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physically fit on a single mom

How to Stay Physically Fit On a Single Mom’s Budget

physically fit on a single mom's budget

 

Staying in shape is not easy when you are a single Mom. Either you cannot go out because you need to look after your kids, and when you actually can those fancy fitness classes are just too expensive. However, even if you cannot afford a gym membership it is time to dust off your sneakers.

There are so many free ways to work out and burn those calories, so just pick the one you like and work those muscles!

Staying Physically Fit on a Single Mom’s Budget

Download an app

Instead of listening to your trainer telling you what to do, you can listen to an app. Although some apps you will need to purchase, there are fitness apps that won’t cost you anything. Whether you prefer running or full-body workouts, you will definitely find an app that meets your needs.

Join a club

Not like a fitness club, those can be pricey. These days a lot of people are searching for like-minded individuals online and forming fitness groups anybody can join. There are all kinds of clubs, from marathon training teams to yoga clubs. The best thing about working out in a group like this is that you will receive support and encouragement that can positively influence your exercise habits. Peer pressure is not always a bad thing, you know!

Go hiking

Were you going to the gym just so you could spend some time on a treadmill? Well, forget about paying for a membership and explore the great outdoors for free. There are so many trails just waiting for you to discover them, so pack your backpack and hit the road.

Use your bodyweight

Did you know that short, high-intensity bodyweight workouts are more efficient than never-ending cardio routines? Training with a resistance band is a cheap yet really effective way to get in shape. With just a band (that can easily fit in your bag) and your body, you will be able to exercise anywhere – at home, work or in the park.

Exercise on your way to work

Even if you are a single Mom who spends all of her time with her precious babies, you still have to put the food on the table, right? Since you have to work anyway, you might as well exercise on your way to the office.  By walking, jogging or biking to work, not only will you get in shape, but you will save money on gas or public transportation while doing our planet a favor.

 Search for free fitness events in your town

If you live in a city, there is a good chance you will be able to find at least a dozen free fitness events in your area every month. You can track them down on Facebook’s events page and since plenty of them are indoors, you will be able to sweat your worries away even during those cold or rainy days.

YouTube to the rescue

Every day we use YouTube to learn all kinds of things, from how to make a fishtail braid, do our makeup to how to make the best chocolate chip cookies for the kids. Therefore, why not use YouTube to get fit? Nowadays so many personal trainers have their own channels and are regularly posting videos to YouTube. This is a great option for all you single Moms who need to keep an eye on your children during the day. So, skip the expensive fees and go straight to sweating.

Hit the road, Jack

The best thing about running is that it is completely free and you can do it almost anywhere. Whether you live in a village, small town or a huge city, you can find an interesting route through your neighborhood, or do a quick Google search and see whether your local high school or college track is open to the public.

Do Yoga at home

What do you need in order to do yoga? Just a mat, right? So why should you pay for a yoga membership when you can easily find thousands of free yoga resources online, and get fit from the comfort of your living room.

Getting fit and burning those calories doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you cannot afford the gym membership or leaving your home for more than 15 minutes is not an option, with these tips you will be able to easily get in shape.

The post How to Stay Physically Fit On a Single Mom’s Budget appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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child discipline after divorce

Child Discipline After Divorce: 8 Tips For Single Moms

child discipline after divorce

 

Child discipline in an intact family is a responsibility shared between Mom and Dad. Once there is a divorce the custodial parent will have to take on the majority of this responsibility. Non-custodial parents should remain as actively involved in child discipline as possible but it only makes sense that the parent spending more time with the child will end up doing most of the work where discipline is concerned.

It is a dirty job but someone has to do it! It is especially important that children who are struggling to cope with the changes in their family be given a structured environment to help them cope with the many changes that come along with divorce.

This is a guide for the custodial parent who may find themselves not only attempting to cope with the stress of being a single parent but also the impact of divorce on their child.

8 Tips for Child Discipline After Divorce

1. Idle Hands Are the Devil’s Workshop:

Busy children are less likely to get into or cause trouble. Keeping your child engaged in fun or productive activities will not only keep them out of trouble it will keep you focused on something other than your own problems.

My ex sees our children 4 days out of the month which leaves me to deal with any disciplinary problems that arose on all those other days. I found that life was easier for not only me but the children also if I stressed the importance of not only having fun but also being productive.

They both had after school activities to participate in that were outlets for creativity and an opportunity to relax and distress. They also had responsibilities they had to tend to once they were home for the evening. Their homework had to be done, dinner dishes had to be cleaned and they were required to do 45 minutes of reading. By bedtime, they were so tired from their “fun and productive day” they welcomed the idea of crawling between the sheets and settling down.

2. Focus on Positive Behaviors, Not Negative Behaviors:

You can sit my younger son in time out all day or, take away his favorite toy and he would turn around and misbehave…over and over again. The trick with him was to give him something he liked doing as a reward for not misbehaving.

Once I figured this out I spent a lot less time punishing him and more time praising him. For example, he loved feeding the fish and cleaning the fish tank. That was his job unless he misbehaved and to hold onto that “job” he works hard at behaving in a way that is pleasing to his Mom.

If you have a child who isn’t responding in a positive way to standard forms of discipline try rewarding him/her with a liked task in exchange for good behavior. As a parent, it is so much less stressful to be able to say, “job well done,” instead of, “to the corner young man.”

3. Set Clear and Age Appropriate Boundaries and Rules:

Don’t expect your children the respect boundaries or follow rules they are not old enough to understand or physically capable of following. I had a written contract with my elder son that outlined his responsibilities and the rewards for living up to those responsibilities.

My younger son had a chart with stars. He was awarded a star for good behavior and lost a star for bad behavior. And they both knew what I considered good and bad behavior. I was specific with them about the rules and the consequences of breaking the rules. And the consequences for my elder son were different than the ones for my younger son.

4. Be Consistent When Disciplining:

As a single parent, it is easy to take the path of least resistance and relax the rules a bit. Let’s face it, at times it is easier to just “do it yourself” than engage in the power struggle that can ensue when trying to get a child to act.

The idea behind setting rules and boundaries is to let them know who is in charge. The more you bend the rules, the less parental authority you have. Bend them enough and you will soon find yourself with no authority at all.

Being consistent requires a parent have self-discipline, it requires a lot of effort. In other words, being consistent will probably be the hardest part of disciplining your child. If you are able to remain consistent you will not only promote growth and maturity in your child but yourself also.

5. Be Quick and Concise When Disciplining Your Child:

My mother was notorious for threatening me if I misbehaved when away from home. She would shake her finger in my face and say, “when I get you home you will pay for that.” And there I would be, filled with anxiety for hours over what was going to happen once she “got me home.”

She didn’t want to make a scene in front of others but didn’t mind dumping hours of stress and fear onto me in order to save face. Punishment is far more effective and less damaging if it is doled out at the time of the bad behavior. Justice should be swift when dealing with children and it will be more effective if done immediately.

The trick is to have a separate set of consequences the child will suffer if bad behavior takes place away from home than those you have for home. It can be as simple as telling her child if he/she misbehaves at a Birthday party you will remove them from the party. Whatever the consequences, whether at home or away from home do it on the spot.

6. Keep Your Anger Under Control When Disciplining Your Child:

When we discipline we are attempting to send a message…certain behaviors are not acceptable and will not be tolerated. When you become angry and scream or yell the message gets lost. All your child hears or retains is the anger that is mudding up the message.

Keeping your anger under control also helps promote a respectful and loving relationship with your child. You will also be setting an example for your child on how to deal with a negative situation without going off the rails emotionally.

7. Allow Children to Help Set House Rules and Boundaries:

This is especially helpful when disciplining teenagers. An older child will feel more motivated to follow rules and respect boundaries they have helped set. Teens are on the brink of adulthood, they are living on the fence so to speak. It is a very frustrating time of wanting control but having none.

Giving your teen the opportunity to negotiate such things as curfew and what happens if they break curfew will give them a sense of control. I found, as my boys aged the more power they felt they had, the less likely they were to take advantage of that power.

8. Work Constructively With Your Co-Parent When Disciplining Your Child:

Your job as a single parent will be easier if you work with the non-custodial parent when setting up rules and boundaries for your child. These can be a challenging part of co-parenting but for the sake of your children, it is helpful for both parents to be on the same page when it comes to crimes and how those crimes are punished.

As parents, we want to teach our children certain morals and values. If divorced parents do not work together they fall short of teaching their children anything other than to engage in conflict and power struggles.

The rules at one house don’t have to be the same for the other house but parents should be in agreement about the need for setting and enforcing rules and boundaries. Doing so is best for all concerned.

The post Child Discipline After Divorce: 8 Tips For Single Moms appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Divorce Attorney Elise Mitchell's Private Files Document Blow Jobs to Judges

Moms, Dads  and Women District Attorneys  (Diana Becton  and Nancy O'Malley) – Take on Family Court Judges, CPAs  and Divorce Attorneys

​As newly elected district attorney Todd Spitzer investigates family court clerks, custody evaluators and private judges involved in custody and divorce cases in Orange County, California’s two most powerful female district attorneys began to look at family court cases that have been ignored by male their male counterparts for decades. 

CONTRA COSTA DA  DIANA BECTON &
IRS INVESTIGATE CPAs USED IN DIVORCE CASES 

Diana Becton became Contra Costa County DA following the exposure of criminal activity involving Mark Peterson. Peterson was indicted, blasted in the news and disbarred by 2017 in large part based on  public outrage that a DA had corrupted the cozy East Bay communities  and allowed family courts to run amok for the past two decades. 

Becton is reportedly mindful that family court reformers have managed to get the Grand Jury to investigate the county’s CPS and Family Court Services staff investigated and now Becton has an opportunity to investigate CPAs including Jack Peth, Charles Burak, Sally White, Michael Thompson, James Butera and others who are known for not adding properly when it comes to the fair division of community property in divorce cases.

A small group of accountants have been regularly acting in appointed or retained capacities in family law cases, and many of these CPAs have been cooking the books, concealing corporate profits and helping law enforcement officers, tech executives, and even judges engage in tax fraud and tax evasion for decades.  Criminal IRS investigators are also reportedly conducting an investigation of several CPAs who acted in high profile divorce cases in a manner that concealed income from the government. 

Ms. Becton was recently named to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Judicial Selection Committee. It  is reported she is mindful of the public outrage that led to an audit of the CJP, the agency that disciplines the state’s judges. Many in California’s  court reform movement come from family court experiences and were largely responsible  for getting the audit, and recalling Judge Persky in Santa Clara County in June of 2018. 

ALAMEDA  DA  NANCY E. O’ MALLEY ASKED TO INVESTIGATE LAWYER PERJURY

District Attorneys across the state are asked on a daily basis to investigate perjury and filing of false documents in family court cases. 

” We have divorcing couples send  transcripts of their former spouse testifying in family court and ask us to investigate perjury related to that testimony.  Sadly, while the general public may believe perjury is clear cut, it is not. It is very difficult to prove and frankly we don’t have near enough  resources to investigate these crimes, ” described public corruption investigator John Chase of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office after a perjury charge involving attorney Bradford Baugh was brought to his attention in 2015. 

What Mr. Chase refused to investigate in 2015 has now landed on the desk of Ms. O” Malley where Mr. Baugh appears to have committed perjury in a video deposition conducted by a former client. Mr. Baugh has been appointed to represent children in San Mateo and Santa Clara county divorce and custody cases for over two decades. 

As many lawyers express they aren’t worried Ms. O’Malley will actually start prosecuting perjury in family law cases, a few admit that the perjury of divorce attorney Bradford Baugh would be significant given Baugh’s involvement  in hundreds of Silicon Valley’s high profile cases, including cases before Judge Persky, where Mr. Baugh represented he served in Vietnam. 

One lawyer regularly  appointed to represent children in San Mateo and Alameda County noted he has been aware Mr. Baugh has been court appointed to represent children in addition to typically representing high asset earners in Silicon Valley’s tech and social media industries. 

” I thought Baugh served in Vietnam as I heard him discuss it in court before Judges on a regular basis. Pretty sure Judge Persky, Judge Swope , Judge Hill ,and Judge Towery believed he was in the military as well. Certainly doesn’t seem that anyone should be appointed to represent children if they spend decades lying about having served in the Vietnam war”, the attorney said asking to remain off the record. 

Bill Dok, Baugh’s former partner claimed to be embarrassed he had been partners with Baugh when Baugh was lying to the family law community. But Mr. Dok may have more than embarrassment to worry about if Mr. Baugh was earning money that paid law firm expenses as Baugh committed perjury in a deposition with a former client. 

BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN 

In the name of the best interest of children, family court judges have issued orders that have resulted in billions of dollars being spent on lawyers, custody evaluations  and sham therapists. These judges have done little for children and more for a crony network that has highjacked California’s legal system. 

Lawyers willing to lie, judges willing to cheat and Rule of Law that has been abandoned in family court has inflicted more harm on children than at any other time in California’s history. 

WHAT IF INJUSTICE HITS YOUR HOME? 

Due process is not alive and well in California’s Courts. Q has been dedicated to matching families with like issues and regional areas. If you have suffered injustice in California’s Family Courts, Email us with your case number, judge, lawyers and experts. Post comments naming the judges and lawyers under anonymous name to prevent retaliation. 

All contacts will be carefully vetted and audited before connected to others. Judges and lawyers have been known to read this website and act in a retaliatory manner when the get caught. 

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father

Divorced Moms: A Few Father’s Day Do’s and Don’ts

father's day

 

As a single mother on Father’s Day, sometimes it can be a little lonely when the children are not by your side, but it is essential to recognize the importance, in your children’s eyes, of spending time with their father – particularly on Father’s Day.

Just as on Mother’s Day, when, as it should be, the mother is properly recognized for all of her contributions to the family, it is equally as important that the children are able to spend time with and recognize their father on their special day.

A Few Father’s Day Do’s and Don’ts

In order to help prepare for not spending time with your children on Father’s Day, here’s a helpful guide of “Do’s and Don’ts” that I have found to be useful in my consultations with clients on the topic of Father’s Day and visitation when the parents are separated.

It should go without saying these suggestions apply equally to Mother’s Day when the children are spending time with their mother, but since Father’s Day is rapidly approaching, we will start from there. So without further ado, here is my helpful list of do’s and don’ts for a single mother on Father’s Day:

Do’s for a Single Mother on Father’s Day

  1. Do encourage your children to spend time with their father on Father’s Day. Keep any negative feelings to yourself until after the children have left so that they can enjoy a guilt-free day with their dad.
  2. Do step aside for the day and allow the father to shine, even if only for one day.
  3. Do make sure your children – if they do not reside in the same geographical area as their father, or if Dad is deployed or working overseas – contact and speak with their father. If possible, connect them through some video conferencing, Skype, Facetime, or a similar application that allows the children and their father to see each other while they’re talking.
  4. Do have the children create a Father’s Day card and/or encourage your children to make a homemade gift for their father.
  5. Do take time for yourself and enjoy some quality time with your family or friends. Make plans that don’t involve the children, such as brunch, a movie, or a spa day with friends.

Don’ts for a Single Mother on Father’s Day

  1. Don’t make plans or schedule other activities on Father’s Day that would deprive the father of the opportunity to spend time with the children on Father’s Day.
  2. Don’t disparage or otherwise denigrate Father to or around the children. This tip should apply year-round – not just on Father’s Day
  3. Don’t prohibit the children from spending time with or contacting Father on Father’s Day.
  4. Don’t allow the children to dictate the terms of their timesharing with Father over Father’s Day.
  5. Don’t despair: Mother’s Day occurs in May, so make sure these same do’s and don’ts apply for your special day when it comes around each year!

While certainly not an exhaustive list, I hope these do’s and don’ts will help to provide some guidelines on how best to handle – and ensure a smooth timesharing experience for your child – Father’s Day after divorce.

The post Divorced Moms: A Few Father’s Day Do’s and Don’ts appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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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.

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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.

Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms 1

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.

Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms 2

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?!

Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms 3

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.

Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms 4

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.”

Becca’s Story: A Message Of Hope And Love On Mother’s Day For All Single Moms 5

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.

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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 

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide 6

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

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide 7

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

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide 8

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

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide 9

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

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide 10

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

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide 11

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

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide 12

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

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide 13

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!

Your 2019 Single Moms Mother’s Day Gift Guide 14

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.

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survive financially as a single mom

3 Ways Single Moms Can Survive Financially

survive financially as a single mom

In the end, there are really only two things to focus on if you want to survive financially as a single mom: decreasing expenses and increasing income. The more you do both of those things, the better off you’ll be.

 

Whether you’ve always managed the household checkbook or this is your first time, the financial struggles of being a single mom can feel overwhelming. Stop, breath, and start with these simple steps to getting your finances under control.

3 Tips For Surviving Financially As a Single Mom

1. Stop incurring new debt.  If you’re in the red hole, the first step is to simply stop digging deeper. It’s just not possible to get out of debt if you keep creating more. It might be easier for a while to just stop using credit cards in order to not incur any new debt. Every day that you don’t add to your debt is another day closer to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. If you find that you can’t get to the end of the month without incurring debt, Step 2 below will help.

2. Budget every dollar. I know, it’s a dirty word to many, but I turned my financial life around when I got serious about budgeting. One of the reasons we find ourselves out of control financially is because we don’t have clarity on what goes in and what goes out. Even if you think you know, you never really do until you track your income and expenses and account for every dollar. Mint is a free app that can help, but I find YNAB to be worth every penny (plus, you get a free month trial to then budget how to pay for the app).

If apps don’t appeal, there’s always pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or even a Word doc to get you started. You can round up to the nearest dollar, but you may be surprised on just where those dollars have been going! It will help you figure out where you really can cut back, and where you can’t. YNAB uses the zero-based budgeting method (this method can be used with or without the program) and the concept is, you can only budget the dollars you have. If you’ve been budgeting by assuming your income and expenses, it will take some adjustment to get used to this new method, but it will be well worth it to get you on a more solid financial footing.

3. Beware the Single Mom Guilt.  I have been there. I have felt so guilty about my marital status that I’ve spent more than I could afford, trying to overcompensate. But after using my tax refund to pay off credit card debt, and then building up debt, and then paying it off, and then doing it again, I finally had enough. And I realized that throwing money at the problem wasn’t really helping.

The more financially stable we became, the less stressed I was. The less stressed I was, the happier my girls were. The happier my girls were, the more we could simply enjoy being together and not have to spend so much money on cable, on outings, on activities they weren’t really enjoying. Instead, my oldest daughter helped out at the dance studio to get a break on tuition.

My youngest daughter shops at Goodwill when she needs new leggings. We come up with solutions together when we hit financial blocks. And if you feel bad for saying, I can’t afford it, try saying, “sorry, that’s not in our budget right now” instead. A small difference, sure, but it takes the focus off the negative part, and reminds both you and your child that you have financial goals.

Of course, personal finance is always personal, and you will have to make some difficult decisions, but try to remember, that’s true for most of us! Divorced or not, kids or not, we all can only work with what we actually have. And you may find that there simply isn’t enough. If things are that tight, you may need to look into increasing your income.

I ended up going back to school once it became clear to me that I was never going to make it on my salary as an Assistant. So I went back to school, got my Paralegal certificate, and got promoted. I took out some student loans and was able to get reimbursed through my employer’s educational assistance program for some of it. Thankfully, my interest rate on my student loan is low, but I am currently throwing any and all “extra” money into paying that off. So far, I’m paid a year ahead.

If going back to school is not an option, consider freelancing. Please do NOT pay for any “work from home” opportunities. But there are things like ride-sharing services, babysitting, and e-commerce sites. I have a friend who has done very well with her Etsy shop!

In the end, there are really only two things to focus on when it comes to managing your money: decreasing expenses and increasing income. The more you do both of those things, the better off you’ll be.

Our family has gone from surviving to thriving, and I can trace it back almost to the day that I was absolutely done with the paycheck-to-paycheck struggle. I am now a month ahead financially, and having that breathing room definitely, helps when we get hit with a new financial problem.

I am out of credit card debt completely, and we even went to New York this spring to see Hamilton, all completely paid for in cash. (I do use credit cards again, but only for the rewards, and I have auto pay set up to pay the balance in full every month so that I don’t pay any interest.)

It’s true that money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s also true that money can’t buy the previous, married, 2-parent household, either.

It’s also our job to teach our children about personal finance. As with everything else, they will learn these lessons by our actions, and not our words. If you want your children to have a healthy relationship with money, it’s time to have your own healthy relationship with it, too.

You’ve totally got this!

The post 3 Ways Single Moms Can Survive Financially appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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solo traveling

How Moms Can Use Solo Travel For Self-Care After Divorce

solo traveling

 

Every hard working mom deserves to replenish her batteries at least once a year. Admittedly, I felt a pang of guilt for leaving my kids behind with their grandparents while I embarked on a chase for adventure, but it turned out it was exactly what the doctor ordered!

As I was to find out, the phenomenon of solo-traveling is in full swing right now, dedicated parents from every corner of the globe are in on it, so why wouldn’t you be as well? This decompressing solo journey is one of the cornerstones of self-care, and a treat that every mom deserves to relish in.

Solo Travel After Divorce Allows You To…

Invest in yourself

‘I’ is the most important constituent of self-care solo travel. It is all about investing in yourself and finding the most efficient activities to replenish your energy wells. Read a nice vacation book, stay in a hotel with a pool or accommodation near a natural body of water. Remember – water is a known neutralizer of negative energy!

All in all, traveling solo allows you a welcoming opportunity to reconnect with yourself. My own first solo traveling experience as a fully-realized mother was a road trip (more on that later), but virtually any backdrop can work. If you are thirsty for experiences that are completely exotic in your book, charter a flight to Morocco, Thailand or Bali but keep in mind that your comfort is of absolute priority.

Give yourself some breathing room

If you find the idea of traveling half-way around the world intimidating, especially if it means daunting separation from your kids, then taking a road trip may just be akin to dipping your toe in a lake before jumping in. The upside of this is that it is a flexible journey with a loose schedule. This is a convenient feature of a road trip because it means that you can fully concentrate on the self-care aspect.

But first, make sure that safety precautions are all checked off. I generally take my car for routine maintenance before the trip. It would also be prudent to include a well-equipped survival kit in your car in the case you get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Apart from a basic set of tools, my survival kit also includes extra water bottles, some power bars, and sanitizers. Knowing that you have taken all the necessary precautions, the road trip itself will be so much more carefree.

Make it transformative

One of the most exciting prospects of traveling solo is that you can start your trip off as one person and get out of it as a changed individual. Yes, such experiences, no matter how short, can be immensely powerful. This is what a trip to Guangzhou represented for me. Not to dwell too long on the experience, this sprawling metropolis was a neon-glazed sucker punch of a culture shock that realigned my perspective of the world – and this is what your experience should be!

Choose a destination that puts you in a completely new environment. Your mission, if there is a thing within this context that can be deemed as such, is to create a pilgrimage for yourself that will expand your mind and soul. Urban environments saturated in multicultural influences can have such a profound influence on you, but you can look towards the trips that put you on the path of cultural and traditional landmarks of other countries. Solo-travel for self-care is a wide and empty canvas, so you can go wild and choose the colors that befit your sensibilities the most!

It is perfectly natural to feel a looming sense of responsibility for your children. My own kids are constantly on my mind, no matter the circumstances, but this feeling can also make you feel trapped in a way that is highly unproductive. A week or so of separation can be an adventure for everyone and you have to break the ice eventually. Trust me, the hardest part is taking the first step, but you need to invest in all the aspects of self-care in order to find inner balance and be of use to yourself and your children as well.

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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.

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