Tag Archives: parent

Parenting With Depression

Parenting with depression..single parenting has its challenges. Especially when the other parent is completely removed from the picture, the pressure to be everything for our kids can be overwhelming. We must remain steady, managing our emotions well so we can help our children learn to manage theirs. Even with help from family and friends, we are the sole parent. The responsibility of rearing falls squarely on our shoulders. The weight can seem all that more overwhelming when you are dealing with depression.
Depression may come in waves, it may linger beneath the surface, or be a constant thorn in our foot reminding us of our weakness. It comes in forms of sadness, irritability, tiredness, or a wide range of other emotions. The variability of it makes it an unpredictable chaos. Single parenting with depression could be a perfect storm. It could be. Unmanaged, it could embed anxiety in the hearts of our children, as they struggle to find consistency and stability. It could. Unchecked, it could feed off our parenting guilt, drowning us in the reality that we can never truly be all are kids need. It could. Unsupported we could find ourselves with our heads just above the water, unable to do and provide all we desire. Under those circumstances, it will be a lose-lose situation for us and our children. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
In my household, there have been really good “mental health” days, but it took time to learn how to get there. Before I did some weekends were filled with emptiness. Everything would be quiet, except the sound of the television or tablet from the living room, as I lay bed unable to will myself up. “Mommy doesn’t feel well,” I would say when questioned. I desperately wanted something else for my son but didn’t know how to get it. Through prayer and counseling, I began to learn to brace myself for the waves. I thank God on a regular basis that He has helped me learn to parent beyond my depression. Now my son and I get movie and book days where we sit together in our pajamas and only venture out of bed for snacks. When journeying to the park is too difficult, the back door stays open and we blow bubbles, I count his jumps on the trampoline, and let him splash around with the water table. When I am irritable, I embrace ample opportunities to model the complexities of apologizing. A greater blessing is the ability to show my son (and remind myself) that we all mess up, but God’s forgiveness never runs out. On days where even the sound of breathing grates my nerves and being touched makes my skin crawl, I have been blessed with friends and family that will let me come over and rest while my son plays. While I see a counselor, it wasn’t until I stopped waiting to be cured that I could care for my son better.
I would rather not be a single parent that struggles with depression. I would rather be able to have a spouse that can pick up my parenting slack, but that’s not my reality. There will still be lots of Door Dash orders and laundry that piles up. There will be screen time and sometimes it will be more than recommended allotment. Those are the facts, but I can minimize the inconsistency and lack of presence that existed before. In all honesty, we can never be the end-all and be-all for our kids. Instead of rejecting that can learn our weaknesses. Instead of promising ourselves we will never face depression again, we can plan how to parent around it. Before it is needed, we can get help so our kids don’t become casualties of the silence and emptiness of depression.
Shon W

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me? Lately I’ve been thinking about somethings that have really been points of curiosity for me now that I’m at home with my children all the time.  No, I haven’t been pondering anything deep like politics or how to become a millionaire.  I’ve been wondering about practical everyday things and wondering if these things are just happening in my house or are other moms having these same experiences.

I’ve decided to pose the question in hopes that you all would be able to tell me, is it just me?

Is it just me, or can no one ever find anything but mom?   Keep in mind, they don’t ever actually look for the item in question.  Their way of looking is by saying, “Mom, where’s my….?”  or, “Mom, have you seen my…?”  I can’t seem to understand why it is that these children have no clue where their something is, but I can walk into a room and be looking right at the thing they
want.  As a matter of fact, they had to walk past it just to come tell me they couldn’t find it!  Does that happen to you moms or is that just me?

Is it just me, or have other people that I haven’t met yet moved into my house and
started putting their laundry in our baskets?  I swear I do laundry every day and I’m never done.  There are ALWAYS more clothes.  It’s almost as if my hamper is the Mary Poppins bag!  It’s endless!  To make matters worse, I don’t even remember buying all of these clothes.  Where did they all come from?   Why can’t these people just walk around naked for a few days or something?  I mean I seriously live in fear of the day my washing machine dies. Is anyone else drowning in laundry or is it just me?

Is it just me or do kids ignore the fact that they have a father?  My middle child has literally walked right past his father sitting on the couch and come into the kitchen while I was cooking dinner to ask me to open his fruit snack.  Seriously?  My oldest has woken me out of a dead sleep before to ask me something about his Dad.  When I asked him why he didn’t just ask him, his response was that he didn’t want to wake him up.  Oh because that’s right, I don’t sleep.  I just lay here with my eyes shut anxiously awaiting your next demand.  Please tell me that it’s
not just me!

Also, is it just me or does anyone else’s children snack excessively?  It’s almost as if they’ve never eaten and never will again in life.  As soon as they wake up,they need a snack.  If we have to go anywhere, they have to grab a snack for the car.  As soon as we arrive home, they need another snack. I will be in the middle of cooking dinner and they are in the pantry getting a snack.  I’m cooking dinner people…you’re literally going to eat a full meal in less than 20 minutes!  Within 20 minutes after they eat, another snack.  And the minute I remind them that they
just ate, they respond with, “but I’m still hungry.”  Anyone else?  Just me?

Finally, and this one is my personal fave, is it just me or does anyone else’s children not need them until they get on the phone or use the restroom?  I could do a tap dance routine and stand on my head in front of my kids and I would get a laugh and then back to playing the video game or watching the television show.  But let me be on the phone, use the bathroom or try to shower.  You would think my house was on fire.  Everyone now needs mom.  They will see the phone in my hand and still keep talking to me as if I’m just holding it and talking to myself.
What is that about?   It can’t be just me!

So for any of you reading this post, please examine your lives.  Think about what
goes on in your day to day and let me know…is it just me?

~1spentmom~

Giving Your Teenager Some Space

Giving your teenager some space..
It is Thursday night and my daughter is going to the drive in movie with her cheer team.  She knows that she will be out late and needs to be up for summer gym in the morning.
Friday morning is here..and she is up and ready when we have to leave with being reminded.  She’s a smart girl and knows the consequences if she’s not on time.

But then here comes the attitude…I choose to drive the long one mile to the high school in silence.  On days like this, i just learned to pick my battles.   I remember the late nights with my friends in high school and my mom would just point me in the direction of my room for the day.  

Sometimes I have to just ignore my teenager daughter’s eye rolls and attitude…I’m sure thats bad to say,  but sometimes the look alone tells me to back off.  It’s better not to say anything some mornings than to get the eye roll and mumble…the constant bickering with her brother over the pronunciation of a word that drives me nuts…I’m not sure what makes the teenager mood swings and attitude so much worse some days.. then the next day she will sit in the kitchen and talk my ear off about friends and practice.

So I have learned to notice the signs and just let it go.. I don’t fuel the fire with the little things.  After that summer gym class, I let my daughter sleep all afternoon.  Then at dinner time,  I handed her the chore list for the day.  She did them no questions asked… We all have days that we need more sleep or more time alone.  

I have learned that maybe things don’t get done how I would like them, but they get done. If I would have hounded her to do her chores after class, it would have been a painful fight… I knew to just give her the space and she would be fine later.  

When the teenager years first started, it was a definite adjustment… I had a hard time understanding why she didn’t want to do the same things as her younger siblings.  It is hard to find things that we all enjoy now together.   The older they get the harder this becomes… they want friends along or they just don’t want to go.  Or why do they have to watch netflix on their phones in their room instead of watching with all of us in the living room.  

I have learned to do more things one on one with them.   I do not want to always make them do things together when its going to be a painful fight or no one can agree.   I have learned that my kids are so different when they are one on one with you.  They talk and talk and talk…sometimes they almost talk to much..haha.  

So many times I don’t bombard her with questions the minute she gets home from school, practice movies.. .. I let her go to her room and unwind for a bit.. then she’ll usually come and tell me all about whatever she was doing…

I give my kids independence to learn to do things for themselves, while I’m biting my tongue along the way.   I want them to need me but I also want them to make decisions.  Its a fine line to walk… and painful sometimes.  

Painful to keep my comments to myself and let them figure things out for themselves.  My daughter knew that if I let her stay out late, she would need to get up for class.  She also knew that if I let her sleep, she would need to do some chores.  And I have learned to back off a bit and let my kids do things differently than I might.

-Snarky

 

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/

 

 

So Much More Than That

I am not just a wife; I am so much more than that.

I am not just a mom; I am so much more than that.

I am not just a cook; I am so much more than that.

I am not just a chauffeur; I am so much more than that.

I am not just a housekeeper; I am so much more than that.

I am not just an employee; I am so much more than that.

I am not just a boo-boo kisser; I am so much more than that.  

So then what am I?  I’m so glad you asked.  

I am the daughter of The King.

I am intelligent.

I am a creator and an innovator.

I am a vessel through which life is brought.

I am bold yet humble.

I am beautiful.

I am a superhero.

I am a woman!

You see, before I became a wife or a mother or anyone of those other things that make me who I am, I was a woman.  So often, I tend to forget who I once was, and get stuck in the day to day of being the “just a”.  I find myself hearing other people discuss things that they are doing, and I think to myself that I am “just a…”.  But this just isn’t true.  I am and always will be an intelligent, beautiful, bold and unique woman.  I will always be the creative daughter of The King.  I can never loose sight of that.  In the midst of my daily life, I have to remember her.  I have to keep alive the woman who grew to become the wife, mom, chef, chauffeur, boo-boo kisser etc.  I have to cherish and nurture her.  I have to fight for her.  I have to love her.  When I do this, I am no longer “just a”.  When I do this, I am so much more than that!

 

~1spentmom~

From Married Boy Mom to Single Boy Mom

Being a boy mom is both amazing and gross.  The love between a mother and a son is indescribable, but so are the smells.

The moment I saw those two pink lines on that little white stick, I knew I was having a boy.  I wasn’t shocked one bit when the ultrasound technician confirmed that three months later.  What I didn’t know was that 9 years after his birth I would go from a married boy mom to a single boy mom.

I grew up as a total girly-girl.  Bugs, dirt, and fart jokes just weren’t my thing.  That was something that I left up to his dad.  I quickly realized as the divorce proceedings began that I was going to be doing most of the parenting on my own, and that meant I had to become comfortable with all things boy so that my son was comfortable with all things boy.

These are a few things I’ve learned during my transition from a married boy mom to a single boy mom.

Expecting him to be the “man of the house” wasn’t fair.

At first, I tried making the transition fun by telling my son he was going to be the “man of the house” now.  I thought it would make him feel special and give him something to look forward to, but instead, it made him feel like he had to grow up too fast.

I had to realize that expecting him to fill the opening left by his 41-year-old father wasn’t just unrealistic, it wasn’t fair.  Just because his father and I are divorced doesn’t mean he doesn’t still get to be a kid and do kid things.  Sure, he needs to chip in a little more around the house, but he shouldn’t feel the need to be the protector or the provider.  That’s my job now.

A positive male role model was incredibly important for him.

After my divorce, I was kind of anti-male.  I wanted to prove that I was an independent woman and that I could do this whole life thing- including parenting- on my own.  While I’m certainly capable, I understood that my son still craved positive attention from male role models and that I needed to support that.

That didn’t mean I had to go out and find him a step-father.  I didn’t have to look far to find many positive male role models for him.  My father, brother-in-law, nephews, friends, and even my son’s teachers stepped up to the plate.  Although it was difficult to admit, there are some things as a female that I just don’t get.  The “guy stuff” was still important for my son to learn and I needed to respect that.

 ​He needed to see my ups and downs, but not be burdened by them.

This whole single-mom thing isn’t easy.  Life is busy enough, but taking on the work of two people can feel overwhelming at times.  At first, I tried to act like everything was totally fine in front of my son because I didn’t want to feel weak or for him to worry.

I realized that I wasn’t doing either of us any favors by hiding my feelings and that this, in fact, could be a great learning experience for him.  I started talking about age-appropriate things with him and made it clear that he could ask questions if he wanted to, and I saw the anxiety melt away from him.  This whole time I was trying to hide things so he wouldn’t worry, but it was just causing him to wonder and worry even more.

Seeing his mom go through struggles, but to push through them and become stronger because of them is only going to make him more humble, determined, and able as he grows up.

 ​Being “one of the guys” is actually pretty cool.

Before my divorce, I was kind of left out of the “guy stuff”.  I didn’t really know what I was missing.  Cars, video games, football, hockey, fishing, and yes, even fart jokes, aren’t so bad after all.

I’m still not a fan of bugs, but that’s what exterminators are for.  Watching this boy grow into a man is pretty amazing.  Seeing the wheels turn as he watches YouTube videos about how to fix things or listen to him talking about how when he grows up, he’s going to buy a McLaren P1, is incredibly special.

I would have missed all these moments if I were still a married boy mom.  I’m learning that this whole single boy mom thing is just as wonderful, if not more.  I still get to be a girly-girl, but I have a tough side now that makes me feel like a warrior.  Soft, strong, and one proud boy mom.

-Lindsay, The Divorced Mama Bear

instagram.com/thedivorcedmamabear

Teamwork Makes The Single Mom Dream Work

Being a single mom is undoubtedly hard.  It’s hard in a way you can’t really understand until you are in the throes of it.  Like when you were pregnant, and people told you that having a newborn would make you tired.  Remember that?  I recall thinking, yeah, I stay up way past midnight and still wake up and go to work tired, I’ll be fine.  Then the baby comes and your definition of tired is utterly reinvented.  Being a single mom is no different, you must experience it to really understand how difficult life becomes.

The hard parts are different for all of us.  Sometimes it’s financial, sometimes it’s juggling busy schedules, sometimes it’s chasing the impossible work/life balance.  For me, my biggest struggle was trying to be the nurturer and the disciplinarian – roles typically reserved for 2 parent households.  I did my damnedest, but with 2 very different kids I found myself performing a daily Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine.  One kid had a great day while the other got in trouble at school.  So, a smile and a high five to you, turn around a deliver a stern look and a consequence for him.  How confusing that must have been for my kids?  I was failing at both roles and leaving a gaping hole in my family.

One day, as I was really trying to figure it all out, I realized that I needed a teammate in all of this.  I was not dating, and fully aware of the complications of bringing another adult into the situation, so that was not the answer.  Instead, I asked myself what if instead of trying to react to and regulate every circumstance my kids encountered, I simply joined them on the playing field.  I decided to start addressing our family as a team. We all had roles to play on the team, and we all had a responsibility to the success of our team.  I sat my kids down and we spoke at length about our new family dynamic.

The truth is, nothing changed as far as my hierarchy in our family.  But instead of dividing and conquering my kids, I encouraged us to all weigh in on the good and bad parts of our days.  We talk so much more, and I yell so much less.  My kids have learned each other’s love languages – one son thrives on physical touch, while the other seeks out words of affirmation.  They have been empowered with the skills to comfort each other and even me on the tougher days.  When one of us has a win – we all win, we all celebrate.

By putting an end to my polar opposite parenting, I’ve lifted a weight off my own shoulders.  I’ve given my kids the gift of an engaged mom instead of an overlord.  I see them growing as better people through their understanding of empathy and teamwork.  We hold each other accountable and we lift each other up.  We are invested in each other’s successes, we cheer for each other louder than anyone else, and we’ve created a safe place to express our thoughts and feelings.

My kids and I are a team now, and there is no other team I’d rather play the game of life with than the people I love the most.

Colleen

No Means No

When raising your children-No means just that.  When you say it, and stick to it, you are teaching your children that you mean what you say.  In that exact moment the answer is No. End of story. Not willing to  negotiation, listen to rebuttle or crying. Mamma said No.  

If they have a bad reaction to it and you cave in, let their stomping and crying and fits of upset change your mind, you are showing them that you do not mean what you say.  Period. You just said No, and now after their upset, you say something different -you say Fine, or Go Ahead or Whatever. Simply, you don’t mean what you say.  

When you tell them they are wonderful, amazing, beautiful, etc….and when you tell them you love them & will always be there for them……  

They won’t believe you.  

Because remember what happened when you said No.  

You didn’t mean what you said.  

They don’t know the difference, it doesn’t matter what the story is…they just know that  you don’t mean what you say.  They cannot count on you. They cannot depend on you. They cannot trust you.

When they throw a temper tantrum or roll their eyes at you, get mad & slam their bedroom door, say you’re the worst mom ever.  Stand firm. Be strong. And mean what you say.  

When my son was young I taught him at a very young age that if he had a reaction to my No, there was a consequence and he was grounded.  He learned very quickly that when mom said No, she meant it. Mom meant what she said, and he knows without a doubt that I love him.

xoxo

Your God Girl

Tracy

Co-Parenting Is Not For Everyone

When I was going thru my divorce,  my ex and I always said the children will come first.. we will always agree on that. Co-parenting…Yes, I believed that fairy tale just like many others.  I believed we would sit next to each other at soccer games and celebrate birthdays together.  I really believed all that…

Fast forward, we now have very different parenting views.  Co-parenting is very difficult for us. The amount of communication between the two of us is minimal.  I know everyone says that you need to co-parent for the children, however in some situations you have to do what is best for you.  We tried to spend birthday celebrations together but it was uncomfortable for everyone and mostly the children. I dreaded every birthday, which I realized was so sad because I love birthdays and I love celebrating my kids birthdays.  The children eventually did not want to even celebrate it together.    

So for the first couple of years after our divorce, I would go along with all the co-parenting and trying to play nice with him.  I would go along with his parenting ideas and discipline for the children. He had an opinion for every decision and strong opinions. This was difficult for my children, since he had never been the one to discipline.  They did not know how to respond or act to his strong strict behavior. They did not understand why they were never given choices or independence.  

I stayed home with my kids when we were married, I was the one that was the disciplinary, and I was the one that handled all of the parenting decisions.  My ex did not have much of an input on any of those areas. I asked him but he would trust my judgement and agree. Unfortunately after our divorce, he was trying to parent our children in such a different style then they had grown up with over the years.  It was more of an authoritative style, which they were not used to. Kinda like you do this because I said so style..without a valid reason why.  

I would let him speak to me however he wanted to me.  I would feel like a failure as a mother when I received emails from him constantly questioning my parenting.  I would receive emails on his strong parenting views that made me question my decisions… why? I am a damn good parent.  I have always stood by my decisions and now I was allowing self doubt. I was allowing this from someone that never wanted an input in our decisions.   I allowed all of this because I felt guilty for wanting the divorce. I did not want to cause additional friction between us and I felt it was best for the kids. I had read all the books and articles on how you need to co-parent…. 

Well thank god I came to my senses… The reason I divorced my husband was because I was not happy.  And I should not feel guilty for that. So I finally realized that trying to co-parent was not working for us.  I realized that I was not going to fake it through birthday celebrations, soccer games, and conferences.  

I realized that doing those activities independently was my choice and I needed that.  I needed to make that decision for me and my children. I wasn’t dreading participating in those activities anymore.  

I wanted to remember all of these moments with my children. I wanted them to remember how fun those times were with them.  I did not want them to remember that they were forced or made to feel uncomfortable. And my kids could see how uncomfortable it was for all of us.  I didn’t want to make them participate in these fake get togethers because the text book said co-parenting is the best.

My children and I have built a great life in the last 5 years and we are really happy. Not just facebook happy, but truly happy.  What I post is us being happy. We have fun together and we like doing things together. They understand that their dad and I have different views on parenting, life, and discipline.  They understand what is expected at each household and that it is different. They understand that people have different views and expectations…. I have learned to let them develop their own thoughts and views on the different households and that works for us.   And I have learned that I need to do what works for our family…

-Snarky

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/blog

It’s Ok To Take A Time Out

I used to have my kids in every activity and was involved with so many volunteer projects….  and then I decided to take a time out.I would make sure we attended every school and church event.  I would volunteer for every activity or fundraiser that the school sponsored.   And then I do not know what happened, but my thinking changed. I was tired of doing all those things.. I was tired of running constantly.  I was just tired.

I was doing those things because I felt I had to…. That was what a good mom does, you run your ass off morning until night.. It was crazy because running my ass off does not make me a good mom.  It makes me a crazy crabby bitchy mom.  I  do not know when this started where you have to be involved in everything to be a good parent or to feel like you are, but it is insane.   I loved to volunteer in my kids classrooms, but I did not love baking cupcakes, or being on the PTA, or collecting box tops. And I hate selling coupon books for fundraisers.. (that’s a whole other topic)

Now…Don’t get me wrong, I do think kids need to be in activities and we all need to volunteer in some capacity for school, however you do not need to do it all.   I know this was my own fault, I signed my kids up for all these activities and I signed myself up for all volunteer shifts.    I wanted to sit and watch TV with my kids. I wanted to do nothing some nights.  I wanted to just enjoy being with them.  I wanted to not be a stressed out crazy lady from running from activity to activity.

So, I stopped signing them up for every activity.  I stopped volunteering for opportunities that I didn’t feel passionate about. And I stopped attending every fundraiser.  I started asking my kids what they wanted to do and what they enjoyed the most.  I would ask if they were ok if we skipped a fundraiser or a school event.  Might seem selfish, but it made our entire family a lot happier and less stressed.  My kids have now each found the one activity or sport that they as passionate about and that works.  I  did not want to spend their entire childhood years feeling rushed…

As a parent you feel overwhelmed at times with all the activities that you children can participate in now.  But the truth is you don’t have to feel pressure to do it all.   A couple weeks ago someone was talking about about constantly running from church, to soccer, to drama club one night and I said why don’t you just let them skip?   And she said, “ what you that teach them?” What would that teach them…haha.. I laughed and said, “that we are human and we can’t do it all and some days you just need to stop and say no”.  That if I am tired and wore out, then I am sure my kids are also.

It’s Monday morning and my teenager has a migraine and stomach ache..she is begging to stay home and I believe that kids need down time.  They need time to do nothing and be kids. I believe that my kids need days to stay home.  They need days to do nothing and to “veg” out.   They need that time to unwind just like adults do.  If adults can take time to binge watch a series on Netflix, then I am sure my kids do too.

So yes, I do let my 8th grader stay home if she needs a day to regroup.  Kids have an amazing amount of stress and expectations put on them these days.   From school academics, to fundraisers, to mission trips, to athletics, to volunteering, religion class, to babysitting…. they are trying to do it all and they are still just kids.

I let my son skip soccer if he is had a bad day at school.  I let my daughter take a night off from religion class if she needs to decompress from the middle school drama.  And I do not think twice about it.. I do not think by letting my kids take that time for themselves, that it sets a bad example.  I think it shows that at times, we all have days where we just need to recharge.  Or we just need a time out.

I so appreciate that my kids can come to me and tell me when they feel overloaded or stressed.. I think it is so important that they know when they need a break.  I appreciate that they can tell me when they do not want to do something and just want to stay home.  I so appreciate their honesty over anything else.

Snarky Divorced Gal

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

How Do You Do It All?

I get asked all the time how I do it.  “It” referring to working full time, taking care of a household, and raising four boys each with a different personality. I used to struggle and question my parenting style; for example do I parent like I was raised or do I parent like society says I should parent.

Then not so long ago I had an ephiany. I realized I need to keep doing what I’m doing. When my two younger boys, ages 12 and 14, are at each other’s throats, I try and remain calm and ask them what happened. Most of the time they talk and yell over each other and in the end I’m the one yelling.  That is okay because after some self reflection I tell myself I will try and do better the next time.

The truth is there is a combination of things that go into how I parent, work full time and take care of my household.  First of all, I pray for patience, patience, and more patience. Second, I do my self care routine. My routine consists of putting my kids to bed and watching TV or getting on social media.  I also like to go to the tanner or go for walks with friends. I realized long ago self care is not selfish. I know I cannot be there for my job or my kids if I’m a hot mess. Humor is also a very important piece of my daily routine.  I laugh at myself several times a day. Like when I’m looking for my phone while it is in my hand or when I am shopping and jump when I see my reflection in a mirror and say excuse me thinking it was another person.

I have to remember I am human and I am not perfect.  Mistakes are made daily and that is okay, because I am blessed beyond measure and I get to wake up every day and try again.  If I can tell myself at the end of the day that I put everything I had into being the best that I can be I know my kids will turn out okay.

 

Yours Truly,

Anne Smith- A Working & Single Mother