The Single Mom Podcast - Single Parent Advice, Support & a Little Bit of Humor

By Heather Wells | Independent Podcast Network

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Description

The Single Mom Podcast is dedicated to inspiring and supporting single moms. Heather Wells is a single mother of three children (two with special needs) who spent years struggling just to make ends meet. Now she is a successful business owner and is dedicated to helping other single moms find the tools, resources and mindsets to navigate through the craziness of raising children alone.

Episode Date
Racism & White Privilege
2637
I have honestly been struggling to decide whether to release an episode about the current events going on in this country and the murder of George Floyd. Mainly because I am not certain if anything I say could possibly be sufficient. I also worry that I may say the wrong thing. However, one of the quotes that has always stuck with me is one from Sir Edmund Burrows. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” So I must speak my truth and I know I must speak up because silence helps feed the hate. After yet another unarmed black man was killed by a police officer – blatantly murdered for all the world to see – our country is in crisis. Though if we are being honest, it has been in crisis for a long time. The racism so deeply embedded into our culture has started to slither its way back out from under the rocks it hid under. Though, now I know for many it wasn’t hidden. It was never hidden.  This podcast is about the systemic and deep rooted racism in this country, within ourselves and how important it is that we address it.
Jun 03, 2020
My Breast Cancer Journey - Part One
2662
In November of 2019 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found out about it after my very FIRST mammogram. I wanted to share this journey with you because it is so important for us as moms, especially single moms, to remember to take care of ourselves too. We often put the things WE need to do for ourselves last on the list - and if I had put off my mammogram like I put off every other thing I should do for myself, who knows what could have happened. This podcast is the first of two where I talk about what happened, how I was diagnosed and everything that happened up to my surgery. The next episode will be all about the surgery and recovery process.
May 28, 2020
I'm Baaack! Re-introducing Myself After a Year Away
1839
After almost a year since my last podcast I am back and I wanted to re-introduce myself AND let you all know why I have been gone for so long. No, I wasn't in jail. I had to step away for some personal reasons and some health ones. So I hope you will join me and listen to why I had to step away and why I am finally getting back to my podcast.
May 04, 2020
Moms Are STILL People
2509
After a recent interaction with someone who accused me of 'emotionally abusing' my daughter because I was expressing my hurt and frustration I started wondering something... 

Why do moms get treated like we are no longer people? Why are we supposed to keep our feelings, emotions, anger, frustrations etc all bottled up? When we need to go out to let off steam, why are we judged? If we breakdown because we are so tired and emotionally drained, out parenting abilities are questioned. Or when we let our child know that they hurt us we are accused of emotionally abusing them... 

When did it stop being ok for us to be human?
May 27, 2019
Weight Loss Struggles - I Finally Found Something that Worked!
2427
I quit smoking 8 years ago, and after I did I gained a lot of weight. What started out as 10 additional pounds grew into 50. I have been trying for YEARS to find the motivation & commitment to lose all those extra pounds.

I have tried various diets, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, and other fad diets I found online. I joined a couple different gyms – and barely went. I tried working out with Beach Body videos at home.
I gained it all right back!

I finally found something that worked for me - the Keto diet. This episode covers my journey on this diet.
May 18, 2019
Mother's Day - It Shouldn't Be Just Another Day
2158
For single moms, Mother's Day can often end up being just like every other day. We don't always have someone to take over for us - allowing us to sleep in, taking over our daily responsibilities and obligations, etc. So for some of us Mother's Day really isn't any different that yesterday or the day before that or the day before that. 

But it SHOULD be different. Even if there isn't another adult to help you feel that you are amazing for all you do, your kids likely do! And YOU should do something to make yourself feel wonderful on Mother's Day. Because as a single mom you are EXTRA awesome and should be treated as such.

So, this podcast episode is dedicated to finding ways to treat yourself this Mother's Day! A quick random list of easy, inexpensive or free ways to do something for yourself this Mother's Day. Don't let it just be another day!
May 08, 2019
Mother's Day - It Shouldn't Be Just Another Day
2158
For single moms, Mother's Day can often end up being just like every other day. We don't always have someone to take over for us - allowing us to sleep in, taking over our daily responsibilities and obligations, etc. So for some of us Mother's Day really isn't any different that yesterday or the day before that or the day before that. 

But it SHOULD be different. Even if there isn't another adult to help you feel that you are amazing for all you do, your kids likely do! And YOU should do something to make yourself feel wonderful on Mother's Day. Because as a single mom you are EXTRA awesome and should be treated as such.

So, this podcast episode is dedicated to finding ways to treat yourself this Mother's Day! A quick random list of easy, inexpensive or free ways to do something for yourself this Mother's Day. Don't let it just be another day!
May 08, 2019
Parenting Agreements - Do You Need One?
2568
Today's podcast is all about parenting agreements and why you should ABSOLUTELY have one. 

Making sure that all the details of your co-parenting arrangement with your ex are all laid out and legal is so very important. Having a parenting agreement helps keep all the rules and guidelines of how you will raise your child will actually help to keep things civil with your ex. Well, hopefully.

There are so many different things to consider when creating a parenting agreement and today I will cover several of those things. Some of them PROBABLY aren't what you think...
Apr 29, 2019
Are You Undervaluing Yourself?
2130
Too often we as single moms will undervalue ourselves. We may not do it on purpose, or even realize we are doing it but it happens more often than not. I recently came to this conclusion after having someone try to use the fact that I am a single mom as some form of insult. This of course does not work on me - because I am happily single. But it does make me realize that there are people who think that all of us single moms are just miserable and looking for a man. Which is often times not true. However, I do know that there are many of us single moms out there who are lonely and who do want to find someone to love and love us in return. Unfortunately, sometimes we end up lowering our standards and undervaluing ourselves just to find someone to fill that void. And that is something we should NEVER do! This episode goes deeper into why you should NEVER undervalue yourself.
Apr 19, 2019
Be More Than Mom - Finding Self-Contentment
1801
Self-contentment... remember what that feels like? Do you remember who you were before you had kids? Do you remember what you loved to do and the things that brought you joy? 

As a single mom I know that for many years I felt like there was nothing more to me than just being Mom. It was a feeling that is hard to nail down sometimes. The best way I can describe it is a sort of hollow feeling inside. Like there is a part of you that just isn't there anymore.

All those things that I used to do, that brought me happiness, I simply stopped doing after my kids were born. Because I was a single mom with little to no help it just seemed impossible. There was no way I would have the time or energy to work on self-contentment. 

I had kids to feed, boo-boo's to patch up, clothes to wash, events to drive to, homework to help with, doctor's appointments... 

There was no TIME for anything more, and even if there was time - I was too damn tired to try and do it. 'I'll do that later. When the kids are older.' 

But something happened, and it happened so slowly - in small increments, that I didn't even realize it ... I lost myself. 

So many things that had to be done to care for my kids and give them full lives, that I forgot about my own life. I became simply mom. Nothing more to me than that. And I thought that was how it was supposed to be.

I felt guilty if I tried to go and do something for myself. How could I possibly justify spending even a dollar on something special for ME when I should dedicate everything to them? What a horrible mother I must be for wanting some time away from my kids!

How could I possibly follow my dreams and still be a good mom? 

So everything was pushed aside and my dreams tossed aside so I could be the best mom I could be. Or so I thought...

You see, after a while that hollowness - it starts to become all consuming. You start to feel lost somehow. Yeah, you are still doing everything you need to do in order to be super-mom. 

But it feels like a chore. Like you have to force yourself to continue with the day to day. You still love your kids more than anything but your life...you don't really love that.

Which is NOT a good thing, because whether you realize it or not, your kids can feel that. You may try to hide it - but they instinctively know. 

Somewhere along the way we decided that we needed to put ourselves last in order to be good moms. We don't. We need to be right up there in the top two! First the kids, then right along side them - US! 

We need to feel that we are just as important and our goals and dreams are also just as important. Now, I am not saying you should ditch your kids and run off to Paris to become and artist. BUT - if art is something that you love, then it should STILL be a part of your life.

Music, art, fashion, architecture, guitar, dance... if you love it, and it feeds your soul, it NEEDS to be a part of your life! You need to feel like a whole person if you want to be the best mom you can be. 

Even if you can only take 30 minutes a day to feed your passion - at least that is something. Do the things that bring you joy (provided they are not bad habits). You will feel better. You will be better. You will feel part of your self return, I promise!

And you will be a better mother for it.




Jan 22, 2019
Suddenly Single Mom - Learning to be the Primary Caregiver
4019
For many couples with children it has been typical that the woman would be the primary care giver. Often times staying at home to care for the kids while her husband worked. 

However, over the years this dynamic has changed a bit. A 2013 Pew study revealed that 40% of women were the main breadwinners in their homes. It is likely that number has risen over the years. 

So what happens when a mother, who has always been the primary breadwinner, becomes a single mom? When you haven't been the primary care giver for your child it can be quite a change. 

In this weeks podcast interview I talk with Rachel who has recently become a single mom. After separating from her husband, she found herself struggling with being the primary caregiver. 

Rachel had always been the breadwinner for her family while her husband took care of their baby. When they separated Rachel had to learn how to be both breadwinner AND caregiver. 

Not many of us can understand what it's like to find ourselves in tears at the grocery store because we don't know what foods our baby likes. Rachel's husband had always taken care of the shopping. 

Not only did she have to learn all about her baby's habits and routines, she had to find a way to move past the guilt she felt because she didn't know these things.

In the past several months Rachel has been able to get into the groove that many of us is simply the norm. It took her quite a bit of work but things are finally going great for her and her daughter. She is settling into the single mom life and I have no doubt she will be very successful.  


Jan 14, 2019
Stereotypes & Why Tucker Carlson Can Kiss My Behind
1876
If you know me, or have listened to some of my podcasts, you know that one of the things I dislike more than most anything is stereotypes.

I do not like it when people put other people into a certain box, or judge them based on preconceived notions. Assuming they know a person's situation before actually getting to know them.

This happens all to often to single mothers. I know that personally I have been stereotyped in the following ways:

- a slut
 - a whore
 - a welfare queen or scammer
 - just lookin' for a daddy for her kids
 - mooching off the system
 - your kids must be in jail
 - you were probably a drug addict

And there have likely been more over the years.

So it stands to reason that I would absolutely despise when people just put stereotypes of single moms out there in the world. Especially people with large platforms.

People like Tucker Carlson.

Recently on his show Tucker did a piece on 'Men in Decline'. In this piece he talked about how women were less likely to marry men who made less money than they did.

How they SHOULD want to marry them but they more than likely don't.

Now, setting aside how insulting it is to women as a whole to assume that we are all money hungry gold diggers only interested in what a man earns. I mean god forbid we marry for something as stupid as love.

There was another statement that he made right after that one that REALLY got my attention.

“Over big populations this causes a drop in marriage, a spike in out-of-wedlock births and all the familiar disasters that inevitably follow. More drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarceration rates, fewer families formed in the next generation."

A spike in out-of-wedlock births and the familiar disasters that inevitably follow.

That my friends is a dig as single mothers. That is the stereotype that is thrown around so often about children raised by single moms. And yes, I know that there have been studies about it, and yes I know that it can and does happen. 

However, I also know that there are thousands upon thousands of children who are raised by single mothers who turn out just fine. No jail time, no drug habits, no alcoholism. 
 




Jan 07, 2019
Setting Yourself Up For Success in the New Year
2050
It is almost the end of 2018 and I don't know about you but I am ready to kick last year to the curb!

Last year seemed to be the most BLAH year I have experienced thus far. Now, it may be due to the political BS that has been going on ALL YEAR LONG. It could be my struggles with depression. It could be any number of things.

Whatever the cause, I know that I am ready to close it out and bring in a bright new shiny year.

I don't know about you, but I personally have routines and rituals that I go through every New Year's Eve. Not the party till I pass out kind of rituals but the kind that help me prepare myself for success in the coming year.

Now some of these may be a little too woo-woo for you, and that's ok. BUT I highly recommend that you also close out your year in a way that helps you make 2019 an amazing year!

This episode covers my list of rituals and routines for closing out the year...
Dec 31, 2018
Don't Try to Live Up to a Perfect Christmas Ideal
1903
It's CHRISTMAS TIME!!!!! I don't know about you, but this is my favorite time of year! However, this is also the time of year where I tend to drive myself a little bit crazy and drive myself into the ground. I also used to deal with an overabundance of guilt because of my need to compare myself to other moms or families. In this episode I talk about why you shouldn't try to live up to the idea of a 'perfect' Christmas. 
Dec 18, 2018
Being Thankful Every Day
2154

The holidays are here again!

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I keep seeing people posting on social media all the things that they are thankful for. And while I think that expressing gratitude is always a good thing; I always wonder why people only seem to do it around a specific holiday?

Why only think about what you are thankful for around Thanksgiving? Why not do it all year round, every day? 

Today's podcast talks about why remembering to be thankful every single day is so important. 

Now I know that for many of us single moms it can be hard sometimes to be thankful or show gratitude. When things seem so hard or stressful. When you aren't sure how you are going to pay the bills this month or if you will have enough food. 

When your ex decides to stop paying child support. Or maybe you are recently divorced and it seems hard to see how you could possibly be thankful for your world falling apart at the seams. These hard times can make it very hard to find things to be thankful for.

But it's these times when it is more important than ever to work on being thankful. Because that is how we bring ourselves back to the light and the good times. By finding the good in the bad.

Creating a daily gratitude practice for yourself can be so helpful and will often get you through those hard times with a better outlook.

This episode covers a few ways to help yourself in your gratitude practice
Nov 15, 2018
Bonus Episode: This Twitter Dad Made My Heart Happy
2041
A few days ago I was scrolling through my Twitter feed trying, and failing, to ignore the political nonsense that has overtaken literally all social media platforms. I posted some pithy comments and re-tweeted some of the dumbest things that I came across. Realizing that by doing so I was totally contributing to the din, but apparently unable to stop myself.

When I came across a post by a father Twitter handle: @daddyfiles, that caught my attention and made me stop in my tracks. It was a post about his little boy being bullied at school for wearing nail polish. 

His post railed against the toxic masculinity that caused this little boy to question himself and want to stop being who he was. And this dad was PISSED! I read through his entire thread and all I could say was BRAVO!

Seriously, I gave that man a standing ovation in my damn living room. It made my heart so happy to see this father do what ALL parents should do - accept their children for how they are. Could it be a phase? Of course it could. Could it mean more? Of course it could. But ultimately this little boy ended up knowing that his father supported and loved him no matter what! 

Isn't that what we as parents are supposed to do? Raise our children to know that no matter how they dress, what they look like, who they love, how they wear their hair - that we will love them. That we support them. 

We don't have to always LIKE what they do or wear BUT they aren't us and we aren't them. Giving your child the ability to express themselves (as long as no one is being physically harmed) is so very important. I don't want my child to grow up hating me because I couldn't bring myself to approve of who they were at their core.

I would never want to lose a relationship with my child simply because I couldn't accept their differences. It made my heart happy to see this dad just blast the toxic masculinity that caused his poor little boy to suffer at school. Thank you @daddyfiles for all you did to support and love your son!


Oct 30, 2018
The Pros and Cons of Working From Home
2149

The Pros & Cons of Working From Home

As a single mom I struggled for years trying to support my family while working full time. I had to apply for government assistance to afford the child care I needed. I knew that the only way I was going to get out the struggle I was in was if I didn't have to pay for child care. The only way I would be able to do that was to work from home.

I had no idea what I was going to do or how I was going to do it but I dove right in. I made a lot of mistakes and stumbled along the way, but I was able to create a successful business for myself. I have been self employed for 10 years now. It has been the best thing I could have done for myself and my family. 

Working from home has given me back control of my time and allowed me to be more present in my children's lives. 

Working from home has plenty of perks but it can also have some downsides as well. It isn't always for everyone. In this weeks podcast I cover the pros and cons of working from home. 

 


Oct 22, 2018
Remember to Take Care Of Yourself!
2187
As single moms we are more often than not running in 5 different directions, going a million miles an hour with our hair on fire! We take on so much every day just to keep our small humans alive and kicking.

But when we do this it can take its toll on us. Hell, who am I kidding, it kicks our asses most days. We spend so much time taking on all the things that need to be done that we often neglect to take care of ourselves.

We put ourselves last.

And by the time we finally have time to MAYBE do something for ourselves, it is really just one more thing that takes up our time and energy and we just don't do it.

OR we feel guilty for doing it. For the simple act of taking a moment to care for ourselves, we feel bad because we could be doing any number of the other things that are on our to-do list. 

And yes, I KNOW that you know how important self-care is. And yes, I KNOW that you have heard me talk about this before. But if you are anything like me, even knowing how important it is, it almost always ends up falling WAAAAAAAY to the bottom of your list of priorities. 

We have to stop letting ourselves do that. Our well being is imperative to our children's well being. If we are too stressed and too tired and too overwhelmed - it reflects in our parenting. No matter how hard we try to hide it. 

We aren't at the top of our games as moms when we allow ourselves to get to that point. We need to relax and recharge!

Now I know that many of you are saying 'I don't have time!' .... none of us have time! BUT we need to find a way to make time. Even something as simple as taking a bubble bath and reading for 30 min while your kids take a nap. OR giving yourself a pedicure after the kids go to sleep for the night. 

Instead of doing that load of laundry, that will still be there when you are done (it's not like it's gonna self destruct if you wait an hour to put it in) - go for a walk to a park and just enjoy the out doors before you pick up your kids from school.

It doesn't have to cost a ton of money, it doesn't even have to take up much time - just find something that helps you recharge your batteries, feeds your soul/spirit and keeps you SANE!


Oct 10, 2018
Pick Your Battles
2320
As parents we have so many different things that we have to worry about and deal with on a daily basis. Making sure that these little humans grow up safe and secure and turn into hopefully productive members of society! 

But let's be honest - they can REALLY test our patience and our sanity! Who among us hasn't ended up in a battle royale with their kid over something completely ridiculous? I know I have! We all struggle with it, and we all know that in the end it leaves us feeling emotionally and physically drained. 

So over the years I have learned to pick my battles when it comes to my kids, rather than spend time and energy on arguing. Now don't get me wrong - I still stand my ground on the important things but I am not willing to get into a 30 minute argument over whether my daughter should wear matching socks or not. 

If my son decides he wants to make a peanut butter sandwich rather than eat spaghetti for dinner - fine by me. I am not going to argue and make myself insane over little things, because life is too short and I have only so much energy and patience to get me through my day.

Having a child with special needs definitely can complicate this but it is something that I also implement with my son. Picking my battles with him is very necessary because my son LOVES to battle. If he can get me to step in that arena with him, he is in his element. And I end up feeling like I just went 10 rounds with a boxing pro - even though I "won" the battle. 

Today's podcast discusses why it is so important to your own well being and mental health to learn to pick your battles. Is it REALLY worth the argument? Or is it better for you if you can just learn to let it go?


Sep 11, 2018
Don't Be So Quick To Judge
2187
There was a recent story about an actor who used to work on The Cosby Show who is now bagging groceries at a Trader Joes. Fox News posted this "story" with a picture of the man carrying grocery bags with a dirty shirt on. The backlash that they received from this story was epic. Because the story was positioned in a way that made it seem they were slamming the man in a sort of "look how far they have fallen" piece. 

People from all walks of life came out in defense of this man. Railing against Fox for degrading a man for simply working a job. How dare they make it seem like this man was any less because he is not acting anymore and instead working a regular job like the rest of us. As of now, there has been no retraction or apology from Fox but it made me think about the subject of today's podcast.

How often do we look at someone and make a snap judgement about them? How often is it done to us? For all we know this actor DECIDED to leave acting behind and is happy as a clam bagging groceries, and to try and belittle him for it is simply wrong. 

I know that I have been treated poorly by those who make snap judgments about me as a single mom. I've had people assume I was on welfare even when I wasn't. I have had people assume that because I am a single mother I must be a whore. Hell, my ex (my daughter's dad) even told me once that I was trying to trap him. 

In his mind apparently, because I was a single mother, I was looking for a man to come and take care of me and my kids. That I specifically targeted him because he owned a home and a business and therefore was a good 'target'. Never mind the fact that I had been single for 7 years prior to meeting him, had my own place, paid my own bills and never once mentioned anything about marriage or moving in. Really nothing I actually did would imply that I was looking to 'trap' him. But he made his snap judgement. 

Today's podcast is about these types of judgments. Do others do this to you? Do you do it to others? We shouldn't but we do. Let's try to be better so we don't end up like Fox News, trying to embarrass some guy who is just trying to live his life. 


Sep 03, 2018
Traumatic Brain Injury - My Son's Story
2184
Many of you have heard me talk about my son and his traumatic brain injury but I have never fully shared the story of how he was hurt. My son is a shaken baby survivor, both my boys are. I am returning to my podcast after taking a break to manage my life with the story of how Gage was hurt, what followed and a new issue that has come from his brain injury. 


Aug 28, 2018
Don't Eat Tide Pods!!!
2081
The newest 'challenge' that is on social media is out there for our kids to be subjected to. The Tide Pod challenge is trending right now because kids are ACTUALLY recording themselves EATING Tide Pods and posting it online. As parents we seem to have new things every day that we need to protect our kids from. Now we need to protect them from themselves and reinforce the need for basic common sense.

This weeks podcast covers social media challenges and the absolute ridiculousness of children harming themselves in an effort to get more clicks, shares, tweets and likes. 

Jan 18, 2018
Myiam Bialik and Raising a Confident Girl
1895
If you are not sure who Mayim Bialik is, you may not have been a young girl growing up in the 90’s watching Blossom dancing on your TV screen listening to her on screen brother Joey say “Whoa!”

You are more than likely familiar with her role as Sheldon’s love interest Amy on the Big Bang Theory. What you MAY not know however is that she is a scientist in real life. Like a really real scientist with a B.S. in neuroscience.

She also created a site called GrokNation which caters to women and includes wide-ranging topics such as religion, popular culture, parenting, and Hollywood. Man this lady has a lot going on – including launching a brand new book!

Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular looks to be an amazing book and one I will likely be purchasing for my daughter. It tackles a lot of issues for little girls from a scientific perspective breaking down many of the things that as a little girl I wondered about.

Hell, some of them I still wonder about.

The book has 6 chapters:

  1. How Our Bodies Work
  2. How We Grow
  3. How We Learn
  4. How We Love
  5. How We Cope
  6. How We MatterAnd that last chapter is one that I am so very excited to read to my daughter.


May 22, 2017
Who You Allow Into Your Life
1841

Who you allow into your life, mind & heart are among the most important decisions you will ever make. 

 

It took me some time to fully understand this and how important it was in my life. I am one of those people who will always try to see the good in people. I usually end up ignoring the bad when I do though. 

Quite often I would ignore or disregard bad qualities or behavior because I thought that the person was a 'good person underneath it all'. With my boys' father I chose to look past all of the blatant signs that he was not good for me, or my boys. I tried to make something work with my daughter's father that would never work. The whole time telling myself that I could fix things that simply weren't fixable. 

The realization of how important this decision was for my life finally hit home when I had to completely sever my relationship with my best friend. We had been friends for almost 10 years when I had to walk away. For some time I had suspicions that she had  started using drugs. But I found myself making excuses and talking myself out of those suspicions. 

My friend couldn't possibly be using, she wouldn't lie straight to my face when I asked her. She wouldn't use drugs while me and my children were in the house. I just couldn't make myself believe it no matter what my gut said. Finally, I couldn't ignore the signs and people telling me that she was using. I had to tell my best friend, a woman I considered a sister, that she could no longer be in my life.

It took me a while after that to finally realize that it took me far too long to cut my friend out of my life. I allowed her around my children when I shouldn't have because I wanted to believe my friend. That I stayed for too long in a 'relationship' with my daughter's father because I wanted believe that he would change. I ignored all the signs and it effected my life.

Have you ever heard the phrase 'You are who you hang with'? 

When you allow toxic people into your life they will poison it. It may not happen right away, and you may not even realize it. Until it's too late. They can effect your outlook on life, the way you behave, activate bad habits. When I was with my daughter's father I drank a whole lot more than I normally do. I felt that in order to be with him I had to drink like him. I was the worst version of myself when I was with him. 

Since that relationship and losing my best friend I have made sure to only allow positive people into my life. People who will bring out the best in me. Push me to be a better person and help me enforce a positive and healthy lifestyle. It took me many years to fully understand how important this was for a healthy life for myself and my family. Since making that decision life has been much more of a blessing than a burden. 

I have had less drama to deal with. There is no longer a constant feeling of BLAH looming overhead. Making sure that only certain people are allowed into our family and into my life has been critical for our happiness and peace. It is the most important thing.

 

Mar 27, 2017
Talking About the Transgender Bill with your Kids
2632
The most recent controversial decision by the Trump administration (because there have been quite a few to choose from) is taking aim as transgender youth in our schools.

In May of 2016 the  Obama administration stated that Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use the restroom and locker rooms that coincide with the gender they identify with. However, recently the current administration has decided that they didn't really like that idea.

Stating that they believe that it should be something each state and local school district should develop policy on. Basically passing the buck to the states, which means that many transgender students in conservative states are screwed.

Now putting aside all of the politics that come along with what should be a basic human right issue it does bring up the topic of how are we addressing this with our children? I mean it does effect them doesn't it?

So I thought I would share how this issue has effected our family because:

  • we actually know a trans child,
  • she goes to my daughter's school.
  • she rides in our carpool
  • and we simply adore her!
Feb 27, 2017
The Difference Between Alone and Lonely
2303
Valentine's Day. A day that, for some, brings more misery than happiness. Those who are single and long to have someone to share their life with may find this day to be horribly depressing. 

I however, am not one of those people. 

Valentine's Day is just another day for me. Nothing special about it. I don't feel better or worse about myself on this day. Nor do I long for something that I am 'missing' in my life. 

I realized that for many this day is not so simple. For many, they feel lonely or like they are missing a piece in the grand puzzle of their life. This led me to think about the difference between being alone and being lonely. 

For me I am alone (well sort of) but I am not lonely. I don't feel that there is some invisible hole in my life that I need to fill. I am happy with who I am and my life as is. Being single is something that I truly adore and enjoy. I don't have to worry about anyone other than me and my kids and I like it that way.

But for many I know that they truly wish to find that other person who they feel will complete them. But I feel complete all by myself. So why is that? Is it simply because I can't miss what I never had? Maybe. 

Am I just hopelessly clueless because I have never really had a wonderful relationship? Maybe again.

But I do know that one of the biggest reasons I see people in miserable relationships is because they confused being alone and being lonely. You can be alone without being lonely. You can be happy with yourself when you are single. Really, you can! 

So many times I see women fall into bad relationships simply because they didn't want to be alone. They were lonely and needed something to fill a void and because they were so desperate to do so - they ended up with the first loser to come along. 

I ended up staying longer that I should, fighting for a relationship that was doomed to fail because I was trying to not be alone. I settled for horrible behavior, accepted being treated poorly just in the hopes that a relationship would work. I changed who I was at my core to try and make something work that was NEVER going to. 

How often have you done that? Are you someone who simply can't be single? Who hates being alone? Why? Are you unhappy with your own company and need to have someone else to focus on? 

Can you be alone without being lonely? 

Let's dive into that today on this podcast...

Feb 13, 2017
Don't Make Resolutions - Set Your Intentions and Goals
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HAPPY 2017!!!!

I hope that the first few weeks of the new year have been good for you. I know that this has been a scary couple of weeks for me. As many of you listening know I am not a huge Trump fan. To be honest he scares the hell out of me and I find him kind of childish. 

However, like it or not, he is the new President of the United States. That being said I decided that this would make for a good topic for this podcast. Not Trump per say BUT my ability to manage how I feel about Trump.

What does any of this have to do with New Year's Resolutions you may ask? Well, here's how.

I have always had an issue with making New Year's Resolutions mainly because of the mindset around them. The fact that we are supposed to tell ourselves that the very first day of a New Year holds some secret power over us to make us do things that we haven't done ALL YEAR LONG! Like some sort of ass backwards Cinderella - the stroke of midnight is going to somehow make us magically become better at doing shit!? 

Um-no. That isn't how it works. We can tell ourselves that all we want but if we are truly being honest, the second we make that resolution we already have a part of our brain ticking down the time until we break them. The simple idea of a New Year's Resolution brings that idea of when we are going to break it into our minds. 

Be honest - when your best friend comes up and tells you "My resolution is to lose 20 pounds. I joined a gym and am going to work out every day." You know if the back of your mind you are thinking 'Yeah right Becky, I give it 3 weeks before you are back to hitting the jelly donuts' 

It sounds awful but we all know at one point or another we have thought it, especially about ourselves. Especially when we attach New Year's Resolution to our goals. 

So instead of resolutions - set goals for yourself. Goals are quantifiable, they are tangible and they don't make you feel like if you happen to fail well then you just screwed yourself and now you have to wait until next year to try again. Goals are things you can break down into small little milestones or victories. Things you can track. 

While you are setting those goals - also set your intentions for the year. Intentions are different than goals. They are the intangible mindsets and inner voices that we set for ourselves that help us REACH our goals. They assist in creating the version of ourselves that we would like to see. 

This brings us back around to Trump (see I told you it would all come together) 

Because I have such strong feelings against Trump I have had to set my intention for the year to one of hope. Hope and the intent to give a chance to someone who, based on everything said and done up to this point, is the antithesis of what I believe and pursue in my life. Because he is such a distorted version of what I would like to have in the White House I have to work REALLY hard on that intention. 

My other intention is to start living my life more true to my beliefs and what is truly in my heart. For so long I have adjusted because I felt that if I were to really be authentic with how I feel I would be mocked or laughed at. I felt I needed to mute myself in order to not cause waves. I feel it in every part of my life most of the time. When I paint, I feel like - no one is going to like this so why show it to anyone. It isn't as good as it should be. I feel like what and who I truly am is not quite right, so I must conform to something else.

Now I don't mean this to say that I am unhappy, but I just don't feel like I have been true to myself. There is something in me that always holds back because I don't want to rock the boat, or cause problems, or be seen as bitchy, or flaky or whatever... and that isn't how I want to feel. 

My intentions will help me with my goals. They will support those changes that I want to make in my life. They will help bring about the change that I seek. 

So what goals are you going to set for yourself? What are YOUR intentions for the New Year?

 

Jan 13, 2017
Hatchimals and the Value of a Dollar
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ARE
HATCHIMALS EVEN WORTH IT?!   

It seems like every few years or so there is a toy that comes out around Christmas time that sends parents into a consumer frenzy. A toy that their child simply HAS to have. Like I will totally DIE if you don’t get that for me Mom!

When I was a child it was Cabbage Patch Dolls. Those were the must have toys for that year back in 19- cough cough!

I realize I just totally dated myself because I remember when Cabbage Patch Dolls were new and special. That is the very first toy craze I remember though.   

I was lucky though, because around the time that the Cabbage Patch dolls were in high demand my father worked as the manager of a toy store! So you can guess which little girl got the hook up on Cabbage Patch Dolls.

When people were running around like crazy trying to find a doll, ANY doll my wonderful father had already shipped me THREE! Well, actually it was two dolls and one Koosa. Now if you aren’t familiar with Koosas they were the ‘pets’ of the Cabbage Patch dolls. There was a dog, a cat and a lion – those are the only ones I remember. They were basically Cabbage Patch dolls with animal heads and tails.   


Now let’s forget that the way this product was marketed they were basically trying to tell little children that if they had this Koosa doll they would be lucky. I wanted one just so my other dolls could have a pet. During the Cabbage Patch rush these guys were just as hard to find as the others. So I was REALLY lucky to have gotten one for Christmas that year.Moving forward the next real toy craze I remember was that damn Tickle Me Elmo doll. Remember that one? People were going CRAZY about that toy back in 1996. People were stampeding each other, parents were getting into fights in the stores… it was ridiculous! I remember as a teenager thinking they were all insane!



Dec 08, 2016
Protests, Presidents and Positivity
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The fallout from the election last week has been an interesting one to say the least. There have been protests for the last few days by those who are genuinely fearful of a Donald Trump presidency and there are those who say the should just get over it. 

The only thing that can be agreed upon at this point is that we are all just hoping that this won't screw up the country. We hope that after every election though don't we?

The biggest concern though for many is the hate and fear based campaign run by Trump and how that will now translate to his presidency. Will he follow thought with all his promises? Or will we see him walk back many of the things that he said - which we are already witnessing a bit of in the past few days. 

Today's podcast I talk about:

  • why those protesters have every right to do what they are doing
  • Why there needs to be just a bit more understanding on both parts
  • How we are handling the election and resulting fall out in our home
  • Encouraging my children to be champions to those who feel threatened
  • Why it is important to make positive LOUD
I also will address the fact that I sometimes swear in my podcast and why that won't be changing any time soon.  

Nov 14, 2016
Reaction to the 2016 Election
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In this podcast I will be discussing my feelings on the 2016 Presidential election and how I am talking about it with my children. 

There is no doubt that this election has been the most divisive and ugly election that I and most every one else have ever experienced. There wasn't just mud slinging and scandal - those happen in every election sadly. No in this election it was much worse. Because in this election we had Donald Trump.

Not only was this man completely unqualified to run for President, he ran the most horrifying campaign that I have ever witnessed. From calling Mexicans rapists, to insulting women and people with disabilities he ran the gambit of offenses. All the way up to having a tape surface of him bragging about assaulting women. 

And somehow, this man won.

I spent the better part of the day after the election in utter disbelief of what had occurred. How? How did hate and divisiveness win the highest office in our country? How did a pompous reality tv star get elected to be our next president?

And how - how am I going to explain this to my children? My babies who I have tried to raise to be good people. I have brought my kids up to know that bullying is wrong, racism is wrong, bigotry in all forms is wrong, touching people without their permission and sexual assault is wrong. Yet here is a man who did all of those things, is a GLARING example of all of those things - and he was just elected president. 

I am horrified that such a vast majority of our country believed that this man, this horrible man, was the answer to our countries problems. 

Now I know that many people simply didn't want Hillary Clinton to be President. I get that. I understand. She has had her fair share of scandal and problems. I don't discount them. However, she was categorically more qualified to lead our country than him. 

I also know that many people voted for him because he wasn't a politician and they felt that the establishment was responsible for all their ills in life. So they decided to burn it to the ground. 

And I also know that many voted for him because they themselves are racists and bigots and horrible individuals and they felt that he was their champion. And that disturbs me on a very deep level. 

But, like it or not, he was in fact elected. So now what? Now what do we do? As a nation we are more divided than ever, a lot of that due frankly to the campaign that Mr. Trump ran. So how do we who did not support him come to terms with this? How do we move on? 

Well I for one told my children that no matter what, the most important thing was for them to still be good people. To love others. To include others. To support understanding and not hate. And to stick up for those who they may see being persecuted. To be the good guys and not the bad. To be positive and hopeful. And to hope as hard as they can that Trump doesn't screw it up.

Nov 10, 2016
Perspective
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In this podcast I discuss the upcoming election, perspective and how our perspective of things can cause us to be blind to how other people view things. Going through life with blinders on and never trying to see things from another perspective can cause so much dysfunction and so many problems. 

As parents, as people - it is so critical, especially now, to be able to at least TRY to view things from another perspective.

Currently in this election season - having been one of the worst that I personally have ever seen I am faced with new problems and new issues to look at. New things that I unfortunately now have to discuss with my children. 

When they come to me and ask:

"Why are those people yelling mean things about Mexicans?"

"Mommy, my friend at school is crying and scared that if Donald Trump wins the election that she and her family will be sent home because they are Muslim"

"Mommy, why does he hate Muslims?"

"Why are all these people so mean to each other?"

And then, having to explain and discuss the vile things that were spoken on a bus by a grown man who should have known better. Having to have a discussion with my teenage boys about assault and why what he said was so offensive to me as a woman. And to ensure that they knew (which they already did but due to these circumstances I felt I REALLY needed to drive the point home) that is it NEVER ok to touch a woman without her permission. 

Trying to explain why someone running for the highest office in the world is acting less mature than my 9 year old is not an easy thing to do. Much less trying to explain why he is that odd orange color. 

And as much as this election has enraged me at times I do have to take a step back and realize that some people who follow and support Trump maybe just don't get it. Maybe they don't understand why some of the things that he says are so terrible to most of the rest of us in the country. Perspective. 
Oct 21, 2016
Colin Kaepernick - What Do I Tell My Kids?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT KAEPERKICK NOT STANDING?
   

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere you know about the recent to-do involving San Francisco 49er’s Quarterback Colin Kaepernick not standing during the National Anthem.

Kaepernick stated in an interview later his reasons for not standing – https://youtu.be/laG1y6FpAhc&vq=1080   

Since his decision to sit during the National Anthem there have been many who have spoken out both for and against his decision. Those who are against his choice have been, let’s just say – colorful in their comments against him. Many who say an athlete who makes millions of dollars shouldn’t or can’t say anything about being oppressed or injustices.   Many who say that because of all of the success he has had and the fact that he was raised by adoptive parents who are white he has no right or reason to say anything. That because he clearly hadn’t suffered any indignities that he has no room to talk. Many who say that because of the opportunities he has had that he shouldn’t be disrespecting the flag and anthem of the country that gave him those opportunities.

However, there are many people who feel that Kaepernick is justified in his protest. Using his platform to bring attention to an ongoing problem in our country. Keeping the discussion and awareness current to try and bring about much needed change.

There are others still who may not agree with him not standing but they agree with his right to do so!Including many veterans who started the #veteransforkaepernick that started trending across the internet. Many of whom have stated that they fully support him in his actions.

 President Obama even stated his support of what the pro-athlete has done, stating that he is exercising his constitutional right. Which of course made many conservatives in this country practically stroke with outrage.

Jim Wright an author and vet who posted an essay on his Facebook page with his response to the issue which has since gone viral also supports Kaepernick.

“IF Kaepernick doesn’t feel his country respects him enough for him to respect it in return, well, then you can’t MAKE him respect it.

You can not make him respect it.

If you try to force a man to respect you, you’ll only make him respect you less.

With threats, by violence, by shame, you can maybe compel Kaepernick to stand up and put his hand over his heart and force him to be quiet. You might.

But that’s not respect.

It’s only the illusion of respect.”   


WHAT DO YOU TELL YOUR KIDS ABOUT KAEPERNICK?

I have had several people ask me how I have approached this topic with my children.

“What do you say to them about his lack of respect?”

“Would you allow your children to sit during the anthem?”

“Are you telling them that what he is doing is wrong and unpatriotic?”

Sigh.

Many of my friends think like me and believe what I believe; however there are many friends and even family who are a little more – a lot more – conservative than me. Knowing that about me I am not sure why they would think I would agree with their line of thinking but…   

My response to those who ask what I tell my children about what Kaepernick has done is this…


Sep 08, 2016
Back to School and Checking In On Goals
2219
Ahhhh, it’s that time of year again. The time that children and teachers alike dread but parents celebrate. Back to school! The time of year when as a stay at home mom I finally take back my house! After spending two and a half months with two teenagers and a 9-year old who THINKS she is a teenager I finally get to have the house all to myself!

And not a moment too soon to be quite honest with you! You see, summer vacation is one of those grand ideas that is fabulous in theory but not always so wonderful in practice. It starts out great, don’t get me wrong – trips to the pool, to the zoo, vacations to destinations that are beautiful and maybe even educational. Getting to sleep in, no more alarm clock blaring in your ear at god awful hours of the morning. No wondering if you remembered to pack their lunches the night before and then throwing them together last minute while half asleep because you hadn’t.   

It definitely has its perks…. For about the first month to month and a half.

Then the chaos starts. All those fun trips to the pool and the zoo they are now booooring because ‘we’ve been there a hundred times Mom!’ Now that the amazing vacation to exotic destinations is over everything else seems to pale in comparison. They’ve read all their books and NO they don’t want to go get more because ‘reading is booooring’. Your teenager is now sitting on the couch for hours on end mercilessly slashing and stabbing through a mob of zombies, or vampires or whatever strange creatures are in his latest video game.

The idea of going outside isn’t interesting because ‘there’s nothing to dooo out there Mom’. And any suggestion you could possibly make is either boring or is greeted with that ‘look’. You know the one that says ‘I can’t believe you even suggested something so childish and stupid’. Yeah, that one. You have either experienced it or given it in your lifetime. (And if you haven’t gotten it yet from your kid, juuuust wait, it’s coming).

Then just when you think it couldn’t get any worse – they turn on each other. Like mad rabid dogs over the last bone. Things that really shouldn’t even BE things all of the sudden are the topic of hour-long arguments and discussion. Things like – sitting too close to each other. Seriously. I am not kidding. An hour long argument because one of them sat too close to the other and then wouldn’t move. Arguments over who has been on the television too long. Arguments about who went into who’s room without permission. Arguments about whether or not the lizard is a girl or a boy – I swear to GOD!   


AT SOME POINT I THINK THEY WERE JUST MAD AT EACH OTHER FOR EXISTING!

 

The remaining weeks of summer vacation are some of the longest that a parent can face. So when those back to school sections start going up at the local Target and Wal-Mart we all do a back handspring of joy in our minds.



Aug 15, 2016
Getting The Help I Need
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After taking a month off from The Single Mom Success Podcast I guess I should explain why I went MIA for a bit. There were many things that I was struggling with - lack of motivation, lack of focus, lack of interest and just a general BLAH feeling.

I brushed it off for quite some time thinking that if I just powered through everything would be ok and I would get back to 'normal'. I mean, I'm a single mom and a strong independent woman I can totally make myself better right?

Well that didn't happen. Things just got worse. I was at the point where I didn't care if I showered for the day, or 2 days or 4 days... I was losing clients because I wasn't focusing on my business. I was losing my temper with my children on a regular basis, for little to no reason. 

I was a hot mess.

For the longest time I thought depression was something that other people dealt with. I mean, I'm not depressed. I'm not sad, I'm not lonely, I'm not unhappy - well not REALLY unhappy. I'm not suicidal and I don't cry all the time. That's what it means to be depressed right? 

WRONG!

It took a couple of months and some seriously deep soul searching for me to realize that I truly had something wrong with me that wasn't just going to go away if I willed it to. No amount of 'me time' or meditation was fixing what was wrong. So I finally went to the doctor and discussed what was going on with me. 

And she confirmed what I probably knew deep DEEP down - I was struggling with depression. And while yes the symptoms above are also associated with depression so were my symptoms. Lack of motivation, lack of interest in anything, lack of focus. 

This podcast goes deeper into my process and how I got to this point. But I will say, I am starting to feel much better. I am podcasting again and things are starting to really improve! 

The main point of this podcast is to get help if you need it. Regardless of what that help may need to be. You may not be struggling with depression but maybe you need someone to help with your kids for one night a week so you can get in that valuable 'you time'. Or maybe you need to reach out to family and ask for help with your bills this month. 

Regardless of what it is, the biggest thing that I have found lately is that no woman is an island. As single mothers we need to be able to admit that we need help sometimes, even when we are so used to doing it all on our own. But you have to ask for it. 

Don't be too proud. Don't be too stubborn. It is hard to do for many of us, but if you need help you gotta ask for it. Because we are no good to our children if we are falling apart. 

Jul 06, 2016
If Your Child Is A Bully, It May Cost You
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PARENTS FINED FOR THEIR CHILD’S BULLYING

Recently a town in Wisconsin passed an ordinance that has started to cause a little bit of controversy. Focusing on the bullying that has been on the rise in the past few years this new bill will now fine the parents of the offender. That’s right, the bully’s parents will have to pay if their child’s bad behavior.

This new law will give the child a warning first and then if the child’s behavior doesn’t stop within 90 days of the initial warning the parents will be fined $366. If there is a repeat offense, then there will be an additional fine of $681. Meaning if your child continues to be an ass after being warned then you as a parent would potentially have to pay over a thousand dollars!

Many people of course are against this new law stating that what is considered bullying by some may actually be just simple teasing and is subjective. Others state that this kind of punishment would be very harmful for families who are struggling financially.

As for me, I kinda dig this new law. I know that may be a bit shocking considering I am a single mother who more often than not struggled financially, however I also refuse to allow my children to be assholes.

A few years ago my son was bullied by another child in his special education class. And not just the dirty looks and mean taunts kind of bullying – this kid harassed, intimidated and physically assaulted my son. Now being that he was in the special needs class, I understood that there was likely something going on with this kid that caused him to have these issues. I know that had my son Gage not gotten all the help he has and the constant work that we put into his ongoing recovery he would likely be a very violent child.

So I tried to be understanding at first and worked with the school. I talked to them and felt that we had come to an understanding that this boy would be reprimanded for his behavior and steps would be taken to keep him away from my son. Then a week or so later he knocked my son down to the ground and proceeded to repeatedly kick him in the stomach and head.

 

AAAND NOW THE GLOVES ARE OFF.

I pressed charges on the kid and told them that if they didn’t do whatever needed to be done to keep this kid away from my son, then I would also come after them. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those moms who treats my child like they are made of glass. “How dare you put your hands on my baby!”. BUT I am a mom who realizes that this child was clearly NOT getting whatever help he needed, his parents were not doing what needed to be done to make sure he was safe with other children. So by pressing charges I was not only keeping my son safe, but I was ensuring that they would be REQUIRED to get this boy whatever help he needed.

I also understand that as parents we can do everything under the sun to raise our children to be good kids and sometimes they still act like assholes. It happens. I know my son has his moments, all of my kids do. They are human. However, if I get called into the school because one of my children are harassing, bullying, teasing, intimidating or anything of the kind then their asses are MINE!

There will be repercussions and they WILL get their acts together and stop their nonsense. And if they don’t then it’s on me to keep working until they do. My job as a parent is to raise my children to be the best versions of themselves, and belittling or teasing other kids is NOT their best versions.

So this law that holds the parents financially accountable for their children’s behavior, I am all for it. Even knowing that were my family to be fined that kind of money it would most definitely cause a financial burden in our home. But then that would also teach the child another lesson – there are repercussions for your behavior! How you act and what you do doesn’t always effect just you. Now it effects the entire family.

And were my child to end up costing me that kind of money they would sure as hell be working to pay me back for that.

This law forces kids to understand that you can’t just go around being jerks to people, causing harm, treating people like crap without it having an effect. You can’t just go through life being an ass and not suffer the repercussions.

May 13, 2016
Self Care - Do You Forget To Take Care Of You?
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A few years ago I was a part of a group of parents with special needs children. Every couple of weeks we would get together and talk. Either to vent about what was going on in our lives, talk about specific needs or issues that we had or hear guest speakers. This group was something that I looked forward to because I NEEDED that community, that tribe of individuals who were going through the same journey as I was. I had an outlet.

After a while the group stopped meeting for one reason or another and I just settled back into my life and routine without ever finding another outlet. Until recently when I signed up my boys for a TBI group for adolescents. The boys get to meet with other kids struggling with the same issues they are and I get to meet with the parents who are sharing the same struggles I have.

After that very first meeting I felt this sense of relief wash over me. I once again had people to talk to, people who understood. And with that realization came the understanding that I had allowed myself to fall into a funk. I was so busy just in the day to day minutia of my life that I didn’t realize what I had allowed to happen.

I wasn’t reading anymore, I wasn’t painting, I wasn’t doing things that brought me joy and happiness. I wasn’t talking to people about my stress and worry. I was just sitting back and letting life happen to me and beat me back down to a really bad place. I stopped fighting back. I had stopped taking care of myself.

As single mothers we often will take on the weight of the world. We take care of everything, do everything and worry about everything. It is so easy for us to become so busy caring for the kids and everything else that we forget to take care of ourselves. We don’t do the things that we need to do for ourselves.

Sometimes it’s because we feel like we can’t or shouldn’t. That it would be selfish of us to take time that could be spent doing other things. I know that too often I feel guilty if I do something for myself or take time for myself. If ever I get a day to just sit and do nothing I feel bad because I SHOULD be doing something.

But taking time for yourself and caring for yourself is so important!

Taking the time to really care for yourself the way that you care for your children is critical to your life. When you don’t take care of yourself then you are not as effective as a parent and it can creep up on you slowly while you aren’t paying attention. I didn’t really understand it or even identify it as a problem until I started up with this group because I felt that weight lift a little. That weight I hadn’t really known was there until it shifted a bit.

I wasn’t enjoying my life. I wasn’t enjoying my kids. I stopped doing things that were important to me. I was sitting by just letting everything sort of go to hell – because I had stopped caring. And I couldn’t understand why. Now many people would identify this as some level of depression I’m sure. And while I am not ruling that out at all I also realize that this was something that I could do something about.

Little things that I could do to start taking care of myself again. Things that don’t cost money or cost very little. Things that maybe don’t SEEM like they would make much of a difference, but trust me THEY DO.

Here is a list of things that you can do to take care of yourself so that you are the best possible version of yourself for your kids!

  1. Spend time outside – go for a walk or run (if you are one of those people who actually like to run).
  2. Meditate
  3. Turn up the music and dance around
  4. Read your favorite book
  5. Cuddle with your kiddos
  6. Make sure you are getting enough sleep
  7. Un-clutter your life – get rid of things you no longer need, organize the things you do
  8. Get a massage – I now that this costs money BUT often if you look for a massage school in your area they have discounted rates so their students can practice
  9. Unplug – turn off your electronics and quiet the outside noise from the world
  10. Ask for help! – I know that this is often hard for many of us but we can’t always do everything all the time.
  11. Drink a nice cup of tea – Teavana™ is one of my favorite places to go for loose tea, sooo good! This is one of my few indulgences when I have a little extra money.
  12. Every morning take 10 minutes to stretch and take deep breaths. Calm your mind for the upcoming day
  13. Keep in touch with friends and family – quite often because we do it all alone we end up feeling secluded or shut off from the rest of the world. Don’t let that be the case – schedule time to meet with family and friends as often as possible.
  14. Dress up from time to time – look I’m as much a fan of yoga pants and comfy clothes as the next gal, in fact as I write this I am still in my ‘jamma pants’. But wearing these things all the time can become a bad habit. Take time on your personal appearance – you don’t have to be catwalk worthy, but running a comb through your hair and putting on a nice blouse and mascara can make all the difference in the world sometimes!
  15. Take a yoga class – now before you talk about cost and how you can’t afford it… there’s this thing called the internet and it’s kinda awesome. You can find yoga videos for free almost anywhere.
  16. Take a long hot bath – or if you are lucky enough to have a hot tub get in that bad boy for a while and soak (while I contain my jealousy because I don’t have a hot tub and want one desperately.)
  17. Do some silly things with your kids – BE A KID! We have them and often we spend so much energy trying to get them to grow up, maybe it’s time to spend a little time being childish again.
  18. Let it be – accept that you don’t ALWAYS have to have your shit together. The house doesn’t HAVE to look perfect, it’s ok for the laundry to pile up every once in a while. Understand that your sanity and well-being is more important than perfection.
  19. Eat better – Now I am a huge fan of chili cheese fries but I know that I should NOT be eating them every day. Having a better well rounded healthy diet can improve your health as well as your mental state.
  20. Remember to tell yourself that you are doing a good job! – Never forget that you are a rock star because you are. Good days or bad you are still amazing and you are doing just fine!
Apr 30, 2016
Why You Need to Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
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STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

One of the people that I really pay attention to and follow pretty religiously is Gary Vaynerchuck or Gary Vee. He is this amazing entrepreneur who has really perfected his hustle. This man is a machine when it comes to his business and his life. He built an extremely successful business (actually multiple businesses) by learning as much as he could and simply out working his competitors. If you ask him he will tell you that he “day trades in attention and builds businesses”.

Recently Gary posted something on his Instagram account – ‘One life. One time. Way too many people aren’t acting this way.’

And I have to say this simple little meme really spoke to me. After going to Infusioncon this year and listening to the speakers talk (and Gary Vee was one of those speakers) I came home and started thinking about all of the things that I simply put off in my life. I started asking myself –

‘WHAT DO I WANT OUT OF MY LIFE?’

‘WHAT AM I DOING TO MOVE MY DREAMS AND GOALS FORWARD?’

That first question was an easy one to answer – because I want a lot. A lot for myself and a lot for my family. And not just the tangible things either like a new car and new home but things like a happy life where we don’t stress all the time. A life where the kids and I can travel anywhere we want and they can learn new things and new culture. And most recently a life where I can provide an environment for my son where he can feel as independent as possible when he becomes an adult. Being able to provide for him throughout his adult life as an individual with special needs.

  The second question was the hard one. Because I haven’t been doing everything that I can. I haven’t been doing all that I could do to move my dreams and goals forward. And I KNOW IT!

So why is that? I mean it should be really simple right? Have dream – do what you need to in order to achieve it. Easy.

Not so easy apparently?

But why?!?!

After sitting and thinking on this one little quote from Gary Vee I started to realize where my struggle was. It goes back to mindset, which is something that I talk about on a pretty regular basis (because it’s IMPORTANT). Having the right mindset is truly key but sometimes we get stuck in that mindset.

Here’s what I mean – it’s all well and good to have a positive mindset or a mindset aimed toward achievement and goals but if you take no action toward creating that life then the mindset does you no good. So I started to think, well WHY if I have the right mindset am I not making progress?

FEAR. PLAIN AND SIMPLE IT’S FEAR.

I am absolutely fucking terrified of stepping out of my comfort zone. This nice happy place that I have gotten to. I did the work to get myself here and now I am terrified to go beyond this. I think that so many people stay stuck where they are because they are afraid of stepping out beyond what they know. I know I am.

Coming out from my comfort zone means trying something new, doing things that I have never done before and with that comes the possibility of failing. And I fear failure more than anything else. I don’t like losing, I don’t like failing… hell, who does? But ask any successful person and they will tell you that failure is often a good thing to experience.

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE HAVE MADE PEACE WITH FAILING BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT WITH THAT FAILURE COMES WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.

Learning from our mistakes. You know that thing that you teach your children? It isn’t something that only applies to kids, it is relevant to all of us. When we fail, we pick ourselves up and try again – but this time with the knowledge that we gained from that failure.

But it is so hard isn’t it? Because in our warm fuzzy comfort zone we have gotten used to sitting back and letting this be our norm. And it is so scary to rock that boat, the one you spent so much time working to build. All those years of work and struggle to finally get to a place where things are good (at least most of the time) or all those years spent in your current situation – it’s become your norm. It’s what you know. It’s what you are good at.

Stepping away from that into something new brings the risk of possibly losing what you have. And THAT is what scares me the most. Losing what I worked so hard to create for myself and my family. The possibility that it could all be gone if I fail.

So why then would I risk it?

Because ‘One life. One time.’ … you only get one shot at this life so if you want more from it then you have to be willing to take risks, to step out of that comfort zone and try new things. The worst thing I can imagine for myself is to be an old lady and look back at my life and regret not doing the things I wanted to do.

And with this comes the other side of that meme. If I only get one life then I damn well better do what I need to in order to live that whole life. Quitting smoking was definitely a step out of my comfort zone because I FOUND comfort in smoking. But I knew that if I wanted to be around for my kiddos I needed to step away from that and quit.

Getting healthy again is also out of my comfort zone. If I want to have a full and healthy life then I can’t exactly eat chili cheese fries every day, even if I REALLY want to. Getting healthy means pushing myself to work out and train when I would rather nap or sit and watch TV.

 

It’s hard changing all those things that have become staples in my comfort zone.

But no one said that anything worth having would be easy.

That is why you have to really examine where you are in life. What has your comfort zone become and if you aren’t currently living your dreams and goals then you need to step out of that comfort zone and start taking action! Because nothing will change until you do!

Apr 13, 2016
Being Accountable - Yes, You Need to Own Your S**t
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Accountability. Seems a simple word really; but in practice it can be difficult at times and sometimes even harder to teach. In my life and in my family it is something that is so very important though. Being accountable for the things we do, the things we say, and how we feel are things that I try to teach my children because they are so very important.

In today’s society I feel that many people have stopped teaching this concept to their children. That they need to be accountable for themselves, in their actions, in their words and all throughout their lives. The world will definitely hold them accountable so why wouldn’t we teach them to hold themselves accountable?

It’s not always easy and quite honestly sometimes it just plain sucks but being accountable for yourself is so key to your success. Going through life with the ability to say “I did that” or “Yes I messed up” or “I will complete this by a certain day or time” and then DOING IT – all very important. Too often it is easier to just let things slide, to just shrug off your accountability and that is where we end up getting into trouble. That is when we start allowing ourselves to shirk our responsibilities.

For my children this is a hard concept to learn – heck it’s hard for ME sometimes. But it is so very important to me that they understand this basic concept of owning your shit. And what I mean by that is if you did it, then you OWN it. You don’t blow it off, you don’t pass it off to someone else – you OWN IT.

My daughter has recently developed a bad habit of whining or pouting about something and then when I call her out on it she says “I wasn’t pouting/whining!” (mind you she is pouting/whining as she says this). Now how are you going to sit there after stomping your foot on the ground and saying in that annoying higher-pitched voice that you don’t want to go to bed that you WEREN’T pouting/whining. That is the very DEFINITION of whining and pouting.

OWN IT! You were whining. Be accountable for your actions. You can say you were whining and then tell me WHY you were, explain to me – TALK to me about what is bothering you, but don’t stand there and tell me you weren’t doing something you clearly were.

Here’s another example – my son was told multiple times to empty the dishwasher. I go into the kitchen to see that it still had yet to be emptied. I say “Son, you still haven’t emptied the dishwasher.” This boy looks me square in the eyes and says “I could have sworn I did. I thought I did it.” But he says it in a way that implies that I am mistaken and that there aren’t any dishes in there. Clearly I MUST be wrong because ‘he THOUGHT he did it’. And he will argue with me even though the dishes are clearly STILL IN THE DISHWASHER.

 

OWN IT! Be accountable and say “Crap mom, I forgot. I was going to empty them but I must have gotten distracted by the television. I will do it now.” I will happily accept that as opposed to you arguing with me for 15 minutes over the full dishwasher about whether or not you actually emptied it. (Those dishes didn’t magically put themselves BACK into the dishwasher son!)

I don’t expect you to be perfect, but I expect you to be REAL with me AND with yourself.

We live in a society where lately it is so much easier to blame others, or your upbringing, or your environment, or your teacher or ANYONE else rather than be accountable for our actions.

Oh you got a bad grade on your test? Maybe it’s because you didn’t STUDY beforehand. That is more likely to me than your suggestion that the teacher just has it out for you or isn’t doing their job. (How often now do we see people blaming the teachers for their child’s bad grades instead of blaming the child? Or instead of the parents holding themselves accountable for not making sure their child studies?)

Oh you are upset because you don’t have the money to buy that toy? Well maybe it’s because you didn’t finish your chores for the week and therefore didn’t earn your allowance and NOT because I am a mean mommy who won’t get you what you want.

Be accountable, own your shit!

 

As an adult I have to be accountable for my choices and actions. If I don’t hustle and work to get clients, complete work and build my business then I don’t have the money I need to take care of my family. And that is NO ONE’s fault but mine. It’s not the government screwing me over. It’s not immigrants taking my jobs. I own when I screw up – at least I try to. It’s not always an easy thing, in fact it’s hard as hell to admit when you are wrong or screw up. But it’s important to do it – because THAT is how we learn and how we grow.

As a mother it is my job to prepare my children for a world that doesn’t care about them the way I do. A world where they will likely get kicked in the teeth repeatedly. A world that doesn’t care if they are my special babies or if it hurts their precious little feelings. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t prepare them to the best of my ability for that. The last thing that I want is to send my kids out into the big bad world with this fantasy that the world will bend over backwards to accommodate them. Because it won’t.

Sometimes that means that I have to be hard on them. Sometimes that means that I have to raise my voice to be heard. Sometimes it sucks. But I do it anyway.

Sometimes it means that I have to hold myself accountable in areas where I REALLY don’t wanna! For example, when I tell my children that their rooms are disasters and mine isn’t far off from one…well guess who has to clean their room too! Yep – THIS GIRL! If I want my children to have accountability, then I damn well better have it too. And sometimes that sucks as well.

Now I guess I had better get started on that room of mine before they get home from school…

Apr 06, 2016
Wednesday Q&A With My 8 Year Old Daughter
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So I recently decided that I wanted to do a Q&A segment where I would answer some of the questions that my readers and podcast listeners have asked. To get started though I asked my 8 year old daughter if SHE would like to be the first guest.

I decided today would be a great day to do it since we were stuck at home due to a local blizzard here in Colorado. (Yep that’s how we roll here in Colorado in the spring.)

She was very excited to do this and I gotta say I was too. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before! It was so much fun. She asked me some great questions and some that I didn’t expect.

My daughter’s questions were:

  1. When you were my age did you want to be a single mom?
  2. What was your reaction when you found out you were having twins?
  3. What was your reaction when you found out you were having another kid?
  4. What did you guys do for fun before I was born?
  5. When you were a kid, did you want three kids?
  6. What did you do for fun when you were a kid?
  7. How old were you when you got your first phone?
 
Mar 24, 2016
Welfare Hostage - The Trap of Government Assistance Programs
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Anyone who has ever been on government assistance programs (or welfare) can attest that is isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. For most people it is never intended to be a permanent solution but only a short term boost until they can get back on their feet again. However, as with almost everything in the world there are those whom abuse the system. Sadly, they are also the ones who usually are very vocal about the fact that they abuse it, and as such end up casting a shadow over all in the system.

I have a relative who leans, well actually more like falls, to the right on the political spectrum and we rarely agree on anything. This relative has stated frequently how he believes that liberals/dems want to simply take advantage of the government and get everything for free. How those who are on government assistance programs are all lazy and just mooching off the government. That there are those who stay on it forever and just abuse it and take his hard earned money.

Sadly, there are many other people who believe the same thing. Are there many people who do abuse the system? Yes, of course there are. However, those people are the minority not the majority of those who are receiving assistance. The problem is that most people do not fully understand what it’s like to be on those assistance programs. They are intended as a short term solution but for many they are also a trap that keep them dependent on the services they provide.

Many people don’t realize that I was on government assistance for almost 8 years on and off. Not because I wanted to be or because I was abusing the system. I was basically held hostage by the government assistance programs that were intended to help me. Sound crazy? Yeah for most people who haven’t experienced what I did, it would probably sound crazy.

So let me break down what my experience was and why I tell people that I was a welfare hostage. After my son was hospitalized and his father was charged I no longer had anyone to watch my children while I was at work. I was working a full time job and NOT on government assistance at the time. BUT I wasn’t paying for childcare either because the boys would stay with their father while I worked. Imagine my shock when I found out that the cost to put my twins in a daycare was more than my rent.

I knew that there was no way I could afford that, so I started looking into assistance programs for child care. That led me to the Department of Human Services and their assistance programs. After I started looking into the programs I was again surprised by the fact that I made too much money at the time to qualify for child care assistance. What? How can that be? I don’t make enough money to actually afford child care but too much to qualify for assistance?

Ok so what do I do now? I need to work; I WANT to work. So I quit the job I had been at for over 4 years and took and almost 50% pay cut in order to meet the child care income requirements. Now if you are sitting there going, why the hell would you take that kind of pay cut? Well, here’s why – and here’s why most people get stuck in government assistance programs. The difference between the child care assistance program income cut off and what I would need to earn in order to actually afford child care was about $15,000 annually. For many this is the major issue – the assistance programs are not designed to help people become self-sufficient. In fact, they do the opposite, they keep you dependent.

So here is the scenario:

I took the pay cut to get the help needed for childcare assistance. I worked that job, did well and got a pay raise – which is what you would normally want right? But in this case it wasn’t because that raise wasn’t enough of a raise to actually afford my child care, but it WAS enough to put me over the income cut off and so I was immediately cut off of the child care programs. So what happened then? I can’t work if I don’t have child care so I would lose my job. Now without a job how do I support my family? So I had to go back on assistance to get the child care assistance and fins another job. Then I was back in the circle again of working, hitting the income limit and losing assistance again.

This is the constant struggle that many people on assistance programs face. The inability to ever completely pull themselves away from the programs that are intended to help them. Not everyone has family or friends who can watch their children. Not everyone will be given a $15,000 annual raise that will finally put them in a financial position where they can finally afford the child care they need to work full time. So what are their options at that point?

I make this point on a regular basis to people like my relative who don’t truly understand what these kinds of circumstances are like. They rage and rage about how people like this are just mooching off the government like everyone on assistance is just sitting around eating lobster on the government dime. Again, are there those who do abuse the system? Yes. But there are also millionaires and corporations who abuse the system by hiding their earnings and not paying taxes.

If you are going to rage against one, then be sure to rage against the other as well. Or instead how about you don’t judge situations that you know nothing about. Try to see things from another perspective. OR if the way the programs are structured REALLY bothers you enough to yell or say horrible things about other people – maybe you should look into how you could HELP create change.

Mar 15, 2016
Are You Living Your Life Deliberately On Purpose?
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Are you living your life deliberately on purpose? Or are you simply reacting to what life throws at you? I recently had to ask myself this same question…

Every year I attend a conference in Phoenix hosted by Infusionsoft. If you haven’t heard of Infusionsoft don’t worry, you’re probably not a marketer or small business owner, BUT I guarantee you that if you have ever filled out a form on someone’s website and then started getting emails from them – you’ve at least experienced a small part of Infusionsoft.

Infusionsoft is a CRM/Marketing platform that helps small businesses automate their sales and marketing. It is a very powerful tool that many business owners use. Ever heard of Damond John from Shark Tank? Or Steve Harvey? Yep, they use the software too.

Every year the good folks at Infusionsoft throw a big conference for us geeks and marketing people to go to; and every year I go I learn a whole truckload of new things. This year though was a little different. I still learned all the great marketing tips and tricks that I use in my business and I still met a TON of really amazing people. But this year they had a new MC for the event – Scott Harris.

In the last few years the owners brother was the MC, and he was always wonderful. Very happy, very excited and really fun to watch – I always enjoyed seeing him. This year however, with Scott at the helm, the main sessions took on a different tone. Instead of just being entertained while waiting for our next speaker, we were coached.

Now for some of you coaching, or life coaching, is not a new thing. You’ve probably heard of it, been told about it or even experienced it yourself. For many it is a foo foo thing that they feel doesn’t work. For others it is a life changing experience that they would experience again and again.

You’ve seen coaches before, people like Tony Robbins (the guy with the big teeth) and Dr. Wayne Dyer – coaches who range from money and wealth coaches to spiritual coaches. There are so many out there and they more often than not truly help people become better in one form or another.

For this Infusioncon event though, having Scott there created a change in the framework that I truly enjoyed. Now, not only was I coming away from this conference with new ideas and resources for my business. I also was coming away with a new mindset.

I am going to live my life deliberately on purpose!

One of the many things that Scott brought up was that you only get this one life, this one body and this one time and that time isn’t getting any longer – it’s getting shorter. So what are you making of this one life you have? What are you doing with that time you are given? Are you living your life full out? Or are you sitting there waiting until tomorrow to do the things you know you should be doing?

I have so many goals and dreams that I have never taken massive action on. I take little steps here and there but I never have just gone full out and passionately gone after them. I know that I took a huge risk in order to start my business and grow it to what it is now but I still have been playing it safe because of fear.

I am afraid to put my dreams and visions out there on a grand scale because I hate to fail, I fear being ridiculed and more than that I fear being ineffective. Putting my dreams out there only to be told that they don’t matter to anyone but me. Now I KNOW that is an irrational fear but it is one I have struggled with my whole life.

During the sessions at Infusioncon this year we were given a workbook (which is another thing I really liked about this years event) that we were to take notes in as we went along. And the recurring theme in MY notebook was this: STOP BEING SO DAMN SCARED.

I have allowed the fear of failing to keep me from truly pursuing my dreams and visions. I haven’t been living full out and I know it. I know that had I put into motion all of the things that need to happen in my business and in my life I would be so much further down that path to my goals.

I came home from that conference with a renewed sense of purpose AND the drive and desire to break free from the things I have allowed to hold me back. I have created my goals and am now working on building out my process for accomplishing those goals.

The reason that I decided to post and podcast about this is that I know that there are many of you out there who also have goals and dreams and visions that your are not accomplishing. Are you allowing something to keep you from those goals? What excuses are you making for not starting today? How much MORE time to you think you will get?

Because like Scott said at my conference – you aren’t getting more time in your life, you are losing time every second of ever day. One day you will look up and another year has gone by and you are no closer to your goals than you were before. What is keeping you from doing those things that you want to do? And don’t say your children or your ex or your job… because those are not it.

Your major block is YOU and your mindset and your ability to take action. So how will you live your life? Just sitting there waiting for it to happen to you? Or will you go out and live with purpose?

Will you live your life deliberately on purpose?

I know I am going to!

Mar 09, 2016
Confessions of a Terrible, Horrible, Awful Mom
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Yep, I am a terrible, horrible, awful mom. At least I would likely be labeled as one by the paparazzi and social media if I were a famous person. If I was a mother who’s parenting style was constantly under scrutiny like many of the celebrity parents out there I would definitely be tagged with that headline.

Recently one of my favorite blogs – Scary Mommy – addressed an “article” from another site calling actress Charlize Theron a ‘monster mom’ because she was “dragging” her son into her car.

I love the Scary Mom blog because they have a sarcastic and smart ass type of style that mirrors my own. Their article reflected exactly what I was thinking when I saw that nonsense – that isn’t dragging that is “getting an immobile child into the car”.

As a parent there have been many times when my child or even children have behaved poorly and we were forced to leave the store we were in. There have been many many times when my child has thrown himself to the ground and gone limp noodle while throwing a fit. Which makes it almost impossible to manage them WITHOUT picking them up and dragging them.

The debate has always raged on between those who think discipline is a good thing or a bad thing. Is it right or wrong to spank your child? Should you let your child just ‘express themselves‘ freely? It’s a constant swirl of who is right and who is wrong – who is a good parent and who is an awful parent…

In the article they apparently had a “family relationship expert” review the photos and dissect everything that she was apparently doing wrong. This person went on to say that instead of telling the child what to do she should be “selling” the reason why he should get in the car. That she should be asking him about his feelings.

Now I am all for asking my children to discuss their feelings and share their opinions. I do believe that it is important. However, if my child is flailing on the ground in the middle of a parking lot the last thing I am going to do is ask them about their feelings. At that moment in time my child is behaving poorly and I will NOT tolerate them laying on the ground (which by the way isn’t all that safe in a parking lot!!) because they are unhappy.

 

If you are unhappy, fine – but you can express that when safely in the car, or outside of the store. You do not get to act like a butt and throw yourself around to get your way and expect me to just sit back and watch it happen. Especially in a parking lot where you could get run over by another vehicle.

 

TEACHING MY CHILDREN CONSEQUENCES MAKES ME AN AWFUL MOM

My feeling toward dealing with or disciplining my children is basically that it is my job to prepare my children for a world that doesn’t care if it hurts their feelings. Teaching them to believe that they can behave however they want, when they want simply because they feel like it is not going to be doing them any favors.

Especially for my boys who have impulse control as well as anger management issues – allowing them to believe that the world will bow to their behavior is not a good thing. They need to know that they can not get away with behaving like jerks without consequences. No. I’m not talking about beating or hurting children but there have to be consequences for bad behavior.

When there are no consequences for bad behavior children start to believe that they can do what they want and nothing will happen to them. Take for example the “Affluenza” kid who killed 4 people with his car and was pretty much let off the hook because he was “too rich” and had been raised to not know any better. And then what happens?

Then he ends up breaking his probation, leaving the country with his mom and all kinds of other B.S. and is now finally facing some jail time (hopefully). But it came at the cost of 4 people’s lives. It came at the expense of another family who’s son will never leave a wheelchair now. All because a child wasn’t brought up to understand that bad behavior has consequences.

Teaching my children this does not make me an awful mom. Just like Charlize Theron trying to get her child into the car when he is doing the whole ‘limp noodle’ thing does not make her a ‘mad mother‘. It makes her a parent, just like you or I doing the best that she can.

But like I said before, if teaching your child that they can not get away with behaving poorly without consequence makes me an awful mom, then I guess I’m an awful mom. And I will wear that badge proudly if it means my children will grow up as decent kids with the knowledge that they can’t just be jerks.

Feb 29, 2016
The Challenge of Growing Up and Letting Go
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Growing up and letting go… sounds a bit like an after school special title doesn’t it?

Regardless of what it sounds like it is in fact what I am currently struggling with. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago when my boys were just little kids and now I am coming face to face with the reality that my little boys aren’t little anymore. They will be 16 this year, and to be quite honest I’m scared shitless about it.

I have openly admitted in the past that I am very protective of my children, probably more so than most mothers because of what happened to my son Gage. Having a child almost die is one of the worst experiences I have ever gone through. After that I have just dreaded even the possibility of something else happening to any of my children.

Even something as simple as climbing a tree, something that I did quite often as a child, became something that makes me instantly nervous now with my children. The thought of them possibly falling and getting hurt is something that I can’t stop thinking about. Things like jumping on trampolines or even riding their bikes there is always a thought in my head of the possibility of them being hurt.

I know, I know – I’m over protective, I already admitted to it. I’ve been getting better as my kids have gotten older. However, now I am dealing with the looming fact that my boys are about to turn 16. ARG!!!!! Twin 16 year old boys! If you find yourself instantly feeling sorry for me, you are not alone. Every time I mention that I have twin teenage boys everyone always gets ‘that look’ on their face and says “I’m sorry”.

As we get closer and closer to 16 my son Connor is now talking about possibly driving. We aren’t sure yet if he will be cleared to drive having a brain injury but we are starting to look into it. Now I’m faced with even MORE worry and stress and I have to wonder if my father went through the same thing when I started driving. Worrying about my safety, other drivers and any and every other thing that could possibly go wrong on the road. I’m sure every parent does.

I personally am dreading it not only because of the worry for their safety and such but because it means that they aren’t my little babies any more. *Sniff Sniff* It is so hard to believe that my little boys are almost legal driving age. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago when they were just little boys playing in the dirt out back with the dog. (Now I can barely get them out of their rooms and off their phones.)

 

Getting a driver’s license, staying home alone while I am out of town on business, looking into getting jobs and discussions on their futures – it’s enough to make a mom want to cry. Not just because my babies are getting older and I’m simply not ready but because I am so very proud of them. 15 years ago I was told my son Gage may never be able to walk or talk and now we are talking about what he is going to do for his future.

Guess it’s time for mom to start working on being able to let go. My boys aren’t little boys anymore and coming to terms with that is definitely hard for me.

Feb 23, 2016
How Do You Forgive Someone Who Ruined a Life?
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If you have been following my blog for a while you know that I am the proud mama of two amazing special needs boys: Gage and Connor. Both areShaken Baby Syndrome survivors and are two of the most important people in my life.

As you may have heard in previous podcasts I mention briefly about my son being hospitalized when he was only 5 months old and that he spent over a month at Children’s Hospital here in Colorado. But I never dove too deeply into what happened to him or how it impacted us as a family.

Gage’s injuries were so severe that the doctors who were treating him were not sure if he would even survive, but if he did they said he would likely be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. They couldn’t give me any promises or assurances of how he would do either once we realized he would actually be able to leave the hospital.

Gage was in a drug induced coma for several weeks and when he was finally able to come out of that coma he did so without any of the basic skills that babies are born with. He didn’t have a sucking reflex and had to be ‘taught’ how to nurse from a bottle again.

When he finally was able to leave the hospital he had to endure months and months of physical and occupational therapy to be able to hold his head up, sit up, walk, talk and all of the other things that babies normally learn all on their own. These things no longer came naturally to him because his brain didn’t process things the way it was supposed to anymore.

Growing up his life has been a series of constant challenges. He has had to work three times as hard to accomplish things that would seem easy to other children. We have dealt with sensory integration issues, behavior issues, anger issues and more… things that “normal” children don’t have to even think about or figure out how to work around.

All of this would be bad enough had it been some stranger, or child care worker who had done this to my child but it is even worse when it is your child’s father. The one person in the whole world other than you who should have your child’s best interests at heart. It’s even more devastating at that point.

Having to go to court and defend yourself to lawyers, police officers and social services for leaving your child with the one other person in the world that your child should be the safest with. I fought for 2 years with social services to gain full custody of my children, not because I was a threat to them but because I had to prove that I could care for them as a single mother. (But that’s a post for another time).

So how do you go about forgiving someone for something so horrible? I ask because I haven’t found the answer yet. I look at my son and all of the challenges that he has faced and I can’t help thinking ‘what was your life supposed to be’.  My son wasn’t born with a disability it was something that was done to him. He was a perfectly healthy baby who had his whole life turned upside down before it ever really had a chance to begin.

I look at him and every time I see him struggle I get angry inside at the person who did this to him. As I sit here in the Children’s Hospital Neurology Clinic (again) for yet another evaluation I get angry. While I wait to hear from the doctors what concessions will need to be made for my son because as he gets closer to 18 we have to plan for a life where he won’t be able to care for himself.

Knowing that my son could have – and SHOULD have – had a different life than the one he has now fills me with so much rage toward his father. I know that it isn’t healthy and many people have said that I need to learn how to forgive.

But how? How do you forgive someone who hurt your baby so horribly? How do you forgive someone who took away every chance at a ‘normal’ life for your son? How do you see every day the struggles your child has to endure and forgive the person who caused them?

I don’t know how. I haven’t figured it out. I may never.

So I guess all I can do right now is continue to be there for my son, do everything in my power to empower him to succeed. Maybe the forgiveness will come in time – but I’m not holding my breath.

Feb 18, 2016
New Year - Not So New You
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Every year when New Year’s Eve and the New Year roll around everyone starts talking about resolutions and how the New Year will bring a ‘New Them’. Which is great in theory – but when you start the New Year with these big plans or ‘resolutions’ but you are still the same you inside then you will likely fail.

For example, if your resolution is to lose weight but you don’t really change any of the bad habits that helped you gain the weight in the first place then you won’t be successful. If your mindset isn’t right then you will ultimately fail.

How often have you found yourself saying “I’ll start my diet tomorrow.” or “I’ll exercise tomorrow.” and then you make another excuse and another. I know that I myself have been very guilty of it. I often times feel like the amount of weight I have to lose makes me feel like it’s impossible so I give up before I even start. And unless I change that mindset for myself I will never lose the weight.

Changing your habits, replacing things instead of cutting things out and other various ‘tricks’ can help you on your journey.

Being able to replace the bad habits with good habits was something that was key for me in quitting smoking so I believe that this would be helpful in losing weight as well. Changing the habit of snacking on chips into a habit of snacking on carrots instead. Minimizing the amount of sugar I eat is more likely for me than cutting out sugar completely because then I don’t feel like I am depriving myself and end up binge eating an entire bag of mini Snickers.

Knowing my limitations and taking them into account are helpful for me when setting my New Year goals. I call them goals instead of resolutions because for me goals are more attainable. Goals no matter how big can be accomplished, even if it means that you need to break them down into smaller goals which seem more possible.

Resolutions always feel to me a bit like campaign promises. You know say you’re going to do something to change things but then you don’t really do anything to change at all.

When I decided to quit smoking I knew what my limitations were there too. I knew that just cutting back for me wouldn’t work. I knew that limiting myself to just a couple of cigarettes a day would never work for me even though it does work for some. I also knew that I didn’t want to be dependent on patches or gum.

So for me quitting cold turkey was going to be the only way for me. I also had a lot of help from my son who came home one day from school in tears because they had done a presentation about smoking. They showed him the lungs of a smoker and talked about people dying from smoking. So he comes home crying “Mommy, I don’t want you to die. Please stop smoking.”

HELLO GUILT!

But the guilt worked very well, I was able to quit cold turkey over 4 years ago. However, as often happens when you quit smoking I gained a lot of weight. So now the goal is to lose that weight.

I have decided to start a new workout program Cize along with my regular training sessions while my kids do Parkour. As well as changing my eating habits and limiting the junk food (which is by far the hardest thing for me).

I am also using an exercise tracker with the goal of working out 5 out of 7 days of the week. Also an app for tracking the food I eat so I can see where and when I go over too many calories. Establishing better habits and putting in checks and balances to try and keep myself in line when I want to stray from my path.

This weeks podcast goes more into how important it is to work on the internal as well as the external to make the goals that you set for yourself happen.

Jan 18, 2016
Are You Spreading Shame & Judgement Instead of Joy?
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The holiday season is by far my favorite time of year. I absolutely love seeing all the lights and decorations and putting up the Christmas tree with the kids. This time of year just always gives me that warm fuzzy feeling, but for some it brings a lot of judgement.

Recently a mother came under fire over social media for providing TOO MUCH for her children.

Emma Tapping, mother of three and savings blogger, posted an image on her Instagram account showing her Christmas tree almost engulfed in presents. Soon after the image was taken and used to create a meme stating

“It’s nearly time for all the materialistic parents to compete and broadcast how many presents their kids have. Just remember, there are a lot of children who won’t get much.”

This set off a social media frenzy of people criticizing and casting judgment upon this mother for her post.

Judgement of mom for too many presents
 

People started telling her that she was spending too much on her children. That she shouldn’t spoil her kids like that. That it was wrong for her to post how much she had bought for her family when there were families out there with nothing or very little to give.

  Judgement on how many gifts she bought for Christmas Mom judged on social media for gifts Mother judged for the number of gifts she gave Judgement on how many gifts she bought for Christmas

It’s astonishing how many people came out of the woodwork just to slam this mother and judge her for how many gifts she had purchased for her kids. We live in a society today where, thanks to social media, people can be random assholes to anyone else.

People who would probably be perfectly nice to your face can go online and judge, insult and even sometimes threaten others. Have we become a society of assholes or is it just easier to be one due to the anonymity of the internet?

Personally I have no issue with this mother or how much she bought her children. Would I buy that much for my kids, no – but we aren’t talking about me. These are her children and it is her money to do with as she pleases – so why do so many people feel that they can jump all over her for it?

  Social media judges mom for buying too many gifts

Not everyone were jerks about it though. Many people came to her defense online. Many who understood that not only was she allowed to do for her children as she pleased, but also that she was a savings blogger who knows how to get more bang for her buck!

Also, because she is a saver she was probably able to buy more giftsbecause of the money she had saved throughout the year!

I’ve done posts before about judging others and how as parents we sometimes face it from multiple different sources. Sometimes we are judged by what we do or don’t do as parents. How we discipline or don’t discipline our children. We get judged by our families, friends, other parents and now thanks to social media complete strangers!

This is the time of year when we are supposed to be a little bit kinder and nicer. I mean we should be those things all year round but at Christmas time even more so right?

So why lately do I see more people being rude, mean, flat out jerks to others? Who are you to cast your judgement upon me or anyone else? Is your life perfect? Are YOU perfect? No, because none of us are. And if this woman wants to buy her children a mountain of presents then who are you or anyone else to tell her she shouldn’t?

Are there many children out there who have very little or nothing coming their way for Christmas? Of course there are. And sadly it will probably always be that way. However, should you just assume that because this woman bought so much for her kids that she isn’t aware of that? Do you know if she donated all of their old items to those who were in need? Do you know if she used her smart shopping savvy to buy even more stuff and donated that to those in need?

No you don’t. You don’t know and therefore you shouldn’t judge.

The best thing about the holidays for me is watching my children open whatever gifts they get. There were many years where we didn’t have much, and there have also been years where we had an abundance of gifts. Either way as long as I teach my children to be grateful for all they have then it doesn’t matter how much or how little they get.

  Family on Christmas eve at fireplace. (Image courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com)

And for all anyone knows this woman teaches her children the same thing. I mean if she blogs about saving money I’m sure she has to be imparting some of that wisdom onto her children.

So how about instead of sitting in judgement of people we do not know, instead we start embracing the spirit of the season and be a little kinder to one another. Stop judging and shaming people you don’t even know and start spreading joy instead.

I’ll start by wishing EVERYONE the Happiest of Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Merry Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Dec 14, 2015
The True Meaning of Christmas in a Starbucks Cup?
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Unless you have been living under a rock you've probably heard about the recent strike in the 'War on Christmas'. That's right! Yet another company is guilty of taking the 'Christ' out of Christmas. Starbucks recently unveiled their holiday cup and apparently there is a bit of an issue with it.

It's RED.

That's it, nothing more - just red.

Now for most of us rational and non-nutbag people this is not an issue. Red cup with a green logo, that's pretty festive to me. (Maybe next year they can make it plaid - I like plaid.) In the past Starbucks has had cups with reindeer, snow flakes, ornaments and such as decor on their mugs. This year they went with something basic and yet still Christmas-like. Just plain red.

There were a few people that appeared to have a problem with this. One gentleman took to YouTube to express his distaste of the new cups and the internet blew up.

"Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups?"

Joshua  Feuerstein has decided that Starbucks wants to remove Christ from the holiday. That they won't even let their employees say Merry Christmas. So he suggested instead of boycotting them people should go and BUY coffee there. And when they ask for the name give their names as Merry Christmas. Thereby 'tricking' Starbucks employees into saying "Merry Christmas".

There have been many responses to this cup controversy but Ellen's response is by far my favorite!

Now let's step past the fact that Starbucks has never professed to be a Christian company. And the fact that they have never had any specific religious images on their cups in the past. And instead focus on the real issue here. How a coffee cup could possibly dictate one's religious beliefs. Is the removal of holiday images from this paper drinking container really going to cause people to turn away from their faith?

Is it possible for one company to wreak havoc on an entire belief structure simply by what images they do or do not print on their merchandise? Is your faith so flimsy that a coffee cup could make you question it? Holy shit! Starbucks has some serious power!

As a non-religious person I do not take ANY offense at the extensive amount of religious paraphernalia that I am bombarded with this time of year. The manger scenes. The religious references in Christmas songs. The constant barrage of images of Jesus on the cards I get in the mail. WHEN WILL IT END!!! (insert sarcasm here)

Non of these things offend or bother me. And none of them make me feel a sudden urge to convert or start going to church. So how would the removal of those things cause you or anyone else to STOP believing? Is your faith so easily shaken? Would the removal of any or all those items make you forget why YOU celebrate the holiday? I doubt it.

So Starbucks removing holiday imagery from their cups shouldn't either. It's not as though they had a giant cross on all their items and decided to remove them due to public scrutiny. No. They made the cups red. Nothing more, nothing less.

How about as Christians, instead of worrying what a company prints on their products you worry about the things that actually matter instead. Homelessness, poverty, hunger, famine, the wars that are being fought, the soldiers who are being ignored, the refugees who need help...

As a nation we spend so much time focusing on trivial things and imagined slights that we often miss the bigger picture. So instead of worrying about what is on your coffee mug maybe spend some time being thankful for what you have. Focus on the good in your life and help do good in another person's life. Remember that no matter what your belief structure is - the base of it is likely love and compassion. THAT is what the holiday is supposed to be about - not what is printed on a paper cup.

Oh and for the people who are 'tricking' Starbucks into saying Merry Christmas - I'm certain Starbucks is just fine with that. Their profit increase thanks you!

Nov 12, 2015
Are You Using Social Media to Shame Your Children?
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Today’s Single Mom Success Podcast discusses a topic that has really started to bother me lately.

As a parent I completely understand that there are times when our children will push us to our absolute limits. Times when we will be so angry that we have to walk away from them and count to eleventy-billion before we can even think of speaking to them again. Often times this will result in the child being grounded or punished in some form or another.

However, there has been a steady increase over the past few years of parents utilizing social media to dish out what some are calling tough love and others call emotional abuse. Parents who take to Facebook or YouTube and post videos of them basically humiliating their children for all the world to see.

A few years ago you wouldn’t have seen anything like this going on, but it has become a disturbingly recurring subject on my social media feeds. The first one I remember is of a gentleman who had seen his daughter post a letter to him on Facebook basically being a spoiled brat and complaining about having to help around the house. He read her letter on the video and then after talking a bit more to make his point to his daughter he then shot her laptop.

  Yelling at your kids, The Single Mom Blog  

This one actually didn’t bother me so much because he didn’t put his daughter on the screen, he didn’t call her names or try to degrade her – what he did was speak to her in the same fashion that I would my own child if they were being disrespectful. Now personally I wouldn’t have shot the lap top, I would have kept it for my own OR given it away to a child in need of one instead – one who would have appreciated it in a way that his daughter didn’t seem to. But hey, it was his property to do what he wished with.

  Lately though I have seen parents recording videos of their children where they stand them up with signs stating what they did wrong, yelling at them and even calling them names. Degrading them on camera and then posting in online for the whole world to see and comment on.     bullies, The Single Mom Blog  

It appears to just keep getting worse, almost as if it is some kind of sick contest to see which parent can out do the other or get the most likes on their videos/posts. They seem to thrive on those who give them positive feedback as if the need the validation that they are ‘doing the right thing‘ by treating their children like that. I understand wanting to give your child tough love and feeling like the only way to get through to them is with extreme measures but this? This is something that I simply do not understand or condone.

The internet is FOREVER people. Once you post something online you can’t ever take it back. These poor kids will have this potentially haunting them forever. Other kids may see what was posted online and use it to further embarrass or degrade them. Basically these parents have turned into the type of person that we try and protect our children from.

Think about it, if someone else was recording your child being teased, bullied or embarrassed and posted it online as a parent you would be mad as hell about it. For some reason though these parents have justified doing these things to their kids because they are the parent – which doesn’t actually justify it because AS parents we should be better than that.  

What kind of example are you setting as a parent by doing this to your child? You are showing them that it is ok to degrade and embarrass others. We live in a society now where when our children witness injustices or bullying they now take out their phones to record it rather than actually stepping in and helping. For example when this kid was beating up a blind kid. A BLIND KID! – there was a group of children just standing and watching while another was recording the whole thing. Thankfully another kid stepped in to help the blind teen who was being attacked.

As parents though maybe if we stop using video and social media to ‘punish‘ our children and teach them it’s okay to embarrass and degrade others then MAYBE they will not in turn think they can do it to others. So please for the love of your children, stop using social media as a platform to embarrass your children into submission. Try grounding them, taking away every piece of electronic equipment they have, make them do community service ANYTHING other than social shaming.

Nov 03, 2015
Consignment Sales Are a HUGE Money Saver!
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As a single mother I am always looking for various ways to save money and one of my biggest expenses is clothing for my kids. Especially with how quickly my daughter is growing. As a baby she was growing out of her clothes every few months it seemed.

So when I found out about a local consignment sale I was very excited to see what that was all about. I had looked into consignment stores in the past, where you take your items in and they stay at the store until someone comes in and buys them – but I was never really a fan. There is no guarantee of if there will be customers coming in and where will your items be stored or displayed?  And on top of that, how long will it take for my items to sell (if they ever sell at all)?

  Consignment-sale-3

So when one day I found the ad for the Denver Just Between Friends sale I became very interested. JBF is a franchise that runs consignment sales across the country where people can buy and sell gently used items twice per year. (Other locations may have sales more often – I can only speak to the Denver sale on frequency.)

The very first time I logged into their site I was very impressed with the way they ran the sale and decided that I would try it out and have participated in every sale since!

Here are the top 5 reasons I love consignment sales.

 

1. Quality, gently used clothes at a fraction of the cost

     

Let’s face it, kids are expensive! Especially when they are growing out of everything you buy them in record time. Things that I bought my daughter new for Christmas or new school clothes would be too tight or too short within months of getting them for her. So having to constantly renew her wardrobe became extremely costly. The consignment sale I go to allows me to get her ‘new to her’ clothing at 1/3 of what I would pay at the stores, sometimes even less than that!

AND half the time there are clothes there from places I would NEVER actually shop at myself. I have gotten clothes from the GAP, Baby Phat, Children’s Place, Justice and more – and at prices that I can actually afford. (I refuse to pay $20 for a shirt that my daughter will grow out of in 6 months). I found 2 pair of practically new jeans on a hanger selling for $5. $5 for TWO pair of jeans!

The clothes are in great condition and at the low prices I can even afford to buy a size up just in case she has another growth spurt. Last sale I purchased 64 items at a total of $145. That is roughly $2.25 per item – know anywhere else you can get jeans for less than $3?

        Consignment clothes Consignement Sale Brand New Shoes      

2. Clearing out items from our home

For years I was holding on to my daughter’s highchair, crib, play pen and stroller. They were just sitting there in our garage. I had tried to sell them at garage sales with no success and those items you can no longer donate to the Good Will due to recalls and such – they don’t have the desire to check for recalled items. I couldn’t bring myself to just throw them away because it is just wasteful and horrible for the environment. AND I didn’t have any friends who were having babies that I could give them to.

So when I discovered this sale I thought hey I can just take them there. On my very first sale I was finally able to sell all of those items that had just been sitting there for so long. I made a pretty good amount of money from them too, definitely more than I could have made at a garage sale or selling them on Craigslist.

Every year, twice a year, when the sale rolls around I go through all of the clothing that my children no longer fit in, the toys they no longer play with, the books they no longer read, movies they no longer watch and I take them to the sale. Instead of throwing things away or simply giving them away I am getting the opportunity to make some money back from all those things that I have bought and paid for over the years. AND the clothes that I bought from the sale that my daughter grows out of – you guessed it – they go right back to the sale (provided they are still in good condition).

       

3. Meeting great people and other moms

The Just Between Friends sale also rely on a lot of volunteer help from those who consign or shop with them. Because it is a sale of such a grand scale they need a lot of help setting up, breaking down, checking out, and so on. So every sale I not only consign and shop but I also volunteer. Now at the Denver sale when you volunteer for certain shifts or to do certain things (like bring dinner or help advertise the sale) you get perks – like a pre-shopping pass or something like that, where you can shop early before the masses arrive.

Also, when you consign and volunteer you get an additional percentage from the sale of your items. So typically a consignor would get 60% from the sale of their items, but when you volunteer for certain shifts you can also earn an additional 10% from your sales. Which is great!

But one of the things that I love most about volunteering for the sale is the opportunity to meet some great people. Other moms and such, little ones who come with their parents to the sale. It’s a really fun time and I always enjoy it. I have met some really great ladies at these sales.

(Another perk of volunteering is that you will usually walk A LOT. So you get a fair amount of exercise as well. Last sale I walked over 13,000 steps in a 6 hour period.)

 

4. Getting the clothing for my kids for FREE

FREE? Yep, basically for free and sometimes even at a profit! I know, I know that sounds a bit crazy but hear me out.

For my very first JBF sale I consigned a TON of items, piles of clothes, toys that hadn’t been taken out of the toy box in years, movies, books and of course my daughter’s baby items. I also shopped for new clothes for her, basically replacing her entire Spring/Summer wardrobe because she had grown out of everything over the winter months.

I found a TON of clothes for her, in all honesty I went a little bit overboard and ended up with about 85 items of clothing. However, those 85 items of clothing only cost me $165 so all in all not too shabby! Now here’s where it gets really good – in that first sale after everything was tallied up I earned $258 from the items I sold.

So $258 – $165 = $93 in PROFIT after purchasing new clothes, so basically I got a whole new wardrobe for my daughter without spending a cent, in fact I earned money. How amazing is that? To be able to buy new clothing for your child without it impacting your budget? In fact having it HELP your budget. Pretty great right. Now I will say that these results aren’t always the case, but for the better part I usually earn more than I spend at every sale.

        Rows of clothing      

5. Our things still get donated

So for years and years before I found out about this sale I would simply donate everything that my kids outgrew. That way there wouldn’t be a waste, I knew that it would go to help others get clothing either for free or at a low price AND it didn’t do harm to the environment by simply throwing things away. I still do donate items that don’t make the cut for the sale (things that have small stains on them or tiny holes, books with writing on them etc.) but for the most part everything goes to the sale.

The last thing about this sale that I want to mention, that I also absolutely love, is that if you wish you can tell them that any items that do not sell at the sale you want them to donate. And THEY will take them to be donated for you. So not only are you given the chance to possibly make some money back on items that you have bought for your children, you can also still donate them should they not be picked up at the sale.

You can also choose to not donate if you want to pick the items back up once the sale is over. Many people do that and then just bring them to the next sale to try again and sell the things that didn’t sell last time. Which is great for some people as well. Personally I just donate anything that didn’t sell, that way I don’t bring the things BACK into my house and I am hopefully doing some good as well.

 

And there you have it, the Top 5 Reasons that I love consignment sales. Now if you are interested in finding out more about the Just Between Friends sale you can click here and see if there is one in your area.

Also I highly recommend listening to the podcast that I did about the sale as it has some helpful tips on how to get ready for the sale, things that I have learned about the sale and so on.

Oct 19, 2015
Stop Sending Your Sick Child To School! (It's Not That Simple)
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Recently one of my lovely children brought home a nasty little bug that they happily spread around to our entire family, not once but twice! Yep that little germ decided that it was having such a good time making us feel yucky that it stuck around for a second round of phlegmy shenanigans.

Now I am fairly certain that this pesky germ was introduced to our family from one of their friends from school. There have been a multitude of sick kids in my daughter’s class as well as at my sons’ high school; children are just little walking petri dishes. This is normally where you see people posting about how people should keep their sick kids home so they don’t make everyone else sick. If you were expecting that kind of a rant then you should stop reading at this point.

 

I am not one of those people who will complain about people sending their kids to school sick, because I have in fact in the past sent my children to school sick. Yep, I have dosed my child with cough  medicine and Tylenol and sent them on their not-so-merry ways all the while hoping that they remember to cover their mouths when they cough and to wash their hands.

Now, before you start going into spastic fits of parental outrage, let me explain why I did so and why I do not fault other parents for doing the same.

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to stay home when their children get sick. 

Wait – did I just say ‘luxury’? Yes – luxury. While it may not seem like it at the time, while you are wiping snotty noses and faces, trying to keep fevers down or holding back hair while your child pukes up everything they just ate – it is in fact a luxury to be able to do these things.

        Sick child boy lying in bed

You see the reason that I don’t judge or get angry at those parents who send their children to school still fighting off whatever germy has happened to infect them that week is because I know that not everyone can afford or are able to take time off to stay home with their child when they are sick.

As a single mother there were many times when I knew that if I called in again because my child was sick I would likely lose my job. There were times when I knew that if I took any more time off to stay home with my little one I wouldn’t earn enough on that check to make the rent or pay the light bill.

        Stressed-over-bills

Many parents out there, both single and two parent households, are just one unexpected bill or one missed day of work away from not making it. As a single parent my budget was always extremely tight and many times I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. So when I had to miss work because my child was sick, it caused a huge problem with my finances.

Not everyone gets sick time. Not everyone has a significant other who can pick up extra hours to cover what you weren’t able to work. Not everyone has another parent that can tag team and stay home while you go back to work. So when I say ‘luxury’ of being able to stay home – that is exactly what it is.

Working from home allows me that luxury of being able to still earn a living while my child is home sick. I am able to take care of them AND still work. Not everyone can do that, and not that long ago I couldn’t either. So yes, I was one of those parents who sent their child to school sick just praying that they would be able to make it through the day, because I couldn’t afford to lose my pay OR even possibly my job.

 

And YES I am aware that if people didn’t send their children to school sick, other kids would be less likely to get sick as well. However, even if every child who was sick stayed home and didn’t go to school – they would STILL get sick. I mean let’s be real here, the only way to keep kids from catching things is to isolate them and put them in a bubble.

They’re gonna play with their friends, they are gonna touch a surface with germs on it – hell for a period of time my son would lick everything he came across. (Yes, I know it’s gross – he’s a boy and I couldn’t watch him every second.) And here’s the other thing – for most children getting sick every now and again is a good thing. It’s how they develop stronger immune systems, their bodies need to learn how to fight off germs and they do that by catching the germs.

 

Which is one of the reasons that my children have not gotten the flu shot for the last several years. Now don’t start jumping all over me again – I am not anti-vaccine, I believe all children should have their shots for all the biggies – measles, mumps, polio, etc. However, the flu shot is not something that I feel they need every year – but there are some who have lower immune systems, poor respiratory health and so on for whom the flu could actually be fatal. For those people it is VERY important that they get the flu shot, because it could save their lives.

My children DID get the flu shot when they were infants and toddlers when their immune systems were still young and getting the flu would possibly be fatal, however now they are older and do not get the shot. Neither do I. And we have yet to catch the flu. We don’t get sick often and when we do it takes a pretty super-bug to knock us down (like the one we recently had) but even that doesn’t knock us down for too long. (Before this last bug hit us it had been almost 2 years since any of us were sick with a cold.)

        Vaccines - DTP  

I also am not an over-sanitizer, I don’t make them sanitize their hands every 15 minutes, I don’t wipe down the grocery carts at the store, I don’t carry bottles of hand sanitizer in my purse. I’m pretty sure that I lived through a childhood without various forms of hand sanitizer just fine and my children are too.

I truly believe that the reason that my children aren’t sick as often as other children is BECAUSE they have been exposed to, AND survived mind you, other sick kids and germs. Your child getting sick every now and again is NOT the end of the world, it really isn’t. Now for some children who do have weakened immune systems or other health problems, I know that being around other sick kids is more serious than for other kids. However, if they are in school there will sadly never be a way for them to not be exposed to germs, again – little walking petri dishes.

      Child Blowing His Nose

 

So while I understand that no one wants their kids to get sick and feel miserable, maybe stop and take a moment to realize that when parents do send their children to school sick aren’t doing it to purposefully infect your children, but because maybe they don’t have another option available to them. I’m sure that every parent in the world would like to be able to take as much time as needed to get their babies healthy again before returning them to academia, but not everyone can.

 

So the next time you find yourself complaining about ‘those parents‘ that let their child infect your child while at school, try stopping to realize that you don’t know that parent’s story or why they allowed their child to go to school sick. Maybe show a little compassion and realize that other parents aren’t deliberately sabotaging your child – maybe they just didn’t have any other option.

Oct 13, 2015
How To Deal With Parent Shaming
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You hear all the time about things like fat shaming and body shaming and all those horrible instances of one person making another person feel bad about themselves. Recently a woman named Nicole Arbour gained a great deal of infamy due to her "Fat Shaming" video where she basically insulted overweight people everywhere. Now I understand that she felt that it was a bit of satire, which I almost always enjoy, however it was done in very poor taste and while MAYBE her intentions were to give some 'tough love' to people who struggle with their weight it ended up simply pissing a lot of people off. (I will not be posting a link to the video because it is really quite offensive - but I'm sure you can find it if you really want to search for it.)

But this brought up a topic that I have found to be a huge problem in the parenting community.

Parent Shaming

And by parent shaming, I am talking about those individuals - be they parents or not - whom feel that they need to make another person feel bad about their style of parenting, or the choices that they are making as a parent. I'm talking about the lady in line at the supermarket who takes a look at your toddler sitting in the buggy and tells you that you really should buy one of those buggy covers so your child doesn't get any weird germs on them. Or the person who a few years back took one look at my son having a meltdown in the middle of Target and told me that I should really learn to discipline my child. Not knowing that my son had a traumatic brain injury and was having this melt down because the seams of his socks were bothering him and he couldn't take his shoes off until we got to the car or that the Halloween costumes scare the living daylights out of him and so he freaked out because he went into sensory overload and couldn't handle it. (Yes we had multiple incidents of people telling me how horribly my son was behaving in the store).

Now it used to be that these incidents of parent shaming were simply a local thing, something you only had to deal with in your local store, or home, or school or playground, but with today's social media platforms you now can be shamed by the entire WORLD for your parenting choices! Isn't that just freakin' fabulous!

Recently this became more national news due to celebrities like David Beckham, who was criticized becuase his 4 year old had a pacifier in her mouth. Many went after him stating that it was wrong, and he shut them down rather brilliantly if you read the article that was linked here.

David Beckham, Parent Shaming and The Single Mom Blog

My son had sensory issues and needed a pacifier to sleep until he was almost 5, because it calmed him and helped him feel secure. Is he unbalanced now because of it? NO. Does he have dental issues? A little but nothing that braces won't fix. Did having a 'binkie' to help comfort him enough so that he could sleep when nothing else would work cause him irreversible damage? NO!

Then just a few short months later Alyssa Milano took on fire for a throw back picture that she posted nursing her child on her daughter's birthday. It was a beautiful picture of her nursing her baby in the hospital after she was born - I have one JUST LIKE IT. I am certain that most mothers do.

However, because she is a celebrity and posted it on social media she was attacked in droves by people outraged that she would post pictures of her nursing. To be fair she also received a TON of support but come on people - why is this such a problem? I mean it is a natural and wonderful thing and if people want to post a picture of it, who cares! And it seems that Alyssa feels the same way, her response was EPIC.

"Milano says she doesn’t understand why her images draw negative reactions, but Miley Cyrus‘ VMAs nipple slip garnered little attention.

“Everyone’s fine with her nipples being out,” she explains. “I think people are more comfortable sexualizing breasts than relating them to what they were made for, which is feeding another human.”

Now these are just a few of the more recent and 'famous' instances of parent shaming but it happens to everyday normal people all the time.

Breast or Bottle Feed

Cloth or Disposable Diapers

Helicopter Parents or Free Range Parents (Yes I'm aware it makes it sound like I am talking about chickens). Speaking of helicopter parenting - if you haven't seen this you have to watch it. The Holderness Family made a hysterical video about hovering parents. It's AWESOME!

But all kidding aside, it seems that it has just become standard for people to feel like they have every right to tell another person the best way to raise their children. I run into this a LOT with my son due to him being special needs, and the way I have learned to deal with it is simple: I remember that they are coming from a different place than I am. They don't know everything there is to know about my child, they can't possibly understand it - not really. So when someone tries to shame me for the way I parent, or the way my son behaves I simply remind myself that they can only see from their point of view, they can't see from mine - and no matter what I say or do they never will REALLY be able to. And with that understanding comes a level of acceptance for me and I don't take it personally.

I will say though that many times when I get parenting advice from other parents with special needs children it is ACTUALLY in the form of advice and not presented in a way where they are shaming my parenting style. It comes from a more "Oh your son won't stop licking the walls, yeah I've been there and here's what worked for my kid." place rather than one where they are telling me that my son should be in therapy and I must clearly be wrong for not putting him there.

Now I do realize that there are many times where safety becomes an issue in this discussion and that presents differently because it isn't about making the other parent feel bad it's about protecting the child. I personally have to deal with a situation where the other parent and his new wife have a very clear drinking problem. In this case, yes I am going to step in and say something about that when it comes to parenting our child because it effects our child in a very negative and unsafe way. But let's be clear - there is a huge difference in what kind of diapers a child wears and whether or not it's ok to slam a 6 pack and then drive my daughter around. In that case it's not a matter of shaming but rather a matter of safety. The same would apply for a parent who had a drug dependency or was abusive - that's not shaming the other parent - it's keeping your child safe from potential physical and emotional harm.

That being said, it would be really amazing if we would stop trying to make others feel that they are wrong for these minor little things when it comes to parenting. I mean in all reality we are all just trying to do the best we can to raise our babies to be good people with as little dysfunction as possible right? Now whether that means they wore cloth or disposable diapers or were nursed or not nursed in the end does it really matter if they have good childhoods? Why as parents can't we just allow others to parent the best way they know how and just give each other a big 'ol high five for surviving the process at all?! And if your child is SAFE, healthy and happy - then you are winning the fight and no one should try to make you feel bad because of that.

Here is the most recent Single Mom Success Podcast where I discuss this topic further! I hope you enjoy and please let me know if you have ever experienced Parent Shaming and how you dealt with it.

Sep 14, 2015
Yes, Giving Up Can Actually Increase Your Happiness
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 Don't give up!

 Never give up!

 Don't quit!

 We constantly hear this in our lives. That you should never give up on anything, that you should keep fighting, keep working hard, keep pushing if you want to get ahead in life, if you want to be happy, if you want the outcome that you desire you CAN'T QUIT!

Sometimes when you let go or give up on something that has been causing you so much stress and unhappiness it allows you to be open to new experiences, more positive and happy experiences. Staying in a situation that continues to cause you misery simply because you don't want to give up, or feel like you failed is not good for you. 
 In this weeks podcast I go into this a little more in depth. 

 


Sep 07, 2015
My Weight Loss Struggle - Are There Ways to Lose Weight Quickly?
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I posted a few weeks back that I was going to start on a new challenge: Lose 40 pounds.

Yep – 40!

That’s a lot of weight to lose for me, especially since the last few years I have been packing it on instead of losing weight. I mentioned how I had gained the weight and why it was so hard for me to lose. The biggest reason being that I REALLY like food. That and I had lived a fairly sedentary lifestyle for quite a few years now.

Being parked behind a computer desk for the better part of my day did not do me any favors and then add to that my love of food and you will end up with a pretty significant weight increase.

One of my saving graces is that I am tall, to the weight increase, while pretty intense doesn’t look like a TON of weight gain. However, it is taking a toll on my body for sure. I am tired more easily, don’t have the energy I once did, my knees bother me more than they should and of course my clothes are not comfortable anymore (some flat out don’t fit).

  I'm a quitter

Now over the years I have tried many different ways to lose the weight: Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Weight Loss clinics and more – none of them really working. These programs, while great, didn’t work for me for one simple reason –ME! I give up. I quit. I get bored or frustrated and don’t want to do it any more!

 

I don’t like feeling like I have to starve myself, or feel like I don’t get to eat what I want when I want. I HATE being told what I can and can’t do – and that’s what these diets (ANY diet really) make me feel like. Like I am being told that I can’t eat what I want if I want to be able to lose weight. And so more often than not I will behave myself for weeks and then in a fit of defiance I will gorge on things that I “can’t” have – thus I failed and thus I quit. I figure ‘Well hell I already screwed myself so why not just give up.’

Told you I was a quitter.

Now after I came to terms with this fact and how it was effecting my weight loss I thought to myself there just HAS to be a way for me to do this. And there is – I am making small but measurable changes in my lifestyle. Many of which I found in this article on Health.com in their article ‘16 Ways to Lose Weight Fast

 

In today’s podcast I will review the first 8 of 16 and how I have implemented these in my life.

Are you currently on a weight loss mission too? Do you have some great tips that have helped YOU lose weight? We would love to hear from you in the comments below AND on our Facebook page!

Jul 21, 2015
You Need To Learn to Not Take It Personally
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One of the best books I have ever read is the 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It has brought me a great sense of clarity through my life and helped me get to a better place internally.
Reading this book and learning this concept of not taking things personally really helped me develop a better relationship with myself AND with my ex if you can believe that!

Today's podcast is about remembering not to take things personally and how I had to remember this lesson very recently.


Jul 10, 2015
Surviving Summer Vacation: Using Pinterest to Cure Boredom
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I have to say that I absolutely love summer, it is by far my favorite season. After a Colorado winter (that lasted until late May this year) and a fairly dreary spring - all 2 weeks of it (it's been a weird year weather-wise for us in Colorado)... I am soooo excited to see the sun and be warm finally. I love spending time outside, going to the pool, grilling burgers and brats while drinking the occasional margarita and doing all kinds of fun things with my kiddos.
There are many pros AND cons though to being a work from home mom during the summer.
Jun 05, 2015
Why Getting Fired Was the Best Thing EVER!
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Getting fired was the best thing EVER!

Wait, WHAT?
Yep you heard me; getting fired was the best thing ever.
This podcast is all about how I decided to work from home, my decision to become a VA and how I got started down the path of self-employment. If you have been thinking of working from home and aren't sure if it would be a good fit for you I encourage you to download the free report I created "Is Working At Home For Me? 7 Things to Consider Before Starting A Home Based Business". 




May 28, 2015
Why De-Stressing is So Important and How To Do It
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Today's podcast is all about STRESS and how important it is to find ways, even little ways, to manage it and de-stress - it's better for you and better for your kiddos! 
May 27, 2015
The #1 Thing Single Moms Need to Change To Be Happy
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I know that everyone has bad days, and times when they feel just terrible or are unhappy or sad, and that is normal - again we are human. What is important is that those feelings do not start to take over and become the norm. So in today's podcast I discuss some of the things that you can do to help you get back to your happy place when you find yourself becoming lost...

May 12, 2015
Why I Won't Let My Kids Have Social Media Accounts
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My daughter just turned 8 and my boys will be 15 this year and none of them have a social media account of any kind. They also do not have cell phones.

I have had several people ask my if I worry about stunting them socially, to which I very quickly reply – no.

See what I worry about is my children being influenced by the idiocy that seems more and more previlant in today’s society. I recently saw images on my own Facebook page of young ladies who did physical damage to their faces by trying to plump up their lips. Have you seen this?!?! The Kylie Jenner challenge? Girls (and some guys too) sucking on a jar or glass until their lips are swollen, basically trying to get the plump lip look that this woman has. It’s asinine! And it is causing damage to people’s faces. Seriously?!?! Who decided this was a good idea? You can see an article done about this here.
May 04, 2015
Making Sure They Know They Are Loved!
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WARNING! THIS PODCAST IS ABOUT A SERIOUS TOPIC AND MAY BE HARD TO LISTEN TO.


Last week I received some horrible news. News that I hoped that I would never hear. A young girl, someone I had seen grow up and had been very close to, passed away. She died at the age of 21, not quite making it to her 22nd birthday.
Today's podcast is not a happy one. It is not funny or sweet, but it is something that I feel is so very important. Making sure that our children know, TRULY know, how much they are loved is important. Whether they are getting straight A's in school or are grounded for breaking curfew... they need to always know. Because I have seen what can happen when they don't...

And if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please please find the help that you or they need. It is an awful disease that kills people, breaks up families, destroys lives... and most importantly causes major trauma for the children in our lives.

Visit Recovery.org for help.


Apr 29, 2015
Are You Creating a State of Overwhelm?
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As a single mother I believe that there are many different things that contribute to feeling overwhelmed. It's not just the fact that we are single parents, there are often more contributing factors than that. The first one being that we feel like we have to be all and do all... that there is no one else to do it so we have to be the one to make it all happen. It's up to us to keep 8 million balls up in the air at all times. And we can't ever drop any. Ever. That's a lot of pressure to put ourselves under.



The next thing that adds to the state of overwhelm is expectations. Having expectations that are not realistic can lead to a feeling of overwhelm because you aren't meeting them. Trying to live up to some idealistic idea of what a mother should be doing or how your house should look or the things you should have accomplished is going to always make you feel like you aren't doing enough. That you aren't enough. And it will often cause you to try and do more and more than you are able to at this moment. Some days I can do a million different things and be completely successful at them all. Some days the only success I have had is getting the laundry out of the wash and into the dryer before it starts to smell. I realized long ago that I would never be June Cleaver - and I'm totally ok with that.

There are many other factors that contribute to that feeling of overwhelm and in today's podcast I discuss how we can create those feelings by setting unhealthy or unrealistic expectations on ourselves. By not accepting help when available or offered... and more.

 


Apr 14, 2015
Why CAN'T I Love Being a Single Mom?
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There is a lovely woman who's blog posts I follow because she is on the same mission as I am to help and empower other single moms in the world. I have chatted with her online a few times and really think she is fantastic. I enjoy reading her articles and the things that she puts out because they align so much with my thoughts and mission for single moms. However, recently she posted an article on her blog that I fully disagreed with and to be honest got my back up a little bit.

Originally when I saw her post "I Love Being a Single Mom" - I thought to myself oh great I can't wait to hear why she loves being a single mom, because I know I do... the article was not what I thought it would be at all! She starts off the article saying she hates it when people say that they love being a single mom because they are in denial.

DENIAL!?!

I am in denial stating that I am happy being a single mom and that I love it? Um... I don't think so.

Basically she states in her article that if we were truly honest with ourselves we would admit that we want to have a relationship with someone, that we aren't really happy with our lives or we can't possibly love our lives as a single mom because we don't have a man.

Excuse me your honor but I object!

Today's bonus podcast discusses why I actually DO LOVE LOVE LOVE



being a single mom and my differing opinion on this article. You can find the article written by Jessica Rector on The Single Mom Movement by clicking here. Once again, I do love most of what she puts out and think she is a fantastic woman but on this particular topic, we definitely do not see eye to eye. (Doesn't mean she's not awesome though.)

Apr 10, 2015
Baby Mama Drama - Are You Guilty of It?
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Ok let's be honest ladies, baby mama drama - are you guilty of it? Have there been times when you made more of an issue than needed? I know that I have been guilty of it many times! After many years of working on myself and how I deal with my ex I found a few things that I believe were at the root of my personal baby mama drama....

1. I was still hurt/angry - causing me to want to lash out

2. Ego - the belief that I knew more than him, was a better parent than him

3. Other people's input - allowing others to cause drama in our relationship as parents

In today's podcast I dive into how these things increased the drama that I was bringing into our co-parenting relationship....

Have you ever caused drama? Have you been guilty of it? Have you been able to realize when you were causing more drama than needed and were able to adjust?

Like it or not, if your ex is involved with your child's life then you will always need to have a relationship of some kind with them - wouldn't it be nice if it was at the very least civil? And let's face it, we already have enough drama in our lives to bring any more into it.

Apr 07, 2015
12 Ways to Deal with Toxic People
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Learning how to deal with toxic people, or simply cutting them out of my life completely, has been one of the best ways that I have improved my life as a single mom.



We all have those people in our lives that just suck the life right out of us! Whether it is our ex, our mother, or friends and co-workers... there is always those few people who are just draining to be around. Or worse the ones that push our buttons on a regular basis in order to bring us into their misery.

Today's podcast discusses several ways that were identified in this article on Entrepreneur.com - '12 Ways Successful People Handle Toxic People' written by Travis Bradberry. I happened to stumble across this article today on my Facebook feed and I simply LOVE it.

I decided to go into a bit more depth on how I believe his points relate to me as a single mom and the people in my life. I had to learn in order to be successful I needed to distance myself from those who were toxic AND how to not turn into one of those people myself!

Mar 23, 2015
Treat Your Ex As an Equal (Even If It Kills You)
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Do you always feel like you are gearing up for battle any time you face the possibility of dealing with your ex? Do you always argue? Is it a constant power struggle with him? If so you may need to take a look at the way that YOU treat your ex. Sometimes we need to analyze the way that we treat others and how that in turn causes them to treat us.

How can we build a good co-parenting relationship with our ex when we are always arguing? Well sometimes we have to take the high road and change the way we react, talk to and relate to our ex's in order to develop those relationships. Today's podcast dives into why this is so important and how to figure out what we can do to start treating our ex's as equals...yes I said equals, even if it kills us!

It took me quite a while to realize when I was overstepping as a parent and treating him like he was less of a person/parent because he wasn't living up to my standards and how that was causing more problems than there needed to be. It also wasn't fair to our daughter....

Today's Single Mom Success podcast talks about how changing the way that I treated my ex helped us form a better, more civil, co-parenting relationship.

Mar 16, 2015
Hitting The Reset Button
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Ever have a day that starts out bad and just gets worse from there? Ever wish that there was a reset button?

Well THERE IS!

It may not be a real button but being able to hit the reset button in my house is something that has helped my family stop being so angry and frustrated all the time. Now we are able to work through the things that have upset up and then reset out day from there.

Being able to reset your day is crucial to your success! Let's face it, no one wants to be angry all day, or frustrated all day... we all want to be happy. We strive for calm and peace in our lives and that has to start from within. You can't run around screaming "WE'RE GONNA BE HAPPY DAMMIT!!!" and expect people to actually be happy.

Today's Single Mom Success podcast talks about why we use the 'reset' button and how it has helped our family.

Mar 09, 2015
Change Is In The Air!
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"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves." - Viktor E. Frankl

This weeks podcasts focuses on one of the keys to creating your own success. Change.

It's often a very hard thing to do but one of the things that I have found in the last few years is that being able to change the way I deal with things, the way I view things and the way I handle things has brought about a large amount of my success.

Being able to realize that we may not be able to control the things that happen to us or around us but we can control how we deal with them. And if we allow the world to dictate how we feel and react then we will never be able to change our lives for the better. Changing is important in order to move forward in life.

Feb 24, 2015
Why I DON'T Hate Valentine's Day
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Valentine's Day seems to be quite an ordeal for many single moms. I see many posts in my Facebook and Twitter feeds and even hear it from my friends. They hate Valentine's Day because they are alone. I have never had that problem. I love being single and so when Valentine's Day rolls around I'm ok with being alone. I think that so many of us tend to hang our happines on whether or not we have a significant other. Why? Why should one day make you feel bad? Maybe I am crazy but I don't feel that way. In this episode I talk about how I feel about Valentine's Day and how society has turned what would normally be just a regular old day into a day where many women feel like crap. Simply because they are single.

Feb 12, 2015
Single Mom Success 002 - Forgive yourself?
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Recently there was a post on a single mom Facebook group where the mom said "I just realized that I never forgave myself for being a single mom." and that comment really struck me as odd. This comment made me really want to dive into why anyone would feel the need to forgive themselves for being a single parent. Is it forgiveness that is needed, or acceptance? I don't feel the need to be forgiven by anyone for being a single mother so this idea really had me confused. Do they feel guilty for being a single mother? Why would they need to be forgiven?

Jan 26, 2015
Single Mom Success 001 - Intro and Nice to Meet You
2017
Heather Wells the founder of Single Mom Success School starts out her podcasting with a quick intro of who she is and how she became a single mom of three amazing children. Parenting twin boys with special needs and a little girl with advanced abilities and the challenges that can bring. What her vision is and how she hopes to help other single moms out there stop struggling and start building their own success! The podcasts will help educate, inform, inspire and help single moms.


Jan 12, 2015