondering who is going to take care of the kids if you get sick? Or how to protect your children from infection when they’re moving between two homes?  Maybe, the thought of social isolation is scarier than anything?

All this heightened anxiety is the perfect foundation for conflict with your co-parent. Let’s look at a few ways to smooth the ride as we navigate these unprecedented times.

Embrace the fluidity of change

It can be helpful to think of your co-parenting relationship as an ever-evolving dynamic. Like any other relationship, it changes day by day. Sometimes we’re nice, sometimes we’re frustrated and we forget. But regardless, there is a space where our lives still meet in the middle – a space where we are parents. It’s in this space where the decisions are made together – from the mundane to the super sensitive. And in times like these, it’s even more important to align on that space and be flexible to making change.

Communication is vital

It’s not always easy, right?

But right now we need to move past this. It’s time to take the lead, be an adult and lead by example. Start the conversation you need to have. Voice your concerns. Think through what you need to talk about.

What values do you align on when it comes to social distancing? What are your views on pulling the kids out of school?  What happens if you both lose your jobs? Having these conversations is not always easy but they are important. In starting the conversation you can start working towards the right solution.

Live the mantra: kindness first, boundaries always

It might sound dramatic, but life as we know it is over. All of us can expect change in the coming months – be it economic, psychological, physical or social change.

In short, we’re all holding a lot right now. And having empathy for yourself and your co-parent is the human thing to do. Check in on each other and offer to help out when you see they are in need. Choosing kindness doesn’t mean sacrificing your values or tolerating inappropriate behaviour. The end goal is not always to be friends – that’s not a possibility for some people – but it’s not unreasonable to aim for friendly.

Create new rituals to deepen the connection between your children and your co-parent

We all find it challenging right now. Who thought this could happen? But there is so much good coming from this time too, and deeper connections between people are one of the biggest benefits. Think about all the opportunities to deepen connections as a family unit. In my experience, my co-parent does virtual story time most nights – a comforting ritual that’s deepening my daughter’s relationship with her dad.

Know when you need a back-up plan

Even with the best intentions, there is no guarantee our co-parents hold the same values as we do. The truth is often they don’t. And in this case, if aligning on a plan is not going to happen, move on. Turn your attention to building a support team elsewhere.

What are your needs? And who can you lean on to get support? You might need to have a conversation with a friend, or think about how your wider community can support you.

Ruthless self-care

To thrive in your co-parenting relationship takes a lot of energy. And, of course, investing that energy is the right thing to do for your children.

Yet, no relationship is more important than the relationship you have with yourself. Invest as much energy into this relationship as any other.  Embrace your own personal development. I can’t stress this enough. Date yourself, nourish your soul and nurture your future.

And, as much as self care in the form of a bubble bath is lovely, I’d invite you to answer some deeper questions. Like, how are you speaking to yourself today? What are you doing to take care of the future you? Who are you surrounding yourself with?  Are you eating well? Are you getting the rest that you need, and listening to what you need today and every day?

About Carmen Campbell

Prior to being a single parent herself, Carmen indulged in 40 minutes of meditation a day, yoga a few times a week and annual meditation retreats in Bali. And then she had a baby, followed closely by a relationship breakdown, and her life was turned well and truly upside down. She realised pretty quickly that wellness for a single parent was a lot more of a challenge than she anticipated.

Ever since, Carmen has been on a mission to find her own personal wellness again – and in the process is redefining wellness for single parents.

She coaches clients to regain their emotional freedom, find their financial flow and develop respectful co parenting relationships – however bad the situation might be.

Carmen has a BA in psychology and is a certified Conscious Uncoupling Coach. She finds great purpose in coaching her clients to feel calm, connected and empowered in the life that they create.

Carmencampbell.co

@carmencampbell.co

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!