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7 Ways to Honor Single Moms on Mother’s Day

7 Ways to Honor Single Moms on Mother’s Day

Single moms, your courage, bravery, and strength is beautiful. Truly, you amaze me. May others see your brilliance this Sunday and honor you in every way. Happy Mother’s Day.

The post 7 Ways to Honor Single Moms on Mother’s Day appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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single moms at christmas

A Message To Single Moms At Christmas

single moms at christmas

 

A Message To Single Moms At Christmas

Hey! Hey, you! I see you there, staying up late, searching for the best deals and worrying about how you’re going to put presents under the tree. I know you’ve been squirreling money away since July, hoping to surprise your kids with more than you were able to give last year.

I understand all too well how much easier it would be if you had another income to work with. How much weight would be off your shoulders if you didn’t live paycheck to paycheck all year long?

I know that this time of year is hard, if only because you want to do so much more for your kids than you can.

But I saw you carrying a tree as big as you through the lot all by yourself, never once complaining or asking for help. I saw you bundling the entire family up, going neighborhood to neighborhood to admire the lights as Christmas carols played on your car radio.

I know that most nights, when you’re not too tired or rundown, you try to sit with them and read at least one Christmas story, sometimes in front of a fire. I’ve seen you making hot chocolate and breaking out the advent calendar, determined to make happy holiday memories for those little people you love so much.

I know you’ve been sharing your favorite holiday movies, beaming with pride as your kids laughed at Elf” or giggled through “A Christmas Story” (Fun fact to impress them with: The same kid who played Ralphie grew up to play one of the head elves, supervising Buddy at the North Pole. Ask your kids if they can spot him!)

I saw you flipping through your Christmas cookie recipes, trying to plan a time to bake with your favorite little people—trying even harder not to think about how much you don’t need those cookies around your house. (It’s the holidays, let yourself indulge a little. I promise you deserve it.)

I know you may be worrying (or even heartbroken) about spending Christmas alone this year (perhaps it’s their dad’s turn to have them) or about not being able to give them the Christmas they deserve if they will be with you. I know that it’s not just the presents that get expensive this time of year.

The visits to Santa, the tree, the new ornaments, even the baking supplies; it all adds up. And maybe you have a job where you won’t get paid on the days you aren’t working, making this a short month with less money coming your way.

I see you trying to do the very best you can anyway.

I know you bolt out of bed some nights, remembering that you forgot to hide the elf. So you jump up and move him while it’s on your mind, and then you can’t fall back asleep for another two hours. Only in the morning do you realize how unoriginal your new hiding spot was.

And I know that you are the only one wrapping gifts and that because you’re tired and stressed out and a little short on personal time, the corners aren’t just right. And you’ve got a few presents with scraps of paper taped together because you don’t have any to waste.

But you know what? Your kids don’t seem to care. They don’t mind that there are only a few presents under the tree, or even that the tree is second-hand and a little beaten up.

They aren’t upset you had to skip the Santa visit this year, and they remember all the Christmas stories by heart—because you’ve read them every year before now. And do you want to know the best part? They think you are beautiful enough to eat all the cookies without fear.

Maybe this is the first year you’ve been doing it all on your own, or perhaps it’s always been like this. Either way, there is an extra pressure there when you are solo parenting around the holidays. You never want your kids to miss out. You never want them to feel as though they don’t have everything every other family does. And this time of year, that missing presence can feel even harder to ignore.

But I promise you’re doing just fine. Amazing, even.

Because every step of the way, you are putting your kids first. You are pushing and striving to make this holiday season better than the last, to stick to the traditions, to create the memories and to show your kids just how much you love them.

You are a superwoman. And I’m here to tell you, even if those attempts don’t go exactly as originally planned, they know it.

And they see you, too.

They see you bending over backward to make the holidays special. They see you slapping a smile on your face as you sing, even though the circles under your eyes are dark. They may not be beaming with gratitude just yet; in fact, it might take them years to tell you just how much your efforts meant. But they see you, and the memories you are working so hard to make.

You are singlehandedly creating Christmas, and your kids are benefitting daily from that fact. They see you, and they’ll always remember…

The carols.

The hot chocolate.

The lazy elf.

The love.

All of this will mean so much more to them than anything you could possibly put under the tree. In fact, years from now, they won’t remember what gifts they got this Christmas—but they will remember how hard their mom worked to make it special.

You’re doing an amazing job. So be kind to yourself this holiday season; you deserve some happy memories, too.

Merry Christmas,

Olivia

The post A Message To Single Moms At Christmas appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Fears All Divorced Moms Are Familiar With

4 Fears All Divorced Moms Are Familiar With

Fears All Divorced Moms Are Familiar With

 

I have now been raising my kiddos solo for approximately two years.

Something that had not entered my head prior to my separation was all of the fears that I would now face raising these two beautiful kids on my own.

The “what ifs” have kept me up at night for many nights and I am sure I am not alone with this. Some of us are afraid if we call out our fears we may sound crazy or irrational, or maybe it will manifest them to reality, or maybe we just are too busy trying to be brave that we are afraid to admit we are scared as fuck!

I will share just a few of my fears here and also some ideas on how to handle them or mitigate them, so if the worst does happen we can be prepared somewhat.

4 Fears All Divorced Moms Are Familiar With

1. What if I die? What will happen to my babies? (I am sure that this affects all moms, not just single ones, and probably most dads too but for me, it was almost an obsessive thought for the first year of my single mama life.)

Go talk to a lawyer!!  Make sure you have a will and a solid plan. This will give you peace of mind should the unthinkable happen. Talk to your family about your wishes as well. Ensure you have adequate life insurance coverage. And then let it the f%&$ go because it is out of your control and it will eat away at you to live with this fear each day.

2. What if I am driving and something happens to me causing me to be unresponsive? (Or maybe not driving but for me, I have always feared a car accident that leaves me injured and my kids to deal with that on their own)

Again, this maybe isn’t a single mama dilemma so much, but I certainly worry more about this now than I did when I was married.

At the recommendation of a first responder (a very handsome firefighter I should add) immediately add a contact in your phone under “ICE” which stands for in case of emergency. Police, EMS, and Firefighters may be able to access your phone and will look for this person to contact. Also, add this information to a piece of paper and put it in your wallet with your driver’s license.

Teach your kids age-appropriate ways to handle this. Show them how to call 911, have an emergency plan in place just in case. Once I made these changes and discussed a plan with my kids (ages 6 and 11) I was able to stop obsessing over this fear.

3. Who will care for my kids if I am sick? Or, “How can I get help or medication for one while the other is sleeping? Or various versions of this type of situation…I’m sure you have imagined several scenarios or maybe even lived through them already!

Find your tribe! Surround yourself with lovely people that are willing to drop off medication or ginger ale in the middle of the night while their spouse or older children hold down their fort. Have various medications, Pedialyte or similar, and ginger ale on hand.  And this, I will capitalize, as it was a huge roadblock for me at first. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR ASKING FOR HELP! It does not make you a failure or make you appear incapable. Let the guilt go and allow your friends and family to help you.

4. Holding it together…

This is by far the biggest fear I’ve had to face so far settling into our new “normal.” There is NO one to tag out to at the end or a crazy day or night. What if we break down in front of our kids? What if they walk into our room while we are sobbing helplessly on the floor because it is all just so overwhelming?

Well, mamas…  I have learned that this will happen. And that it is okay. Our kids will learn that moms have fears, emotions, and moments where we just need to cry it out, just as they do. They will learn that mom goes down but always manages to find the strength to get back up!

Fears will always be present mamas! It is how we face them and prepare for them that makes us stronger.

The post 4 Fears All Divorced Moms Are Familiar With appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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efficient single mom

7 Habits Of Highly Efficient Single Moms

efficient single mom

 

There is definitely an art and a science to successful single parenting. Since I was raised by a single parent and raised two children solo for a few years, it’s worth mentioning that there is a silver lining to being a single mom. Fortunately, many moms gain self-confidence in their ability to handle challenges and their children become more determined and independent.

However, making the transition from married to single life won’t be easy for you or your children. It takes time to adjust to financial changes, expanded household and childcare responsibilities and being alone. It’s essential that you develop daily habits and routines to smooth the way for you and your children.

The key to successful single parenting is to reflect daily upon the importance of preparing for your new life and accepting that change is necessary. It will take time for you and your children to adjust to your new lifestyle but developing a positive mindset will help ease the transition.

Since I’ve always found paradigms and principles useful to setting goals, I will borrow habits from Stephen R. Covey‘s Habits of Highly Effective People and adapt them for single moms. In several cases, I borrowed his heading and in others, developed my own.

7 Habits of an efficient single mom

1. Be proactive: Get support for yourself and your children. This includes counseling, social outlets, and child care. Avoid playing the role of victim and remind yourself that things will get better over time.

2. Create a positive vision: Take control of your life and develop a clear picture of where you are heading. Decide what your values are for raising your children and start with setting three goals that are meaningful to you. Keep in mind that it can take up to a month to see any change.

3. Prioritize: Don’t sweat the small stuff and keep the focus on spending time with your kids and positive interactions. For instance, in our house we had pizza on Tuesday nights which gave us one weeknight to spend more time together when I wasn’t so focused on cooking and cleaning up.

4. Think win-win: Make peace with your ex and keep it that way. No matter how you feel about your ex, don’t bad mouth him or argue in front of your kids. Children pick up on petty fighting and may take it personally. So walk away or take on the role of peacemaker if tension is brewing with your ex. Otherwise, your children will feel forced to take sides, which may cause them to develop loyalty conflicts and possibly emotional problems if there is high conflict.

5. Seek first to understand: then to be understood: Open up the lines of communication with your kids. Be open and honest without giving them too many details or blaming your ex for the divorce. Even if you perceive that he was responsible they shouldn’t hear it from you. Take every opportunity to listen, support, and encourage them to talk about their feelings with you and/or someone they trust.

6. Ensure smooth transitions. Work with your children and possibly your ex to reduce stress in the lives of your children. Children often experience stress moving from parent to parent after divorce. Try your best to develop routines for their leaving and coming home. Be sure not to make them a messenger or ask them to report on the parent they just left. Attempt to be flexible yet consistent with the custody schedule. Keep in mind that as kids reach adolescence they may become rebellious about following the original custody schedule and need more control.

7. It’s Me Time: Take time to do the things that you enjoy. Set expectations for your children to do regular chores. This doesn’t mean overburdening them with too much responsibility. However, having high expectations for your kids will set the stage for making them more independent and will allow you to have more downtime.

How can you embrace this time of your life as an opportunity? First of all, it’s imperative that you focus on the things that are truly important and learn to let other things go. This involves making a commitment to helping your children adjust to your divorce and practicing amicable co-parenting. Working together with your ex and communicating effectively is ideal. However, if this isn’t possible, either because your ex is absent or adversarial, you can still become a successful single parent.

Be patient with your children – it will encourage their cooperation. Give your kids time to adjust to the news that their parents are no longer married.  Keep in mind that they will need time to get used to their new schedule and they may show signs of distress or withdraw at times. Reassure them that you are there for them and that things will get better.

At times, you may feel guilty about putting your children through a divorce but don’t let that stop you from setting effective limits and boundaries. For instance, allowing your children to stay up late or sleep with you may backfire because you both need your space and sleep. Be aware that kids play parents off each other and may say things like “Dad lets me stay up until midnight.” Even if this is true, you can say “Your dad has his rules, but in my house bedtime is at 9pm.”

As a single mom, it is of primary importance that you help your children cope with your divorce and develop a mindset of being a positive role model for them. In order to do this, you must take care of yourself. Parents who take control of their own lives, with courage and resilience, help their children do the same. Being a single mom draws on every ounce of energy from you, forcing you to become a more compassionate person.

Learn to trust yourself and embrace your new life by taking care of you. For example, sign up for yoga or an exercise class, eat healthy, and schedule in social times with friends. You will be a more effective parent if you are rested and feel connected to others. Counseling, coaching, or a support group can be helpful supports that will enhance your transition to your new life.

As a parent who is taking care of herself and gaining confidence, you are equipping your child with the best tools possible and the self-esteem to move forward with their life. Developing a sense of adventure and new rituals such as family game night or walks will help you stay connected with your children.

Your divorce can be seen as a transforming event, and you alone are responsible for creating a new kind of family for you and your children. You can choose to model self-acceptance and hope for your kids. Learning to laugh at yourself and focusing on the big picture will enable you and your children to make a good adjustment to divorce.

Terry Gaspard on Facebook, Twitter, and movingpastdivorce.com

More from Terry

6 Ways to Mend Trust After Divorce

Building Resiliency in Children After Divorce

The post 7 Habits Of Highly Efficient Single Moms appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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divorced dad

Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do?

divorced dad

 

My Facebook feed is filled with divorced or almost divorced women turning to each other for support and there is one thing you won’t find on there:

Men.

Single dads and divorced dads are not gathering in tribes on social media boards or in person to chat about their plight and experience with divorce even if they want to.

Why not?

Why Divorced Dads Don’t Turn to Each Other for Support

A study published in 2000 in the Psychological Review, showed that stressed women “tend and befriend” while men go for the “fight or flight” option. Researchers suggest that this is due to the fact that when stressed, men’s brains omit less oxytocin, that feel-good love hormone than women. And according to statistics produced by the American Psychological association in 2011, women (70%) are more apt to do something to reduce their stress than men (50%) are.

No matter which way we slice it, research shows that men tend to go the solo route when it comes to working through stress while women look for company along the way.

Men don’t want to raise their hands and say, “Hey everyone, my life sucks,” or “I miss my ex-wife,” or “It’s really hard raising kids in a single-parent home.”

Doing that would mean admitting pain and hardship, something that isn’t considered a masculine trait and let’s face it, while women have been the oppressed gender from the start, men also suffer from unfair stereotypes and expectations. Men aren’t oppressed, they are REPRESSED emotionally!

It’s not OK for a man to cry.

Be a man, suck it up.

You’ve heard those phrases tossed around and so have I.

We tell men to be brave and strong and to keep a straight face. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for grief and sadness.

So it isn’t surprising then that single dads and divorced men are not looking for a support group, but to me, this limits divorced men and single dads from moving past divorce in a healthy way.

If men could form groups or did form groups, it could help them grieve divorce and learn new parenting strategies from other dads. If a man did reach out to another man to say, “Hey, how did you find a good custody schedule,” or “Is mediation the better route?” it would be beneficial for that divorcing dad.

Going solo on such a huge adventure like becoming a divorced, single dad seems risky, from my female-wired brain. It could also be the reason men seem to jump into new relationships, faster.

A new partner might just be the divorced man’s support group, but that is problematic too. Someone you’re romantically interested in shouldn’t be a springboard for grief and renewal.

So for all the divorced dads out there, why not see befriending or growing your support network of other divorced and single dads in a different light, rather than seeing it as a “b*tch fest” or gathering like a group of old ladies?

See reaching out for support as a:

  • Chance to network: Maybe your new friends will have good business contacts or even better, cute single female friends.
  • Chance to mentor: If you’re a single dad mentoring a man who’s going through the divorce process, you can be a father figure to someone going through the experience—an adoptive son or little brother, as it were.
  • Chance to learn from others: Use your man brain and be logical: someone who has been there or done that will know certain pitfalls to avoid as you go through the divorce process that you wouldn’t have known without asking someone in the “know.”

To all the divorced dads or “going through a divorce” dads, why not do things a little differently in your life this time around? Making contacts and building a support network isn’t just for women. It’s for smart people who want to make a huge life adjustment a bit easier or in other words, it’s for you!

The post Why Don’t Divorced Dads Turn To Each Other For Support Like Divorced Moms Do? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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