Being a Mom With No Family Support Is the Hardest Thing Ever

Motherhood is hard enough but it’s even more so when you don’t have family support. It used to be that the family “village” was always there for you when you had children, but times have changed. For me, my parents are much older, so they’re not available to me. If anything, they need me to check in on them. Many of my friends are also in this same boat — older parents that simply can’t be as helpful as they’d like to be. For others, some of their families are far away, absent or plain old dysfunctional.

There is no doubt that without those helpful family hands, having a baby and young children can feel like a huge hurdle. I’m talking to you, working mom with a sick baby and no PTO days left. I’m talking to you, mom with PPD and two kids under 2.

Here are some of the challenges that come about when your family village just can’t — or won’t — be there:

Dreaded Sick Days

Let’s face it — not many college-aged kids or really, anyone, wants to watch a sick kid. But when your kid is in day care or school and germ season hits, the sick days roll in and they don’t stop.

But you don’t have any more paid time off. If you’re lucky, you can work from home and no one in the office will gossip about you. If you’re not lucky, you’ll lose pay or have the whole office gossiping about you being out, again.

Read More: Being a Mom With No Family Support Is the Hardest Thing Ever

Hang Tough,

Laura

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Happy Mother’s Day to a Woman Who’s Like My Second Mom

My mom is still here with us — thank you, God — but she’s been having major health issues for quite some time.

For a while, it felt like maybe I had done something wrong. I wouldn’t hear from her. She would say she was tired. I would call and she wouldn’t answer the phone.

I took it personally. I didn’t understand what was going on.

But now I have answers about her health that I didn’t before. I know the fatigue and weight loss are all a part of her advanced lung disease. I know the lack of oxygen makes her tired. I know her memory isn’t as good as it once was. I know that if I want to talk to her, I have to call her.

Watching the one woman who meant everything and did everything for me her whole life get older has been hard. I miss all the time we used to spend together. I miss her sense of humor and our frank conversations. I miss being able to lean on her. I know I can’t lean on her now, as it would be unfair.

This is why I am so thankful for Joyce.

For many years, my mom worked with Joyce. I’d come into my mother’s office and get to talk to Joyce. She was always sweet, fun and had the cutest clothes. Joyce watched me grow up and become a mom myself. Over the years, she became a friend, and now, she’s like a surrogate mother to me.

I’m now a single mom living just 15 minutes away from her. Since we’re so close by, we see each other pretty regularly.

Read More: Happy Mother’s Day to a Woman Who’s Like My Second Mom

Happy Happy,

Laura

I Never Thought Being a Single Parent Would Be So Hard Financially

In today’s world, kids are expensive.

Actually, everything is expensive and in my home state, it’s doubly so. When my ex and I started talking about divorce, I knew it would be financially hard. I lived on my own before getting married, and I knew it would be a costly endeavor, especially with a kid. It definitely was discouraging, but I knew we had to make the call. Even if I ended up struggling for eternity, this marriage was ending.

I never believed that I would struggle for eternity (and still don’t). If you asked me five years ago when we separated what my financial long-term plan was, I’d tell you it was to pay off debts, save and live. Are those bad goals? Nope, they’re fine — but they weren’t concrete or specific enough.

I talked to a financial planner thanks to the amazing organization, Savvy Ladies. I budgeted. In fact, I still tweak my budget often and track my spending daily. I even budgeted for emergencies and stuff that might happen along the way while I planned out my “financial life” as a single parent.

 

Read More:  I Never Thought Being a Single Parent Would Be So Hard Financially

 

Hang Tight,

Laura

4 Perspectives to Embrace When Supporting Your Kids After Divorce

Our children are bystanders in the divorce process. Theyoverave no control in the matter and can often just sit or stand by and watch as their families change, drastically. Depending on the age of the child and the child’s individual personality, some kids will roll with divorce more easily than others. Not to mention, a child will fare better and come out happy despite divorce if the two parents are both active parents who for the most part, get along. This doesn’t mean you and your former spouse have to be “BFF’s,” but that the more you get along, the easier it is in general.

Keeping this in mind that our children are bystanders and the “audience” of the whole divorce debacle, how can we minimize the negative impacts a divorce can bring? Because our kids aren’t part of a passive audience: the divorce changes their lives in many ways.

Whether you’re separating, newly divorced or an old seasoned “pro” at divorce, keep in mind these 4 perspectives when parenting children after divorce.

Read More: 4 Perspectives to Embrace When Supporting Your Kids After Divorce

Support Them,

Laura

 

5 Tricks To Make Your Single Parent Life Less Scary

Remember when you were a kid and every time you’d go trick or treating, you’d evaluate the homes and/or neighborhood you chose to go to? You knew from years past that certain houses had better candy, and certain neighborhoods had more people waiting to serve you candy. You’d also (if you weren’t a totally stubborn child) bring along a layer or two, knowing you’d want to be out as late as possible… but it might get much colder later. Let’s not forget the cool snap and break glow sticks you’d bring to light your way. Plus, you were smart to start candy negotiations early in the day, this way you could swap out stuff you didn’t want with your friends, who also had their own interests in mind.

There were so many little “tricks” you had up your young sleeves in order to make Halloween, the best ever, year after year.

Being a single parent is no different.

In order to have the best possible outcome, (peanut butter cups and Kit-Kats; no lollipops or sugar-free candies, please) you need to arm yourself with the best “tricks” so you can gather the most treats from the life you’ve made as a single parent. Here are a few I recommend keeping in your arsenal so that way you can have the sweetest life possible.

Read More: 5 Tricks To Make Your Single Parent Life Less Scary

Don’t Be Afraid,

Laura

How to Let Go of Single Mom (Or Dad) Shame

One is the loneliest number, so says the pop song, and as a single parent it can certainly feel like you’re living on a lonely little island at times. It’s not unusual to feel upset or even ashamed that your marriage or partnership didn’t work out and that here you are, living life on Plan B. And by lexical definition, “Plan B,” just sounds bad…like a default you resorted to because you were visibly forced. And for many of us, divorce and/or raising our kids alone was and is a Plan B, but that doesn’t mean it has to be viewed as a shameful, last-resort alternative.

 

If you change your perspective, you can see this in a whole new light:

    • Instead of living on a lonely island of one, you can see it as way more pleasant than the horror show of your former marriage…the island of torture

 

  • Instead of seeing Plan B as some crappy default, you can view it as if you have hit the reset button, and that your life gets to start over again

 

When you’ve grown up a good majority of your life envisioning that raising children exists in a family with two parents though, being hit with the reality that you will be doing it on your own is a pretty tough pill to swallow. It’s normal to feel a sense of shame over the fact that perhaps, you are not doing things as you hoped you would be, but truly this feeling isn’t a fact. It’s not a reality. You are not a source of embarrassment or shame to anyone, most especially to your kids, because you are a single parent.

Read More: How to Let Go of Single Parent Shame

Cut It Out,

Laura

When Life Gives You Lemons, Tell Life F U And Laugh

Life loves to hand out lemons. Whether you’re rich or poor, young or old, male or female or whatever you choose to identify as, I can guarantee you that life will send some lemons your way, for sure.

And let’s be real: when you’ve gone through a divorce you sort of feel as if you took the whole friggin’ lemon in your mouth and drank sour juice for months on end. Even in the best of divorce situations, we’ve all had a bit of sour taste in our mouth and it’s easy to be depressed and discouraged with puckered lips to boot.

With a show of hands, how many of you have simply felt like you couldn’t handle another thing life handed you? How many of you have felt like it’s never going to get better? Like life is raining little tiny sh*t balls all over you? Feeling like you’re walking around the corner, getting slimed by your worst enemies every day?

Read More: When Life Gives You Lemons, Tell Life F U And Laugh

Adjust Your Crown & Keep Walking,

Laura

5 Things To Never Say Sorry For As A Single Mom

When I ran into parents around town as school was wrapping up, everyone popped the same question:

What is your daughter doing this summer?

I pretty much shrugged my shoulders and said, “Camp Mom.”

When my daughter asked why we can’t go on vacation or why she can’t go to camp like the majority of her classmates, she knew the answer before I responded.

I don’t have the money.

I freelance and have my own business, but I always have a full-time role in addition. However, I along with many other people recently got laid off due to a company liquidation. That means that so far, my summer has been spent interviewing, working on freelance projects and acting as the official cruise director for “Camp Mom.”

Read More: 5 Things To Never Say Sorry For As A Single Mom

Stop Apologizing,

Laura

How My Divorce Turned Me Into The Independent Woman I Am Today

When I first met my ex-husband, I was wrapping up a period in which I saw an amazing therapist. I was working on myself and trying to overcome certain things and doing a great job, but still had a ways to go. But hey—each journey begins with one step, right?

I say that I had a ways to go because when I met my ex-husband, I really believed that maybe I wasn’t quite good enough yet and that the relationship was proof that I was indeed, good enough. If you don’t know this, a healthy relationship begins with two people who already know they are worthy of love, and not needing a relationship to “confirm” this belief. Unfortunately, my ex used this to his advantage numerous times, trying to remind me how basically, I wasn’t all that great or smart and that I had “so many problems,” unlike him, who was apparently, untouchable from problems that the rest of the population had. Empathy was not his strong suit.

This isn’t to say that he never said good things about me and this isn’t to say I was the perfect wife. I wasn’t perfect. I made mistakes of course like anyone, but that narrative was I was slightly lesser than and needed his help. Who wrote the narrative? Was it me? Him? Both of us?

Read More: How My Divorce Turned Me Into The Independent Woman I Am Today 

Stronger,

Laura

8 Things I Want For Mother’s Day as a Single Mom

When people ask me what I’m doing for Mother’s Day, I usually roll my eyes (on the inside). Of course I’ll celebrate, but Mother’s Day isn’t usually a big celebration when you’re a single mom like I am. My answer is usually something like, “I’m doing what I do every other day — being a mom.”

I’ve been a single parent for four years now, so Mother’s Day doesn’t really have the same effect as it used to. I remember going to the boardwalk with my daughter on my first Mother’s Day after getting a divorce. People came in droves with their kids . . . and partners. I felt very out of place. No one was pointing and saying, “Look at the woman alone with her child on Mother’s Day,” but I still felt alone. I no longer had someone to plan Mother’s Day surprises for me or with my daughter, to take some of the parenting burden off my shoulders for the day, or to shower me with love and affection. It was just me. It is just me.

Our family of two is perfect, and if we end up adding more people along the way, that’s great too. I’ve come so far from the person I once was, and Mother’s Day no longer holds the same sad power over me. Sure, I’d love a day to relax, but I also know that, for now, that’s not how things are, and that’s OK. We don’t and can’t always get what we want, but that doesn’t mean that what we already have isn’t good enough. I cherish my relationship with my daughter, and because I’m a single parent, it means that much more to me. But I do still think about what I want, because no matter what your situation is, you always deserve to be celebrated. Keep reading for eight things I’ll wish for this Mother’s Day while still being perfectly content with what I have.

To All the Single Mom’s: YOU ROCK!
Laura