All Posts By Heather Wells

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


This is The Most Important Decision You Can Make [Podcast]

Who you allow into your life, mind & heart are among the most important decisions you will ever make.

It took me some time to fully understand this and how important it was in my life. I am one of those people who will always try to see the good in people. I usually end up ignoring the bad when I do though.

Quite often I would ignore or disregard bad qualities or behavior because I thought that the person was a ‘good person underneath it all‘. With my boys' father I chose to look past all of the blatant signs that he was not good for me, or my boys. I tried to make something work with my daughter's father that would never work. The whole time telling myself that I could fix things that simply weren't fixable.

The realization of how important this decision was for my life finally hit home when I had to completely sever my relationship with my best friend. We had been friends for almost 10 years when I had to walk away. For some time I had suspicions that she had started using drugs. But I found myself making excuses and talking myself out of those suspicions.

My friend couldn't possibly be using, she wouldn't lie straight to my face when I asked her. She wouldn't use drugs while me and my children were in the house. I just couldn't make myself believe it no matter what my gut said. Finally, I couldn't ignore the signs and people telling me that she was using. I had to tell my best friend, a woman I considered a sister, that she could no longer be in my life.

It took me a while after that to finally realize that it took me far too long to cut my friend out of my life. I allowed her around my children when I shouldn't have because I wanted to believe my friend. That I stayed for too long in a ‘relationship' with my daughter's father because I wanted believe that he would change. I ignored all the signs and it effected my life.

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘You are who you hang with‘?

Who you allow into your life, mind and heart are among the most important decisions you will ever make.

When you allow toxic people into your life they will poison it. It may not happen right away, and you may not even realize it. Until it's too late. They can effect your outlook on life, the way you behave, activate bad habits. When I was with my daughter's father I drank a whole lot more than I normally do. I felt that in order to be with him I had to drink like him. I was the worst version of myself when I was with him.

Since that relationship and losing my best friend I have made sure to only allow positive people into my life. People who will bring out the best in me. Push me to be a better person and help me enforce a positive and healthy lifestyle. It took me many years to fully understand how important this was for a healthy life for myself and my family. Since making that decision life has been much more of a blessing than a burden.

I have had less drama to deal with. There is no longer a constant feeling of BLAH looming overhead. Making sure that only certain people are allowed into our family and into my life has been critical for our happiness and peace. It is the most important thing.

 

Trumpcare Bill Pulled Before Vote

Trumpcare bill pulled before the vote. Trump and Paul Ryan couldn't get their horrific bill passed even with a Republican congress

Trumpcare just failed before it even got to the floor!

 

After years and years of complaining about Obamacare (ACA) and how horrible it was the Republicans appear to have simply thrown a bill together in the hopes that it will stick. The “American Health Care Act” (Trumpcare) appears to be the biggest pile of garbage I have ever seen. You would think that in all this time the GOP would have had at least SOME idea of what they were going to do when/if they got the chance to finally repeal Obamacare. Apparently not.

As a single mother of two special needs boys the recent discussion of the AHCA has had me really worried. Not just because it stripped many of the things in Obamacare that help myself and my family but because it was going to be detrimental to so many of the working poor families out there.

The proposed new bill would have provided tax credits instead of subsidies for lower income families to help offset the cost of insurance. Many feel that they are the same thing but in reality they are not for lower income families. Tax credits are given at the time you file your taxes giving you more on a tax return (if you get one) and subsidies help offset the cost at the time you sign up for insurance. I know as a single parent I can't afford to pay higher rates for insurance up front and then wait until tax time to receive the money back.

The plan would also look to de-fund Planned Parenthood where many women go for healthcare services.

There are many other reasons to not like the AHCA but the biggest is simply that it appears to help the affluent and healthy and pretty much screws over the poor or struggling families. Because of this and many of the items in this bill there was absolutely no support from the Democrats in the House. The bill also lost Republican support due to the problems it would cause for Medicaid expansion, coverage for the elderly as well as lower income families.

There were other Conservatives who refused to vote for the bill because it didn't go far enough in repealing Obamacare! Which astounds me, I mean how big of an asshole does Trumpcare have to be to make Conservatives happy? It already clearly favors the wealthy and hurts the poor so what more needs to happen for this bill to be good enough for them?

In the late hours it appeared that Trump and his team were trying to make concessions and changes that would possibly get him the votes he desperately needed to get the bill passed. It still wasn't enough. When it became clear that they would not have enough votes to pass, instead of going to the floor and losing the vote Trump just ordered the bill pulled.

I'm not going to lie, I squealed in delight when I heard that this horrific bill was not going to pass. I have friends employed in healthcare and I know that they have all been dreading Trumpcare. I have a friend who works with Kaiser Permanente and she said “I would rather quit my job of 10 years than spend the next 4 years trying to fix the mess that this new healthcare bill will cause.” NO ONE was happy with the AHCA.

But then again, what did they expect? I mean even my 9 year old child knows that when you wait until the last minute to do your work it's gonna suck. You can't try and throw something together last minute and have it be a quality solution. Donald Trump was recently quoted saying “Who knew healthcare was so complicated”… um.. EVERYONE!!! Everyone except you apparently. You thought you would just be able to jump in and yank Obamacare without any muss or fuss. Now you know it doesn't work like that. It's not like your company Donny, there are lives at stake and so many complexities that you can't do that.

You are a novice at all of this though Donny, so it can hardly be expected that you would know that. I'm not quite sure what your Republican counterpart's excuse it though. They should have known better.

No matter what though, today my family and I still have insurance and that is what matters to me.

The White House Budget Director Does Not Speak For Me

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The White House budget director Mick Mulvaney went on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” program this Thursday to discuss the recently proposed “America First” budget which shows an increase in defense spending and some pretty dramatic cuts in other areas. The most notable being the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, who are tasked with helping protect our environment and making sure there is a livable planet for our children and great grandchildren. There are many other areas that are seeing cuts such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting – which funds PBS.

During his interview Mulvaney stated “When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no, we can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can't ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

And they aren't just going after Sesame Street and clean air either, the following departments will see cuts as well:

The America First budget is full of bullshit cuts that will hurt lower class families, the environment and more

 

The amount of departmental cuts Trump's budget is proposing is horrifying and will hurt lower income families in so many different ways. Many of the programs that will lose funding are ones that help feed the elderly (Meals on Wheels) and provide school lunches and after school programs for lower income families. Programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities will lose funding all while military spending will see an increase of $54 billion. Several billion dollars of that increase are slotted to pay for ‘the wall'.

You know, the one that Mexico was going to pay for but aren't REALLY going to pay for because WE are going to be forced to pay for it. Yeah, that stupid wall.

Now I can't speak for that “coal miner in West Virginia” but as a single mom in Denver (not Detroit) I can state with great enthusiasm that I would rather pay for almost ANYTHING instead of that stupid ass wall.

I would happily pay for Sesame Street and PBS to continue instead of paying for that wall.

I would rather pay to help low income children and the elderly be able to EAT than pay for that ludicrous wall.

I would rather pay to ensure that my children and grand children and great grand children have an inhabitable planet with air that they can breathe and water they can drink than pay for that ineffectual dumb ass wall.

I would rather pay for the people of Flint, Michigan to finally have drinkable water than pay for that ridiculous short sighted moronic wall.

I would rather pay to help teachers (who don't earn enough money in the first place) and schools provide after school programs for children than pay for that ‘anyone who has a fucking brain knows it's a stupid idea' wall.

Hell, I would prefer my tax dollars go to anything that would HELP the citizens of this country, the refugees fleeing terror in their home lands, the undocumented immigrants who want nothing more than a better life for themselves and their families, the low income and the elderly, the disabled and the forgotten homeless than to spend one penny toward that idiotic wall.

The US spends more on defense than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the UK, India, France and Japan COMBINED! Why do we need to spend more there when there are children going hungry in our country? When families are losing their homes. When our Veterans are more likely to end up homeless than they are to be helped. When single parents can't afford child care for their children so they end up stuck on government assistance programs all the while being called ‘welfare queens' and ‘drains on society'.

No Mr. Mulvaney you don't speak for me because if you did, you would stamp a big ‘F**K YOU' on this budget proposal – because it sucks!

 

Talking Transgender with My Kids – What Do You Say?

The most recent controversial decision by the Trump administration (because there have been quite a few to choose from) is taking aim as transgender youth in our schools.

In May of 2016 the Obama administration stated that Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use the restroom and locker rooms that coincide with the gender they identify with. However, recently the current administration has decided that they didn't really like that idea.

Stating that they believe that it should be something each state and local school district should develop policy on. Basically passing the buck to the states, which means that many transgender students in conservative states are screwed.

Now putting aside all of the politics that come along with what should be a basic human right issue it does bring up the topic of how are we addressing this with our children? I mean it does effect them doesn't it?

So I thought I would share how this issue has effected our family because:

  • we actually know a trans child,
  • she goes to my daughter's school.
  • she rides in our carpool
  • and we simply adore her!

For the purpose of this post we will call her Jennifer.

This year before school started Jennifer's mother let us know that her son had decided that he was more comfortable as a girl and wanted to be called Jennifer from now on. He wanted to wear dresses and be a girl. Her parents discussed it, consulted their family doctor and decided that was how it would be. Jennifer's mother let me know this decision at back to school night.

I can only imagine as a mom how scary that moment may have been for her. Letting me know this major decision and hoping that I was the type of person who would be accepting of it. Hoping that I wouldn't cause a scene or call her a horrible parent or tell her that her child was just WRONG. Praying that she wouldn't have to tell her daughter that they needed to find a new carpool.

I could almost see her shoulders relax a bit when I looked at her and simply said ‘ok'.

When we got home my daughter had a couple of questions for me about Jennifer. Which was understandable. They all boiled down into one thing though “Why does Jennifer want to be a girl and not a boy?”

Great question. I told her that I personally couldn't fully understand it because I had never felt like I was the wrong gender. BUT I told her that the best way I could explain it is that deep down Jennifer felt more like a girl than a boy. For whatever reason, that is how she was more comfortable.

I said to my daughter, imagine if you were told every day that you HAD to dress as a boy and act like a boy and be referred to as a boy. She said “But I am a girl not a boy”. I said THAT is how Jennifer feels. She feels truly that she is a girl and not a boy and she is happier and more comfortable as a girl.

My daughter is accepting of Jennifer and hasn't really had any issues. She did at one point say that she felt a little uncomfortable when Jennifer was in the bathroom. I told her that I understood and we discussed that at length. Why it made her uncomfortable. What, if anything, had happened to make her feel that way.

I understood why she was a bit uncomfortable, because of course Jennifer is still anatomically a boy. I asked her though if she thought that Jennifer should go into the boys bathroom dressed as a girl? Would that make the boys uncomfortable? Would Jennifer be uncomfortable?

My daughter and I talked back and forth about this and I did my best to cover all her concerns. What it boiled down to though was me saying “You are going in there to pee and get out right? You are in a stall and can't see her and she can't see you while you pee right? So really you both just want to go in, do your business and get out right? And if you didn't know that Jennifer was originally a boy you wouldn't even know right?”

She said “Yeah, so I guess it's not really a big deal.”

We talked more and even though I know she will possibly have more questions or concerns she came away from our talk feeling better.

It is understandably a bit confusing to those who aren't transgender. Just like those who haven't ever experienced discrimination don't completely understand how it feels. I feel that kids are more accepting though. They don't have bias or pre-conceived notions when they are young. They learn them as they get older.

Jennifer has been fully accepted at her school by those who knew her as a boy. I'm sure there have been questions and many conversations but all in all she is doing well. I think that is the key though – having conversations.

Talk to your kids, find out their questions and concerns and try your best to address them. Talk to them about tolerance, self-awareness, understanding and of course coming to you with any concerns. Our kids need to feel they can talk with us about things that worry, concern or confuse them. And they should be met with understanding from us as parents.

 

 

I joined a gym … I might possibly die

the single mom blog joins a gym. I may be dying.

I think I might be dying!

So if you have been reading the blog or following my podcasts you know that a few weeks ago I did a pod cast about setting goals. I feel that New Year's resolutions are too easy to break and often times when we make them we are already planning in our heads when we are going to fail.

So setting intentions and goals is key to helping you achieve those things that you really want to accomplish. It isn't always easy though. In fact almost everything that we really want takes hard work to achieve.

So to help me with my goals I decided to join a gym.

Now if you recall one of my goals for the past year or so has been to lose the weight that I gained when I quit smoking several years back. Quitting smoking was one of the BEST things I could have done for myself for many different reasons:

  1. I feel better and am not always out of breath
  2. I am less likely to get cancer
  3. I am less likely to die from heart disease
  4. I am not forking out hundreds of dollars a month for a nasty habit
  5. aaaanddd… I am no longer getting daily guilt trips from my kids about it!

However, I could have done without the extra 50 or so pounds I gained when I quit.

So as you know I started working toward losing that weight and I have been doing pretty well on my own. I started meal planning and prepping my meals ahead of time (be on the look out for a post about that soon) and also started walking on my treadmill on a regular basis.

I tried doing some work out videos as well but sort of fell out of the habit and some of them were really too intense for my poor knees. (Yes I am getting old and my knees are shot).

So far I have lost 20 pounds, which HELL YEAH!!! I am super proud of myself for but then I fell back into my old habits around Thanksgiving. I think we all mentally give ourselves permission to fall off the wagon around that time of year don't we? Or maybe that's just me.

Well anyway, after the holiday I knew that I had gained a little of the weight back so I was THRILLED when I found out they were opening a new Vasa Fitness right by my house! A gym I can walk to! Well that eliminates my excuse of not having time to drive there.

It opened a little over a week ago and it is a really lovely gym. All brand new shiny equipment, work out room for classes, racket ball courts (which would be awesome if I knew how to play), a lap pool with sauna and steam room. They have it all!

I decided right when I saw it that I was going to be there every day if I could! Work out for as many hours as possible to get myself back into shape! I was all in baby!

This is where I went horribly horribly wrong…

I probably should have eased myself back into it. Taken a little time to get my body back into the groove of things. But no, not me – I was gonna lose weight dammit!

So I did a kick boxing cardio class that I managed to huff and puff my bouncy butt through. I did sit ups until I thought I might throw up. Then I did more with a weight on my chest. I strapped myself into any and all machines that I knew how to used and did as many sets as I possibly could.

I curled. I crunched. I squatted (sort of). I pulled and pushed. I swam laps in the wonderful pool they have there and sat in their sauna and steam room thinking that would help a bit with my recovery.

Then I did it all again the next day and the next…

Why in the hell did I want to torture myself like this again?

I am not quite sure when I forgot that I am almost 40 but at some point in my goal setting madness I must have. Also forgot that at the age of almost 40 my body does not recover as quickly as it used to. In fact my body may not recover at all. My back hurts, my knees hurt, my legs hurt, my arms hurt – hell my hair even hurts!

What the hell was I thinking of jumping back into working out like I had never left? Like I hadn't been on a 6 year sabbatical from anything workout related. Hadn't even set foot in a gym in over half a decade. But no, little over zealous me decided ‘I got this!' and just dove right in.

I have since spent the last couple of days making sounds that could only be described as what my son calls a cat in labor while going up and down the stairs. I have to hold onto the railing like I am 80 instead of 40.

If that wasn't the worst of it, going to the bathroom the other day was a fun experience in pain as well. Having to hold onto the sink and the side of the tub just to sit down! Then realizing that in order to get back up I had to push using the arms that were so sore I couldn't even raise them over my head!

Now I realize that this may sound a bit extreme, but it's not. I have been a mess the past couple of days. Self inflicted pain that was brought on with the best of intentions. The intention of fitting back into my pre-fat pants that I have been holding on to for years.

The intention of feeling better and having more energy again. The intention of improving my health.

All great intentions – now I just have to remind myself of them and get my butt back into the gym … when I can walk properly again. This time I will take it a bit slower.

Don’t Make Resolutions – Get Your Intentions and Goals

Happy 2017!!

I hope that the first few weeks of the new year have been good for you. I know that this has been a scary couple of weeks for me. As many of you reading know I am not a huge Trump fan. To be honest he scares the hell out of me and I find him kind of childish.

However, like it or not, he is the new President of the United States. That being said I decided that this would make for a good topic for this podcast. Not Trump per say BUT my ability to manage how I feel about Trump.

What does any of this have to do with New Year's Resolutions you may ask? Well, here's how.

I have always had an issue with making New Year's Resolutions mainly because of the mindset around them. The fact that we are supposed to tell ourselves that the very first day of a New Year holds some secret power over us to make us do things that we did do ALL YEAR LONG last year! Like some sort of ass backwards Cinderella – the stroke of midnight is going to somehow make us magically become better at doing shit!?

The Single Mom Blog, setting goals and intentions for the upcoming year

Um-no. That isn't how it works. We can tell ourselves that all we want but if we are truly being honest, the second we make that resolution we already have a part of our brain ticking down the time until we break them. The simple idea of a New Year's Resolution brings that idea of when we are going to break it into our minds.

Be honest – when your best friend comes up and tells you “My resolution is to lose 20 pounds. I joined a gym and am going to work out every day.” You know if the back of your mind you are thinking ‘Yeah right Becky, I give it 3 weeks before you are back to hitting the jelly donuts'

It sounds awful but we all know at one point or another we have thought it, especially about ourselves. Especially when we attach New Year's Resolution to our goals.

Resolutions are easy to break – goals are more attainable.

Conquer Your Year Planner - 2017 Goals

So instead of resolutions – set goals for yourself. Goals are quantifiable, they are tangible. They will not make you feel like if you happen to fail you suck and now you have to wait until next year to try again. Goals are things you can break down into small little milestones or victories. Things you can track.

There are tons of planners and books that you can use to help track and meet your goals. You can download our free weekly planner here. I personally am using the Conquer Your Year planner to help me reach my business goals this year.

While you are setting those goals – also set your intentions for the year. Intentions are different than goals. They are the intangible mindsets and inner voices that we set for ourselves that help us REACH our goals. They assist in creating the version of ourselves that we would like to see.

This brings us back around to Trump (see I told you it would all come together)

Because I have such strong feelings against Trump I have had to set my intention for the year to one of hope. Hope and the intent to give a chance to someone who, based on everything said and done up to this point, is the antithesis of what I believe and pursue in my life. Because he is such a distorted version of what I would like to have in the White House I have to work REALLY hard with that intention.

My other intention is to start living my life more true to my beliefs and what is truly in my heart. For so long I have adjusted because I felt that if I were to really be authentic with how I feel I would be mocked or laughed at. I felt I needed to mute myself in order to not cause waves.

I feel it in every part of my life most of the time. When I paint, I feel like – no one is going to like this so why show it to anyone. It isn't as good as it should be. I feel like what and who I truly am is not quite right, so I must conform to something else.

I'm not unhappy - I'm just not quite ME...

Now I don't mean this to say that I am unhappy, but I just don't feel like I have been true to myself. There is something in me that always holds back because I don't want to rock the boat, or cause problems, or be seen as bitchy, or flaky or whatever… and that isn't how I want to feel.

My intentions will help me with my goals. They will support those changes that I want to make in my life. They will help bring about the change that I seek.

So what goals are you going to set for yourself? What are YOUR intentions for the New Year?

*this blog contains affiliate links for products. I will only ever post affiliate links for products I have used myself or for people and products I just love.

Are Hatchimals Really Worth the Cost?

Are Hatchimals even worth it?!

It seems like every few years or so there is a toy that comes out around Christmas time that sends parents into a consumer frenzy. A toy that their child simply HAS to have. Like I will totally DIE if you don't get that for me Mom!

When I was a child it was Cabbage Patch Dolls. Those were the must have toys for that year back in 19- cough cough! 

I realize I just totally dated myself because I remember when Cabbage Patch Dolls were new and special. That is the very first toy craze I remember though.

I was lucky though, because around the time that the Cabbage Patch dolls were in high demand my father worked as the manager of a toy store! So you can guess which little girl got the hook up on Cabbage Patch Dolls.

When people were running around like crazy trying to find a doll, ANY doll my wonderful father had already shipped me THREE! Well, actually it was two dolls and one Koosa. Now if you aren't familiar with Koosas they were the ‘pets' of the Cabbage Patch dolls. There was a dog, a cat and a lion – those are the only ones I remember. They were basically Cabbage Patch dolls with animal heads and tails.

Now let's forget the fact that they were basically trying to tell little children that if they had this doll they would be lucky. I wanted one just so my other dolls could have a pet. During the Cabbage Patch rush these guys were just as hard to find as the others. So I was REALLY lucky to have gotten one for Christmas that year.

Moving forward the next real toy craze I remember was that damn Tickle Me Elmo doll. Remember that one? People were going CRAZY about that toy back in 1996. People were stampeding each other, parents were getting into fights in the stores… it was ridiculous! I remember as a teenager thinking they were all insane!

By the way there is a whole NEW Tickle Me Elmo still out there today if you're interested. He's still pretty cute – this one falls over with his butt sticking up when he gets tickled. So there's that as an added feature – lol.

The Single Mom Blog - hatchimal are they really worth it?

This year is apparently the year of the Hatchimal! And if you are not yet familiar with Hatchimals (which I can only see happening if you do not have children under the age of 13) they are toy pets that come inside an egg. Yes an egg.

While inside the egg the Hatchimal will make noise, tap the inside of the egg and even sleep. The child is supposed to ‘play' with the Hatchimal – which I am still not entirely certain how you play with something inside of an egg, but I digress. Once the Hatchimal has reached a certain level of played-with-ness it will be ready to hatch. At which time it then pecks its way out of the egg.

Now setting aside the fact that I find that both odd and cool at the same time I am struggling with understanding the madness over this toy. I get that it IS kinda cool that the thing hatches out of its egg and all. But then what?

Well apparently after the bird or whatever you get hatches you then have to help it grow up. Give it attention, play games with it and such. It also apparently grows up from baby, to toddler, to kid stages. Each stage allows you to teach it new things, play new games with it and such. Which again – is pretty cool.

It does however bring to mind the Tamagotchi craze from several years back – ok it was a couple decades back. Shut up. Tamagotchi were electronic pets that you wore on a key chain and ‘took care‘ of. You were supposed to play with it, feed it and such – just like the Hatchimals. If I am going to be quite honest I am pretty sure I killed mine – a couple of times.

They tried to make a come back in 2015 but weren't wildly successful.

Which makes me wonder - are Hatchimals worth it?

As a parent I can not understand why I would want to buy one of these things for my child. Maybe I have become stodgy in my old age but I find them quite annoying. I KNOW that like all of our other pets at some point I would likely be the one tasked with taking care of the thing.

And what happens if you don't care for it? Does it die like my Tamagotchi did? Will my child be traumatized for life because we killed her Hatchimal? Or will it simple continue to beep or tweet or whatever noise it makes until I am forced to remove its batteries and hide it in the closet. It's happened before.

Now setting aside whether or not I feel this toy is even something I would WANT in my home – why in the name of all that is good would I want to pay hundreds of dollars for it?

Seriously, that's what they are charging online right now. Because they are sold out everywhere! So smart people, those who saw this coming – they went out and stocked up on this toy. And they are making a KILLING off the parents this year. Wish I had thought of it!

Sell a half dozen Hatchimals at a 50 – 70 percent profit – Christmas would have been GOOD this year for the kids.

The single mom blog - hatchimals - are they worth it

Thankfully, my daughter actually said she didn't want one of these things for Christmas so I don't have to worry about trying to find one. But even if she did want one – she wouldn't be getting it. At least not until they went back in stock at the regular price and MAYBE then I would be willing to get one.

I am not one of those parents. I can't be. I am not going to stand in line for hours or stampede over other parents trying to get that LAST Hatchimal. Nor am I going to pay hundreds of dollars for one. It's ok for my child to be disappointed. She will live. The world won't end.

I honestly simply can not understand how parents justify behaving in that fashion for a toy. I get wanting to make your child happy on Christmas, I really do – but I don't understand going to THOSE lengths to do so. And then the question becomes – what are you teaching your child? That no price is too high? That they will get what ever they want even if it means mommy turns into a raving lunatic at the store, pushing other people to the ground to get it?

No. That will not be me. Not ever.

No one ever died from disappointment. My children won't either.

So now the question is – are you one of those parents who WILL spend obscene amounts of money on a toy for your child? Or stand in line and stampede over others to get it? And if so – WHY?

Do you just not want to upset them? Did you have a childhood where you went without and now you do everything to keep your child from experiencing it?

Comment below and let me know because I personally truly don't understand why a parent (or any one for that matter) would step on another person simply to gain access to a toy.

*this post may contain affiliate links to products. 

Holiday Traditions Our Family Celebrate

Holiday Traditions in Our Home

Wow it's almost Christmas! CHRISTMAS!!! How the hell did that happen? We have been so busy with so many things lately that it seems to have just jumped right up on us.  But here we are starting our holiday traditions in our house this week.

Our family has some pretty fun holiday traditions and I thought this year I would share some of them with you! Most of them are pretty standard, some are super fun and others are maybe a little weird…

The Christmas Pickle

Yes you read that right – The Christmas Pickle. This is a fairly new tradition in our household but one that became very popular, very quickly. So the way this tradition goes is someone (usually me) hides the pickle somewhere in the tree. Then the children will search through the tree on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day depending on your preference until someone finds it.

Now there are many different traditions when it comes to the reward for finding the pickle. For some it simply means that you will have good fortune for the following year. For others you get a reward of some kind – an extra present possibly. However, knowing that in my family the awarding of an extra present would result in arguments and a general loss of Christmas cheer – we instead opted for the pickle granting the finder first dibs on their presents. Meaning they get to open the first present.

*affiliate link

PNP Video from Santa!

Another tradition for us, every year the kids receive a video from Santa that they absolutely love!! The boys have gotten to old in the last couple of years to get one but my daughter still gets hers.

The PNP site allows parents to customize the messages that the kiddos can get sent to them. You can decide if your child gets a video from Santa in his work shop, or on his sleigh or maybe in the library. You can upload pics to Santa for him to put in your child's book.

It is so fun watching my daughter see Santa talk to her and show her all around the North Pole! Click here for an example of the free video I made really quickly for my daughter. This is a fun free way for your child to get something special from Santa. There is a paid version that allows you to make more than one video and choose different options as well as let your child if they made the naughty or nice list. The paid version is only about $9 so it isn't too pricey but the free version is fun as well.

The Single Mom Blog - Holiday Traditions White Christmas

Decorating the Tree & White Christmas

Decorating the tree is a pretty standard tradition for most people. For us, we put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and decorate it while watching White Christmas. White Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday movie. Bing Crosby and Danny Kay singing and dancing with Rosemary Clooney it just doesn't get any better for me.

Some people are fans of It's a Wonderful Life or Frosty the Snowman – some just listen to holiday music while they decorate. We also love to watch the original Grinch Who Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

What holiday movie is your favorite?

Christmas Cookies

And last but not least our holiday season would not be complete without making and decorating Christmas cookies! Of course, this is my daughter's favorite of all our traditions.

Every year she helps me cut out and bake the cookies and then the real fun begins! We make our own icing with powdered sugar and food coloring and then we top them with every sprinkle and decoration possible! LOL.

It's usually a pretty big mess that I end up spending well over an hour cleaning up, but it is totally worth it. It's a memory, something that I remember doing as a child and I hope she will remember all her life.

So what are YOUR family's holiday traditions? Are they similar to ours or do you have something different that you do? Let us know in the comments…

Make Positivity Louder

With Thanksgiving and the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in our midst things have been chaotic. I have not had time to post anything really lately. Hell, I recorded this weeks podcast over 2 weeks ago.

So with all of the madness still pretty fresh I am going to make this post pretty short. If you haven't done so already take a peep at the fabulous Gary Vaynerchuck's video on making positivity louder.

This is something that I have been struggling with lately. Positivity has been pretty damn hard to come by these last few weeks, especially after that damn election. We are all still reeling from it and let's face it, this one brought out some of the worst in all of us. And it brought out the worst in our nation.

I now that I found myself being absolutely the worst version of myself on quite a few occasions. Only to find that later I felt just – BLAH inside. No matter whether I felt I was right or justified in what I said or how I felt – the way I behaved was another story entirely.

I had become overwhelmed by all of the dark and all of the negative. It was all consuming. And I had to stop and wonder why that was, why did it feel like there was more bad than good? Then I watched that video and it became really damn clear. The dark has become louder. The dark and negative has become more easily spread.

With social media it is now easier to get false information to spread like wild fire. It is easier for people to be ugly to another person because they can hide behind a keyboard and a monitor. There are no REAL repercussions for what they say online or what lies they spread or darkness they contribute to.

The darkness and negativity is growing stronger and stronger – like The Nothing in the Never Ending Story. We are getting sucked into it like that horse Artex did into the swamp – because we are allowing it to consume us.

So instead of letting the dark take over I decided that I needed to try harder to focus on the positive. Now don't get me wrong – still not ok with this whole Trump as President thing. BUT – I have decided that I am not going to allow it to suck me down to that level.

I am going to work every day to make positivity louder and to encourage that in my children as well. It isn't always easy, the dark side is strong (little Star Wars geek out there for ya) BUT I know that with practice and continued vigilance I can do my part to keep the dark at bay. At least for myself and my family.

Here's a nice little article I found that talks about doing something nice every day – simple things that can help change your disposition and maybe brighten someone else's day as well!

Go make positivity louder!

Trump Won the Election – WTF Happened?

Trump Won The 2016 Presidential Election – WTF Happened?! (Podcast below)

There is no doubt that this election has been the most divisive and ugly election that I and most every one else have ever experienced. There wasn't just mud slinging and scandal – those happen in every election sadly. No in this election it was much worse. Because in this election we had Donald Trump.

Not only was this man completely unqualified to run for President, he ran the most horrifying campaign that I have ever witnessed. From calling Mexicans rapists, to insulting women and people with disabilities he ran the gambit of offenses. All the way up to having a tape surface of him bragging about assaulting women.

And somehow, this man won.

I spent the better part of the day after the election in utter disbelief of what had occurred. How? How did hate and divisiveness win the highest office in our country? How did a pompous reality tv star get elected to be our next president?

And how – how am I going to explain this to my children? My babies who I have tried to raise to be good people. I have brought my kids up to know that bullying is wrong, racism is wrong, bigotry in all forms is wrong, touching people without their permission and sexual assault is wrong. Yet here is a man who did all of those things, is a GLARING example of all of those things – and he was just elected president.

Donald Trump 2016 elections. The single mom blog post about perspective and why it is so important now more than ever.

Now I know that many people simply didn't want Hillary Clinton to be President. I get that. I understand. She has had her fair share of scandal and problems. I don't discount them. However, she was categorically more qualified to lead our country than him.

I also know that many people voted for him because he wasn't a politician and they felt that the establishment was responsible for all their ills in life. So they decided to burn it to the ground.

And I also know that many voted for him because they themselves are racists and bigots and horrible individuals and they felt that he was their champion. And that disturbs me on a very deep level.

The White House - 2016 Election Donald Trump wins election - podcast

But, like it or not, he was in fact elected. So now what? Now what do we do? As a nation we are more divided than ever, a lot of that due frankly to the campaign that Mr. Trump ran. So how do we who did not support him come to terms with this? How do we move on?

Well I for one told my children that no matter what, the most important thing was for them to still be good people. To love others. To include others. To support understanding and not hate. And to stick up for those who they may see being persecuted. To be the good guys and not the bad. To be positive and hopeful. And to hope as hard as they can that Trump doesn't screw it up.

You Won’t Believe What This Notebook Can Do!

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Recently I was scrolling down my Facebook feed and came across something that caught my eye. It was one of those sponsored posts that I will admit I click on about 50% of the time.

This as mentioned how the product in question raised over a million dollars on Indigogo … and as a business owner that is something that will almost always catch my eye.

So I decided to watch the ad post entitled “People are going CRAZY about this MAGIC notebook…”

Pretty catchy right?

So I dive in and take a look and sure as shit I decide pretty quickly that I want one. It is called the Rocketbook Wave.  I couldn't find the size that I wanted on their site so I decided to check Amazon and see if they had it.  Sure enough they did! (I mean really though is there anything they don't carry at this point?)

I placed my order, got my 2 day free shipping thanks to my Prime membership – which yes I shamelessly plug because I love it so much! (The money I save in shipping just at Christmas time alone pretty much pays for my membership fees twice over.)

And then I sit back and impatiently wait for my package….

Now I'm sure by now you are asking “What the hell is so special about this notebook?”

What makes this notebook so amazing is that you can fill up the notebook with notes, automatically upload your notes to the cloud storage of  your choice – to the FOLDER or FILE of your choice and then when it's full and you have no more room for your notes … you can make them all disappear!

No seriously! You can! Like magic. Except it isn't magic, it's some sciency thing that I don't understand at all but it is REALLY cool.

Now I will admit that when I first ordered it, I was really skeptical – I mean magically erasing notebook… I'm not so sure I totally buy it. But I figured – what the hell, I'm going to try it anyway.

The notebook arrived a couple days later and I was ready to try this bad boy out. Now it is worth mentioning that with the Rocketbook notebook you do have to use specific types of pens. The Pilot FriXion ball pens are the ones that will work with this notebook. Which is fine with me as I already loved these pens. I use them all the time because they are completely erasable and I NEED to have that feature in a pen considering how often I change my mind.

They are good quality pens AND they come in different colors so that is always a plus for me too. If a pen doesn't have a purple option I won't use it.

Anyway, the very first thing I did was download the app for the notebook to my phone and then set up the shortcuts of where I wanted my notes to go. Here's a link on how that all works and how to set it up. 

I uploaded the note to my google drive folder that I had set up for the app. Here is what that image looked like…

(It does need to be said that I did upload this as an image in my excitement to get started, you DO have the option of uploading them as pdf documents as well)

Rocketbook wave review - test upload
Click to Enlarge

Yes, I know it's not exactly Shakespeare but it did what I wanted it to do. So I was pretty happy…

The next test was going to be would the note magically disappear? Time to test it.

Now, in order for this notebook to do it magical ju ju to make the ink disappear you have to microwave it. Yep, you heard that right – microwave it. (This is the part that I wasn't quite sure about.)

But my daughter and I tried it using the directions we found here and you can check out the video below to see the results:

I will say that if you look very closely at the page you can still see the ghost of the notes that were there before. However, those will be a distant memory once you fill the page up with all new doodles and notes.

All in all I really dig this notebook!!

Below are the links/products that I ordered.

*This post contains affiliate links. I sometimes will post links for various products that I have used and like and I will receive a small commission for anyone who purchases from those links. But I will never promote a product or service that I don't believe in.

What Do The Elections and Parenting Have In Common? – Perspective

Perspective is a crazy thing…

In case you missed it we are currently in an election year… and there is NO POSSIBLE WAY you have missed it. As with any election year you can't seem to turn on the television or go online without being reminded of it.

There is no escaping and we will all be prisioners of this god awful shit show of a mess until November 9th. At least hopefully it will end there but with Donald Trump saying things like this it's anybody's guess. Let's just say that no matter who you support we are all looking forward to this fiasco to be over.

Currently we are living in a country that is so divided and let's be honest this election isn't doing anything to bring us together as a nation. It seems to only be making it worse.

I will admit that for quite a while now I have spent the better part of this election trying – and failing – to understand how people could support someone like Donald Trump. At first it was simply because of his lack of political experience – I mean did we really want a reality tv star to run our country?

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton looks on during her first presidential debate against Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (not shown) at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTSPKF6

Apparently there are quite a few people who were ok with that. Then I couldn't understand why people continued to support him when he starting saying the most outlandish and offensive things I had ever heard from a politician. It made no sense to me.

I would scream at my TV on a regular basis – during the debates, during interviews and even at the commercials that he would run. I decided to sit down and really try to understand it or at least try to find a little glimmer of reason behind it all. Then it hit me – perspective. It is all about perspective.

Donald Trump 2016 elections. The single mom blog post about perspective and why it is so important now more than ever.

Going through life with blinders on and only seeing things from your side of the fence is never a good thing. It leaves you blind to other options, other ideas, understanding and compassion.

Now, don't get me wrong – I still have a very hard time understanding Trump supporters and why they would follow a person of his ilk but I at least felt I needed to try. But let me tell you – it's damn hard.

Currently in this election season – having been one of the worst that I personally have ever seen I am faced with new problems and new issues to look at. New things that I unfortunately now have to discuss with my children.

When they come to me and ask:

“Why are those people yelling mean things about Mexicans?”

“Mommy, my friend at school is crying and scared that if Donald Trump wins the election that she and her family will be sent away because they are Muslim”

“Mommy, why does he hate Muslims?”

“Why are all these people so mean to each other?”

And then, having to explain and discuss the vile things that were spoken on a bus by a grown man who should have known better. Having to have a discussion with my teenage boys about assault and why what he said was so offensive to me as a woman. And to ensure that they knew (which they already did but due to these circumstances I felt I REALLY needed to drive the point home) that is it NEVER ok to touch a woman without her permission.

It is NEVER ok to touch a woman without her permission!

Trying to explain why someone running for the highest office in the world is acting less mature than my 9 year old is not an easy thing to do. Much less trying to explain why he is that odd orange color.

And as much as this election has enraged me at times I do have to take a step back and realize that some people who follow and support Trump maybe just don't get it. Maybe they don't understand why some of the things that he says are so terrible to most of the rest of us in the country. Perspective.

Their experiences in life are different than mine. They have lived things that I have not. Been taught things that I have not. And vice versa. I have experienced life differently. We all have. My perception of a situation is different than that of my red neck uncle back home in Virginia. To him I am a bleeding heart liberal. To me he is a backwoods neanderthal red neck.

We were raised differently. We learned things differently. Our experiences have dictated the way we view the world, other people and of course politics. And while I don't agree with him, I can at least understand that.

I have to deal with this when working with my ex to co-parent our daughter. I regularly have to remind myself that HIS experiences growing up were vastly different than mine. His home was not always a happy one. There were many things that happened in his life that I know scarred him. And I know that they effect how he parents – there is no way they can't.

New perspectives are important for growth

I have to remember that while my father was my hero and to this day is the man I go to when I am hurt, upset or in need of consult or consoling – his father was not a nice man. When I think of the type of father I would wish for my daughter it would be one like mine was. My ex doesn't have that comparison to make.

He only wants to ensure that she DOESN'T have a father like he did.

And I can understand that. So I have to remember that when I try to hold him to a standard that he may never meet. Because he never experienced it. And that isn't fair to him.

Perspective … it's all about perspective. And while we may not ever fully understand another person's perspective on things it is important to remember that they HAVE a different perspective. And in doing so it makes it a little easier to at least be civil, get along, find common ground and compromise. You don't have to completely agree, but you do have to respect another's ability to have a different opinion and perspective helps with that.

 

Oh and Go Hillary #ImWithHer (because I sure as hell can't get behind a man like Donald Trump)

Colin Kaepernick – What Do I Tell My Kids?

What do you think about Kaeperkick not standing?

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere you know about the recent to-do involving San Francisco 49er's Quarterback Colin Kaepernick not standing during the National Anthem.

Kaepernick stated in an interview later his reasons for not standing –

Since his decision to sit during the National Anthem there have been many who have spoken out both for and against his decision. Those who are against his choice have been, let's just say – colorful in their comments against him. Many who say an athlete who makes millions of dollars shouldn't or can't say anything about being oppressed or injustices.

Many who say that because of all of the success he has had and the fact that he was raised by adoptive parents who are white he has no right or reason to say anything. That because he clearly hadn't suffered any indignities that he has no room to talk. Many who say that because of the opportunities he has had that he shouldn't be disrespecting the flag and anthem of the country that gave him those opportunities.

Colin Kaepernick Sitting During National Anthem

However, there are many people who feel that Kaepernick is justified in his protest. Using his platform to bring attention to an ongoing problem in our country. Keeping the discussion and awareness current to try and bring about much needed change.

There are others still who may not agree with him not standing but they agree with his right to do so! Including many veterans who started the #veteransforkaepernick that started trending across the internet.  Many of whom have stated that they fully support him in his actions.

Obama supports Kaepernicks constitutional rights

President Obama even stated his support of what the pro-athlete has done, stating that he is exercising his constitutional right. Which of course made many conservatives in this country practically stroke with outrage.

Jim Wright an author and vet who posted an essay on his Facebook page with his response to the issue which has since gone viral also supports Kaepernick.

IF Kaepernick doesn't feel his country respects him enough for him to respect it in return, well, then you can't MAKE him respect it.

You can not make him respect it.

If you try to force a man to respect you, you'll only make him respect you less.

With threats, by violence, by shame, you can maybe compel Kaepernick to stand up and put his hand over his heart and force him to be quiet. You might.

But that's not respect.

It's only the illusion of respect.”

What do you tell your kids about Kaepernick?

I have had several people ask me how I have approached this topic with my children.

“What do you say to them about his lack of respect?”

“Would you allow your children to sit during the anthem?”

“Are you telling them that what he is doing is wrong and unpatriotic?”

Sigh.

Many of my friends think like me and believe what I believe; however there are many friends and even family who are a little more – a lot more – conservative than me. Knowing that about me I am not sure why they would think I would agree with their line of thinking but…

My response to those who ask what I tell my children about what Kaepernick has done is this…

I applaud what he is doing. I think it is important for my children to understand that in this country they have the right to protest. They have the right and even a responsibility. That should they feel that passionately about an injustice or a cause that they should feel that they can in fact protest.

Here's the thing – he didn't break any laws, he wasn't staging a violent protest, no one was harmed and no property damaged. If by staging his protest, by simply remaining seated, he was able to bring attention to the issue that he feels are important then I fully support him.

raise my kids to ask questions, Colin Kaepernick sitting for the anthem

This country was founded with the principles that it's citizens can question the government and those who run it whenever they feel the need. Our Constitution is written for that sole purpose. Kaepernick has every right as a citizen to sit or kneel or stand on his head for that matter while the Anthem is played.

To tell him that he shouldn't or that he is disgracing those who have served or fought for this country is ridiculous. Those who have fought and even died in service of our country did so in defense of all it stands for.

In fact, all service members take an oath when they enlist that include the phrase ‘I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic'. Meaning that they serve to protect the rights of every citizen of this country and whether you like it or not that includes the right to sit in protest during the playing of the National Anthem.

One of my favorite speeches regarding this issue actually comes from a movie – The American President…

You don't have to like it, you don't have to approve, but you do have to accept that he has every right to do so. And as a parent THAT is what I want my children to understand.

Back to School : Taking Back My House & Goal Review!

The house is MIIIINE!!!!

Ahhhh, it’s that time of year again. The time that children and teachers alike dread but parents celebrate. Back to school! The time of year when as a stay at home mom I finally take back my house! After spending two and a half months with two teenagers and a 9-year old who THINKS she is a teenager I finally get to have the house all to myself!

And not a moment too soon to be quite honest with you! You see, summer vacation is one of those grand ideas that is fabulous in theory but not always so wonderful in practice. It starts out great, don’t get me wrong – trips to the pool, to the zoo, vacations to destinations that are beautiful and maybe even educational. Getting to sleep in, no more alarm clock blaring in your ear at god awful hours of the morning. No wondering if you remembered to pack their lunches the night before and then throwing them together last minute while half asleep because you hadn’t.

It definitely has its perks…. For about the first month to month and a half.

Then the chaos starts. All those fun trips to the pool and the zoo they are now booooring because ‘we’ve been there a hundred times Mom!’ Now that the amazing vacation to exotic destinations is over everything else seems to pale in comparison. They’ve read all their books and NO they don’t want to go get more because ‘reading is booooring’. Your teenager is now sitting on the couch for hours on end mercilessly slashing and stabbing through a mob of zombies, or vampires or whatever strange creatures are in his latest video game.

The Single Mom Blog: Back to School, mom yelling at kids on couch, bored kids, kids no listening

The idea of going outside isn’t interesting because ‘there’s nothing to dooo out there Mom’. And any suggestion you could possibly make is either boring or is greeted with that ‘look’. You know the one that says ‘I can’t believe you even suggested something so childish and stupid’. Yeah, that one. You have either experienced it or given it in your lifetime. (And if you haven’t gotten it yet from your kid, juuuust wait, it’s coming).

Then just when you think it couldn’t get any worse – they turn on each other. Like mad rabid dogs over the last bone. Things that really shouldn’t even BE things all of the sudden are the topic of hour-long arguments and discussion. Things like – sitting too close to each other. Seriously. I am not kidding. An hour long argument because one of them sat too close to the other and then wouldn’t move. Arguments over who has been on the television too long. Arguments about who went into who’s room without permission. Arguments about whether or not the lizard is a girl or a boy – I swear to GOD!

At some point I think they were just mad at each other for existing!

summer vacation, stressed out mom, mom is angry, back to school

The remaining weeks of summer vacation are some of the longest that a parent can face. So when those back to school sections start going up at the local Target and Wal-Mart we all do a back handspring of joy in our minds.

You find yourself almost in tears at the glorious sight of rulers, protractors, index cards and highlighters. Three ring binders never looked so sexy! And you gleefully go from isle to isle trying to find every last item on the absurdly long school supply list whilst dragging your pouty, moody children behind you.

See, as much as we love them, we need them to go back to school! We need it for our sanity and their well-being at that point. Because to be quite honest if I had to break up one more stupid, senseless fight Mommy was gonna go all Fight Club on their asses.

And let's be real here, as much as my kids kind of dread going back to school, they also know that they are tired of being around each other. Getting to see their friends again and hang out with people OTHER than their siblings is a much-needed reprieve for them.

They are now stimulated throughout the day and no longer can say that they are bored and have nothing to do. I remind them of that constantly when they complain about their homework… “Remember when you said you were bored over the summer, well NOW you have something to do! Aren't you happy?”

For which I am rewarded with another one of those ‘looks'. But who cares! They are back in school baby!

Back to school time also allows me to have some peace and quiet, something that I wholly take for granted every year. I am able to get back to a regular schedule for my business, getting tasks done on time – hell sometimes even early! I am also able to sit back and have my annual goal review. You know all those goals that we have at the beginning of the year, this is when I stop and take stock of my progress.

How are my goals progressing? Which have I accomplished? What strides have I made toward those that I haven’t? And which goals have I not even STARTED that maybe need to be reevaluated? Now that I have the time, the peace and quiet and the ability to go an hour without hearing “Mom, Mom, Mom, Moooo-oooom!” I can start focusing again on those items that I had maybe been neglecting.

The Single Mom Blog: Back to School, do all those things, all the things you wanted to do

Back to school time is great for me and for the kids. We are all able to get back to our routines and out of each other's way for 7 hours of the day. We are happy to see each other when they come home. We actually WANT to hear about each other's day and what happened. And I no longer have the overwhelming urge to duct tape them to a wall.

Lord help the teachers though…

Depression and Getting The Help I Needed

 

I can't possibly be depressed!

It has been over a month since my last blog post. I typically don't just drop off the face of the blog like that. However, there were a few things that I was struggling with that I needed to take the time to address. It was imperative that I take some time to take care of me.

I know that I talk about taking care of yourself quite often in this blog. Because, YES – it is very important. And normally that means taking a couple hours for yourself. Being able to give yourself the care and time that it needs for you to feel a balance in your life.

I typically would be sure to take the time to do the things I knew I needed to do in order to care for myself. However, lately I had been noticing that many of those things no longer interested me. Things that I truly enjoy doing – painting, drawing, singing, playing with the kids… none of them seemed appealing to me.

At first I didn't really notice that it happened. At first I was just noticing that I was more scattered than normal. I couldn't focus on anything for very long. I would jump from one thing to another, never really completing anything. I figured that I must have some seriously bad shiny object syndrome… SQUIRREL!

It creeped up on me slowly, a change so minor in the beginning that I didn't really notice it. A forgotten item here, a missed deadline there, putting off various things because I simply had no desire to focus on them. Pretty soon all those little things added up before I knew it.

‘Maybe I have Adult ADD or something'… I mean I can't focus on anything for longer and a few minutes. I can't get any projects completed. Maybe that was what was going on with me. So I went to the local mental health facility to discuss my thoughts with them and see if maybe getting on medication would help my ADD.

The Single Mom Blog - at peace, I'm happy I can't be depressed. Asking for help.

After talking with the therapist they suggested that maybe what I was dealing with was depression and not ADD.

Pffft! No way, I'm not depressed! I'm not sad, not crying all the time, I don't feel suicidal… I mean that's what being depressed is right? So just give me the stuff for ADD, that's gotta be what it is because I KNOW I am not depressed.

I'm a happy person dammit!

So I got the ADD meds. I tried them. They kind of helped me focus, but not really. I found myself forgetting to take the pills and really it didn't seem to make enough of a difference that I needed them. I never even got the prescription refilled – hell I never even finished the bottle.

So if it isn't ADD then maybe I just need to get my ass in gear and be more mentally tough. I mean I have pulled myself up by my bootstraps before, I can do it again!

Not that easy Heather.

I went back to life as usual thinking I could just tough it out, that whatever was wrong with me would get better on it's own. I mean all my life I have been able to get over shit and just move on. It's worked before and it will work now!

I was drowning and couldn't stop myself...

After a few months of deluding myself into believing that I could just ‘get over it' I stopped and took a hard look at myself and what was going on.

I had allowed whatever this was to take such a hold on me that every part of my life was suffering from it.

  • I lost several clients and had 3 months with absolutely no income coming in
  • I was 3 months behind on the rent and all the other bills
  • I had stopped paying attention to my home and was doing only what was absolutely necessary to take care of my family
  • I had stopped caring about myself, how I looked, how I felt – there were times I didn't shower for days and didn't really think anything of it
  • I was snapping at the kids on a regular basis about the stupidest things

I was drowning and I couldn't stop myself.

The crazy thing about it though was that I KNEW what needed to be done. I KNEW I needed to work on my business, I KNEW I needed to work on my house and my family… but I simply couldn't make myself do it. I had never experienced anything like it before.

All my life I have known what needed to be done and I just did it – but I couldn't make myself do that now. It was like I was driving a car toward a wall. I knew I was going to hit the wall. I knew that if I didn't want to crash into that wall I needed to turn. But I Just. Couldn't. Turn.

And I didn't know why – or I didn't want to admit to myself why.

You don't always have to be strong. It's ok to ask for help. - The Single Mom Blog - depression and getting help

So I went back to the mental health center. I talked with a new therapist and explained everything that I had been going through, everything that I was experiencing. My frustration with it all. Guess what she told me…

You are definitely struggling with some aspects of depression. 

Deep breath. It's ok Heather. You can admit that you are struggling, it's ok….

It took the entire session for me to be able to finally understand and admit to myself that I was in fact dealing with depression. Not the I want to cry all the time feel like everything is hopeless depression. No this was different – but still depression.

I think that was the hardest thing for me to ever admit. That I was struggling with something that I couldn't overcome without help. I have always hated asking for help. I don't like having to admit that I can't do something on my own. I told this to the therapist and she looked at me with this knowing smile and nodded.

“That is likely why you are now struggling with this depression. Your mind and your body are tired. You have been doing it all on your own for so long there are parts of you that you have been neglecting.”

Hmmmm… that rings true somewhere inside of me. The somewhere that I push down in order to be the responsible parent. The part of me that wants to rebel and stop adulting. The part of me that was ignored for so long that NOW it will no longer be silent. It's no longer just about taking a few minutes for myself, it's about an entire part of who I am being neglected. And that part is now scaling a full on mutiny!

So what's next? Well for starters I have started taking medication to help with the depression. Nothing too major, low dosage only once per day. But I have to say I have noticed a MAJOR improvement since I started taking it. My focus is back, I am interested in the things I love again and I am motivated again FINALLY. Things are starting to turn back around – look Ma' I'm blogging again!

I am also seeing my therapist regularly. That phrase would have made me cringe not too long ago. Not because I have anything against therapy, it's a wonderful thing that helps so many people. I just didn't want to be the one having to ask for help. (My neurosis runs DEEP!)

Things are better and I am really glad that I finally sucked it up and admitted that I needed help and then had the courage to go get it.

Father’s Day Is Not The Same In Our House

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Father's Day Is Not The Same In Our House

As a single mother one of the days that tend to be difficult is Father’s Day. For our household Father’s Day means different things to everyone. For my daughter, she gets to go off with her dad and spend the day with him while he has a barbeque or they all go out to dinner. She gives him the home made gift that she spent a week or two planning, changing her mind, then changing it back again before finally settling on an idea. She loves the idea of being able to give her father something special that she created herself. He’ll ooh and ahh over it appropriately (hopefully) and she will feel very happy and special inside knowing that her father loves her.

Father's Day - The Single Mom Blog - Me and Dad

For me Father’s Day is a day where I call my dad and let him know how much I love him and what he has meant to me over the years. My dad has always been the standard that I hold a father to. As a single father for many years he showed me what it meant to put your child first. To do whatever was needed to make sure they have what they need. He was the one who stood by me no matter what and made sure that I knew, always, that I was loved.

Now as a single mother, when Father's Day rolls around I am the one at the grill cooking up hamburgers and hot dogs (if we decide to cook out). But instead of my boys going off with their father, they tell me happy Father’s Day because for my boys Father’s Day is a whole lot different than it is for their sister.

For my boys, Father's Day is a reminder that their father isn't here

For my boys, Father’s Day is a reminder that their father isn’t here. It’s a reminder of the person who forever altered their lives. It’s a reminder of the person who hurt them and brings back full force WHY their father isn’t in their lives. Not that they need a reminder, we live with the repercussions of his actions every day. But Father’s Day sort of slaps them in the face with it.

15 years ago my son’s father shook him and almost killed him. In fact, he did die – for a minute – until he was resuscitated. At 5 months old my son’s life was forever changed by a man who should have been protecting him, instead he put him in the hospital. Every day we are faced with the challenges that my son’s injuries cause him. Every day we are reminded that he doesn’t have a “normal” life. His brain doesn’t work like everyone else’s. Every day we work through it and learn and grow.

Every day we are faced with the probability that he will remain a child forever.

Every. Day.

So when Father’s Day rolls around it’s almost like an open wound that we rip the band-aid off of again. My boys’ father isn’t here, – isn’t allowed to be here. Their father caused them a lot of pain. Their father hasn’t been in their lives since they were 6 months old yet still his actions are always in our minds.

The Single Mom Blog - Happiness father and son on the pier at sunny day under sunlight

Sometimes one of the boys will ask about him:

What was he like? – (Hard question that one. For a long time while they were little I danced around that answer, but now that they are older they know the truth.) He was an alcoholic and a drug addict baby. He didn’t work really and he just lived to have fun.

Why were you with him then?Because mommy had horrible taste in men for quite a long time honey and I thought if I tried hard enough I could change him. (Like I said, they are old enough to know the truth)

What did he look like?Look in the mirror baby, he looked a lot like you.

Why did he hurt me?I can’t answer that because I honestly don’t know honey. I have never been able to understand it. I wish I could answer that and I wish I could take away that pain.

There have been other questions over the years, some I could answer but many I could not. I remember once when my son told one of his teachers that his father was dead. My heart broke even more for him. Feeling like he would rather say he was dead than tell people the truth.

“Baby, you can’t tell people he’s dead. You have a father, he’s out there – he just wasn’t a very good father and I’m sorry for that.”

The Single Mom Blog - Father's Day - Boys at The Garden of The Gods

It’s been devastating sometimes watching my boys process over the years all of the emotions that come along with what their father did. I’ve tried to be there for them, get them any help they need if they need it. I’ve tried to soften the blow for them to hopefully make it easier.

More than anything though I never wanted them to feel like they were missing out on anything because he wasn’t in their lives. I never wanted them to feel like it was bad that they didn’t have their father around. And when Father’s Day started to become a trigger for them I decided that we would change it up for them. Father’s Day became M.A.M.A.S. DayMe And My Awesome Sons Day.

So when their sister heads off to go spend time with her father, we plan a day for just us. A day where we do whatever they would like to do (within reason and budget permitting of course). I want them to realize that it’s just another day and like any day it is whatever you make of it. So we decided to make it our own. Father’s Day took on a new and different meaning for us. It is no longer a day where my boys sit back and think about what they don’t have – instead we celebrate what we do have. Each other – and that is enough.

Parents Fined for Their Child’s Bullying

Recently a town in Wisconsin passed an ordinance that has started to cause a little bit of controversy. Focusing on the bullying that has been on the rise in the past few years this new bill will now fine the parents of the offender. That’s right, the bully’s parents will have to pay if their child’s bad behavior.

This new law will give the child a warning first and then if the child’s behavior doesn’t stop within 90 days of the initial warning the parents will be fined $366. If there is a repeat offense, then there will be an additional fine of $681. Meaning if your child continues to be an ass after being warned then you as a parent would potentially have to pay over a thousand dollars!

Many people of course are against this new law stating that what is considered bullying by some may actually be just simple teasing and is subjective. Others state that this kind of punishment would be very harmful for families who are struggling financially.

bullies, The Single Mom Blog

As for me, I kinda dig this new law. I know that may be a bit shocking considering I am a single mother who more often than not struggled financially, however I also refuse to allow my children to be assholes.

A few years ago my son was bullied by another child in his special education class. And not just the dirty looks and mean taunts kind of bullying – this kid harassed, intimidated and physically assaulted my son. Now being that he was in the special needs class, I understood that there was likely something going on with this kid that caused him to have these issues. I know that had my son Gage not gotten all the help he has and the constant work that we put into his ongoing recovery he would likely be a very violent child.

Online cyber bullying

So I tried to be understanding at first and worked with the school. I talked to them and felt that we had come to an understanding that this boy would be reprimanded for his behavior and steps would be taken to keep him away from my son. Then a week or so later he knocked my son down to the ground and proceeded to repeatedly kick him in the stomach and head.

 

Aaand now the gloves are off.

 

I pressed charges on the kid and told them that if they didn’t do whatever needed to be done to keep this kid away from my son, then I would also come after the school legally. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those moms who treats my child like they are made of glass. “How dare you put your hands on my baby!”. BUT I am a mom who realizes that this child was clearly NOT getting whatever help he needed, his parents were not doing what needed to be done to make sure he was safe with other children. So by pressing charges I was not only keeping my son safe, but I was ensuring that they would be REQUIRED to get this boy whatever help he needed.

I also understand that as parents we can do everything under the sun to raise our children to be good kids and sometimes they still act like assholes. It happens. I know my son has his moments, all of my kids do. They are human. However, if I get called into the school because one of my children are harassing, bullying, teasing, intimidating or anything of the kind then their their ass is MINE!

There will be repercussions and they WILL get their acts together and stop their nonsense. And if they don’t then it’s on me to keep working until they do. My job as a parent is to raise my children to be the best versions of themselves, and belittling or teasing other kids is NOT their best versions.

So this law that holds the parents financially accountable for their children’s behavior, I am all for it. Even knowing that were my family to be fined that kind of money it would most definitely cause a financial burden in our home. But then that would also teach the child another lesson – there are repercussions for your behavior! How you act and what you do doesn’t always effect just you. Now it effects the entire family.

And were my child to end up costing me that kind of money they would sure as hell be working to pay me back for that.

This law forces kids to understand that you can’t just go around being jerks to people, causing harm, treating people like crap without it having an effect. You can’t just go through life being an ass and not suffer the repercussions.