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Vipassana Meditation Silent Retreat a Must Do for Single Mothers!

If you have ever heard of or been intrigued about the idea of a silent meditation retreat then it might be time for you to register for a Vipassana course!

It was something I always wanted to do but then fell pregnant and had a baby to nurse. 6 years later I felt that opportunity had appeared. Not only did I feel my kids were old enough to happily spend 10 days without any contact with me, but a course was scheduled to start on the school holidays. Their father had reappeared in their lives and wanted to spend time with them, so it was really a win-win.

I have to admit I was extremely nervous and was tossing around ideas that I could fly over to LA or Thailand and spend 10 days kid free doing whatever the hec I wanted! 6 years of raising kids alone will do that to you! I would think, 10 days freedom….and I want to spend it in a concentration camp? What the hec?

Since I felt all clogged up with pain from the past and a lingering lack of clarity in life, I thought it was the best investment of my time to commit to 10 days, follow the technique and see what happens.


Why Every Single Mother Should Go on a Silent Retreat

Peace and Quiet

This may seem obvious, but honestly it’s worth it’s weight in GOLD. If you have been raising kids on your own, giving yourself 10 days peace and quiet will help you balance and reset.


Ok, technically it’s not very restful if you were to fiercely stick to the schedule that starts with 4am meditation. However, if you choose to meditate in your room as much as possible. You’re able to sit on your bed which is much more comfortable and allows you to feel rested.

Time out for You

As a mother you’ve spent probobly most of your time thinking about your kids and putting them first. You haven’t had much time to think about yourself or to prioritise your goals, dreams, desires and own mental health. Commiting to a 10 day Vipassana Silent Mediation Retreat gives you the space to dig deep into your inner pysche and release some internal blocks and issues that may have been holding you back. It also just gives you time to clear out your busy mind and give your brain a rest!

Gain Clarity

You didn’t go into a relationship wanting to end up single. Suddenly reality hits and you go into survival mode trying to figure out how to keep your lifestyle and house or assets together and also agree upon fair child care arrangements. It can be a jumbled mess at the best of times. Once things have settled down, you are probably at a stage where you’re seeking some clarity. Giving yourself a 10 day block is one of the best things you could do. If you can arrange it with child care, great! Perhaps parents or other trusted family members could help. Do your best, but if you need to wait until your kids are a bit older, just put it on your bucket list to do!


What is Vipassana Meditation?

The official website describes it abstractly as a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It explains that it focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind.


Vipassana meditation is a state in which the mind is brought to rest, focused only on one thing and not allowed to wander.


When you bring your mind to rest, you can observe your sensations which is either a pain (for example your back aches from sitting on your bum, or you get itching sensations and random weird stuff happening because your mind is going nuts sitting still for once) or pleasurable sensations of tingling vibrations kinda like when you just hop out of cold spa after a hot sauna (but of course it’s difference for everyone). Anyway, it’s a feeling that feels good. Imagine almost like a subtle sustained orgasm (if you took away the fact that your having sex and just isolated that feeling of euphoria).

Accommodation – Vipassana Meditation Centre Sunshine Coast

The accommodation is comfortable although please not that you’ll most likely be sharing and use a shared bathroom.

What to Pack for a Vipassana Meditation Course

You’ll be told to what to bring which is basically:

  • pillowslip, sheets and blankets or doona. From May to September Pomona can be very cold at night (occasionally below freezing).
  • for meditation, a blanket or shawl.
  • an adequate supply of modest, loose and comfortable clothing, which covers the body from the shoulders to below the knees, even when sitting (facilities for hand washing of clothes are provided).
  • towels and toiletries for the duration of the course.
  • torch with spare batteries.
  • umbrella or raincoat.
  • small clock or watch (not mobile phones).
  • insect repellent (optional).
  • small water bottle or cup (optional).

What NOT to bring:

  • media players (eg iPods/MP3`s),computers, cameras.
  • books, writing materials.
  • musical instruments.
  • revealing or brief clothing: you will not be able to wear shorts or skirts which stop above the knee, including when sitting, sleeveless or low cut tops, vests or singlets, form-fitting pants or tights (unless covered by a loose garment down to the knees).
  • food (a wide variety is provided).
  • unprescribed sleeping pills, tranquillisers, stimulants.
  • tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • furs or animal skins, crystals, rosaries or other religious objects
  • jewellery or valuables (facilities are provided for safekeeping of money, mobile phones, etc.).
  • scented toiletries, perfumes, essential oils or incense.

What to Bring [Winter]

Thermos for tea
Ugg boots, sneakers for walking, slip on shoes
Comfy long pants
Watch / alarm clock
Hand towel
Candle electric light
Woolie socks

Getting to The Vipassana Centre (‘Dhamma Rasmi‘)

The Vipassana Centre (‘Dhamma Rasmi‘) is in Rules Rd, Pomona. If driving to the Centre, please use Google maps, as some vehicle satnavs will not direct you correctly.

For travel directions and transport options from Brisbane,  Brisbane airport and Sunshine Coast airport go to If flying to the course, please be aware that Sunshine Coast (Maroochydore) airport is the closest to the Centre. From there, a shuttle bus service is operated by Active Tours and Transfers (who also operate a service from Brisbane airport).   It is helpful to check the shuttle bus timetable prior to booking your flight, as shuttle buses are infrequent.  You will need to book your seat on the shuttle in advance.

If you are intending to drive to the Centre please note that, although off-street parking is provided, all those parking there do so at their own risk.

If you would like to offer a ride or are looking for a ride then go to

How Much Does a Vipassana Meditation Course Cost?

Courses in this Vipassana tradition are run solely on a donation basis. Donations are accepted only from those who have completed at least one ten-day course with S.N. Goenka or one of his assistant teachers. Having experienced the benefits of Vipassana, students taking the course for the first time may give a donation on the last day of the course.

What if I’m Sick?

If there is any significant change in your physical or mental health, or use of medication, please notify us as soon as possible. If you are taking medication, please remember to bring enough for the entire course.

What does it really do? SPOILER ALERT!


Don’t read if you don’t want to know ANYTHING about Vipassana (recommended).


As explained by Mr. S.N. Goenka, it works deep in your subconscious by slowly, layer by layer bringing up and releasing your core (unhealthy) beliefs. He says it’s not a quick fix and 10 days it only the beginning to learn the technique. He says that if you surrender to the technique then you will experience results after 10 days which will only continue to help you if you continue with the technique which is (cough, cough, a minimum of 2 hours meditation a day). I could be one of most sceptical people on Earth so you can imagine this would not have went down well if revealed to me on Day 1 or 2. This is only what we hear on the final day. I went into it not knowing very much and not really having any expectations.


Skip to the end if you want to know my final outcome.

Day 1


We arrive between 3-5pm and have a delicious vegetarian dinner at 6pm. We can TALK! I spend this time getting to know as many people as possible before we are silenced and unable to communicate as in gestures, notes, smiles etc for the next 10 days.


We hand in all our electronics and contact with the outside world plus all of our reading and writing material. The first meditation starts at 8pm in which I’m absolutely terrible at and can’t seem to get my mind to be quiet for any period of 3 seconds.



Day 2



4:00am wake up bell

4:30 – 6:30am meditation in hall or own room

6:30am breakfast and rest

9 – 11am await instruction (might be meditation in hall or you might be allowed to go back to your room)

11am lunch and rest

1 – 2:30pm meditation in hall or own room


3:30 – 5pm await instruction (might be meditation in hall or you might be allowed to go back to your room)

5 – 6pm dinner


7 – 8:30pm Discourse




I was getting better at holding my concentration and my body pain wasn’t as bad!


Desire after day 2:


# To sharpen my mind

# Control focus during stressful times

# Think clearly and sharply




Focus on sensations under nostrils and above the upper lip to focus attention and sharpen the mind on a small area.


Crazy mind – this is when I would sit in the hall with 50 people all zened out and imagine myself running around screeching topless. It was my inner rebel trying to break free! I’m sure many people go home on day 3!


The croaky mantra from Goeneka were really heightened and I think anyone who hasn’t been to a Hari Krisha or some other form of mantras/chanting before would pretty much start freaking out.


Here I was getting so many thoughts going on that I was desperate to document things. But I had handed in all my writing material. I found a pen at the bottom on my suitcase and honestly felt like a pen or pencil would be the biggest gift in the world to someone in prison. You can’t imagine how overjoyed with gratitude I was to find a pen! But of course I had nothing to write on and I had no idea if it would even work since it had most likely been sitting 6 years in my suitcase! In the bathroom I discovered 2 possible solutions 1) the paper bags for ladies to wrap their menstral items in or paper hand towels. I broke the rules and started writing with my contraband pen (yes it worked) on paper towels from the ladies toilets! 


I’m not one for journaling or writing so it was very special for me to actually FEEL like writing.  This gave me a little recluse when all the yogis would go to the hall to meditate. I could sit happy as larry in my room alternating between writing, sleeping and meditating.


Day 3


Still feeling completely in love with silence.


For any mother who has raised two kids alone for 8 years, having quiet time without being interrupted on the toilet, in the shower, no cleaning, no shopping, no TV, voices, no rushing to make breakfast, lunches and do the school run, exercise wasn’t even allowed. It was a total zone out. A blissful refuge to be in complete silence! Food was made for me, I didn’t have to talk to anyone, I could be a snob without anyone judging me, enjoy my food in peace and savour my scheduled tea break! Seriously loving it still on Day 4.


I made a deal that I would only meditate in the hall if required and at all other times I was to relax in the comfort of my quiet room to work on my mind.


For dinner, something that I wasn’t aware of, you only get fruit and for old students just lemon tea. I really don’t like fruit except strawberrier, blueberries and all the fancy fruits. Apples, oranges, pears, I’ll pass thanks…except!


I was hungry.


I found out on the tea table there was psyllium husk in a jar and managed to mix up 3 teaspoons, half a cup of hot water and half a cup of milk, making a kind of cereal drink. I couldn’t believe later on it would be a drink that I really looked forward to given the options. After returning home I tried to drink it and almost vomited it down the sink. It’s amazing what joy restrictions can bring.


On Day 4, I couldn’t imagine having any breakthroughs as for me it was feeling like any other meditation.  I was feeling pretty cosy and honestly not sure I would get anything much out of it except for an awesome time out from the world. I was feeling that every mum should do this. Totally amazing.


Day 4


Now I was getting bored with the technique but little did I know it was working. Subconscious complexes were starting to come up like feeling fat. I remembered on Day 1 when I was filled with a feeling of universal love and that feeling hadn’t returned again.


Day 5


Now we moved onto the Vipassana technique. It’s basically scanning the body for sensations. I could feel lots of popping,  prickling sensations on this day. I also had a lot of thoughts come up around my weight and also my goals in life.


Day 6


This day was very interesting. The technique is to remain completely still and pay no attention to physical pain, like when your legs start aching. You also can’t pay any attention to the good euphoric feelings. What happens is that all the old pain and attachment will bubble up and vanish, therefore purifying the mind.


I had my objections. Number one being that we’re all genetically made to avoid pain. If you put your hand in a fire, you’ll pull away. We’re also genetically engineered for craving or wanting something better for ourselves which leads to evolution. I was battling this part of the process because I was thinking “why would one not want to have these traits?”


On the intellectual level I understand the argument how ‘craving’ leading to misery and understand the value of accepting ‘what is’, but I still argue that wanting to improve ourselves and craving to better ourselves is a good thing.


On this day I also kept have dreams of futuristic wars , like in a sci-fi movie where I was separated from my kids. It must be coming from a strong attachment to them because I raised them alone since pregnancy. Although I come across as an unattached and fairly free-spirited parent – this was showing me the deeper bonds are super strong. In one dream a super-war-like drone ship took my kids from my arms and I turned into some type of roaring fusion of E.T and Godzilla on a rampage…hmmmm. Don’t mess with my kids.


By this time I was aware there were only 3 more days left before the final day where we’re allowed to talk to each other. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it. I wasn’t looking forward to going back to a busy life of cooking, cleaning, driving, working, school run.


This mediation was heaven! So quiet and peaceful. BLISS!

Day 7


AMAZING! Today I was loving it! Nothing to do except concentrate on myself and see what else comes up. Only one purpose. Focus on the technique of meditation! What a great retreat! I was still feeling energetically blocked in unravelling what I wanted to do and focus on in life. But I was in full trust with the process. I was getting the most sleep and rest I’ve ever had in my life, so my wrinkles started to vanish (not really, but my I was feeling lighter and fresher!).


Day 8


Birds are chirping, trees and whispering in the wind and leaves are fluttering around in slow-mo. Until….they weren’t.


Every day it’s your choice whether or not you want to schedule a meeting with your teacher to talk about the technique. On this day I spoke with my teacher. Afterwards I bolted to the nearest place of solitude, which in this instance was a fountain, and bawled my eyes out.


Weirdly, it was for no reason at all!


I had spoken to my teacher about all the physical pain I had in my body from sitting up straight for hours and how it all vanished. Sitting there like a graceful Yoda exuding a sustained serene smile, she said ‘it’s imagined pain’.


Maybe I cried my beady little eyes out because I realized that all the pain I had in my life was imagined pain. I created it myself. My misery is self-inflicted.


It all came back to a deep-rooted belief of ‘I’m not enough’


I was married to a serial cheater, and I could never get my head around ‘open relationships’ where couples were allowed to see other people. This gave me a whole new perspective and respect for people who succeed at this. Both partners would need great strength and bother partners would need to feel ‘enough’. They respect themselves enough to not want to engage in that sexual activity and have no attachment (as in a feeling of ownership) to their partner to allow them that pleasure.


Can you see how crazy this experience is….? The things that your mind will bring? For me, it’s been a deep pain to be cheated on while pregnant and left with a small baby (twice). This meditation brought up this pain and had me bawl my eyes out to get rid of it.


I won’t say it’s completely gone, but I’m a hell of a lot lighter from it.


Nothing is permanent. Everything is constantly changing.


Day 9 –


Finally on day 10 I can find out what all the drama was about and why some of the people left? Talking only is permitted after 10am and I was looking forward to it. After all this time, although lapping up all the peace and relaxation, I was ready to move on. As a go-getter I found the course speed of delivering new information was quite slow and repetitive (and deliberating so). I could barely stand to hear the same mantras again. My brain would be saying, “yep I get it….equanimity of the mind, awareness, don’t generate craving or adversion or it will multiple and generate more sankaras (more deeply etched lines of misery).


All my moaning and groaning on the technique being delivered slowly was rapid fired on this day. In one audio sitting we were told of a new technique to penetrate the body as if you had already achieved it! Focus in on one spot the size of a fingernail to see if you have sensations, then feel this all over your body in waves. It was like ‘dude, no chance to even penetrate and you’re already jumping to full body waves?”. This was so different that the previous 3 days of just breathing!


Day 10 – Day of Talking


Although very exciting, we are only permitted to speak for 3 hours because the day’s jam packed. I found out some people left because they had a lot of trouble with the silence. There was group who made a pack if one leaves, they all leave. One being a new mum with an infant really struggled and 2 out of the group of 3 left.


What did I get out of it?


I felt more balanced and clear about where I was in life and why I didn’t have the success I wanted. I knew the lack of achieving my goals didn’t define me and that I’m able to redfine myself each new day.


At 40 years, I have another 20 years to carve out my working life. I felt more peace at where I’m at. I definitely felt more relaxed, rested and at peace. I had dissolved the feelings of resentment and loss at how my life turned out. I never wanted to a single mum and raise 2 boys alone and had felt a loss of never experiencing a nice pregnancy or having a loving partner. I also resented having all the financial pressure as well as having to be a full-time mother and carer, something that was very important to me because my mother was always there for me.


I felt like I have a special gift to shine and share with the world. I know I bring good energy and brightness to those around me. When I look back over the 10 days it started with me wanted to be skinny, fit, travelled, wealthy and successful and transitioned into a sense of contentment. A feeling of being OK with where I am and skill focused on where I want to go but with a greater sense of servitude, purpose to help others, to share love and make an impact. I have no doubt I’ll continue to follow my body, sensations, heart and path in life with grace and compassion.





Katie Joy

Katie Joy

Welcome! I decided freedom and flexibily were my top values and set out to create that life…
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Free Gratitude Journal

Make Money from Home and Spend Time With Your Kids

If people say that “being a parent is the hardest job of all, then being a single mom is even harder!” There’s the added pressure to earn all the money to pay big bills like mortgages or rent on one income.

Oh and did I mention the pressure to be the stay-at-home parent to raise the children as well…. what the…???

Earn AND stay at home…hummph

I don’t believe raising kids was supposed to be a one-man (or should I say one-woman) deal. Yet many of us end up pulling our hair out as we morph between being mesmerised with our child’s adorable innocence to locking ourselves in the cupboard for some peace and quiet. 

Working from home part-time give independent mothers so much freedom, reducing stress and increasing overall happiness of the family. 

Best Remote / Online Jobs for Stay at Home Single Moms

Single mothers make up a large percentage of the workforce. According to the Australian Government Institute of Family Studies:

In Australia it is estimated that between a third and 
45 per cent of people who marry will divorce. 
The US has higher rates of people who ever divorce.*

So we can assume that a lot of women who end up divorced will be single moms. Unless of course, she hooked up with the neighbour’s husband (jokes).

Making money quickly becomes a number one priority, especially if you don’t end up with much child support (or alimony as is the case in the USA). If you have little kids you might not want to go back to full-time work. 

I’m here to serve you up a dish of options so you can enjoy the flexibility of working from home. Be a stay-at-home working mom…




**Please note this is work in progress. I’m constantly coming back to update it, so please email me at or write in the comments and I will be overjoyed to add your stay-at-home job recommendations.**


I’ve only researched the highest paying jobs as I don’t want you to fluff around wasting time, after all, you have kids to look after!

My Own Experience As a Work-From-Home Single Mom

I ended up a single mom while pregnant with my second child. I didn’t know what to do. All I knew is that I would scrub toilets with a toothbrush if I had to, just to keep my house. Not even that I liked my house particularly, more because the housing market dropped and I didn’t want to lose my 20% deposit. Despite having no family around and good hearted recommendations from dear friends to go back and live near my parents, I decided to pursue a business. This dance fitness business my ex, “the superstar dancer” started, while me, “the goofy-environmental-scientist-scared-of-being-center-stage was in no way qualified for this role.

Anyway to cut a long story short eventually my motivation to survive surpassed my fear of failure.

It was a huge success for the following 6 years. But my burning heart could be silenced no longer so I followed a dream to live and travel Asia with my kids for an extended period of time. Yet again I was forced into survival mode so I frantically sought out online jobs to prolong our global adventure. My message to you is this;

“when pushed you can sink or swim. If you are gonna sink it my-as-well be kicking with all you’ve got!


Online Work From Home Jobs for Single Mothers    

There are a lot of good jobs for stay at home moms. It can be a bit lonely working from home sometimes but the flexibility of earning from the comfort of your home far outweighs the negatives of occasional isolation. It also means you can pack your bags anytime and keep earning money where ever you want to live. You are not at the mercy of employers and worry about finding work in the place where you want to move too.

Ok, let’s get cracking.

Step 1 – Subscribe to Work From Home Jobs “Websites”

If you really want to work from home then subscribe to all the job boards and job websites you can think of that’s relevant to you and where you live. Make sure you only subscribe to jobs that come up within your search parameters. Set up email alerts for keywords.

Keywords to use when searching on jobsearch websites:

  • work from home
  • online jobs
  • teach english online / online english teacher
  • online tutor
  • freelance writing jobs
  • online typing jobs
  • online customer service
  • online assistant
  • work from home administration

Online Job Sites for Mums in Australia

When you first start to look for a work from home job, you should sign up to all the jobs sites. I’ve found a few niche sites in Australia that focus on jobs for mums. These are:

  1. | Job board, Education, Community | Focus on online business and freelancing
  2. Indeed | Job Search
  3. Seek | Job Search
  4. Career One Australia
  5. Australian Government Job Site

Online Job Sites for Mums in the UK

  1. Ireland |

Join Facebook Groups Advertising Jobs Online

You can join facebook groups or follow instagram hashtags for jobs. if you are bilingual, check in different languages.

  • Facebook groups – type ‘job search’ in your facebook browser and click ‘groups’
  • You may also search instagram hashtags however I don’t think they work very well in English. You usually get people advertising virtual assistant jobs.
  • In Indonesia the hashtag #lowongankerja (job vacancy) was super popular for adverting jobs through instagram. Depending on the country you live in, it may be a growing trend and it may work for you.



Online Jobs for at Home Moms

Honestly, without knowing what your interests, skills and experiences are, it’s really hard to figure out what jobs will suit you. If you come from a professional background there are a lot of companies that’ll hire you for a part-time or full-time position, so hunt around and don’t give up! Some of the examples of the types of jobs that companies are hiring to work remotely are:

  • Social media manager
  • Marketing manager
  • Any digital marketing expertise (e.g. SEO, strategy, specific software or platform expertise)
  • Transcription (e.g. Medical Typist, Legal Typist)
  • Fundraiser
  • Tax / accounting
  • Online travel agents
  • Online mortgage brokers
  • Apple care / support / customer service
  • Telemarketing
  • Sales agents
  • Customer service / call centre
  • Programming / coding

Online Writing Jobs for Moms


A copywriter is somebody who writes advertising – which is. defined as “salesmanship in print. Copywriting is the craft of writing persuasive ads or engaging content which get people to part with their money or take some form of action.

I stumbled onto this job when I needed more income to keep travelling with kids. I found it advertised on At first it took me a long time to make little money. Within about a month I was much faster and able to earn more. This led to more opportunities as my skills developed. If you can write and type, this is actually a good career to go into. If you get really good the earning potential gets higher and higher!

Teach English Online

Teaching English online via to kids in China is a booming industry. There are literally 100’s of companies offering opportunities. You only need a stable internet connection and headset. Many companies have their own teaching platform and materials that you use. This means very little preparation. Just turn up and engage with your student. 

For native English speakers, this can be ideal. You can earn a stable income and then add extra jobs to earn more. While I travelled I taught English online to kids in China. If you average US$17 hour (thats averaging out with working hours, standby pay and bonuses),  teaching or on standby at least 15 hours per week, you can earn about US$1200 a month – easily. For single people without kids this is more than enough to live in many countries throughout Asia, South America or Africa. That’s why I know that anyone who’s a native English speaker can travel long term.

Online Tutor

Online tutors teach people within a virtual environment. You can tutor in any subject you are an expert in. Mostly you need a degree or currently studying.

Some require an assessment where you demonstrate your knowledge. I like the concept of online tutoring for single mothers who have a degree but want to mix up part-time work with some work from home jobs to have flexibility around kids.

USA / AUSTRALIA / UK (*some global)

  1. | AU/UK/USA | Online Homework Help
  2. – UK’s Best Selection of Online Tutors
  3. | UK & USA | Homework Help in Math, Science & English (Min 4hrs/day, Masters Degree)
  4. – K-12 And College Level In Math, Science & English | AU/NZ/UK/USA/SINGAPORE
  5. TutorMe –  On-Demand Homework Help | Test Prep Courses

The following are USA Residents Only

  1. | Higher Education
  2. | Military | Schools | Corporate

Virtual Assistant

Most virtual assistants are contract or freelance workers who do their jobs remotely using an internet connection. They focus on administrative tasks that can be anything from uploading content to a blog, posting on social media, customer service.

I have a good friend and person I trust who teaches people how to set up a virtual assistant business. You can access it here

Best Jobs for Stay-at-home Moms with No Experience

I’ve researched a bunch of stay at home mom jobs ideas and feel like I need to mention Multi-level marketing (MLM), also called pyramid selling, network marketing, and referral marketing. Basically it’s when you sell someone elses services or products on a commission basis (you don’t have a salary).

This is something I have tried over the years (I sold scentsy melts, herbalife) but I don’t like these money making models for a number of reasons. 

  1. You’re constrained by the companies rules and regulations
  2. You don’t own the product
  3. You’re under the mercy of the company if they change the rules and pricing
  4. You don’t have freedom and you can’t unleash too much creativity.

But on the other hand lot’s of people like working for these types of companies for these reasons:

  1. You get training, support and a in some cases a mentor (the person who referred you)
  2. You don’t have to think much. All the hard work has been done for you. They can tell you what type of person loves their products and they’ve developed all the marketing materials, infrastructure (website), products, everything basically. All you need to do is build your own clientele to a product that’s proven, working and people love.

Some people have found success and enjoy MLM businesses. I’ve heard good reports from Rodan and Fields Skincare and Juice Plus Supplements.

Joining an MLM company may seem appealing because it offers freedom and flexibility, and the promise of big earning potential. But proceed with caution. While it might be possible to make good money if you’re a genius salesperson and get in on the ground floor at a growing company, most people aren’t so lucky and you may even end up losing money. It’s definately not for me, but it may be for you, so I thought it was worth a mention.

Business Ideas for Single Mothers

I love, love, love the idea of small business for single mothers. I had a great dance fitness business when my kids were only little and it gave me a ton of flexibility to be around my kids. It was definitely not easy and was sometimes stressful, but it far outweighed the alternative of finding a job, putting my kids in daycare all day, having a boss and squishing down all my creativity and freedom.

I suggest you start looking at your passions and interests before diving into something. If you have a hobby that’s already making money then perhaps it’s time to look at how you can start to grow and scale it. 

*Research Paper No. 38. 2007. The consequences of divorce for financial living standards in later life. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 12 February 2019].

What I Learned After 8 Years in the Business of Zumba Dance Fitness as a Single Mother

If you have started or are thinking of starting a Zumba or other dance fitness business, I’ll cover both the basics, triumphs and failures.


My story

The truth is, I never actually had the dream to be a fitness instructor. I did however scribble on a piece of paper my goals in 2009 that I wanted to be fit and inspire and delight others. I wrote that when I was massively overweight after carrying my first child who died in my arms at 6 weeks of age. So you can imagine that was an IMPOSSIBLE dream when I wrote it…or so I thought.



You don’t have to be the dancer or fitness type

My husband at the time was the fitness person, Latino, dancer and the type who thrives being the centre of attention. I was completely the opposite. Chunky, unco, shy on stage and always considered myself a behind-the-scenes kinda gal. Anyway he ended up being a Zumba Education Specialist (ZES)  he was THAT good.

So we we split up while I was pregnant with my second child, taking the stage was not actually on my mind. What I learned later was that you actually don’t have to be the dancer or fitness type. You just need to move to the beat with laughter, joy and bring happiness.You can grow and evolve on the journey with your students as you get better and better.

Loyalty is a luxury

I was so fortunate and forever grateful that the beautiful instructors continued to stay on with me-the-scientist as their fitness class manager.

I found this incredibly humbling and it helped me pay my bills during single parenting and keep my house! What I later learned was that this type of loyalty in any business where you hire a person who are in themselves an independent contractor is rare.

Later I had new instructors leave and try to take participants. When you dig a bit deeper in the industry, you’ll hear countless stories of how joint ventures (where an established instructor trains up a person to cover classes) often end in heart ache.

Everyone grows – including those you trust

You can’t really blame your instructors for wanting to start up on their own. Because if you’ve done your job right – empowered them, marketed them well, praised them publicly consistently and worked hard to create a loyal following, it’s no surprise that might want to grow out of the role of being an employee and into the role of having their own business.

You need to add value to keep instructors

When you subcontract people who, in essence, are a licensed entrepreneur in the dance fitness program they trained in, you need to provide a lot of ease and value to make it worthwhile. I did this by;

  • Organising venue
  • Paying for public liability insurance, music licensing 
  • Supplying the equipment, lighting
  • Often getting there before hand to set up so they just had to plug and play
  • Marketing materials, constant marketing, did I say marketing?
  • Keeping in contact with regular participants
  • Creating, hosting and organising events
  • Creating themed evenings
  • Creating promotions
  • Developing the clothing line and items for sale


Be mindful of your boundaries

madeTo expand on this, they were completely able to take the 100 or so clients and open their own class. After all, they were the stars, had the following, the skills and all the qualifications and certification. I was basically a nobody of any influence in the fitness world. But instead they chose to taking a small cut for teaching class and pass the rest to me. How aaaahhhmazing! We are all still friends to this day!

Eventually they moved on and new instructors came in. These new instructors ended up rallying up against me and splitting off to teach their own classes, hoping to persuade all the people they were teaching to move over to their own independent class. This left me with no-one to teach but myself. Most likely they were thinking or hoping  I would sink and fail, after all I had a one and three year old and according to them I didn’t have what it takes.

I tell you what, I dug my heels in so hard! I was determined if someone was going to threaten me and my kids, then if I was going to go down, I’d rather down down kicking!

So I stepped on stage like I owned it.

Sure I wasn’t very good at first but I stuck at it and people stuck by me. I called out to those who resonated with positive empowering vibe and sought to make the people have a fabulously happy great time!

What you need to know to succeed in dance fitness

This whole journey taught me a great deal of things and I want to share you what I learned that I believe you need to succeed in running your own dance fitness business classes.

Step out of your comfort zone!

Ok, so basically I was forced to step out of my comfort zone because the instructors who worked for me left, but it was the biggest gift they could possibly give me! Without that, perhaps I would not have had the courage in myself to do it. I went on to become a good instructor with the most amazing community. We hosted events, created events and had a lot of fun making an impact.

Focus on what is positive

The biggest lesson here is that when the shiz hits the fan, you simply can’t care about what other people think. It’s easier said then done, but it works. I was in sooooo much emotional pain that I believe it prevented me from getting massively depressed. My baby had died, my husband couldn’t stop cheating, I felt not good enough. I was pregnant, fat, lonely and felt worthless. I believe teaching Zumba kept me out of depression, gave m

My baby had died, my husband couldn’t stop cheating, I felt not good enough. I was pregnant, fat, lonely and entrenched in worthlessness. I believe teaching Zumba kept me out of depression, gave me confidence and helped spring release my inner boxed up bubble of child-like joy onto the world.

11 Good Things About Australia That Australians Take for Granted

Most pools by the beach are free in Australia. This is Icebergs on Bondi Beach, Sydney & is one of the few that charge an entry fee.

After living 18 months in Indonesia with my two kids, I reluctantly returned so they could spend time with their father. Looking at the country with a new set of eyes, I really noticed and appreciated some things that so many people living here take for granted.

Free Parks, Pools & BBQ Areas

Compared to developing countries when you’re flat out if your tax money pays for a trash collector, Australia is pretty ‘up there’ when it comes to free stuff. I mean think about all the amazing parks! Not to mention the free patrolled swimming pools in Brisbane, Yeppoon, Cairns and everywhere else! We also have BBQ areas galore where you can cook up a snag while lusting over the most immaculate beachfront views.

Video: Free Public Pool in Southbank, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Cheap Basic Food

Despite that many people say Australia is expensive for food, I actually believe it is pretty cheap. The bare essentials like, bread, milk, pasta and oats are actually good value.

  • I was paying $2 for a loaf of bread in Bali and you can get one for is $1.50 here.
  • Milk was $2 for 1L and it’s only $1/L here.
  • Oats were $5 in Bali which I buy for $1-2 in Australia.
  • Our fruit and vegetables are a bit more expensive but not if you buy what is grown in season.
  • I won’t even get into the price of beef which is much cheaper in Australia.

Australian wine is cheap and good! Ok, I agree that wine should not be under the ‘basic food’ category, but I think it deserves a mention. Did you realise you can buy wine for less than a bottle of water? I’ve seen wine for $3/ 750ml at Dan Murphies in Australia and that same quantity of bottled water for $4.50. Looking at the basic living essentials, Australia is not expensive. But talking eating out, that’s a different story.

Amazing Libraries!

Australia public libraries have tons of space, air-con, free workshops and learning and development programs. You can learn coding, computer skills, crafts and even kids lego workshops, all for FREE!

Video: Library in Brisbane near Queen Street Mall at 266 George St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Fully Stocked Supermarkets

I was knocked off my feet with the choices in Woolworths and Coles supermarket. I mean seriously? There is so much choice my head was hurting. It’s hard to choose between what felt like 50 different varieties of bread.


Australia is so quiet, with tons of nature. I was walking and riding bikes with my kids in beautifully made pathways. When I first began jogging in Indonesia I tripped really bad at least 3 times. Quickly (or not quickly enough) I realised I had to raise my feet higher to avoid hitting potholes, bumps and inconsistencies in the footpath. Australia really does have good infrastructure. There is nature everywhere, even in the big cities. We make room for parks and recreational spaces which shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Big Open Roads

After riding a motorbike with 2 kids in Bali, coming back to an air-conditioned car and quiet streets was refreshing. Australia has a much more organised approach to traffic control.

Drinking Water From The Tap

It took us a while to realise we could shower AND drink the water as it poured over our faces. I was starting to feel like Queen Elizabeth, being able to bath in water that was also drinkable. How luxurious. Many Australian’s take it for granted we can actually drink the water straight from the tap without ending up getting violently sick.

Good Coffee

Getting a good cappuccino is hard enough in Asia but try to get soy milk, skim milk or some other milk!! Unless you’re living in Ubud, Bali, good luck! Indonesian coffee is typically made black. The ground up coffee granules settle on the bottom of your cup. It’s strong! Let’s say, not my cup of tea! Australia on the other hand has a million choices and you can usually get a decent coffee at a coffee shop.

Flushing Toilet Paper Down The Toilet

This may seem absurd to some, but I can’t tell you how much I appreciate having the plumbing system efficient enough to allow me to actually flush toilet paper down the toilet and not put it in a bin beside the toilet.


Seriously, Australia is clean. The beaches, the roads, the parks, it’s a pretty clean country. We grow up accustomed to putting rubbish in the trash that we find it incomprehensible that people in Asia dump or leave trash on the ground.

Government Support

Employment pension, parenting allowances, disability support, carers allowance etc. are taken for granted and even thought of as a right rather than a privilege. After seeing so many people hustle sooooo hard to make a dollar and feed their families, when I see people chilling out on the ‘dole’ it irks me. I think it’s a wonderful way to get back on your feet and important to care for everyone in our country, including those with disabilities. It helps keep children away from working on the street and helps parents raise their kids. Australians are seriously one of the ‘lucky countries’ to have a government that offers some sort of financial support. Most of the world has to fend for themselves, relying on extended families.

So what do you think? Anything you think I should add?

Let me know! Email

Steps To Overcome Being Told You’re Not Good Enough

Your Inner Critic Wants to Protect You

Divorce and becoming a single mother can make you feel like you’re not good enough. But this feeling of unworthiness starts much earlier. Every negative message and comment directed towards you early in your life end up sticking around as a supercritical voice in your head. You might know it as your inner voice telling you stuff like:

“You look so fat in that picture”

“There is NO-WAY you can do that”

“Nobody will listen to you”

“You don’t have anything valuable to give”

“You’re not smart enough to do that”.

But it’s important to realise it’s there only to protect you, keep you safe and prevent you from getting hurt. But it’s not at all going to help you GROW!

The Feeling of Failure Sucks

Even some seemingly dumb experiences can give this voice strength to hold you back!

I know for me it was being really good at netball and not making it into the rep team when I was 13! That might not seem like a big deal to some people but it was one of those ‘moments’ that made me think ‘I’m not good enough’…or should I say the experience made me BELIEVE I wasn’t good enough.

My inner voice would say things like “you’re not as good as you think you are”, so why try out the following year and risk feeling all that disappointment again?

Let’s face it, to an untrained mind the feeling of failure sucks. It was only trying to protect me from feeling bad, but does that voice help me grow. Nup, no-way.

Your Inner Critic Will Keep You Stuck

If left unchecked that harsh internal critical voice can quickly spiral you into feeling like crap or even into depression. 

Messages that tell you that you’re not good enough, not capable, become part of what you tell yourself in your mind on a daily basis. It becomes a habit and you don’t know any different. Once there, those messages can be challenging to remove or reframe.

It’s not your true thoughts, it’s a self-destructive stream of thinking inside your mind that always seeks to keep you safe. Which roughly translates to keeping you stuck, undercutting your happiness and holding you back from success.


You Can Reprogram Your Inner Dialogue

The great news is, you can overcome your inner critic and start reprogramming your mind. Woooo hoooo! Your internal dialogue can be transformed into a positive, comforting companion. It takes some work and doesn’t happen overnight. But there are many ways to shut that voice down. Take a look at the following steps to shedding your inner critical voice and giving yourself a mind massage!

#1 Become aware of what you say to yourself in your head. Most people have a voice running through their thoughts all day, every day. That voice is a negative reflection of our self-image, our self-esteem. When you feel down over something, pay attention to your thoughts. Are they straying into the unrealistically negative?

#2 Let mistakes go. Stop beating yourself up over mistakes, failures or embarrassments. There’s just no use in going over things that didn’t go right. Sometimes people think that be replaying whatever went wrong over and over, they can somehow learn not to make that mistake. In reality, it’s just fodder for our darkest thoughts about ourselves.

#3 Contradict your inner critic’s exaggerations with facts. Your inner critic always exaggerates. For example, an inner voice who tells you that you’re always weak can be countered with your writing or saying to yourself, “No, I have problems sometimes, but here I am. I get through my problems.”

#4 Thank your negative inner voice but don’t do what it tells you! It will tell you to give up, or quit your job, or out and out die. That voice can be that horribly harsh sometimes. But recognise it’s trying to protect you and thank it for looking out for you.

#5 Ask yourself this question: Is this in the best interest for me to achieve my goals and personal growth”. If it’s not leading you to where you want to be. Then recognise your inner critic for doing its job. Act with compassion toward yourself and be true to who you are—the best you, the real you. Let your negative inner voice know the things you want to achieve, the good outcomes in life you deserve, and that you chose to focus on those even though it may be uncomfortable or risky. Life is only lived once huh! Best to try than not to try at all!

#6 Consider what’s the worst that could happen. If your inner voice is screaming that you’re going to blow an important presentation and be fired and never get another job, redirect that scary exaggeration. Consider: even if you got fired, you’d find another job. Make sure to confront your inner voice with reality.

#7 Be kind to yourself. Ask yourself if you’d speak to a friend or your own child in the same way your critical voice speaks to you. Would you tell someone you loved “You always mess up,” or “Why bother? Everyone thinks you’re ridiculous.” Of course, we don’t talk that way to people we value, but we lash ourselves with those terrible statements daily. Extend yourself the same kindness you give others.

So Just Talk Nice To Yourself

Finally, practice self-talk. When your inner critic gets going, tell yourself that the fear isn’t you. Sometimes you’re afraid, because you’re human, and everyone is afraid sooner or later. However, that fear isn’t who you are, and it’s not going to stop you. When it comes to your inner critical voice trying to scare you into immobility, remember that it’s ok to be scared.

Be scared and still go forward boldly with your life! You got this!

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