divorced dads

The Value of Divorced Dads: On Father’s Day And Every Day

divorced dads

Lessons of love always begin in childhood with the parent/child relationship. If children feel authentically loved by a father they will grow up knowing how to love others.

 

Father’s Day is just another day around my house. My father passed away13 years ago and my ex-husband has no relationship with our two sons. I was blessed with a loving father who earned celebrations every day of the year.

My boys, bless their hearts, ended up with the kind of father that perpetuates the old stereotypes about deadbeat dads. I’ve been divorced from their father for 19 years, during that time I’d venture to say that 90% of the time he has been a no-show when it comes to fathering.

When I began this article I was stumped, what can I, a mother whose sons don’t have a father say to divorced dads on Father’s Day? I then realized that the absence of their father has taught me quite a bit about the importance of fathers in a child’s life. Not just on Father’s Day but every day.

Whether you have full custody, 50/50 custody or you are an every other weekend Dad, when your little ones give you a gift and card this Father’s Day it isn’t because you are special to them on one day but, because you add value to their lives every day.

A Divorced Dads Value on Father’s Day and Every Day:

Showing up:

Showing up in spite of a difficult visitation schedule or conflict with your ex teaches your children persistence. If you continue to be involved in your children’s live after divorce, engage in quality time with them regardless of how little quantity, you are teaching your child that when something is important to them, it is worth pursuing with persistence. What a wonderful lesson to teach!

They learn they matter:

You not only teach your children that they matter but, by example, you teach them that what they do matters. You showing them that they matter teaches them to care about others. You teach them that actions, words, and deeds are the true measure of a person when you show up and you show them they can trust your actions, words and deeds.

You give them someone to go to:

If they are hurting or confused over a problem they know you are available. You make a difference when they are down and out. By being there for them, you teach them to be there for others. You have a direct impact on how empathetic and compassionate they become.

You impact their ability to learn:

Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. Fathers who are involved and nurturing with their children impact their IQ scores as well as cognitive abilities, verbal skills, and intellectual functioning. So, show up as often as possible because you are raising geniuses!

You impact their mental health:

Children with good relationships with their fathers are less likely to experience depression or exhibit disruptive behavior. Boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and girls have higher self-esteem. In other words, by showing up you teach your boys the importance of proper behavior and your girls to never settle for that ne’er-do-well boy that every father fears.

You teach your sons how to be good fathers:

Fathering involves commitment, self-sacrifice, integrity, and unconditional love. Responsible fathers are concerned with the well-being of their children, and their desire is to see their children succeed in all areas of life.

Nurturing your relationship with your sons trains them “up right,” as my grandmother used to say, it educates them and fosters healthy development. Do this for your sons and your grandchildren will be rewarded with loving, attentive fathers.

You teach them how to love:

Lessons of love always begin in childhood with the parent/child relationship. If children feel authentically loved by a father they will grow up knowing how to love others. The ability to give love is directly related to the love we receive, especially during childhood. Showing up and filling your children with love will play a huge role in the kind of romantic relationships they involve themselves in as adults.

And that is just the short list! Raising two boys on my own has taught me a lot about the value of a father. Working through the years with clients and hearing from fathers via email, I know that my ex-husband is not representative of the vast majority of divorced dads.

We hear a lot about single and divorced moms but very little about divorced dads. We place value on the mother/child relationship and at times dismiss the father/child relationship. It is my wish on this Father’s Day that divorced dads know that, although others may not be paying attention, their children are.

They are waiting for your phone call, watching out the window, looking for your car, counting the days until your next visitation. They are eager to see you, share their lives with you and love you. And every time you show up your value to them increases tenfold.

If you are a divorced dad who shows up, every day spent with your children feels like Father’s Day to them.

So, Happy “Father’s Day” today and every day.

The post The Value of Divorced Dads: On Father’s Day And Every Day appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

summer child care tips

6 Summer Child Care Tips For Single Moms

summer child care tips

 

When the kids were younger, Summer break was always a good time for us to spend a lot of quality family time together. We were able to make things work so that one parent was home, or we would enroll the kids in different programs that would work around our schedules.

When I became a single mom in 2015, life suddenly got so much harder trying to juggle the balance between work and family. I suddenly had to find alternatives for childcare so I could go back to work full-time just to support the three of us.

I dreaded the Summer because I had no idea what to do with the kids while I was working. They weren’t old enough to stay at home by themselves, childcare was getting so expensive for both kids, at a young age there wasn’t really many camps or programs they could join. It just became this big ordeal in trying to find something I could afford at their age.

I searched constantly for a work at home job or childcare that would work around my schedules. I juggled friends and family helping me watch the children or get them to where they needed to be. After looking for a few months, I finally found a job that after a few months would allow me to work at home. I live in a small town, so this was a huge deal for me.

Summer Child Care Tips

Plan, Plan, Plan

Summer break may not be the first thing on your mind, but it should be right up there on the list. Save up your vacation days and any earned time off work. Use those days off during the Summer when you may need them. Another option would be setting a little bit of money back each payday to go towards daycare or camp costs.

Ask about changing your work routine or schedule

Do you have a lot of college kids or younger adult coworkers that may be able to switch their hours or days around? Does your employer offer a work from home program that you can work towards? Don’t be afraid to ask your boss about changing your schedule or days to fit your summer break schedule. Be open and honest with your boss and maybe they can offer some help.

Ask Other Parents

You probably know or work with other parents. Start up a conversation about the kids and what they may be doing for Summer break. They may know of friends and family who own an affordable daycare or know of some not so expensive programs that you can enroll your child into.

If your child has made friends with a student who has a stay at home parent, check with them to see if they would be willing to help watch the kids during summer break while you work. You can set up a payment plan with them that would fit within your budget.

Ask Family

Check with your parents to see if they would be willing to help with summer care. Maybe they can watch the kids while you are working. They may also be able to help get the kids to different activities around town. My mom was able to help during the school year, luckily, she only lives 30 minutes away, so she was able to help on her days off.

Last Summer, our family who doesn’t live close, was able to take the kids for a few weeks at a time. This worked out well for both of us because they were able to spend quality one on one time with the kids and it gave me the opportunity to work without worrying. I could also work extra hours at that time for a bigger paycheck.

You can check with other members of the family as well. Maybe the kids have an aunt or uncle they can visit for some of the Summer.

Low-Cost Local Programs

Many places such as the YMCA, schools, and other organizations offer affordable day camps. This was another lifesaver for me. It was both affordable and they often ran until the late evening, so I didn’t have to worry about trying to get the kids from one place to another while I worked.

These programs often offer a low-cost option or can point you into the right direction of receiving financial help to pay for the program costs. Also, check with the state programs or local community or colleges to see what they offer. There is a local college here where they offer a discounted day program to qualifying families so that students get hands-on experience with kids for their degree.

High School Students and Siblings

When Summer hits, there always seem to be high school students looking to make a little extra money. This can be a good thing for working parents. You’ll often find this is cheaper than daycare or camp programs. Of course, you don’t just want any high schooler watching the kids so be sure to do your research and ask around to see if any friends or family can make a recommendation.

If you have older children who are responsible you can recruit them in as well. Since they are on summer break as well, they can babysit.

As kids get older it can get a lot easier to find things for them during the summer. Check with your local and state laws to see how old a child must be before you can leave them on their own. If they are old enough and responsible enough to take care of themselves that is another option. If they are at the right age, you can test their responsibility level throughout the year to see if you can trust them being home alone. Work on a few hours at first then move up to a weekend night. After you know they can handle it you can try it for a full weekend.

As a single mom, it can be tough throughout the Summer. Trying to juggle kids and work can be extremely hard and expensive. Start planning early and looking at different options to see what will work best for your family.

The post 6 Summer Child Care Tips For Single Moms appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

a message of hope on mother

Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms

a message of hope on mother's day

Courtesy of Brooke Kelly Photography

We have all the odds against us, but we are going to beat those odds.

 

“Four years ago, my life fell apart. I was married with a 3-year-old little girl, and we lived in an adorable gated neighborhood in the suburbs, just 4 miles inland from Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I could cross highway A1A at work and eat lunch on the beach. My Jeep always had sand and seashells in it.

I felt so fortunate to have this opportunity in life after working my way through nursing school, and eventually finishing grad school with a newborn. I finally had my dream job as a pediatric nurse practitioner. My career took me to Nashville, Kansas City, and that’s where we ended up on the beach. Sounds like an amazing adventure, right? Well, little did I know, my husband was living a double life and my world was going to come crashing down on me very soon.

I was on my way home from work on a Monday afternoon, just 2 days after my daughter’s luau birthday party, and I found out we had been evicted. All of our belongings were thrown out like trash, even her new birthday presents. I wasn’t allowed back in our home, and I was told the locks had been changed.

I felt sick and like I had no control, like I had been stabbed over and over and I was moving too slow to stop the bleeding. After questioning my husband and our landlord, I discovered that we were 3 months behind on rent and other bills, despite the fact that I was shelling out money to him for our living expenses. He couldn’t answer where the money was going, but all of a sudden, things made sense. His erratic sleep habits, weight loss, running errands all the time. He always had somewhere to go and never wanted us to tag along.

I did some digging and found empty pill bottles and many empty beer cans in his car. The car that drove my child to daycare. The car that always parked in the guest parking spaces in our neighborhood instead of the driveway. I also found several years worth of MY mail in his trunk. He had been keeping random letters from collection agencies, bills, and birthday cards from me for YEARS. Why did he keep all these secrets from me?

Confused, hurt, and angry were my only emotions for the next few days.

I was running on fumes and couldn’t eat or sleep. I felt so stupid for not seeing the signs. I had been so busy with raising a child and building my practice at work. I was married to a drug addict who abandoned us in a Target parking lot 4 miles from the beach.

He had been lying to me for YEARS, and my credit was unfortunately ruined because of it. I had no idea how easy it was to open credit cards and take out personal loans in your spouse’s name. I thought I had stayed on top of my bills but had no idea he was secretly hiding things from me over the course of our 7-year marriage.

I later found out that he had another daughter! He lied about being in the Marine Corps, he lied about his education and his job. I had been living nothing but lies for almost a decade of my life! I thought to myself, ‘How could life be so cruel? How could I be so dumb?’

That first night living in a hotel, I made a Walmart run at 8 p.m. to get clothes and toiletries for us to survive the next few days while I planned my next move. I washed clothes in a hotel sink. My daughter and I tried to make the best of our ‘vacation’ as I called it, while I cried over the things we had lost, wondering how in the world I would sort through this mess. My sweet baby girl lost everything, and we had no support there.

Our closest family was in Tennessee, about 10 hours away, and my soon-to-be-ex-husband left us alone to fend for ourselves without showing any remorse. At night, I would just think of all the things we had lost. I cried silently at night, in the shower or while I was driving. I missed my belongings, and I missed the part of my heart that was stolen. I could never get those things back.

I cried for my daughter because she didn’t deserve this as part of her story. I worked so hard to get where I was, career-wise, and everything was just ripped away. Why couldn’t I just go back and change things sooner? He was a con artist, and I got duped.

I tried to smile through the pain and be strong for my daughter.

I tucked my tail, hung my head, and began my journey home. At 32 years old, I moved back into my old bedroom with a 3-year-old. I was so ashamed of myself. I left the beach and moved back to crummy ole Tennessee. To make things worse, it was SNOWING when we moved back. It was March and snowing in Tennessee. How could this situation get ANY worse?!

My daughter, on the other hand, was thrilled to make snow angels and ride in a makeshift sled with grandma and grandpa. My parents were ecstatic to let us come home. My daughter had her own playroom and slept with mama every night. (Fortunately, my parents keep EVERYTHING. Her playroom was like taking a peek back into my childhood. We’re talking original Cabbage Patch dolls, a Little Tykes kitchen from 1985, y’all. It was glorious!)

Since I had to work diligently on getting my nursing licenses in order, I wasn’t able to apply for any nursing jobs for the next few weeks. My plan was to take an assignment as a travel nurse to save up some money and pay off these old bills that I recently discovered. In the meantime, my daughter and I were going to the gym and the park almost daily.

My heart was bruised, and I needed to slowly put my life back together. I needed to show my daughter that this was our new normal and that living with grandma and grandpa would be a fun adventure. I was trying to convince myself of this too.

A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms

I desperately needed to find some friends, but I had no idea where to even start.

I finally texted an old guy friend from high school (actually, I think I went down my Facebook list and sent messages to everyone in town. I was THAT desperate for adult interaction). I jokingly asked if he knew any hot single dads. This wasn’t even relevant in our conversation, just a random thought that popped in my head. To my surprise, he said yes and immediately gave me a name.

Good heavens, was I ready for this? I was SO newly divorced, but hey, I needed friends and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get out of my parents’ house to meet people. My Facebook detective brain got to work. This single dad had a daughter, who appeared to be the same age as mine. After showing my mom his Facebook picture with his daughter, she screamed, ‘I KNOW THAT LITTLE GIRL!’

Come to find out, his ex-wife’s sister does my mom’s hair, and my mom had seen pictures of this little blonde girl. We live in a big city, so this is a rare occurrence. My mom wanted some juicy gossip, so she pushed me to meet him. (If she thought meeting a stranger was OK, then surely it was fine, right?!) I sent this random guy a Facebook message, and he answered back. I gave him my number and HE. CALLED. ME. So, awkwardly, I answered the phone.

He said he wanted to talk. Like, with his voice. What in the 1990s was going on?! We talked all night just like teenagers. I think it was 2 am when we finally hung up. Maybe it was sleep deprivation, but I felt like one tiny piece of my heart was placed back.

Two days later, we met for lunch. I was a little rusty on appropriate first date clothing, and I was raiding my mom’s closet for most of my attire since I was just starting to rebuild my life and wardrobe. I happened to have a job interview that day, so I wore some comfortable black flats and a pair of my mom’s black dress slacks. Yup, slacks. With pleats down the front. I also wore this shirt I lovingly call ‘the curtain shirt’. This was my 1st first date since I met my ex-husband, 10 years earlier.

He was on his lunch break, so he showed up wearing police gear and a gun on his hip. I was intimidated at first because he is a big dude with a beard and a lot of tattoos, and again, this was my first date in a decade. I am a nurse practitioner and I had never had any type of personal interaction with a police officer in my whole entire life. Now I was on a date with one!

He insisted we take a selfie that day to send to Brian, the guy that introduced us.

We went to the Bayou and sat on the patio. I don’t remember one thing we said during the entire date because I was nervous and trying not to make a mess. I ordered a shrimp po’boy (I couldn’t have ordered something messier, right?) and I don’t even remember if I ate half of it.

I just remember looking at him and getting butterflies. He had the prettiest hazel eyes and I had never dated anyone with a beard, so I’m sure I stared at it. When we were done eating, he walked me to my Jeep and gave me a hug.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

After lunch, I was on cloud nine. I had the biggest grin all day, and I was smitten. I could not stop thinking about him! Was I ready for this? I thought, ‘There was no way he could be interested.’ After all, I was just damaged goods. With my awful credit and all the baggage I had, surely this guy would just move on and there was no reason to get my hopes up. I just couldn’t stop thinking about him, but I definitely wasn’t ready to jump into a relationship.

To my surprise, he called me that night. (What is up with this guy? Why can’t he just text?) We had our second date on Friday night, and our first kiss. I knew at that time this was something special. However, I wasn’t quite ready to trust him, and I certainly didn’t want my tender heart to be yanked out of my chest again.

I saw him again on Sunday, which happened to be Easter. We decided to let our girls meet each other that afternoon. My daughter needed some friends too, and they became instant best friends. We looked at them playing, and then looked at each other. Huh, these girls could be twins. I could feel my heart slowly starting to grow back together.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

On Mother’s Day, he told me he loved me.

I knew I was falling hard and fast. When you know, you know. But, I wasn’t quite ready to let my guard down. He gave me a key to his house and told me to ‘snoop away’ while he was at work. And…I did just that. I went through every piece of paper in that house, and I couldn’t find anything. He always left his phone unlocked, his email pulled up on his laptop, he was an open book. He did not have a thing to hide.

He showed me his credit score, his bank account, and his up-to-date mortgage payments. He was a genuine, honest, open, loving person. I was damaged goods with a credit score of 300 and a deadbeat ex-husband. But, for some reason, this guy loved me and adored my daughter. I was slowly letting him into my heart and he was helping me rebuild, piece by piece. I certainly didn’t need to be saved by anyone, but he swooped in and saved me.

We discussed moving in together, but I just wasn’t sure. Things were still new to me, and I just had to protect myself and my child. I couldn’t move her again if things weren’t going to work out with us. And plus, staying in Tennessee wasn’t part of our plan. This was supposed to be just a pause in our story. Or so I thought.

He asked me to be his forever wife.

We were sitting on the couch one morning in June before he went to work, and he pulled out the biggest sapphire ring I had ever seen. He asked me to be his forever wife, while my daughter watched E.T. and clapped for us. At that moment, I knew my intent to move out of Tennessee just wasn’t part of the plan right now. Something brought me back home and love was going to keep me there.

My daughter and I moved into his 3-bedroom, 2-bath bachelor pad, which he insisted that we call OUR house. He had almost no furniture and nothing on the walls, so he told me to ‘go nuts’ with it. I had so much fun starting over from scratch. Losing all of my belongings had been so terribly painful, and I got a lump in my throat when I thought about my things just being tossed out like trash.

I shed millions of tears over the things I would never get back. However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. I had a blank slate so that we could start OUR home. Funny how life works out sometimes.

We talked about getting married just to make things official, and I started researching courthouse weddings. I knew we needed a photographer to capture our special day, so I emailed a husband/wife team to check their availability. Well, they had 1 available date for a wedding. August 15. Wow. This was less than 2 months away and my heart skipped a beat knowing this was actually happening. I called Steven and asked him what he was doing on Saturday, August 15. He said, ‘Marrying you.’ That was all I needed to hear in order to make this happen.

We decided to elope on August 15, 2015, which was about 4 months after our first date.

I could not believe how my life had changed in those few months. I survived a failed marriage to a con-artist, moved back in with my parents as a single mom, and was now planning my wedding.

The plan was to keep our marriage a secret until our Halloween Party, and then surprise everyone by dressing as a bride and groom and showing off our wedding pictures. However, Steven refused to take off his wedding band and we just couldn’t keep it a secret longer than 2 weeks.

We got ready for our special day in a hotel room at the Peabody and walked to Court Square Park where a family friend performed the ceremony. Our little blonde girls were the flower girls and the bridesmaids. My new husband and I danced to our song playing on his phone in his shirt pocket. ‘Fall Into You’ by Brantley Gilbert. Yes, it’s cliché that we live in Tennessee and danced to a country song, but have you heard it?!

Courtesy The Kennys Photography

The girls went home with my new mother-in-law for a slumber party so we could spend our first night as a married couple, kid-free. We had an amazing dinner, laughed over drinks in the Peabody lobby, and I could not wipe the smile off my face. This was not a dream, but my real life. The entire day was perfect.

We eventually bought a bigger house with a pool, and then right after my 35th birthday in 2017, we found out that we would be adding an ‘ours’ to the mix. We had our 3rd daughter, Junebug, and completed our family. We had our little blonde bookends, and this brown-eyed baby girl is the perfect caboose.

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

Some people will tell you that our marriage is doomed. We both have extremely stressful jobs (his more than mine). We are both divorced and got married 4 months after our first date. We both have ex-spouse drama and are currently involved in a custody battle (I am winning). We have all the odds against us, but we are going to beat those odds.

People are always curious to hear our story, so we just look at each other and smile. Usually, our story goes, ‘We met on a blind date and got married 4 months later.’ In the end, love wins.”

Courtesy of Becca Goedecke

The post Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

mothers day gift guide

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide

mothers day gift guide

 

Single Mom Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2018

No one is more deserving of a great gift this Mother’s Day than all the hardworking single moms out there. They are especially deserving of being remembered on their special day. So, if you know a single mom you love and care about, make sure she knows she is cared about and respected for the hard work she does daily.

Not sure what to get a single mama in your life? We’ve got you covered. From inspirational posters she can frame to pretty trinkets that show your appreciation, you’re sure to find something on our list for the superhero single mom you know.

1. Badass Single Mom Coffee Mug 

This mug is an homage to all the strong, do it all, badass single moms out there!

Get the badass coffee mug here.

2. A Selfie Stick

Why are Moms never in the picture? Because they’re the ones behind the camera taking the pictures. Give a Mom a selfie stick and the chance to show up in images with her kids.

Get that selfie stick here.

3. A Gift Card For Stitch Fix

Let’s face it: Personal style gets the short shrift when you have a busy single mom’s schedule. Remedy that with a gift card for Stitch Fix. Based on the style profile she creates, she’ll receive five hand-picked clothing items selected by the site’s team of professional stylists. She’ll get to keep what she likes and send back the rest.

Get the Stitch Fix card here.

4. Amazon Gift Card

Nothing says I love you like a gift card from Amazon.  Most single parents rely on Amazon so they can make their lives easier. Really, I don’t know one single mom that doesn’t use Amazon, and if they don’t, you will introduce to them the best invention yet.

Get her Amazon card here.

5. Single Mom Baby Bird Necklace

This necklace represents the single mom and her kids on a family tree branch.

Get the Single Mom necklace here.

6. You Can’t Scare Me Poster

You can’t scare me, I’m a single mom – a funny DIY card or poster in chalkboard-style

Get the poster here.

7. Shutterfly Photo Coasters

These adorable photo coasters are perfect for any mom to use around the house or on the go. Personalize with photos of kids, pets and more for a unique, individualized gift.

Get them here.

8. Maid for a Day

Life is stressful and so is keeping a clean home. A maid for a day could mean a few weeks less stress over a messy house for a single mom.

Get maid service here.

9. Socks, Socks and More Socks!

Like any good pick-me-up, funky socks will make her smile every time she puts them on.

Get her socks here?

The post Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

single mom vacation tips

6 Money Saving Single Mom Vacation Tips

single mom vacation tips

 

For single moms, saving up enough money to take a vacation with their kids can be a challenge when they’re working to support their household on just one income. While it’s important to create memories and escape the daily routine, often times single moms don’t have the extra money to spend on fun and travel. Below are a few tips we put together for single moms on how to provide great memories for their children while remaining on a budget.

Single Mom Vacation Tips

1. Savings Goals & Realistic Travel:

It has been my experience that when I save for a specific goal, I’m more successful. Instead of saving for a “vacation someday” try saving for a “3 day weekend trip to the beach two months from now.” Your children will most likely want to get away from home at least once this summer, so start looking into affordable vacation spot a few months in advance as prices are cheaper the further in advance you book. This gives you plenty of time to start putting money away for your much needed time away with your children.

2. Take Advantage of Online Deals:

In today’s digital world, getting deals on travel has never been easier. When it comes to places to stay you can take advantage of deals that are published by the multiple online or limited deal sites such as Groupon GetAways or Amazon Local. You can book a place to stay on AirBnB or you could partner up with another single mom to vacation together giving you a way to share the costs and have a little adult interaction while on vacation.

3. Create a Budget:

Figure out how much you will need to save towards taking a vacation, and have the money taken directly out of your paycheck and transferred into a separate savings account. I personally love using Mint.com for this, and the best part is, it’s free!

There are also a bunch of other savings apps that have popped up recently such as Digit that helps you save by taking out money based on your spending. Another free app is my app SupportPay, which helps you track the expenses around your children so you can easily see where your money is going and give you the information you need to reduce spending.

Websites and apps like these allow you to save for your vacation without having to think about it.  Be sure to check in on your accounts every so often though to make sure you are staying on budget so there are no surprises when you want to take your vacation.

4. Start a Change Jar:

Pinterest has some cute ideas to decorate change jars. Some people like to save all of their change, and some prefer to save dollar bills only. Figure out what works best for you, and make it a habit to set aside the extra cash every chance you get. To encourage your kids to get involved, make a game out of collecting extra change by setting goals or rules that cost money when broken. Setting family goals that your children can participate in is a great way to teach them the value of a dollar, and how to save for activities they want to participate in.

5. Give Something Up:

If you want to get really serious about saving for a vacation, giving up something for a month or two can really make your savings account balance grow quickly. You could give up eating out for a month, not going to the movies, not buying new clothes for one month, take a cable TV break, etc. Also, you can take advantage of the sharing economy by renting items you aren’t using or you could rent out your items and make some money on items sitting around the house.

Sell Unused or Unwanted Items:

If you’ve got a little spare time on your hands, spend a couple of hours and take a quick tour of your house, pulling out all the outgrown clothing, toys, electronics, and movies that you no longer need. There have recently been several apps that have launched that make it really easy to sell your items. For example, Letgo, thredUp, and Decluttr are apps that enable you to take a picture and quickly post your item for sale. Of course, you can always have a garage sale, this could make you money and help you meet your neighbors.

Being a single mom isn’t easy but with a little planning and some creative ways to save money or make a little extra, you can give your kids the vacation memories they want with the money you have.

The post 6 Money Saving Single Mom Vacation Tips appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

running on empty

Are You Everything to Everyone? Running On Empty?

running on empty

 

Running on empty

Running blind

Running into the sun

But I’m running behind…

My new theme song, the music that best describes my life? Jackson Brown’s “Running on Empty.” I’m burning the candle at both ends and many, many nights it is “taking all night” to get done what needs to be done.

I crawled into bed at 3:30 am this morning only to be startled awake at 6:40 by a phone call about a family emergency. My day started with 3 hours sleep, it is now 12:46 am and life is feeling crazy. It’s my life though and I love it. I’m juggling quite a few balls but I’ve learned when to put them down and put on the breaks. Have you?

Is multi-tasking your standard method of operating? If you are a woman, it probably is. Married or single, us women are caregivers, problems solvers…we are everything to everyone.

If you are a divorced, single mom who works, more than likely you are stressed out and exhausted. Your day may start at 6:30 am and end at midnight. You hold yourself to high standards.

You have a career to build, children, to parent and parent perfectly. Those two things alone would wear on anyone both physically and mentally. Throw in everyday problems like car maintenance, cooking, cleaning, an elderly parent to care for or, a house full of kids with the chicken pox and life will begin to take its toll.

Signs You Are Running on Empty:

  • Feelings of fatigue
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Feeling irritable and moody
  • An inability to concentrate, memory problems, feeling “spaced out”
  • Feeling a lack of desire for sex
  • Generally feeling unwell

If you relate, then I’m right there with you! We push ourselves too hard and end up with major burnout. I have a few suggestions for you, aside from reading a good book, pouring a glass of wine or unplugging the phone. Those things are temporary fixes.

For long-term well-being, it is time to change your MO and feel better. A permanent fix means making a habit out of the following activities and behaviors.

How to Fill up Your Tank:

Work Out: Exercise or participate in some physical activity daily (walking, dancing, biking, running, swimming, etc.) for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times per week. Consider learning a stress-management exercise such as yoga or tai-chi, which teaches inner balance and relaxation.

Ask for Help: To avoid burnout and stress, you can enlist the help of other family members, friends. There is no need to feel vulnerable for reaching out. And you are certainly worth support from others.

Take a Break: Take a single day, a weekend, or even a week’s vacation. And when you’re away, stay away. Talk about different things, read that book you haven’t been able to get to, see a movie. Only a real break will renew and refresh you.

Eat Well: Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins, including also nuts, beans, and whole grains. Indulging in caffeine, fast food and sugar as a quick “pick-me-ups” also produce quick “let-downs.”

Take Care of Yourself: Just like you make sure your children get to the doctor regularly, make sure you get your annual check-up. Being a single mom provides many excuses for skipping your necessary check-ups, but you cannot and should not compromise your health.

Indulge: Treat yourself to a foot massage, manicure, nice dinner out or a concert to take yourself away from your situation and to reward yourself for the wonderful care you are providing your children. You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to feel good.

Remember, if you take care of yourself, your children will be happier, your attitude will improve, and you’ll feel more accomplished and content.

The post Are You Everything to Everyone? Running On Empty? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

telling your children about your divorce

9 Things To Keep In Mind When Telling Your Children About Your Divorce

telling your children about your divorce

 

It is only natural that as a parent you dread talking to your child about an impending divorce. Us parents want to protect and shield our children from emotional or physical harm BUT it is important that you take on the task at hand and do so in a way that helps your child cope with the fact that his/her parents have decided to divorce.

Sitting down and talking to your children about your divorce is the first step you will take in the divorce process. That talk could set the standard for how the rest of your divorce plays out and how well your children adjust to the divorce. Parents who care enough about their child to break the news gently and appropriately will also, more than likely, consider their child in each step of the divorce process.

Below are a few basic points to keep in mind when telling your child about your divorce:

Make a plan that involves Mom and Dad both being present when the talk is delivered.

Make sure that your child knows that he/she is loved by both parents. Instead of telling your child you no longer love each other, express how much you both love your child.

Explain to your child why there is going to be a divorce. You want to give age-appropriate explanations but most children are going to wonder “what happened” and have a right to an answer to that question. Share your feelings with your child and encourage them to share their feelings AND be willing to listen and validate their feelings.

If you have more than one child, talk to them as a group initially. Once all know the news take them individually so that you can learn what each child is feeling and thinking. Each child will respond differently, have different questions and concerns. Each should be able to express their concerns individually in a conversation with Mom and Dad.

How you talk to your child is as important as what you tell him/her. Be aware of your body language, your tone of voice and your behavior when the other parent is speaking. Don’t interrupt your spouse when he/she is speaking or allow conflict between the two of you to color the conversation you are having with your child.

Keep in mind that there is a difference in a child’s emotional understanding and intellectual understanding. They will process the news of your divorce emotionally at a different rate than is processed intellectually. Processing the news will take more time emotionally than intellectually. Due to this, you will be expected to have more than one conversation about the divorce based on your child’s emotional needs.

Encourage your child to ask questions but don’t be surprised if there are none. As the child processes the information there will be questions. Let your child know you are available to answer questions as they come up.

Be able to explain to your child what will happen to them once you separate or divorce. Provide plenty of details about where the child will live, how often they will see the other parent who will be moving from the family home. Your child will feel more secure if you are able to assure him/her that your divorce will not interfere with their stability or relationship with either parent.

Be willing to have the conversation over and over again. As your child ages, the questions they have will be different. There may be many conversations, some years down the road about your decision to divorce. Your child will become more sophisticated with age so be prepared to answer the hard questions that come with that sophistication. You will move on from your divorce, your child won’t. Just because you no longer think about it doesn’t mean your child doesn’t. Give them the right to the answers they need to help them deal with a situation that will impact them emotionally for years, if not decades to come.

Here is something every parent needs to understand about divorce…what you say to your child is less important than what you do once you decide to divorce. That first, second and third conversation are important but, “actions speak louder than words” so the way you parent and the example you set by your behavior will determine what the lasting effects of divorce are on your child.

The post 9 Things To Keep In Mind When Telling Your Children About Your Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

529

A Divorced Mom’s Guide To Saving For Their Kid’s College

529

 

Are a you a single mom who puts the education of your children above your own retirement?

If so, you’re not alone. In a study referenced by Forbes, it was found that half of all single moms put their child’s education as their long-term financial priority, even above saving for their own retirement.

So, a lot of questions arise from the findings of single moms and their financial priorities. Why are divorced moms putting their kids’ college savings first when they are arguably a child’s priority?

Are there options for single moms that allow them to save for retirement and secure their children’s educational future?

What do most financial advisors recommend?

A Divorced Mom’s Guide To Saving For Their Kid’s College

Let’s dive in.

Divorced Moms Who Pay for Their Child’s Education Often Do So Out of Guilt

The above referenced study found that single parents are more likely to feel an obligation to help their adult children financially than traditional parents.

Often, single mom’s feel guilty about the divorce, not being able to spend as much time with their kids as they’d like (due to balancing careers), and because they want to give their child one less thing to think about in their future as they feel they have scarred them through the divorce.

So, what are the options for single moms to explore for a solid retirement and college savings balance?

Balancing Retirement and Your Kid’s College Fund

Most financial advisors would recommend that your retirement planning should come before that of your child. A couple of key reasons for this include the fact that retirement does not benefit from any federal loans whereas there are several ways to finance college. Further, tax breaks for investments are more generous than those for college savings, but there are ways to impactfully save for both.

What are the Best Options for College Savings?

Many single moms begin to consider their IRAs when thinking of ways to strategically pay for the education of their children. Turns out there is a much better way to save for both, and the college route generally involves what is called a 529 plan.

529 plans are qualified tuition plans and are tax-advantaged savings plans specifically designed for education-based saving. You have the option of two plans, depending on your ideal situation.

The first is prepaid tuition plans. These allow account holders to buy credits at participating educational institutions for the child’s future tuition.

The second college savings plan allows account holders to open an investment account that operates more like a traditional interest-bearing account, except directly aimed at educational savings.

Some of the benefits of a 529 plan include:

  • No dollar limit on contributions
  • You can use 529 plans to pay for elementary, middle, high school, or college
  • The ability to withdrawal the amount of any earned scholarships penalty-free
  • Protection from creditors in the event of a civil lawsuit, bankruptcy, etc.

Are there any negatives of a 529 for college savings?

There are some negatives to 529 plans. For starters, you can’t take income tax deductions for contributions, meaning you must pay federal taxes on the funds before adding them to the account. Another negative that is similar to many federal retirement plans is that you will be penalized if you withdrawal from the 529 account and don’t use the money for qualified education-based expenses.

What if My Child is Already College Age and I Don’t Have Savings?

While most financial planners would never recommend planning to use an IRA for college, there are some scenarios where it may be the only option. For example, if the divorced parent has not had time to contribute to a 529 plan, their sole option for helping their child may be to use their IRA.

The good news is that there are exceptions for IRA deductions specifically used for education expenses where no penalties will be incurred. This means you may be able to withdraw IRA earnings penalty-free, but not tax-free when you use the money for college.

This option, while not recommended, is ideal for single moms who have not planned on funding their retirement and saving for college.

In the perfect situation, a divorced mom will have multiple accounts set up to contribute to both their own retirement as well as the education of their children.

The post A Divorced Mom’s Guide To Saving For Their Kid’s College appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

20 Divorce Means For Those Who Understand The Realities Of Divorce

20 Divorce Means For Those Who Understand The Realities Of Divorce

A divorce wouldn’t be complete without conflict, anger, and emotional pain. However, for those who experienced a lot of hardships and complications in their marriage, divorce might mean freedom and getting their lives back. Lucky them!

If you or someone you know has been through a divorce we promise, it will get better. So, to help you remember all the good times (sarcasm), check out these divorce memes we’ve collected just for you. Enjoy!

20 Divorce Memes

1. Raise your hand if you’ve dealt with this!

divorce meme

 

2. Let’s not hold our breaths!

divorce meme

 

3. Fingers crossed!

divorce meme

 

4. I know one of those “persons.”

divorce meme

 

5. Seriously, this isn’t hard to do!

divorce meme

 

6. Any good mother will make this look easy. 

divorce meme

 

7. Crazy? Who me? Nah!

divorce meme

 

8. Can you say, narcissistic fathers?

divorce meme

 

9. Get on out of here now!

divorce meme

 

10. If you’ve got any damn sense at all you do.

divorce meme

 

11. Don’t you dare forget!

divorce meme

 

12. Those little eyes and ears!

divorce meme

 

13. Head held high and a smile on your face.

divorce meme

 

14. Love yo self!

divorce meme

 

15. No more dysfunction junction for those babies!

divorce meme

 

16. Sounds like someone needs help with the bills!

divorce meme

 

17. When he says no one else will want you, he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about.

divorce meme

 

18. We’re going to harness that power too!

divorce meme

 

19. Listen, just NEVER settle!

divorce meme

 

20. He is her problem now!

divorce meme

The post 20 Divorce Means For Those Who Understand The Realities Of Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

Reduce Mom Guilt During A Divorce

5 Ways to Reduce Mom Guilt During A Divorce

Reduce Mom Guilt During A Divorce

 

Going through a divorce takes up a great deal of time and energy that you’d much rather be spending on your kids.

Knowing your children aren’t getting the kind of attention that you’d like to give them can be crushing—but there are ways to make sure your kids aren’t worse for wear, and to ease the mom guilt that you might feel.

5 Ways to Reduce Mom Guilt During A Divorce

1. A Little More Screen Time Right Now is Okay

It won’t hurt your child to have a little more screen time during this difficult time. The American Heart Association recommends that kids have no more than two hours daily – in reality, most kids are actually getting an average of about seven hours of screen time each day.

If you think your kids are on their devices too much as it is, but you don’t have a lot of capacity to direct their attention elsewhere, redirecting your child to educational (and still entertaining) types of media can make a difference. Tablets, laptops, and phones can evolve from a time-wasting distraction to important tools to help kids find new interests or explore favorite topics more in-depth.

Take heart in knowing there are great options for more productive screen time. Put on a curated playlist of nature documentaries, for example, or download some favorite educational apps on your device. Duolingo is a great way for children of reading age to start learning another language, and math games are not only fun but great for learning, too, which eases that Mama Guilt big time.

The Bedtime Math app offers fun stories for younger children to encourage and normalize the presence of math in everyday life. Code.org offers learning activities for all ages, including story videos and programming activities – no guilt in prepping your kids to be future cyber security experts!

2. Plan Time Just for You and Your Child

Even if your daily time with your kids is suffering as you navigate your divorce, you can still set aside special time with them. Creating date night with your kids ensures you’re reserving time where it’s all about the child – no divorce paperwork, no phone calls, no drama. Decide together or take turns picking an activity. It can be a movie night at the theater or at home, a fun picnic in the park, a community activity, or a few games of bowling. It can be anything, really.

It’s a great way to begin to reinforce stability and establish new traditions, and it’s a way for kids to look forward to a time and place where they know they’ll have your full attention. You can’t avoid having your kids notice that things are different now—but creating a kid date night can show them that it’s okay to still have fun, to learn how to experience joy despite the sadness, and to teach the skill of resiliency (and you thought bowling was about knocking down pins).

3. Get Your Bodies Moving

The power of endorphins can’t be overstated. It’s always tough to find time to exercise, but taking care of your health is a must for ensuring your kids are healthy, too. Sign yourself up for a yoga class or a dance class – do it on your lunch hour if you need to.

Making sure your kids get exercise can help them to feel better, too. Use your kid date nights for a mom-and-kid activity that incorporates exercise, like walking to the park to play Frisbee, or going to a snowshoe trail together. Walk the dog together each night. Exercising can help ease your kids’ stress, allow them to sleep better and to give them the extra immunity boost that they’ll need to navigate a difficult time.

4. Don’t Go It Alone

You’re not the only one to go through a divorce with kids—there are lots of other moms out there dealing with the same guilt and challenges as you. You can check our professional directory for resources like divorce coaches or counselors, and check other online resources for divorced moms. Find support groups in your local community and take the time to reach out to other moms you know who can lend you an ear when you need it.

It’s tempting to confide in your children, especially older ones who might understand more about what’s going on. They want to see you happy and may be interested in listening to you—but emotional support is best left to other adults who have been through what you’re going through. You may feel like an island as if no one outside of your family really gets it. But redirecting this stress away from the kids will avoid making them feel like they need to be the strong ones.

Make sure your kids have their own sources of support, too. While you encourage them to talk to you about what’s happening, they may have feelings or thoughts they’re reluctant to share with you. Friends who have been through the same thing or a support group for children of divorced parents can be a great help.

5. Remember That It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Kids need to see that their parents can experience difficult emotions and still get through them. You can’t be everything to everyone all the time, and showing your kids resilience through vulnerability gives them the tools and confidence to manage the bumps they may experience in their own lives going forward.

The post 5 Ways to Reduce Mom Guilt During A Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>