Gratitude: This Single Mom Sees Wins & Rewards Everywhere– Despite Hardship

After a very difficult few weeks– and a few still upcoming, I was pretty spent. Tired, lack of appetite and a bit quiet.

Yet, as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hannukah and the New Year approaches, I remain pretty grateful even despite.

I didn’t find love or create as much work as I wanted to in 2019. I didn’t do as much financially as I wanted to in terms of debt management or savings.

But I did pay down quite a bit. I did make some huge strides financially. I learned a whole new skill (tap dancing and jazz). I improved my turns (ballet) and form at the barre. I wrote and found new clients and did my final pieces for former clients. I just got word from another writer about forming a long-distance writing group. I may do two recitals in 2020.

And I got closer to my child.

This past weekend, I got so many hugs from her– and I could see the results of the care I provide and protection I give for her. More often than not, I put myself aside to make things work for her. I am one person with a lot of responsibility so sometimes, I cannot do as much as I would like– but I am still one person who really cares.

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5 Things I Won’t Ever Apologize for as a Single Mom

I’ve said sorry more times than I care to admit. I’ve apologized for so many things.

I’ve apologized …

  • For stuff I’ve actually done
  • Crap I thought about doing
  • Things I wanted to do
  • For things I worried I might do
  • For things I’ve never even done
  • For my existence

Women are raised to apologize and be “good” all the time. Couple that with some insecurities and, bam, you’ve got a walking, talking apology machine.

But each day, week, month, and year, I get a bit stronger and a bit more sure of myself. And I’m tired of saying “sorry,” “my apologies,” “I didn’t mean to,” and a whole bunch of other phrases that all make me put my metaphorical tail between my legs.

Read More: 5 Things I Won’t Ever Apologize for as a Single Mom

NOT Sorry,

Laura

How To Put Your Kid Ahead Of Your Ego With The Custody Schedule

Making a custody schedule is about as fun as stubbing your toe on a Lego or getting food poisoning. However, if you’re divorcing with kids you’ve got to make a schedule that works, which means rolling up your sleeves with your ex and potentially, a mediator or lawyers if needed (hopefully not) and putting it in writing.

The hardest part of all of this is putting your kids before yourself.

It shouldn’t be. I mean, a custody schedule is all about the children, but it’s not uncommon for divorcing parents to let their egos get in the way when making a schedule for their kids.

The bottom line is, of course, you and your ex need to consider your own personal needs and work schedules, but the kids’ needs have to come first.

Here are a few tips to keep your ego in check and put your kids first:

Read More: How To Put Your Kid Ahead Of Your Ego With The Custody Schedule

Put Them First,

Laura

How to Handle Questions About Your Single Parent Status During Interviews

Being a working single parent is tough.

Trying to find a job as a single parent is tougher—especially if you’re an unemployed single parent.

Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt, wrinkles, and stress-inducing memories to boot.

Even if you’re working already, hunting for a new role and going through the interview process is nerve-wracking.

As a writer, interviewers could look up my work and know I was a single parent. If the

company doesn’t know that you’re a parent and in particular, a single parent, I would

recommend to not share that information unless someone asks you if you have children.

Legally, they shouldn’t at all—and you don’t have to answer. It’s up to you.

While I’d like to tell all of you that your single parent status won’t come up during

interviews thanks to proper HR protocol, that’s not the case. I’ve had many interviews

where hiring managers, potential coworkers and other staff have asked me either

pointed questions or direct questions. In some cases, I had great responses prepared

because I had been “down that road” before but in other cases, I either balked or got

frustrated.

Read More: How to Handle Questions About Your Single Parent Status During Interviews

You’ve Got This!

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

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