When The Universe (or Whatever God You Believe in) Places Someone Amazing in Your Path

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

I have had some very hard times over the last six years. I have went through things I never thought I could handle. From long-term unemployment to physical abuse to heartache and legal battles, it was a haul.

To say that I have gotten out of the darkness is an understatement and if it’s not clear, I am very proud of how hard I have worked to be where I am today as a devoted working single mother.

But every now and then, we have someone who helps us on our journey– our twisted paths– that helps us even in the darkest of times.

This person for me, is named Rob.

Rob and I have known each other for about 23 years. We met in a gym years ago, and while at first he was just a very funny, eccentric, smart and quirky man of steel, I have learned– albeit I haven’t cracked the Rob code yet– that he is more than that.

More often than not, he has given me a helping hand, smart advice and an ear.

Over this pandemic, I started training with him virtually and to say that I have seen results doesn’t do it justice. I have seen results.  I am a bit timid  and hard on myself, so I won’t post pics, but I have gotten in solid shape.

If you want to train with him and his program, I guarantee you will get results– just show up! I rarely sing anyone’s praises publicly, so if I am telling you he is good, he is good!

On days that I felt overcome with anxiety about living in a state that is full of COVID-19, I showed up to virtual workouts. On days my stomach hurt or my head hurt because I was tired from working, homeschool and being alone/lonely as a single mom, I showed up to virtual workouts. He and his awesome team, have kept me going. He has encouraged me, offered advice, just been a friend, listened and basically been a steady presence throughout this whole scary freaking mess of quarantine.

I am beyond grateful. There were days I literally told myself– “I can’t miss this workout. I don’t want to let myself down. Or Rob.”

Seeing his face on the other side of the computer … just reminded me I am not as terribly alone as I feel.

So, not only has my body gotten an amazing workout, but my mind and heart has felt a bit less alone in all of this.

Some friends are just more amazing than others– and he really has stood by me in a time when quite honestly, I feel terribly alone doing this with my daughter.

Thank you– to someone who showed up when I needed it. Who has been the true meaning of a friend for me in a time when I am vulnerable and anxious and trying to stay positive and zen.

I hope you all have someone who god, the universe or whatever you believe in– places in your life to help you through. We need each other, now more than ever.

Love,

Laura

Being a Single Mom Right Now Has Pushed Me to My Limits

Whichever way you slice it, no one has it easy during this unprecedented time in the world. No one is jumping around for joy. Everyone is bogged down with stress and anxiety, and we’re all dealing with the changes the best we can. But I have to admit that as a single mom, this current health crisis has pushed me to the limit.

There are now limits I never thought I’d see before. There are people celebrating how excited they are to have their spouse home and their busy, independent teenagers. I get this. But then there’s me: acting as head teacher, cook, cleaning lady, employee of the month, and mom of the year, 24/7 — with no way to tap out.

Read More: Being a Single Mom Right Now Has Pushed Me to My Limits

Hang Tough,

Laura

10 Valentine’s Day Gifts For Your Favorite Single Mom

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Lately, I’m running on empty. I’ve had a few fires to put out and other contending fires to still manage. Welcome to life as a single mom. Surprisingly, I’ve handled it all really well– minus some sleepless nights and a little heartburn. I can thank my dad for the heartburn. Pretty sure genetically, he handed that down to me. But I digress.

Valentine’s Day is in 8 days (yay!), and with that said, this single mom could use a few Valentine’s gifts for anyone in the mood to buy me something. Wink.

And if you don’t personally feel like gifting me, I’m pretty sure any other single mom I know would like these gifts!

Starbucks Gift Card

Your single mom would love a coffee gift card because chances are … she runs on Dunkin or the ‘Bucks.

Someone to Make Lunch

I hate making school lunches. I would love someone to make my kid’s lunch for a week!

A Big Box of Godiva

You can hand pick the truffles she wants at Godiva, and damn, it’s delicious.

I need one. I want one. I MUST HAVE ONE!

Bring Her Dinner or Take Her Out

Relieve her burden. Take her to dinner! Bring her dinner! Give her the night off, already.

Massage or Mani/Pedi

Chances are if you’re a single mom, treating yourself comes with either intense financial guilt … or doesn’t come at all due to $ or time.

Treat a lady!

Champagne or Wine

A nice bottle will take the edge of the last X of days I’ve been kicking *ss as a single mom.

Send!

Cozy PJs or Lingerie

If you’re her friend, don’t buy her lingerie unless she’s feeling you, too.

If you’re more than friends, treat her to something beautiful. Bring chocolate too.

If you’re just friends, cozy pajamas with some hot cocoa is super sweet.

Watch Her Kid/s

Be a babysitter. Give her a break. Don’t text her as you’re watching her kids either, unless it’s urgent.

Do a Chore For Her

Do the groceries. Fold the laundry. Clean the house. Get dirty for her. Give her a day off.

Just Make Her Feel Special & Appreciated

Enough said!

X’s & O’s,

Laura

 

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

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

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

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

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, an 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.

It’s enough to make you Bah- humbug and honestly, feel inferior and sad that the holidays in your head aren’t living up to the ones you’ll have in reality. Does it suck? Sure, but is it the end of the world? No. No, damnit it’s not. Instead of feeling bad that you can’t make the holidays some huge smash, remember that your kids don’t need huge gifts and getaways to be happy. That being a broke single parent at the holidays is hard, but it’s not awful. Being a homeless single parent on the holidays IS awful. And even still—it doesn’t make you a bad parent. Being an unloving and unresponsive or absent parent makes you a bad parent. Not buying your kid every one of his or her whims and fancy does not qualify you as a bad parent. Having to work Christmas- New Year’s Eve vacation does not make you a bad parent.

Read More: Broke Single Parent Holiday

Jingle Bell Broke,

Laura