Heather is a single mother living in beautiful Colorado. She has 3 wonderful children; twin 20 year old young men and a 13 year old daughter. She has lived in Colorado for the better part of her life and is a stay at home work at home mother. She started her own business over 12 years ago and is happily, albeit precariously, balancing her work and personal lives. She spent over 8 years struggling financially and emotionally as a single parent before discovering how shifts in mindset and attitude can bring forth amazing changes in her life. Now her mission is to help other single moms stop the constant struggle and start creating success in their lives through the Single Mom Blog and Podcast.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
Cloth or Disposable Diapers
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.
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.
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.
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.
As 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.
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!)
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.
How We Cope with Father's Day in a Single Mom Household
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.
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.
For 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.
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…
I love my daughter's sense of humor, she's such a smart ass sometimes… I can't imagine where she gets it from…
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.
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…
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.
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!
Yep you heard me; getting fired was the best thing ever.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Ever have days when you feel just BLAH! You know those days where you feel like the whole world is on your shoulders and nothing seems to be going right for you? Those days when you feel like no matter what you do you will never be happy because your life is just not where you want it to be. Some days you just want to sit down and cry because things just never seem to get better?
Yeah – me too.
I have those days every so often, I think that every one does now and again. The problem is when you feel like that every day. All day. No matter what. That is a big problem and it is a really easy routine to fall into if you aren't careful. I used to feel like this all the time. Every day felt like just another set of challenges ready to smack me down, kick me in the teeth and make me feel worse about myself. I felt like nothing I did was good enough. That I wasn't doing enough for my family. I felt like a bad parent because I couldn't afford the things I wanted to get for my kids. I felt like a loser because I couldn't get a new house for our family. I felt terrible because I wasn't making enough money and we didn't have the life that I wanted so desperately to give to my children.
I spent years feeling this way.
In the end it took something so amazingly simple to get me out of this rut that afterwards I couldn't believe how long I had allowed myself to suffer!
I needed to change my mindset. I needed to DECIDE to be happy!
One of the best things I ever read was this:
I realized a while ago that I was basing my happiness on my circumstances. I was giving the power of my own happiness away to random people and things. For some reason I had decided that I would be happy if only ….
If only I had the house we wanted… then I would be happy.
If only so and so loved me back… then I would be happy.
If only I had the job of my dreams… then I would be happy.
I spent so much time focusing on what I didn't have and what I wasn't doing that I ended up ignoring all that I DID have. Everything that I HAD accomplished in life. I was giving away my happiness and allowing ‘things' to hold it for ransom and it needed to stop.
Happiness is a state of mind that you can create just as easily as you can allow someone to take it from you. And yes I said ‘allow'. People and circumstances can only make you unhappy if you let them. So why let them?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should all be happy every moment of every day, we are human and we don't work like that. However, what I am saying is that when you place your happiness, your value to yourself as a person, in the hands of something or someone else you will always struggle to be happy. You will always feel like you aren't enough and that just isn't true dammit. You are enough and you are doing enough.
Some of the happiest people in the world have very little. They don't base their happiness on how much they have, or where they live, or what they drive – they base it on the experiences they have, the people they love, the joy that they bring to others and more…
And some of the wealthiest and successful people have everything but are miserable.
Having a good mindset and doing what you need to in order to maintain that mindset are so crucial to your happiness.
I know that everyone has bad days, and times when they feel just terrible or are unhappy or sad, and that is normal – again we are human. What is important is that those feelings do not start to take over and become the norm. So in today's podcast I discuss some of the things that you can do to help you get back to your happy place when you find yourself becoming lost…
I was at my daughter's 8th birthday party the other day and the other moms and I started lamenting on how things have changed since we were kids. Yes we caught ourselves doing the whole “When I was a kid…” thing that we SWORE we would never do. (If you haven't caught yourself doing that yet as a parent, just wait – it's coming!)
Anyway, we were talking about how things had changed since we were kids – how we used to play outside more, how we rarely watched tv because there wasn't as much on back then, we didn't have internet and there was no such thing as social media. Which brought up an interesting topic.
How old should a child be before having a social media account? Do they even NEED one?
My daughter just turned 8 and my boys will be 15 this year and none of them have a social media account of any kind. They also do not have cell phones.
I have had several people ask me if I worry about stunting them socially, to which I very quickly reply – no.
See, what I worry about is my children being influenced by the idiocy that seems more and more previlant in today's society. I recently saw images on my own Facebook page of young ladies who did physical damage to their faces by trying to plump up their lips. Have you seen this?!?! The Kylie Jenner challenge? Girls (and some guys too) sucking on a jar or glass until their lips are swollen, basically trying to get the plump lip look that this woman has. It's asinine! And it is causing damage to people's faces. Seriously?!?! Who decided this was a good idea? You can see an article done about this here.
This is one of my big issues with allowing my children access to social media. It's like when we were little and we all had that ONE friend who always came up with the dumb ideas that got us into trouble with our parents (by the way, if you didn't have that friend, then you probably WERE that friend). But now there is an internet FULL of them, all suggesting idiotic and dangerous ideas to our children.
Remember not too long ago there was a challenge where people were lighting themselves on FIRE! ON FIRE!!!! Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people? And yet there it was on all our pages, bright as day and twice as stupid! And people were doing it! Now I am sure that they were told just like the rest of us not to play with fire because it's dangerous. But for whatever reason, because they saw it on social media – all of the sudden it became a good idea.
(PS. all of the links here as examples of these idiotic stunts are here to show that these things are STUPID. Do not do these things! We will not be held responsible if you choose to not listen to us telling you that they are stupid!)
So no, I do not worry about my children being socially stunted. I worry about them being exposed to morons, idiots and all around dumb ass people doing dumb ass things. People bullying them or making them feel bad about who they are simply because they can. I worry about my children gauging their level of self esteem on what others post about them online, or worse basing it off of some unrealistic image or persona that they see on their screen.
I worry about them being exposed to online predators. People using the internet to draw in young people and abuse them or worse.
I worry about that a lot. In this day and age all a predator has to do is log on and they have access to millions of children all over the world. In just a few keystrokes my child could become a victim and that terrifies me.
Today's podcast goes into more on why I feel it is important for my children to learn to develop their own moral compass and sense of right and wrong before allowing them into the world of social media that exposes them to things like this lip challenge.
I want my children to be safe, to feel safe and more than anything I want my children to have a solid sense of self and who they are before the internet tries to tell them what they should look like, feel like, believe, not believe, follow, not follow and so on … I think THAT is far more important than their ability to post what they ate for lunch today in 140 characters or less.
Oh and for those of you whose children do already have an online presence or who are thinking of allowing your children to start on social media here is a great resource on internet safety on kids.gov.
WARNING! THIS PODCAST IS ABOUT A SERIOUS TOPIC AND MAY BE HARD TO LISTEN TO.
Last week I received some horrible news. News that I hoped that I would never hear. A young girl, someone I had seen grow up and had been very close to, passed away. She died at the age of 21, not quite making it to her 22nd birthday.
I met this young lady when she was just a little older than my daughter is now. Her mother and I had been the best of friends for many years. We went on camping trips together, had cook outs, went to the pool, played games, watched movies… we were over at their house almost every weekend just hanging out. Our kids played together. We were like family.
Until my best friend in the world, started using drugs. From then on the woman whom I loved like a sister was lost to me. We no longer hung out, we no longer did things together – once I found out about her addiction I had to remove myself from her life to protect my family. I couldn't have an addict around my kids.
But her kids were still there. I couldn't take them with me even though I desperately wanted to.
This young lady and her younger brothers went through hell after we were gone. A hell that I never really knew about until recently. They all ended up being removed from my one time friend's care. She lost everything to her addiction – her cars, her home, her marriage, her kids and ultimately her freedom. She is now incarcerated for crimes against her children that occurred while she was high (at least I have to believe that would be the only reason she would have done what she did).
As I write this post I still feel a huge sense of loss for the woman I used to know. The woman whom I considered a sister and whom I now hold a great deal of anger toward. Finding out what happened to her children, seeing the damage that she caused – I can't even describe how it feels to be honest.
And now, after having to attend the memorial service for her daughter, the young lady I watched grow up, knowing that this bright, amazing young woman became an addict herself and died from an overdose…I find that I am even more disgusted with her mother knowing that her indifference and abuse led her daughter down this path.
After I returned home from her funeral I found myself wanting more than ever to make sure that my kids know every day how much they are loved. I mean I tell them every day that I love them but it is more important to me now to also make sure that they feel loved AND secure. That no matter what they know that I am in their corner.
Because when it all comes down to it what this young lady wanted more than anything was for someone to love her. And the one person who was supposed to love her unconditionally no matter what, loved a crack pipe more. Yes I know that sounds harsh, but it is the reality that this young lady and her brothers faced. And it scarred them.
Today's podcast is not a happy one. It is not funny or sweet, but it is something that I feel is so very important. Making sure that our children know, TRULY know, how much they are loved is important. Whether they are getting straight A's in school or are grounded for breaking curfew… they need to always know. Because I have seen what can happen when they don't…
And if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please please find the help that you or they need. It is an awful disease that kills people, breaks up families, destroys lives… and most importantly causes major trauma for the children in our lives.
Hmmm… yeah I'm feeling that today. I have been feeling it for the past few weeks.
This morning I felt like the whole world was on my shoulders
As a single mother I believe that there are many different things that contribute to feeling overwhelmed. It's not just the fact that we are single parents, there are often more contributing factors than that. The first one being that we feel like we have to be all and do all… that there is no one else to do it so we have to be the one to make it all happen. It's up to us to keep 8 million balls up in the air at all times. And we can't ever drop any. Ever. That's a lot of pressure to put ourselves under.
The next thing that adds to the state of overwhelm is expectations. Having expectations that are not realistic can lead to a feeling of overwhelm because you aren't meeting them. Trying to live up to some idealistic idea of what a mother should be doing or how your house should look or the things you should have accomplished is going to always make you feel like you aren't doing enough. That you aren't enough. And it will often cause you to try and do more and more than you are able to at this moment. Some days I can do a million different things and be completely successful at them all. Some days the only success I have had is getting the laundry out of the wash and into the dryer before it starts to smell. I realized long ago that I would never be June Cleaver – and I'm totally ok with that.
There are many other factors that contribute to that feeling of overwhelm and in today's podcast I discuss how we can create those feelings by setting unhealthy or unrealistic expectations on ourselves. By not accepting help when available or offered… and more.
There is a lovely woman who's blog posts I follow because she is on the same mission as I am to help and empower other single moms in the world. I have chatted with her online a few times and really think she is fantastic. I enjoy reading her articles and the things that she puts out because they align so much with my thoughts and mission for single moms. However, recently she posted an article on her blog that I fully disagreed with and to be honest got my back up a little bit.
Originally when I saw her post “I Love Being a Single Mom” – I thought to myself oh great I can't wait to hear why she loves being a single mom, because I know I do… the article was not what I thought it would be at all! She starts off the article saying she hates it when people say that they love being a single mom because they are in denial.
I am in denial stating that I am happy being a single mom and that I love it? Um… I don't think so.
Basically she states in her article that if we were truly honest with ourselves we would admit that we want to have a relationship with someone, that we aren't really happy with our lives or we can't possibly love our lives as a single mom because we don't have a man.
Excuse me your honor but I object!
Today's bonus podcast discusses why I actually DO LOVE LOVE LOVE
being a single mom and my differing opinion on this article. You can find the article written by Jessica Rector on The Single Mom Movement by clicking here. Once again, I do love most of what she puts out and think she is a fantastic woman but on this particular topic, we definitely do not see eye to eye. (Doesn't mean she's not awesome though.)
Ok let's be honest ladies, baby mama drama – are you guilty of it? Have there been times when you made more of an issue than needed? I know that I have been guilty of it many times! After many years of working on myself and how I deal with my ex I found a few things that I believe were at the root of my personal baby mama drama….
1. I was still hurt/angry – causing me to want to lash out
2. Ego – the belief that I knew more than him, was a better parent than him
3. Other people's input – allowing others to cause drama in our relationship as parents
In today's podcast I dive into how these things increased the drama that I was bringing into our co-parenting relationship….
Have you ever caused drama? Have you been guilty of it? Have you been able to realize when you were causing more drama than needed and were able to adjust?
Like it or not, if your ex is involved with your child's life then you will always need to have a relationship of some kind with them – wouldn't it be nice if it was at the very least civil? And let's face it, we already have enough drama in our lives to bring any more into it.
Learning how to deal with toxic people, or simply cutting them out of my life completely, has been one of the best ways that I have improved my life as a single mom.
We all have those people in our lives who are toxic and just suck the life right out of us! It may be our ex, our mother, or friends and co-workers… there are always those few people who are just draining to be around. Then there are the ones that push our buttons on a regular basis in order to bring us into their misery.
Today's podcast discusses several ways to deal with toxic people that were identified in this article on Entrepreneur.com – ‘12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People‘ written by Travis Bradberry. I happened to stumble across this article today on my Facebook feed and I simply LOVE it.
I decided to go into a bit more depth on how they related to me as a single mom. I realized several years ago that in order to be successful I needed to distance myself from those kind of people. I realized that spending time with them was effecting me negatively.
After splitting with my ex I was able to look into myself and the choices I had made in my life. One of those being the people I chose to associate with. Too many of the people in my life were toxic & it needed to change. You can't have a positive and productive life with people like that in it. They drag you down. They weigh you down.
Do you have people in your life who may be toxic? Imagine what your life could be like if you replaced them with more positive people. Would things improve? Would YOUR attitude improve? I think it just might!
Do you always feel like you are gearing up for battle any time you face the possibility of dealing with your ex? Do you always argue? Is it a constant power struggle with him? If so you may need to take a look at the way that YOU treat your ex. Sometimes we need to analyze the way that we treat others and how that in turn causes them to treat us.
How can we build a good co-parenting relationship with our ex when we are always arguing? Well sometimes we have to take the high road and change the way we react, talk to and relate to our ex's in order to develop those relationships. Today's podcast dives into why this is so important and how to figure out what we can do to start treating our ex's as equals…yes I said equals, even if it kills us!
It took me quite a while to realize when I was overstepping as a parent and treating him like he was less of a person/parent because he wasn't living up to my standards and how that was causing more problems than there needed to be. It also wasn't fair to our daughter….
Today's Single Mom Success podcast talks about how changing the way that I treated my ex helped us build a better, more civil, co-parenting relationship.
Do you ever feel like your day just SUCKS? Have you had times with your life, your kids, your job, your day where you just wish there was a reset button? Well HERE YA GO! Here is your reset button!
Sometimes in life you need to be able to hit the ‘Reset' button!
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Today's podcast is all about how important it is to be able to have a reset button. It is necessary for you to be able to change your mindset when things go wrong or your days get hard! I know that sometimes just being able to take a couple of minutes to do some deep breathing can help me shift my mindset back to a more positive one, which then helps me have a more productive day and experience.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Frankl
This weeks podcast focuses on one of the keys to creating your own success. Change.
It's often a very hard thing to do but one of the things that I have found in the last few years is that being able to change the way I deal with things, the way I view things and the way I handle things has brought about a large amount of my success.
Being able to realize that we may not be able to control the things that happen to us or around us but we can control how we deal with them. And if we allow the world to dictate how we feel and react then we will never be able to change our lives for the better. Changing is important in order to move forward in life.
This weeks podcast goes into how important change is for success…
I'm Heather and I am a single mother to 3 amazing children. I started this blog to help other single moms like me find inspiration, support, ideas and hopefully a few laughs. I am glad that you are here - remember you are not alone!