All Posts By Heather Wells

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!

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.

Perfect Mom? – Nah, Let’s Be Bad Moms

 

Perfect Mom? – Nah, Let's Be Bad Moms!

There is a new movie called Bad Moms set to hit the theaters in June that takes aim at the ‘perfect' moms and I can not tell you how excited I am about it!

The trailer looks hilarious and talks about so many of the things that I as a mom often feel. It doesn't sugar coat the bad side of things and how sometimes our kids can in fact at times be little assholes.  Yeah, yeah I know it's not exactly PC to say that about our kids but we all know that sometimes it's true.

The struggle and pressure to be the “Perfect Mom” weighs on us all. Do it all, know it all, BE it all…

Be the PTA mom, the mom who has her shit all together, have all the ducks in a row and so on. I personally have never been able to be that mom. I barely know if I am coming or going some days. Hell I have to put a reminder in my calendar to pick up my daughter or I may just forget. Yes, it's happened. I was so busy working that I simply didn't realize what time it was until the school called me because I hadn't shown up. Hello GUILT!

So often I looked at those moms that seem to have it all together and thought poorly about myself. Why couldn't I my shit together like them? Why wasn't I THAT mom? I killed myself trying to be it and in the process I made myself miserable. And guess what I still wasn't the perfect mom. So why in the world was I wasting so much energy and emotional space feeling guilty about it?

This movie is like a breath of fresh air to me! I can't wait to see it.

** PS. The video preview below is the NON-PG version. There are quite a few F-bombs so not to be watched at work or around little ears.

Self Care – Do You Forget to Take Care Of Yourself?

Self Care is so important but unfortunately we don't always practice it!

A few years ago I was a part of a group of parents with special needs children. Every couple of weeks we would get together and talk. Either to vent about what was going on in our lives, talk about specific needs or issues that we had or hear guest speakers.

This group was something that I looked forward to because I NEEDED that community, that tribe of individuals who were going through the same journey as I was. I had an outlet.

After a while the group stopped meeting for one reason or another and I just settled back into my life and routine without ever finding another outlet. Until recently when I signed up my boys for a TBI group for adolescents. The boys get to meet with other kids struggling with the same issues they are and I get to meet with the parents who are sharing the same struggles I have.

Self Care - Are You Taking Care of Yourself? - The Single Mom Blog

After that very first meeting I felt this sense of relief wash over me. I once again had people to talk to, people who understood. And with that realization came the understanding that I had allowed myself to fall into a funk. I was so busy just in the day to day minutia of my life that I didn’t realize what I had allowed to happen.

I wasn’t reading anymore, I wasn’t painting, I wasn’t doing things that brought me joy and happiness. I wasn’t talking to people about my stress and worry. I was just sitting back and letting life happen to me and beat me back down to a really bad place. I stopped fighting back. I had stopped taking care of myself.

As single mothers we often will take on the weight of the world. We take care of everything, do everything and worry about everything. It is so easy for us to become so busy caring for the kids and everything else that we forget to take care of ourselves. We don’t do the things that we need to do for ourselves.

Sometimes it’s because we feel like we can’t or shouldn’t. That it would be selfish of us to take time that could be spent doing other things. I know that too often I feel guilty if I do something for myself or take time for myself. If ever I get a day to just sit and do nothing I feel bad because I SHOULD be doing something.

But taking time for yourself and caring for yourself is so important!

Taking the time to really care for yourself the way that you care for your children is critical to your life. When you don’t take care of yourself then you are not as effective as a parent and it can creep up on you slowly while you aren’t paying attention. I didn’t really understand it or even identify it as a problem until I started up with this group because I felt that weight lift a little. That weight I hadn’t really known was there until it shifted a bit.

Self Care - Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

I wasn’t enjoying my life. I wasn’t enjoying my kids. I stopped doing things that were important to me. I was sitting by just letting everything sort of go to hell – because I had stopped caring. And I couldn’t understand why. Now many people would identify this as some level of depression I’m sure. And while I am not ruling that out at all I also realize that this was something that I could do something about.

Little things that I could do to start taking care of myself again. Things that don’t cost money or cost very little. Things that maybe don’t SEEM like they would make much of a difference, but trust me THEY DO.

Here is a list of things that you can do to take care of yourself so that you are the best possible version of yourself for your kids.

  1. Spend time outside – go for a walk or run (if you are one of those people who actually like to run).
  2. Meditate even if only for 10 minutes in the morning before you start your day
  3. Turn up the music and dance around
  4. Read your favorite book
  5. Cuddle with your kiddos
  6. Make sure you are getting enough sleep
  7. Un-clutter your life – get rid of things you no longer need, organize the things you do
  8. Get a massage – I now that this costs money BUT often if you look for a massage school in your area they have discounted rates so their students can practice
  9. Unplug – turn off your electronics and quiet the outside noise from the world
  10. Ask for help! – I know that this is often hard for many of us but we can’t always do everything all the time.
  11. Drink a nice cup of teaTeavana™ is one of my favorite places to go for loose tea, sooo good! This is one of my few indulgences when I have a little extra money.
  12. Every morning take 10 minutes to stretch and take deep breaths. Calm your mind for the upcoming day
  13. Keep in touch with friends and family – quite often because we do it all alone we end up feeling secluded or shut off from the rest of the world. Don’t let that be the case – schedule time to meet with family and friends as often as possible.
  14. Dress up from time to time – look I’m as much a fan of yoga pants and comfy clothes as the next gal, in fact as I write this I am still in my ‘jamma pants’. But wearing these things all the time can become a bad habit. Take time on your personal appearance – you don’t have to be catwalk worthy, but running a comb through your hair and putting on a nice blouse and mascara can make all the difference in the world sometimes!
  15. Take a yoga class – now before you talk about cost and how you can’t afford it… there’s this thing called the internet and it’s kinda awesome. You can find yoga videos for free almost anywhere.
  16. Take a long hot bath – or if you are lucky enough to have a hot tub get in that bad boy for a while and soak (while I contain my jealousy because I don’t have a hot tub and want one desperately.)
  17. Do some silly things with your kids – BE A KID! We have them and often we spend so much energy trying to get them to grow up, maybe it’s time to spend a little time being childish again.
  18. Let it be – accept that you don’t ALWAYS have to have your shit together. The house doesn’t HAVE to look perfect, it’s ok for the laundry to pile up every once in a while. Understand that your sanity and well-being is more important than perfection.
  19. Eat better – Now I am a huge fan of chili cheese fries but I know that I should NOT be eating them every day. Having a better well rounded healthy diet can improve your health as well as your mental state.
  20. Remember to tell yourself that you are doing a good job! – Never forget that you are a rock star because you are. Good days or bad you are still amazing and you are doing just fine!

Why You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

One of the people that I really pay attention to and follow pretty religiously is Gary Vaynerchuck a.k.a. Gary Vee. He is this amazing entrepreneur who has really perfected his hustle. This man is a machine when it comes to his business and his life. He has build several successful businesses and makes it a point to be on top of developing trends. If you ask him he will tell you that he “day trades in attention and builds businesses”.

Recently Gary posted something on his Instagram account – ‘One life. One time. Way too many people aren’t acting this way.’

And I have to say this simple little meme really spoke to me. After going to Infusioncon this year and listening to the speakers talk (and Gary Vee was one of those speakers) I came home and started thinking about all of the things that I simply put off in my life. I started asking myself –

‘What do I want out of my life?’

‘What am I doing to move my dreams and goals forward?’

That first question was an easy one to answer – because I want a lot. A lot for myself and a lot for my family. Not just the tangible things either like a new car and new home but things like a happy life where we don’t stress all the time. A life where the kids and I can travel anywhere we want and they can learn new things and new culture.

And most recently a life where I can provide an environment for my son where he can feel as independent as possible when he becomes an adult. Being able to provide for him throughout his adult life as an individual with special needs.

The second question was the hard one. Because I haven’t been doing everything that I can. I haven’t been doing all that I could do to move my dreams and goals forward. And I KNOW IT!

So why is that? I mean it should be really simple right? Have dream – do what you need to in order to achieve it. Easy.

Not so easy apparently?

But why?!?!

Why You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone -

After sitting and thinking on this one little quote from Gary Vee I started to realize where my struggle was. It goes back to mindset, which is something that I talk about on a pretty regular basis (because it’s IMPORTANT). Having the right mindset is truly key but sometimes we get stuck in that mindset.

It’s all well and good to have a positive mindset or a mindset aimed toward achievement and goals. However, if you take no action toward creating that life then the mindset does you no good. So I started to think, well WHY if I have the right mindset am I not making progress?

FEAR. Plain and simple it’s fear.

I am absolutely fucking terrified of stepping out of my comfort zone. This nice happy place that I have gotten to. I did the work to get myself here and now I am terrified to go beyond this. I think that so many people stay stuck where they are because they are afraid of stepping out beyond what they know. I know I am.

Coming out from my comfort zone means trying something new, doing things that I have never done before and with that comes the possibility of failing. And I fear failure more than anything else. I don’t like losing, I don’t like failing… hell, who does? But ask any successful person and they will tell you that failure is often a good thing to experience.

Learning from our mistakes. You know that thing that you teach your children? It isn’t something that only applies to kids, it is relevant to all of us. When we fail, we pick ourselves up and try again – but this time with the knowledge that we gained from that failure.

But it is so hard isn’t it? Because in our warm fuzzy comfort zone we have gotten used to sitting back and letting this be our norm. And it is so scary to rock that boat, the one you spent so much time working to build. All those years of work and struggle to finally get to a place where things are good (at least most of the time) or all those years spent in your current situation – it’s become your norm. It's what you know. It's what you are good at.

Stepping away from that into something new brings the risk of possibly losing what you have. And THAT is what scares me the most. Losing what I worked so hard to create for myself and my family. The possibility that it could all be gone if I fail.

So why then would I risk it?

Because ‘One life. One time.’ … you only get one shot at this life. So if you want more from it then you have to be willing to take risks, to step out of that comfort zone and try new things. The worst thing I can imagine for myself is to be an old lady and look back at my life and regret not doing the things I wanted to do.

Not to mention, if I only get one life then I damn well better make sure I live that whole life. Quitting smoking was definitely a step out of my comfort zone because I FOUND comfort in smoking. But I knew that if I wanted to be around for my kiddos I needed to step away from that and quit.

Getting healthy again is also out of my comfort zone. If I want to have a full and healthy life then I can’t exactly eat chili cheese fries every day, even if I REALLY want to. Getting healthy means pushing myself to work out and train when I would rather nap or sit and watch TV.

It’s hard changing all those things that have become staples in my comfort zone.

But no one said that anything worth having would be easy.

That is why you have to really examine where you are in life. What has your comfort zone become and if you aren’t currently living your dreams and goals then you need to step out of that comfort zone and start taking action! Because nothing will change until you do!

A Letter to The Man Who Stole My Son’s Life

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I'm certain that somewhere right now you are living your life as happy and care free as you always did. Probably still drinking too much and abusing your body with whatever substance you can find. I'm sure that the children that you created don't really cross your mind – except when they take that pittance of money out of your check to pay down the $18K you owe in back child support.

I'm sure that you don't suffer any guilt or remorse over what you did – because how could you. You have no idea the pain you caused. You have no idea the loss you created. You have no idea that in essence you stole a life. Of course you are able to continue on as though nothing ever happened because how could you know what you did.

You only saw him a few times after you nearly killed our son. You weren't there for the years and years of doctors appointments, physical therapy, CAT scans, MRIs, neurology appointments and evaluations.

You missed out on all the meetings with schools and special education departments. You escaped the joy of sitting through IEP meetings and testing. You haven't had to explain to another parent that you are so very sorry your son threw a chair at their kid but he simply can't control himself.  You weren't there to experience your 3 year old being kicked out of a daycare because he was “too much” for them to handle.

You didn't get to experience what it was like to see your son scream uncontrollably and bang his head into the ground or on a wall repeatedly because he couldn't articulate what was wrong with him. You never experienced the fear of not knowing if your child was ever going to be able to sit up on his own, walk, talk, run … hell, he still isn't able to even ride a bike.

I wish I was able to say that I had evolved enough over the years to be able to forgive you for what you have done. I wish that I could be that good of a person. Because if I was I wouldn't feel this gut wrenching anger every time I watch my son struggle. And yes, I say my son because you lost the right to call him yours long ago.

I really wish that I could move on past this urge to track you down and take a baseball bat to your head. I know that wishing that makes me a vindictive person, makes me less than what I am aspiring to be…but I can't help it. I want nothing more than for you to understand what it's like to live the life you sentenced him to when you shook him.

I look at my son, and the struggles he has faced throughout his 15 years and rage wells up inside me because he didn't have to struggle. He shouldn't have had to struggle. HE WASN'T SUPPOSED TO STRUGGLE LIKE THIS!

But you, you worthless human being, you changed his life forever. You took away any hope of a normal life for him. A normal future. You took away his life, the one he was supposed to have. The one where he could grow up and learn to drive a car, move out on his own, start a life with someone he loved … he thinks about those things you know.

But they are abstract thoughts, the way a young child would think about them – a little kid imagining what it will be like when he gets older. You see because of you my son will forever be a child. He will forever be stuck with the mentality of a 10-12 year old.

And worse than that, he will be forever tortured by the knowledge that he is different than he should be. You see this amazing young man struggles on a daily basis because he is AWARE of his age and how old he is and what that SHOULD be like for him. But he knows that he isn't like that. He KNOWS that his struggles are not ‘normal'. He is forced to watch as his little sister passes him by on almost every level of development and he struggles every day with that knowledge.

Imagine that for a moment. Imagine being aware of the fact that you SHOULD KNOW how to do something but you simply can't. Imagine as a 15 year old having your 8 year old sister be more advanced than you will EVER BE. Imagine watching your twin be able to live a more ‘normal' life than you. And KNOW that it wasn't supposed to be like that.

Imagine listening to your child wish he was ‘normal'. Listening to him tell you that he feels like he should just leave because he knows how hard he makes your life. Imagine feeling that gut wrenching heartbreak, knowing that your child feels like he is a burden to you.

And I say these things like you should care, even though I know you don't. You don't even know the pain you have caused.

I don't hate many things in this world because I don't like the way that hate makes me feel – but I hate you. I hate you for what you took from my son. I hate you for taking his life, the one he was supposed to have. One where every day wasn't a struggle just to keep a thought in his head, or understand certain things … one where he could just live without constantly needing to work on keeping his temper and his focus. A life where he will forever be 10.

I wish I could be that kind of person who could forgive you, but I can't – because every day I am faced with the reminder of what you did. Every day I watch my son face a new struggle. Every day I think about that life, that easier life that you took from him – and I will never ever forgive you for taking that away from him.

Being Accountable – Yes, You Need to Own Your Shit

Accountability. Seems a simple word really; but in practice it can be difficult at times and sometimes even harder to teach. In my life and in my family it is something that is so very important though. Being accountable for the things we do, the things we say, and how we feel are things that I try to teach my children because they are so very important.

In today’s society I feel that many people have stopped teaching this concept to their children. That they need to be accountable for themselves, in their actions, in their words and all throughout their lives. The world will definitely hold them accountable so why wouldn’t we teach them to hold themselves accountable?

Hold yourself accountable, success doesn't just come find you

It’s not always easy and quite honestly sometimes it just plain sucks but being accountable for yourself is so key to your success. Going through life with the ability to say “I did that” or “Yes I messed up” or “I will complete this by a certain day or time” and then DOING IT – all very important. Too often it is easier to just let things slide, to just shrug off your accountability and that is where we end up getting into trouble. That is when we start allowing ourselves to shirk our responsibilities.

For my children this is a hard concept to learn – heck it’s hard for ME sometimes. But it is so very important to me that they understand this basic concept of owning your shit. And what I mean by that is if you did it, then you OWN it. You don’t blow it off, you don’t pass it off to someone else – you OWN IT.

My daughter has recently developed a bad habit of whining or pouting about something and then when I call her out on it she says “I wasn’t pouting/whining!” (mind you she is pouting/whining as she says this). Now how are you going to sit there after stomping your foot on the ground and saying in that annoying higher-pitched voice that you don’t want to go to bed that you WEREN’T pouting/whining. That is the very DEFINITION of whining and pouting.

OWN IT! You were whining. Be accountable for your actions. You can say you were whining and then tell me WHY you were, explain to me – TALK to me about what is bothering you, but don’t stand there and tell me you weren’t doing something you clearly were.

The Single Mom Blog - Be Accountable, no one is perfect!

Here’s another example – my son was told multiple times to empty the dishwasher. I go into the kitchen to see that it still had yet to be emptied. I say “Son, you still haven’t emptied the dishwasher.” This boy looks me square in the eyes and says “I could have sworn I did. I thought I did it.” But he says it in a way that implies that I am mistaken and that there aren’t any dishes in there. Clearly I MUST be wrong because ‘he THOUGHT he did it’. And he will argue with me even though the dishes are clearly STILL IN THE DISHWASHER.

OWN IT! Be accountable and say “Crap mom, I forgot. I was going to empty them but I must have gotten distracted by the television. I will do it now.” I will happily accept that as opposed to you arguing with me for 15 minutes over the full dishwasher about whether or not you actually emptied it. (Those dishes didn’t magically put themselves BACK into the dishwasher son!)

I don't expect you to be perfect, but I expect you to be REAL with me AND with yourself. We live in a society where lately it is so much easier to blame others, or your upbringing, or your environment, or your teacher or ANYONE else rather than be accountable for our actions.

Oh you got a bad grade on your test? Maybe it’s because you didn’t STUDY beforehand. That is more likely to me than your suggestion that the teacher just has it out for you or isn't doing their job. (How often now do we see people blaming the teachers for their child's bad grades instead of blaming the child? Or instead of the parents holding themselves accountable for not making sure their child studies?)

Oh you are upset because you don’t have the money to buy that toy? Well maybe it’s because you didn’t finish your chores for the week and therefore didn’t earn your allowance and NOT because I am a mean mommy who won’t get you what you want.

Be accountable, own your shit!

The Single Mom Blog - Accountable, Excellence is a HABIT

As an adult I have to be accountable for my choices and actions. If I don’t hustle and work to get clients, complete work and build my business then I don’t have the money I need to take care of my family. And that is NO ONE’s fault but mine. It’s not the government screwing me over. It’s not immigrants taking my jobs.

I own when I screw up – at least I try to. It’s not always an easy thing, in fact it’s hard as hell to admit when you are wrong or screw up. But it’s important to do it – because THAT is how we learn and how we grow.

As a mother it is my job to prepare my children for a world that doesn’t care about them the way I do. A world where they will likely get kicked in the teeth repeatedly. A world that doesn’t care if they are my special babies or if it hurts their precious little feelings. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t prepare them to the best of my ability for that.

The last thing that I want is to send my kids out into the big bad world with this fantasy that the world will bend over backwards to accommodate them. Because it won’t. Sometimes that means that I have to be hard on them. Sometimes that means that I have to raise my voice to be heard. Sometimes it sucks. But I do it anyway.

Sometimes it means that I have to hold myself accountable in areas where I REALLY don’t wanna! For example, when I tell my children that their rooms are disasters and mine isn’t far off from one…well guess who has to clean their room too! Yep – THIS GIRL! If I want my children to have accountability, then I damn well better have it too. And sometimes that sucks as well.

Now I guess I had better get started on that room of mine before they get home from school…

MISSION: Survive Spring Break – Day 1

MISSION: Survive Spring Break - Day 1

My mission whether I choose to accept it or not is to make it through the next week with as minimal casualties as possible. I always felt that Spring break was somewhat of a preview of how our summer vacation was going to go. If my kids and I can make it through Spring break without a massive implosion, then it was a pretty good indicator that our summer would be a smoother ride as well. However, if we couldn’t make it through a week without some major arguments, a couple of groundings or someone ending up in the ER then all signs point to our summer being an all-out slug fest.

I realize that it isn’t always like this for other families but hey we never wanted to be like everyone else. Our family dynamic is, well – dynamic. Having special needs children who are stuck with each other day in and day out with no separation or relief from one another tends to bring out the little demons within. Now before you go all self-righteous on me about saying my children have little demons within, understand that 1) it’s just an expression and 2) you don’t know my children.

Stressed Out Single Mom

I’m sure that your kids are the picture of perfection and would never DREAM of throwing the remote at their sibling’s head because they won’t stop nagging them about getting their turn on the television. I’m sure that your little angels have NEVER colored all over their brother’s face while he was sleeping (only for mom to find out later that it was with a Sharpie). And I’m sure that your children don’t EVER overreact when their little sister comes into their room without knocking for the 8th time that day sending them into an absolute rage.

And you know what, you’re lucky. I’m sure your little angels have all their activities planned out for them. Or you have some fabulous trip in store for your week off of school and work. But for me spring break brings the knowledge that at some point any of those previously mentioned scenarios could very likely become a reality (and have in the past). And while some families are wondering if they will go to the beach or the indoor pool today, I’m just praying that I won’t have to break out my first aid kit.

surviving spring break, spring break, single mom success,

Now don’t get the wrong impression, my children aren’t raging monsters (even though I said that they have little demons within) they are just kids. Two teenage boys with brain injuries that cause problems for them when it comes to anger management and impulse control. Now stop and take that in for a moment. And think about what you know to be true about teenage boys – they ALREADY have impulse control issues and anger management issues at times due to raging hormones right? So add to that brain injuries that take away what little control they had to begin with over these things and you have somewhat of a powder keg situation in my house more often than not.

Throw in a dash of know it all little sister and BOOM!

Then add in that little sister who is at times more advanced than one of her brothers, knows more than he does in some areas AND has a pretty big personality. An 8-year-old who has very strong opinions and never wants to admit she is wrong – I can’t imagine where she got that from… There are many times where I have to physically separate her from her brother because neither will back down from a fight. Thankfully they haven’t crossed over to any physical fights yet, but I wouldn’t put it past her sometime soon – she’s pretty scrappy.

So when I say that my mission is to make it through this week with as minimal casualties as possible, I’m not joking. If I make it out with my sanity mostly intact and all three kids still with all their original parts, then I call that a success.

Thankfully today my daughter’s BFF is here and is keeping her busy with make overs, giggle fests and general crazy little girl things. The teenagers are in their separate rooms doing whatever moody teenage boys do (I try not to think too much about that). And I am attempting to actually get some work done.

So far so good… but it IS only 11:30am – we still have a long way to go.

Q&A With My 8 Year Old Daughter

So I recently decided that I wanted to do a Q&A segment where I would answer some of the questions that my readers and podcast listeners have asked. To get started though I asked my 8 year old daughter if SHE would like to be the first guest.

I decided today would be a great day to do it since we were stuck at home due to a local blizzard here in Colorado. (Yep that's how we roll here in Colorado in the spring.)

The Single Mom Blog - Colorado Spring

She was very excited to do this and I gotta say I was too. I can't believe I hadn't thought of it before! It was so much fun. She asked me some great questions and some that I didn't expect.

The Single Mom Blog - Wednesday Q&A

My daughter's questions were:

  1. When you were my age did you want to be a single mom?
  2. What was your reaction when you found out you were having twins?
  3. What was your reaction when you found out you were having another kid?
  4. What did you guys do for fun before I was born?
  5. When you were a kid, did you want three kids?
  6. What did you do for fun when you were a kid?
  7. How old were you when you got your first phone?

Welfare Hostage – The Trap of Government Assistance Programs

Anyone who has ever been on government assistance programs (or welfare) can attest that is isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. For most people welfare was never intended to be a permanent solution but only a short term boost until they could get back on their feet again.

However, as with almost everything in the world there are those whom abuse the system. Sadly, they are also the ones who usually are very vocal about the fact that they abuse it, and as such end up casting a shadow over all in the system.

The Single Mom Blog - Republican vs. Democrat

I have a relative who leans, well actually more like falls, to the right on the political spectrum and we rarely agree on anything. This relative has stated frequently how he believes that liberals/dems want to simply take advantage of the government and get everything for free. How those who are on government assistance programs are all lazy and just mooching off the government. That there are those who stay on it forever and just abuse it and take his hard earned money.

Sadly, there are many other people who believe the same thing. Are there many people who do abuse the welfare system? Yes, of course there are. However, those people are the minority not the majority of those who are receiving assistance. The problem is that most people do not fully understand what it’s like to be on those assistance programs. They are intended as a short term solution but for many they are also a trap that keep them dependent on the services they provide.

Many people don’t realize that I was on government assistance for almost 8 years on and off. Not because I wanted to be or because I was abusing the system. I was basically held hostage by the government assistance/welfare programs that were intended to help me. Sound crazy? Yeah for most people who haven’t experienced what I did, it would probably sound crazy.

The Single Mom Blog - Welfare Hostage, stressed over money

So let me break down what my experience was and why I tell people that I was a welfare hostage. After my son was hospitalized and his father was charged I no longer had anyone to watch my children while I was at work. I was working a full time job and NOT on government assistance at the time. BUT I wasn’t paying for childcare either because the boys would stay with their father while I worked. Imagine my shock when I found out that the cost to put my twins in a daycare was more than my rent.

I knew that there was no way I could afford that, so I started looking into assistance programs for child care. That led me to the Department of Human Services and their assistance programs. After I started looking into the programs I was again surprised by the fact that I made too much money at the time to qualify for child care assistance. What? How can that be? I don’t make enough money to actually afford child care but too much to qualify for assistance?

Ok so what do I do now? I need to work; I WANT to work. So I quit the job I had been at for over 4 years and took and almost 50% pay cut in order to meet the child care income requirements. Now if you are sitting there going, why the hell would you take that kind of pay cut? Well, here’s why – and here’s why most people get stuck in government assistance programs. The difference between the child care assistance program income cut off and what I would need to earn in order to actually afford child care was about $15,000 annually. For many this is the major issue – the assistance programs are not designed to help people become self-sufficient. In fact, they do the opposite, they keep you dependent.

So here is the scenario:

I took the pay cut to get the help needed for childcare assistance. I worked that job, did well and got a pay raise – which is what you would normally want right? But in this case it wasn’t because that raise wasn’t enough of a raise to actually afford my child care, but it WAS enough to put me over the income cut off and so I was immediately cut off of the child care programs.

So what happened then? I can’t work if I don’t have child care so I would lose my job. Now without a job how do I support my family? So I had to go back on assistance to get the child care assistance and fins another job. Then I was back in the circle again of working, hitting the income limit and losing assistance again.

welfare hostage, the single mom blog, single mom, empty pockets

This is the constant struggle that many people on assistance programs face. The inability to ever completely pull themselves away from the programs that are intended to help them. Not everyone has family or friends who can watch their children. Not everyone will be given a $15,000 annual raise that will finally put them in a financial position where they can finally afford the child care they need to work full time. So what are their options at that point?

I make this point on a regular basis to people like my relative who don’t truly understand what these kinds of circumstances are like. They rage and rage about how people like this are just mooching off the government like everyone on assistance is just sitting around eating lobster on the government dime. Again, are there those who do abuse the system? Yes. But there are also millionaires and corporations who abuse the system by hiding their earnings and not paying taxes.

If you are going to rage against one, then be sure to rage against the other as well. Or instead how about you don’t judge situations that you know nothing about. Try to see things from another perspective. OR if the way the programs are structured REALLY bothers you enough to yell or say horrible things about other people – maybe you should look into how you could HELP create change.

Are You Living Your Life Deliberately on Purpose?

Are you living your life deliberately on purpose? Or are you simply reacting to what life throws at you? I recently had to ask myself this same question…

Every year I attend a conference in Phoenix hosted by Infusionsoft (Now Keap). If you haven't heard of Infusionsoft don't worry, you're probably not a marketer or small business owner, BUT I guarantee you that if you have ever filled out a form on someone's website and then started getting emails from them – you've at least experienced a small part of Infusionsoft (Now Keap).

Infusionsoft by Keap is a CRM/Marketing platform that helps small businesses automate their sales and marketing. It is a very powerful tool that many business owners use. Ever heard of Damond John from Shark Tank? Or Steve Harvey? Yep, they use the software too.

Every year the good folks at Infusionsoft throw a big conference for us geeks and marketing people to go to; and every year I go I learn a whole truckload of new things. This year though was a little different. I still learned all the great marketing tips and tricks that I use in my business and I still met a TON of really amazing people. But this year they had a new MC for the event – Scott Harris.

In the last few years the owners brother was the MC, and he was always wonderful. Very happy, very excited and really fun to watch – I always enjoyed seeing him. This year however, with Scott at the helm, the main sessions took on a different tone. Instead of just being entertained while waiting for our next speaker, we were coached.

Now for some of you coaching, or life coaching, is not a new thing. You've probably heard of it, been told about it or even experienced it yourself. For many it is a foo foo thing that they feel doesn't work. For others it is a life changing experience that they would experience again and again.

You've seen coaches before, people like Tony Robbins (the guy with the big teeth) and Dr. Wayne Dyer – coaches who range from money and wealth coaches to spiritual coaches. There are so many out there and they more often than not truly help people become better in one form or another.

For this Infusioncon event though, having Scott there created a change in the framework that I truly enjoyed. Now, not only was I coming away from this conference with new ideas and resources for my business. I also was coming away with a new mindset.

I am going to live my life deliberately on purpose!

The Single Mom Blog - Live Your Life Deliberately On Purpose

One of the many things that Scott brought up was that you only get this one life, this one body and this one time and that time isn't getting any longer – it's getting shorter. So what are you making of this one life you have? What are you doing with that time you are given? Are you living your life full out? Or are you sitting there waiting until tomorrow to do the things you know you should be doing?

I have so many goals and dreams that I have never taken massive action on. I take little steps here and there but I never have just gone full out and passionately gone after them. I know that I took a huge risk in order to start my business and grow it to what it is now but I still have been playing it safe because of fear.

I am afraid to put my dreams and visions out there on a grand scale because I hate to fail, I fear being ridiculed and more than that I fear being ineffective. Putting my dreams out there only to be told that they don't matter to anyone but me. Now I KNOW that is an irrational fear but it is one I have struggled with my whole life.

During the sessions at Infusioncon this year we were given a workbook (which is another thing I really liked about this years event) that we were to take notes in as we went along. And the recurring theme in MY notebook was this: STOP BEING SO DAMN SCARED.

The Single Mom Blog - Live Life Deliberately On Purpose

I have allowed the fear of failing to keep me from truly pursuing my dreams and visions. I haven't been living full out and I know it. I know that had I put into motion all of the things that need to happen in my business and in my life I would be so much further down that path to my goals.

I came home from that conference with a renewed sense of purpose AND the drive and desire to break free from the things I have allowed to hold me back. I have created my goals and am now working on building out my process for accomplishing those goals.

The reason that I decided to post and podcast about this is that I know that there are many of you out there who also have goals and dreams and visions that your are not accomplishing. Are you allowing something to keep you from those goals? What excuses are you making for not starting today? How much MORE time to you think you will get?

Because like Scott said at my conference – you aren't getting more time in your life, you are losing time every second of ever day. One day you will look up and another year has gone by and you are no closer to your goals than you were before. What is keeping you from doing those things that you want to do? And don't say your children or your ex or your job… because those are not it.

Your major block is YOU and your mindset and your ability to take action. So how will you live your life? Just sitting there waiting for it to happen to you? Or will you go out and live with purpose?

Will you live your life deliberately on purpose?

I know I am going to!

Confessions of a Terrible, Horrible, Awful Mom

Yep, I am a terrible, horrible, awful mom. At least I would likely be labeled as one by the paparazzi and social media if I were a famous person. If I was a mother who's parenting style was constantly under scrutiny like many of the celebrity parents out there I would definitely be tagged with that headline.

Recently one of my favorite blogs – Scary Mommy – addressed an “article” from another site calling actress Charlize Theron a ‘monster mom' because she was “dragging” her son into her car.

The Single Mom Blog, horrible awful mom,

I love the Scary Mom blog because they have a sarcastic and smart ass type of style that mirrors my own. Their article reflected exactly what I was thinking when I saw that nonsense – that isn't dragging that is “getting an immobile child into the car”.

As a parent there have been many times when my child or even children have behaved poorly and we were forced to leave the store we were in. There have been many many times when my child has thrown himself to the ground and gone limp noodle while throwing a fit. Which makes it almost impossible to manage them WITHOUT picking them up and dragging them.

The debate has always raged on between those who think discipline is a good thing or a bad thing. Is it right or wrong to spank your child? Should you let your child just ‘express themselves‘ freely? It's a constant swirl of who is right and who is wrong – who is a good parent and who is an awful parent…

In the article they apparently had a “family relationship expert” review the photos and dissect everything that she was apparently doing wrong. This person went on to say that instead of telling the child what to do she should be “selling” the reason why he should get in the car. That she should be asking him about his feelings.

The Single Mom Blog - Awful Mom

Now I am all for asking my children to discuss their feelings and share their opinions. I do believe that it is important. However, if my child is flailing on the ground in the middle of a parking lot the last thing I am going to do is ask them about their feelings. At that moment in time my child is behaving poorly and I will NOT tolerate them laying on the ground (which by the way isn't all that safe in a parking lot!!) because they are unhappy.

If you are unhappy, fine – but you can express that when safely in the car, or outside of the store. You do not get to act like a butt and throw yourself around to get your way and expect me to just sit back and watch it happen. Especially in a parking lot where you could get run over by another vehicle.

Teaching My Children Consequences Makes Me An Awful Mom

My feeling toward dealing with or disciplining my children is basically that it is my job to prepare my children for a world that doesn't care if it hurts their feelings. Teaching them to believe that they can behave however they want, when they want simply because they feel like it is not going to be doing them any favors.

Especially for my boys who have impulse control as well as anger management issues – allowing them to believe that the world will bow to their behavior is not a good thing. They need to know that they can not get away with behaving like jerks without consequences. No. I'm not talking about beating or hurting children but there have to be consequences for bad behavior.

The Single Mom Blog - Awful Mom,

When there are no consequences for bad behavior children start to believe that they can do what they want and nothing will happen to them. Take for example the “Affluenza” kid who killed 4 people with his car and was pretty much let off the hook because he was “too rich” and had been raised to not know any better. And then what happens?

Then he ends up breaking his probation, leaving the country with his mom and all kinds of other B.S. and is now finally facing some jail time (hopefully). But it came at the cost of 4 people's lives. It came at the expense of another family who's son will never leave a wheelchair now. All because a child wasn't brought up to understand that bad behavior has consequences.

Teaching my children this does not make me an awful mom. Just like Charlize Theron trying to get her child into the car when he is doing the whole ‘limp noodle' thing does not make her a ‘mad mother‘. It makes her a parent, just like you or I doing the best that she can.

But like I said before, if teaching your child that they can not get away with behaving poorly without consequence makes me an awful mom, then I guess I'm an awful mom. And I will wear that badge proudly if it means my children will grow up as decent kids with the knowledge that they can't just be jerks.

The Challenge of Growing Up and Letting Go

Growing up and letting go… sounds a bit like an after school special title doesn't it?

Regardless of what it sounds like it is in fact what I am currently struggling with. It seems like it wasn't that long ago when my boys were just little kids and now I am coming face to face with the reality that my little boys aren't little anymore. They will be 16 this year, and to be quite honest I'm scared shitless about it.

I have openly admitted in the past that I am very protective of my children, probably more so than most mothers because of what happened to my son Gage. Having a child almost die is one of the worst experiences I have ever gone through. After that I have just dreaded even the possibility of something else happening to any of my children.

The Single Mom Blog, Letting Go - Boy Climbing a tree

Even something as simple as climbing a tree, something that I did quite often as a child, became something that makes me instantly nervous now with my children. The thought of them possibly falling and getting hurt is something that I can’t stop thinking about. Things like jumping on trampolines or even riding their bikes there is always a thought in my head of the possibility of them being hurt.

I know, I know – I’m over protective, I already admitted to it. I’ve been getting better as my kids have gotten older. However, now I am dealing with the looming fact that my boys are about to turn 16. ARG!!!!! Twin 16 year old boys! If you find yourself instantly feeling sorry for me, you are not alone. Every time I mention that I have twin teenage boys everyone always gets ‘that look’ on their face and says “I’m sorry”.

The Single Mom Blog - Letting Go, Teenage driver sign

As we get closer and closer to 16 my son Connor is now talking about possibly driving. We aren’t sure yet if he will be cleared to drive having a brain injury but we are starting to look into it. Now I’m faced with even MORE worry and stress and I have to wonder if my father went through the same thing when I started driving. Worrying about my safety, other drivers and any and every other thing that could possibly go wrong on the road. I’m sure every parent does.

I personally am dreading it not only because of the worry for their safety and such but because it means that they aren’t my little babies any more. *Sniff Sniff* It is so hard to believe that my little boys are almost legal driving age. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago when they were just little boys playing in the dirt out back with the dog. (Now I can barely get them out of their rooms and off their phones.)

Getting a driver’s license, staying home alone while I am out of town on business, looking into getting jobs and discussions on their futures – it’s enough to make a mom want to cry. Not just because my babies are getting older and I’m simply not ready but because I am so very proud of them. 15 years ago I was told my son Gage may never be able to walk or talk and now we are talking about what he is going to do for his future.Guess it’s time for mom to start working on being able to let go. My boys aren’t little boys anymore and coming to terms with that is definitely hard for me.