This week we have had the pleasure to chat to Alyssa AKA @randomactsofpastel on Instagram. As a single mother by choice, she is an inspiration to us all (girl power!) and we’re delighted to speak with such an amazing role model and welcome her into the Wǒ community.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your family life
I'm a Canadian single mother by choice! When I turned 27 I decided I was fed up waiting for the right partner to come along and allow me to start a family, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. In early 2018 I got pregnant via self-insemination with the help of a donor, and had my daughter Summer, who is now 3. It was just the two of us (plus our cat Coconut and dog Mylk) until around 18 months, when I met the love of my life Jonnie and he instantly became a part of our family! I suppose the whole thing is a bit of a reverse fairytale.
2. What are the main struggles of being a single parent?
For me, the parenting bit has never been the problem - it's managing everything else! Taking on so much - from continuing to build a career for myself and managing our family finances / shouldering all of the family's income, while also staying on top of little daily tasks like walking the dog and taking out the trash - it's a lot for one person! Implementing lots of rituals and eventually finding childcare that worked for us helped, but there have definitely been many times where I have felt torn in too many directions.
3. Do you face any judgement from others?
Honestly, I've been really surprised at how little resistance I've come across in the four years since I started this journey. I think generally people are much more open to non-nuclear families than we give them credit for. In all this time, I've only had two awkward comments made about "her dad", and otherwise friends, families and strangers have been so supportive and encouraging.
4. How can society become more diverse and supportive of those we look up to as mum?
I think motherhood can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes - it's not something that can be defined to a little box, it's a big beautiful journey that looks different for every single person. That said, every mom in the whole world needs one thing: support. To feel heard, and seen, and supported, whatever that looks like for each separate person. It might mean some judgement-free time to vent, or having a friend come walk the dog once a week, or a nourishing meal delivered to a doorstep. Asking mums what they need, and becoming part of their village, goes such a long way.
5. What piece of advice would you give to other single mums?
Don't be afraid to ask for help - lots of help! You don't need a partner to be a great parent, but every great parent needs a strong support system to succeed! I put off seeking childcare for way too long because I was convinced I could do it on my own... spoiler alert, I couldn't!