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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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

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

6 Things I Want My Daughter to Remember About Me, Even After I’m Gone

We always want our children to think the best of us — just as much as they want us to think the best of them. Have you ever sat down and thought about what exactly you want your kids to remember most about you when it’s all said and done? The reality is this — so much of how we are can become how our children are. They absorb so much of us, from our behaviors and habits to our likes and dislikes, even when we don’t realize they’re watching and listening.

As a single mom raising an only child, I really feel the weight of all I do. Worrying about caring for her and having the entire financial burden on my shoulders sometimes makes me think I’m going to break, but I don’t. I keep carrying on and doing my thing. And that’s just one of the things I want her to remember about me: that I never give up, no matter how hard life gets. I take the punches like a big girl, and I dish it right back, fighting and appreciating the little things in life.

Here are the six big things I want my daughter to always remember about me.

Read More: 6 Things I Want My Daughter to Remember About Me, Even After I’m Gone

Love Is Never-Ending,

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

 

7 Ways to Create New Holiday Traditions After Divorce

Okay, so you’re divorced and now you’ve got to figure out the holidays…on your own or with the kids. It can take adjusting. Missing your ex (or maybe not!). Missing your ex’s family unless you still see them…or also, maybe not. Sharing your kids. Being alone. Less money. Being single.

It’s not surprising if you’re already feeling a little grinchy and not so spirited. But—and here is the challenge—even if you don’t have your kids…they’re watching you before they walk off to the other parent’s home. So you’ve got to shake off the holiday blues and make different memories and traditions that they will love, and so will you.

Or in other words, your divorce is not a death sentence. It just means some adjustments have to be made for you to find a new happy normal! Here are some holly jolly ways to create new traditions at the holidays after divorce.

Read More: 7 Ways to Create New Holiday Traditions After Divorce

Jolly, Jolly,

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

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

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

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