There are some days that you would never want to live over again. Then there are those days that you relive year after year, and you absolutely wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in the world. This is one of those days for our family… Those “good” days…
Today is my second daughter’s birthday. She turned 10 years old today. It seems like yesterday that I was pregnant with her and experiencing some of the craziest emotions I’ve ever experienced in my life, up until that point at least. My husband, at the time, and I had just found out we were expecting again and he had also just received his first orders to deploy to Iraq within a couple of months.
I remember being scared out of my mind because not only were we in unknown territory, due to being stationed at Fort Campbell, KY and only being there for about 3 weeks before finding out we were with child, but my husband was leaving American soil and actually being sent to a foreign land where soldiers were being killed left and right. Nervous? Scared? Honestly, I think I was more petrified than anything at that point.
To make a long story short, he ended up leaving right before Thanksgiving that year and the holidays definitely were not the same without him. I ended up going to visit my family back in Illinois and the day after I got there we had a beautiful and healthy, yet tiny, 4 lb 8 oz baby girl. I had gone into labor prematurely. The doctors all said that it was due to me being stressed about my husband’s safety and now having two children, instead of just the one, to care for alone if anything were to happen to him.
I don’t know what caused me to go into labor early but I do know that this is definitely one of those days… Those good days that I will always remember and hope to never ever forget.
“The way we spend our time defines who we are.” – Jonathan Estrin
Guilt is something that all moms may feel but I have a serious question for you. Do you think that the guilt felt is even greater for single moms? I tend to think the answer to that question is a resounding ‘Yes’. Maybe it can be attributed to our society or just because we feel extra pressure to be “on” ALL of the time but I know there have been times when I have wanted, very badly, to take some much needed time for myself and I have felt like I was the most awful mother in the world for feeling this way. Just the thought of wanting my children to leave me alone so that I could have a moment of silence or just to sit and relax without hearing “Mom” being yelled out every 5 seconds appeared to literally be heaven on Earth. However, for some reason, I would never fix my lips to ask for, much less take, that time. I mean, there were (and still are) times when I’d have to talk fast just to be able to pee alone! (TMI? Yeah, maybe it was.)
What do you do to not feel so guilty? And, if you don’t feel that guilt anymore, what have you done to make “mommy time” seem acceptable to you?
I know, for myself, I need just even an hour a day to recharge so that I am not so snappy with my children and/or others. I notice that I am sometimes not able to make that work, especially with children still under the age of 2 in my home, but I really try hard to get the rest that I know I need every night and to get the time, throughout my day, to just sit and relax… BY MYSELF. During my “me time” adventures, many times, I will do something that I enjoy like having lunch with a friend or reading a book or working on my writing projects, both here and elsewhere. However, there are times that I do things that just need to be done like cleaning my house, going grocery shopping (ALONE) or balancing my checkbook. I just try to make sure that I get a chance to have some ME time as often as I need it, without neglecting my children and my responsibilities as a parent, of course but still being true to who I am as a woman.
Surprisingly, I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself anymore. It took me a LONG time to get to this point – it definitely was not all peaches and cream – I most certainly struggled with the thought of being able to take time for myself, away from my kids, and still being seen as being a “good” mother. My struggles were mainly internal and fear-based, stemming from current circumstances and also from how I was raised, but I had to realize that not every woman or mother is the same and what works for one family may not – scratch that, WILL NOT – work for my family and that is OKAY. Honestly, once I got this internalized and deeply rooted inside of me, it allowed me the freedom to finally start taking that time I so craved and deserved but never would ask for or act upon. What I learned is that I need time to replenish my energy, especially with how active my children are and with the busy schedule that we sometimes carry. The fact of the matter is simply this, I cannot be the best mother, friend or woman (period) that I want to be, and that I know I can be, if I do not take some time to do the things that bring me joy and that make me who I am.
So, what are you struggling with today?
As moms and as women, in general, we tend to take on the burdens of this entire world and it usually leaves us drained and unable to be the best us that we can and want to be. I think that it is time for a change and time for us to brush off what society (or other people) try to say to us concerning this subject. The thought for the day is to remember that it is alright to take some time for yourself. Your kids will still be there and they will still love and respect you. Not only this, but it will teach them that everyone needs – and deserves – to have some time for themselves to just relax, do things that they enjoy and to just be free. Don’t let society or the thought of being a bad mommy scare you because those things are not true and do not define who you are, in the least.
Until next time, Word-ies! Have a very, very happy hump day! 🙂
I am on this journey of reading different devotionals and books. I had not been able to read as much as I’d like to however, lately, I have had this “extra” time on my hands and decided to fill that time with God and with reading. It has been truly refreshing. Recently, I was sent a new devotional, through my Bible app, and I decided to check it out. It was entitled “How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps”. Yeah, it was a little weird to me too as first but I promise you I am not making this up.
Usually when we think of having children and raising them, we typically don’t think of harming them and we definitely don’t entertain the thought of ruining them. However, as I was reading through this devotional, I began to understand how we really can (and do) ruin our children and make life harder for them, and ourselves, than we may realize. Obviously, this devotional is Biblically-based and, as such, often refers to passages of scripture or sin that opens the door to a parent or guardian ruining their child.
So, here’s a little history (or cheat sheet) on the 7 deadly sins, which is ultimately what is used to show how we can ruin our children. The seven deadly sins can be found in various books of the Holy Bible. Here is the breakdown:
- Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed
adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
- Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21).
- Greed – excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness (interest in acquiring money or other material things): “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19).
- Sloth – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: laziness: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19).
- Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
- Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: jealousy: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2).
- Pride – quality or state of being proud: inordinate self-esteem: haughty or puffed up: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”
As you can see, many of these sins are not things we would normally consider to be that bad (or that big of a deal) but God looks at these traits differently than we do. Sometimes we are operating in these things and we do not even know it. Even when someone tries to point these things out in us, many times, we will accuse that other person of being mean or insensitive or just plain wrong about us. Sometimes that may be true but what if they are right about us? Then what?
We often hear people complaining about society and how the world isn’t like it used to be and our youth are not as respectful, compassionate, thoughtful as they used to be but let me pose this question to you. Do
you understand that many of these complaints stem from the way
someone was raised?
God has given us, who are parents in any way, the responsibility to raise our children to become the adults that we want to see them become. Raising a child is more than just providing for them financially and physically but it is guiding them spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It is giving them opportunities to make mistakes while they are still under your guidance and care so that you can correct them and help them to understand why something is “this way” and not “that way.” I would encourage any of you that have been given the opportunity to impact the life of a child, in any way, to read this devotional. I truly believe in the saying, “when you KNOW better, you DO better.”
Yes, yes…. I know… it’s what you all have been waiting for. Someone get this lady a mic. It’s Fashion Friday!!! All things fashion for the working professional on down to the stylin’ and profilin’ tot and everyone in between. I won’t go into the entire spill this time but I will give you all a bit of my history with fashion.
I have always had a love for fashion. My motto is “If you look good, your feelings will usually line up accordingly.” With that said, I have, much like everyone else has, gone through a time when I just felt awkward in everything that I put on and didn’t feel “pretty”. You’ve had those days too, right? Come on…don’t leave me hanging!
Anyway, that period of time happened twice in my life…once when I was in my identity stage (between 12 and 14 years old) and the other happened since I’ve been an adult and a mom. Go figure… I have since learned what I like and what I look good in and vice versa but, believe you me, it wasn’t always easy to throw together an appropriate outfit for various events/engagements/situations. And yes, I had a little help, but now I am able to spot what looks good (not only on me but on my children as well) and take pride in being able to make multiple outfits out of a few pieces and I will show you how.
So, be sure to check back every Friday for our Fashion Friday updates, articles, make-up tips, style advice and much more. For all of my lovely Fashion-bloggers out there, let’s collaborate. Leave me a message here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s make this happen!
Looking forward to Friday fashion chats with you! 🙂
“There’s never ever, ever, ever, ever been a show like Veggietales!”
Yep, you guessed it, the kids are out of school today and, thus, it’s family day in our house (however, family day has become just another way of saying that the kids have control of what we watch – and do – for the day). My kids have chosen to program a number of shows including: mostly Disney channel shows, but they also threw in other favorites like Veggietales, Toy Story, and Doc McStuffins, this morning. My thought is that the older girls only threw in those last two so that the younger kids can think they got a chance to watch something that interested them… I don’t know who they think they’re fooling but as long as everyone’s happy, it works for me.
I tend to treasure moments when I can be with my children, especially since I work full-time and barely have enough energy (or time) left after the work day to engage my children, so weekends (and any “vacation” days that I can take off) are definitely very special and very much looked forward to, by everyone, in my home.
My older girls and I cook dinner together during the week, and sometimes prepare meals in advance on the weekends before a super busy week, so we are able to chat and reconnect during those times but I find it takes a whole different type of effort to engage and reconnect with my little ones, especially when there is homework to be done, studying to do, dinner to prepare and hair to be done and nighttime routines to be kept.
I was recently speaking with a married friend and she agreed that this is even hard for her and she expressed how strong she thinks I am for doing it alone. This was definitely an encouragement but also an eye-opener since I’ve always felt that having a partner/spouse to share the load with would be ideal and help make things easier…and while that has some truth in it, it is also still sometimes difficult even with both parents in the home. This allowed me to see how much women are connected, whether single or married, novice or experienced, we all have some of the same struggles and it is in these things that we can connect (and should connect) with other women.
So, here are some ways to aid in reconnecting with our children, but you can also use this as a guide to reconnect with others in your life…
- Be Intentional: Much like any other relationship in our lives, we must be intentional with engaging our children. Intentional is doing something deliberately and on purpose. If we want to truly engage with our children, we must be aggressive and deliberate with the things that we say and do…the way we go about engaging them. Turn off the cell phones, tablets, laptops, television and engage…have a conversation for starters. Find out what your child does and does not like. I don’t care what you do, just do something!
- Be Realistic: You know your child better than anyone else so you know what will draw them in and what will not. Even if you don’t, you are more than capable of finding out. It’s probably not a good idea to plan dress-up and tea party time if you have a 16-year old daughter that has no interest in dressing up or tea. Plan your outings and activities appropriately and be realistic in your planning. Being realistic could just mean making sure that you allot enough time for a particular activity and being open to your child revamping your plans.
- Be Willing to Sacrifice: This means just what it sounds like. Be willing to sacrifice. You probably won’t be able to watch that show at that time but does that show even really matter??? You can always DVR it or watch it on Netflix, Hulu Plus, On-Demand, or even at another time (since most shows come on multiple times before the new episode appears). So, be willing to give up some things, if you want to truly show your child that they matter to you.
- Follow-Through: This is similar to being intentional but also different in a way. Following through just means that you have set a date, time, planned an activity, etc. and now it is time to actually do this thing! Not that difficult right…this depends on you. Don’t cancel your date with your child for anything (if you can help it). Let everyone know that you have plans and ask them not to bother you unless it is an absolute emergency. Make adjustments as needed but be sure to follow-through on your commitment because there is nothing more heart-breaking than being told something, by someone you love, and then it not actually happening. So follow through!
What tools or techniques do you use to reconnect in your relationships? How long have you done things in this way? Add some of your favorite activities or stories from things that worked for you to engage with others. Would love for you to join in the conversation.
I recently read a blog post from someone and it was speaking about how hard it is to raise a child alone. Well, I have 5 of them and I will be the first to tell you that yes, it is very hard…especially as you add more little ones to the mix but it can also be very rewarding and fulfilling and we can all get through it. Much like anything else that we may want in life, we have to work at this thing called ‘Parenting’. Though it will probably take all of our time, energy, sanity and money (what little some of us may have, lol) the rewards of a “job well done” are endless. That is the goal…it’s my goal anyway. To know and be told that I have done a exceptional job raising my children.
Along this road there will be (and, in my life, already have been) many mistakes, times when we just don’t get it right and failures. However, we can also expect to have many triumphs, victories and battles won. Not all of this is bad, and it’s definitely not impossible, but some days it may seem that way. Please know that you’re not alone in this feeling.
I absolutely hate it when I cannot be myself so can I be real with y’all? There is no perfect life and no perfect person, on this Earth, so please believe me when I tell you that I am not here to judge but to help lighten your load in any way that you will let me. I am not a perfect mother but I strive for perfection everyday. Much like you, I want my children to grow up and have good memories of their childhood and, most of all, I want them to have good memories of me. And, in my opinion, that means that I have to spend time with them and make an intentional effort to be more involved in their lives on a personal and emotional level than just on a physical and rule-rendering level.
Whether you’re a new mom, an expectant mom or a seasoned mom…you are not alone. Moms, from all stages and areas of life, are here to come alongside of you and help pick you up when you fall but are also here to cheer you on when you get it right. I would love to be able to be a part of your support system and continue on this journey with you. Whether you just need a friend to listen to you, a shoulder to cry on, advice on how to deal with divorce and the court system, work/life balance, fashion and outfit ideas, kid-friendly/budget-friendly recipes, dating advice, info on all things ‘baby’, info on raising multiples, or parenting advice on things to come in your and your child’s life…please know that I am here for you.
I would also love for you to be my support system because, as most moms find out within the first few days after having a child, I do not have it all together and I need help too! So, let’s get through this together and reap the fruits of our labor in the end. Looking forward to new beginnings with you!
Stay Fantastic and Be ReNewed 🙂
A Fellow Single Mom
Top of the morning to ya!
Ok, maybe it’s not the ‘top of the morning’ but you get the idea. And whoever came up with that phrase? Anyway, this is my 10th blog post on here and I am like super duper excited. I have always had a passion for writing and have always wanted to share my life story with the world, in some way, and now, with the take off of social media, this is much more able to happen. Yay!
So, what shall I talk about? Decisions, decisions… I guess it’s only right to start by introducing you to myself, since I totally didn’t do that at the beginning, so here goes. Well, I am a 29 year old divorced female and single mother of 5…yes, you heard right F-I-V-E, 5 little ones and like Michelle Duggar says, “Yes, I gave birth to every one of them.” 🙂
I love to write, sing, learn, I’m all about family, love kids (not just my own) and I’m one of the biggest movie buffs you will probably ever meet in this lifetime. Anywho, enough about me, let me tell you about my brood. They range in age from 10 years to 3 months old, at the moment, and there is a set of multiples in the middle. (Yes, I wonder how I keep my sanity too.)
I live in a rural/city/suburban area (ok, you probably can tell that I don’t exactly know how to describe my town at the moment lol) and I love/hate it. I am your typical woman, in the fact that I wear make-up to hide my blemishes, wear spanx to hide (and hold up) everything else and am leaking breast milk as we speak, while at work (more on that later) 🙂 but I am NOT your typical woman, in the fact that I am very competitive, always give people more chances than they probably deserve and tend to be extremely okay with the thought of being a submissive wife to whomever is to be my future (and final) husband (more on that subject later too).
So, anyway, there is obviously so much more about me than I have shared here but let’s continue down this road together and hopefully you will see all the things that I haven’t shared in this initial introduction post. Can’t wait to begin this journey with you. Be sure to tell all your friends and leave comments as you see fit. Thank you all in advance for joining me and ask me anything…I’m happy to answer your questions.
Until next time…
On August 23rd, my daughters and I went school shopping. When we returned home from our shopping trip I noticed that I had a missed call from their school. I learned that the school had finally sent me the email that my girls and I had been waiting for…the email that would tell us who their teachers would be this school year. When I read it, I knew that at least one of my daughters would be disappointed since they had already expressed to me which teacher they each were hoping to have.
So, after I read it, I called my girls downstairs, from their rooms, to tell them the good (and not so good) news. Once I told them which teacher they each had gotten, it was time to deal with the “aftermath” – which surprisingly was not that bad. Both of my daughters took the news very well however, their next question was if their bff’s would be in class with them this year. Each of my girls have a bff, already, and they do almost everything with these little girls so this question was already, pretty much, expected.
Later that evening, as I was typing a text to the mother of my 8-year olds’ bff, I noticed that she had beat me to the punch and texted me asking which teacher my daughter had gotten for third grade. (I ended up finding out that her daughter had asked her the same question that mine had asked me.) When I responded back I told her that our daughters are both obviously very anxious to be together for another school year and I informed her of the teacher that my daughter had been placed with for the 2014/15 school year. She texted me back and said “Darn it! I can’t believe they didn’t put our kids together this year.” At first I thought she was kidding around but when I texted back she informed me that she was not and that her daughter did indeed have the other third grade teacher. During our text convo, we promised that we would make sure to arrange play dates and sleepovers and other things for the girls to be able to still see each other. I guess it was our way of helping to nurture a friendship that we both felt was mutually beneficial for our girls.
Now, it was on to daughter number 2. She actually asked me if she could call and speak to her bff so I let her use the phone to call her. When she got off of the phone she had the biggest smile on her face so I knew the news she had received was good. I asked anyway, just to let her tell me and have her moment of excitement. Isn’t it always worth it…to see our children happy about something? 🙂 My daughter exclaimed, “Mom! Mom! My bff and I are in the same class again this year! I cannot wait to start school now! I hope we get to sit next to each other!!!”
It’s so crazy to me because, on the one hand, I was so happy for my 10-year old daughter but, on the other hand, my heart kinda broke a bit as I listened to her because I knew what I had to tell my 8-year old and I knew that she would probably be very hurt after seeing how excited her sister was and she would not get a chance to feel that excitement this time. So, I decided to wait but that decision was quickly thwarted when my 8-year old came up to me and asked if I had heard back from her bff’s mom. I couldn’t lie to her and I couldn’t postpone telling her, as much as I wanted to.
The conversation went something like this:
Me– “Yes, honey, she actually texted me before I got a chance to text her.”
8 year old- “And???” *her eyes bright and full of childlike excitement*
Me- “Well, her mother said that she got the other teacher this year.”
8 year old- “Oh.” *silence*
Me- *walking over to hold my precious girl* “You know, sweetheart…this does not mean that you two can’t be friends and her mother and I are both going to make sure that you both get together as often as possible so that your friendship can continue.”
10 yr old- “Well, the 3rd graders all go to recess together so they will still be able to see each other at school too.”
Me- “Is that true?”
8 year old- “Yeah.”
Me- “Awesome! So see there, you all will still be able to play together on the playground and spend some time together during the school day.”
8 year old- “Yes, actually, we will. I didn’t think about that.”
*…we hug each other tightly and I try to take it all in because I know this is a moment that I will not forever but also one that I will never forget.*
10 year old- “And both of the 3rd grade classrooms are right next door to each other and I think they might even go on field trips together too!”
8 year old- “I didn’t think about that either. Thanks! I needed that, sis.”
*…the girls smile and hug each other too.*
I’m aware that it will not work out this way for everyone and that there will be other situations in the lives of our children that will be a lot harder/tougher to handle – and will require a deeper/different answer/response – but I would bet that all children just want someone who will listen and care about the things that they care about.
Now, I said ALL of that to say this… So many times we, as parents, put off and devalue the things in our children’s lives; that we feel is not that big of a deal and that they should just “get over”. Many times, it may be, the things that hurt or concern them seems trivial to us but if we put ourselves in their shoes – or simply think about the things that probably mattered to us when we were their ages – then it is pretty easy to respond in a loving and caring way to their worries. Sometimes, all our kids want is to know that we care about what they care about.
While we may sometimes have to “fake it”, isn’t it better in the end to have a happy child, that wants you in their life because they know they can talk to you and you will listen, than to have an unhappy child, that wants nothing to do with you or your advice about their situations?
I know that it’s definitely not always going to be this simple (or this easy) to speak into the girls lives, in this way, or to help them to resolve problems that they may encounter in their lives but I want to have happy, well-adjusted children who will be ready for the world and who will include me in their lives, always.
I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my mother so my mission has been to change that with my own children, especially with my daughters. I highly value the mother/daughter relationship (and just the relationship between a mother and her children period, whether they are male or female) and believe that it is one of the most important relationships to nurture in this world. When we get old and gray, it is not going to matter what career we had, how many degrees we earned or even how much money we made – all that will matter will be whose lives we touched and who touched our lives – and my children’s lives are some of the lives that I have a hand in helping to mold and am able to touch everyday. How I raise them will determine who they will become and how they will treat others. So, in essence, you and I are going to touch hundreds, thousands, even millions of people through the lives of our children and grandchildren. Something to think about, right?
I know that some people feel like you cannot be your child’s parent and their friend – that you HAVE to choose one or the other – but I tend to believe differently. I want to be their friend and be able to laugh and joke around with them but I also know that I am their parent and I must set the rules for them to follow. I know that I am capable of drawing the line when I have to, so I am not too worried about the naysayers.
We all have to do the things that will work for us because no family (or situation) is exactly the same. Sometimes that means making the hard decisions while other times it’s as simple as a hug or being a listening ear. In the end, and in all things, I just want to ensure that my children know that they can come to me for anything and that I will always love them, no matter what!
Until next time…stay blessed!
Have you ever felt judged for being a single mother? I know I sure have felt my share of judgment but none like that which has come from some of the married women that I know and work with. Every woman in my department is married and I work with majority women so that is saying a lot. Working in an office environment, there is always the usual “Morning Round-Up” as I like to call it. We are all typically engaged in conversation, bright and early, when everyone is getting in to work and the conversation is usually about what we each did the night before or whatnot. Then the conversation always ends up taking a “turn for the worst” (as I like to call it). This is the moment when something is mentioned about one of my coworkers’ husbands and the question is asked of me, only for them to remember that I am divorced so I no longer have the same experiences that they may have, being married. Shortly afterwards, I can feel the unspoken (and sometimes spoken) judgment and there is always that awkward silence that accompanies it.
Now, I know that people try to respect my feelings but I am not a wounded puppy that needs (or wants) to be pitied by anyone…especially people that I work with but that is many times what I am made to feel like; as if I am fragile and will break. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I do feel this way but then there are also many times when I just feel annoyed by this type of treatment. I am very happy for the people in this world that try to respect single mothers feelings but I also wish the rest of the world would understand that we are human, just like they are, and that some of us have actually healed and are fine with the place that we have found ourselves in, in our lives.
The fact that I am a single mom is something to be celebrated and appreciated, not looked down upon by society…and more importantly, by those who happen to be married. As a single mom, I take care of all of my own bills (and household repairs, while we’re on the subject) so I would like to think that I am doing my thing. I would think that society would embrace the single mother, instead of judging us however, that is not always the case. All I ask is that society not treat us like the black sheep, or the “elephant in the room”, just because we happen to be single mothers. Not all of us got to this place willingly. We are not the first and, unfortunately, we probably won’t be the last.
My desire is to help single mothers in whatever way that I possibly can, which is the reason for this post. I am tired of the bad light that is cast upon single mothers and feel like there needs to be a change in this world and someone has got to speak out and take a stand. Someone who will talk about the things that no one else wants to discuss; who will not waver in their efforts. I am ready, and willing, to be that person, for this time, because enough is enough. So, who will join me in helping to erase the dark shadow that is many times cast upon the single mother? I sure hope you will.
Signing off for now!
A Fellow Single Mom