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safe as a single mom

4 Tips To Help You Feel Safe As a Single Mom

safe as a single mom

 

While living alone can come with a series of benefits for one’s mental well-being, it is also associated with a litany of challenges. One of these prominent challenges includes personal safety. Fortunately, there are easy ways to begin your journey as a single mother safely and securely. Here is how you can start today.

How to Feel Safe As a Single Mom

Have a Home Security System

In today’s day and age, technology can help people in a variety of ways. When it comes to your house, getting a home security system would be an excellent first step in ensuring your safety. This is because having this security system will not only ensure that people who are not supposed to be in your house stay out, but you will be alerted of any danger before it arises.

There are a series of components that can make a home security system even more powerful. For example, a motion detector will be able to track if someone suspicious that you were not expecting approaches your house. You will also be able to interface with the system so that it recognizes only you as the primary entrant. Wire-free cameras that latch onto the outside of the house is another cost-effective alternative to give you a view of what is taking place outside.

Build a Rapport With Neighbors

Moving into a new neighborhood can be a fun experience, but that does not mean you should ever let your guard down. One of the best ways to approach this is by establishing a support system in the form of your neighbors. When you move in, introduce yourself kindly and try to get their personal information. That way, if something were to happen and your family isn’t around, you can always rely on those next door to you.

Many people do not like trying to establish a relationship out of fear. However, do not let fear get in the way of helping out with your safety. You never know when an emergency may arise and if you will need swift assistance.

Do Not Reveal Your Status

There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to being a single mother living alone in a home. However, you should realize that revealing this fact could prove to be a huge safety hazard. Unfortunately, many would-be criminals or thieves see a single mother with no one else living in the household as an easy target.

You can be confident in yourself all you please, but understand that many home invasions occur in groups and not just singular adversaries. Take pride in being independent and do not be ashamed of it. At the same time, be wise about it and do not make it obvious that it is only yourself and furniture inside your home.

Use Common Sense

Finally, you will always want to use common sense, especially to deter potential criminals. What does this entail? First, you will want to close all of the curtains so as to not reveal how many people are currently inside. Also, you will want to keep some of the lights on until late in the night. After all, the key for criminals is stealth and the ability to commit a crime without having their identity exposed. Also, make sure that your windows are shut and your doors are locked. You can spend money on security systems, but common sense helps.

As you can see, living alone can be fun, but it comes with great responsibility. Follow these tips and you will feel more safe and secure.

The post 4 Tips To Help You Feel Safe As a Single Mom appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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child-centered summer activities

Single Mom Budget: 10 Fun & Inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities

child-centered summer activities

 

Growing up in a family of six children, raised by a single mother, vacations were few and far between. I cherish those moments and remember many inexpensive things done near home.

Airplane tickets were out of the question and with six kids, even a small vacation was expensive. My mom was often so busy, angry and exhausted that having a break, just to relax and enjoy time together wasn’t at the front of her mind but I wish it had been.

I want to create fun memories for Hidalgo, broaden his mind, help him become a well-rounded individual. This also means broadening experiences and getting out into the real world. I can’t afford to take him to multiple exotic summer homes but I can do lots of little things.

Here are 10 inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities

1.  Tent Camping:

If your only experience of camping is on a crowded campsite with dodgy plumbing this sounds horrible. There is a better kind of camping, in nature. Check the regulations at your nearest state/national forest, borrow or rent some basic equipment if you’re not convinced and try it with your kids. With a car, a map and some basic equipment, you can head to the hills.  Be surrounded by silence, tell stories and roast marshmallows over a campfire, take walks and explore in nature. Kids love it. I love it. Maybe you love it?

2.  Rent a cabin:

I’m a huge fan of state and national parks and forests. The low-cost resources available at them are second to none. Europe does not have the extensive land or preservation system of the U.S. and these are resources that can become a lifetime of vacation memories. If the thought of sleeping on the ground really creeps you out, cabins are very affordable. The rustic nature plus convenience of indoor plumbing get you out of your surroundings and into nature without going fully feral.

3.  Fishing:

Again, this one involves equipment (borrow at first), nature and a car. Don’t forget to the fishing license from your local bait shop (kids are free). I’m a bit of a tomboy and really like the thrill of catching my meal.  My love of it came from those tight money times when my mother crammed us into the car and drove us to the nearest lake to spend the afternoon angling for the big one. To this day, I have no idea if we needed that fish to supplement our meager rations or it was really a vacation. We just liked being outside, all together, focused on the wiggle of the pole and eating the spoils.

4.  Canoeing:

As you see, there is a theme building in terms of nature activities which involve equipment. I lived a few years in the Western part of the U.S. just after graduation when I had the least money but the most energy. I’ve tried many outdoor pursuits…kayaking, rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, fishing because they were cheap and fun. Many state parks and local outfitters rent equipment at reasonable prices. Who knows? You might love it so much you buy your own equipment and find a great new hobby. There are tons of things to do in nature.  Inspire your kids, Inspire yourself.

5.  Amusements:

Amusement parks, zoos, science centers, water parks, aquariums, and natural history museums are all fun and inexpensive activities. I don’t love them all but the little one thinks they are great. The ones in your town or near your town are probably good. Drive an hour and maybe the large city nearby has great options. I find it odd that people will spend lots of money to come all the way to France to see museums and exhibits but have never been to their local attractions. Check your city’s visitor guide. I bet there is stuff you haven’t seen or done yet.

6.  Ride the rails, Ride the ferries:

Depending on where you live, this is either very easy or near impossible. Public transportation is of poor quality in the states compared to Europe but there are places the trains go and if you buy early, they can be economical. Many large bodies of water are traversed by public and private ferry service. Think of a novel form of transport that gets you somewhere new. Kids like new experiences…riding a training even if it’s just a few towns over for a burger might be new to both of you.

7.  Build a fort:

When I was a kid, we were allowed to roam the neighborhood at all hours and discover the edges of our little world. We built kid camps just on the borders where the houses stopped and the ravines and wild places began.  Sadly, many kids don’t have this kind of freedom anymore. But a fort can be built over summer with found objects in your own back yard. Help as necessary for safety but let them do as much as they can on their own. If you’re lucky, they’ll sleep in it and give you some much needed quiet.

8. Join a local recreation center:

Join a local recreational center, like the YMCA, which offers affordable memberships and plenty of programs. My summer days were spent at the local city pool run by the recreation center. A pass purchased for a city-run activity is quite inexpensive.

9. Thank local heroes:

Take a tour of your police or fire station. Since most locations don’t have set visiting hours, call ahead to arrange an appointment. What better lesson for kids to learn than showing respect for and thanking their local heroes.

10. Build an obstacle course:

Build a backyard obstacle course with hula hoops, jump ropes, even a hose, then time the kids. The building and running the course, will teach them creativity and keep them occupied with a fun activity.

Having fun does not have to cost lots of money. I grew up poor but didn’t really know I was until the later years. Times were hard but my mother did the best she could with what she had. We had fun, we did stuff during the summers as a family and we enjoyed it. That’s how I want Hidalgo to remember his childhood.

The post Single Mom Budget: 10 Fun & Inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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summer child care options

12 Summer Child Care Options for the Divorced Mom

summer child care options

 

Once I was divorced and did not have the financial resources I’d previously had to send my children to enriching or fun day camps and away camps, or hang out at a local pool with them all day long I had to sew together a patchwork quilt of summer child care options to get us through the summer while I worked.

It was always a near miss in which I was thinking, “Oh no, what will I do for this week or that week?” But, somehow, by using every single one of the options below plus some I may have forgotten, we made it through, mostly in one piece.

12 Options for Summer Child Care Options:

1. Counselor in Training: If your kids are 13 or 14, they may qualify for some counselor-in-training programs. I got my 14-year-old into one and it has served her well ever since (even though she opted not to continue that program the following summer). Most of these DO cost something. Swallow your pride and resolve to sit down with the financial aid application for these programs. We got an excellent deal. I did pay some of it, but my ex also chipped in seeing as he couldn’t babysit either.

2. Camps Offer Financial Aid: Even if you don’t think you qualify for summer camp financial aid, you might. I did not think I would, but I did qualify. No matter what the child’s age, there are camps all over the place and the issue is deciding which ones work for your kids and for your situation. Most of them offer scholarships and financial aid. Again, try to jump over the pride hurdle. And do your best to jump over the “I don’t have time to fill out the paperwork” hurdle. I say this in a loving way, of course. I had to give myself pep talks over and over again. I never liked asking for help, but, lo and behold, I needed help and so did my children. I did what I had to do.

3. Neighborhood Teens: Babysitters in my area make more than some of the divorced moms I know. However, one thing I have learned in business is that you can negotiate anything. ANYTHING! You just have to ask for what you need and tell people what you can and cannot afford.

4. Craigslist: Post for a sitter on Craigslist. I tried posting on college campuses but the youth in my area responded to the Craiglist posts. I had some excellent candidates. Of course, I couldn’t pay top dollar but they were still willing to work with me. Somehow, someway, you can find a sitter who will work within your parameters. This doesn’t come challenge-free, but you can find a solution—even if it is a stop-gap measure. One day I will write about the fiasco of hiring a sitter to pick up my 12-year-old child who refused to answer her phone and refused to be where she was supposed to be for pickup. That was one frustrated and unhappy babysitter. But, it worked for a little while.

5. Tweens can be Mother’s Helpers for Others: Line up mother’s helper gigs for tweens and younger teens. This worked for one summer with my middle child and has served her well.

6. Get a Job: I strongly suggested to my son that he get certified as a lifeguard. I had to make it all happen, but this has provided income for him ever since. Even now in college, he lifeguards on the side.

7. Swim Team: Swim team is a mixed bag. On one hand, your child gets good daily exercise and something to do. On the other hand, you’ve got those five-hour-long meets. And our teams wanted all parents to work the meets. Eventually, we had to bow out of that commitment. But for some of you, it might work out.

8. Grandma Camp!: First I had to package the idea of my kids coming to visit as “fun.” Then I had to package going to their grandparents’ house as a “vacation.” Somehow, when we could manage it, it all seemed to work.

9. Friends! I never would have thought of this one myself. However, I had several friends offer to have my kids come to stay for a week with them over the summer. Thank goodness for friends, is all I can say.

10. Vacation Time: Save your paid vacation time for summer as much as you can. It’s great to go away for holidays and all that but the summer is more pressing. You will probably be providing your own childcare for some of this time.

11. Dad Camp!: Don’t withhold time that the kids can spend with their dad. Use it! Let HIM do some of the work. You need a break. Also as a child of divorce, I can say that even though my dad was/is a piece of work and not the greatest dad, I still relished the time I spent with him. Parents can be jerks, but we still need them. Your kids will like extra time with dad as long as he isn’t truly neglectful (legal definition) or truly abusive.

12. Vacation Bible School: Hear me out on this one if you are not particularly religious. Most of the VBS’s I have observed operate much like any other preschool or daycare program. They color, they sing, the eat watermelon. It isn’t usually a bigtime dose of religion. And if you are desperate, churches are good for things like desperation. This is actually where they excel. They can be a safety net.

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divorce & the stay-at-home mom

Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: 8 Necessary Steps To Take

divorce & the stay-at-home mom

 

Divorce can be an especially stressful time as a stay-at-home mom who has dedicated the past few years to raising kids and taking care of the family. By taking time away from their work life, they may be at a disadvantage. This is because it could be hard going back or relearning certain job-skills to make them competitive in the workplace again.

Being a stay-at-home mom is a beautiful way to raise your kids and fill the day with the various stresses and rewards of family care. However, It should not keep you from reaching your financial goals and well-being during a time of divorce.

Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: 7 Necessary Steps

Get all of your financial documents together:

This includes W2s and tax returns from previous years, income statements including pay stubs, insurance policies, bank statements, details about loans and mortgages, and investment accounts. This will help the attorney understand your financial quality of life over the past few years to ensure that a divorce does not keep you from providing the same financial wellbeing to you and your children moving forward.

Gain access to funds:

You will need access to your marital account to pay for the finances of divorce. Hiring an attorney to represent you is critical so that you can secure your lifestyle after the process has completed. If you lack access to a joint account, you will need to create an individual fund from savings where you can make payments for the representation you need.

Craft a new budget:

Take the time to sit down one day and realistically draw up a budget based on how much is spent monthly on food, clothing, a mortgage on the house, utility bills, phone bills, and other necessities. This will create an outline of what is to be expected to keep supporting your kids and family.

Know what the marital house is worth:

Although you may want to continue living in the marital home for sentimental value to you and your kids, a divorce already stretches you and your spouse financially. It may be wise to have the house appraised and to know how much it is worth. In this way, if the budget needs to be limited, you can always sell the property and downsize to keep paying the bills for necessary items.

Get a handle on your credit:

You can find out your credit score on sites such as Credit Karma. Having a good credit score will allow lenders to feel more confident in lending the funds you need for mortgages on homes, cars, etc. One way to improve your credit score is to pay off student loans from the past. Remember, on credit cards you should never use more than 30% of your available credit line. Also, always pay bills on time, so you do not accumulate a hefty interest fee.

Plan to return to work:

Having a job gives you a chance to set up an individual account and to grant you the financial freedom you need to cover extra expenses. Make a resume with your most up-to-date skills and go on interviews in various industries. If you have already made a budget for yourself, you will know what salary to aim for at the end of each month.

Consider requesting temporary alimony:

If a judge determines that you have been at home for an extended period of time and cannot return to work right away because you do not have immediate skills, he/she will request that your ex-spouse give temporary alimony to cover the lifestyle you have been accustomed to over the years. If no prenuptial agreements were arranged before the marriage, you might be entitled to part of your ex-spouse’s funds.

Hire a team of qualified professionals:

By finding the perfect divorce attorney to represent you, you can come to court prepared to know that you have someone there who understands your needs and where you are coming from. In hiring a team, it is essential to look for someone who has the experience, shows compassion, and has a good reputation of winning settlements in favor of the client’s requests.

Hiring a lawyer to represent you can bring a feeling of felt relief. Having someone on your side to provider knowledge and skills that deliver is an essential reason for hiring a lawyer.  Being a stay at home mom while going through a divorce can be stressful and difficult, but you can stay ahead of the game and keep prepared by following this guideline and meeting a lawyer sooner rather than later!

The post Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: 8 Necessary Steps To Take appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Purchasing and Managing a Home as a Single Mom After Divorce

Purchasing and Managing a Home as a Single Mom After Divorce

When you start thinking about looking for a new home, you may find yourself excited and frightened all in the same split-second. You may start feeling that to spend more, you need to save more.

The post Purchasing and Managing a Home as a Single Mom After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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5 Ways to Feel Safe As a Single Mom After a Divorce

5 Ways to Feel Safe As a Single Mom After a Divorce

As a single mom, it’s important that you take every possible precaution to protect your family against potential dangers, therefore adding home improvements should be among your top priority.

The post 5 Ways to Feel Safe As a Single Mom After a Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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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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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.

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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.

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