Where and how long have you lived in Sydney’s east:

My parents immigrated to Australia (from Germany) when I was two years old. We lived in Bronte first, and then Coogee. When I was eight years old my parents separated, and my dad moved to Randwick and my mum moved back to Bronte. My mum moved around a lot as I was growing up, but we were mainly always in the East – Coogee, Bronte, Bondi and Randwick – and my dad still lives in the same house in Randwick. So I grew up in the East, and I continued to live around the East whilst at University, and afterwards. I did a 15 month stint in Perth in 2012, but missed Sydney too much, and moved back to Randwick in 2013.

I’m currently living in Pagewood, but plan to move to the Bronte/Waverley area in the next year or two. I’m 33 now, so I’ve been here in the Eastern Suburbs for the majority of my 31 years in Australia. I love living here!

How many children:

I have one beautiful three year old daughter. She will be four in March.

Favourite Park:

There are so many great ones, it’s hard to pick just one. Centennial Park is pretty amazing. I’ve also been spending a fair bit of time at the Scooter and Bike Track in Heffron Park, Maroubra. I also love the Playground at the southern end of Coogee Beach. Oh, and there’s also a fantastic one in Zetland that has the biggest slide I’ve ever seen in my life, and provides hours of entertainment to kids.

Favourite Beach:

I love Clovelly Beach. It’s perfect for kids, it’s a beautiful spot and there’s a café. What more could you ask for? The only issue on weekends is parking (or lack of). You have to go super early.

I’ve also been spending some time lately at the beaches in La Perouse. They are perfect for kids too, and a bit quieter.

Favourite kid friendly cafe:

Café Bellagio in Waverley is fantastic for kids. It’s probably my favourite. They have beautiful food and coffee too. I also rate the Coogee Pavilion, and the Café at Queens Park.

Favourite Coffee Spot:

Definitely Bake Bar on Frenchmans Rd, Randwick. They have beautiful coffee and great food.

Favourite date night place:

Well I have been a single parent for three and a half years so there haven’t been too many regular “date nights” as such. But I have been on a few incredible dates over the past few years – Sokyo at The Star is incredible. And you can tie it in with watching a musical afterwards. I also love Opera Bar; it’s a very romantic spot. And more locally – Sum Bar in Randwick is fantastic. They have great food, the loveliest staff and a great wine selection.

If you could have a day alone in the eastern suburbs what would you do for yourself?

I would start by going to my gym, Virgin Active in Moore Park. I’d do a work out and then lie in the spa that they have there, and use the sauna. I always feel so pampered after that. Then I would do something that is hard to do with a toddler – like visit one of the amazing markets that we have around Sydney, such as the Paddington or the Bondi Markets. In the afternoon I’d go to the Beach for a few hours and swim, and read a book. And after that, I’d go to the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and have a glass of champagne with a couple of my best friends.
I want this day, now!

Favourite Local Shop:

I love all the shops at East Village in Zetland. The fruit and vegetable shop there is amazing and they have a beautiful deli section too.

Favourite wet weather location:

My daughter loves Little Dynamos in Alexandria which is a great wet weather option, or the cinema. I also really love hanging out at home. We are out and about a lot, so it’s a good excuse to stay home and relax.

Work or SAHM:

Up until October I worked as an engineering consultant. My position then got made redundant and I have since started my own business (Single Mother Survival Guide), so I am working from home and absolutely loving it! It originally started as a passion project for me whilst I was still working, but it is essentially a website aimed at new single mums. It’s something I wish existed when I first became a single mum, and that’s why I started it. There’s information about organisations where you can get help, child support, Centrelink information, interesting research papers and articles etc. And there’s also a blog and a podcast. The blog is quite honest and I think that’s why it has resonated with a lot of people, in fact I just got published in the Huffington Post which is very exciting for me. And the Podcast I’m just loving because I get to speak to all these amazing people. Some are experts in their field, and others are single mums talking about their experiences. And it also includes me just talking about some single mother issues, or tips and so on. I’m really excited about the future of Single Mother Survival Guide; I have a lot of plans for it. I have a background in Psychology too, so I get to incorporate that.

When I became a single parent in 2013 I felt like a failure, and like I’d let everybody down, especially my daughter. No one dreams of being a single mum. No one says “when I grow up I want to be a single mother”. But what I struggled with was feeling alone. Obviously you know you’re not the only one going through it, but I didn’t really know any single parents with babies. I tried to read books about single parenting, and there really wasn’t a lot out there. I wanted to connect with women who had been through the same thing, so I created an online mothers group for single mums in the Eastern Suburbs. It started with just me, and there are now almost 300 mums in that group. Through that I got really involved in the single mum community and as the years went on, and after I healed, I realised that I loved connecting with women who had just become single mums, and I loved helping them. So my passion for helping single mums had started, and from there I wanted to grow bigger. I wanted to help single mums not only in my area, but on a national, and even a global scale.

I think it’s important to do something that you’re really passionate about, and I also hate the whole 9-5 thing. It doesn’t suit my lifestyle. And I actually work really well at night. I want to work when it suits me, and when my daughter starts school I want to be able to drop her off and pick her up, and be involved in the school community. And I think if you want something really badly, you just have to go for it!

Motherly advice:

Be kind to yourself. It’s so easy to beat yourself up, and be hard on yourself. Especially if you are a working mum. I know I always felt guilty no matter what I did, and that I couldn’t give myself 100% to work, or being a mum. Stop the negative chatter in your head and just enjoy the little moments. Something I often say to my daughter is that she can only do the best that she can, in any moment in time; no one can ask for more than that. But I think it’s important for us, as parents, to remember too.

Advice for new single mums:

1. You can’t see it now, but life does get better. Great in fact!

2. Take this opportunity to start fresh. It’s a new chapter in your life, and exciting things can happen.

3. Often in an unhealthy relationship you lose who you are. I know I felt like I lost myself. I lost my confidence, my self-esteem, my voice, my soul. Now I have my sense of self-worth back, my confidence back, and my identity back. I know that being myself is good enough. And you will get to this point too. Find yourself again!

4. Connect with other single mums. Don’t go through this alone. Find some single mums in your area (and looking online is a great starting point for this there are often closed Facebook groups in your local area of mums who support each other in a private environment).

5. Know that you are a great role model for your children. They may not understand it now, but one day they will, and you are helping them learn some really valuable life lessons. We all deserve happiness, and to be treated with respect. Whilst we can’t control the behaviour and actions of others, we can choose how we respond, and if we will stand for it.

6. Seek professional help – you’ll probably want to speak to a lawyer (even if it’s just a brief consultation) and you may want to see a psychologist or a counsellor to talk things through.

7. Happiness is really about your mindset. If you have a negative mindset and see yourself as a victim of life, you’re not going to be happy. But if you are positive, have goals, feel inspired and set your mind to something, you CAN achieve it. The only thing stopping you is your mind.