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

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6 Lessons Learned After Being Divorced for Three Years

Very shortly, it will be 3 years since my divorce date and over 5 years since I have been separated from my ex-husband. As it gets close to that date each year which also is right next to our wedding anniversary ironically, I always reflect on the trials, wins, and growth I’ve made in that time. In some ways, I always find myself a bit short of where I want to be, and in other ways, I always find that I’ve surpassed my expectations. Now that it’s almost three years out, here’s what I’ve learned, where I’ve been, and where I’m headed.

1. DOING THE RIGHT THING ALWAYS PAYS OFF

There were many times when it came to my ex or things involving him where friends would say I was “too nice” or going out of my way.
This isn’t to say that I always did the right thing each time, but that overall, I usually tried to do the right thing.

I think it’s paid off. I think my daughter has learned a lot from my example, and I think it has helped bridge the gap and heal relationships between myself and my ex’s family. I think it’s helped to ensure that my daughter has a relationship with them as well. I even see some positive changes between my ex and me, so I’ll take them.

Read More: 6 Lessons Learned After Being Divorced for Three Years

Learning & Growing,

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

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 Friendships Feed Me (Literally & Emotionally) After Divorce

While many people internally panic about the idea of being alone after divorce, one of the few anecdotes to “divorce” depression is not another partner, but the people you call your friends. In fact, for a lot of people, divorce can really fracture friendships because couples may have shared a lot of mutual friends, leaving people to more often than not, pick sides over who they are going to align with, even if in truth they really like both spouses a lot. In my case, my ex and I had some mutual friends that had to navigate new friendships with us after divorce, but most of my close friends were mine solely. The larger issue for us was that many people know us both since we went to high school in the same town.
So, if you’re not as fortunate as I was to have a tight crew already, you can be left almost friendless after divorce. Even if you’ve got a group of friends like I did, when I first separated from my ex, I really wanted to meet other people who were either divorced or on the journey like myself. It helps to have that support group. Over time, I met more single parents like myself, which made me feel less alone.

Read More: How My Friendships Feed Me (Literally & Emotionally) After Divorce

Get By With a Little Help From My Friends,

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

7 Things You Need After Divorce More Than You Even Realize

There are many things you need to make it through a divorce, most of which is courage and tenacity. The process can be long and hellish if you’re unlucky, quick and easy if you’re fortunate. In any event, after a divorce no matter how good or bad the divorce is, there are some things you need after divorce more than you even realize. The chances are really that you’ll realize you need these things when you’re in the middle of a crisis or low moment, but if you know ahead of time, you’ll be better off.

1 – Patience

Patience is a virtue of which I lack. But let me tell you, getting a divorce certainly beat the importance of patience into my bones.

More than you know it, you’ll need patience.

Patience to navigate life afterwards, from finances to dating and new relationships.

Patience for your kids.

Patience for all the things that a divorce can bring.

2 – Ability to Let Things Go

Ouch, here’s another thing I struggle with.

You can’t make your ex be a good person. You can’t make money fall from the sky. You can’t make love happen when you want it to.

There are some things I can walk away from, and others I struggle to.

If this is you, divorce is going to require you to learn how to do this, asap. Really, life after divorce requires that you let go of things and people and conceptions, and quickly.

3 – Acceptance of the Unknown

You thought your marriage was going to be forever. News flash, it’s over.

Pretty jarring, eh? Yes, it is. Your fairy tale took a sharp turn to the right and suddenly, it’s a tragic-comedy or just a drama series.

Read More: 7 Things You Need After Divorce More Than You Even Realize

Strength & Peace,

Laura

 

How to Take Your Financial Challenges and Turn Them Into Life Goals

It is very hard to stare down financial hardships and see a light at the end of the tunnel, unless you make a plan. Truly, having no financial plan in general, is dangerous. Even if you are scraping by for now and can’t be strategic, you can take these financial challenges you are dealing with, and turn them into life goals that will help serve you. Here are a few ways you can turn your financial hardships into something fruitful!

CREDIT ISSUES

Do you have a bad credit score or maybe a lot of credit debt? This is a common issue after divorce. Perhaps your ex racked up debt or you racked up some yourself. Whatever the case is, take credit issues as a journey towards smarter spending.
Some tips I have learned from the advisors I met through Savvy Ladies:

Read More: How to Take Your Financial Challenges and Turn Them Into Life Goals

Challenge is On!

Laura