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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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

Why Single Parenthood Helped Me Face My Anxiety

I have never been a shy or introverted person. I was always comfortable being “me” even at a young age. Still, I have always been a sensitive soul and as I got older, I was anxious—a high energy, anxious, Type A sort of woman. When my ex and I separated, the anxiety ebbed and flowed. Sometimes, it was fine. There was a happiness and peace in finally deciding to divorce once and for all, as well as a joy in not being with the wrong person: i.e., not fighting every day and night anymore. But with separation and divorce, there came major uncertainty and with those changes and “new territory,” came anxiety.

Dating. Losing a home. Moving out on my own. Becoming financially independent. Navigating the divorce process. Sharing our child. Coparenting.

All of these things brought some very real fears and others, imagined. One of the greatest fears I would wager to bet most divorced people fear is failure.

Will I be able to make it on my own?

Did I make the right choice?

Will my daughter be fine?

Will I go broke?

Will I meet someone?

I want to tell you that two years later all my fears have subsided, but life has changed since we went our separate ways and in some ways, things are easier and other ways, things are much harder.

Single parenthood though, made me face my fears to the highest level.

Read More: Why Single Parenthood Helped Me Face My Anxiety

You Can Do It,

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

The 1 Thing to Never Say to Your Child After Divorce

I learned something very important in court parenting class. Something I didn’t expect.

I was sitting in a large nondescript room that looked something like a school cafeteria or a VFW, about to listen to a court parenting class. They offered cheap snacks like peanuts and granola bars, along with water bottles. I grabbed some snacks and looked around. As I scanned the crowd I saw newly separated people with the mark of divorce on their faces. The exhaustion, fear and defeat showed on almost everyone. I had already been separated for 2 years at this point so it wasn’t new to me. Yet as “old” as it was to me, sitting in that class taught me a lot.

I learned a lot about what the court deals with in regards to children and divorce. I learned a lot about what the court expects from me and other divorced parents.

But the one thing that stuck with me was when the court social worker told us we should never call our “ex” our “ex” in front of our children or to other people we are speaking to in front of the kids.

“Ex has a bad connotation. Ex is something that is no longer part of you. Ex is the past. But to your kids, your “ex” is their father or mother. A good person. A part of them. Their present and future.”

Read More: The 1 Thing to Never Say to Your Child After Divorce

One Small Habit to Make,

Laura

How to make the most of a long weekend alone without the kids— Divorce Style

In all truth, ever since splitting from my former husband, the hardest times for me have been holidays…and summer weekends alone. It’s easy to understand why adjusting to sharing holidays has been hard. Thankfully, my ex and I split almost every single holiday day in half since we live close. But why have I found summer weekends alone to be hard in particular? Well, I suppose it’s one thing to be alone on a frigid cold winter night. Is everyone else going out and having a good time? Most likely not. Most likely they’re Netflixing and “chilling” or literally watching Netflix alone like any other single gal home at night on a Saturday in January. But in the summer there are a lot of family vacations, hot summer romances, trips away…and as a single person who hasn’t been too impressed yet with the dating pool, the nights I found myself struggling to find something to do felt pretty awkward and sad in the past. I was, in theory, supposed to have “fun” on my free nights and be out like everyone else, so why wasn’t I? I mean, I was having fun sometimes, but it was hard to find other single people ready to go out. It seemed like more of a chore to find something to do than I had expected, but most of my friends were home with their partners, like other married folks.

 

Read More: How to make the most of a long weekend alone without the kids— Divorce Style

Enjoy It,

Laura

 

 

Working Through Divorce

As a newly single mother living on one income, having a job is high on my priority list. I was working part-time when I was married, and once my husband and I separated I immediately had to go back to full-time work. Learning to navigate a new job and single motherhood while going through a divorce was tough. If you’re in or have ever been in this boat, you know what I mean.

So how can working moms get through divorce with their jobs intact? First things first: Make sure your kids are cared for. You can never have enough backup care, suggests psychologist Leah Klungness, Ph.D., co-author of The Complete Single Mother.

Read More: Working Through Divorce

It’s Tough,

Laura