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Monday, November 3, 2014

Single Mother - SURVIVAL

Survival - the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.  Through my experiences and experiences of those who I share this life with, I’ve developed 10 tips for survival as a single mother.  While some tips are simple and a little bit of common sense, other tips are not so simple and often forgotten about in the shuffle of life.  
Be wise and survive! We have this one life!

Get the right car – My opinion is to have a small truck or hatchback. The car you drive needs to serve for many purposes for the long haul.  I’ve had several cars and find that a hatchback to be one of the most beneficial cars. A smaller truck would likely fall under this category as well. The car you have should be easier to wash or repair on your own. It should be multi-purpose for events like moving, field trips, and carpooling with friends.  There is nothing like having your own “whip” for such events so that you eliminate the need to ask someone for help or rent a vehicle to fit the need of the occasion.  Don’t think so much about the style of car.  It’s cool to be cute, but not so cool to be stuck out spending unnecessary money or time.

Forgive yourself daily – While some modern day women are entering the world of being a single mother due to a desire to be a parent, most don’t plan to be a single mother.  Being a parent is challenge enough and taking on the task alone is an even greater challenge. There will be mistakes made and plans diverted.  Forgive yourself daily for those things. Forgive yourself for all things that appear in your mind as a failure or downfall of yourself.  No one is perfect. No one person can do it all. Forgive yourself for that. Forgive yourself for those days your child questions why you aren’t with their other parent. Forgive yourself for forgetting to send lunch money. Forgive yourself for not ironing. Just forgive yourself.  Don’t drag around the dead weight of guilt.

Wipe away pride – One of the biggest feats for myself.  Any pride that I had in most situations has been wiped away.  Going into life, most people have some form of pride.  However as a single parent, you will often need help from others and even the government.  You will have to visit a thrift store to sell and purchase. You will have to take charity.  Being a charity case has been an extremely hard pill to swallow.  Most women will work their butts off not to slide into this realm of life.  However the truth is – anything can happen.  As a career women or entrepreneur, it doesn’t really matter what title that you hold, anything is possible.  Let go of the pride and handle your business.  I’ve heard once that there are times in life where you are the one who needs to be helped and other times you will be the helper.  Don’t assume that just because you need help at one point in life that it will always be that way.  There will be an opportunity to reach back and help others just as someone is helping you.

Pray or meditate – My seldom present ex-husband and father to my son once saw fit to question my need for church and all things spiritual.  If only he knew that without much prayer and meditation, I wouldn’t have overcome our swift and emotional roller coaster relationship.  Had it not been for me finding support within a religious group, I would not be the parent that I am today.  I survived because of prayer.  Without a doubt, there will be many times that there is no one person or thing that will equip you with a way to make it through life. Stay hope filled. Remain faith filled.  Pray. Meditate. Stay calm. Remain peaceful. Falling to pieces is not an option.  The child or children often have no one other person to depend on.  Be that rock.

Stay physically fit – Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, if only a little bit, is important for a reason that many don’t think of – staying physically fit helps you always be stronger than your child.  I’m a five foot mid-thirties woman with a nine year old son who is less than a foot shorter than me.  It’s without a doubt he will tower over me soon.  I take great pride right now that I am stronger than he is – my phrase to him is always that “I will always win and I will always be stronger.”  It’s really a funny thing, but he believes it.  Therefore the older he gets, no matter what, I will always be stronger!  Presently I am stronger.  I can overpower him in arm wrestling or any fun sport using strength.  While this is the fun reason to remain fit, there are serious reasons to remain physically fit.  Maintaining your health is important for several reasons, it helps prevent most illnesses, it helps maintain strength for moving heavy items in the home, and it sets an example for your child to follow.  Sick days at work must be reserved for the child(ren), keeping yourself from getting sick is paramount.  Moving – I’m an expert at it.  No one likes to move and not many will lend a helping hand to move physical items.  If you are fit, you can do it yourself!  I’ve found the more I exercise and show my son, the more he keeps an interest in doing the same.  Be the example for your child to follow now and in the future.  I’m no workout fanatic, but I keep myself together and my son is well aware of the good and bad when it comes to health.

Keep resume updated – You could lose your job tomorrow!  Keep the resume and references in check.  I’ve learned this the hard way.  Recently, I’ve also witnessed others experience this unexpected event.  Losing a job can come within the blink of an eye.  Make sure you are well prepared with a good resume and job skills.  The government doesn’t work for those who work steady and hard.  Do not assume that because you are a parent who has worked for numerous amount of years, that there is some person or governmental agency that will get your through this.

Learn to cook – It’s cheaper.  Period.  There is no reason to go out and waste money on a $10 a day fast food meal.  The same amount of money you spend on one meal at a restaurant, you can spend in a grocery store and it will last you an entire week.  Be smart.  Learn to cook – nothing fancy.

Have patience – Have patience with the child. Have patience with the cycles of life that you will encounter alone.  Relax and have patience.

Remember that your child is NOT you – I admit that this is truly one of the hardest lessons for me.  In school, I was mostly quiet and participated in just about all extracurricular activities (minus sports) available to me.  The only subject in school that I ever had problems with was Math.  I look forward to going to school.  My son is almost the exact opposite.  I’ve stressed many nights over who my son has evolved to be.  In the beginning of grade school, he was quiet, sweet, and loved to read.  Presently, he hates to read and hates school.  He isn’t into sports and is very particular about participating in student clubs.  One of my closest friends, also a single mother, makes sure to remind me often that my son is just not me.  No matter what you teach your child – no matter what you expose your child to – the child is not you.  Your child is an individual.  Do not attempt to morph your child into a person they are not.  Allow them to develop their interest.  We are parents who are here to guide the lives of our children.  We are not Scientists developing an experimental person.  Release the stress and just let your child develop into the most positive and productive person possible.

Be resourceful – Surround yourself by people who know how to find a bargain.  Surround yourself around people who know how to recreate everyday items.  Surround yourself around people who are looking to grow and learn new things.  Research inexpensive family activities.  Research scholarships for camps and sports. Keep an open mind.  Don’t get caught up in marching out to shop at the mall.  Be creative. Check for all items you are seeking via friends, online, and discount stores.  Recreate. Recycle. Be resourceful.  It will get you much more than you can imagine while sticking to a budget.  Maintaining a budget falls under this as well.  I’ve been donated items.  I’ve sold items.  A bookcase has been a TV stand.  A TV stand has served as my son’s clothing drawers.  I don’t stick to the normal use of most things. Learn how to fix things. Learn how to fix small items on your car. Be Ms. Fix it. Ms. Replace it. Ms. Everything. Be resourceful.

No one lives your life, but you.   This life as a single parent is one based on survival.  There is no other single word best fitting for what you encounter.  Women become single parents by choice and by uncontrolled circumstances.  It’s trivial to focus on what led to becoming a single mother.  The most important thing to focus on his how to survive and get these children out of the DOOR!  I’m counting down.  What about you?  


Friday, October 10, 2014


The value of a person.
The value of the differences of people. 

As a parent there are many lessons to provide your child. So many that it's most likely one can miss a lesson or 20. As my son is venturing into puberty stage and developing friends with those who are likely to make great impact on his life, I pay close attention to their conversations when I'm privy to ease dropping.  Yes, I'm that parent who pokes her nose in the business. I mean he is 9 years old, there is only so much privacy he is allowed when I'm in his presence.  Through his conversations and interactions with friends I remind him and his friends that while they are friends because they have something in common, they are different in more ways than race. I teach them while they are different, they must respect each other's differences.  They must value the difference because as friends that's just how a good friendship is developed.  According to who? I'm not sure, but according to me - this ordinary person - I find that people work better together if they accept the worth, value, and importance of the differences of those around them. 

 I've associated with people from different countries, cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic backgrounds, races, religions and the list goes on.  What I realize is that is if we find an ounce of value in the difference of people versus picking them apart - versus teasing them and saying why their differences are inferior, we can all smile a little bit more. Who really smiles when someone is picking them to pieces about their interest?

My son, his classmates and friends find ways to pick at each other based on who likes different games, sports, or school subject matters. If you sit and listen to children of all ages, you hear their juvenile reasons to pick apart one another.  Sometimes it falls into that bully category and sometimes it's just that harmless taunting that children, especially boys do.  One person always wants to be better than the other person.  Where does it get them in their conversation? No place, but an angry place.  Who wants to be in an angry or irritated place?  It can be funny to taunt someone who is scared of the dark, but it won't be funny if that person lands a punch in the face for bringing out their difference.  What I teach my son and his friends is that while they are different, there is no reason to tease one another based on their differences. Lift one another up.  As the saying goes, "you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family." Therefore if you choose someone to be in your circle of friends, lift them up differences and all.  Life throws us enough that keeps us down or tears us up, that there is no need to have a chosen friend assist in more degrading.

As children have such juvenile conversations, I have realized that adults do just the same thing.  Yes, we do. I dissect conversations I have with adults. We pick apart people based on weight, race, finances, hair, geographical location, education, or religion.  We tear one another to shreds. I can admit that I will shred a man to pieces in a heartbeat. I've realized a pattern in myself and friends that in dating we will pick out all of the differences of a man. I mean every single difference, from character flaws to watching sports. Why can't we seem to follow the teachings that I share with my son?  Why don't we accept the differences and simply embrace them?  I don't know why we do that, but I'm going to work on refraining from such behavior.  The attitude that I teach and the attitude that I portray have been less than equal.  The quest to remain positive lives on - I will work on not tearing down others.  It's been said that we find the things in others that we don't like about ourselves.  While that can be true in some aspects, it doesn't apply to this situation because I'm more so speaking of those differences in interests.  I challenge those who read to embrace the differences of others.  Find the similarities and things you love about others and lift them up.  The differences in people are what make them valuable.  What worth would a person have in your life if they are only bringing to the table the exact same things you already have in stock.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Perspective on life is shaped by the events in life we encounter. Is that my perspective or truth? Life according to me - there is no way to fully grasp a situation unless you have experienced it. There isn't a book or a personal encounter that can truly make you understand the perspective of a person.

"I'm going to stay awake so that I know what it feels like to be you." My son uttered those words to me one late night. We had been up since 7:00 a.m. and it's then 1:00 a.m. that late night, early morning he shared that statement.  There are times that I work with my family and we work until late hours.  Following those late hours, I drive sometimes more than two hours back home from work. 
On a recent trip home, my son told me he wasn't going to get comfortable and go to sleep. He wanted to stay awake to see exactly what it's like to be a me.  It's a perceptive thought coming from a child.  It's especially perceptive and thoughtful when most adults could care less how it feels to stay up overnight working and driving. As adults, we often time think we know it all and have a view point on everything even without having experienced it.

What I took from that moment was not only pride that I have a child who actually cared what it was like to be me.  I'm not sure if it's my child rearing or his natural thought process, but whatever it was, I smiled at the thought.  If more people would take the chance to sit in another person's shoes to gain their perspective on life, would it make a bit of difference in how we live our lives?  Would it make a difference in how we treat people?  I'd like to think so. 

My son made it an hour into the 2.5 hour drive, but the next day he was much more aware of what it could have been like to be me.  The next day, he was able to verbalize how tired he was and how even the sleep he got in the car wasn't enough.  Based on his little experiment in the car, he now has a new view - new frame of reference.  

As I referenced in my last blog post, I'm experiencing unemployment.  I have a new standpoint on how to survive.  As October approaches, if I don't have full-time employment, I will then have another frame of reference - one that I fear to experience. Once this period of my life is over, my perspective on life will change.  That's without a doubt. 

I've always had issue with people who interject their perspective into situations in which they have not experienced.  I do believe that each person has a right to their own stand point because it's unique and based on their life.  There is no right or wrong in most life situations - there is only perspective. 
Would any of you like to stay awake to see what it's like to be me? Any takers? I'd switch today unless you are seriously ill. (LOL)

Respect the perspective.  

Friday, August 29, 2014


For a week now I've experienced another side of life. I'm out and about among the more wealthy people who are shopping and running errands. My attire for the day often involves a T-shirt and cap often sported by stay-at-home parents. A whole week experiencing this peaceful side of life. It's amazingly peaceful considering I'm actually enjoying this time caused by a separation of employment. 

This part of my life is certainly presented a struggle. From struggle I've read and been told produces great strength.  I'm tired of testing my strength. As my mother likes to tell me about my physical strength - I'm as strong as a bull. My mental strength is reaching that point as well. Therefore why am I presented with such struggles? Often times as humans we question...why why why.  Depending on your belief, there are varying reasons why certain things happen in life. However the bottom line is always that every situation happens for a purpose.

As soon as I find out the purpose of being presented with the possibility of homelessness, I will be certain to find a computer to blog to the world what the purpose of this event turned out to be.  As a single person with no children, this idea of not having rent, car note, and other essentials bills may sound like a breath of fresh air - for me, a single mother of one, this is a quite scary event. While I mentally know that my situation is fragile, somehow my body is responding to it differently. I've not shed many tears over this situation. I've not packed an item in my apartment yet. I'm in this adrenaline survival phase right now. Something just has to change within the next couple of weeks - it just must!

There is a positive in this new struggle, right? There must be. Oh yeah, I'm strong. Ha. To a weak person, I suppose it must be exciting - exciting to see that someone does know how to survive in times of strife and struggle.  Oh wait, I just figured out a positive side for me. I have an attractive positive trait to present to prospective mates. If I ever get married again, my husband won't have to worry about his wife being a shopaholic nor will have to worry about how I'll handle challenging situations. Wait, one better. My son will always be able to say that he was not raised by a weak woman therefore he shall not be weak or surround himself by weakness.  Whew, just when I thought there was no positive light to this, I found a couple.  As I usually challenge in my scarce writings - I challenge all to find a positive point in all times. There is always a positive point, we just have to see it and focus on it. What's your struggle? Find your strength in your struggle. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


The right time.
Lucky chance.

Opportunities present themselves in many ways and none should be taken for granted. 
Met someone new, get to know them.
Want to take a trip, take it.
Got a call for an interview, go to it.

Whatever the opportunity is that is presented to me from this point out - I'm taking it. In the most recent months since my last post, I've gone from stomach cramps daily due to stress to just living a little carefree. I'm not losing out on any further opportunity to get to know someone because you never know what part they play in your life. I don't mean someone for dating purposes - I'm referring to any new person who walks into your life. If someone in your life plans a trip, take it. No questions. Just go. Love or hate your current employment and get a random call for a job interview, take it. Perhaps that leads you to some outstanding opportunity that you could never imagine. It's all about the right time, the lucky chance and the possibility that there is a purpose in the person or event.

As usual, my postings are a reflection of a life event of my own or someone close to me. Well, this message today is a mixture. 

Most people who get to know me well - like me. It's a blessing and a curse, but I enjoy getting to know people. I truly hold no judgment as to the type of person that I'm getting to know, I just get to know them. While I don't digest each person and add them to a close friend, I do find it enjoyable to learn about people and a variety of thought processes or ways of life. At times this part of me can be overwhelming with some not so cool people, but overall, I've met and made friends with some pretty nice people. One in particular -we attended school together most of our lives, but only became friends within the past seven years. In one night she went from being workout queen to laying in hospital bed starting life from scratch - learning how to walk all over again. A stroke that the doctors can't explain. Before this stroke, she and I would joke about our life stresses and the damage that it was doing to us, but now all things considered - we shouldn't have been thinking about it all so hard.  Now we share messages of inspiration instead of strife. From her, I've truly learned to take it easy these days. I'm taking the opportunity to live without restriction and to have faith that all things will work out. So far things are going pretty well. I'm still not financially wealthy. I still don't own a home. I still can't go shopping. I'm still a single parent. I'm still on the fence about this career thing. I still can find a million and one frivolous things to stress about. Those daily pesky things most people won't admit to stressing about.  However I"m taking the opportunity to no longer allow the pesky things take the opportunity to win over my life.

Just before my girlfriend fell ill and now after - I've had some fulfilling events happen. I think that I owe it all to taking the opportunity to truly live - live without restrictions. New people have come into my life and enriched it while the old people have revived my life.

So if at this moment, you should be taking the opportunity to be as still as the leaves on a tree during a calm night or as wild as rough seas before a storm - seize the moment. Take the opportunity. There is no reason to fear. There is no reason to doubt. Have faith. If you believe it - it will be.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


This weekend, my son wanted to go to an audition of some sort for commercials. Sounds good except my son is knowingly shy. He is that kid who will rehearse for a play, get up on stage and freeze. He has done it before which is why I toggled with this new idea of his. I thought to myself, perhaps he was coming out of his shy shell. So, as a loving parent, I talked with him about this idea and he still chose to go full force ahead. It only cost me a new outfit for him.

There he was, dressed as one of the cutest kids. He looked as if he belonged in a Polo ad. I don't say that because he is my son, but seriously he was dressed very well and fit the part. He is rehearsing his line with me while being his usual silly self. We get up to the table, with the one man sitting there at the table. My son is asked to repeat his part and he stands there like a cat and a dog pulled out his tongue! I refrain myself from scolding him and attempt to assist in getting him to come out of his shell. He tried three times, but wasn't too successful at completing the task.

My life as a parent - a single parent - often times my family events look much like an episode of the 80's sitcom, The Cosby Show. We may be without the remarkable careers, but certainly the family events turn out just as on that show. I recall episodes that the father on the show would review with the children all of the things they asked to try out and quit. He would point out the money or time spent on something their children begged to try, but didn't complete. My son is nine and I can already identify with those episodes. We've done most things - T-ball, football, basketball, tennis, and now acting has landed on the list. I can't say that I've been jovial about all of these tries my son has asked to partake in, but as a parent I realize that is is all part of the sacrifice. This is all a part of the role. I sacrifice my time and money. I give it up all for him. I've given up practically my life as a whole for him.

This latest event put me in a place to sit back and look at the lesson. Becoming an actor or model may be something he truly wants, but perhaps now isn't the time perhaps it never will be his time. This may not be his "thing" in life. Instead of being upset with him about not speaking up when spoken to, I had to make him realize that at least he tried. Also to know that this thing he seems to be interested in will require more work on is part or a realization that maybe acting just isn't something for him. He must keep going in life until he finds that thing he loves and is great at doing. Sounds familiar even as an adult.

As a parent or even as a spouse, there is sacrifice and selflessness that must be a part of the relationship. To some this type of thing may come easy. While for others, this is a work in progress to accomplish. To give of oneself takes hard work and courage. Some people won't admit it, but it is a fact that I identify with. Every year on Mother's Day - I go back and forth between happiness and out right depression. Every year I recognize that this is not the life that I ever imagined - being a single mother. Every year I recognize that I've sacrificed myself for my son. The sacrificing part makes me happy to know that I'm giving of myself for him. I know that no one in his life besides me will do such and I'm lucky to have him. To be a blessing to him is certainly a bigger blessing than any other. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014


This past weekend, I cleaned the floors of my mother’s house on my hands and knees. It was an old school, deep south style cleaning going on in her house this weekend.  Cleaning that was long overdue.
Sounds like a pretty nice gesture, right?

Well, I was not doing it for fun nor was I really doing it for her. I was doing it because my prized possession person, my son was going to be staying with her for a longer than normal visit. It was my goal to make him feel comfortable and at home, minus some dust and dirt particles in the living quarters that would be harmful to his allergies. Don’t be so quick to judge me considering he is a boy and should be accustomed to such – you haven’t seen the living quarters.

I spent a weekend there to clean and cook for him. I was doing it all for him and to make me feel comfortable about this visit he requested.

In life, I know that we all set out with these goals, planning and preparing. We perpetually do things in life to prepare for one thing or another.  However as we live and learn daily, we find that what we set out in a plan and expect to learn, we learn something entirely different. The outcome is not expected.

While I spent those days cleaning, the person who benefited most from those days was who? My mother.  Notice I said benefited from the days spent and not the cleaning being done.  She does not get many extended visits from her daughters.  She let me know in her seldom subtle statements, that her greatest gift was having me and my son with her for the time that we were there.

I set out selfishly for the betterment of myself and my son, there was a greater purpose in the weekend cleaning. A gift that can’t be purchased – the most priceless gift of time.

Go about life with two realizations – don’t do things with only self in mind. Pay attention to your actions, it is certain that it is done more often than not. There is likely someone else among you that is seeking to receive or learn something from you. It is certainly a blessing to be a blessing.  Secondly, plan, prepare, clean, and dust – do what you like, but life will always present you with a greater lesson if you PAY ATTENTION.