In this episode, we dive into a powerful and inspiring conversation with my guest, Steph Bennet, as she shares her experience of choosing to solo parent.
Finding Balance in Work and Motherhood
Steph’s story is a testament to the strength and resilience of women who navigate both career success and motherhood on their own terms. Join us as we explore the challenges, triumphs, and joys of Steph’s unique journey into motherhood.
Steph made the decision to prioritise a career that allowed her to have control over her work without judgment. She is a strong advocate for not compromising but optimising her life to create a balanced and fear-free environment for herself and her daughter. As a managing director, Steph initially faced challenges in balancing work and parenting, but she gradually found strategies to create flexibility and adapt to hybrid and flexible working arrangements. Her story highlights the ongoing need for better support and understanding in the workplace for working mothers.
Here are some of the things we chatted about…
The Challenges of Being a Solo Parent: Steph’s journey began with a clear vision of becoming a mother, even if she couldn’t find a partner. She discusses her decision to explore single parenthood and the concerns she had about the physical and emotional aspects of raising a child on her own.
Choosing the Path of Insemination: Steph underwent tests at a fertility clinic and discovered that IVF was not suitable for her. She decided to pursue IUI, or intrauterine insemination, as an alternative. She shares her experience of choosing a sperm donor from an online catalog based on various factors, including health information and personality traits.
Balancing Work and Motherhood: Steph candidly discusses the challenges and rewards of being a working mother. She emphasises the importance of setting boundaries and not overworking, while also acknowledging the lack of respect and flexibility that many working parents face in the workplace.
French vs. British Parenting Styles: Steph and I compare parenting styles in France and the UK. They explore the benefits of allowing children to be independent and figure things out on their own, as well as the challenges of French school holidays for working parents.
The Journey of Conscious Parenting: Steph highlights the importance of allowing children to make their own decisions and learn from their own mistakes. She shares her desire to give her daughter the freedom to choose her own interests and create her own path in life.
Steph candidly addresses these key questions shaping her solo parenting journey:
- How did Steph’s previous health concerns and epilepsy diagnosis affect her decision to become a solo parent?
- In what ways did Steph’s career choice allow her to have more control over her work and spend more time with her daughter?
- Steph mentions the importance of not compromising but optimising her life. How does this mindset play a role in her journey as a solo parent?
- How does the support and childcare system in France compare to that in the UK, and what impact does it have on working mothers?
- What are some organisations and campaigns that are working towards supporting working moms in the workplace, and what more needs to be done?
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the experiences of pregnant women and new mothers, especially those who are solo parenting?
What are some of the challenges Steph faced as a solo parent, and how did she navigate them? How did she find support and emotional connection during the early stages of parenting?
- Steph discusses the importance of allowing children to be independent and make their own decisions. How can parents balance setting boundaries with fostering independence in their children?
- Steph mentions her new podcast, “For the Love of Kids.” How does her experience as a solo parent influence the topics and themes covered in her podcast?
- Steph’s journey from considering adoption to choosing IUI as a solo parent is unique. How did she approach the process of selecting a sperm donor, and how did she envision her daughter’s future relationship with her donor father?
Steph’s story of choosing to solo parent is an incredible testament to the power of following one’s dreams and embracing the possibilities of motherhood. Her journey highlights the need for increased support for working mothers in the workplace and challenges conventional norms surrounding parenting and work-life balance.
Resources Mentioned During the Episode
During this episode, the following resources were mentioned:
- Steph’s podcast, “For the Love of Kids“: Steph mentions her own podcast called “For the Love of Kids,” where she explores the experiences of parents and non-parents alike in navigating the challenges and joys of parenthood. It is available on Spotify.
About the Stephanie Jane Bennett
Stephanie is a marketing and social media consultant with twenty years of experience and has worked for some incredible brands during that time including Nespresso, Lavazza, Pernod Ricard, Google, Gatwick Airport, RSPCA, Harrods, Hotels.com, and Great Ormond Street Hospital. Now a freelance consultant she provides marketing and social media services, website development, produces podcasts, is a mentor, trainer and business development strategist. She’s also launched a parenting podcast, ‘For the Love of Kids’ to share her experiences and those of others; a passion project inspired by her pursuit of becoming a solo parent and raising a toddler. Steph is never one to shy away from following her instincts. She believes in never settling for anything less than butterflies and has found real purpose in working on the things that really matter to her in life.
In 2009, Steph, a woman in her late twenties, began to feel out of sorts and decided to visit the doctors. After undergoing blood tests and scans, she made an unexpected discovery – she had a low-grade, benign brain tumor. While her doctors assured her it could be monitored with regular scans, they cautioned her to be vigilant for major symptoms such as seizures. This revelation marked the starting point of Steph’s journey.
Connect with her: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniejanebennett/
Episode Time Stamps:
00:31 Solo parenting: working mother’s journey and challenges.
04:49 Good chance to fight for pregnancy, tested.
08:43 Can I physically do it? Major concerns. Emotional stability, financial practicality. Blind spot. Living situation.
11:42 One shot, IUI process, watch and wait.
14:58 Selected sperm donor had diverse mixed heritage.
17:15 Early pregnancy cravings led to immediate test.
20:39 Partner absent during pregnancy, friend allowed once, support from remote friend.
23:31 Preparing my house, typing, attempted induction, contractions.
28:24 Extended hospital stay after c-section; baby’s health concerns.
30:50 Parents feel pressure to be perfect, adapt.
35:59 Working mothers face unfair treatment and disrespect.
39:26 Taking control of work, family, and guilt.
40:58 Brilliant woman leader inspires other women.
44:42 Changing laws and societal shifts are impacting lives.
49:44 Balance, selling France, studying French, Erasmus, memories, unique, productivity.
51:36 Children need boredom to foster creativity.
56:23 Little gestures build confidence; independent young woman.
57:28 Parenthood changes perspective and impacts all aspects.