Renee Rayles says single moms don't need pity. They need encouragement and motivation to accomplish their goals.
She should know. She's been a single mother since the birth of her son, Xavier, who's now 11.
The experience prompted Rayles to write a fun, upbeat book for women in her situation, The Super, Sexy, Single Mom on a Budget, which came out in January. In it, she offers tips and advice for being a single, sexy mom and shares funny stories about raising a child alone.
Rayles, 33, heads to Tampa for a book-signing event at the Smart Baby Expo Sunday at the Quorum Hotel in Tampa. In a phone interview from her home in Atlanta, she spoke about finding time for both a date and a manicure.
What inspired you to write the book?
I went to my 10-year class reunion and this girl I had known for many years came up to me and said, 'You seem so happy.' I think people are generally surprised that as a single mom I've been able to do some of the things I've been able to do. There's a negative connotation when you hear single mom.
How do you create time for yourself?
It sounds so silly, but before you pick up your child from school take a moment in your car and do deep yoga breaths. It really does work to transition from work to mom. The other big thing you have to do is schedule me time. If you're having a hard time planning time for yourself, put it in your planner and stick to it. Even if you just fit in a manicure. If you don't take care of yourself, there's no way you can be the best mom you can be.
What are some good ways for single moms to meet and date men?
Online dating is really good for single moms because you can fit in lunch dates. You don't have to have a sitter for the evening. Or even some speed dating. There's no better way to get your mojo going than meeting 25 guys who you don't necessarily ever have to talk to again.
What are some tips for planning an inexpensive, family vacation?
Cruises. The day care is already included in your child's admission. My son went to Camp Carnival and had such a good time he didn't want to come back. Mom can get some me time at the pool or spa, and you don't have to plan dinner. A lot of times when you go on vacation the kids get a break but you don't. It's a good place for you to go and really relax yourself.
What's the thought behind the sexy and super in the book title?
I'm trying to change the perception of what people have of single moms. You still can be all of those things. Single moms love the title, but other people are really taken by it. I'm not saying I'm that person, I'm saying that we can all be that person, even if you're in your sweatpants eating a candy bar at night. You can still be confident and super and sexy.
Susan Thurston can be reached at (813) 225-3110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.