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3 Mother’s Day Tips For The Freshly Divorced

mother's day tips for the freshly divorced

 

Spring is a time for growth, re-birth, renewal and the blossoming of new beauty. I would like to personally offer my best wishes for a happy, love-filled Mother’s Day to all the moms who are embarking upon their new journey as a single mother.

Is this a scary and overwhelming time?

Absolutely but not today; today we focus on the beauty. The beauty of possibility, change, motherhood and most importantly, the beauty of you!

The first Mother’s Day following your divorce or separation is likely met with some mixed emotions; most of them probably not all that positive. Mine certainly were. I found myself missing our old traditions, and I had taken for granted that my husband had historically planned the day for me.

Now, like everything else in my life, I had to take matters into my own hands and figure it out.  From my personal experience and some trial and error, I offer you, moms, the following tips to help make your Mother’s Day special.

Mother’s Day Tips for the Freshly Divorced

1. Buy yourself a gift!

You deserve it! How liberating that this year, you don’t have to drop not-so-subtle hints for weeks in preparation, to only wonder whether you were not-so-subtle enough. Now, you get to buy exactly what you want and you know that the gift is coming from someone who truly appreciates all that you are. Have it gift wrapped if you’re the kind of girl who loves ripping off the paper. In fact, even if you’re not, get it wrapped anyways. You would be surprised how good it feels to rip that paper!!

2. Ask your kids how they would like to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Even if your kids are young, this is a great way to get them involved in the planning and it can really help to make both you and your kids feel special. You may have other family obligations on this day, but really do carve out a little time for just you and your kids to do something all your own, that you plan together. It could be as simple as taking a walk or participating in an activity that you love to do together. This is YOUR special time and it’s meant to be cherished and enjoyed.

3. Throw out Expectations of your ex!

Go into this day with zero expectations. While perhaps easier said than done, toss out any nostalgia about how it used to be. Whether your ex acknowledges your special day or not, don’t hold on to any hope or thought that he will or should. This can lead to disappointment and hurt, which quite frankly, you have no room for on YOUR day. You don’t need anyone acknowledging all that you do (though admittedly it’s a very nice feeling). All we have to do is look at our children to be reassured that we’re doing a great job.

Some days we may come up short of doing our best, but we always try, and that’s what you should celebrate this Mother’s Day. Focus on your wins, no matter how small they may feel in the moment,  a win is a win!

So as you embark upon this fresh new road ahead and start to build your tracks, trail blaze into this Sunday with no road map, no history, and no expectations. See where the day takes you. Out of challenge comes strength and this Spring, embrace the blossoming new beauty that is you. Happy Mother’s Day!

The post 3 Mother’s Day Tips For The Freshly Divorced appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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7 Things You Can do for a Divorced Mom on Mother’s Day

7 Things You Can do for a Divorced Mom on Mother’s Day

I wish I could erect a wall of remembrance and fill it with names of all the dear single moms I know. Like soldiers, they have gone through a battle, fighting valiantly for health, happiness, light, life, truth, safety, peace, and recovery for themselves and their children.

The post 7 Things You Can do for a Divorced Mom on Mother’s Day appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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mother

How To Celebrate Mother’s Day As A Divorced Mom

mother's day as a divorced mom 

 

When Mother’s Day comes in the midst of divorce proceedings, there is not enough you can do for your divorcing friend. There are treats and cards. If the children are with their father then umpteen invitations will be showered upon the almost single mother. What about the next ten Mother’s Days after divorce? Some parents have put in their parenting plans that the kids spend Mother’s or Father’s Days with the parent that is being honored. Others do a trade for the day without a legal mandate.

My first Mother’s Day happened during a contentious divorce with my husband threatening to pull out of collaborative proceedings for a battle in court. It was very unsettling, and I barely remember that holiday. We did what we usually had done and went to an elaborative Mother’s Day brunch.

My mother made sure that I had a present from each son, so had taken them out shopping earlier in the week. She gave me something nice, too. Two years later we started new traditions to make the day seem more like it belonged to us. We exorcized the ghosts of Mother’s Day past and did not do anything like we did when I was still married. We shook up our routine and had a simple meal out followed by an anticipated movie. This year we will have a celebratory latte and lunch followed by Paul Blart’s film, “Mall Cop 2.” Celebrate in a new way, whether or not you have the kids with you.

How to Celebrate Mother’s Day As a Divorced Mom:

1. Have brunch at your place and invite other women, whether or not they are mothers. Make it extra festive with some champagne or Bloody Marys.

2. Ask your children for suggestions on how to celebrate this occasion in other ways.

3. If you have family nearby, get together with them and the kids will have fun with cousins.

4. When I was little, I treated my divorced mother at a reasonable family restaurant every Mother’s Day in a more rural area. It was a beautiful drive and the cost was within my allowance. Give your kids the chance to do something nice for you.

What do You do if You’re Alone on Mother’s Day? Below are 6 Ideas:

1. Consider taking a mini trip somewhere.

2. Do something to distract you that is interesting.

3. I know two divorced women with grown children who live in distant cities who are off to France this week on a packaged tour. These lucky ones will be celebrating Mother’s Day on the Riviera. There are travel agencies that have trips for singles in wonderful locales. It is nice to have the camaraderie of a group.

4. Some folks choose to give back to others which takes the focus off themselves. Volunteering is a way to feel fulfilled, particularly if the kids are with dad and a new stepmother.

5. My mother worked on this holiday as a nurse, when I had visitation with my father. If you can work on Mother’s Day and take a day off when you’ll be with your children, perfect!

6. Some nail salons are open on Sundays, so a manicure and pedicure can be just the ticket to raise up one’s spirits. Sometimes there are free concerts or craft fairs on this day which are fun to attend.

One thing to a avoid: Giving into the temptation of dulling the ache of loneliness by self-medicating. I know of a circumstance where the father was engaged in parental alienation and the daughter did not contact her mom on Mother’s Day. This woman had an accidental fatal overdose of medications, including combining anti-depressants along with alcohol. Over-imbibing does not get rid of a problem, it merely postpones doing something about it.

Decide if you want to stay busy, or laze around on the couch reading the latest bestseller. Whatever you decide to do, high-quality chocolate will make it even better!

The post How To Celebrate Mother’s Day As A Divorced Mom appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Men Every Divorced Mom Needs

5 Men Every Divorced Mom Needs

Bitch, please. I got this.

No. Really. As resourceful and resilient singledom has allowed me to become, as I turn the corner on four years without a ring on it, I know this for certain. Men are important. Never fool yourself into thinking you can live without them.  If my social circle only consisted of women, I might hang myself with a pair of Spanx and, just to make sure I ended, puncture my liver with a McQueen heel.  Life needs testosterone.

With that in mind, I’d like to present you with the 5 men that every divorced mom needs in her life.

And I would know…I’m as single as a dollar bill.

1. The Handyman.

Men Every Divorced Mom Needs

No shit. The Handyman is Numero Uno in your life. You don’t have to sleep with him and he’ll change your air conditioner filters. Seriously, how awesome does it feel not to have to negotiate sex to get something done around the house?!? Finding the perfect Handyman is more important than finding a boyfriend. I am non-sexually in love with my current Handyman.  I hit the Tool Time jackpot with this one. He hangs chandeliers without asking me to swing from them, digs post without asking to “post” me, and lays carpet without…well, you get the picture. I would give you his number, but, fuck that! I’m keeping him to myself.

 

2. The Hot Neighbor.

Handsome man.jpg

Everyone needs that equally single guy neighbor that can come running should you have an emergency.  He’s like the backup quarterback. You don’t plan on using him, but he’s nice to keep around. His hotness level is irrelevant, but since mine happens to be hot, really hot, I figured I’d take this moment to brag about it. (Unfortunately, he has an equally attractive girlfriend, which makes my walking my dogs back & forth in front of his house, hoping he’ll walk out for a conversation, slightly psychotic.) The single neighbor is the guy you call if something seems awry in your house at midnight, or if your car won’t start.

 3. The Ex.

 Irrational Ex.jpg

You don’t like to admit it. I don’t like to admit it, but the ex-knows us pretty damn well. So much so, that when you get crazy because the guy you went out with on Monday hasn’t called and it’s Wednesday, you can call the ex and he talks you down. Because he knows your crazy….he’s experienced it first hand. Always keep an Ex on deck for moments of insanity. Of course, this one is totally up to you. If he left you high and dry and you want nothing to do with him, that’s understandable.

4. Friend With Benefits.

 Hook Up.jpg

No explanation needed but, in case you do, here is an article for you. A woman has needs.


5. Secret Crush.

 Crush.jpg

It’s not really a secret that I have a crush on the produce guy at my grocery store. It’s not like I stalk him (I don’t even regularly BUY groceries!) or know his schedule or anything creepy like that, but on that rare occasion when I see him, terrible thoughts enter my head that involves knocking down entire displays of apples.

I know. I’m a bad grocery girl. But quite honestly, everyone needs a secret crush…and not just single ladies.  An SC lets you know you are still alive. That no matter how routine and humdrum your life may seem, you still have that spark of frisky.

So if you’re single like me, you keep these five in your bullpen until the ONE comes along to make them all obsolete.

The post 5 Men Every Divorced Mom Needs appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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.

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We Divorced But Our Family Thrived, Especially Our Children

We Divorced But Our Family Thrived, Especially Our Children

 

We divorced. It felt like I was jumping off a cliff and taking my children with me. I was bad now. I was to blame. I felt ashamed.

At the same time, my brother was also getting divorced, which meant my mother was going through the breakup of both her children’s marriages. This was very tough on her. My mother had raised us by herself with no help from my father. None! At that time, a single woman raising children on her own was practically unheard of. When my mother finally saw both her children marry lovely people and have beautiful children of their own, she felt relieved that things had turned out well.

But with two divorces pending, it was all coming apart. We were all so sad and angry. The children were in the middle of all this strife. My mother had always been my rock, but now she too was slipping off the cliff, we were all struggling.

I slowly pulled myself together and began thinking of my children’s wellbeing. I once heard a woman, who was talking about her very young children after her divorce, say, “If I’m okay, then my children will be okay. If my needs are met, then I can take care of them.” I think she had it backward. In my view, “If my children are okay, then I’ll be okay. If my children’s needs can be met, then I can take care of myself.”  This became my motto.

I had young children at home and they were at the mercy of me and my decisions. I made a lot of mistakes at first. I began my search for better role models and a better way to do this.

We shifted our focus and although divorced, we realized we were going to have to figure out how to be a family and how to develop a new family structure going forward.

My former husband and my mother had a very close relationship. He had become like another son to her, and they really loved each other. He had helped to make our family stronger and more connected

We wanted to keep our family together as much as possible. Most of all our children were looking for stability and reassurance. So we did our best to be together as a family with the children on holidays and at school functions.

We helped each other meet our children’s needs.

We did it for the sake of the children. We did it for the sake of the whole family. I did it for myself too. We weren’t married anymore, but we had children together and so we were still a family and we needed the support of our extended family more than ever.

I remember thinking at some point that when people divorce they leave each other, not the family. But that wasn’t the message I was getting from my divorced friends or in the media. According to them, divorce was supposed to be like a war zone. We didn’t want to live like that, and we didn’t want to subject our children to that either, so we began creating our own set of new rules to live by. It was the silver lining to a very dark cloud.

We had to be pioneers because we weren’t seeing many examples of healthy post-divorce behavior around us.

We really had to create a relationship based on our own sense of what was going to make our family thrive. I personally had to keep turning inward for direction on how to act, what to say, and how to go on from where I was. This self-reflection proved invaluable in the process of being a parent.

One of the first important things we did as parents of two children was to make it abundantly clear that just because one parent left their spouse, they did not leave the family. It is the grown-ups who are no longer able to live together. It is so important to reassure the children that the love they feel for each parent is still reciprocated and the relationship between them and each parent is therefore strong and protected. I learned that it’s so important to remember to help your children feel loved by both parents even if you are not feeling that way yourself.

As part of a blended family myself, I’ve learned it is best to take a conscious approach to life in a tribe. I’ve encountered all kinds of things that keep me growing and inspire me to turn inward in an effort to be more self-reflective. It is not always easy, but over the years, I’ve realized that in our blended family, I’m but one leg of the table. I’m very important, but the other three legs are just as important for the table to be strong enough to hold all of us. I try to let everyone deal with what they are bringing to the table while I keep my focus on what I can bring. I’ve adopted a meditation of sorts.

These thoughts help keep me focused. It works for me.

If I can remember that I’m not always in control…

If I can give others grace when I feel trespassed upon…

If I can forgive and allow myself to have healthy boundaries…

If I can forgive and allow other family members to have healthy boundaries…

If I can speak up when I need to speak up…

If I can listen to others when I need to listen…

If I can avoid rushing in and pushing my agenda…

Then the family will find its own balance.

One of the things we chose to do differently from most of the family examples we were seeing was to gather as a family for holidays or special school events as well as birthday celebrations.

As long as our children were young and living at home with us, we chose to include all of us. We didn’t trade off years or make the children choose where to go or whom to invite for a special occasion.

And my motto in those circumstances, if there is any discomfort, which there was, became:

 “If anyone is going to be uncomfortable in the room let it be me, not my children or other family members”

 It is my divorce and I must take the initiative and bear the changes with mindfulness so that my family and my children can all be together for these times.

When the going gets tough, we help each other. Maybe it was out of necessity at first, but it soon became normal for us as we became a blended family. Instead of waging war, we have created and provided resources for each other and for our children. In this family, I continue to find grace, love, and understanding.

The post We Divorced But Our Family Thrived, Especially Our Children appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Can You be Happily Divorced When Your Friends are All Married?

Can You be Happily Divorced When Your Friends are All Married?

Your happiness and contentment is not dependent on your friend’s relationship status.

The post Can You be Happily Divorced When Your Friends are All Married? appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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become financially smarter

4 Ways Divorced Moms Can Become Financially Smarter

become financially smarter

 

During my work with women who were going through or recovery from divorce one of the most frustrating aspects of the work was their attitude towards money. I’ll go out on a limb and say that one of the main stressors for women after divorce is money.

Yet, when asked what their plans were for relieving their stress over money, the majority didn’t make that a priority in life.

I worked with clients who had been long-term stay-home-moms, their only financial plan for the future was to live on child support and alimony. They were doing without; their children were doing without and the main concern for these women was not having to make a change in their role as a stay-at-home mom.

They feared working or building a career for themselves would be too disruptive for their children without acknowledging how being stressed for money was damaging their children. The only role money took in their lives was the lack of money.

When asked what their plans were for when their children reached the age of majority and child support stopped or, alimony was no longer coming in, I got shoulder shrugs in return or, “I’ll figure it out.”

Sorry, but the time to figure it out isn’t then when you have even less money than you have now.

A recent Prudential study on the “Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women” shows, unfortunately, that women have not come a long way when it comes to money. Women feel no more prepared to make smarter financial decisions today than they did three years ago — or even a decade ago.

And, based on my experience with divorcing clients they’re not prepared to make smart financial decisions when smacked in the face with divorce and the possibility of living in poverty.

Divorce doesn’t mean remaining financially dependent on a man you are no longer married to. Divorce not only legally ends your relationship with your husband, but it also sets a woman free to make her own way in the world and, to do that she must be able to make her own money and smarter financial plans for herself now and down the road.

If you’re divorced and reluctant to go back to work or, fear what the future holds for you financially here are 4 tips to help you become financially smarter.

Get educated: Learning about money is important, and the more of a role you take, the more enjoyable it becomes. You may consider taking a few classes in finances at a local college, university or online.

This might be a little extreme but, I can guarantee that you will be better off if you start to get a handle on your finances. There are hundreds of books, podcast, blogs, and videos that can help you gain a better understanding of your personal finances. We can’t “stay dumb” about money. It limits our options in the world, not to mention feelings of self-worth and competency.

Track and budget: In order to make smart decisions about your money, you have to understand where your money is going. Start by tracking your expenses for one to two months. Once you see where your money is going, you can start to weed out the unnecessary expenses. Use this information to create a budget that reflects your needs instead of your wants.

To help make tracking and budgeting easier, you can download smartphone or tablet apps such as Mint, GoodBudget, and Expensify. Creating and keeping your budget is one of the simplest ways to not only learn about your finances and spending habits but to be more informed and involved so that you can make smart decisions about money.

Start saving now: Retirement might seem like an eternity away, especially for women in their 20s, 30s and even 40s, but saving for it is incredibly important for financial security. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the better your financial picture will look in the future.

If you work and your company offers a 401(k) plan or 403(b), make sure you contribute as much as you can. This is especially important if they offer to match your contribution. Remember, this is essentially free money going into your retirement account. If your company doesn’t offer a 401(k) or 403(b), consider opening a traditional or Roth IRA. The sooner you start saving, the longer you are allowing your money to grow.

Get a job: Unless you’re wealthy or a movie star, your economic level will decrease as a result of divorce. The same income that used to run one household is now running two. You’re going to need to supplement the income from child support and alimony with earnings of your own.

If you worked in the past, re-enter your career field. If you don’t have a work history but skills that make you marketable, make a list of those skills, build a killer resume and start networking. If you have no marketable skills, it’s time to get a degree or take courses that will help you become more marketable in today’s job force.

Women can be very smart with money. All we need to do is start getting in the game and stop believing that financial issues are too complicated for us to understand.

The post 4 Ways Divorced Moms Can Become Financially Smarter appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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have a splendid valentine

How Divorced, Single Moms Can Have A Splendid Valentine’s Day

have a splendid valentine's day

 

During my marriage, Valentine’s Day was a big deal in our home. I made mini heart-shaped cakes that my husband and I would share with our children after he and I had been out to a special Valentine’s Day dinner.

We didn’t focus so much on romance but on showing each other love. The children received a new plush toy on that day, I got a special dinner with my husband and, at the end of the day, we all had a sweet treat and time together as a family.

We carried on the tradition after the divorce only I didn’t get the special dinner and although I felt like my heart had been ripped out, I still had to make those mini heart-shaped cakes and buy plush toys.

What I really want to do was go to bed and pull the covers over my head. There is no better reminder of how unlovable you are after a husband leaves than Valentine’s Day. And the last thing I wanted was a reminder of how much life had changed since our last Valentine’s Day together.

I also knew that, I didn’t want my next Valentine’s Day to be a reminder of the past or my station in life so, the following year, I changed things up and made a promise to myself that I’d not wallow in pity but make the day the most splendid it could be regardless of my marital status. Here’ how I did that.

How Divorced, Single Moms Can Have A Splendid Valentine’s Day

Be kind. Pay attention to your inner dialogue and the things you say to yourself. When that inner voice is saying something negative, stop and ask yourself if you would “talk” to your girlfriend that way. If the answer is no, then don’t say it to yourself. Instead of thinking, I’ll always be alone or no one will ever love me or Will I ever find love again? Try reminding yourself that you are loved and reassure yourself that the right person will come along at the right time.

Treat yourself. Do something nice for yourself, anything. Pamper yourself with a pedicure or massage. Take a bubble bath. Visit your favorite coffee shop armed with a good book as company. Go for a long walk. Treat yourself to dinner and a movie. Buy yourself a fancy cupcake or a piece of chocolate. You deserve to enjoy good things. You deserve to spend time participating in activities that are life-giving and create peace in your life. Stop waiting for someone to do it for you—do it for yourself.

Create a new tradition with your kids. Valentine’s Day does not have to be all about romance. Take this opportunity to celebrate with your children. Make pizza at home. Decorate cupcakes or watch a family movie. Clinical psychologist and divorce coach Deanna Conklin-Danao suggests that focusing on your kids is an excellent way to combat the loneliness that can creep in around this time of year.

Phone a friend. Surrounding yourself with positive people is a key way to practice “emotional hygiene.” Enlist the support of a good friend and plan an evening or afternoon out. There is nothing like some good girlfriend time to remind you of how wonderful you are.

Work out! Exercise is a proven mood lifter and is essential to maintaining one’s physical health. It is an excellent way to demonstrate self-care. You don’t have to join a gym or go to a class—start with a walk outside. Go for a run. Climb the stairs in your house. Rent an exercise DVD. It doesn’t matter what you do—just move your body and you will feel better.

Make someone else’s day. Another great way to elevate your own mood and to feel encouraged about your situation is to do something for someone else. Make and send Valentine’s Day cards for our servicemen and women who are away from their families. Plan and host a Valentine’s Day party at a women and children’s shelter. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Serve meals to the homeless. Bake cookies, and take them to your local firehouse or police station. Send thank-you letters to your children’s teachers.

Holidays can be difficult for divorced single moms, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Creating new traditions on these special days is an excellent strategy for combating the blues and building a wonderful new life for you and your children. This Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to start the tradition of celebrating your love for yourself. Filling up your “love tank” will give you plenty of love to pour out on those around you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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