Tag Archives: work

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

Some Day We Will Get To Go To The Zoo

Some Day We Will Get To Go To The Zoo…

My daughter is six. She is smart as a whip and sharp as a tack and all those other colloquialisms we like to use. She asked me a question that kind of stopped me dead in my tracks.

“Mommy, why are you always in your room?”

Insert bulging eyes emoji.

“Well… It’s nice in there. I like it.”

She responded, “In the other house, you were in your room a lot, too.”

“So, what you are saying is you want me to spend more time with you?”

She and her brother, age five, both nod. Brother responds with: “We miss you!”

There is no rule book on how to parent singly. I often have no clue. Granted, I wasn’t really sure how to do that WITH a husband, either, so I come by it honestly. But she had a point. I thought about it. I always feel guilty that I don’t spend enough time with them or I work so much that I’m too exhausted and use any spare time to rest. There is no such thing as work/life balance for mothers and especially not single mothers.

Do you know that I have wanted to take my kids to the zoo for about three years now? But it never happens because it’s just not in the budget, no matter how creatively I work around things. I still have to account for fuel, food, appropriate clothing, etc. I would like to declare that 2020 is the year I finally get to take them to the zoo. I currently work three jobs. Surely this year I can take them to the zoo. I really need to show them the spider cages. And the snakes…

I explained to her that mommy has to work a lot. “Why?” She often tells me she does not want me to work so much. I have tried to have her understand, but she won’t truly understand until she’s an adult on her own. In the meantime, I attempt to make her aware that money buys things and getting money comes from work. Money means food, shelter. She’ll understand. Someday…

And someday, we’ll get to go to the zoo.

~ALG~

A Married Stay At Home Mom To A Working Single Mom

I never would’ve thought I’d be a single working mom if you’d asked me ten years ago. When I got married at the age 28, I thought I’d almost ridden out my “troubling 20’s” and was proud of myself for waiting until I was almost 30 to get married. I thought I had life pretty much figured out; I’d get married to this wonderful man, (13 years my senior), and he would make me happy……….boy was I wrong! 

We got married on Friday, October 13th, in the year 2000 on a cliff in Maui, Hawaii. Right as my dad started to walk me down the aisle, a gray storm cloud was overhead, and it started to drizzle rain. The preacher assured me that the rain meant we’d be fertile. Ironically, we went through IVF to conceive our twin girls in 2002! We made the decision that I would be a stay at home mom. It was a dream come true, or so I thought. 

In April 2003, my mother died after battling cancer since my wedding in 2000. I sank into a deep, dark hole of depression. We welcomed our third daughter on February 23, 2005. I had three beautiful daughters that I was so fortunate to get to stay home with, right? Wrong! With nowhere to be if I didn’t want to, I felt I had no purpose in life other than to care for my children. My marriage began to suffer around 8 years in. In hindsight though, it was never going to survive. Our marriage ended in 2012. 

I had gone back to work teaching preschool 16 hours a week, but I had no benefits and was making very little pay. My ex husband and I couldn’t afford to each buy a home so we lived together post divorce for about 4 months. I know it sounds crazy, but we had to do what we had to do. It was not a healthy thing to do, that is for sure. 

So here I was, a well educated woman with a college degree, but couldn’t find a job to save my life. Being out of the workforce for so many years left me unmarketable. I managed to get a job as a paraprofessional in the school system where I had benefits, but still very low income. I bought my own home as well. With my job plus child support, we were barely getting by, but we were making it!!!! I have since gotten a better paying job, but then got served papers for a modification of child support. Ugh.

Although I have a decent job, it’s not what I had in mind as far as fulfillment goes. I go through the motions, but still have a goal of doing more meaningful work.  I have a passion for helping single women, hence me writing this blog to The Working Single Mom. 

Single moms, you ROCK! 

Karen

My Small Business Is My Baby Too

Owning a small business is HARD.

Pouring your heart and soul in to something on the hope that one day you will realize your vision is exhausting.

Being a single mom is HARD.

Waking up in the night alone for months on end through breast feeding, teething, leaps and growth spurts is exhausting.

Doing both?

Can I just say that I am tired. Like, a tired that I feel so deeply inside of my bones I don’t think I will ever feel the same kind of tired?

I started my small business 3 years ago, I built it up with my mother from nothing. Slowly graduating from the dining room- to the game room- to taking over the entire house- to finally a warehouse. In fact about a month after signing the warehouse lease with my mother I found out I was pregnant. Not only pregnant but due in THE BUSIEST MONTH OF THE ENTIRE RETAIL CALENDAR, November. Right before Black Friday. Yay?

Please don’t get me wrong I was over the moon excited to be pregnant, I was in love with my little pea already, but as a first time mom trying to imagine how I’d get through the month of November with a newborn was very scary.

Black Friday came though like it is ought to do and with my little girl strapped to my chest in a Tula after being up every hour for three weeks straight cluster feeding, pumping and doing everything I could to keep my supply up, I went live on Facebook starting at 5am and we went until 10pm.

It was brutal. But somehow we did it. We had to. My small business is my baby too.

Being a small business owner and a single mom does have its perks, the main one being, having the ability to set my own schedule. Powering through being up every hour and going to a 9 to 5? No idea how people do it. You are amazing. On the other hand though, while I did take a step back from the business I didn’t really get any maternity leave. The envy I felt watching mommy friends stay home from work for 2 or 3 or even 6 months was intense.

My mother and I set up an office at the warehouse with a pack n play and a couch, these days at 8 months old we have baby gates and a play mat for her too.

She is a little warehouse baby and although I will never be able to work my small business like I used to being able to keep her with me at work every day is priceless.

Single Mom Boutique Boss
Allyson

A Dream With No Direction Or Work Is Just A Wish

A dream with no direction or work is just a wish.. All my life I’ve been a dreamer, but at the age of 29 single with three kids I couldn’t just dream anymore, It was time for action. I decided a while ago I wanted to be a realtor. So I put my nose to the grindstone and did research on how to become licensed in my state. Being on a fixed income I had to find the most affordable without taking away from the educational experience. Real estate board are extremely difficult to pass so if I was going to invest in myself I needed to do it right.

After a couple of months of research and saving I found a small local school where the classes were only 250 a peice. Three classes span over three weeks, A lot of information in a short amount of time for a price I could kinda afford. I got this I would tell myself every morning before class to quell the fear and self doubt. You see This was a big step a big process for me. I was making one of my dreams real and tangible. Which ment it was no longer protected and safe in my dream world… It could fail, I could fail. Reading myself affirmations every morning and simply telling myself I could do helped me push through all the obstacles I faced over the three weeks; I became extremely sick my second week, I refused to miss a day. the third and final week my car broke down, so I took the money I saved for my start up costs and repair my vehicle and then door dashed while I finished my classes to make up the money.

After all of that hard work I passed both of my exams, on my first try! I was so proud of myself. I quickly Joined a Brokerage, possibly too quickly. I became frustrated and felt uncomfortable in the office that I choose. After almost of two months of what felt like beating against a brick wall I switched brokers. I switched to a Team with Remax results and I am just starting to get back into the swing of things. I feel more comfortable here and I am excited to continue my journey as a Realtor.

Until next time..

Always be unapologetically true to yourself,

Ali

The Mask Which She Hides Behind

The mask I wear can disguise my pain. It can change my appearance. I wear it to fool those around me.  I wear it to help me make it through the day.  I wear it but it’s not the real me.  It lets me hide behind a smile. It lets me keep you at bay. The mask I wear lets the demons to view the world. I wear it to pretend the pain is not real. The mask is an illusion.

The world is full of precious souls wearing masks to hide the pain. ~ Alfa

I have worn for so long that I sometimes forget my true self. I have worn for so long that it I sometimes forget it is not me. I have worn  for so long that it is hard to leave it at home. I have worn for so long that I am afraid to face the world without it. I have worn the mask for so long because it felt safe. I have worn it for so long.

So tired of it, yet I’m still wearing it.

Can you see me? Can you see me behind the mask? Can you see the sadness behind the smile? Can you see the worry in the lines of my face? Can you see the exhaustion around my eyes? Can you see, really see me?

You hide behind the mask. That is your skin. Your eyes are the only portal that reveals the demons within. ~ e.m.

I wish I could go without, but the demons are in charge. I wish I could go without, but the pain is so near the surface. I wish I could go without, but I don’t want to burden you. I wish I could go without, but my warrior is chained. I wish I could go without the mask, but I am just not ready to show the world all of me.

The mask will stay with me to hide my pain. The mask will stay with me to keep you at bay. The mask will stay with me to get me through my day. The mask will stay with me until I go to bed each and every day. The mask will stay with me until the warrior is ready to rise again. The mask is an illusion.

 

~ Kellie

Working each day to be the warrior and leader I know is within me. You can follow me at https://wordpress.com/view/leaderofthepacks.blog

Expect the BEST!

Hey there…yes it IS really me blogging again…I know that you guys have been reading some great stuff from a bunch of our guests bloggers, it’s fantastic to see everyone writing!  Thought it was time I actually added a post to my own blog…

As you know I turn 50 in August and on Friday night my son graduated from High School a year early…so lots of milestone shit happening up here in the Green Mountains…which brings up ALL the feels!!!! The closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one, my Second Act we are calling it.  As I sort through the last 50 years (holy shit it feels weird to type that) I am seeing soooo many lessons learned, so much education in all of the stupid things that I have done…WOW…

Feeling like I have gotten to a pretty decent place and knowing that there is so much more to get done in the next half.  One of the things that I am working with this week in my own personal study is the idea of “you get what you expect”…I spend a lot of time reminding you guys that what you think about and speak about you will get more of, which means that if you start REALLY expecting the BEST it will change your whole life.

How many of us really walk through the days ‘expecting the best’, I see that even I am not doing that…I am not consciously walking through the days declaring and expecting the BEST…so I have to ask myself WHY NOT?  I certainly have been well-trained in understanding that what I expect and focus on I will get, so WHY am I not running through the days expecting nothing but the BEST outcomes???

Somewhere in all of us there is this place where we feel like things can’t always be amazing, we all worry a bit that when things are great it won’t last…well I am calling BULLSHIT on all that!  The truth is that we can get to a place where we really understand that what we expect we will get, we can get to a place where we KNOW that there is GOOD in everything even when it looks like a complete piece of shit.  It is NOT an easy place to reach, it is a place that you CAN reach by studying principles that demonstrate that what you fill your mind with is what you create, what you focus on is what you create, what you talk about is what you create…

That means that in order to REALLY rise to a place where we go around expecting the best, we have to DO THE WORK to get there.  Which means training your mind to think the things that will help you and understanding how to respond to things from a place of peace rather than react.  It means that when it ‘looks like’ your bank balance is too low you focus on the fact that money is coming instead of panicking based on what appears to be true in the moment.  The last year, since leaving corporate stuff and choosing to build my own company again, has been one of the hardest and scariest of my life thus far…I have had to REMIND myself daily of all the things that I teach, I have had to declare GOOD through panic and tears, I have had to TRUST when I could not see the way out…I have been taught so much in this last year and now it seems that my lesson is REALLY starting to come from a place daily of expecting the BEST.  Easier said than done, yet I am working on it…it seemed a good thing to share with all of you.  Here are two of the affirmations that I am using as I walk through this, perhaps they will help you as well…

“Nothing is too good to be true.  Nothing is too wonderful to happen.  Nothing is too good to last.”

“Today and every day, I expect the best. Wonderful things are happening to me now.  Everything I do turns into good for myself and others.”

XO- Noelle

What’s The Condition of Your Space?

Did you know there’s a connection between the condition of your living space & surrounding environment AND your mood, productivity, creativity and stress level? A cluttered environment saps your energy and robs you of a creative flow, positive outcomes & precious time. Living in, or working with, physical or mental chaos… can change your mood like *SNAP* that!  And sometimes it’s a lot harder to deal with THAT than the actual task of organizing it all.  The connection happens unconsciously.  You don’t wake up and say, ‘my day is going to be havoc today’…it just happens.  As you go about your morning you find yourself asking…. ‘Where are my keys?’ ‘What did I do with that letter?’ ‘Where is Johnny’s other sneaker?’ And then before you know it, you’re behind schedule, talking to yourself and walking around in circles.

When you’re always looking for things that should be at your fingertips, you spend too much important & precious time looking.  Clarity replaces Clutter!!  We live in a society which places many demands on our time. And one thing is for sure….we don’t have time to waste searching for that one thing we need before we can walk out the door, that one folder we need for the meeting or the school papers Suzi needs in her backpack before the bus gets here. If you create a place for everything and put everything in it’s place …that’s better than half the battle…..it demolishes the battle.  You find things in a *SNAP*.

Whether it’s your office, kitchen, garage, playroom, kitchen cabinets, dresser drawers… whatever it is…. …. it’s time to get back on track with a more efficient, harmonious space AND the next thing you know… you have a more efficient, harmonious life!

Be aware of your condition and declutter what you can so today is a breeze.

Peace & Blessings,

Tracy

Dressing For Work On A Budget

That necessary word…Budget. My husband and I own a small design and advertising firm and are on a tight budget in all aspects of our life. We budget EVERYTHING. Birthdays, Holidays, Groceries, School supplies, utilities, and the list goes on. We live paycheck to paycheck and very rarely do anything on a whim and especially not before consulting “The Budget”. Partially because we have to and partially because we have both experienced financial troubles in the past.  We use credit cards in emergency situations only and pay for everything in cash. If we come under the budget we rollover that extra in to a savings account. I scour the online sites, and paper ads for coupons and sales. Because I tend to go overboard on things occasionally, finding ways to save is almost an obsession to me.

I dress business casual most days and occasionally more dressy depending the situation. I own pieces in my closet that are years old. Finding and being able to afford to dress for work can be stressful but doesn’t need to be. You see a lot of articles online about dressing on a budget and after beginning to read the article you realize their budget is way more than what I would consider affordable. The struggle is real.  Where I am certainly far from a fashion guru a few of these things have helped me CONSIDERABLY when dressing on a budget.

*Buy pieces a little at a time and that are interchangeable. As you begin to build your wardrobe there are still 5 days a week every week that you need to dress for and introducing a piece at a time seems like it wouldn’t be helpful.  Black slacks, tan slacks, solid color shirts that can be changed up by adding a different scarf or a different piece of costume jewelry. One or two pairs of slacks and solid colored shirts can be worn repeatedly throughout the week just by adding those accent pieces. A little trick I learned from someone near and dear to me is to also try and style your hair a different way when wearing a repeat piece.  Believe me, I do it!

*Stay away from clothing that needs dry cleaned! Added expense that is not necessary.  Although, do pay attention to how your items need to be laundered. Washing and drying your clothes according to their care tags will keep the life of your items.

*Yes-I shop at Maurices, Old Navy, T,J Maxx, Wal-Mart, Target, Shoe Carnival.  Wal-Mart is awesome for buying scarves and jewelry. And almost always they have that stuff marked way down. It is true, purchasing more expensive pieces of clothing will last you longer. Again, sometimes that just isn’t reality. Purchasing that expensive piece falls in to my category of buying one at a time, over time.

*Some of my favorite online shops are Groupon and Amazon. I am not necessarily a fan of shopping for apparel online but most companies now offer free return shipping if the item doesn’t fit. And if it’s a deal I just cannot pass up I am willing to take the chance that it may not fit. I am very thorough about reading reviews, where the items are coming from, checking the return policy, and sizing charts.

*Most businesses now have their own rewards programs-take advantage of those! They do reap in benefits.

*Purchase items that are timeless. Slacks, pencil skirts, blazers.

* Be sure to buy things that are you! Buying an item just because it is on sale and not necessarily because you like it will result in a top hanging in the closet with the tags still on.

*I have a few friends who are close in size. We will have swap parties where we bring the items we are burned out on and switch around with each other.

*I LOVE Shoe Carnival-am always watching for their sale BOGO 1/2 off. We are constantly buying shoes for sports, recitals, weather changes, etc…I never not buy that 2nd pair!

What are your ways to save when shopping on a budget for work?

Love to All-Kim

 

 

 

 

Life Doesn’t Have an EASY Button…

Life doesn't offer an 'easy' button

Life DOES NOT have an easy button!  Anything that you want in this life you need to work for and earn, at least anything worth having.  In the process of working to earn something you enable yourself to be worthy to have it and therefore you can keep it.

I have some more unfortunate news…life wasn’t meant to be ‘easy’, life is meant to teach you so that you can elevate your soul and serve other people. For the self-serving folks in the crowd this will be sad news, for others of you this will just be a confirmation of what you already know to be true.

Working to earn something doesn’t have to be an unhappy circumstance, life is what you make it and we have the freedom to choose our response to any situation.

An alarming number of children growing up today are not being taught to earn what they wish to have, their parents are simply giving them whatever they want be it money, cars, electronics, college tuition etc.  These children will turn into adults that expect an ‘easy’ button to be available to them and when it isn’t they won’t understand.  They will be ill-equipped to handle life as it really is and they will become ineffective adults waiting for somebody else to solve their problems.

There are already enough ineffective adults floating around expecting someone to take care of them, we don’t need to add more.  Don’t be afraid to work hard to get what you want in life, God helps those who help themselves.  If you are sitting around unhappy with the way your life has turned out waiting for the ‘easy’ button to fall on your head here is the Staples link to order yourself one http://www.staples.com/Staples-Easy-Button/product_606396 .  Everyone else get to work…