All Posts By Heather Wells

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.  

Stereotypes & Why Tucker Carlson Can Kiss My…

If you know me, or have listened to some of my podcasts, you know that one of the things I dislike more than most anything is stereotypes. 

I do not like it when people put other people into a certain box, or judge them based on preconceived notions. Assuming they know a person's situation before actually getting to know them.

This happens all to often to single mothers. I personally have experienced the following stereotypes:

– a slut
– a whore
– a welfare queen or scammer
– just lookin' for a daddy for her kids
– mooching off the system
– your kids must be in jail
– you were probably a drug addict

And there have likely been more over the years.

So it stands to reason that I would absolutely despise when people just put stereotypes of single moms out there in the world. Especially people with large platforms.

People like Tucker Carlson.

Recently on his show Tucker did a piece on ‘Men in Decline'. In this piece he talked about how women were less likely to marry men who made less money than they did. 

How they SHOULD want to marry them but they more than likely don't. 

Now, setting aside the insult that women are all apparently money hungry gold diggers, only interested in what a man earns. (I mean god forbid we marry for something as stupid as love.) It was his next statement that REALLY got my attention.

“Over big populations this causes a drop in marriage, a spike in out-of-wedlock births and all the familiar disasters that inevitably follow. More drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarceration rates, fewer families formed in the next generation.”

A spike in out-of-wedlock births and the familiar disasters that inevitably follow.

That my friends is a dig as single mothers and yet another stereotype of the children raised by single mothers. And yes, I know that there have been studies about it, and yes I know that it can and does happen. 

I also know that there are thousands of children raised by single moms who defy that stereotype. No jail time, no drug habits, no alcoholism. 

The Single Mom Blog, Tucker Carlson and stereotypes of kids raised by single moms

I also know some kids who grew up wealthy in two parent homes who ended up REALLY messed up. In fact, one study found that children in suburban, upper-middle-class families were actually more likely to use drugs and struggle with emotional problems thank kids in inner cities with struggling families. 

Also, can someone please tell me why single MOMS are always stereotyped but single dads are treated like they're freakin' amazing special unicorns. Single dads are treated like they are heroes for raising their children on their own but we get treated like pariahs?

Oh a single dad learned how to do his daughter's hair – let's make him go viral! Meanwhile here I am french braiding my daughter's hair while simultaneously holding my phone with my shoulder calling my son into school because he has a fever of 103. WHILE the sheets he threw up in last night are running through the washing machine. All before 7 AM.

SINGLE MOMS DO THIS STUFF ALL THE TIME!!!!

WE don't go viral, WE don't usually get accolades from – well, anyone. Why are single dads not stereotyped the same way single moms are? 

Does anyone go around telling single dads that their daughters will probably end up drug addicts? Or prostitutes? Or in jail? Are single dads called sluts? No?

So why is that special judgement saved for us single moms?

But the biggest reason these stereotypes bug me so much – 

Is because sometimes when we hear them so many times, we can start to buy into them. We start thinking that we MUST be what they say we are.

We start thinking we will ALWAYS have to struggle or be on government assistance. Maybe it is our lot in life because we are single moms.

That is why those stereotypes do so much damage. And they are bullshit!

Don't buy into them. Don't listen to them. The struggle may be hard but you will not always have to struggle. 

You can set and achieve goals. You can find a way to make an amazing life for yourself and your kids. So tell people like Tucker Carlson they can shove their stupid stereotypes – you and your kids will be just fine!

PS. I actually give kudos to single dads just as much as I do other single moms. Any parent doing it on their own deserves all the praise in the world. So please don't think I was picking on single dads. They are awesome too.

2019: How Will You Ring In The Year?

It is almost the end of 2018 and I don't know about you but I am ready to kick last year to the curb and welcome in 2019!

Last year seemed to be the most BLAH year I have experienced thus far. Now, it may be due to the political BS that has been going on ALL YEAR LONG. It could be my struggles with depression. It could be any number of things.

Whatever the cause, I know that I am ready to close it out and bring in a bright new shiny year.

Celebrating 2019 The Single Mom Blog - how do you prepare for the new year?

I don't know about you, but I personally have routines and rituals that I go through every New Year's Eve. Not the party till I pass out kind of rituals but the kind that help me prepare myself for success in the coming year.

Now some of these may be a little too woo-woo for you, and that's ok. BUT I highly recommend that you also close out your year in a way that helps you make 2019 an amazing year!

Here is my list of rituals and routines for closing out the year:

1. Set my goals for 2019.

I don't make resolutions for myself. I actually hate the term “New Year's Resolutions” because when I think of the term resolutions I automatically think about breaking them. 

Also, I feel that when we set resolutions for ourselves, the second we break them we just give up. ‘Crap, I broke my resolution to work out 5 days this week. Oh well, maybe next year.'

It's like we set ourselves up to fail.

So instead I set goals for myself. I sit down and map out my great big audacious goals and the steps I would need to take to meet them. I also set smaller goals that can be broken down and easily managed. 

This helps me stick to a plan and if I don't quite meet a goal I set, it doesn't mean I didn't make progress towards it!

2. Close out the previous year

I sit down and think about (and even write down) the things that really went well for me the past year. The successes and accomplishments. Things that made me happy and great experiences – no matter how small they may have seemed. 

This helps me really see how much GOOD happened over the year instead of only seeing the bad.

Then I write down the things that weren't so great. Things that I wasn't too happy about. Or things I want to change. Bad habits I would like to break or situations I should not have allowed. Negative self talk that I allowed to bring me down.

This helps me realize where I would like to improve and also helps me identify people and situations that are toxic for me. 

3. A burning ritual

This is where things start to get a little woo-woo, but stick with me it's worth it I promise. 

After writing down the negative self talk and situations that I allowed in the previous year, I burn them. One by one in my fireplace. 

When I burn them I replace the negative statement with a positive one in my mind. I repeat it over and over, making sure that negative statement no longer rings true to me. 

I do the same with negative people or situations, writing them down on paper and burning the paper in the fire place. Making sure that they no longer hold space in my mind in the coming year. Releasing whatever negative hold or influence they had over me. 

Toxic people and situations have no place in my new year!

** Of course it MUST be said, be CAREFUL when doing this. Don't set yourself or your home on fire. Don't ACTUALLY burn things or people – that's just creepy and wrong. Crazy that I actually have to put that disclaimer in BUT it is a crazy world we live in.

4. Smudging 

If you are unfamiliar with what smudging is, it is the practice of burning sage to help clear out low or negative vibrations or stuck energies. Yep, full on woo-woo at this point. 

BUT I have been doing this for years and I really feel a difference in my home and my energy once I am done. 

I light the end of my white sage bundle and I walk through each room waving the bundle so the smoke reaches each corner of the area. While I do this I set my intention of cleansing my home to prepare for an abundant and blessed new year. 

Click Image to buy a Smudging Kit

I do this through my whole home and when I am done I thank the universe for all my blessings.

It may sound strange to you BUT I highly recommend it if you have never tried it.

TIP: Be sure to be aware of where your smoke detectors are and avoid those when smudging. The noise totally throws off your groove.

Hopefully these rituals and routines will help you have a wonderful 2019. I know I plan on this coming year being my best ever!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!!!

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Don’t Make Yourself CRAZY This Christmas!

It's CHRISTMAS TIME!!!!!

 

I don't know about you, but this is my favorite time of year! I love all the lights and decorations. I love the smell of cinnamon pine cones at the store!

I even LOVE the Christmas music playing on an endless loop. Yes, I am one of those people.

However, this is also the time of year where I tend to drive myself a little bit crazy and drive myself into the ground. I also used to deal with an overabundance of guilt because of my need to compare myself to other moms or families.

I am not fully sure why we as moms often feel that we need to absolutely kill ourselves to give our kids the BEST Christmas EVER! We will work ourselves to the bone, scrimp and save all year long, clean, bake and decorate until we are complete madwomen – just to feel like we are doing a good job.

At least I used to do this. Maybe you are a lot more zen than I was about the holidays but I for some reason was always trying to live up to some weird ideal I had set in my mind. Like I HAD to deliver a perfect Christmas for my kids in order to make up for something.

You know, the perfect Christmas, where the kids are happy with everything that I got them, I have scored major mom points and feel like I am the best mom ever!!! Maybe you feel this way too.

But I was recently reminded of a couple of things this weekend during a Saturday Night Live skit about the “Best Christmas Ever” that I want to share with you.

Here's what you need to know:

1. There is no such thing as a ‘perfect' Christmas. Not everything will go the way we want it to. Kids will almost always drive you crazy because they are riding a present/candy high that they will not come down from for hours.

2. You may get into it with family members and have a raging scream fest about Trump, the “War on Christmas” or whatever new political landmine may be out there lurking.

3. You may get into it with you KIDS! Because at hour 3 of that sugar/toy high the toy you thought was SO CUTE in the store has gotten on your LAST nerve and you are secretly wondering if you can fit it down the garbage disposal.

4. Dinner might get burned, toys may break, any number of things may not go the exact way you want them to.

5. With ALL of those possibilities and more your kids already think you are awesome and your family still loves you. You don't have to live up to some ideal that YOU have made up in your head because NOBODY ELSE is expecting you to live up to it. (At least they shouldn't be)

Honestly, if you are raising your kids right and they are good kids who aren't expecting the world from you this holiday. They will be happy with whatever you get them. And yeah, they may be a bit disappointed if they didn't get that ONE toy they were hoping for.

But guess what – they will live. Really, they will.

And YOU are not a bad mom because you couldn't or wouldn't get it for them. You don't need to live up to some image you have in your head. You aren't required to do the same things your sister is doing for her family. (Or try to out do her – you know who you are out there.)

You most definitely don't need to live up to what “other moms” are doing for their kids.

Everyone's situation is different. Everyone's lives are different. And not everyone can do the same things for their families. Nor should they feel like they have to.

Christmas is about family, and love and giving – it isn't a contest to win. So this holiday season, don't drive yourself crazy trying to be something more than what you are… because what you are is enough. I promise you.

Be Thankful Every Day, Not Only on Thanksgiving

The holidays are here again!

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I keep seeing people posting on social media all the things that they are thankful for. And while I think that expressing gratitude is always a good thing; I always wonder why people only seem to do it around a specific holiday?

Why only think about what you are thankful for around Thanksgiving? Why not do it all year round, every day?

Today's podcast talks about why remembering to be thankful every single day is so important.

Being Thankful Every Day is So Important

Now I know that for many of us single moms it can be hard sometimes to be thankful or show gratitude. When things seem so hard or stressful. When you aren't sure how you are going to pay the bills this month or if you will have enough food.

When your ex decides to stop paying child support. Or maybe you are recently divorced and it seems hard to see how you could possibly be thankful for your world falling apart at the seams. These hard times can make it very hard to find things to be thankful for.

But it's these times when it is more important than ever to work on being thankful. Because that is how we bring ourselves back to the light and the good times. By finding the good in the bad.

Creating a daily gratitude practice for yourself can be so helpful and will often get you through those hard times with a better outlook.

 

Here are a few ways to help yourself in your gratitude practice:

1. Appreciate everything: Even if it seems silly

There are days when I struggle to find things to be thankful for but then I remember I can be thankful for ANYTHING. Coffee makes the list more often than not. My fuzzy slippers when my feet are cold. My little girl still wanting to come in and cuddle with me sometimes even though she is almost 12 now.

All of these things are small, but I am so thankful for them

2. Be Thankful of Your Struggles and Hard Times

I know that one is hard! But all struggles are there for a reason. They help you learn something about yourself or someone else. They help you develop into the person you are meant to be.

If you are struggling with bills, still give thanks for those bills. There are many people in the world without the heat that you are complaining about paying for. The water that you are paying the bill for comes directly to your home – others have to walk for hours to get theirs.

Those bills allow you to have take for granted things that others would give anything to have.

3. Make your gratitude part of your daily routine

When you are brushing your teeth, or taking a shower. Think of at least 5 things you are thankful for. Incorporate it into your daily routine so it can become a habit for you.

Establishing a routine for your gratitude, remembering to be thankful every day can really improve your mood. It helps you see the world and your life from a perspective of thankfulness. Seeing everything as a blessing. And that should never be limited to a holiday season, it should be a daily occurrence.

Toxic Masculinity: How One Twitter Dad Made My Heart Happy

Toxic Masculinity: One Dad Took to Twitter to Defend His Son

A few days ago I was scrolling through my Twitter feed trying, and failing, to ignore the political nonsense that has overtaken literally all social media platforms. I posted some pithy comments and re-tweeted some of the dumbest things that I came across. Realizing that by doing so I was totally contributing to the din, but apparently unable to stop myself.

 

 

When I came across a post by a father Twitter handle: @daddyfiles, that caught my attention and made me stop in my tracks. It was a post about his little boy being bullied at school for wearing nail polish. His son LOVES to wear nail polish and one day at school the kids made him feel bad for doing so.

“They called him names and told him to take it off. This lasted the entire day.”

They teased him and said he couldn't wear nail polish because he was a boy. He came home in tears and told his dad he didn't want to wear it anymore, even though he loved it.

 

This dad took to twitter and railed against the toxic masculinity that caused this little boy to question himself and want to stop being who he was. And this dad was PISSED! I read through his entire thread and all I could say was BRAVO!

 

Seriously, I gave that man a standing ovation in my damn living room. It made my heart so happy to see this father do what ALL parents should do – accept their children for how they are. Could it be a phase? Of course it could. Will he decide later to no longer wear nail polish? Of course he could.

But ultimately this little boy ended up knowing that his father supported and loved him no matter what!

Isn't that what we as parents are supposed to do? Raise our children to know that no matter how they dress, what they look like, who they love, how they wear their hair – that we will love them. That we support them.

 

When his son came home in tears because kids at school were teasing him this dad took to Twitter to take on toxic masculinity.

We don't have to always LIKE what they do or wear BUT they aren't us and we aren't them. Giving your child the ability to express themselves (as long as no one is being physically harmed) is so very important. I don't want my child to grow up hating me because I couldn't bring myself to approve of who they were at their core.

I would never want to lose a relationship with my child simply because I couldn't accept their differences. It made my heart happy to see this dad just blast the toxic masculinity that caused his poor little boy to suffer at school.

Thank you @daddyfiles for all you did to support and love your son!

The Pros & Cons of Working From Home

The Pros & Cons of Working From Home

The Single Mom Podcast - The pros and cons of working from home

As a single mom I struggled for years trying to support my family while working full time. I had to apply for government assistance to afford the child care I needed. I knew that the only way I was going to get out the struggle I was in was if I didn't have to pay for child care. The only way I would be able to do that was working from home.

I had no idea what I was going to do or how I was going to do it but I dove right in. I made a lot of mistakes and stumbled along the way, but I was able to create a successful business for myself. I have been self employed for 10 years now. It has been the best thing I could have done for myself and my family.

Working from home has given me back control of my time and allowed me to be more present in my children's lives.

 

Working from home has plenty of perks but it can also have some downsides as well. It isn't always for everyone. In this weeks podcast I cover the pros and cons of working from home.

Remember to Take Care Of Yourself! – Self-Care is IMPORTANT!

Self-Care – we know it's important right?

You hear it all the time, self-care – don't forget to take care of yourself. As single moms we are more often than not running in 5 different directions, going a million miles an hour with our hair on fire! We take on so much every day just to keep our small humans alive and kicking. And on those days self-care is probably the very last thing on our minds!

But when we do this it can take its toll on us. Hell, who am I kidding, it kicks our asses most days. We spend so much time taking on all the things that need to be done that we often neglect to take care of ourselves.

We put ourselves last.

Remember to take care of yourself. Self care is critical for single mothers!

And by the time we finally have time to MAYBE do something for ourselves, it is really just one more thing that takes up our time and energy and we just don't do it.

OR we feel guilty for doing it. For the simple act of taking a moment to care for ourselves, we feel bad because we could be doing any number of the other things that are on our to-do list.

And yes, I KNOW that you know how important self-care is. And yes, I KNOW that you have heard me talk about this before. But if you are anything like me, even knowing how important it is, it almost always ends up falling WAAAAAAAY to the bottom of your list of priorities.

We have to stop letting ourselves do that. Our well being is imperative to our children's well being. If we are too stressed and too tired and too overwhelmed – it reflects in our parenting. No matter how hard we try to hide it.

We aren't at the top of our games as moms when we allow ourselves to get to that point. We need to relax and recharge!

Take time to recharge.

Now I know that many of you are saying ‘I don't have time!' …. none of us have time! BUT we need to find a way to make time. Even something as simple as taking a bubble bath and reading for 30 min while your kids take a nap. OR giving yourself a pedicure after the kids go to sleep for the night.

Instead of doing that load of laundry, that will still be there when you are done (it's not like it's gonna self destruct if you wait an hour to put it in) – go for a walk to a park and just enjoy the out doors before you pick up your kids from school.

It doesn't have to cost a ton of money, it doesn't even have to take up much time – just find something that helps you recharge your batteries, feeds your soul/spirit and keeps you SANE!

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Pick Your Battles – Save Your Sanity!

This weeks podcast is about picking your battles!

The Single Mom Blog - Podcast, Pick Your Battles

What do you mean ‘pick your battles'? As parents we have so many different things that we have to worry about and deal with on a daily basis. Making sure that these little humans grow up safe and secure and turn into hopefully productive members of society!

But let's be honest – they can REALLY test our patience and our sanity! Who among us hasn't ended up in a battle royale with their kid over something completely ridiculous? I know I have! We all struggle with it, and we all know that in the end it leaves us feeling emotionally and physically drained.

So over the years I have learned to pick my battles when it comes to my kids, rather than spend time and energy on arguing. Now don't get me wrong – I still stand my ground on the important things but I am not willing to get into a 30 minute argument over whether my daughter should wear matching socks or not.

If my son decides he wants to make a peanut butter sandwich rather than eat spaghetti for dinner – fine by me. I am not going to argue and make myself insane over little things. Life is too short and I have only so much energy and patience to get me through my day.

Having a child with special needs definitely can complicate this but it is something that I also implement with my son. Picking my battles with him is very necessary because my son LOVES to battle.

If he can get me to step in that arena with him, he is in his element.

And I end up feeling like I just went 10 rounds with a boxing pro – even though I “won” the battle.

Today's podcast discusses why it is so important to your own well being and mental health to learn to pick your battles. Is it REALLY worth the argument? Or is it better for you if you can just learn to let it go?

Don’t Be So Quick to Judge Others


There was a recent story about an actor who used to work on The Cosby Show who is now bagging groceries at a Trader Joes. Fox News posted this “story” with a picture of the man carrying grocery bags with a dirty shirt on. The backlash that they received from this story was epic.

Because the story was positioned in a way that made it seem they were slamming the man in a sort of “look how far they have fallen” piece.

The Single Mom Blog: Don't Be So Quick To Judge, Fox News posted a story trying to embarrass former Cosby Show actor for working at Trader Joes. Don't make judgments about others.

People from all walks of life came out in defense of this man. Railing against Fox for degrading a man for simply working a job. How dare they make it seem like this man was any less because he is not acting anymore and instead working a regular job like the rest of us.

At the time of this post, there has been no retraction or apology from Fox but it made me think about the subject of today's podcast.

How often do we look at someone and make a snap judgement about them? How often is it done to us? For all we know this actor DECIDED to leave acting behind and is happy as a clam bagging groceries, and to try and belittle him for it is simply wrong.

Shop Your Fav Brands at Scrapbook.com
 

I know that I have been treated poorly by those who make snap judgments about me as a single mom. I've had people assume I was on welfare even when I wasn't. I have had people assume that because I am a single mother I must be a whore. Hell, my ex (my daughter's dad) even told me once that I was trying to trap him.

In his mind apparently, because I was a single mother, I was looking for a man to come and take care of me and my kids. That I specifically targeted him because he owned a home and a business and therefore was a good ‘target'.

Never mind the fact that I had been single for 7 years prior to meeting him, had my own place, paid my own bills and never once mentioned anything about marriage or moving in. Really nothing I actually did would imply that I was looking to ‘trap' him. But he made his snap judgement.

 

Today's podcast is about these types of judgments. Do others do this to you? Do you do it to others? We shouldn't but we do. Let's try to be better so we don't end up like Fox News, trying to embarrass some guy who is just trying to live his life.

Brain Injury – My Son’s Story & New Changes

The Single Mom Podcast - Episode #55 - My son's traumatic brain injury and the new issues from his injuryIn this weeks Single Mom Podcast (after returning from a year off of podcasting) I decided that since I had blogged about my son's seizure during our vacation that I should give a little more background on how my son's brain injury occurred.

My son and his twin brother are shaken baby survivors. When Gage was 5 months old his father shook him so severely that he was hospitalized.  His injuries were so severe that the doctors weren't sure he would survive them, and IF he did they believed he would spend the rest of his life in a vegetative state.

Gage spent a month and a half in Children's Hospital fighting for his life. During that time I was dealing with the criminal case against their father as well as a social services case. (There is a blog post and podcast in the works about that part.) Listen to the episode to hear more…

UPDATE: Our Summer Vacation and Seizures

So how was your summer?

Pretty common question right? How was your summer?

Did you do anything fun? Take any trips?

Typically we ask these questions and are asked the same in return. Normally I answer with the basic answer “We went to the pool, hung out at the zoo … you know summer stuff”. This year, not so much.

This year we did go on a trip. Not something we do too often because it can be very expensive to fly 4 of us anywhere and cover hotels and entertainment. This year, however, as a present to my boys for graduating high school (YAY!) my parents offered to pay for us to fly back east and go to Myrtle Beach.

So we planned a 2 1/2 week trip – fly out to my folks place in Virginia, drive down to Myrtle Beach for 5 days and then spend the rest of the time with family and seeing the sights in Virginia. It was a great trip that started off without a hitch. Which is saying something for us. Typically getting me and three kids out the door for a trip like this is pretty exhausting.

This time we got packed, out the door and on the plane with little to no problem. It HAS been over 5 years since we last took a trip back east though, so the kids being older and more able to help probably had something to do with it.

Trip to Virginia 2018, Summer Vacation to the Beach

We landed at Washington Dulles Airport with no issues after a little bit of a bumpy ride. My parents were there to meet us and the kids were so happy to see them. So was I. Going 5 years without seeing your Mom is hard.

We left for Myrtle Beach the next day and I have to say, for a 9 hour drive my kids did pretty awesome there as well. The hotel we stayed at was wonderful, we were right on the beach so all we had to do was go downstairs and walk out to it. I love being at the beach so much, I hope one day to move to a house right off the beach and just fall asleep listening to the waves. That is my biggest dream.

The days we spent at Myrtle Beach were great. We spent hours at the beach, the kids playing in the waves and then we would head out to eat at local restaurants. If you are ever at Myrtle Beach I highly recommend River City Cafe! Their burgers were so good, their sweet potato fries – THE BEST! The time share we were at had a full kitchen, washer/dryer and all the amenities so it was like a second home to be honest.

For 4 days we enjoyed all kinds of fun – walking down the main drag, going to The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove (which is a HUGE curio store where they sell any and all the knickknacks you can possibly imagine – we're talking multi-level shopping experience here – so fun). We rode on the huge SkyWheel, ate food that wasn't good for us and played arcade games. It was so much fun.

Then on our last day, my parents drove up to North Carolina to look at some retirement properties they were interested in so the kids and I decided to head out for some lunch and final time at the shops and arcades. We were out for a few hours and then started our walk back.

When we were just a few blocks away from our hotel my son Gage told me he felt weird. That when he closed his eyes he felt dizzy. Thinking that he was just hot and probably tired I told him to just keep going that we were almost there. Then he started wobbling while he was walking. I thought he was just being over dramatic. We finally made into the blessed air conditioning of the hotel lobby and I thought he would start feeling better.

Then he started shivering. Like the way that you shiver when you get the chills. I asked him what was wrong and he said he didn't know. That he wasn't trying to do it and he couldn't stop it. We got into the elevator and started the slow ride up to the 18th floor. Gage's shivers got bigger. Then it happened.

My son had a seizure.

The minute the doors of the elevator opened, I tried to get Gage out of the elevator but he couldn't hear me. He was shaking uncontrollably and then a look of complete terror crossed his face and in the next second his entire body locked up. His eyes rolled back, his mouth locked in and open position and his arms hyper extended out in front of him.

My daughter screamed for help and I told my son Connor to hit the alarm button and get us back down to the lobby.  At the same time this was happening I slid Gage down the wall of the elevator to sit on the floor. I held his head in my hands and just kept talking to him. My daughter Brooklyn was crying and understandably freaked out.

After was seemed like the longest elevator ride ever the doors opened to the lobby. Immediately we screamed for help telling the employees that my son was having a seizure. They called 911 right away. We used the carpet that was under my son to drag him out of the elevator and into the elevator waiting area where it was cooler then rolled him on his side.

By this time Gage's seizure had passed and he was no longer tensed up. He was breathing but unresponsive for several minutes. When he finally started to come around his speech was slurred, he was confused and couldn't understand why he was lying on the floor. The EMT's arrived shortly after and Gage and I rode to the local hospital. They would only let one person ride with him so I had to leave my daughter with her brother until my parents got back. She was so upset but they were only an hour away so I knew she would be alright.

The hospital admitted Gage and we were in for a long night in the PICU while they monitored him and ran tests. He was given an EEG and seizure medication. He did not have any further seizures during the night so he was released the next morning with orders from the doctor to see his neurologist when we got home.

Crazy 8 Sale On Now!
EEG for Gage's seizure during our summer vacation to Myrtle Beach
Gage's EEG, he was not happy

We drove back to Virginia to my parents house and spent the rest of our vacation out there without any further seizures. We made the necessary appointments for further EEGs and MRIs as well as with his neurologist. We were given a ton of information on seizures as well as prescriptions for additional seizure medication. Due to my son's brain injury it is hard to know exactly what may have caused the seizure but they believe it is just a progression of the injury now that he is older. For now, he is seizure free and doing ok. But this was one of the scariest things we have had happen since his injury when he was an infant.

I will be talking more about Gage's story and his condition on my next podcast so be on the look out for that.

Inspirational Single Moms in Movies

Erin Brockovich, The Single Mom Blog - Inspirational Single Moms in Movies

Inspirational Single Moms in Movies

 

It’s been a popular storyline for television and film to follow – portraying single mothers as victim, waiting for men to rescue them from precarious scenarios.

However, times are changing, and more movies are now presenting single mothers as heroines of their own story. This article takes a look at five inspirational single moms on film.

Erin Brockovich – Erin Brockovich

According to movie site Fandango, “Erin Brockovich” features the titular character, a down-on-her-luck mother, managing not only to discover a massive cover-up involving a major power company contaminating the town’s water with poisonous substances, she also spearheaded the lawsuit against the company. Her efforts led to the plaintiffs winning the case.

Prior to “Erin Brockovich,” Julia Roberts was known for starring in rom-coms such as “Pretty Woman,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Notting Hill,” and “Runaway Bride.” However, her role in the true-to-life story put her on the map as a serious actress, with the role garnering her several awards.

(Side note: I was watching this exact movie when my water broke when I was pregnant with my twin boys. So this movie literally started me down the road of single motherhood.)

Jenna – Waitress

At first, Jenna, played by Keri Russell, seemed like a train wreck waiting to happen. She was unhappy with her relationship with her abusive husband, and her job as a waitress. She became pregnant, and although it wasn’t exactly a timely pregnancy, she decides to keep the baby despite someone suggesting that she gets an abortion. Matters become even worse when she falls in love with her new doctor, who she initiated an affair with despite the fact that both of them are married.

The birth of her baby gives her the strength to leave both her husband and her lover, knowing that she is better off without the two relationships in her life. The epilogue revealed that she soon became the owner of the diner that she worked at and went onto raise her child all by herself. But more importantly, she was happier than ever before.

May Miller – The Single Moms Club

“The Single Moms Club” may feature five strong women, but Working Mother pointed out that May Miller stands out among the leading characters. Played by Nia Long, May is a newspaper reporter who is raising her 12-year-old son alone. The boy is desperately searching for his biological father, and this is a key element to the story and how May deals with the subject.

Sarah Connor – Terminator 2

An action film might seem out of place in a list of strong single mothers, but Sarah Connor is a character that continues to break boundaries. She didn’t let her incarceration into a mental institution stop her. In the first “Terminator” film, Connor found herself locked up, but instead of letting this ruin her, she used it as an avenue to workout and get physically fit for the impending robot apocalypse.

Despite two actors portraying Sarah Connor in both film and television after “Terminator 2,” it was Linda Hamilton’s performance that the film series fans remember the most. Her role as a tough mother in the film helped put “Terminator 2” on the map as the best film in the franchise, and it continues to produce spin-offs. The Terminator 2 slot game which was unveiled by gaming site Slingo is just one of the popular digital games released in the film’s honor more than two decades since it first came out.

Dede Tate – “Little Man Tate”

As a single mother, Dede Tate, played by Jodie Foster, struggled to provide for her son Fred. The film focuses on Fred as an intellectual genius and how Dede needs to step up to the plate to give her son the best chance at realizing his potential. She eventually takes a chance and enrolls Fred in a private school for gifted children. The film shows Dede’s attempts to connect with her son and nurture his talents.

Mayim Bialik Wrote a Book And It’s AWESOME!

If you are not sure who Mayim Bialik is, you may not have been a young girl growing up in the 90's watching Blossom dancing on your TV screen listening to her on screen brother Joey say “Whoa!”

You are more than likely familiar with her role as Sheldon's love interest Amy on the Big Bang Theory. What you MAY not know however is that she is a scientist in real life. Like a really real scientist with a B.S. in neuroscience.

She also created a site called GrokNation which caters to women and includes wide-ranging topics such as religion, popular culture, parenting, and Hollywood. Man this lady has a lot going on – including launching a brand new book!

Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular looks to be an amazing book and one I will likely be purchasing for my daughter. It tackles a lot of issues for little girls from a scientific perspective breaking down many of the things that as a little girl I wondered about.

Hell, some of them I still wonder about.

The book has 6 chapters:

  1. How Our Bodies Work
  2. How We Grow
  3. How We Learn
  4. How We Love
  5. How We Cope
  6. How We Matter

And that last chapter is one that I am so very excited to read to my daughter.

Fair Warning:

Now, fair warning this book DOES talk about things like genitalia and sex and other various topics that you may or may not feel your child is ready for. Depending on when  you are ready to have “the talk” or if you have already have had it, I felt it still important to make you aware of that little detail.

It is all covered in a very scientific way and tastefully but as a mom I figured you may want that heads up so you don't end up shocking yourself and your kid when you first open the pages. lol.

The one thing that really made me excited to see this book is that it is a book that not only covers many things that some little girls never really feel they can talk about. From what I have seen of it so far Mayim wrote it in such a way that it promotes confidence in who they are. That being a girl means being strong and that we are important, not just because we are pretty but for everything that we contribute.

I think so many little girls grow up in this world of pre-defined beauty that they don't feel secure in who they are. My daughter recently accidentally shaved off part of her own eyebrow because some YouTube video told her what she needed to do to make her eyebrows on ‘fleek'.

I won't even get into how much I hate that word.

My daughter is also concerned about her weight a lot lately. She is 10! When I was 10 I don't remember even CARING what my weight was. But now it seems that the societal pressures are creeping in at an early age. And it terrifies me.

Mayim Bialik wrote a book called Girling Up and it's awesome!

So anytime I can bring something into my daughter's world that encourages using her brain, developing those high self esteem muscles and truly finding her own power I am all for it!

I am so excited to get my copy of this book for my daughter. You can use the link to grab your own copy of Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular as well.

(Disclaimer: this link is an affiliate link and will not change the price you pay for the item, but it does give me a little something for the click.)

My Weight Loss Struggle – Are There Ways to Lose Weight Quickly?

I posted a while ago that I was going to start on a new challenge: Lose 40 pounds.

Yep – 40!

That's a lot of weight to lose for me, especially since the last few years I have been packing it on instead of losing weight. I mentioned how I had gained the weight and why it was so hard for me to lose. The biggest reason being that I REALLY like food. That and I had lived a fairly sedentary lifestyle for quite a few years now.

Being parked behind a computer desk for the better part of my day did not do me any favors and then add to that my love of food and you will end up with a pretty significant weight increase.

One of my saving graces is that I am tall so the weight increase, while pretty intense doesn't look like a TON of weight gain. However, it is taking a toll on my body for sure. I get tired more easily, don't have the energy I once did, my knees bother me more than they should and of course my clothes are not comfortable anymore (some flat out don't fit).

Now over the years I have tried many different ways to lose the weight: Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Weight Loss clinics and more – none of them really working. These programs, while great, didn't work for me for one simple reason – ME! I give up. I quit. I get bored or frustrated and don't want to do it any more!

I'm A Quitter - why I fail at weight loss

I don't like feeling like I have to starve myself, or feel like I don't get to eat what I want when I want. I HATE being told what I can and can't do – and that's what these diets (ANY diet really) make me feel like. Like I am being told that I can't eat what I want if I want to be able to lose weight. And so more often than not I will behave myself for weeks and then in a fit of defiance I will gorge on things that I “can't” have – thus I failed and thus I quit. I figure ‘Well hell I already screwed myself so why not just give up.'

Told you I was a quitter.

Now after I came to terms with this fact and how it was effecting my weight loss I thought to myself there just HAS to be a way for me to do this. And there is – I am making small but measurable changes in my lifestyle. Many of which I found in this article on Health.com in their article ‘16 Ways to Lose Weight Fast

In today's podcast I will review the first 8 of 16 and how I am implementing these in my life. Click the player below to listen.

Another great resource that I have found recently is this article on the site Health Ambition that offers more ideas and tips for losing weight.

Are you currently on a weight loss mission too? Do you have some great tips that have helped YOU lose weight? We would love to hear from you in the comments below AND on our Facebook page!

How To Break Up Boredom This Spring Break

How to break up boredom this spring break - The Single Mom Blog

How to Break Up Boredom This Spring Break

Spring break is upon us yet again mommies. For some families this means taking a trip somewhere or planning out various activities. But for many of us who aren’t able to get away we have to find ways to keep our kiddos occupied. Which is sometimes easier said than done.

For many years in our home it was a constant challenge to find ways to keep them from being bored. Now I am not one of those parents who feels they need to keep their kids occupied for their own development. No I am the parent who knows that when my kids get bored bad things start to happen. Fights break out, things get broken, walls get colored on. At one point when left to their own devices wet toilet paper covered my upstairs bathroom. I’ll let you figure out how the toilet paper got wet – (hint: it didn’t involve the sink).

So to save our sanity and hopefully our breakable items in the house I have searched Pinterest for some really fun ideas. Hopefully this will help keep the kids entertained and having fun over spring break. If nothing else it may end up giving you some epic Pinterest fails that you can then share with us!

Here we go:


1. Make a Mini Greenhouse

Many plants have to be started indoors before they can be transplanted out into the garden. Starting an indoor mini greenhouse can be a fun project for your kids. Watching our seeds sprout and grow was definitely a source of fun for my kids when they were little. I kind of get a kick out of it too. This pin from gardenlovin.com has multiple different ideas for mini greenhouses. Some more complex than others but all great for growing new sprouts!
How to Break Up Boredom During Spring Break - Start a Mini Greenhouse / The Single Mom Blog



How to Break Up Boredom During Spring Break - Make Your Very Own Bouncy Balls / The Single Mom Blog


2. Make Your Own Bouncy Balls

Science experiements are always a good time! You have fun AND you learn. So why not make something that is a lot of fun to use even after the science is over. A great idea that we found at www.the36thavenue.com is a fun way to pass the time. Just make sure to bounce those balls outside if you want to save your breakables.


3. Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts – the ‘ol stand by. Sitting the kids down with scraps of colored paper, glue and glitter is one of the most popular activities out there. Personally I love spring time crafts because it is now nice enough that you can send them outside to do them! Which means I am not finding glitter all over the house – for the most part. Perfectionpending.net created a great post with a collection of 15 different crafts for kids to do. Personally the lightning bug eggs are my favorite.
How to Break Up Boredom During Spring Break - Arts and Crafts / The Single Mom Blog

How to Break Up Boredom During Spring Break - Thumbprint Art Flower Pots / The Single Mom Blog


4. Make Thumbprint Art Flower Pots

I guess these could TECHNICALLY fall into the arts and crafts category but they are just so cute I thought they deserved their own section. These pots from momalwaysfindsout.com are so sweet and something that will give you a lasting memory of your little ones, from when they were little. Also, if you decided to go ahead and create those mini greenhouses you now have somewhere to plant your newly sprouted plants! Win win!


5. Laundry Basket Skee Ball

Indoor games can be so much fun for the kids. This is a great one that hopefully won't cause too much destruction. It is also very inexpensive to set up and play. This great idea came from frugalfun4boys.com and only requires laundry baskets, a cardboard box, paper, markers and some ball pit balls. Indoor fun ideas are great to have on hand just in case your spring break gets rained out.
How to Break Up Boredom During Spring Break - Laundry Basket Skee Ball / The Single Mom Blog