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Posts Tagged ‘Single Moms’

As a single mom, I look to save money in every area. I buy items I REALLY want on eBay for a lot less than I would pay in the store. Items like Mary Kay, Hanna Andersson outfits I want for Grace, CD’s, etc.

I also shop clearance racks a lot, I’m always amazed at what I can find on Clearance at Target and Gymboree. I was able to get some of Grace’s school uniform shirts on the clearance rack at GYMBOREE for $3.21! You just can’t beat that.

My other favorite place to save money is at the thrift store. I am always amazed at what I find there. Grace and I call it “treasure hunting” I’ve found her American Girl dolls, Hanna Andersson outfits (that look like new) recently, I found for myself a pair of Born Sandals and a pair of Uggs. Seriously, they were like $7.99 each, and both looked like new. I also found several pairs of capris for myself for this summer (last years are way too big…YEA!!!!) You just never know what you’re going to find at a thrift store. I have way too much fun in them.

Another place I go to save money is a liquidation outlet in our area. This place has food, clothes, toys, household items…..you name it. Most of it is name brand and is very inexpensive. I got myself some Calvin Klein summer tops the other day for $8.99. They are super comfy and I love them, especially for $8.99.

I try to stock up on things we need in the future when they’re on sale now. I have a rubbermaid bins in the garage that have all of Grace’s winter clothes for next winter already and dress and tennis shoes for her in the next 3 sizes she’ll need. All of them are items that I’ve found on clearance dirt cheap or are items that look almost new that I found at thrift stores.

Plus, I love putting clothes in her closet at season change, looking at the tags and saying to myself, I still can’t believe I only paid $3.99 for those shoes!

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Everyone wants to be a good parent, right?  But how many really think they are?  How many single parents really think they’re doing a good job at parenting?

I’m always looking for ways to be a better mom to Grace.  Twice in the last few weeks I’ve heard “Beth, you’re such a great mom.” from friends of mine.  When I hear that, my brain kinda goes “huh?” Don’t get me wrong,  It’s not that I think I’m a bad parent, but do I think I’m a really good parent?

I always feel guilty that I don’t have as much time to spend with Grace as I’d like to.  I feel guilty because I don’t do as many activities with her as I’d like to.  Here are some of the things we do together:

*Walk the dog.  I really like this one because not only do we get to spend time together, but I get in some much needed exercise.

*Go to lunch together.  This is so much fun.  Grace picks the place and we have a great time just eating lunch together.

*Play games.  She loves activity books and games.  Last week at dinner, I got out some addition flash cards and told her it was a “mystery game” and that we had to use the clues to figure out the answers.  We used a box of colored pencils to help us with the clues.  So if the card said 8+3, she counted out 8 colored pencils and then counted out 3 more and then counted all of them together.  She LOVED this “game”

*Bake together.  Grace is an EXPERT egg cracker.  Whenever we make something, she gets to crack the eggs.  She loves stirring and pouring things in, plus it’s just tons of fun to bake together.

*Watch a movie.  I’m not a big TV person, but once in awhile, Grace and I will get ready for bed and snuggle up to watch a movie before going to sleep.  She loves it when I’m doing nothing else but rubbing her back and paying attention to her.

Good parenting isn’t just the things you do together, but it’s also how you handle situations the require discipline.

I have to tell you that this stage is the best one yet.  I didn’t think I’d make it through the twos.  The threes were rough, but MUCH better than the twos.  The fours are just so much fun.  I’m finding that with each stage, I have less discipline to take care of.  I think it’s because I had to do SO much work during the twos stage, it’s starting to pay off.

I think one of the biggest things were working on right now is her attitude.  Grace can get a bad attitude in a split second.  I told her yesterday that she had to the count of three to change her attitude or she’d have to go to her room…..amazing, the attitude changed.

A few months ago, her room was becoming unbearable.  I was cleaning it at least three times a day.  I know she’s still little, but I told her that she had to start keeping her room clean, so we made a “clean room chart”  that had the days of the week on it and a spot for a sticker by each day.  I told her that if her room was clean at night before she went to bed, she’d get a sticker for the day and then once she had 7 stickers, I’d take her to Kid’s Fun Center.  (It’s a kids dream come true.  Lots of slides, trampolines, ball pits, climbing stuff.  Basically an indoor playland.)   Well guess what?  The girl who couldn’t keep her room clean had it cleaned up every night for 7 nights THE FIRST WEEK we used the chart!!!!  She still keeps it much cleaner than it was before we implemented the chart.  Now instead of cleaning it 3-4 times a day, I only have to do a once a week clean up in there to really straighten everything up.  Other than that, she keeps it clean 🙂

The other thing I’m working on diligently this year is not yelling.  I began to see that yelling is a vicious cycle.  You child pushes you until you yell at them, then they react.  Pretty soon, they only act when you yell at them, and beside that, it’s just not worth it to get all riled up and get your child upset too.  So, I’m trying very hard to be patient, take a deep breath, and make things fun instead of a battle.  The other day, she was really, really pushing me.  I asked her to do something and she was being very sassy.  I asked her again and again, she was sassy.  I looked at her and said in a calm voice “Grace, you are making mommy very angry right now.  I’ve asked you to put your jacket away. You’re not doing it and you’re being sassy about it.  I’m about to yell at you and I don’t want to, so please go put your jacket away.”  She just looked at me and said “oh, ok Mama, I’ll go do it.”  And she did!  It made me very happy that I maintained my calm, and that she didn’t want to make me angry, didn’t want me to yell, so she obeyed.  Those moments are priceless.

Parenting to me is a constant analyzing process.  I’m constantly analyzing her behavior.  What is it that we need to work on?  I don’t expect her to be perfect or to work on it all at one time, but I also know my child isn’t a complete angel.  She has areas that she needs to work on.  I also analyze how to work on her behavior.  What worked or didn’t work in the past?  What can we do differently so that I’m not using the same methods over and over?  Grace loves rewards.  Whether it’s a day at Kid’s Fun Center, a dollar, picking where we get to eat lunch, choosing an inexpensive item when we go to the store, she just loves rewards.

Honestly, I see her behavior improve the most when I take time out of my schedule and we spend time together.  I think that sometimes she gets sassy or acts up because what she really wants is my attention, she wants to spend time together.

I also pray and ask God to show me how to be a better parent.  I ask Him for wisdom, ideas, solutions.  He is the Master when it comes to parenting, who better is there to ask for parenting advice from?

So, if your child pushes you to the limit, or acts up…..don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Being a single parent is tough stuff, but with a little creativity, analyzing, prayer, and patience, you can do it.

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OK, I’m going to tell you something about me that I have never liked.

I have dark circles under my eyes.

I can’t stand them.  They’re hereditary, so they’re VERY difficult to get rid of and once I feel like I have them under control, they pop back up again at a moment’s notice.

I’ve tried everything.  I’ve tried putting cold cucumber slices on my eyes, I’ve tried those cold packs you put in the freezer and put on your eyes.  I’ve tried getting more sleep (good luck on that one 🙂  I’ve tried concealers, foundations, powders, anything I can think of.

The best thing so far is just making sure I get enough sleep, but the problem is that if I don’t get enough sleep just ONE night, there they are again and it takes days, even weeks to get them back under control.

I’ve finally resorted to trying a cream.  It’s from AVON.  I decided to try it when I saw it in the catalog because I’ve found a few really good products that work exactly like they’re supposed to from AVON, so I went ahead and ordered it.  It’s called ANEW Reversalist Illuminating Eye System.  It’s supposed to clear up dark circles in 3 weeks.

I’ve been using it for 4 days, and I really see a difference, so I’m hoping this will be another great product from AVON for me.  I’m so glad because having dark circles under my eyes is embarrassing.  I feel like it makes me look like I have sleeping problems or I’m too stressed out when I have them.  Neither of those are true, but I don’t want people looking at me thinking “that poor single mom, look at the dark circles under her eyes.”  I’ll let you know if this product is a winner in my book.

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Well, 2010 is off to a good start so far.  Here’s what’s happening around here……

I’m as busy as ever teaching piano lessons, cleaning out closets (and selling what I’m getting rid of on ebay 🙂

Grace is doing FANTASTIC in preschool this year and in piano lessons.  She LOVES piano lessons, and picks up on it quickly which is a real relief for me.  (We’re using the “Music for Little Mozart’s” series from Alfred’s and she’s just moving right along!)

I’m about to add to my lengthy to do list…….drum roll please……..

I’m going to take Violin lessons!!!  I told the teacher that I can only do a lesson every other week so that I actually have TIME to practice.  I’m not exactly sure HOW or WHERE that’s going to fit into our schedule, but I really want to learn to play another instrument.

As of this morning I have 9 LBS left to go…..I can hardly believe it!  It seems like I’ve been trying to lose this baby weight FOREVER.  I’ve only been working on it seriously for the last year and a half and the end is in sight!!!

We’ve added taking a walk on Saturday mornings to our routine and we’re having a lot of fun with it.  I don’t like to exercise, but I always tell myself that a little bit of exercise is better than none!

On a side note, I bought a label maker a few weeks ago, and Grace just LOVES it.  She wants a label maker of her own and only told me that like 300 times last Saturday, so I told her that I will buy her a label maker of her own when she can spell 100 words that are 4 letters long or longer 😉

She is so strong willed that she’s taking me up on the challenge!  She has to come up with 92 more words she can spell and the label maker is hers.  This is what happens when you speak before you think about the fact that you’re sending your child to a preschool where they work on the sounds of letters…You end up buying a label maker……..she amazes me.  Here is her list so far:

*Sock
*Great
*Plan
*Plane (She spelled plan and I told her if she added an “e” it would be plane, so she said, “OK, I’ll add an “e” and she spelled it again with an “e” on the end!)
*Clock
*Love
*Stop
*Soup

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I know it’s been awhile since I blogged regularly…….it’s the last thing on my mind during the holidays, but I thought I’d give you an update on my progress with losing weight in 2009.

I started at Thanksgiving of 2008 with managing my food intake. For me, that meant smaller portions, drinking water, not sodas, no french fries, grilled chicken instead of crispy chicken and cutting back on snacks, sweets, etc.

I started taking green tea pills as an antioxidant, they really seemed to help with weight loss.

I struggle with exercising consistently and I don’t like to go to the gym to work out, so I tell myself that a little bit of exercise is better than none. In the summer, we went for walks a couple times a week and did some swimming, even though it was just once in awhile, I could tell that I lost more weight the weeks we went for walks than I did when we didn’t get any exercise in. I also count mowing the lawn as exercise…..that counts…..right ? 🙂

My other approach was to work on my weight goals 5lbs at a time. I didn’t work on the total number I needed to lose, just the next 5 lb goal. I was on the scale 3 or 4 mornings a week monitoring my progress to the next goal and cheering myself on!

The grand total lost in 2009 was 35 lbs! It felt so good to see the numbers on the scale drop and to drop to clothing sizes…..but it was a daily process and little bits of progress here and there.

My goal for 2010 is 20 lbs (5 lbs at a time of course) and then I’ll be where I need to be.

Those of you who are working on weight loss……you can do it! Find what works for you, and work on it little by little.

You know what they say….”Slow and steady wins the race.”

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Sometimes it’s hard for me to be patient.  I’m always searching for a solution, always trying to have things planned out.

I was getting a little bit frustrated because I’m still working on losing the last of the “baby” weight, but other than drinking lots of water, making healthy choices and taking my green tea pills (which are working!), I wasn’t able to do anything else to help my weight loss progress. 

I was talking to a friend of mine about this a few weeks ago, and she said……”Stop stressing out about it.  You’re a single mom……when are you supposed to find time to work out?  Are you supposed to pay someone to watch Grace, and pay to go swimming?  You can’t afford that……just do what you can do for now and don’t be too hard on yourself.” 

That was nice to hear, but it was coming from a friend who’s a size 4……….so I stopped stressing about it, and started praying about it.

A few weeks later, a former piano student’s mom got in touch with me about two of her daughter’s taking lessons again and said that her husband wanted me to stop by and talk to them about the financial side of things since my rates have increased in the year they haven’t taken lessons…….

Guess what?  God worked it out for BOTH of us.  They are paying for half of the girl’s tuition, and then they are watching Grace for the other half of the tuition, which means that I now have someone to watch her for FREE while I go swimming!!!  I cannot even begin to tell you how overjoyed I was to see God bring together two people who had situations that they were stressed out about that worked out for what we BOTH needed.

Even though, it seems like a small thing, it is a HUGE blessing for me, and another lesson in letting go of my concerns and letting God do the work.

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I’ve talked to a few single moms lately who shared that they feel a little left out now that they’re single moms.  It’s like when people you grew up with or went to college with find out that you’re now a single mom, they seem to translate this information the same as if you’d just announced that you have Leprosy.  Even sometimes new friends you make learn that you’re a single mom and they begin treating you differently. 

I took this information in, and decided to do some of my own research to see what the general public’s perspective is on single moms.  I turned to the internet since most of the people who post things on the internet do so with a screen name, and don’t reveal their identity.  People seem to not be as shy about stating their opinions when they do it under a screen name, so I felt I’d find out some good information this way.  So, do you know what I found?  I found that a lot of the people who posted comments about single moms said that it didn’t bother them if someone they knew was a single mom, but some people left comments like:

  • Single moms are obviously bad judges of character if they were with someone who was a jerk.
  • Single moms are a drain on society because we (taxpayers) pay for them and their children.
  • One blog entry I read actually listed 13 reasons to AVOID single moms.

I was a little bit surprised to find such judgemental and uneducated comments posted about single moms.  Let me address the comments one at a time…….

#1 Single moms are obviously bad judges of character if they were with someone who was a jerk.
-Could it be that the jerk they were with was a really good actor and was on his best behavior until they were engaged or married?  Could it be that the relationship for some reason just didn’t work?  Could it be that the person they were with lied and had another family?  Could it be that they were raped? Could it be that the person they were with died?

#2 Single moms are a drain on society because we (taxpayers) pay for them and their children.
-A statement like this is stereotyping single moms.  I know several single moms who do not receive public assistance, and I know two married couples that make three times more money than I do who receive WIC benefits because they have their child on state medical insurance.  (In our state, if your child receives a medical coupon, you automatically qualify for WIC until the child is 5.)

I was on public assistance for five months, (two months before Grace was born, and three months after she was born.)  I started working when she was three months old, called my case worker the same day I got a job and canceled my cash assistance and she said that she wanted me to transition off of food stamps for the next five months since formula and baby food are expensive.  But, I’ve also worked and paid taxes for nearly TEN years, so I don’t really think that being on public assistance for a few months when there was absolutely no other way we could have made it is a drain on society.

I believe that public assistance is there for when you REALLY need help, but it’s not there to live off of for generations and generations, that’s when it drains society.  I made the decision to end public assistance as quickly as possible after Grace was born, and not sign up for WIC benefits, (even though we still quailfy for them since I buy Grace’s health insurance from the State.) because there are so many other people out there who NEED the assistance.  If I applied for public assistance and qualified for it, but we didn’t need the assistance, that would be a drain on society.

#3 One blog entry I read actually listed 13 reasons to AVOID single moms.
 -The entire blog entry showed how uneducated the author is on a variety of subjects, so I’m not even going to make statements about this one.

Really, what I’m getting at here is that you can’t judge someone for what has happened in their life.  You also can’t steryotype people.  What happened happened, and they can’t go back and change it.  Another thing that most people don’t even think about is that single moms are not taking the “easy way out”  they chose to give life to their child, and that’s a life long commitment.   Sometimes, I think that people need to step out of their “comfort zone” and get to know people who’s life situations are different from their own so they can be a little bit more open-minded.

No matter what situation someone is in, single parenting, divorce, getting out of prison, recovering from addicitons, or any other situation you may know someone in, remember that you don’t know, nor do you need to know all of the details.  What happened happened, and no matter how much they’d like to, they can’t go back in time and change what happened.  What they need is your friendship, your support (including them on activities, prayer, I’m not talking about financial support.) and your encouragement.

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