Tag Archives: Single parent

Goal Setting with Purpose

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Photo Courtesy of entertainmentcareerstrategy.com

 

I am really excited about this new season in my life and I am trying to prepare for it purposefully.  So many times I have said all of these things that I would do and make a plan that I may or may not have followed through on.  The problem is that I did not set up an environment to succeed.  So, the first thing that I am encouraging all to do is purposefully plan out an environment in which you will succeed.

For me, my home has to be clean, orderly, and as free from as many distractions as possible (not including the children).  As a single parent this can be hard but I finally saved enough money to employ some extra help, as in a maid service and carpet cleaner (use Groupon).  I figure that I may be able to afford this once per season if I budget appropriately.  I also bought another desk that I do not have to share with my teenage daughter and four-year-old son.  This is my personal workspace free from clutter and distractions.

The next thing I did was consult the pros (Pinterest, Instagram, the self-help section at Barnes and Noble).  I hope you know that I was smiling when I typed the last sentence but, it’s true for me.  I follow some amazing people on social media who are starting from scratch or who have started from scratch and are doing very well.  They offer inspiration and advice which is why I created the board “Boss Behavior” on Pinterest.

Please go check it out.  This board is all about the third step of creating a binder for 2016.  I have this poster in my classroom that says “A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish”.  The binder will hold the plan and the process.  I found templates for mission statement sheets, goal setting forms, budgeting and bill paying, spiritual health, physical health, and more.  I bought dividers and created sections to chart my growth.

The main goal is to become a published author by the end of 2016.  My other goals, I have one for each section of the binder: are to lose weight, create a solid nutrition regimen, be more productive at work, pay of at least two bills on my credit report, and build a stronger foundation spiritually.

Lastly, I will take the next seven days to create an action plan with steps to achieve each goal and just start.  My hope is that by sharing my journey with you, you will also be inspired and we will all live a life that is purposeful.  As single parents it may be harder to carve out time so I will continue to share how I find ways through my posts in the new year.

I would also like to add that I am reading a book called the “The 5 AM Miracle: Dominate Your Day Before Breakfast” by Jeff Sanders and it is truly inspirational.  I just want to be able to implement; I will share more as I continue to read.

Well, now it’s time to go get planning!

Passion and Purpose

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PurposeToday I just want to vent a little.  For the past several years I have been trying to do big things and open doors for myself to new opportunities.  I have gone to trainings, received degrees, taken on more responsibility, let others know what I want and everything else positive that would set me up for success.  The issue is that every door that has been closed has stayed closed.  I have received so many rejection emails (none in regards to my writing) that it would make the average person give up.  But, now it is year six and still no bite.  I am getting antsy because bills are piling up, I have children to take care of, and the income is not meeting the demand.  I am working multiple jobs where I am so tired that I just cannot bring myself to write.

Well, no longer!  What I have been doing is following an agenda that is not aligned with my passion and purpose.  As a single parent, I am thinking about affording college, daycare, rent, utilities, groceries, car, etc.  The epiphany has come to me many times before but has rung more clear today than it ever has.  Follow my passion.  Follow my purpose.  And at least if I still continue to struggle, I will be a lot happier knowing that I tried and did something I loved.

I am by no means a quitter.  But, I am wearing myself thin.  I rarely have time with my children trying to make enough to support them and I am still coming up short.  I am writer and motivator.  I want to help other single parents and write for a living.  I want to help society as a whole by those means.  Whether or not it becomes lucrative is of no concern to me.  I want to live with no regrets.

I regret the amount of time that I have already lost away from my children.  I regret running myself into the ground and not focusing on my health and multiple sclerosis trying to take on extra assignments that aren’t recognized nor appreciated.  It is time to live for me and my family.

I hear a lot of my friends questioning their purpose and current situations.  I hear a lot of regret.  I guess the question we end up asking ourselves or should ask ourselves is “what legacy do I want to leave behind?”

Then, go for it!

The Best Movie this Season Thus Far

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Courtesy of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Courtesy of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

I had to write this post as I am nearing the end of the best movie this season thus far.  Every winter, around the holidays, I watch all of the Christmas movies that I can find on Lifetime, ABC Family, Hallmark, and Hallmark Movie Channel.  The kids and I love to watch these movies together because they get us into the holiday spirit and come are inspirational. Another channel which is new and I have not had a chance to pay as much attention to is UP, which I am sure has great programming too.

Anyway, a dream of mine would be to write a story that would be adapted into a movie for one of these channels. Each year, they outdo themselves. My cousin in New York and I call and compare notes on the best movie or what we are currently watching. As I type this post, I am watching “The Christmas Secret” on the Hallmark Movie Channel. It is a moving story of a single mother with two children who moves to a town to reconnect with lost family. Her humble and determined nature sets her up for fortune that she could never have imagined. Check out the trailer below, courtesy of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

Sick with a toddler

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I believe it is the hardest thing to be sick as a single parent with a small child at home. You don’t want to pass your germs on to your bambino but you are the only one in charge of taking care of them. I am lucky enough to have my thirteen year-old daughter who was so responsible and made me tea, a pot-pie (in the microwave) and entertained her little bro. Trust me this is not an easy feat as he is super active. I was able to rest when I got home from work so that I can go in tomorrow. This week, I have back to school night and I need to prepare both my classroom and my presentation for my new parents. I just can’t afford to take off now as it isn’t even winter yet, which is when I really get sick.

I sometimes wonder how some other single parents handle a situation like this? Sometimes, I know that I get overwhelmed and I need to take a step back and fill my bucket with some sort of positivity and inspiration. But, I also know that I may not always have the time to do that. One thing that brings me peace is knowing that I am not alone in this journey. I know that there are other single parents out there dealing with the same issues, some even more pressing and they and their children are coming out on top. Wow! That gave me inspiration for some other posts. I chat with you later. Stay strong!

Breaking Generational Strongholds

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Break free!!

When I think of my mother, I think of a strong woman whom worked hard all of her life until she retired on disability. This is the same woman who had two children early in life and then was surprised by another (myself) in her late thirties. Needless to say there was a lot of adjusting that needed to take place. With an 18 year gap between myself and my sister and a 20 year gap between myself and my brother, my mother and I have always struggled to bond as she wasn’t used to children any longer.

Now don’t get me wrong, she was the best mother she could be but, she, herself had grown up with a mother whom did not show love in the emotional sense, but through her ability to provide for and take care of her kids. The emotional piece had been missing for generations. I’m sure the fact that my grandmother growing up in the south and experiencing racism to an extent that I never had probably contributed to the hard demeanor that she presented. I am also sure that that was passed on to my own mother.

Now, as a parent myself I find it easy to show affection to my children while they are young but not so much as they get older; please do not beat me up for saying this. I currently have a 13 year old whom is going through her own hormonal changes and in need of emotional support of which I am not familiar except by the examples set forth in the family sitcoms I watched growing up.

I am thankful that I noticed my waning emotional support immediately (thanks to being a teacher and experiencing it firsthand with my students and their parents) because I was able to dig deep and surface the source and then research ways to remedy it.

I am happy to say that it is possible to break generational strongholds. I believe in purposeful parenting because you can never get back the years lost with your children but you can make a significant change for the better at any stage that will positively impact their lives. I am constantly searching for opportunities and creating opportunities to provide that emotional support to my daughter. I can’t say that I am an expert or that I am doing it correctly, but I am trying.

I have:

  • Purchased Groupons to brunch in the city for just her and I
  • We read a good book together or talk about whatever she wants to freely
  • We have created traditions that are unique to us and will be different for myself and her brother once he gets older
  • I purchased a devotional geared towards mothers and daughters to read with her every night
  • I do not allow electronics at the breakfast/dinner table to allow for conversation between her and myself
  • I have recently looked up more volunteer opportunities that we can do together

I am constantly looking for ways to create the emotional support that she needs as it is vital to her self-esteem and self-awareness. Recently, I read a book called How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and my goal is to fill her bucket daily with positivity. I recommend reading this book and also StrengthsFinder 2.0. Just because something has been a certain way in your family for generations doesn’t mean that it can’t stop with you (and I am referring to something negative). You must proclaim that it will be different for you and yours. Purposefully parent!

It’s My Birthday!!!!

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Well, I have made it to another year and I truly feel blessed.  I’ve had my challenges and my triumphs.  But, I can honestly say that this was a year of learning life lessons, digging deep to truly understanding myself and my interactions with others (which is what I think your 30’s are all about anyway).  It is a journey, this thing called life/wisdom, and I am glad that I get to travel this road.  It is mine and I own it with all of its beauty and faults.  As a single parent of two I find that my bad days always turn into  good days when one of my children does something silly or smiles or whatever.  They truly make a difference in my life in a positive way.  For so long I chased after the dream of a traditional family and held onto a relationship with their father for far too long but, while he was in and out, they were always there.  I am not sure how my life would have been if I did not have them, I can only assume–and remember what they say about assuming.  I know that I am a better person that they are here; they have kept me focused and grounded.  Children force you to really self-reflect and they peel through all of the layers.  So, although it is my birthday, I want to celebrate them.  They are my motivation, strength, blood, sweat, and tears.  They are my heart and I am rocking this thing called “Single Parenthood”!

The Original Valentine

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The Original Valentine

Every year I put together bags of treats for my children in celebration of Valentine’s Day. This year I added the quote in their cards ” I’m your original valentine”. I want them to know that they should always be treated with respect and shown love by those who claim to love them. It is imperative that I set the example. This year was the first year that I was sad that my daughter did not have a father who would show her this same sentiment. But, we both have her grandfather who has shown us love on this day with gifts and cards every year since I was born and every year since she was born. My son likes the candies and stuffed animals and doesn’t really, truly understand what this is all about. When he is old enough, his gift from me will be accompanied by words or wisdom to show (more than tell) a woman that he truly cares and loves her.

So, what about me? What about you? If you are the single parent this year that doesn’t have a valentine, treat yourself or go it with friends. I especially enjoy a spa treatment and champagne. Celebrate the love you have for yourself. Because, if you don’t love yourself then you will attract others who feel the same way. Be the example for what you expect in a prospective partner.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Breakthrough Moment

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I wanted to write this post last month before school went into winter break but, things got so hectic and I fell way behind schedule.  Last month, my daughter and I had a breakthrough moment when I was trying to figure out why she had been behaving differently besides the countless recent changes (baby brother, new county, new school, puberty).  Every time I asked her why her behavior had changed so drastically and not for the positive, she would go into shut down mode. Then an epiphany hit me; I would use my teacher/mentor skills.  Since we were in my classroom and it was the end of the day, I had her close the door and retrieve a dry erase marker. I told her to write on the board all of the things that I expect from her that are unreasonable ( her main complaint was that I didn’t care and I was unfair).  At first she hesitated but, then she started writing.  I didn’t say anything during this process even if I disagreed with some of the things that she wrote down.  I let her voice (scribe) her opinion and when she was done, she stopped, closed the cap on the marker,2013-12-16 15.43.02 and faced me.  I then let her know that we were going to discuss each one and explain ourselves.  This process ended up with her crossing some off the list because she realized that they may not have been accurate depictions of the situation.  The one’s that were left on the board, I promised to work on to keep our bond strong and the lines of communication open.  At the tail end of the conversation, the breakthrough came which led to tears and a big hug from my tween who had been stand-offish prior to for some months.  The overarching theme is that she felt that I thought her opinions and feelings didn’t matter.  She thought I felt that she was unimportant and the only thing that mattered was what I wanted and how I felt.  I realized that my actions probably led her to believe this.  The part that hurt me the most, is that is exactly what I felt about my mother and still do to this day.  It devalues you as an individual.  How can I support a strong sense of self-esteem in my young lady if I am devaluing her, whether it be purposefully or not?  I let her know that it was never my intention to make her feel that way and I have been working on myself so that does not come across as often until I can stop it altogether.  This exercise helped both of us see the reality and brought us closer together.  The pure act of taking the time to hear her out, was in fact healing.  My behaviors towards my daughter are part my own and part learned from my own mother.  But, when we become parents and especially if you are a single parent with no other parent for your child to turn to, it is imperative to extend the olive branch, open the lines of communication, express humility, and start mending what may be broken.  I am not saying that I have this parenting thing down pat, but I am on a constant road to healing and learning, and growing.  Hears to your breakthrough moment!

Your Child’s Advocate

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http://beorganized.fcorgp.com/content/bonnie-marcus

Stationary from the Bonnie Marcus Collection

It is the beginning of the school year and the perfect time to latch onto your child’s excitement for school before it fades away and possible bad habits start to creep in, resurface, etc.  I’m sure you all have received some version of their students rights and responsibilities handbook that requires your signature, updated school supply lists, and countless emergency care forms.  Well, take the time to set your child up for a year of success.  It will save you some stress and alert your child that you are in their corner and plan on being involved as much as possible.  Here is a list of tips:

1.  Send an email – make it personal, introduce yourself and give a little background about your child that the teacher may not get from looking at past standardized test scores.  This will accomplish a few things.  First, your email address will now be in their system and they will be able to easily reach you throughout the day if issues arise in the classroom.  As a teacher myself, I know that it is easier to get time to respond to an email than to make a call.  Also, my emails like many other educators come directly to my phone.  Secondly, the teacher will be able to use the information within your email to better help the child in front of them.  Thirdly, the earlier this done, the quicker it is for a teacher to put a face of one of their 120 students with a name.

2.  If your child has special needs or requires accommodations in the classroom, it is necessary to set up an appointment with the guidance counselor early in the year along with core teachers to let them know what works for your kiddo and update information on any IEP’s or 504’s.  Also, you will be able to adjust to changes that may occur.  Note:  certain accommodations given in elementary are not provided in middle school.

3.  See if you can obtain an extra copy of the textbooks to keep at home.  Some schools offer online textbooks.  Attach the class syllabus ( if given) or the county’s pacing guide to each book.  This way you know what should be covered and around about when.

4.  Have a sit down with your child and agree upon a schedule for when they return home for school.  When is snack time, homework time, chore time, tv time, etc.  Also, be clear of your expectations in regards to homework.  Designate a spot for them to complete homework everyday after school.  Make sure it is free from distractions and supplies are readily available, pencil sharpener, ruler, protractor, dictionary, thesaurus, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, colored pencils, paper, etc.

5.  Know that you can request a detailed progress report at anytime during the quarter.  You do not have to wait for interim and end of quarter report cards to be surprised by your child’s grades.

6.  Try as hard as you can to attend all orientations, back to school nights, and touch bases.

7.  Remember that most schools provide after school homework clubs so that students can get work done and ask questions.  This is free and may save you money on a tutor.  Also, there is a bus that usually takes the, home afterwards.  Check with your school.

8.  Preview the list of clubs and activities that your child’s school offers. Encourage them to get involved.  It will allow them to feel like part of the school and they will become even more vested in being successful there.

I hope this helps and if there are any questions, please feel free to reply to this post.  Also, another good idea would be to purchase an accordion folder to store report cards, awards, etc so that you have an archive of your child’s academic career.

* If you like the above stationary, please visit: http://beorganized.fcorgp.com/content/bonnie-marcus