All Posts By Heather Wells

How To Get Our Of Your Own Way

Stopping Self Sabotage So You Can Meet Your Goals

Self sabotage – you may be asking yourself what does that mean? Have you ever heard the quote, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” I know that may sound odd but quite often we can be our own worst enemy. We set goals for ourselves or decide to make changes in our lives – and then we get in our own damn way.

Think about it. You may want to blame life or your set of circumstances but if you are being honest with yourself – have you also been a factor? I am not trying to blame or shame with this post. However, real change has to come with some tough love sometimes. So ask yourself, “Have I gotten in my own dang way? Do I sometimes self sabotage?”

If you are being truly honest with yourself – you likely have a few times. That isn't to say that life can come kick your butt sometimes but we can do it to ourselves as well. But as they say, knowing is half the battle! So here are some tips to help you stop sabotaging yourself.

1. Let go of the past.

Mistakes from the past don’t mean that you’re doomed to failure in the future. The past should be used as educational material, not as a predictor of the future. Leave your past in the past and create the future you desire.

2. Avoid talking to yourself unless you’re going to say something nice.

Self love and self talk - are you sabotaging yourself? Self sabotage.

You spend too much time saying negative things to yourself. Eventually, you begin to believe them. Such negative input gives you an incorrect opinion of yourself and your capabilities. Ensure that your self-talk is supportive and positive.

3. Notice your habits that sabotage your success

Think about what you want to be successful at and notice your habits that stand in your way. For example, if you want to lose weight, but you eat a bag of chips every time you're stressed, that habit is sabotaging your success.

Make a list of all the habits that sabotage your success. Write down all the ways in which those habits inhibit your success. What is the cost of each of those habits? Being aware of the damage these habits cause can make it easier to change them.

4. Define your fear

Self sabotage - don't let your fear  keep you from success

All self-sabotage is rooted in fear. What exactly are you afraid of? Are you afraid of embarrassing yourself? Maybe you are afraid of finding out that you're not capable? Are you afraid of success? Are you afraid of how people will view you?

Understand the basic fear that is causing you to sabotage yourself. Unless you can either get over that fear or remove it, you'll continue to get in your own way.

5. Know your ceiling

Notice how far you can go before you begin sabotaging yourself. For example, perhaps you're stuck at a particular income level. What income level do you get stuck at? If you're trying to lose weight, at what point do you begin sabotaging yourself? We all have a ceiling for each part of our lives. Understand yours and seek to understand why.

6. Identify and change your beliefs

What are the beliefs that stand in your way? For example, do you believe that you're naturally a chubby person that can never get below a certain weight? Do you believe that you can never be a successful writer because you failed high school English?

Look at all of your beliefs related to the part of your life you want to be more successful in. Which of those beliefs are getting in your way?

7. Notice the people that get in your way

Sometimes, we allow people into our lives that don't really want the best for us. You'll find that few people are truly interested in seeing you live up to your full potential.

Avoid believing that it’s acceptable to allow someone to get in your way. If they choose to be an obstacle, consider removing them from your life.

The good news is that easier to control yourself than it is to control others or circumstances outside of yourself. Since you are the source of your challenges, you also have the power to eliminate them. Never underestimate how much you’re standing in your own way!




Can Your Life Change If You Change Your Thoughts?

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Can changing your thoughts actually help you change your life? I know it sounds overly simple and a bit corny… but what if it were true?

Have you ever heard the saying “If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got”? Think about it, when you always follow the same recipe you get the same results. Your thoughts are like that as well.

How often have to told yourself that things are always going to be hard? Do you talk yourself out of things because ‘that could never happen‘. Have you given up on yourself before you even started something? Are you stuck in a pattern of negativity?

For years I told myself that because I was a single mother I was always going to struggle. That was simply going to be my lot in life. Money was always going to be tight, I was always going to be stressed out…things were just never going to get better.

I TOLD myself that so much that I made it true for myself. My thoughts effected my perspective and my perspective influenced my habits. My habits effected my life and how I felt about my life. It wasn't until I decided to change my thoughts that my life turned around.

Outer changes in your life are the result of changes in behavior.

Changes in our behavior are usually because of inner changes – changing our thoughts. When your thoughts change or your beliefs change then you behavior typically changes. For example:

Maybe you decide one day that you want to serve your community more. Get out of the house and do something fulfilling. You meet new people while volunteering, maybe you start dating a new person or possibly get a job that you otherwise would never have known about.

Sometimes the simple thought of doing something new can be enough to push our lives in a completely different direction. Simply changing your thoughts to believe that you can have something different or new.

Examine your current beliefs

Are your current thoughts or beliefs holding you back? Do you believe things that simply aren't true? Are you telling yourself stories that you have made up? Like when I told myself that because I am a single mother I have to struggle. Who says? Where is that rule written?

Our beliefs are like our software – yes I am a bit of a nerd so I am going to use computer terminology for a second..

If your software is telling you error error error or it is faulty then maybe you need to reboot or upgrade that software. You can't operate efficiently on broken software – so change your thoughts.

Are your thoughts and beliefs serving you? Are they helping you reach your goals or dreams – or do they hold you back? Do they keep you from even trying? Ask yourself this question…

If your good friend came to you with their dream or goal would you tell them that they couldn't do it? Would you crush their dream by telling them they weren't good enough, capable enough or qualified enough? No – I didn't think so.

Are you as aggressive with your goals as you are with your reasons behind why you can't reach them?

Inner changes will change your habits…

Once you change your thoughts you will start to change your habits. When you have decided that your goals are attainable you will start working more toward reaching them. Because you are no longer allowing yourself to talk yourself out of them.

For example, if you have changed your perspective on why you want to stop smoking…

I need to quit because my children need their mother around and healthy

– instead of –

I can't quit because my children stress me out and smoking is my only stress reliever

Change your thoughts and change your life - The Single Mom Blog

Then you may find yourself not even feeling that you need a cigarette the way you once thought you did. Or maybe you change your thoughts on why you want to lose weight – so you go to the gym or start taking walks.

When the things you do each day are altered, even if it is small at first – your results will be altered as well.

Envision the life you want to lead…

If you only focus on the life you have then you will always get more of the same. Take some time each day to think about the life you WANT. The goals that you have and what your life looks like when those have been met.

Don't dwell in things that are not the way you want them because it only brings you down. Be specific about the life you are creating for yourself. Have you bought your very own home? What does that house look like? Where is it?

What type of work are you doing? How does that work make you feel? Now that you have met your goals how do you feel?

When you do this enough this life should feel possible to you, it should feel normal and completely attainable. When you do this you will keep changing your habits to help you create this life. You have decided that you can accomplish this so you will no longer get in your own way.

Monitor your thinking…

This type of change takes work. If you are like me you have spent a really long time telling yourself you can't do things. You need to stay on top of your thoughts because negative thoughts will always bring negative results. Once you start telling yourself you can't do it you will start to believe it. You will give up.

How can you have a positive life and make positive changes for yourself if you are being negative? You can't. So every time you find yourself having a negative thought change it to a positive one. When things don't go exactly as you wanted them to just tell yourself “plot twist” and try to find a positive spin.

You are going to make mistakes, you will fall down sometimes – because we are human and that is life. The important thing is that you don't let those times stop you. If there is a lesson in the mistake, take that lesson and let it help you grow and keep moving forward.

This will be something that you have to work on all the time. Some days will be harder than others. It is an ongoing process but it is totally worth it because it can be life changing.

What Does It Take To Be a Good Mom?

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Recently I saw a meme posted on Facebook by a lovely woman named Amy Ahlers. (Seriously, if you don't know her you should totally check her out here). I have known her for years and she is truly one of the most loving women I know.

She posted this image when I really needed to hear what it was saying.

Want to be a good mom? What it takes to be a good mom is likely not what you think.

That last part is what REALLY resonated with me because lately I have been questioning whether or not I am a good mom. There have have been some pretty big changes in my home lately and I have been struggling.

Raising a Teenage Girl is HARD…

Raising a teenage daughter is so different than raising my boys was. There have been struggles and challenges that I never expected. Things that I simply wasn't prepared for.

To be perfectly honest, I feel completely ill equipped to raise a teenage girl. Growing up I was a tom boy and was never really a ‘girly' girl. I don't always do well with overly emotional responses. Really didn't even like boys until I got into high school. (I saw them as friends not ‘boyfriend' material).

Sometimes I worry that I don't always know how to relate to my daughter at this age. I don't always feel like I am equipped to give her good advice. I struggle to relate to her at times and because of that we have been arguing more lately. Which is yet another reason for me to feel like I am not a good mom.

I mean, shouldn't I just KNOW how to do this?

Recently she decided that she wanted to go from our week on week off schedule to living mostly with her dad. After a lot of discussion we agreed to make the change. This has been REALLY hard for me. Even though she feels that this is better for her right now, I don't fully agree.

However, I am willing to try this because more than anything I want her to be ok. I know that there are likely many different reasons for her wanting this change. Her father is a dynamically different parent than I am. I am more over protective and strict in many ways than he is. He doesn't ‘nag' her about her grades and getting her schoolwork done like I do – and other various things she listed off.

If I am being honest, I think that the core reason though is that she has craved a better relationship with her father. Her whole life she has been desperate for it and now he is able to provide that. So she wants as much of that as possible.

Trying not to take it personally…

When my daughter told me she wanted to live mostly at her dad's house I took it very hard. I took it personally. I was a bad mom. That had to be the reason, because if I was a good mom she wouldn't want to leave.

Beating myself up for days, running the emotional scale from devastated to hurt to angry with everything in between. I was mad at myself…upset with myself…feeling like I wasn't a good mom.

After a little bit of time I came to the realization that I didn't do anything wrong specifically. I was still being the parent I had always been but she was developing into her own person. She and I have to figure out how our relationship is going to change – because she is growing up.

I had to realize that none of this was personal. She wasn't punishing me. I wasn't a bad mom. We just were struggling. I needed to give myself some grace. Which brings me back to the meme…

One of the outcomes of her living mostly with her dad is that now he becomes the primary care giver. So after 13 years of doing all the scheduling, being the primary source of transportation and staying on top of her grades – I now pass the baton to him. All those responsibilities now fall on him to manage.

This means that my life is a lot different than it has been for the last 13 years. All this time I have scheduled my life around my children. Since my boys are technically adults now, for the past 3 years it has been mostly around her. Now, without her here as much, I am able to do the things I may have been neglecting.

It is ok to do things for ourselves…

Remembering that it is ok to do things for ourselves – it is hard sometimes. Sometimes that means setting new boundaries and saying ‘no' when you used to just say yes. It can be hard and uncomfortable sometimes. For 13 years I have been the ‘do it all' parent. I had to tell myself that it was ok for me now plan my life around NOT being that parent anymore.

It is ok for me to expect her dad and step-mother to now step into that role because that is what the primary care giver does. That is the role they have taken on and expecting them to do that is not mean or petty – that is just the reality of that role.

Now I am learning how to live in this new reality where my daughter isn't a primary part of it. I am working on remembering how to do things for myself that I need to. Things that help me be ok – even though nothing about this feels ok right now.

As moms we often struggle to do things that we need to do – or WANT to do for ourselves. We worry how it will look to others, or if it is the right decision for our family – even if it right for US. How often have to done something for yourself and then felt guilty afterward? Did you feel like you weren't being a good mom?

It is ok for us to do the things we need to do for our well being. You are still a good mother if you find fulfillment outside of being a mom. Doing things that make you happy without your kids doesn't make you a bad mom.

Want to go back to work? – Do it if you are able to.

Want to start painting? – Girl PAINT!

Do you need to take medication to help with depression? – Please DEFINITELY talk to your doctor and do that if you need to. There is NO reason to feel bad about that!

You were a person before you had children and it is ok to be something more than mom.

You were a person before you had children and it is ok to be something more than mom. It is ok to do what you need to do to be ok. You will still be a good mom even if you admit that you aren't actually Wonder Woman and need some help.

Ultimately my daughter wanted this change because she felt she needed this for her to be ok – and that is important.

Finding and doing the things I need to do to be ok with this change is important too.

Breast Cancer Journey Part 2 – My Double Mastectomy

If you have been following my blog and podcast you know that in November of 2019 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After various appointments and tests my doctor told me that she recommended I get a mastectomy.

There are some things you don't think about until you're told they're going to be taken away.

I was diagnosed with DCIS which is basically cancer cells in the ducts of your breast. The area that had those cells was pretty substantial which is why my doc recommended the mastectomy. You see, I have never been what you would call ‘well endowed'. So simply having a lumpectomy wasn't really going to work.

It would have been disfiguring. So the mastectomy was a better option aesthetically because I could get reconstruction.

So then why would I choose a DOUBLE mastectomy? If I only had cancer in one breast why have both removed?

Female doctor delivering bad news, The Single Mom Blog - My Double Mastectomy

Why choose a DOUBLE mastectomy?

I will be honest with you, hearing that I had cancer was scary. Hearing that I should have a mastectomy was traumatic. At first.

As I mentioned before I was not a big chested girl. Think pointy pancakes more than melons. And I was totally fine with that. I never wore a bra, I didn't care that they weren't big. Honestly, they were more of a nuisance to me than anything else.

Until I was told that I would need to lose one. Then they became more for some reason. Hearing that I would need to have a mastectomy made me feel something I had never experienced.

I felt like I was losing something that made me a woman. It sounds ridiculous to me even as I type it out, but that is truly how I felt.

Then immediately after hearing that my doctor asked me about the possibility of having a double mastectomy.

WHAT?!?! You want to take both of them?!?!

I almost couldn't process that. I didn't understand why she would even ask me that!

Then she started talking with me about a lot of other options and the various things I could do if I didn't do a mastectomy. A lumpectomy (which would be disfiguring), radiation treatments which had their own side effects.

Female surgeon over patient. The Single Mom Blog - My Double Mastectomy

I would rather change the way I look than worry about dying.

Ultimately after hearing all of the options I did decide on the double mastectomy and reconstruction. I did so for several reasons:

  1. There was no guarantee that a lumpectomy would get all the cancer cells and I would possibly be in the same situation in the future.
  2. I didn't want to be disfigured. I know that my breasts weren't my pride and joy BUT I didn't want them to look any wonkier than they already did.
  3. If I only did one and got the reconstruction I wouldn't match. (They don't make implants in saggy ‘I've had three kids' pointy pancake size.)
  4.  And the BIGGEST reason – I didn't want to have to worry about doing this all over again on the other side in 6 month or a year or whenever.

As a single mom I need to have the best solution with the best possible outcome and the least amount of down time. Having a double mastectomy was that option.

If you're faced with having a mastectomy, don't think you're going to come back after a week or 2. It will kick your ass.

Please be sure to listen to the podcast where I go into more detail about the surgery and recovery because it is really too much to write here.

BUT I will tell you this – if you are faced with having a mastectomy make sure you prepare yourself. Not just for the physical aspects of it but the practical ones. For some reason I thought that I would be all better and back to normal after a couple weeks.

Told my clients and friends that it was no big deal and I would be back at it in no time. NO! This is major surgery, I am not sure why I thought it wasn't. It took me months to get back to even HALF speed. So give yourself some grace, make sure you have help and here are a few other tips to help you.

  1. Buy comfortable FRONT closing sports bras. Trust me you will want out of the grandma bras as soon as your doctor tells you that you can. I got these and loved them AND still use them.
  2. Before your surgery put anything you will be needing – dishes, clothes, toiletries etc at mid level. You won't be able to lift your arms for a while.
  3. Make sure you have body cleansing wipes and dry shampoo – you will not be able to shower for a while if you have drains put in. (PS. That first shower after you have been cleared to take one is GLORIOUS)
  4. Get a bunch of front button up shirts – I got a ton of them from good will in the men's section. Again, you won't be able to lift your arms to change your shirt so button ups will be a life saver.
  5. REST. It takes longer to heal if you don't rest and let your body do the work it needs.

Your body is putting in a lot of energy to heal. It doesn't seem like it, but when you start doing other things, it makes you really tired.

 

Also, remember that even though you had to go through this, the only thing you lost is the cancer.

You have not lost your womanhood. You are still feminine. You are still YOU!

And if you get reconstruction like I did, you may even end up with better boobs than when you started. I sure did.

Above all, remember that you are doing what you need to survive and keep living. Our bodies don't make us who we are. I lost cancer. Other than that, I haven't lost anything. I'm still me.

*This post may contain affiliate links to products or services that I recommend. I do receive compensation for products ordered, however that does not reflect the price you pay for the items.

Overcoming Overwhelm: Brain Dump and Prioritize

In our last podcast episode we spoke with Isitri Modak about ways to help you regroup when you are overwhelmed. If you haven't had a chance to listen to that episode you can find it here. In this podcast episode we will talk about how to prioritize.

How a brain dump and prioritization can help eliminate overwhelm:

In the last podcast episode we talked about how you can use your breathing to help calm yourself when you feel overwhelmed. Being able to take just a moment to breath can bring you back to a calmer state where you are able to function again.

Ok, that's great but how do we keep ourselves from ever getting to that overwhelmed state to begin with?

This is what we are covering in this episode. How can you prioritize your life in a way that helps you be less stressed and more productive?

Overwhelmed - Brain dump and prioritize

How can you prioritize to reduce your stress?

I know that I almost always feel like I have too much to do. EVERYTHING to do. I am sure there are days you feel like that too right?

Wouldn't it be nice if there were 5 of me to be able to get all of this stuff done? Well, unfortunately that just isn't possible. So how do you handle life when a million things need to be done?

You prioritize. I know it sounds over simplistic – BUT it truly can be a life saver. Now, when I say prioritize that doesn't mean just make a to do list and check stuff off. (Because I am sure you have all tried that and it doesn't always work). I know I have made plenty of lists that have never even gotten ONE thing checked off.

So when I say prioritize here is what I mean. Start with a brain dump – write out everything that you can think of that needs done. It doesn't matter how big or small, just write it down. By the way, I suggest doing this on paper not on any electronic device.

Why? Because when we are on our phones or computers it is WAY to easy to be distracted. I have often started working on something on my computer, stop for a moment to check my email – and then the next thing I know an hour has gone by.

Learn to Say No - Prioritize your life

Use the matrix to help you prioritize…

So – on paper – write down all your ‘to do' items. THEN you are going to prioritize them using the mindful matrix below.

In the podcast we break this down in more detail but the basic concept of this is:

  1. Go through your list and start prioritizing the items as urgent, non-urgent, important and not important
  2. Put them in the various boxes in the matrix
    1. The items that are urgent and important are your ‘to do' items – things that must get done and in a timely manner
    2. The items that are important but not urgent – you need to decide if they can wait until later or do they really need to be done at all
    3. Items that are urgent but not important – can you delegate those to someone else? Like your kids.
    4. Things that are not important and non-urgent – get rid of them. You don't need to do them..

We go over more examples of this in the podcast but here is a basic scenario. The dirty dishes are urgent because they need to be washed – but it is not important for YOU to necessarily be the one to do them. So can your kids take over that task from you?

Here is another example of prioritization:

You have been asked to volunteer to bake cookies for your child's school but you already have a lot on your plate. In the matrix where does that fall for you? Will the school be ok if you don't bake the cookies? How urgent and important to YOU is this task?

If it falls under non-urgent and non important – then you say no. And no is a complete sentence. You don't have to explain yourself or make excuses. You can simply say no, I am not able to do that this time.

Prioritizing isn't simply putting things down on a list to check off. It is also taking a moment to decide what is most important to you and what actually requires YOU to be the one to do it.

Remember, if you are overwhelmed and stressed out then you are no good to anyone. You will burn out eventually and you are too important for that to happen.

Try this method and see if it helps you start prioritizing the things in your life and helps you be more productive. And hopefully less stressed out!

** In the podcast ‘Ish' also mentions her upcoming event on October 5th-9th. This is a FREE virtual event for moms so if you would like to experience calmer and more productive days you can register here!**

*This post may contain affiliate links to products or services that I recommend. I do receive compensation for products ordered, however that does not reflect the price you pay for the items.

Overwhelmed? – This Quick Trick Can Help

There are any number of things that can cause a mother to become overwhelmed. For a single mother there are even more! In this weeks podcast we cover the state of overwhelm and an easy way to help you get past it.

Isitri “Ish” Modak helps moms overcome overwhelm…

As single mothers it can often seem like we have a million things going on at once. Quite often I have found myself so overwhelmed that I am not even able to function. The feeling that I can't take even ONE. MORE. THING.

I remember a day when everything seemed to collapse on top of me at once and I sat down on the floor of the kitchen and bawled. My body felt like it was under attack. My brain couldn't process anything. I felt frozen.

Have you ever felt like that? Felt like you couldn't do even the smallest thing because you were so overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed woman on the floor of her room

Try this quick trick to help you reset

During our interview with “Ish” Modak we talk about a quick way that you can use when you become overwhelmed.

When you find yourself becoming overly stressed or unable to stop the thoughts running through your head this one trick can help. When you are overwhelmed, your body immediately goes into a fight or flight status. You may feel like you are under attack – at least that is how your brain may be interpreting it.

 

Listen to this weeks podcast above to hear the easy breathing technique that you use anytime you feel like you are overwhelmed.

Giving your body and brain a moment to stop and reset. It may seem simplistic but it REALLY DOES WORK.

Be sure to keep an eye out for part 2 of our interview where we discuss another way you can prevent overwhelm.

Also be sure to follow “Ish” on her social media platforms:

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mindfulworkingmom/?ref=share

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ishmodakmd

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ishmodak/

Racism & White Privilege

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“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

I have honestly been struggling to decide whether to write a post about the current events going on in this country. Mainly because I am not certain if anything I say could possibly be sufficient. I also worry that I may say the wrong thing. Racism is such a difficult subject and one that is so deeply personal for so many.

However, one of the quotes that has always stuck with me is one from Sir Edmund Burrows. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” So I must speak my truth and I know I must speak up because silence helps feed the hate.

After yet another unarmed black man was killed by a police officer – blatantly murdered for all the world to see – our country is in crisis. Though if we are being honest, it has been in crisis for a long time. The racism so deeply embedded into our culture has started to slither its way back out from under the rocks it hid under. Though, I know for many it wasn’t hidden. It was never hidden.

Artists honor George Floyd - The Single Mom Blog - Racism

I used to think that racism was going away. That it was getting better. It had to be right? I mean, we had to be progressing as a society right? I know that there are still groups out there like the KKK and white supremacists – but they aren't that pervasive. Right?

I knew that there were still instances of racism in the world – but I never thought that it was still this bad. I saw things as hidden or subtle – because for ME, as a white person, they were. They aren't hidden and they aren't subtle to the people of color who have to deal with it every day.

Taking a hard look at myself…

Part of my process has been to look hard at myself and back through my life. Have I done or said things that were possibly racist – sadly, if I am being honest – yes. When I was kid and stupid – I told jokes that I think back on now and cringe. I said things back then that I know NOW I would never say.

And in this process, I have had to figure out why or where I would have even got the idea that these things were ok.

In retrospect, I know that I have had people in my family who had racist beliefs. I remember my grandfather having a HUGE issue with my mother dating and later marrying a black man. Even though he was himself married to a Japanese woman. Hypocrite much?

Apparently it was only black people that weren't ok for him. (As time went by he ended up loving my step-father which gives me hope that everyone can change.)

In fact, my grandmother (by marriage on my father’s side and a very “religious” woman) also had an issue with that marriage. She called my dad – my mother’s EX-HUSBAND – to express her ‘concern’ about my mom’s pending nuptials. Mind you, my parents had been divorced for 13 years at this point. She was worried about how my mother marrying a black man would affect me – and ‘what was he going to do about it’. To which my father responded, “Not a damn thing. She is happy and I am happy for her.” Then he hung up on her.

Clearly, I had some people in my life who influenced me without me really understanding that was how they felt. But I never thought it was blatant racism, I called it ignorance. I honestly thought that they were just old fashioned and only old people thought that way. That is just how THEY grew up – that is how I excused it.

Interracial wedding hands - The Single Mom Blog - Racism

Racism & hatred are taught – but so is love & acceptance…

Thankfully, I also had loving and accepting people in my life who helped guide me more that the others did. As I grew up and matured, I began to recognize how bigoted some members of my family really were. I believe that they helped me become a better person. Still I know that there is always more for me to do.

I also fully understand that I approach everything going on right now from a place of privilege that being white has afforded me. So, I can only try my best to understand and support those I know and love who are black and hurting right now. I can only try to take a good look at myself and recognize if and where I need to change and do better. To also be a voice among the many who need to stand up and say NO MORE.

My White Privilege…

I know that I will never be able to fully understand. I will not ever really know what it is like to be viewed as ‘less than’ by someone else simply because of my skin color. I won’t ever know what it is like to feel like I have to change my natural hair simply to ‘conform to company standards’. Never have I been asked to wear ‘less ethnic clothing or earrings’. I will not ever experience feeling that who I am naturally, in my own skin, simply is not accepted.

I will likely never be targeted or singled out because I look ‘suspicious’ in a fancy department store. Nor will I get pulled over because the officer thinks my car is too nice for me to be driving. Or get the police called on me for sitting in a Starbucks waiting for a friend. I will never fear for my life when an officer walks up to me.

I will never experience racism and the kind of hatred that so many black people do. I know that.

Black Lives Matter Sign - The Single Mom Blog - Racism

Black Lives Matter

I don’t like that this is how some people have to experience life. I can’t imagine it. But they do. Every day this is their reality and it is wrong.

I cannot imagine the deep level of pain that the black community must carry around. I know that right now that pain is manifesting in protests across the nation. I know that there are many people protesting peacefully but I also know that there is a powder keg out there. Anger, sadness, frustration, fear, rage … all rolled up and just waiting to explode. And in some cases, it has.

I am not here to defend looters or destruction of property. As a business owner I know how hard this is going to be on many of those small businesses. I know that many of them may not recover. I don’t believe that any of these protests should end in violence. But this is a volatile situation – and people are fed up. And they have a right to be. So, while I don’t condone or defend the rioting – I can understand why it is happening.

Change must happen, racism can not be allowed to endure – our country can’t stay fractured like this and survive. Too often I hear people say “All lives matter” when they hear someone say black lives matter. And yes, I personally believe all lives do matter – but unfortunately not everyone feels that way. Not everyone is treated like THEIR life matters. And that is the problem. That is what needs to change.

And until that happens, we can’t really say that all lives matter – because to some, they don’t.

So, my pledge is to do whatever is needed for me to do. I will cast my vote to remove those in power who are fanning the flames of inequality and racism. I will use my voice to advocate for change. I will call out racism when I see it. I will not be silent unless my silence is what is needed. I will ask questions and I will learn. I will be open to change. I will help when and where I can.

I will listen.

[One of the MOST important ways to bring about change is to VOTE! If you are not registered to vote, do so now! Your voice matters so make sure it is heard! Click here to register!)

Here are some other recent posts you may be interested in:

*This post may contain affiliate links to products or services that I recommend. I do receive compensation for products ordered, however that does not reflect the price you pay for the items.

My Breast Cancer Journey – Part 1

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I Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Yep, breast cancer – scary ass stuff and I decided that I wanted to share that journey with you. The main reason is to stress to you the importance of getting mammograms!!!!

If you have followed my blog and podcast for a while you know that I have not put up anything new for almost a year. There were several reasons for that:

  1. It became something that he who shall not be named started using against me. Using it as a dig, a way to try and insult me. As a way to try and manipulate me. I realize now that I allowed him to make me stop doing something I like to do. I won’t be doing that again.
  2. Life was – complicated to put it nicely. My beautiful daughter had a lot of emotional things happen in her life. So helping her pushed everything else to the back of the line.
  3. My business started really getting busy and that meant less time for the blog.
  4. And then in November of 2019 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I have been slowly putting out some more generic content, nothing really personal about me. So I decided that it was time for me to write about it.

You should be getting regular mammograms now.

My doctor told me during my annual physical that I should be getting regular mammograms now that I am in my 40s. UGH!!!  So with a little bit of dread I scheduled myself for my first ever mammogram. I was definitely not looking forward to it. I have heard that it is painful or at least really uncomfortable.

And I am not what you would call ‘well endowed’, so there isn’t a lot to really work with in that area. BUT I went and it WAS uncomfortable but not nearly as bad as I had imagined. I left the appointment and really didn’t think any more about it – I certainly wasn’t thinking about cancer.

Several days later I got the call from the doctor saying that they would like for me to come back in. That there was an area in my right breast that they wanted to take a closer look at. They told me not to freak out that it was pretty common.

I freaked out anyway.

I couldn’t help it. I posted on Facebook about it and my friends and family all told me it wasn’t anything to worry about. Dense breast tissue. Spots on the images. There were a number of things they told me it could be. It calmed me down a little bit but I will admit I was still a little worried.

Worried woman on phone call - The Single Mom Blog - My Breast Cancer Diagnosis

I went to the next mammogram, which was MUCH more involved than the last. My poor boob was squished every which way and then some. They told me that they would be in touch in a few days to let me know the results. *At this point I do want to say that the woman who was with me for both mammograms was AWESOME! She was like that amazing aunt that you have who is fun and comforting… she put me at ease at a very scary time.

About 5 days later I got another call from the doctor’s office – they found some calcifications in my right breast. These little dots that showed up and can be possible indicators for cancer cells. So they told me that they wanted me to come in for a biopsy.

I have to have a biopsy??

OK – now I am definitely starting to freak out again. A BIOPSY!?!? I really don’t like the sound of that but I get it scheduled. Now, the biopsy was definitely not what I was expecting. It is a surgical procedure so it is in an operating room of a sort. You have to lay on a table with a hole in it for your breast to go through. It would have been comical if it wasn’t also so scary. (I’m not gonna lie, I still laughed about it – I couldn’t help it.)

Then after you lay down they squish your boob again like in the mammogram – so they can find the area again and take the cells. They also numb your breast so you don’t really feel the biopsy needle when they take it. BUT you DO feel the needle when they numb you. It honestly feels like they are trying to stab THROUGH your boob.

Breasts are super sensitive, with lots of nerves so the needle in there is OUCH! After the biopsy was taken they wrapped me up in an ace bandage and stuffed an ice pack in the area. The next few days that area was really tender I have to tell you. Getting small chunks of breast tissue taken out is no joke.

I waited again for a few days to get the results of the biopsy. Then on November 11th I got a call from a lovely woman named Susie. She introduced herself as my nurse navigator – then she told me that my biopsy came back showing cancer. I had DCIS – Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. Which simply put, meant that I had cancer cells in my milk ducts.

My stomach dropped to the floor and I honestly didn’t hear or process what she said for the next few minutes. I had to ask her to repeat it. She told me that this type of cancer is what they call Stage Zero. It is non-invasive and was caught VERY early. Which was a good thing all things considered. It was the best worst news I could have gotten I guess.

DCIS - ductal carcinoma in situ - breast cancer image

Susie talked me through all the information and worked with me to get my next appointment scheduled. This appointment would be where I met the various doctors that I may need to be working with. She also told me that I would need an MRI as well so the doctors could get a better look at how much of an area was cancerous.

I was absolutely gutted by this news, I immediately called my dad to tell him. My dad has always been my rock and he helped talk me through it. He listened to me cry, talked with me about what the nurse had said and calmed me down. After speaking with him I was a little better – but now I had to go tell my kids.

How are my kids going to take this?

My kids took it pretty well, of course they were worried but knowing that it was caught early and wasn’t going to be life threatening – that helped them. Honestly, I knew that the word cancer was going to scare them. Hell, it scared me – but I tried to not let my kids see that. I told them that no matter what happened I was going to do whatever it took to make sure I was ok.

A few weeks later I had the MRI and then met with 3 different doctors – oncologist, surgeon, radiation. The Rocky Mountain Cancer Center was STELLAR in how they handled my case. Making sure I had the nurse navigator to help me make appointments. Ensuring that I met with all of my doctors in ONE appointment so I could get all my information at once. I can’t say enough about how fabulous they were.

They talked with me more about my diagnosis and what my options might be. I left that meeting feeling more stable because information is power to me. NOT knowing what to expect makes me come up with all kinds of awful scenarios. So it is better for me to have the most information possible.

A little while after that, my doctor got the results of my MRI and had me come in to give me my options. I had a section of cancer cells that was about 3 ½ inches long.  She let me know that having a lumpectomy would be an option BUT it would likely be very disfiguring. As I mentioned before – I do not have a LOT to work with in the boob area.

So her recommendation was for me to have a mastectomy.

A mastectomy?

Oh my god.

I couldn’t believe it. A mastectomy?!?! How was this possible? I thought it was Stage Zero!!!! How can I possibly be making this decision?

She told me to take some time and think about what I wanted to do and then let her know. I had a lot of thinking to do – so many different things to consider. I took a few days, talked with family and friends. Cried a lot, was angry a LOT but ultimately I had to think about what was going to be best for me and my kids.

So I decided to have the mastectomy.

I will tell you more about that decision and what the surgery and process was like in my next post.

7 Important Life Skills to Teach Your Children

Although your children can learn to read and write at school, there are many beneficial life skills that schools rarely provide. These are skills that all adults and children should have.

If you or anyone you know really struggles with life, odds are that there is a lack of expertise in one of these areas. That’s how important they are!

Teaching your children these skills will benefit them throughout their lives:

Asking questions. It may not seem that important but this is a very important life skill. If you can’t figure out something that’s important to you, you can save yourself a lot of grief by asking questions. I tell my kids all the time, if you don't know then ask. Whether they are asking me or someone else for information, I want them to feel empowered to ask.

  • There are no such thing as stupid questions. I also tell my kids this – I don't ever want to discourage them from asking a question if they don't know the answer.

Problem solving is an important skill…

7 Important Life Skills - Asking questions is an important skill

The ability to solve problems. Life is full of challenges. Figuring out how to be successful in school, navigating through a new job, making the basketball team: these are all common challenges we must solve. Life is less intimidating when you learn processes that help you conquer challenges, whatever they may be.

  • Avoid the temptation to solve your children’s challenges for them. Let them strive to figure solutions out on their own.

 

7 Important Life Skills to Teach Your Kids - Find what you are passionate about

Finding a passion. No one ever trained us to go out and find the things that really excite and motivate us. Most of us were taught that working and having a job stinks, so you’d better get used to it. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! Everyone should have something they are passionate about and if they are lucky they can even find a way to make money doing what they love.

Independence is very important…

Independence. Children need to be nurtured to become more and more independent as they grow up. Many adults need to learn to be more independent as well. Strive to increase your child’s independence a little bit at a time.

  • Giving your child additional responsibilities as they get older will help with this. Depending on their age they can start doing more and more things around the house – loading and unloading the dishwasher, doing their own laundry, mowing the lawn, cooking basic meals etc.

Being content when alone. Some children are incapable of spending even 15 minutes without the attention of others. As children grow up, they learn to attach to other things to find contentment. Buying silly things, the Internet, food, video games, and more can all become addictions in their own way to avoid being alone.

  • There is a great power in being able to amuse yourself. It makes life easier, with fewer destructive temptations.

 

Compassion. The ability to work well with others and control our own anger is directly tied to our ability to be compassionate toward others. Strive to be more compassionate in your everyday life and teach your children the same. Being compassionate is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your children.

Dealing with change. Change is one of the few constants in life. Those who can be flexible and deal with change effectively are much more successful and happier than those who can’t. Help your child to learn to deal with change and you’ll be doing them a huge favor.

Schools teach us many things but they don’t teach us everything. These necessary skills that aren’t taught in school can be more valuable than anything we learn during our formal education. Check yourself and your child for the presence of these skills. Your lives will be much better for it.

*This post may contain affiliate links to products or services that I recommend. I do receive compensation for products ordered, however that does not reflect the price you pay for the items.

5 Ways to Make Money Without Spending a Dime

Is money a constant cause of stress? Are you having trouble making ends meet? Do you worry about making it to your next paycheck? Many of us have those moments. It can be difficult to cope with a poor financial situation, especially for single mothers.

When someone lacks money, their choices are limited. It’s discouraging when there are things you want to do and you’re unable to afford to do them. There's a whole world to explore, but you need cash before you can start living life to the fullest.

Wouldn’t you love to learn how to make some extra money without spending it? It isn’t as difficult as it sounds!

Consider these ideas to bring in extra money without having to spend some to get started:

Create a service using one of your talents. Everyone's good at something. Most of us even have a talent that can be monetized. Talents like these can be turned into profitable services: writing, website design, public speaking, playing a musical instrument, humor, singing, and much more.

  • Compile a list of your talents and see if there's a demand for any of those skills.
5 Ways to Make Money, woman holding money at desk

Find hidden money in your own home…

Sell something online. There are thousands of websites which allow people to post classified ads for free.

  • Look through your basement or storage units and make a list of items that could be sold. You can create a small business selling second hand items for a profit. This process is called “product flipping.”

 

Compile a list of services and sell them as a package. How many times have you stumbled upon a pamphlet with a company offering a wide range of interesting services? It might be a good idea for you to combine different related services and sell them as one package.

  • For example, if you’re a good writer, you could offer a range of services like writing articles, editing, proofreading websites, creating resumes, or any other service that could capitalize on your writing skills.
  • You can make a lot of money like this and it's completely free. The internet is a great way to advertise your services.
5 Ways to Make Money - Make a list of services you can offer

Make money helping others…

Offer to babysit, housesit, or watch someone’s pets while they’re on vacation. There are plenty of people who need help with these tasks and they’re willing to pay well. Babysitting, housesitting, or watching someone’s pets are great gigs for those who have extra free time.

  • Consider creating a pamphlet offering these services. Leave them on local billboards or pass them out in your neighborhood. Remember to include a phone number!
  • Word of mouth marketing is one of the best ways to spread the word. If you do a good job, your clients will recommend you to their friends.

Teach. Everyone has knowledge that they can pass on to others. Figure out what you can teach and then find people who would pay to learn it. Teaching can be fun, rewarding, and profitable.

  • There are websites that allow members to create an online classroom and teach people a specific skill. These sites often allow teachers to charge their own rates.
  • Prepare a course on a topic that interests you and then teach it. If your students love it, they'll recommend it to others, and your business will boom.

As you can see, there are many ways to make money without having to spend it. All that’s required is a touch of creativity and a “go-getter” attitude. Mix those two with determination, and you have a recipe for success. Before long, you won’t have to keep worrying about how you’re going to pay the bills next month. Give it a shot!

*This post may contain affiliate links to products or services that I recommend. I do receive compensation for products ordered, however that does not reflect the price you pay for the items.

10 Ways to Relax That Require 10 Minutes or Less

While it would be nice to just take a long vacation or check out of work each day for a few hours, most of us have limited time and opportunities to relax. However, we usually do have 10 minutes here and there throughout the day.

Use these methods to relax in as little as 10 minutes:

1. Meditate. The benefits of meditating are many. It’s incredibly popular right now but has been around for thousands of years. Experts often claim that even just one minute of meditation per hour is enough to gain benefits. 

I use apps to meditate for at least 10 minutes every morning before I start my day. I find that I am more focused and relaxed throughout the day when I do.

2. Control your breath. Your breath is one of the few parts of your physiology you can control. Slower, deeper, breaths will help you to relax. Focus on the feeling of your breath passing through your mouth or nostrils. Count your breaths if you find that helps.

how to relax - meditation every day helps you relax and eliminate stress

Visualization can help you relax

3. Visualize a peaceful scene. Our moods follow our thoughts. Think about something pleasant, and you can expect to experience a more enjoyable mood. Visualization is a great way to relax as well as help you with goal setting and manifesting.

4. Spend time with your pet. Pets are a blessing. They require little and ask for even less. They’re always happy to see you. Cuddle up with your pet and notice how much better you feel. Your pet will love the extra attention, too. Don’t have a pet? Borrow a friend’s pet.

5. Talk to a friend. Call up a friend, or even better, have a face to face. A few minutes spent chatting with a trusted confidant can do wonders for your stress levels. You’ll also be maintaining your relationships. A quick coffee date to catch up or a call to share some laughs can help more than you may think.

6. Take a short walk. A long walk is even better, but if you only have 10 minutes, a short walk can help a lot if you’re feeling stressed. Pay close attention to your surroundings while you walk. It will keep your mind off your challenges for a few minutes.

how to relax - taking a walk, spending time with pets

Music can soothe the soul…

7. Listen to music. Music has an amazing ability to alter one’s mood. Think of a few songs that will put you in a mood you’d rather feel. Listen away! If you don’t happen to have those songs available at the moment, YouTube has just about every song available for free.

8. Chew gum. Sounds crazy I know! Chewing gum has been shown to be an effective reducer of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. Many people like to blow bubbles, too. You can lower your stress and amuse yourself at the same time.

9. Sit outside in the sun. Relax for a few minutes on a nice day and enjoy the sun. The warmth on your body can be a great mood booster, and you’ll get a nice dose of vitamin D, too. Now that the weather is turning nicer I have gotten out my hammock and have been lying in it every day!

10. Write down everything that worries you. One way to be less stressed and anxious is to write down everything that’s bothering you. Get it out of your system and down on paper. By externalizing it, you’ll often find that things aren’t quite as bad as you thought.

I have a journal that I write in on a regular basis. It has helped me relax, work through my problems, vent when I am angry… it has been a  life saver some days!

If you’re regularly feeling stressed, it’s important to do something about it. Not only is it miserable to feel stressed all the time, but it’s terrible for your health.

If you want to relax, make time for it each day. Ten minutes can be enough to take the edge off your stress levels. Don’t allow 10 minutes to go to waste. Use them to relax!

*This post may contain affiliate links to products or services that I recommend. I do receive compensation for products ordered, however that does not reflect the price you pay for the items.

6 Easy Ways to Use More Healthy Green Vegetables in Your Cooking

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You know you should eat more green vegetables, but you may be tired of adding them to a salad each day. However, there are other options to use these healthy veggies while you cook or bake.

Consider these ways to include more green vegetables in your meals:

1. Vegetable pasta.

There are two different techniques to use vegetables in a pasta dish:

  • Cook regular pasta and simply add healthy vegetables to it. The most popular options include tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. You can use raw veggies or steam them. Another option is to sauté them in healthy oils.
  • Make your pasta noodles out of vegetables. A spiralizer can help you make thin strips out of zucchini or eggplant. You can also use this technique to make noodles out of sweet potatoes or carrots. Another option if you don’t have a spiralizer is to cut thin slices or strips with a knife.

2. Soups, sauces, and dressings.

Soups, sauces, and dressings can be used to hide healthy vegetables. This is a useful method for picky eaters or children who refuse to eat whole or raw veggies. You’ll need a blender or mixer to puree the veggies to hide them in sauces.

  • Consider the types of vegetables you can puree: tomatoes, squash, carrots, onions, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, and others.

3. Meatballs.

You can hide vegetables inside meatballs, too! This one is GREAT for my kids. I add them into the meatballs when I make spaghetti and they NEVER know. Whether you stick to a completely vegetarian recipe or use meat, you can add green, healthy vegetables to meatballs.

  • The key is to add them to the mix before cooking. You can puree the veggies, so they’re easier to mix. Once they’re cooked, it’s usually impossible to see or taste the veggies.

4. Vegetables as wraps and sandwich bases

If you’re trying to reduce carbohydrates or are simply tired of eating bread, you can switch to green vegetables as your base.

  • Use lettuce as a wrap for a different take on a burrito or taco.
  • Another option is to use a thick leaf of lettuce or kale instead of bread for a sandwich. You can stack your tomatoes, cheese, meat, and other items on top. Many restaurants will offer this as an option too if you are eating out – just ask your server.

5. Casseroles

Most casseroles tend to be bland concoctions of leftover rice, noodles, tuna, or other bits that haven’t been eaten. If your family dreads the leftovers you put in a casserole, add more green vegetables to kick the flavor up a notch.

  • Adding vegetables will not only make your casseroles look more pleasing with a variety of colors, but also have more flavor. You can use an assortment of veggies to make the casseroles bolder. Don’t be afraid to experiment to see what works best for you and your family!

6. Smoothies

If you hate the taste of green vegetables, smoothies also give you the option of hiding them amid other flavors. Mix veggies with fruits in your smoothies for a variety of tastes. This is by FAR my favorite option because I only taste the sweetness of the fruit and none of the veggies.

  • Kale, lettuce, spinach, and other green veggies go well with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and apples. The mixed results will be hard to distinguish, but the taste will be worth it. You can also add a little yogurt or nuts for protein or even a scoop of protein powder if you like.

 

Green vegetables have multiple health advantages ranging from fiber to vitamins. If you’re struggling to eat salads, consider using vegetables in new ways. Your health and taste buds will both benefit!

10 Sources of Income That You Can Earn From Home

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Do you have some extra time to kill and need another source of income?

There are several ways to generate a secondary source of income without leaving the comfort of your own home. It’s surprising how many home employment opportunities exist. Anyone with a few hours to spare can earn extra money.

Check out these ways to stay at home and earn money in your free time:

  • Freelancing. With the capabilities of the internet and associated technologies, working from home is a snap. Whether your talent is writing, graphics, building websites, or voiceover work, there’s no end to the amount of work available for a freelancer giving you the ability to add as little or as much additional income you want.
    • No matter what your skills might be, there’s someone out there looking for you. There are many online freelance sites that you can look into where people post jobs that they need done.

  • Telemarketing. Any place with a telephone is suitable for your telemarketing headquarters. It’s a job that few enjoy, so there are usually employers looking for callers. If you have a pleasant voice and can deal with rejection, telemarketing can be an easy and flexible way to earn some money.
    • This may not be the best income option for you if you still have little ones at home as you are likely to have a lot of background noise. Most telemarketing jobs will require a quiet environment to make calls from.

  • Grow and sell vegetables. Okay, you might have to leave home to do this. On the other hand, you might be able to convince someone else to sell them for you at the local farmer’s market. Or you can pay them a portion of the income made from your sales.

    So if you have a green thumb and have room for a garden this may be a great option for you. Seeds are very inexpensive. Mother Nature will take care of the rest, minus weeding.

Are you a crafty person?

  • Make scrapbooks. Not everyone has the skill or time to make a custom scrapbook. Create scrapbooks for those who are unable or unwilling to do it themselves.
    • A few supplies are all you need to get started. Begin with offering your scrap booking service to family, friends, and neighbors. You might be able to generate enough referrals to stay busy without additional advertising.
    • Many places with have local craft fairs as well. They are another great place to earn some extra income selling scrapbooks or even scrapbook kits.

  • Data Entry. Most jobs pay for each entry or per project rather than by the hour. It’s a great job if you have a few spare minutes here and there. It’s super flexible and can work around any schedule. With focus and fast fingers, you can generate a reasonable income.

  • Tutoring. Part-time tutors can make $30 or more per hour. You might have to brush up on your geometry or Latin, but tutoring can be a lucrative way to spend your free time. Some people also make extra money teaching English as a second language online as well.

  • Translate. Are you skilled in a second language? There are many opportunities to translate conversations and documents. While certifications are required to translate for large companies and government agencies, they’re totally unnecessary for translating a love letter or a conversation on Skype or blog post.

Using your home to earn extra income…

  • Rent out a room. If you have the space to spare, rent out a room. A good roommate can be a blessing and help you cover the bills. This one is not something that I personally feel comfortable with as a single mother with children in the home.
    • However, maybe renting out the basement to another single mother may be a great idea – it can lower both of your expenses and you are helping out another single mother.
      
  • Host a party. There are parties for Pampered Chef, Scentsy, and numerous other types of products – and you likely know a friend who has an MLM business. While these parties are typically held in the homes of others, you can host the parties yourself.
    • You could also allow your friends to use your home as a party location, and then keep a percentage of the profits.

  • Sell ad space on a personal blog. Create a blog and then sell ads on your website. You can sell the ad space directly or sign up with Google Adsense. With Google, they’ll post relevant ads for you, and you’ll receive money whenever someone clicks on the ad.

Whether you’re in financial pain or just need an activity to fill your spare time, a secondary or part-time source of income could be the solution.

If you have seriously thought about starting your own business working from home I would also recommend downloading “The 7 Things to Consider Before Starting a Home Based Business”

Other posts that may interest you:

Stop Feeling Like Your Emotions Are Not Valid!

I was recently told that I was emotionally abusing my child.

No seriously. I was told that I was emotionally abusing my child. Now as ludicrous as that statement was considering the source that it came from, I decided that I should examine why they would make such an accusation.

It is no secret to those who know me that I have been struggling recently with my daughter who is diving head first into tween-hood. We have been dealing with attitude issues, problems at school, issues with grades, MOODINESS etc. Which can be pretty typical of a child at this age apparently.

For the majority of my daughter's life she has spent her time at my house, I have been the primary parent. She and I have had an amazing mother daughter relationship. We talked about everything, shared everything and promised to always be honest with each other. She was even a guest on my podcast!

Everything changes…

However, recently we moved to a week on week off split with her father. The change in our schedule, the attitude, and moodiness have been difficult for me to process. It just happened overnight *poof* no more little girl – moody tween instead!

Even though I know I shouldn't, I have taken many things that have happened between she and I very personally. I have felt like her wanting to spend more time at her dad's house was a reflection of me. Like she didn't like being with me anymore. I felt like I was losing my little girl.

Where I made my mistake was posting about how I felt on my Instagram account. Which my daughter saw, and it hurt her feelings. Which was never my intent. I would never try to deliberately hurt my daughter. But I did. And maybe subconsciously I did want her to feel bad, like I did.

So I deleted my Instagram account. I never want to lash out at my daughter because I am hurting, even if it is unintentional or subconsciously.

This is the reason that someone thinks that I am 'emotionally abusing' my daughter? Because I vented on my social media platform. Me expressing my emotions and how I was hurting ended up hurting my daughter. It isn't abuse though, simply a mistake made during an emotional time.

But that got me to thinking…

Why aren't moms allowed to have feelings?

I am a very emotional person but for many many years I kept all of my feelings to myself. Always bottling up how I felt just to keep the peace. As a kid I did it to make sure I didn't upset my step-mom. Then as an adult to try not to upset whomever I was seeing at the time. (Which led to me being treated like crap on a regular basis and just taking it).

Continuing on as a parent, I did it to appear strong and independent. Putting up a front so my kids didn't know how sad, upset or worried I was. Shutting my emotions up in a little box and pushing them deep down. I didn't have the time or ability or support to deal with those pesky feelings.

Woman crying on windowsill - Emotions

Plus, whenever I DID express my feelings I was often labeled as 'emotional' or ‘unstable' or I was ‘losing it'. I have had people tell me that I was overreacting or that I need to ‘grow up'. All because I FINALLY stood up for myself or expressed how I was feeling.

Why is it that as moms we aren't supposed to be people anymore? Are we all the sudden supposed to not have feelings? Is it not possible that our kids can hurt us to our core? Or that our husbands, boyfriends, family or friends can make us feel like crap?

Just shake it off…

When they do, are we just supposed to shake it off? Act like it doesn't matter, that everything is all okay even though we are hurting inside?

Just because we are moms doesn't mean that we stop feeling the same feelings we used to before we had kids. We are still human. We still make mistakes. I mean, we try really hard not to but we do sometimes.

I spent years keeping my feelings and emotions to myself – always putting up a front. It lead me to a near emotional breakdown and some significant depression. It isn't healthy to always put others happiness in front of your own. Moms are still people and we have to treat ourselves better.

I decided a while ago that I would no longer keep my feelings and emotions bottled up. When I am hurt, people know I am hurt. When I am angry, people know I am angry. I will always talk about how I feel and why I feel that way – especially with my daughter. Because I truly feel that is the only way to bring about change.

Always Speak Your Truth!

Always speak your truth – that is what I tell her. It is important to your own mental health to do so. It may not always be fun, it may be very very hard – and you may hurt someones feelings or upset them. I know that things I have said and done have upset my daughter. It has never been done out of spite or malice – not intentionally.

I also know that many things my daughter has said and done have unintentionally hurt me. However, I would rather know how she feels and process through the emotions than have her miserable inside trying to keep me happy.

It is also important to me that she know how I feel as well. The way I communicate and how I express that is what I need to work on. Making mistakes is human and this is all a part of the learning process for me. (Especially now that I have a tween!)

I am living my life trying to be emotionally authentic and I hope she is able to do the same.

I don't believe that is abuse, not in the slightest.

Keto Diet – Did It Work For Me?

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GIRL! I lost 35 pounds on the Keto Diet!

Before I dive into the Keto diet and how it helped me lose weight, let's do a little recap. I created a blog post a while back with an update on my weight loss struggle. In fact it is something I have blogged about a few times…

The Single Mom Blog - Quitting Smoking

I quit smoking 8 years ago, and after I did I gained a lot of weight. What started out as 10 additional pounds grew into 50. I have been trying for YEARS to find the motivation & commitment to lose all those extra pounds.

I have tried various diets, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, and other fad diets I found online. I joined a couple different gyms – and barely went. I tried working out with Beach Body videos at home.

I gained it all right back!

None of it worked as a permanent solution for me, I would inevitably gain any weight I lost right back. Most of the diets I couldn't stick to for more than a couple weeks. Either the food was awful or I got bored with my choices of what I could eat.

Finally I said, ‘Screw it – I'm not gonna worry about my weight anymore. Eat what you want and just be happy!'

Then I went for my annual physical and weighed in at 221 pounds!

That was a HUGE wake up call for me. I hadn't weighed that much since I was pregnant with my TWINS! No wonder my knees were hurting more and I was always so damn tired!

Time to go back on a diet and get my behind in shape again. (The rest of me too!) But which awful diet did I want to subject myself to this time? I was already dreading the idea.

Then a friend of mine started posting about how much weight she had lost on the Keto diet. I had heard about it here and there but never really looked into it. So I asked her to send me some information on it and I read through it right away…

It sounded AWFUL!

A diet with little to no carbs and ZERO sugar?!?! Are you kidding me? I can't do that! Thinking to myself, there is absolutely no way I am going to be able to stick to this Keto diet. I simply don't have the will power.

My friend talked to me more about it and after a few days I decided to try it. It turns out that it was the BEST decision I could have made. It was difficult at first BUT I was determined to try and see this diet through.

I started losing weight almost immediately!

Now, I know that this was mostly water weight but STILL it was so exciting to see the pounds just drop off. And amazingly, I wasn't having a hard time sticking to the Keto low carb no sugar thing.

I mean any diet where I can still eat hot wings and ranch AND lose weight! I'm sold! And so far I have lost 35 pounds and gone down 2 pant sizes! I am wearing jeans I haven't been able to fit into since my daughter was born.

Want to learn more about the Keto diet? Here are some articles with more information…

And for some Keto recipe ideas and menus you can follow my Pinterest page! Below are also some Keto cookbooks that I really have enjoyed.

***As with any diet, make sure you check with your doctor FIRST to ensure that it will be ok for your health. Not all diets are right for all people.

** This post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

10 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself This Mother’s Day!

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Mother’s Day is upon us!

Yes, that’s right ladies the one day a year where it is all about us! The day when we get pampered and waited on hand and foot.

Yeah, that probably won’t happen. For most of us single moms, Mother’s Day is just like every other day. You will likely get some lovely home made gifts from your little ones. Those cute little poems with the hand prints on them. Or maybe even a clay sculpture of some kind.

You may even have kids old enough to bring you breakfast in bed. (Be sure to listen to the podcast to hear about the “coffee” my daughter made me a few years ago.)

The Single Mom Podcast - Mother's Day

However, other than those few things Mother’s Day isn’t that different for us single moms. There isn’t anyone else to take up the slack if we decide to take the day off. There isn’t anyone there to take over all of the things that we do so we can be pampered. 

We know that self-care is important but we don't always make sure we take the time. This Mother's Day I beg of you, please be sure to do something for yourself!

Take Care of Yourself This Mother's Day!

In today's Mother's Day Podcast I talk about 10 free, inexpensive and simple ways for you to treat yourself this Mother's Day…

  • A bubble bath, a good book and maybe a glass of wine
  • Take a nap – if you can
  • Go for a walk – soak up some sun and enjoy springtime
  • Plant some flowers
  • Have an at home spa day – make your own sugar scrubs!
  • Release your artistic side – paint, draw, color…
  • Have a dance party with the kids
  • Go to the park
  • Take a bike ride
  • Give yourself a make over

I know, I know these seem simplistic – but I go into more detail in the podcast.

Look, we all know that as single moms we don't always have the budget to do anything BIG for Mother's Day. And if our kids our little, they will do their best but they are broke too!

So finding little ways to feed your soul, improve your mood, brighten up your home or yard… those little things can go a long way sometimes. Lifting our spirits and making us feel good.

And that is really what is important for Mother's Day. Not the gifts we get but the feeling the day gives us.

Parenting Agreements – Do You Need One?

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Parenting agreements, you may already have one but if you don't it is something that you should definitely look into having. If you aren't familiar with what a parenting agreement is, it is basically a legal document that outlines terms for parenting with your ex.

Parenting agreements are very important because it sets out guidelines and expectations for both parents. They cover all types of things such as:

  • the visitation schedule
  • child support
  • educational expenses
  • medical expenses
  • how you will split or share holidays
  • transportation to and from visitation
  • physical changes such as haircuts, ear piercing etc
  • vacations and traveling out of state or country
  • extracurricular activities
  • and so much more

These guidelines help you lay out who has what responsibilities both physical and financial. They can help eliminate confusion or ambiguity when it comes to raising your child in separate households.

Important Things To Remember When Creating Your Parenting Agreement

  1. Don't make it personal – it is about your child. It can be hard to keep your emotions out of things like this. Especially when dealing with your ex. However, it is crucial that you remember to put together a parenting agreement that is best for your child.
  2. Don't use it as a way to punish your ex – your divorce or split may have been ugly. You may have been very hurt and want nothing more than to hurt him back. You can't use your child as a weapon. Remember rule number 1 and do what is in your child's best interest.
  3. Don't assume you are the only one who can parent your child – this one can be hard for moms because we can be very protective (*cough* controlling) when it comes to our babies. Remember that we didn't know what we were doing either until we did it. So you have to let go and believe that your ex can also do a good job parenting as well. It can be hard to see them as an equal in parenting, but they are.
  4. Consider the future – your child will grow up and their needs will change. Make sure you take into account things like school expenses, changes in the schedule when they are old enough, possibly college, etc. It is impossible to plan for everything, but try to think about more than just the short term issues.

There are many other things that you may need to consider in your parenting agreements. Everyone's circumstances are different. This will at least give you a starting point.

Ideally you and your ex will come to an agreement on all areas of your parenting agreements. However, some people (like my ex) are resistant to the idea and make it more difficult than it needs to be. In those cases you may have to seek out a mediator or simply fight it out in court.

And if things are REALLY bad between you and your ex and you have one of those relationships where every detail is scrutinized. I highly recommend tracking everything in some way. You can use software like CustodyXChange which gives you the ability to create your plan, keep a detailed calendar, track expenses etc. Click here for their article on parenting agreements and to check out how their software works.

But if you have the option and the chance I highly recommend trying to work out a parenting agreement that both of you are comfortable with. It will make things go a lot smoother for you AND your child.

[Podcast] Are You Undervaluing Yourself?

Don't make the mistake of undervaluing yourself!

While on Twitter the other day, I made the ridiculous decision to reply to a tweet from Donald Trump. It was actually a valid question but I did pose it in a snarky fashion. – but it got the attention of some ‘conservative' followers.

I then made an even sillier decision to engage with said follower. After a bit of back and forth, the final comment that was made to me was ‘No wonder you're a single mom‘.

As though that is some kind of insult.

Now, this isn't the first time that my status as a single mom has been hurled at me as though it is something that I should be ashamed of. So I am used to it. But I always find it funny. Because I am completely OK with the fact that I am single.

In fact I LOVE being single. That is why I have been single for the past almost 12 years. I don't feel as though I am missing something being single.

Now, I know that isn't the case for everyone. And there are many of you single moms out there who really do want to find love and happiness. Which is totally great for you – it just isn't my cup of tea.

But it did get me thinking about how often single moms will undervalue themselves when looking for a partner. They will lower their standards, not just in the type of men they choose but in how they allow themselves to be treated.

Do you lower your standards?

Are you undervaluing yourself? The Single Mom Blog - Podcast

What I mean by that, is that because they want to find someone so badly they can sometimes cling on to the first person who shows them attention. Even if that person is a total loser.

Starting that type of relationship usually ends up in heartbreak. OR they end up being very unhealthy relationships.

I know that may not ALWAYS be the case, but more often than not it is.

So when I say don't undervalue yourself I mean, don't think that just because you are a single mom you have to take just any old guy that comes your way. Make sure that the person you choose to give your time to understands what a gift that is.

I don't have the time for this…

We single moms have usually been through a lot. We don't have the time or energy to give to everyone. So if a single mom has decided that you are worth the gift of that time and energy – you better know how important that is.

Make sure that YOU know your value and that the person you choose to bring into your life knows how amazing that is. If they don't – then they aren't the one. They need to go.

I know that comes off as a bit cocky, but let's face it sisters – we don't have the time for a bunch of BS. So don't ever undervalue yourself again – get the treatment and love you deserve from someone who sees your value too!

Self-Contentment – Being More Than Just Mom

Self-contentment… remember what that feels like? Do you remember who you were before you had kids? Do you remember what you loved to do and the things that brought you joy? 

As a single mom I know that for many years I felt like there was nothing more to me than just being Mom. It was a feeling that is hard to nail down sometimes. The best way I can describe it is a sort of hollow feeling inside. Like there is a part of you that just isn't there anymore.

All those things that I used to do, that brought me happiness, I simply stopped doing after my kids were born. Because I was a single mom with little to no help, it just seemed impossible.

There was no way I would have the time or energy to work on self-contentment. 

I had kids to feed, boo-boo's to patch up, clothes to wash, events to drive to, homework to help with, doctor's appointments… 

There was no TIME for anything more, and even if there was time – I was too damn tired to try and do it. ‘I'll do that later. When the kids are older.' 

But something happened, and it happened so slowly – in small increments, that I didn't even realize it …

I lost myself. 

So many things that had to be done to care for my kids and give them full lives, that I forgot about my own life. Self-contentment, self-care – those became things of the past.

I became simply mom. Nothing more to me than that. And I thought that was how it was supposed to be.

I felt guilty if I tried to go and do something for myself. How could I possibly justify spending even a dollar on something special for ME when I should dedicate everything to them? What a horrible mother I must be for wanting some time away from my kids!

How could I possibly follow my dreams and still be a good mom? 

So everything was pushed aside and my dreams tossed aside so I could be the best mom I could be. Or so I thought…

A mom laying on her couch, tired, depressed, drinking wine. Self-contentment and self-care for single moms is SO important.

You see, after a while that hollowness – it starts to become all consuming. You start to feel lost somehow. Yeah, you are still doing everything you need to do in order to be super-mom. But it feels like a chore.

Like you have to force yourself to continue with the day to day. You still love your kids more than anything – but your life…you don't really love that.

Which is NOT a good thing, because whether you realize it or not, your kids can feel that. You may try to hide it – but they instinctively know. 

Somewhere along the way we decided that we needed to put ourselves last in order to be good moms. We don't. We need to be right up there in the top two!

First the kids, then right along side them – US! 

We need to feel that we are just as important and our goals and dreams are also just as important. Now, I am not saying you should ditch your kids and run off to Paris to become and artist. BUT – if art is something that you love, then it should STILL be a part of your life.

Music, art, fashion, architecture, guitar, dance… if you love it, and it feeds your soul, it NEEDS to be a part of your life! Self-contentment is so much more important than you may realize. You need to feel like a whole person if you want to be the best mom you can be. 

Even if you can only take 30 minutes a day to feed your passion – at least that is something. Do the things that bring you joy (provided they are not bad habits). You will feel better and BE better. It will feel like a part of your self is returning, I promise!

And you will be a better mother for it.

Suddenly Single Mom – Learning to be the Primary Care Giver

For many couples with children it has been typical that the woman would be the primary care giver. Often times staying at home to care for the kids while her husband worked. 

However, over the years this dynamic has changed a bit. A 2013 Pew study revealed that 40% of women were the main breadwinners in their homes. It is likely that number has risen over the years. 

So what happens when a mother, who has always been the primary breadwinner, becomes a single mom? When you haven't been the primary care giver for your child it can be quite a change. 

In this weeks podcast interview I talk with Rachel who has recently become a single mom. After separating from her husband, she found herself struggling with being the primary caregiver. 

Single Mom Podcast - When mom becomes both primary care giver AND primary breadwinner

Rachel had always been the breadwinner for her family while her husband took care of their baby. When they separated Rachel had to learn how to be both breadwinner AND caregiver. 

Not many of us can understand what it's like to find ourselves in tears at the grocery store because we don't know what foods our baby likes. Rachel's husband had always taken care of the shopping. She would leave in the early morning and get home from work after her baby was already down for the evening.

Not only did she have to learn all about her baby's habits and routines, she had to find a way to move past the guilt she felt because she didn't know these things.

In the past several months Rachel has been able to get into the groove that many of us is simply the norm. It took her quite a bit of work but things are finally going great for her and her daughter. She is settling into the single mom life and I have no doubt she will be very successful.