Monday, October 25, 2010

We were on our way home from running some errands when we decided to jump out and do a photoshoot (we call them funshoots). There's a mountain creek near our house we've been wanting to explore, so we took off our shoes, rolled up our pant legs, and waded in.

Seven Things I've Learned about Single Parenting

  1. It's a good idea to be friends with other parents who are married. I started on this journey thinking I should link up with other single moms who shared the same challenges I do. Wrong. I want my little family of 2 to feel as normal as possible. I don't want to be relegated to only a certain group. I want my daughter to see that it's not normal for fathers to not stick around. I want her to see other men who treat women well. It's also true that married women face many of the same challenges we do.
  2. Find a man, be it a relative or friend, who you can discuss parenting issues with. There's a reason that God gave children a father and a mother. Men think very differently than women, but they have a lot to bring to the table. Getting another perspective to mull over when you're making decisions will bring about a balance of thought processes and will make you feel less alone.
  3. If you have the chance to go to school, seize it immediately. You might think it'd be wiser to take classes when your child is older, but it only gets more complicated. For one thing, a teenager becomes more self-conscious about appearing poor. If you ARE poor there's not much you can do about that. Better to get school out of the way and have that much longer to not worry about money. 
  4. Write it down - you will not remember the funny things your kids say and do. This is pretty much true for any mom whether married or not. You think you'll always remember because it was so precious, but unfortunately you won't unless something reminds you of it. Also, along the same lines, write letters to your child. Lydia found her baby book with the letters I wrote her first couple of years, and she loved them. It was so rewarding because when I wrote them I hoped that someday she'd see them and love them.
  5. Creativity is your friend. I believe everyone is designed be creative in some area or maybe several areas, and when you find what it is, it'll elevate your standard of living. If you can sew, do it at night and list some stuff on Etsy. If you can write, spend some time learning about freelance journalism. If you don't feel you can do anything creative, start experimenting and see what happens. You might be surprised.
  6. The library is free and has a lot to offer. Maybe you can't put your child through ballet lessons or into a summer soccer camp, but you can raise a child that's well read. You can raise a child who can discuss literature and history, and part of that is educating yourself as well. If you have a child that hates to read, the library oftentimes offers free programs like a family movie night, story time, etc. I'm so glad my parents and I started reading to Lydia at a young age. It's made a huge difference.
  7. Don't get pushed around. Certain people will sense vulnerability in you and will question your decisions. I remember going to a doctors office when Lydia was a baby and being treated like I knew nothing. I remember a couple who tried to persuade me (while I was pregnant) to give my baby up to them for adoption. I remember my parents scoffing when I told them I didn't want Lydia riding on my dad's golf cart alongside a busy road. You know what's best for your child. You have the instincts that nobody else has. This is something you'll encounter throughout life so learn to sift through other people's opinions to see if there's any truth there, and then throw the rest out.


Dude. Is there anything funnier than scaring the crap out of kids, especially your own kids? I mean it's a little borderline to scare the crap out of other people's kids, so if these girls are never allowed back we'll know why. It's October though which means it's time for the First Annual Fright Night at our house. Don't be fooled into thinking I planned this in advance. It just sorta happened and I decided it'd make a rad tradition.

We invited friends over and picked out a few scary/suspensful movies to watch in the dark, with just the light of candles flickering to reveal the fear on our friends' faces. I added an extra element of terror by painting my face with black teardrops, my lips with black lipstick, and my eyes stark white. We had an insane amount of snacks (yes that's cookied dough back there). Popcorn not pictured.

I was embarrased to find out that after I left for work the next morning, the girls ate this exact same thing for breakfast. In the end it's ok though because I think Lydia will always remember this night. I think her friends will too.

Traditions are cool. It's easy as a single parent to get busy, busy, busy and let this slide, so I find it's sometimes easier to dress up something we're already doing than to plan a big shindig in advance.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Unpopular Opinion

I know what I'm about to say isn't going to sit well with some people. I'm going to put it out there though because I know there are people reading my blog who need to hear it. If you're a single mom, I want you to know that you did not make a mistake when you became pregnant. There are a lot of people who would never tell you that because they don't want you to think your pre-marital sex was ok or that your so called irresponsibility was ok. In viewing the topic without those judgements though, you can see that there's a Creator who made the world, who makes each sunrise and sunset, who causes flowers to bloom and babies to be born. Your child was an act of his creation although I'm sure you weren't thinking about that when you were having sex. There's only one way your child could be born though and that was with you as a mom, your partner as a dad, and the exact timing of sex happening when it did. Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate that everyone run out and have babies, single or not, but once the baby is here, can you really say that it was a mistake?

I used to go to church and be grateful for the love and acceptance I was given, despite my 7 months pregnant belly. Looking back though I wonder why I thought I needed grace from them. Was there realling anything I needed THEIR forgivness for? Did I need them to redeem the situation?  There's such a stigma associated with single moms and I hate it. It keeps moms feeling inferior and without confidence it's easy to fall into the same rut that others have.

If you're reading this blog and are pregnant, or are already a single mom, you have the ability to be a fabulous mom. You've already shown you care by even reading this.