All Posts By Heather Wells

How Do You Forgive Someone Who Ruined A Life?

How do you forgive someone who ruined a life? If you have been following my blog for a while you know that I am the proud mama of two amazing special needs boys: Gage and Connor. Both are Shaken Baby Syndrome survivors and are two of the most important people in my life.

As you may have heard in previous podcasts I mention briefly about my son being hospitalized when he was only 5 months old and that he spent over a month at Children's Hospital here in Colorado. But I never dove too deeply into what happened to him or how it impacted us as a family.

The Single Mom Blog Baby in the ICU, Shaken Baby Syndrome

Gage's injuries were so severe that the doctors who were treating him were not sure if he would even survive, but if he did they said he would likely be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. They couldn't give me any promises or assurances of how he would do either once we realized he would actually be able to leave the hospital.

Gage was in a drug induced coma for several weeks and when he was finally able to come out of that coma he did so without any of the basic skills that babies are born with. He didn't have a sucking reflex and had to be ‘taught' how to nurse from a bottle again.

When he finally was able to leave the hospital he had to endure months and months of physical and occupational therapy to be able to hold his head up, sit up, walk, talk and all of the other things that babies normally learn all on their own. These things no longer came naturally to him because his brain didn't process things the way it was supposed to anymore.

Growing up his life has been a series of constant challenges. He has had to work three times as hard to accomplish things that would seem easy to other children. We have dealt with sensory integration issues, behavior issues, anger issues and more… things that “normal” children don't have to even think about or figure out how to work around.

All of this would be bad enough had it been some stranger, or child care worker who had done this to my child but it is even worse when it is your child's father. The one person in the whole world other than you who should have your child's best interests at heart. It's even more devastating at that point.

no justice, The Single Mom Blog, forgive

Having to go to court and defend yourself to lawyers, police officers and social services for leaving your child with the one other person in the world that your child should be the safest with. I fought for 2 years with social services to gain full custody of my children, not because I was a threat to them but because I had to prove that I could care for them as a single mother. (But that's a post for another time).

So how do you go about forgiving someone for something so horrible? I ask because I haven't found the answer yet. I look at my son and all of the challenges that he has faced and I can't help thinking ‘what was your life supposed to be'.  My son wasn't born with a disability it was something that was done to him. He was a perfectly healthy baby who had his whole life turned upside down before it ever really had a chance to begin.

I look at him and every time I see him struggle I get angry inside at the person who did this to him. As I sit here in the Children's Hospital Neurology Clinic (again) for yet another evaluation I get angry. While I wait to hear from the doctors what concessions will need to be made for my son because as he gets closer to 18 we have to plan for a life where he won't be able to care for himself.

Knowing that my son could have – and SHOULD have – had a different life than the one he has now fills me with so much rage toward his father. I know that it isn't healthy and many people have said that I need to learn how to forgive.

But how? How do you forgive someone who hurt your baby so horribly? How do you forgive someone who took away every chance at a ‘normal' life for your son? How do you see every day the struggles your child has to endure and forgive the person who caused them?

I don't know how. I haven't figured it out. I may never.

So I guess all I can do right now is continue to be there for my son, do everything in my power to empower him to succeed. Maybe the forgiveness will come in time – but I'm not holding my breath.

5 Fun and Easy Valentine’s Day Crafts

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5 Fun and Easy Valentine's Day Crafts

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I found a  very cute and easy Valentine's Day craft that is ideal for younger kids on the Martha Stewart website. Now normally I don't cruise the Martha Stewart site, because I am a bit domestically challenged and the site is not always up my ally. BUT for crafts and ideas like these it is one of my favorite places to go. This Crayon Heart project is fun and simple and lets your little ones be creative using items you already have around the house.

Click here to be taken to the site with all the information on how to create it! My 8 year old daughter and I did this and it was so much fun for her!

Martha Stewart Crayon Hearts
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Felt Valentine's Day Fortune Cookies
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Of course as always happens to me when I do actually visit a site like Martha Stewart's I end up spiraling down into the bliss of crafts and DIY projects. While doing this I found yet another really cute Valentine's Day craft/project.

This one is just a little bit more complex than the Crayon Hearts above but still something fun for a kid to do. These little Felt Fortune Cookies can be used for Valentine's Day parties at school, for family members and for teachers who would like to give something special for their students.

Click here for instructions on how to make these fun little cookies!

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Another quick and easy craft for you or your children to do this Valentine's Day is one that I found on the Real Simple website for Valentine's Day Votive Candles.

These candles are simple to make using Washi tape, ribbon and/or double sided tape. Votive candles can be picked up at your local dollar store or your local craft store for low cost. The Washi tape, ribbon and double sided tape can be purchased there as well. We used the double sided tape with red and pink glitter for some of the candles for a sparkly look! Click here for the original post in Real Simple.

Valentine's Day Votive Candles
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Valentine's Day Chalk Board Frame
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Chalkboard picture frames can also be a really fun project for your kiddos during Valentine's Day. We've done these before at our house but never for Valentine's Day. They are so very easy, you can buy cheaper picture frames at the dollar store or craft store and paint them with chalkboard paint.

In this example from the Real Simple website they have red chalkboard paint which I had never really seen. They linked to this site where you can find a ton of different color chalkboard paint (which I LOVE and plan on using for future projects). However I'm sure that you can also find it other places.

Your kiddos can paint the frames and then once dry write their very own Valentine's Day Messages.

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This last one is by far my favorite as it reminds me of when I was little and we made Pet Rocks. It is a simple and easy project that kids of all ages can enjoy.

So easy to make but so much fun, I found the idea here in the Grow Creative blog. All you have to do is find a couple of decent size rocks, clean them off and then it's time to decorate them. You can use Sharpies, paints or even washable markers depending on the rocks and which shows up best. Then you can cover them with ModPodge to seal them and also make them just a bit shiny.

These are so easy and fun and will last you for a long time. Plus they can be added to your garden when Spring rolls around to add some fun and color! The creator of the Grow Creative blog says she plans on leaving them around the neighborhood for people to brighten their day. And come on, how AWESOME is that!?!

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Valentine's Day Love Rocks

New Year – Not So New You?

Every year when New Year's Eve and the New Year roll around everyone starts talking about resolutions and how the New Year will bring a ‘New Them'. Which is great in theory – but when you start the New Year with these big plans or ‘resolutions' but you are still the same you inside then you will likely fail.

For example, if your resolution is to lose weight but you don't really change any of the bad habits that helped you gain the weight in the first place then you won't be successful. If your mindset isn't right then you will ultimately fail.

New Year goals The Single Mom Blog

How often have you found yourself saying “I'll start my diet tomorrow.” or “I'll exercise tomorrow.” and then you make another excuse and another. I know that I myself have been very guilty of it. I often times feel like the amount of weight I have to lose makes me feel like it's impossible so I give up before I even start. And unless I change that mindset for myself I will never lose the weight.

Changing your habits, replacing things instead of cutting things out and other various ‘tricks' can help you on your journey.

Being able to replace the bad habits with good habits was something that was key for me in quitting smoking so I believe that this would be helpful in losing weight as well. Changing the habit of snacking on chips into a habit of snacking on carrots instead. Minimizing the amount of sugar I eat is more likely for me than cutting out sugar completely because then I don't feel like I am depriving myself and end up binge eating an entire bag of mini Snickers.

Knowing my limitations and taking them into account are helpful for me when setting my New Year goals. I call them goals instead of resolutions because for me goals are more attainable. Goals no matter how big can be accomplished, even if it means that you need to break them down into smaller goals which seem more possible.

Resolutions always feel to me a bit like campaign promises. You know say you're going to do something to change things but then you don't really do anything to change at all.

New Year goals The Single Mom Blog

When I decided to quit smoking I knew what my limitations were there too. I knew that just cutting back for me wouldn't work. I knew that limiting myself to just a couple of cigarettes a day would never work for me even though it does work for some. I also knew that I didn't want to be dependent on patches or gum.

So for me quitting cold turkey was going to be the only way for me. I also had a lot of help from my son who came home one day from school in tears because they had done a presentation about smoking. They showed him the lungs of a smoker and talked about people dying from smoking. So he comes home crying “Mommy, I don't want you to die. Please stop smoking.

Hello Guilt!

But the guilt worked very well, I was able to quit cold turkey over 4 years ago. However, as often happens when you quit smoking I gained a lot of weight. So now the goal is to lose that weight.

I have decided to start a new workout program Cize along with my regular training sessions while my kids do Parkour. As well as changing my eating habits and limiting the junk food (which is by far the hardest thing for me).

I am also using an exercise tracker with the goal of working out 5 out of 7 days of the week. Also an app for tracking the food I eat so I can see where and when I go over too many calories. Establishing better habits and putting in checks and balances to try and keep myself in line when I want to stray from my path.

This weeks podcast goes more into how important it is to work on the internal as well as the external to make the goals that you set for yourself happen.

Are you spreading shame and judgement instead of joy?

The holiday season is by far my favorite time of year. I absolutely love seeing all the lights and decorations and putting up the Christmas tree with the kids. This time of year just always gives me that warm fuzzy feeling, but for some it brings a lot of judgement.

Recently a mother came under fire over social media for providing TOO MUCH for her children.

Judgement of mom for too many presents

Emma Tapping, mother of three and savings blogger, posted an image on her Instagram account showing her Christmas tree almost engulfed in presents. Soon after the image was taken and used to create a meme stating: “It's nearly time for all the materialistic parents to compete and broadcast how many presents their kids have. Just remember, there are a lot of children who won't get much.”

This set off a social media frenzy of people criticizing and casting judgment upon this mother for her post.

People started telling her that she was spending too much on her children. That she shouldn't spoil her kids like that. That it was wrong for her to post how much she had bought for her family when there were families out there with nothing or very little to give.

Judgement on how many gifts she bought for Christmas
Mother judged for the number of gifts she gave
Mom judged on social media for gifts
Mother judged for how many presents she bought

It's astonishing how many people came out of the woodwork just to slam this mother and judge her for how many gifts she had purchased for her kids. We live in a society today where, thanks to social media, people can be random assholes to anyone else.

People who would probably be perfectly nice to your face can go online and judge, insult and even sometimes threaten others. Have we become a society of assholes or is it just easier to be one due to the anonymity of the internet?

Personally I have no issue with this mother or how much she bought her children. Would I buy that much for my kids, no – but we aren't talking about me. These are her children and it is her money to do with as she pleases – so why do so many people feel that they can jump all over her for it?

Social media judges mom for buying too many gifts

Not everyone were jerks about it though. Many people came to her defense online. Many who understood that not only was she allowed to do for her children as she pleased, but also that she was a savings blogger who knows how to get more bang for her buck!

Also, because she is a saver she was probably able to buy more gifts because of the money she had saved throughout the year!

I've done posts before about judging others and how as parents we sometimes face it from multiple different sources. Sometimes we are judged by what we do or don't do as parents. How we discipline or don't discipline our children. We get judged by our families, friends, other parents and now thanks to social media complete strangers!

This is the time of year when we are supposed to be a little bit kinder and nicer. I mean we should be those things all year round but at Christmas time even more so right?

So why lately do I see more people being rude, mean, flat out jerks to others? Who are you to cast your judgement upon me or anyone else? Is your life perfect? Are YOU perfect? No, because none of us are. And if this woman wants to buy her children a mountain of presents then who are you or anyone else to tell her she shouldn't?

Family on Christmas eve at fireplace.

Are there many children out there who have very little or nothing coming their way for Christmas? Of course there are. And sadly it will probably always be that way. However, should you just assume that because this woman bought so much for her kids that she isn't aware of that? Do you know if she donated all of their old items to those who were in need? Do you know if she used her smart shopping savvy to buy even more stuff and donated that to those in need?

No you don't. You don't know and therefore you shouldn't judge.

The best thing about the holidays for me is watching my children open whatever gifts they get. There were many years where we didn't have much, and there have also been years where we had an abundance of gifts. Either way as long as I teach my children to be grateful for all they have then it doesn't matter how much or how little they get.

And for all anyone knows this woman teaches her children the same thing. I mean if she blogs about saving money I'm sure she has to be imparting some of that wisdom onto her children.

So how about instead of sitting in judgement of people we do not know, instead we start embracing the spirit of the season and be a little kinder to one another. Stop judging and shaming people you don't even know and start spreading joy instead.

I'll start by wishing EVERYONE the Happiest of Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Merry Festivus for the Rest of Us!

The True Meaning of Christmas in A Starbucks Cup? [Podcast]

Unless you have been living under a rock you've probably heard about the recent strike in the ‘War on Christmas'. That's right! Yet another company is guilty of taking the ‘Christ' out of Christmas. Starbucks recently unveiled their holiday cup and apparently there is a bit of an issue with it.

IT'S RED.

The Single Mom Blog, Starbucks Christmas Cup

That's it, nothing more – just red. Now for most of us rational and non-nut bag people this is not an issue. Red cup with a green logo, that's pretty festive to me. (Maybe next year they can make it plaid – I like plaid.) In the past Starbucks has had cups with reindeer, snow flakes, ornaments and such as decor on their mugs. This year they went with something basic and yet still Christmas-like. Just plain red.

There were a few people that appeared to have a problem with this. One gentleman took to YouTube to express his distaste of the new cups and the internet blew up.

“Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups?”

Starbucks Christmas Cup Idiot with a gun

Joshua Feuerstein has decided that Starbucks wants to remove Christ from the holiday. He says that they won't even let their employees say Merry Christmas. So he suggested instead of boycotting them people should go and BUY coffee there. And when they ask for the name give their names as Merry Christmas. Thereby ‘tricking' Starbucks employees into saying “Merry Christmas”.

There have been many responses to this cup controversy

Starbucks Christmas Cup - The Single Mom blog
Starbucks Christmas cup The Single Mom Blog

… but Ellen's response is by far my favorite!

“Now this holiday season if you want Christmas with your breakfast you're gonna have to do it the old fashioned way. You're going to have to get really really high and then you have to go to IHOP and just stare at your pancakes and ‘I see baby Jesus in there' …”

Now let's step past the fact that Starbucks has never professed to be a Christian company. And the fact that they have never had any specific religious images on their cups in the past. And instead focus on the real issue here. How a coffee cup could possibly dictate one's religious beliefs. Is the removal of holiday images from this paper drinking container really going to cause people to turn away from their faith?

Is it possible for one company to wreak havoc on an entire belief structure simply by what images they do or do not print on their merchandise? Is your faith so flimsy that a coffee cup could make you question it? Holy shit! Starbucks has some serious power!

As a non-religious person I do not take ANY offense at the extensive amount of religious paraphernalia that I am bombarded with this time of year. The manger scenes. The religious references in Christmas songs. The constant barrage of images of Jesus on the cards I get in the mail. WHEN WILL IT END!!! (insert sarcasm here)

Nativity scene The Single Mom Blog

Non of these things offend or bother me. And none of them make me feel a sudden urge to convert or start going to church. So how would the removal of those things cause you or anyone else to STOP believing? Is your faith so easily shaken? Would the removal of any or all those items make you forget why YOU celebrate the holiday? I doubt it.

So Starbucks removing holiday imagery from their cups shouldn't either. It's not as though they had a giant cross on all their items and decided to remove them due to public scrutiny. No. They made the cups red. Nothing more, nothing less.

How about as Christians, instead of worrying what a company prints on their products you worry about the things that actually matter instead. Homelessness, poverty, hunger, famine, the wars that are being fought, the soldiers who are being ignored, the refugees who need help…

As a nation we spend so much time focusing on trivial things and imagined slights that we often miss the bigger picture. So instead of worrying about what is on your coffee mug maybe spend some time being thankful for what you have. Focus on the good in your life and help do good in another person's life. Remember that no matter what your belief structure is – the base of it is likely love and compassion. THAT is what the holiday is supposed to be about – not what is printed on a paper cup.

Oh and for the people who are ‘tricking' Starbucks into saying Merry Christmas – I'm certain Starbucks is just fine with that. Their profit increase thanks you!

5 Things I’ve Learned From My Special Needs Son

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5 Things I've Learned From My Special Needs Son

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As many of my readers and podcast subscribers know my twin boys were shaken by their father when they were infants. My son Gage’s injuries were so severe he was hospitalized for a month and a half at Children’s Hospital. His doctors told me that if he were to survive his injuries he would likely be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. My son defied all odds and amazed all of his doctors with his recovery. It has taken years of work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy; not to mention MRI’s, CAT scans and countless neurology appointments but at 15 my son has been able to attend school and is in his sophomore year of high school.

Gage at 15
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However, he also has many delays and various issues. Gage's brain injury has caused delays in his executive function as well as his coping skills and anger management. His age is 15 but developmentally he is closer to 8 or 9 years old at times. Gage doesn't always understand the consequences of his actions. He is quick to lose his temper and has low functioning coping skills.

This has made for a dynamic and often times explosive home environment. When you add to that a brother with his own delays from his brain injury. As well as a little sister who has started to pass him on many levels. We tend to have many different arguments and blow ups in our home. Having to deal with all these things I have learned a lot.

Here are the top 5 things I have learned from having a special needs child.

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Patience – This has been the hardest thing to learn and even harder to maintain. As my son has grown the challenges have changed. Gage’s brain injury changed the way his brain processes information. It doesn’t function the way ‘normal’ people’s brains do. Gage left the hospital with low coping skills, sensory integration issues, and problems communicating. As a young child he would often have lots of outburst but because he couldn’t communicate it was a guessing game to figure out what the cause was. It took my family and I months to realize that the sound of paper tearing terrified him and would make him to scream. As he got older I couldn’t even take him down the Halloween costume isles at the stores because it was all too overwhelming for him.

As a teenager we are now dealing with hormones & teenage attitude which is a whole new circle of hell. There are days when he will have hour long rage-fests and I end my day physically and mentally wiped out. Only to turn around and do it again the next day. Every day I practice taking DEEP breaths and walking away until things calm down. Being a parent is hard enough, but having a special needs child requires levels of patience you didn’t even know you possessed.

Pick Your Battles – Gage's brain injury often causes him to see things in only black or white. There is no grey. People who have traumatic brain injuries will often have emotional and behavioral problems. When he gets his mind set on something it is almost impossible to get him to change it. Which means if we make plans and then need to change them he is often upset. He doesn’t always understand why things just can’t be the way he wants them all the time. There are many times when I have to pick my battles with him. Is it really worth a 2-hour argument over whether or not he has cheese balls with dinner? Probably not. Do I want to get into an argument over whether or not he needs to shower today? Yeah, that’s an important one. There are many times when it’s easier for everyone in the family to allow certain things to slide than to engage him. Sometimes people don’t understand this or they criticize my parenting. They don't understand that sometimes the peace that we get from giving in to those small things far outweighs the downside from them.

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Gage Age 8

Some people are assholes. – Having a special needs child has made me realize that there are some people who are just assholes. I have had complete strangers come up to me in stores and tell me that I should control my child when he is having a fit. I have had people tell me that if I can’t control my kid I shouldn’t take him out in public. One person even tried to get in my son’s face and yell at him. This just made my son scream louder and I almost did physical harm to said stranger. People have no idea that my son is a special needs child because he doesn’t LOOK like he has special needs. I understand that my son’s meltdowns can be disturbing and often disruptive, but they don’t hurt anyone. Yes, I am aware that they can be annoying, just as a complete stranger telling you how to parent is annoying. Most people ignore him and continue about their business. But there are always those special few who feel it is their duty to put in their two cents on how I should handle my child.

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Gage Shaken Baby Survivor EEG
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Some people don’t know any better. – It took me some time to realize that those above mentioned assholes just didn’t know any better. They couldn’t possibly tell that my son had a brain injury that caused him to lash out when scared, angry or frustrated. They didn’t know that when he was a toddler screaming was his only form of communication. They didn't know about his speech delay. And they didn’t know that just the seams of his socks in the wrong position caused extreme reactions.  Not every child with a disability shows it on the outside, some disabilities can’t be seen.

Sometimes they are only noticeable when something is wrong. Not everyone is able to understand or deal with it when those issues come up. All they see is a child laying on the ground screaming. So I have learned to take everything with a grain of salt. Now when a situation comes up where I have to deal with someone who feels they need to ‘help’ me parent. I remind myself that some people just don’t know any better and I smile and walk away. (OK sometimes I still call them assholes in my mind, but not as much as I used to.)

It’s not personal. – Now that my son is a teenager I am dealing with puberty, hormones and all the attitude that comes with them. Add on the problems that come with a brain injury and my son is a powder keg most of the time. The smallest spark can set him off and he explodes. When he does have an episode there are times when I feel bad or responsible for the problem. As parents we often blame ourselves when our children have problems or issues. If only we had said ‘no’ more. If only we hadn’t given them processed foods. If only, if only, if only.  I have to remind myself not to take it personally when my son has one of these episodes. The times when he says mean things because he is so frustrated, I can’t take it personally. Because I know that he is only lashing out because he doesn't know how else to handle it. I wait for the storm to pass. Then, when he is calm enough to understand and process what I tell him, we go over the issue. We talk about what happened and how he can better handle it next time.

My son is one of the most amazing young men in the world. He has worked so hard to get where he is today and we as a family have struggled with him through all the ups and downs. We still have a long way to go and a lot more work to do. And while I try to teach him how to manage his disability – he teaches me too. And I am a better person and mother because of it.

Are You Using Social Media to Shame Your Children?

Today's Single Mom Podcast discusses a topic that has really started to bother me lately. As a parent I completely understand that there are times when our children will push us to our absolute limits. Times when we will be so angry that we have to walk away from them and count to eleventy-billion before we can even think of speaking to them again. Often times this will result in the child being grounded or punished in some form or another.

However, there has been a steady increase over the past few years of parents utilizing social media to dish out what some are calling tough love and others call emotional abuse. Parents who take to Facebook or YouTube and post videos of them basically humiliating their children for all the world to see.

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

A few years ago you wouldn't have seen anything like this going on, but it has become a disturbingly recurring subject on my social media feeds. The first one I remember is of a gentleman who had seen his daughter post a letter to him on Facebook basically being a spoiled brat and complaining about having to help around the house. He read her letter on the video and then after talking a bit more to make his point to his daughter he then shot her laptop.

This one actually didn't bother me so much because he didn't put his daughter on the screen, he didn't call her names or try to degrade her – what he did was speak to her in the same fashion that I would my own child if they were being disrespectful. Now personally I wouldn't have shot the lap top, I would have kept it for my own OR given it away to a child in need of one instead – one who would have appreciated it in a way that his daughter didn't seem to. But hey, it was his property to do what he wished with.

Lately though I have seen parents recording videos of their children where they stand them up with signs stating what they did wrong, yelling at them and even calling them names. Degrading them on camera and then posting in online for the whole world to see and comment on.

It appears to just keep getting worse, almost as if it is some kind of sick contest to see which parent can out do the other or get the most likes on their videos/posts. They seem to thrive on those who give them positive feedback as if the need the validation that they are ‘doing the right thing‘ by treating their children like that. I understand wanting to give your child tough love and feeling like the only way to get through to them is with extreme measures but this? This is something that I simply do not understand or condone.

bullies, The Single Mom Blog

The internet is FOREVER people. Once you post something online you can't ever take it back. These poor kids will have this potentially haunting them forever. Other kids may see what was posted online and use it to further embarrass or degrade them. Basically these parents have turned into the type of person that we try and protect our children from.

Think about it, if someone else was recording your child being teased, bullied or embarrassed and posted it online as a parent you would be mad as hell about it. For some reason though these parents have justified doing these things to their kids because they are the parent – which doesn't actually justify it because AS parents we should be better than that.

What kind of example are you setting as a parent by doing this to your child? You are showing them that it is ok to degrade and embarrass others. We live in a society now where when our children witness injustices or bullying they now take out their phones to record it rather than actually stepping in and helping. For example when this kid was beating up a blind kid. A BLIND KID! – there was a group of children just standing and watching while another was recording the whole thing. Thankfully another kid stepped in to help the blind teen who was being attacked.

As parents though maybe if we stop using video and social media to ‘punish‘ our children and teach them it's okay to embarrass and degrade others then MAYBE they will not in turn think they can do it to others. So please for the love of your children, stop using social media as a platform to embarrass your children into submission. Try grounding them, taking away every piece of electronic equipment they have, make them do community service ANYTHING other than social shaming.

5 Reasons Why Consignment Sales Are The Best

As a single mother I am always looking for various ways to save money and one of my biggest expenses is clothing for my kids. Especially with how quickly my daughter is growing. As a baby she was growing out of her clothes every few months it seemed.

So when I found out about a local consignment sale I was very excited to see what that was all about. I had looked into consignment stores in the past, where you take your items in and they stay at the store until someone comes in and buys them – but I was never really a fan. There is no guarantee of if there will be customers coming in and where will your items be stored or displayed?  And on top of that, how long will it take for my items to sell (if they ever sell at all)?

So when one day I found the ad for the Denver Just Between Friends sale I became very interested. JBF is a franchise that runs consignment sales across the country where people can buy and sell gently used items twice per year. (Other locations may have sales more often – I can only speak to the Denver sale on frequency.)

The very first time I logged into their site I was very impressed with the way they ran the sale and decided that I would try it out and have participated in every sale since!

Here are the top 5 reasons I love consignment sales.

1. Quality, gently used clothes at a fraction of the cost

Let’s face it, kids are expensive! Especially when they are growing out of everything you buy them in record time. Things that I bought my daughter new for Christmas or new school clothes would be too tight or too short within months of getting them for her. So having to constantly renew her wardrobe became extremely costly. The consignment sale I go to allows me to get her ‘new to her’ clothing at 1/3 of what I would pay at the stores, sometimes even less than that!

AND half the time there are clothes there from places I would NEVER actually shop at myself. I have gotten clothes from the GAP, Baby Phat, Children’s Place, Justice and more – and at prices that I can actually afford. (I refuse to pay $20 for a shirt that my daughter will grow out of in 6 months). I found 2 pair of practically new jeans on a hanger selling for $5. $5 for TWO pair of jeans!

The clothes are in great condition and at the low prices I can even afford to buy a size up just in case she has another growth spurt. Last sale I purchased 64 items at a total of $145. That is roughly $2.25 per item – know anywhere else you can get jeans for less than $3?

2. Clearing out items from our home

For years I was holding on to my daughter's highchair, crib, play pen and stroller. They were just sitting there in our garage. I had tried to sell them at garage sales with no success and those items you can no longer donate to the Good Will due to recalls and such – they don't have the desire to check for recalled items. I couldn't bring myself to just throw them away because it is just wasteful and horrible for the environment. AND I didn't have any friends who were having babies that I could give them to.

So when I discovered this sale I thought hey I can just take them there. On my very first sale I was finally able to sell all of those items that had just been sitting there for so long. I made a pretty good amount of money from them too, definitely more than I could have made at a garage sale or selling them on Craigslist. AND the Just Between Friends Sale has a dedicated person who's job it is to stay on top of any recalls so when you bring your items to the sale they are checked against the recall lists to make sure that they are safe.

Every year, twice a year, when the sale rolls around I go through all of the clothing that my children no longer fit in, the toys they no longer play with, the books they no longer read, movies they no longer watch and I take them to the sale. Instead of throwing things away or simply giving them away I am getting the opportunity to make some money back from all those things that I have bought and paid for over the years. AND the clothes that I bought from the sale that my daughter grows out of – you guessed it – they go right back to the sale (provided they are still in good condition).

3. Meeting great people and other moms

The Just Between Friends sale also rely on a lot of volunteer help from those who consign or shop with them. Because it is a sale of such a grand scale they need a lot of help setting up, breaking down, checking out, and so on. So every sale I not only consign and shop but I also volunteer. Now at the Denver sale when you volunteer for certain shifts or to do certain things (like bring dinner or help advertise the sale) you get perks – like a pre-shopping pass or something like that, where you can shop early before the masses arrive.

Also, when you consign and volunteer you get an additional percentage from the sale of your items. So typically a consignor would get 60% from the sale of their items, but when you volunteer for certain shifts you can also earn an additional 10% from your sales. Which is great!

But one of the things that I love most about volunteering for the sale is the opportunity to meet some great people. Other moms and such, little ones who come with their parents to the sale. It's a really fun time and I always enjoy it. I have met some really great ladies at these sales.

(Another perk of volunteering is that you will usually walk A LOT. So you get a fair amount of exercise as well. Last sale I walked over 13,000 steps in a 6 hour period.)

4. Getting the clothing for my kids for FREE

FREE? Yep, basically for free and sometimes even at a profit! I know, I know that sounds a bit crazy but hear me out.

For my very first JBF sale I consigned a TON of items, piles of clothes, toys that hadn't been taken out of the toy box in years, movies, books and of course my daughter's baby items. I also shopped for new clothes for her, basically replacing her entire Spring/Summer wardrobe because she had grown out of everything over the winter months.

I found a TON of clothes for her, in all honesty I went a little bit overboard and ended up with about 85 items of clothing. However, those 85 items of clothing only cost me $165 so all in all not too shabby! Now here's where it gets really good – in that first sale after everything was tallied up I earned $258 from the items I sold.

So $258 – $165 = $93 in PROFIT after purchasing new clothes, so basically I got a whole new wardrobe for my daughter without spending a cent, in fact I earned money. How amazing is that? To be able to buy new clothing for your child without it impacting your budget? In fact having it HELP your budget. Pretty great right. Now I will say that these results aren't always the case, but for the better part I usually earn more than I spend at every sale.

5. Our things still get donated

So for years and years before I found out about this sale I would simply donate everything that my kids outgrew. That way there wouldn't be a waste, I knew that it would go to help others get clothing either for free or at a low price AND it didn't do harm to the environment by simply throwing things away. I still do donate items that don't make the cut for the sale (things that have small stains on them or tiny holes, books with writing on them etc.) but for the most part everything goes to the sale.

The last thing about this sale that I want to mention, that I also absolutely love, is that if you wish you can tell them that any items that do not sell at the sale you want them to donate. And THEY will take them to be donated for you. So not only are you given the chance to possibly make some money back on items that you have bought for your children, you can also still donate them should they not be picked up at the sale.

You can also choose to not donate if you want to pick the items back up once the sale is over. Many people do that and then just bring them to the next sale to try again and sell the things that didn't sell last time. Which is great for some people as well. Personally I just donate anything that didn't sell, that way I don't bring the things BACK into my house and I am hopefully doing some good as well.[/vc_column_text]

And there you have it, the Top 5 Reasons that I love consignment sales. Now if you are interested in finding out more about the Just Between Friends sale you can click here and see if there is one in your area.

Also I highly recommend listening to the podcast that I did about the sale as it has some helpful tips on how to get ready for the sale, things that I have learned about the sale and so on.

Stop Sending Your Sick Child To School! (It’s Not That Simple)

In today's podcast I talk about how recently one of my lovely children brought home a nasty little bug that they happily spread around to our entire family, not once but twice! Yep that little germ decided that it was having such a good time making us feel yucky that it stuck around for a second round of phlegmy shenanigans.

Now I am fairly certain that this pesky germ was introduced to our family from one of their friends from school. There have been a multitude of sick kids in my daughter's class as well as at my sons' high school; children are just little walking petri dishes. This is normally where you see people posting about how people should keep their sick kids home so they don't make everyone else sick. If you were expecting that kind of a rant then you should stop reading at this point.

I am not one of those people who will complain about people sending their kids to school sick, because I have in fact in the past sent my children to school sick. Yep, I have dosed my child with cough  medicine and Tylenol and sent them on their not-so-merry ways all the while hoping that they remember to cover their mouths when they cough and to wash their hands.

Now, before you start going into spastic fits of parental outrage, let me explain why I did so and why I do not fault other parents for doing the same.

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to stay home when their children get sick. 

Wait – did I just say ‘luxury'? Yes – luxury. While it may not seem like it at the time, while you are wiping snotty noses and faces, trying to keep fevers down or holding back hair while your child pukes up everything they just ate – it is in fact a luxury to be able to do these things.

You see the reason that I don't judge or get angry at those parents who send their children to school still fighting off whatever germy has happened to infect them that week is because I know that not everyone can afford or are able to take time off to stay home with their child when they are sick.

As a single mother there were many times when I knew that if I called in again because my child was sick I would likely lose my job. There were times when I knew that if I took any more time off to stay home with my little one I wouldn't earn enough on that check to make the rent or pay the light bill.

The Single Mom Blog - Welfare Hostage, stressed over money

Many parents out there, both single and two parent households, are just one unexpected bill or one missed day of work away from not making it. As a single parent my budget was always extremely tight and many times I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. So when I had to miss work because my child was sick, it caused a huge problem with my finances.

Not everyone gets sick time. Not everyone has a significant other who can pick up extra hours to cover what you weren't able to work. Not everyone has another parent that can tag team and stay home while you go back to work. So when I say ‘luxury' of being able to stay home – that is exactly what it is.

Working from home allows me that luxury of being able to still earn a living while my child is home sick. I am able to take care of them AND still work. Not everyone can do that, and not that long ago I couldn't either. So yes, I was one of those parents who sent their child to school sick just praying that they would be able to make it through the day, because I couldn't afford to lose my pay OR even possibly my job.

And YES I am aware that if people didn't send their children to school sick, other kids would be less likely to get sick as well. However, even if every child who was sick stayed home and didn't go to school – they would STILL get sick. I mean let's be real here, the only way to keep kids from catching things is to isolate them and put them in a bubble.

They're gonna play with their friends, they are gonna touch a surface with germs on it – hell for a period of time my son would lick everything he came across. (Yes, I know it's gross – he's a boy and I couldn't watch him every second.) And here's the other thing – for most children getting sick every now and again is a good thing. It's how they develop stronger immune systems, their bodies need to learn how to fight off germs and they do that by catching the germs.

Which is one of the reasons that my children have not gotten the flu shot for the last several years. Now don't start jumping all over me again – I am not anti-vaccine, I believe all children should have their shots for all the biggies – measles, mumps, polio, etc.

However, the flu shot is not something that I feel they need every year – but there are some who have lower immune systems, poor respiratory health and so on for whom the flu could actually be fatal. For those people it is VERY important that they get the flu shot, because it could save their lives.

My children DID get the flu shot when they were infants and toddlers when their immune systems were still young and getting the flu would possibly be fatal, however now they are older and do not get the shot. Neither do I. And we have yet to catch the flu.

We don't get sick often and when we do it takes a pretty super-bug to knock us down (like the one we recently had) but even that doesn't knock us down for too long. (Before this last bug hit us it had been almost 2 years since any of us were sick with a cold.)

I also am not an over-sanitizer, I don't make them sanitize their hands every 15 minutes, I don't wipe down the grocery carts at the store, I don't carry bottles of hand sanitizer in my purse. I'm pretty sure that I lived through a childhood without various forms of hand sanitizer just fine and my children are too.

I truly believe that the reason that my children aren't sick as often as other children is BECAUSE they have been exposed to, AND survived mind you, other sick kids and germs. Your child getting sick every now and again is NOT the end of the world, it really isn't. Now for some children who do have weakened immune systems or other health problems, I know that being around other sick kids is more serious than for other kids. However, if they are in school there will sadly never be a way for them to not be exposed to germs, again – little walking petri dishes.

So while I understand that no one wants their kids to get sick and feel miserable, maybe stop and take a moment to realize that when parents do send their children to school sick, they aren't doing it to purposefully infect your children, but because maybe they don't have another option available to them.

I'm sure that every parent in the world would like to be able to take as much time as needed to get their babies healthy again before returning them to academia, but not everyone can.

So the next time you find yourself complaining about ‘those parents‘ that let their child infect your child while at school, try stopping to realize that you don't know that parent's story or why they allowed their child to go to school sick. Maybe show a little compassion and realize that other parents aren't deliberately sabotaging your child – maybe they just didn't have any other option.

My Weight Loss Struggle: Injections, Parkour and French Fry Eating Trainers

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My Weight Loss Struggle: Injections, Parkour and French Fry Eating Trainers

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In July of this year I posted about my struggle to lose weight and that I wanted to lose 40 pounds. Now to some that may not be a lot, and to others that may be a TON of weight to lose. For me it feels like a ton of weight to lose because for some reason it is much harder to lose the weight than it was to gain it. Go figure!

Now to get me started on my journey of weight loss I looked into many different things. I tried Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, weight loss clinics where they gave me injections in my butt cheek and diet pills and while some of these were mildly successful they didn't really seem sustainable for me. I mean the Nutrisystem food was ok but after a while I got tired of eating them and wanted to just go out and get a damn burger! Plus the cost for me was not something that I could really justify having three children and an extremely tight budget.

The injections I started because I got a Groupon in my email about them and I thought “Hey, why not try it and see if it gets me any results”. So I scheduled my appointment and went into the clinic to find out what it was all about. The first thing that I found was that the injections were to go in my butt cheek. Um – awkward. The next thing I found was that on top of the injections, which I was supposed to do monthly I also was to take some diet pills AND limit my caloric intake to 1200 calories per day.

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Um…that's not a lot. I already knew after leaving the clinic that day that this was going to be a pretty big struggle for me. I don't like dieting. I am REALLY BAD at it. However, I decided to give it the old college try and for a few weeks I was good, but it didn't last. I have the will power of a field mouse. So the 1200 calorie thing didn't last long BUT I was still going in for the injections that were covered in my Groupon.

The results weren't too bad, I did lose weight while getting the injections and taking the pills but once the Groupon ran out the cost to continue down this path was again not really sustainable for me. I couldn't justify spending that kind of money on something that seemed frivolous and to be quite honest I knew that once I stopped getting the injections and taking the pills that my weight would most likely go back up. Which it did.

This brings me to getting a trainer. Now I know you may be thinking – ‘If she couldn't afford or justify spending the money in other areas how can she justify the cost of a trainer.‘ Well here's how.

My kids have been involved in parkour for over a year now. (If you aren't familiar with what parkour is you can click on the links and see some of the amazing videos that our gym has posted showing you all about it.) Basically it is a form of free running and tumbling and all kinds of awesomeness. My son became interested in it a while back and after he started going to the gym his sister decided that she wanted to join as well. I love it because it is great exercise for them, they learn a lot, and have a BLAST doing it.

We go to a local gym called Path Movement which is owned by some really fantastic people and they have some amazing coaches there. So for a while they would go train and I would just sit and read or catch up on work and such. Then one day they decided to offer personal training. AHHHHH!!! So now while my children do parkour I am able to work with a personal trainer instead of sitting on my butt. And best of all because the whole family goes we get a family rate. So I can justify the expense of having a trainer because the fitness class is included along with the cost for my children's parkour. Also, it is a lot cheaper than having one on one with a personal trainer BUT I still get the personal experience that having a trainer gives.

This is my trainer Brandon Kelly. Pretty awesome right? No he doesn't always look like this of course but he is a great trainer despite the fact that the other day he was eating Wendy's french fries in front of us as we trained. But it's ok because I stole one while he wasn't looking. HA!

Seriously though, training has helped me be stronger and feel a ton better! I still have a ways to go to meet my weight loss goal (which is totally my fault because I still REALLY LIKE FOOD) – but I am making progress. If nothing else I am not GAINING more weight and that is success for me as well and I truly enjoy the training sessions which is weird because usually I don't like working out at all. So that goes a long way toward showing how great both my trainer AND the staff at Path Movement are. Here are some more great pics of the staff and kids doing what they do at Path.

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So where am I on my weight loss goal of losing 40 pounds? Well like I said, it hasn't been easy but I have made some progress and while it may be slow, progress is progress.

My Weight Loss Progress

Starting Weight 215lbs
Current Weight 205lbs
Goal Weight 170lbs
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Did You Say That I Think I’m Perfect?

So recently I was told by he who shall not be named, that I thought I was perfect. That I had no right to express concern for our daughter and the issues that have come up around the drinking and she who shall not be named being, well – kind of a headcase. He spent a great deal of time telling me how wrong I was, how shitty it was that I was planning on taking him to court again, how I thought I was so perfect…

UGH. Perfect. I actually hate that word. I tell the kids all the time that perfect is boring, normal is boring. No I don't profess to be perfect, nor would I ever want to be. What I do want is a safe environment for my daughter. What I want is for her to grow up and not have to worry if her step-mommy takes a drink is she going to have 12 and start breaking things again or hitting her daddy. What I want is for our daughter to actually feel safe around BOTH he and she who shall not be named. And right now she doesn't.

Right now she is always waiting for the bad to happen. That's not a fun childhood. I don't want that for her. troll-1000x750-266x160

How dare I act like I'm better than him…

Telling me that my house is messy and our daughter isn't properly cared for… listen here mister man. My house is lived in. No it isn't immaculate, it never will be – at least not until I can afford a cleaning service. I have twin teenage boys – I don't even want to imagine what may be under my son's bed. I have 4 dogs, 4 big dogs. And I have a young daughter. Everyone is messy and no one likes to clean up. I have tried to explain to the dogs that they damn well should be earning their keep but they just don't listen and refuse to pick up their fur. Top that off with I hate cleaning more than anything and no our house isn't sparkling – but it's not disgusting. We don't have critters. We don't have moldy dishes laying around. The laundry – well that is NEVER done but that is another issue entirely. Seriously, I am never ever completely done with laundry. Not to mention the fact oh judgmental one – I run a business myself from my home and as much as I would TRULY love it I can not use a keyboard AND fold laundry or wash dishes at the same time.

And our daughter is 8 – I'm not going to tell her she can't get messy. Kiss my entire ass on that one. Is she dirty sometimes? Yep. Are her clothes dirty sometimes? Yep. She's not a freakin' doll!!! She's a kid. She gets dirty and sometimes she stays that way all day long until she hits the showers. And you know what – THAT'S OKAY!!!!!

But I'm trying to act like I'm perfect. That's what the problem is, that I just want to control everything and won't let them just do whatever.

Am I controlling? Yeah probably. I think anyone who has ever watched their child die, be brought back and then told that they will probably not make it through the night will end up having some control issues. Because I had every bit of control ripped away from me. I sat there helpless watching my son have air pumped into his tiny lungs hoping and praying that machine pinging out his heartbeat didn't stop pinging. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, not even she who shall not be named. Going through that, I swore that I would NEVER feel that helpless again. That I would never let anyone hurt any of my babies again.

So yeah, I'm sure I am a bit controlling, and over protective. But when the father of your own children is the one who puts your child in that hospital bed all sense of trust in ANYONE is gone. The one person in the world other than you who should protect your baby is the one who almost kills him? No. I don't trust anymore. Not really. I can't. I can't afford to be wrong again. And yes I am fully aware he who shall not be named that you are not him. I never said you were – but I'm still going to protect my child. It's not something that just shuts off or goes away.

So am I perfect? No, to be quite honest I am a hot mess most of the time. You say that at least she who shall not be named is human. I'm human and I've been through more hell than you can possibly know. So no I am not perfect – I am flawed in many ways. But I will not EVER apologize for protecting my child. And you sir, are wrong to expect me to.

For the Troll Who Is Stalking My Blog for My Ex

ToyStory_TrollDoll.png~c200

Hi. Nice to meet you. Not sure who you are and I honestly don't care, I'm fairly certain you are a friend who may have even at one point been a “friend” of mine.

So here's the deal. Stalk all you want. Report back all you want because there is nothing on my blog that I am afraid of you sharing, there is nothing on my blog that I am worried about my ex seeing. So share away. What you will see is me doing the best that I can to make it through this whole single parenting thing. And YES to my ex who decided that I am not a REAL single mom because I get child support – I AM a single mom. I am a mom and I am single. Therefore – single mom. Everything else you said was ridiculous and stupid.

And you can send the info back to him that his name isn't in the blog but even if it was – everything here is my opinion and how I feel, not a statement of fact so it's not slander in any way and even if I DID mention his name there's this little thing called freedom of speech and press. I'm allowed to state opinion. No real ammunition there. But go ahead and send it on to him just in case because from this point on he shall be referred to as ‘he who shall not be named' – simply because I thinks it's fucking hilarious to do so!

This is a blog that I created to hopefully help other single moms. I don't think I'm perfect and I don't want to be – and THAT will be the subject of my next post, THANK YOU so much for the content. I do know I'm definitely better than asking someone to stalk another person's blog. I mean really, who does that? And what kind of person says sure I'll find her blog and send you all the posts. How old are you? I can't imagine a grown adult with any kind of life or self respect would do that. But please by all means continue to troll my blog and pass on any info you like. Or better yet, stand up, say Hi back so I can call you a shady b***h to your face and then you can keep on trolling/stalking my page to your little hearts content. Seriously though it helps my analytics, in fact feel free to share to more people. The more hits I get the better it is for me really.

And be on the look out because I will also be putting little shout outs to you because I would hate for you to get bored with all the stupidity of trolling my pages for someone else. So I'll keep doing what I am doing and posting what I like, I hope you and the ex find great enjoyment from the site, I know I do!

 

 

How To Deal With Parent Shaming

You hear all the time about things like fat shaming and body shaming and all those horrible instances of one person making another person feel bad about themselves. Recently a woman named Nicole Arbour gained a great deal of infamy due to her “Fat Shaming” video where she basically insulted overweight people everywhere. Now I understand that she felt that it was a bit of satire, which I almost always enjoy, however it was done in very poor taste and while MAYBE her intentions were to give some ‘tough love' to people who struggle with their weight it ended up simply pissing a lot of people off. (I will not be posting a link to the video because it is really quite offensive – but I'm sure you can find it if you really want to search for it.)

But this brought up a topic that I have found to be a huge problem in the parenting community.

Parent Shaming

The Single Mom Blog - Parent Shaming moms

And by parent shaming, I am talking about those individuals – be they parents or not – whom feel that they need to make another person feel bad about their style of parenting, or the choices that they are making as a parent. I'm talking about the lady in line at the supermarket who takes a look at your toddler sitting in the buggy and tells you that you really should buy one of those buggy covers so your child doesn't get any weird germs on them. Or the person who a few years back took one look at my son having a meltdown in the middle of Target and told me that I should really learn to discipline my child. Not knowing that my son had a traumatic brain injury and was having this melt down because the seams of his socks were bothering him and he couldn't take his shoes off until we got to the car or that the Halloween costumes scare the living daylights out of him and so he freaked out because he went into sensory overload and couldn't handle it. (Yes we had multiple incidents of people telling me how horribly my son was behaving in the store).

Now it used to be that these incidents of parent shaming were simply a local thing, something you only had to deal with in your local store, or home, or school or playground, but with today's social media platforms you now can be shamed by the entire WORLD for your parenting choices! Isn't that just freakin' fabulous!

Recently this became more national news due to celebrities like David Beckham, who was criticized becuase his 4 year old had a pacifier in her mouth. Many went after him stating that it was wrong, and he shut them down rather brilliantly.

David Beckham, Parent Shaming and The Single Mom Blog

My son had sensory issues and needed a pacifier to sleep until he was almost 5, because it calmed him and helped him feel secure. Is he unbalanced now because of it? NO. Does he have dental issues? A little but nothing that braces won't fix. Did having a ‘binkie' to help comfort him enough so that he could sleep when nothing else would work cause him irreversible damage? NO! – and to be honest it saved us all many sleepless nights and my sanity thank you very much!

Then just a few short months later Alyssa Milano took on fire for a throw back picture that she posted for her daughter's birthday. It was a beautiful picture of her nursing her baby in the hospital after she was born – I have one JUST LIKE IT. I am certain that most mothers do.

Alyssa Milano nursing her beautiful girl, no parent shaming The Single Mom Blog

However, because she is a celebrity and posted it on social media she was attacked in droves by people outraged that she would post pictures of her nursing. To be fair she also received a TON of support but come on people – why is this such a problem? I mean it is a natural and wonderful thing and if people want to post a picture of it, who cares! And it seems that Alyssa feels the same way, her response was EPIC.

Milano says she doesn’t understand why her images draw negative reactions, but Miley Cyrus‘ VMAs nipple slip garnered little attention.

“Everyone’s fine with her nipples being out,” she explains. “I think people are more comfortable sexualizing breasts than relating them to what they were made for, which is feeding another human.”

Now these are just a few of the more recent and ‘famous' instances of parent shaming but it happens to everyday normal people all the time.

Breast or Bottle Feed

Parent shaming - The Single Mom Blog (Bottle or Breastfeeding)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloth or Disposable Diapers

Cloth vs Disposable, Parent Shaming - The Single Mom Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helicopter Parents or Free Range Parents (Yes I'm aware it makes it sound like I am talking about chickens). Speaking of helicopter parenting – if you haven't seen this you have to watch it. The Holderness Family made a hysterical video about hovering parents. It's AWESOME!

But all kidding aside, it seems that it has just become standard for people to feel like they have every right to tell another person the best way to raise their children. I run into this a LOT with my son due to him being special needs, and the way I have learned to deal with it is simple: I remember that they are coming from a different place than I am. They don't know everything there is to know about my child, they can't possibly understand it – not really. So when someone tries to shame me for the way I parent, or the way my son behaves I simply remind myself that they can only see from their point of view, they can't see from mine – and no matter what I say or do they never will REALLY be able to. And with that understanding comes a level of acceptance for me and I don't take it personally.

I will say though that many times when I get parenting advice from other parents with special needs children it is ACTUALLY in the form of advice and not presented in a way where they are shaming my parenting style. It comes from a more “Oh your son won't stop licking the walls, yeah I've been there and here's what worked for my kid.” place rather than one where they are telling me that my son should be in therapy and I must clearly be wrong for not putting him there.

Now I do realize that there are many times where safety becomes an issue in this discussion and that presents differently because it isn't about making the other parent feel bad it's about protecting the child. I personally have to deal with a situation where the other parent and his new wife have a very clear drinking problem. In this case, yes I am going to step in and say something about that when it comes to parenting our child because it effects our child in a very negative and unsafe way. But let's be clear – there is a huge difference in what kind of diapers a child wears and whether or not it's ok to slam a 6 pack and then drive my daughter around. In that case it's not a matter of shaming but rather a matter of safety. The same would apply for a parent who had a drug dependency or was abusive – that's not shaming the other parent – it's keeping your child safe from potential physical and emotional harm.

That being said, it would be really amazing if we would stop trying to make others feel that they are wrong for these minor little things when it comes to parenting. I mean in all reality we are all just trying to do the best we can to raise our babies to be good people with as little dysfunction as possible right? Now whether that means they wore cloth or disposable diapers or were nursed or not nursed in the end does it really matter as long as they have good childhoods? Why as parents can't we just allow others to parent the best way they know how and just give each other a big ‘ol high five for surviving the process at all?! And if your child is SAFE, healthy and happy – then you are winning the fight and no one should try to make you feel bad because of that.

Here is the most recent Single Mom Success Podcast where I discuss this topic further! I hope you enjoy and please let me know if you have ever experienced Parent Shaming and how you dealt with it.

Yes, Giving Up Can Actually Increase Your Happiness

Don't give up!

Never give up!

Don't quit!

Going Through Hell - The Single Mom Blog

 

We constantly hear this in our lives. That you should never give up on anything, that you should keep fighting, keep working hard, keep pushing if you want to get ahead in life, if you want to be happy, if you want the outcome that you desire you CAN'T QUIT!

You see the memes out there always telling you to keep working and never give up – and for many situations that is in fact true. If you have a dream of being a dancer you won't achieve it if you quit. If you want to become an artist you will never achieve that dream if you give up. For all intents and purposes never giving up is a good thing. It shows a certain amount of tenacity and dedication and it keeps you motivated to achieve your goals in life.

But there are some times in life when the best thing that you can do is give up.

I know, I know… that is very contradictory to what I just wrote, but it's true. There are many times in life where it is better for you to give up and walk away. In fact sometimes it is vital to your happiness. Sometimes in life we soldier on through situations and experiences that make us absolutely miserable simply because we have been told to never give up. We feel like if we give up we are failing – and that simply isn't true. There are times in life where we will stick with something out of a fear of failure or loss even if it is toxic for us. I know that I stayed with my daughter's father for a hell of a lot longer than I should have simply because I thought if I just tried harder, worked more at it, changed this or that about who I was or what I did that things would get better. I talked myself into believing that if I could just get him to change this one thing about himself that everything would work out. I was deluding myself and trying to justify staying in a relationship that was doomed to fail.Respect Yourself Enough - The Single Mom Blog

Many times we will stay in relationships that will never work because we think if we just keep working at it then it will all get better; all the while ignoring the glaring evidence that it never will. My ex and I are two very different people and the only way that we were ever going to work was if I fundamentally changed who I was or if he changed who he was. And that is not a healthy relationship for either party. Sometimes we have to weigh the pros and cons of a situation to see if it is really working for us. Is the struggle that we are going through worth it in the end because the pros have outweighed the cons?

A few years back I had a client whom I was working for as a Virtual Assistantand he was the most difficult man to work for. He was a decent enough guy but very demanding, very self involved and unaware at how poorly he treated people at times. He created a very poor working environment for those who worked for him. I thought many times about quitting and no longer working for him but because he was my largest source of income I was afraid to. So for many years I worked for him, becoming more and more stressed out as time went by. It got so bad that when I saw his number come up on my caller ID I would instantly feel my shoulders tense and my stomach would tie in knots – and it started effecting my job performance. When I finally stopped working for him it was the best possible thing that could have happened.

It was scary losing that much potential income but the possibilities that were now available to me were far outweighing the fear. Instead of staying with something that was making me miserable just to earn some money I was now able to find new clients with whom I worked well with, people who paid me more than my old client and I was much much happier.

It is not always true, and may not always work for all situations but sometimes when you find that the cons of a situation outweigh the pros maybe the best thing to do is give up. Why would you continue to stay in an unhappy situation if there was no positive results coming from it. Bad relationships, toxic friendships, poor job conditions…. the list goes on and on.

Sometimes when you let go or give up on something that has been causing you so much stress and unhappiness it allows you to be open to new experiences, more positive and happy experiences. Staying in a situation that continues to cause you misery simply because you don't want to give up, or feel like you failed is not good for you.

In this weeks podcast I go into this a little more in depth.

You Need To Learn to Not Take It Personally

One of the best books I have ever read is the 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It has brought me a great sense of clarity through my life and helped me get to a better place internally.
Reading this book and learning this concept of not taking things personally really helped me develop a better relationship with myself AND with my ex if you can believe that!

I know that may be a bit woo-woo-ish for some, but I highly suggest that everyone read it. It has given me greater insights to myself and how I deal with the world around me. Especially in how I deal with others and how they deal with me. One of my favorite of the 4 Agreements is the second one ‘Don't Take Anything Personally‘. This one was a bit hard for me to manage at first but once I did it helped me so much! The basic premise of this agreement is that no matter what someone says or does to you you can not take it personally. Whatever they are saying comes from a place within them and has nothing to do with you personally. They may not like something you do, or the way you dress, or the things you say… but that is because of them and not because of you.

The way that others see you is not the way you see yourself. Their interpretation of you and how they see you is changed by their experiences, their biases, their beliefs and so they “see” you differently than you see yourself.

Online cyber bullyingAs an example, think of someone who is an online bully. You know the ones I'm talking about. Those people who sit in front of their screens and hide behind their keyboards having nothing good to say about anyone. They find people and articles online and use that anonymous platform to spew their anger, hatred and self-loathing onto others. You would call them trolls. And any time these trolls appear online there are always those who say to them “You must be an unhappy person. You must be miserable or a loser to feel you need to attack others like this.” Those trolls are saying what they say because of something within them that makes them feel they need to lash out. Should the person who is being attacked take it personally? NO. It's an anonymous person on a screen. It doesn't mean that the words don't hurt, I completely understand that. But should an internet trolls words make that person feel bad about who they are? Should they allow those words to make them feel that they need to change? Hell no!

Reading this book and learning this concept of not taking things personally really helped me develop a better relationship with myself AND with my ex if you can believe that!

Today's podcast is about remembering not to take things personally and how I had to remember this lesson very recently.

My Gigantic Challenge: I Need to Lose 40 lbs.

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My Gigantic Challenge: Losing 40 lbs.

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I recently made a discovery: I'm getting fat. Well, to be honest I didn't recently make the discovery, I've been noticing it for quite some time now. It's not as if it snuck up on me or something, but I always thought to myself “Aw! It'll get better. I'm sure it will come back off like it used to.” HA!!! Yeah, apparently I have reached the age where that no longer happens. Those pesky little calories and fat cells decided that now that I am older my body makes a PERFECT place to set up camp and stay awhile!

See, I had been thin my entire life. When I was a child I would eat and eat and eat and still be as skinny as a rail. My grandmother thought for a while that I had a tape worm because I would never gain any weight no matter what I ate or how much. (Seriously, she wanted to take me to the doctor and have me checked out.)

As I got older and into my teen years I filled out a bit, but still was never what you would call curvy or anything. I didn't really have an ass on me or hips for that matter. I was tall and thin. And that was ok with me for the most part. I never really worried about my weight or what I would eat. In fact in high school I would often eat 7-11 nachos and Slurpees for lunch instead of whatever the cafeteria was serving that day. I was a frequent visitor at the vending machine for candy and Mt. Dew. God bless having a kick ass metabolism in high school!

That metabolism carried on with me however into adulthood. In my twenties I would still eat absolute crap and didn't gain any weight. In fact I recall a time when my uncle told me that I was too thin and that it worried him. I was a size 9 at that point, but because I was so tall I'm sure that I seemed thinner than I truly was.

During my pregnancy with my twin boys my weight shot up dramatically, as you would expect when you are carrying twins. It was the heaviest I had weighed in my entire life. The last time I allowed the nurse to weigh me I was at 215. I about had a heart attack! I had NEVER weighted that much in my life! I decided at that point that I was not going to be weighed any more during my pregnancy. In fact, I vividly remember telling a nurse that if she tried to make me get on that scale again I would put it somewhere very unpleasant for her. After that, my doctor didn't make the nurse weigh me any more.

After I gave birth to my boys via c-section it actually didn't take too long for me to get back to my pre-baby weight. At 23 I guess that metabolism was still in high gear. I was back down to my size 9-10 and pretty happy with that. In fact I was very happy because I was HUGE, my twins were 5 lbs 14 oz, and 6 lbs 8 oz. – so all in all pretty big for twins. So you can imagine how big I was. I was convinced that I was never going to shrink back down after my tummy being so huge – but I did.

7 years later I had my daughter. Now that pregnancy was a little different – I only gained a total of 15 – 20 pounds with her and my doc was NOT happy. She was a total of 8 lbs 6 oz when she was born so most of that weight was baby weight. I didn't even have to buy maternity clothes! This was mostly because I was working as a waitress, so I was always moving and on my feet AND because my boss at the time was a total jerk and wouldn't let me eat during my shift. So I didn't gain much weight at all. I was able to wear my jeans and such all through my pregnancy.

After I had her I went back down to my pre-baby weight again! Woo Hoo!!! Still just going along relying on that metabolism and fantastic genetics to make everything all better for me. And for years that is how it was. Still eating what I wanted, not paying attention to calories and not exercising at all! Just assuming that everything was going to keep going the way it was.

Then I lost my job as a waitress and started working from home sitting at a desk all day. And then I quit smoking. Then the weirdest thing happened – I gained a shit ton of weight! Well to me it seemed like a lot. I don't regret quitting smoking at all, in fact I was totally willing to switch off a little weight gain to be able to walk away from those damn cigarettes. But I gained like 20 pounds! YIKES!

And for the last few years my weight has been going up and up and up…

As of today I weigh as much as I did when I was pregnant with my twins – and I am NOT happy about it. Not just because my clothes don't fit anymore or because I am ashamed of my body or anything like that. I am not ashamed of anything really – but I know it isn't healthy for me to weigh this much. It's causing problems with my knees and I just feel blah! I don't have the energy I used to have and I don't like that at all.

So what do I do?

Well here's the problem – I like food. I REALLY like food. I don't like not being able to eat what I want, when I want. I don't like feeling like I have to deny myself in order to lose weight. And THAT is the biggest part of my problem – well that and I have NO self control apparently.

So as you can imagine it has been hard to lose the weight because I haven't really been doing a lot to lose it. I have just not been motivated.

So I decided that I was going to start working out with a trainer – this is my trainer Brandon Kelly. He works at the Path Movement gym here in Colorado – so while my kiddos do parkour, I train. (Yeah he's kinda awesome. I picked this pic because he looks like a ROCKSTAR in it!)

Brandon Kelly Training

So the training has been awesome and I am definitely getting stronger BUT still not losing weight. And that is totally and completely all my fault – because I am not watching what I eat or changing my eating habits. That is the hardest thing for me to do and maintain. I try to make the changes, but as I said before I LOVE food and I don't like feeling like I can't eat what I want.

I tried things like Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem… and those didn't work. I fell off the wagon almost immediately – in fact I just got rid of a freezer full of Nutrisystem meals because I just couldn't bring myself to eat them anymore. Not that they weren't good – they were – I just hated that they were my only option. I have tried fads, pills and all sorts of other stuff and didn't stick with a single one. I am a quitter. I quit – and that is why I am not losing weight.

So I have made the decision that I am going to put in the work with my trainer and do more at home to work out and exercise – AND change my diet. I have to go all in or things will never get better and I know it. It's time to stop half ass-ing this weight loss thing and really work at it. So I am going to blog about the journey and my goals – my ups and downs, the successes and failures and put it out there for the world to see and use this to help keep myself accountable.

So here is the mission and goals:

My current weight: 215

My Goal Weight: 160 – 170 (which is the healthy weight for my height of 5'9″)

First mini goal: Lose 5 pounds and exercise 6 days out of the week.

Starting Weight 215 lbs
Current Weight 215 lbs
Goal Weight 170 lbs
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How We Cope With Father’s Day in a Single Mom Household

How We Cope with Father's Day in a Single Mom Household

Happy-Father's-Day-Purple-Shirt

Father's Day. The day when the Fathers out there are honored for all that they do for their families. A day when ugly ties, golf games, hand made cards/gifts and grilling utensils are handed out by the truck load. Dads both old and new get to kick back and do the things that they love to do and enjoy their day.

Kid-with-Dad-and-Tie

 

But what about those households where there is no Father? What about the households that are run by a single mother? How do we handle Father's Day when it rolls around? For many families it is a harsh reminder of someone who was there at one point but is no longer a part of their lives. For those who's fathers have passed away I can only imagine the sadness that this day would bring. A reminder of what was taken from them.

 

divorceFor some their fathers were there and chose to leave, maybe divorce or a relationship that just didn't work out and now when this day comes back around there are visitation schedules and time spent to figure out. A day that was once a family affair and celebrated by everyone has now changed, now it is not as simple for the kids. They don't get to just run upstairs with their gifts for dad like they used to, now there are pick up and drop off times. And for some Father's Day is just a reminder of someone who left and never came back or someone who was never there at all. It's not as simple for some as it is for others.

For our household Father's Day presents an challenging dynamic, you see my boys' father is not a part of their lives. He hasn't been since they were 5 months old and he shook my son until he started having seizures. My boys' father almost killed my son. So he is never allowed to be around them again. Ever. Or at least not until they are legally adults and then if they choose to meet him then they are more than able to do so at that point. But for now, he is not around. They wouldn't recognize him if they passed by him on the street, nor he them. My daughter's father however is very much a part of her life. He sees her every other weekend at the very minimum. They spend every Father's Day together no matter who's weekend it falls on as I know how important it is for both of them.

 

So in our family when Father's Day comes there are a lot of emotions that come up, especially with my boys. Normally not having their dad around doesn't bother them too much, they know what happened to them and that he was responsible for it and so they understand why he isn't allowed around. But this day, Father's Day, things tend to get a little harder on them. When they see their sister go off to celebrate her father but they can't do the same, it's hard for them. We have run through the gambit of emotions – anger, sadness, resentment, frustration, abandonment, jealousy toward their sister and so on. I know that they don't necessarily miss their father, but simply the ability to have that male figure in their lives I know is something that they sometimes feel the loss of.

I have been single ever since my daughter's father and I split. 7 years being on my own with the kiddos and I tell you what – I love every second of being single personally. I don't miss having someone in my life because when I was with my ex I compromised a lot of who I am to to try and make a relationship work with him. Being single I am back to my old self and am so happy. I don't want to go back to dealing with the intricacies of trying to make a relationship work – I'm raising 3 kids and simply don't have the time or energy right now to even consider bringing another person into the mix. HA!

But this day – this one day – is the only time I have my regrets. It's the only time I feel bad that my boys don't have a father in their lives, because they feel the loss even more on this day.

So a few years back we decided that we would NOT wallow in a little pity party. That we would NOT feel bad because this day didn't apply to us any more as a family. So we decided that on this day every year the boys and I would have our own celebration – M.A.M.A.S. Day.

Me And My Awesome Sons Day!

When my daughter goes off to spend time with her dad for Father's Day, we figure out something to do that is just for the three of us. We may go to the movies, we may go to the zoo, a park for a picnic – whatever they would like to do (that fits within our budget). We celebrate a day where I acknowledge the amazing boys that I have and how wonderful they are. I never, ever want them to feel like they are missing out on something just because a certain day of the year comes up on the calendar. I want them to know and feel that no matter what our circumstances are that they are doing ok and that just because their father isn't a part of their lives that doesn't mean that they should feel bad about it. Because it has nothing to do with them and they need to know that – every day, all the time but most especially on this day.

So for all of you single mothers out there with kids who do not see their father on Father's Day – find a way to make the day special for them. It doesn't have to cost any money, it is just a day for you to acknowledge your kids and how special they make your life. Kids should never feel bad because of the choices that their parents make. It should never be put upon the kid to feel responsible for a parent who is missing from their lives.

And if your child/children still have their father in their lives and they are involved with their kids – make sure that you are thankful of that. No matter what your relationship with the man is, be thankful. My ex is a giant tool most times, and he and I don't always get along, but I am always thankful that he is a part of my daughter's life because I know how hard it can be on my sons at times because their father isn't.

Feel The Hugs Making Sure They Know They Are Loved

 

Oh and for just a bit of fun I thought I would share with you the card that my daughter picked out for her father for Father's Day…

Fathers-Day-Card-FrontFathers-Day-Card-Inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love my daughter's sense of humor, she's such a smart ass sometimes… I can't imagine where she gets it from…

Surviving Summer Vacation: Working From Home and How Pinterest Saves the Day

Day 1…

At last it is here! The event that children anticipate all school year long… SUMMER VACATION!!!!

I have to say that I absolutely love summer, it is by far my favorite season. After a Colorado winter (that lasted until late May this year) and a fairly dreary spring – all 2 weeks of it (it's been a weird year weather-wise for us in Colorado)… I am soooo excited to see the sun and be warm finally. I love spending time outside, going to the pool, grilling burgers and brats while drinking the occasional margarita and doing all kinds of fun things with my kiddos.

There are many pros AND cons though to being a work from home mom during the summer.

THE PROS:

  • I am HOME with my kids – I am able to be here all day with them and take care of whatever they need or any issues that come up without the fear of needing to leave work early. Not to mention the amount of money it saves me on child care!
  • I have a flexible schedule – I am able to work the hours that I want to and take off the time that I want to. I am able to work for half the day and take the kids tot he zoo in the other half should the mood strike me. I can take the whole stinkin' day off if I want to.
  • Have laptop will work – meaning that I can also take my work with me. If we decide to go to the park for a few hours I can always take my laptop and hotpot with me and get a few hours of work done under a tree while the kids play on the playground. I have even been known to take it with me to the pool (away from the splash zone of course). So the kids can get in fun time and I can finish up some work as needed.
  • I don't feel like I am missing out on summer vacation with my kids… I remember when I worked in an office during the summer, by the time I got home from work after picking them up from day care I was so tired and worn out that I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything. I felt like the only time I got to enjoy during the summer was on the weekends and I hated it. I hated being so tired that it felt like a chore to go out and play with the kids after work.
  • No rush hour in 90 degree weather!!! This is just my personal favorite – because I HATE rush hour with the white hot heat of a thousand suns. Take normal rush hour madness and add to that increased temperatures and it gets even worse. People get meaner, more short tempered on the roads and I just don't like to be involved in any of that!

 

Now I don't want you to think that working from home during the summer is all sunshine and rainbows… it's not. There are many, many, MANY trying times working from home during this time of year…

 

THE CONS:

  • They think I am on Summer Break too – So my children know that I work from home obviously – but they don't apparently understand that I do actually WORK while they are normally at school. So when they are on break they seem to think that all my time should be spent on them, with them, entertaining them, spending money on them – and so on and so forth… yeah, not so much. There are many times through the summer where I have to remind them that just because THEY are on break doesn't mean that I am on break.
  • I am constantly a referee – having three kids home for the summer, two with special needs and one who thinks she is a teen even though she is only 8 – well let's just say it creates a unique dynamic in our household. There are many times where they all get along and life is peaceful and serene. There are also times when all three want to tear each other limb from limb and are very vocal about it. These incidences tend to become more and more common the more time they spend together. The thing is that while I am working they have to entertain themselves and they don't always do the best job of that. So then they end up getting on each other's nerves and then all hell breaks loose. Which makes it very difficult to get work done sometimes. Having to stop multiple times during the day to ring in on the latest problem definitely plays hell with staying on task and meeting deadlines at times.mom-referees-kids-fight1

 

  • My grocery bill goes through the ROOF!! – having twin teenage boys in the house is a huge hit to my grocery budget. They are always hungry, eat constantly and then complain when there is nothing to eat. There is nothing to eat because you two bottomless pits have EATEN IT ALL!!! Seriously my son went through a box of brownies in 2 hours time. Then when I asked him how he could have done that he said – “I didn't think I ate that many”. GRRRR!!!!!! I am not sure if we will all survive the hormone-fest going on in the house right now.
  • “I'm BORED” – I hear this on a regular basis from my 8 year old. I'm not certain how exactly she can be bored with the closet full of toys and games, drawers full of Monster High and My Little Pony Equestria Girls figurines, the scads of movies that they own and not to mention the tablet that her father purchased for her on her birthday! Yet when I point out all of these things to her as possible ideas for entertainment she looks at me like I have two heads and says “But I don't want to do any of that”…. and I want to scream.

 

So with all the cons listed above in mind I decided that a plan needed to be formed in order to enjoy the pros of working from home this summer. So I decided to look on good ‘ol Pinterest for some fun ideas for the kids. Today's podcast is all about trying to defeat boredom and keep my sanity this summer. You can click here for the Summer Fun board that I created with these and other fun ideas posted on it. I hope you enjoy them!

Do you have some fun summertime ideas to help keep boredom away in your home? Please comment below and share with us!

Getting Fired Was the Best Thing EVER!

Wait, WHAT?

 

Yep you heard me; getting fired was the best thing ever.

You're Fired Fortune Cookie

This one solitary event was a catalyst that changed my life forever. Changed it for the better!

I know you are thinking getting fired can't possibly be a good thing. You are out of your mind lady!

Don't get me wrong, it didn't feel like it was the best thing at the time. In fact I cried for a full day when it happened. Then I picked myself up and realized that this had been some kind of a sign for me that I HAD to make some changes in my life. Call it divine intervention, call it fate or whatever you wish but I knew deep down that the universe was trying to tell me something. As a single mom of three kids I had spent over 7 years struggling, both emotionally and financially. I was on government assistance programs to help me pay for my food and child care even though I was also working a full time job. I was stuck in what I like to call the “child care gap trap”, working but still not making enough to afford child care. Even with the “help” I was receiving I was still barely making it. I spent those 7 years feeling like I would be struggling for ever and things would never get any better for me. I thought that there was no way I was ever going to be successful doing it on my own. Even worse than that, I felt like I wasn't doing enough for my family and as a parent that is the worst feeling ever.

I had been working as a waitress at the time because it gave me hours where I wouldn't have to pay for child care because friends and family could watch the kids. But after being let go I decided that I needed to get back to a better paying job, one that was in the administrative field which I had excelled at for years. So I started looking at the papers to see what was out there and calling around to child care facilities to find out what their rates would be. Imagine my shock when I found out it would cost me almost $1300 a month to put them in child care – that's more than my rent!!!

Getting Fired Was The Best Thing Ever

Well I spent some more time freaking out about everything and then suddenly it hit me…. I needed to work from home. That was the only way I was going to be able to make this work. I couldn't afford to put my kids in child care, and I wasn't going to be able to qualify for child care assistance so really it was the only option that I had. Never mind that I had no CLUE how I was going to do it, I just knew that deep down I HAD to do it and figure out how to make it work. And it was the BEST decision I ever made!

This podcast is all about how I decided to work from home, my decision to become a VA and how I got started down the path of self-employment. If you have been thinking of working from home and aren't sure if it would be a good fit for you I encourage you to download the free report I created “Is Working At Home For Me? 7 Things to Consider Before Starting A Home Based Business”. Click here to get the free report.

 

Purple Download Now

 

Why De-Stressing is SO Important and How to Do It

As a parent you know that you are going to experience times of joy, happiness, wonder, beauty, amazement and many other glorious things along the way as your child/children grow. All of those amazing things that our children do – learning to walk, talk, play, clap, laugh, sing – the list goes on and on…

At some point though you will also go through the ugly side of parenting… trying like mad to remember how wonderful you thought it was when your little angel learned how to walk and how to pick up a crayon for the first time while watching that angel toddle over to your walls and start coloring on them.

crayon_kid_wall3

Remembering when you wanted nothing more than to hear them say their first words and now just wishing that they were mute again after listening to “Let it Go” for the millionth time today.

And when you thought it was so adorable that your little one learned how to bang on pots with the spoon but now wanting to break that spoon in half over your knee while you desperately search for the Advil in your medicine cabinet. Angry and annoyed woman

We've all been there, and if you haven't gotten there yet – just wait, it's coming.

Now personally I have moved past the toddler years with my kids and have now moved into the teen age boy years with my twins. Now I want you to stop for a moment and realize the severity of what I just said. TWIN TEENAGE BOYS… double the hormones, double the fun… but not really. It's not fun. It is a daily dive into stress and frustration.

And to top all of that off, both of my boys are special needs with traumatic brain injuries – which cause impulse control issues, anger management issues, delayed social skills, and executive function delays… which means that they are young men with the hormones of teenagers but with the developmental levels of 8 year olds. So you can imagine the fun times that we can occasionally have.

Now don't get me wrong, I love my boys with every fiber of my being, and I wouldn't trade who they are for anything in the world – but to say that I have a pretty high stress level would be an understatement.

As parents there is always going to be stress and worry – as single parents that stress and worry can double because we are doing it on our own. Some of us more so than others. Some will have the ex in their child's life to help out whether it be financially or emotionally or just to take the kiddos off our hands so that we can have some down time. And if you do have a good relationship with your ex and they are helping with the kids then definitely be thankful because there are many of us who don't have that support. I know that my ex is often times the cause of a lot of my stress. Dealing with him is like having another child in the house sometimes – some of you know what I mean and are totally nodding your heads with me right now.

Couple Arguing - The Single Mom Blog

Stress will build up on you over time and cause you to break down, both physically and emotionally so it is very important to make sure that you are doing what you can to help manage your stress in a healthy way and de-stress as often as you can. I know that it can be hard to find ways to do this as a single parent because it seems like our worries and stress just never really go away – BUT it is so important to try and find a way. Because if you break down physically and/or emotionally then you are no good to your kids and you are not doing yourself any favors either.

Today's podcast is all about STRESS and how important it is to find ways, even little ways, to manage it and de-stress – it's better for you and better for your kiddos!