12 Days of Christmas, Single Mom Style

ira-ostafijchuk-q3zAX_kt0z4-unsplash

Photo by Ira Ostafijchuk on Unsplash

I tend to listen to holiday music ad nausem because I miss singing in choir; this season always reminds me of numerous years of concerts I either sang or sang and played an instrument in over the years. But, as I “race” to get stuff done– and try to remember hiding the elves for my daughter, and oh can’t forget Hanukkah too, it all blurs by. This is when I wish I had four hands instead of two, but part of being a single mom is learning how to be more than one person. Guess what? I still haven’t quite learned because it’s just not possible.

It had me making up my own little 12 days of Christmas song– if only.

Continue reading

Giving Up Things You Need & Love: Life As a Single Parent

sergei-gavrilov-gbd6PqRqGms-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Sergei Gavrilov on Unsplash

Sometimes we hit hard patches in life and we have to give up things we love. At the tail end of this year, I got hit with something that cost me financially a lot to handle– but I had to handle it. I couldn’t walk away or retreat from the matter and I ended up doing the right thing. But as a single parent, it was a financial hit I didn’t need as I already had endured enough the past six years. Not to mention the holidays– as much as I try to watch my funds and stick to a budget– it still costs– even with me being mindful.

So, after tallying up what I will need to pay for the next month or so, it hit me I may have to give up some things I love and some I even need in order to keep going, which really hurts. No one truly knows the financial sacrifices involved when you are a single parent– unless you are one as well.

My most favorite thing and really my one source of consistent artistic and physical joy, is dance.

Continue reading

A Single Mom’s Christmas (Er, Hanukkah too) List

food-photographer-jennifer-pallian-dcPNZeSY3yk-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

The other day my daughter said she was upset because Santa leaves her way more presents than he does for me.

I’m a single parent and also, single. Thankfully, she believes in Santa. Not thankfully, I can only buy so many “fake” presents for myself. I told her that I tell Santa to not bring gifts for me and instead, to leave for her. This seemed to placate her.

In truth, while I wouldn’t mind a pair of diamond earrings, some dance classes and new shoes and a nice coat, I don’t view gifts in the same light as I used to. Or the holidays.

I won’t lie that nice gifts are attractive, but they don’t mean the same thing to me anymore. It’s not a priority for me. When I envision the holidays, I consider the people I will be spending them with and the experiences I will have with them. I would rather have love than diamonds. Time with someone than a gift to unwrap.

Today, as I cleared off my car of the first ice and snow of the season, I was reminded of how great it would be if I had had someone to do it for me while I got my kid ready for school, instead of spending 20 minutes doing it on top of everything else.

And while that’s not the same as seeing the tree in NYC with your partner or sharing champagne on New Year’s, it’s truly just the snapshot of how wonderful having someone great can be. Having someone to be present for you and helpful, is better than a present.

Continue reading

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

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

 

How Learning How to Ask for Help Made Me Stronger

First things, first: I am not so stubborn that if my arm is about to fall off, I won’t ask for help. I will ask for help…with certain things. Certain things are easier for me to ask than others, but overall, I find it hard to ask for something that I really need from people I care about.

Asking an employer or someone I hired to do something I can do. But asking people within my life and community for help is much harder. For example, there were quite a few times I probably should have gone to the food bank instead of using limited funds for food. Pride kept me from going…and also, I didn’t want people to know in my small town that I was not doing so well. I also felt my ex would be more punitive if he knew.
So, there were logical reasons to resist, but there were also damn good reasons I should have gone to the food bank. Either way, we ate and no one went hungry…but still, I noted my pride.

Applying for state health care was also something I truly abhorred. I felt terrible. How could this happen to me? Well, it did. Life happened. Medical bills. Ex fiascos. Lawyers. Childcare. Caring for my daughter. Unemployment stints.

Life happens. And when it happens to the best of us as it all does, you must know how to ask for help. Period.

Asking for help made me stronger because…

Read More: How Learning How to Ask for Help Made Me Stronger

Stronger,

Laura

A Single Mom’s Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep…except for, I am still awake.

Awake thinking of the many things I meant to do, but couldn’t get done today.

Awake thinking of the things I said that I second guess—

In my mind, I go over these conversations with my child and wonder if something could have been said differently or if perhaps, there was something I might have missed in her words.

Or if perhaps, my strong love came through with each sentence, word and syllable

As she lays down to sleep,

I pray she doesn’t feel the difference between us and “them:”

As we walk our neighborhood on crisp days, she points to houses and says, “I want us to have our own home.”

As she lays down to sleep,

I hope she knows how amazing, creative, smart, strong and bright her light already is.

I sit and hope.

Hope that each day in every way,

my child knows I love her.

Read More: A Single Mom’s Prayer

 

Amen,

Laura

Broke Single Parent Holiday

The buzz is on. Everyone is chatting about their awesome holiday vacations. The presents they’re buying for their spouses. The gift list they have made for their kiddos. The smashing New Year’s Eve reservations they’ve got in store. It sounds so thrilling and wonderful, but to you it feels pretty god darn awful. This is the part in which your “Fa-la-la-la-la” is completely flat:

The part in which you realize you’re flat broke and there’s no awesome holiday getaway or hot spousal date or worse, amazing list of gifts you’re dying to buy your kids.

Sure. Those things exist in your head but they’re not reality. Instead, you sit down and look at your budget. You look at how much money you have coming in and how much you can use to contribute towards the holidays, whether that be taking any days off or buying gifts for your children. You don’t feel so “Fa-la-la-la-la,” when you look at the bottom line that money is tight and that you’re going to be lucky if you can take vacation days because guess what? As a single parent you probably used up quite a bit already.

Read More:Broke Single Parent Holiday

You’re Rich In Love,

Laura

12 Things Single Working Moms and Their Kids Need for a Happy Life

Single parenthood is the hardest thing I have done in my life. Every time I think I have it down, life throws me a curve ball and reminds me that I’m just a student of motherhood who will be dealing with a whirlwind syllabus for the rest of my life. I think all mothers can relate to this. Still, I find the pressure of mothering alone to be particularly intense. I often hold myself to impossible standards. I have lost a home and moved and then moved again for work. I have tried to build a career while figuring out how to be a solo parent at the same time.

One thing I’ve learned in this burgeoning journey: There are some things a single mom and her kids need and deserve to be happy. For starters, our own health and happiness are vital—a foundation for our kids to perch and grow upon. If we’re rocky, chances are our kids will stumble on the stones. This doesn’t mean we need to be perfect, but it does mean single moms (and as in my case, moms of divorce) must care for ourselves even as we fervently attend to our children.

Here are some of the things I believe we single moms need to do it.

1. A Single-Mom Network or Friend to Fall Back On

You must, must, must, even with all of your wonderful married friends, have at least one single mom friend who sees you as family, and vice versa. This will allow you both to help each other out when times get tough. No one understands your situation better than those wearing the same clunky shoes. So get out there and befriend someone. Even if you don’t have a ton in common, that one common bond will help both of you—even if it’s being each other’s emergency contact and back-up childcare.
Read More:12 Things Single Working Moms and Their Kids Need for a Happy Life

Build Your Network,

Laura