Parenting/Life

Surviving the holidays when sharing custody

holidays

Sharing custody of your child(ren) can always be stressful.  Add on the hussle and bussle of the holiday season and the stress levels can skyrocket.  This can be especially true if you and the other parent do not have a positive co-parenting relationship.  Even if there is a great relationship between the 2 parents, sharing custody will always mean that there are times that the child(ren) are not with you and this can make for upset, stress and confusion for the children as well.  Surviving this stress without excessive upset to anyone needs a lot of patience.

I definitely don’t claim to be anything close to an expert in this subject, but having been doing this for 9 years now, I feel I can share a few things that work for me and what doesn’t work for me.

Santa/Gifts

I think typically if you share custody, then you alternate years for who has Christmas eve/Christmas morning.   In my home, regardless of where my son wakes up on Christmas morning, Santa will always have visited our home.  On years that my son arrives to my home in the afternoon on Christmas day, his stocking and gifts from Santa are waiting there for him.  I explain to my son, that Santa knows that he celebrates Christmas in 2 homes so he drops gifts off at both homes.    In the years that I have my son on Christmas Eve/morning, we open our family presents on Christmas Eve day so that he can have time to enjoy playing with them and then Santa gifts on Christmas morning.

Events

Only having my son 1/2 the time, inevitably there are events that we will be invited to that fall on times he is with his father, that he won’t be able to attend.  We are used to this and although neither of us like it, we deal with it.  Of course, depending of the significance of the event, one can always try to negotiate with the other parent  to switch times/days.  Sometimes this can work out or ultimately cause further stress and upset.  Over the years, I have learned what battles to fight and which ones to let go.  I just hate my son missing out on things due to his parental situation.

Advent Calendar

We are not a religious family, but my son still likes to partake in the count down to Christmas with an Advent Calendar.  This one is kind of tough as he isn’t always able to open each window on the correct day.  Sometimes after being at his dad’s for a few days, he has a bunch of little windows to open and subsequently several little chocolates to eat.  It’s definitely not the best scenario and almost feels like it defeats the purpose when he isn’t able to open the windows on the correct days, but I am not going to take away a little tradition that a lot of his other friends partake in.  This year I actually created my own advent calendar and only made it for the actual days that my son is with me.

Traditions in general

This one is the one I have the hardest “surviving”. I would love to be able to have a Christmas Eve tradition and a Christmas morning tradition that we can do every year, but when he spends those days at his dad’s every other year, it’s a little bit difficult. Luckily, there are things like putting up the tree and seeing one of the local Santa parades, and pictures with Santa that we can work our schedule around and make traditions out of those.  We make the best of what we have and enjoy the season the best we can with the time we have.  It’s all about the quality of time we have together not the quantity.

Since we have a set schedule for the holidays, family always knows in advance when we can celebrate together and when we can’t.  It can sometimes make things tricky when we have to worry about the weather for travelling but we keep that in mind too and have contingency plans in place in case the weather decides not to cooperate.

This “sharing” the holidays is definitely not what I signed up for when I became a Mom, but I want my son to grow up enjoying all the love and excitement that the holiday season has to offer and  not having to do without.

Wishing you and yours the happiest and stress-free holiday season!

 

Parenting/Life

A reminder that words can hurt.

The other day my son came home from school for lunch and it was very clear to me that something was bothering him.  I asked him if everything was ok and he said that some students at his school had hurt his feelings.

The Mama bear in me almost immediately saw red but I took a very deep breath and asked him to tell me what happened.  He was waiting outside one of the classroom’s for his friend that he walks home with.  Apparently another friend walked by and they laughed at each other and “dabbed”.  (If you aren’t sure what dabbing is, here is a link to a picture of my son “dabbing”).  From what I understand is there were two older students standing nearby and hollered over to my son that he “better be careful because causes cancer”.

My son obviously understands what they said is not even remotely true but what those two student did not know is that my son lost his parternal grandmother earlier this year to cancer and my Mom herself has had struggled with cancer.  And hearing those words upset him.

What these two said to my son was mean and completely insensitive and not a topic you should be joking about in any shape or form, but in all, the actually story of what happened isn’t what is important here.  What is important is that people, regardless of their age need to understand that their words can hurt.  It may not be intentional, it may not have meant to be malicious but you never know what people are going through in their personal lives that you don’t know about and words can sting just as much as a slap across the face.

I learned my lesson years ago when I kept “joking” with a friend about why he and his wife hadn’t had a baby yet.  They had been married several years at that point, so why not get started?  Little did I know that he and his wife were unable to conceive their own child.  Until that moment when that friend pulled me aside, I had no idea that my words were hurtful and I was completely unaware of it. So from that point on, it made me very mindful about the things that I say to people out of jest or for any matter that is.

Teaching our children to be mindful of their words and that saying insensitive things can really hurt someone’s feelings is really something that I think is important.  I look at some things that are said on social media these days and I really think that the old saying of “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” that our grandparents/parents taught us needs to make a comeback.  Words are thrown around like a basketball without people really thinking about the hurt and upset they are causing others.

Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always. – Ian Maclaren

Parenting/Life

Back to School – Saving Your Sanity

Back to School

Get your back to school season started right with our amazing round-up of back to school posts! Here you’ll find everything from meal planning to travel safety and so much more!

 

A Boy and His Mom | Meal Planning and Why It’s So Important

Link: https://aboyandhismom.com/meal-planning/

This time of year is a busy time for everyone.  Getting back into routines, extra-curricular activities, making lunches, and homework can all take up time in your day.  Having a meal plan in place and having the right foods in your home can reduce the stress of feeding all the hungry members of your family and give you more time for your other daily activities.

Back to School

Mama Indulgences | Back to School—Breakfast 3 Ways

Link: http://www.mamaindulgences.wixsite.com/mysite/single-post/2017/08/04/Back-to-School–Breakfast-3-ways

Is it just me or did this summer fly by? With “back to school” slowly creeping up on us, I am sharing easy 3-in-1 breakfast recipes. That’s right: 1 base 3 different ways!

 

Travels With Tots | Kid Friendly Overnight Oats

Link: https://travelswithtotsblog.com/2017/06/16/toddler-friendly-overnight-oats/

A healthy breakfast is so important to make sure your kids start their school day on the right foot. Here’s my recipe for fast, easy, nutritious, and delicious overnight oats that your kiddos (and you) will love!

Live Love Learn Gracefully | Back to School Books to Prepare for that First Day

Link: http://livelovelearngracefully.com/back-school-books-prepare-first-day/

It’s back to school time. There is no better way to prepare (other than shopping) than by reading a few back to school books. Whether to help prepare or ease the jitters this list is perfect!

Fab Working Mom Life | Back to School Driving Safety Tips

Link: http://www.fabworkingmomlife.com/2017/08/back-school-driving-safety-tips/

The back to school season means more traffic for us commuters and more opportunities for not-so-safe situations on the road. Let’s take a moment to think about back to school safety and specifically driving safety.​

Little Bit of Learning | DIY Rose Gold Mamma’s Toolbox

Link: http://www.littlebitoflearning.com/mammas-tool-box-free-printable-labels/

Back to School is about getting the kids organized… But it also means time for you to get yourself organized for the new school year. Learn how to make a DIY Mamma’s Toolbox! Now you can organize your mom cave or office, because who doesn’t want to look at a beautiful chalkboard floral designed toolbox while they work? Pick and choose the labels that fit what YOU need this back to school season.

Viva La Dolce | 5 Language Learning Tips for Your Everyday

Link: http://www.vivaladolce.com/2017/07/5-language-learning-tips-for-your.html?m=1

Back to school means back to class and back to homework! Check out this post for a few fun ways to help out with any language homework that may come your way! The best part is these suggestions don’t need to be done sitting at a desk! Have fun with language learning and incorporate it into your everyday!

 

A Life With A Little | A Letter to My Future Self as School Starts Back

Link: http://www.alifewithalittle.com/2017/08/14/letter_to_future_self_for_school/

It’s time for the kids to go back to school, but around here we aren’t going back to school just yet. This letter to myself is all about giving yourself permission to say no during the school year. As moms, we need to give ourselves a little grace in the midst of school bag packing, carpooling, sports schedules, homework helping, and everything else we do regularly. Take a moment to relax, read up, and give yourself permission to say no sometimes.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

It’s almost New Years Eve and it is time to say goodbye to 2016.  I can’t say it was the best year of my life and I can definitely say it wasn’t the worst year of my life. Sure it had it’s highs and it’s lows and there are memories that I will never forget, but it just wasn’t a standout year.  Although it was the year that I did start this crazy adventure called blogging, in all honesty, it was really just another year.

As I say goodbye to 2016, I am entering 2017 already with a bit of change.  My job has changed in that I am still in the same role per se, but I now have the opportunity to work from my home office full time.  Being able to commute the 3.5 seconds from my bedroom to my office is definitely going to have it’s perks and I somehow think that leggings are going to become a staple in my wardrobe.  I am anticipating all the good things that can come from this change.

In 2017, I will be turning……eeeeks 45.  Yes, no longer my early 40’s but at that peak and heading closer to 50.  My goal is to say goodbye to negativity, drama and not always feeling good in my own skin and saying hello to happiness and becoming the best version of myself.  I want to stop the bad eating habits and exercise consistently.  This summer I want to be able to wear a bikini and not care that I am not a size 2.

I was doing quite well with my Fitness Friday segments but as the holidays grew closer, I let them fall to the wayside and all my good habits that I was starting to enjoy went to the wayside as well.  As I sit here typing, everything feels tight and squishy and I don’t feel good about it at all.  Time to get back in the saddle and do what it good for me.  Sure, I know 95% of the population makes resolutions to lose weight but this year just feels different to me.  I want to do this, I need to do this.

I also need to focus on being better to myself.  Being a Mom, I way to often turn my focus to other things and put myself and the bottom of the priority list.  That doesn’t mean I am going to make it all about me but I am going to allow myself to do things for myself guilt free.  Even if it’s a few minutes in the evening to read a book or give myself a pedicure,  I am going to enjoy that time and not feel the least bit bad about it.

My son is getting older by the second and soon hanging with Mom isn’t going to be so cool anymore.  I want to make this next period of our lives really count.  I want to enjoy our time together making memories, doing things.  Things that we both will look back on and be glad we did them, together.  What does that exactly mean?  I am not sure but we will sure have fun trying.

I am going re-evaluate what’s important and focus on those things.   So as the clock ticks closer and closer to the close of 2016, I say goodbye to what was and hello to what is to come.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

The Clouds are Crying, Mommy.

clouds are sad

I was not planning to write a post today but then on the way to dropping my son off to school today, he said something that broke my heart.  It’s a typical rainy and windy fall day here today.  As we were getting in the car, he said “When it rains, it means the clouds are crying Mommy! Why are the clouds so sad?”

In retrospect, we’ve had a lot of death and sickness in our circle of family and friends lately.  We’ve had family members, family of friends, and even pets pass in the past few weeks.  It is also the anniversary of several friends family passing around this time of year.   By this time in my life, I had already been subjected to the death of my twin sister, more than any 8 year old should have to bear so I try to keep the subject of death as far removed from my son as possible.

I tried to explain that sometimes things happen that make the clouds sad.  Crying can help them deal with their emotions.  I tried to use examples of times he was sad and cried to make him understand. And then he said it “Mommy, why are so many sad things happening lately?”  My heart broke into a million pieces.  Keeping my composure was tough.  How was I supposed to respond to this?  I simply asked him what he meant.  As he started listing off a few things, I knew he wasn’t just a baby anymore that I could just pass things over.  He is a boy now and sadly able to comprehend the world around him.

I tried to explain to him that there was no explanation for it.  I tried to explain my superstition of things happening in 3’s.  I tried to explain that there will be times in our life with dark clouds and rain but we have to look for the sun shining behind those clouds.  I am not a overly religious person, but I try to believe that above those dark clouds are our angels up in heaven.  I tried to explain that sometimes our Angels up in Heaven get sad too and this is the result of that.

My explanation seemed to give him some comfort and give him an answer he could understand.  Crying is life helping us deal with our emotions, crying isn’t a bad thing.   So during those dark and gloomy days,  try to look on the other side of the darkness into the brightness ahead.   And when it seems like a multitude of bad things are happening, there will be an end and things will get better.  I want him not to dwell on the bad things life hands us but look for the good instead.

Tonight I will hug him a little tighter and try to focus on good things we have in our life and try to remove those rain clouds from his mind.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

My apology to all the single Moms that came before me.

my-apology

I am a single Mom, and I have been for 8 years now.  It probably took me longer than it should have, but I need to apologize to all the single Moms that have come before me.

Growing up and to this day, I always had my parents together.  My circle of friends did not fit into that statistic of “50% of all marriages end in divorce”.   Single Moms were somewhat of a foreign concept to me until I become one myself.  And truth be told, what I did know or perceived to know about them was not in a kind light.

And when I became I single parent myself, I struggled and still do sometimes struggle with the stigma that is attached to single Moms.  But I have learned so much these past years about what it really takes to be a single Mom and I am in awe of the other Moms out there.  I only have 1 little one to look after and I am astounded sometimes how some Moms manage with 2 or 3 or more.

We don’t let our kids run around with dirty face and clothes, all kids do.  It’s the nature of their beast.  And those kids having complete meltdown in the middle of the grocery store…..they belong to ANY Mom.  Your marital status has NOTHING to do with it.  We love our kids just as much as any other mother and would do anything to protect them.

And truth be told, some of the single Moms that I know are the most organized, hardworking women…..and pardon my language but these ladies have their shit together.

So I need to profusely apologize to all those times I made the assumptions, I agreed with all those stereotypes and down and outright judged you.  Being a single Mom doesn’t make you any less worthy than those Moms that have the house with the white picket fence life.

We have just an amazing life; we just do it a little differently.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Our social media free cottage weekend and what I learned in the process.

When we booked our summer cottage weekend many months ago, it seemed like it would be forever until it would arrive.  But this past weekend, it finally arrived.  It was a bit bittersweet though.  We couldn’t wait for it to arrive but we knew once it did arrive, summer would soon be over.  This summer we’ve been in practically drought like conditions and what was the forecast for this weekend????  Rain and lots of it.  We weren’t going to let Mother Nature ruin our much anticipated weekend away.

One thing that I decided I would do as part of weekend was turn the data off of my phone for the weekend.  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter could survive without me for a few days.  I was still able to receive phone calls and text message in case of an emergency.  I am just too paranoid to completely unplug for a weekend but I am sure you get what I mean.  Enjoying my weekend and our beautiful surroundings were the only thing on our agenda!

Cottage

On Friday morning, we packed up the car and hit the road.  It was a sweltering hot day and so far the forecast seemed to be wrong as the sun was shining so my son was itching to get there so he could swim in the lake.  Luckily when we arrived the sun was still shining and we hit the lake the minute we got our suits on.

Beach

My son has improved his swimming skills significantly in the past year so he was thrilled at the thought of being able to swim in the lake without his life jacket.  At first I was a little skeptical, but he proved me wrong when he swam out to the floating dock without hesitation.  All weekend he kept saying that I should never underestimate him!!  LOL

woods

We had friends staying in the adjacent cottage so that evening we got together for a rousing game of Monopoly.  I swear my son is either going to be a high finance banker or a real estate mogul when he grows up.  He was a total shark!

And as the weather man predicted, Saturday morning we awoke to rain and lots of it.  I was not going to let that get me down.  My son and I had brought our fishing rods and I  had gotten a fishing license for that day and we were going fishing.  I grew up fishing in the creek on our country property with a stick, fishing line and a hook.  If we were really lucky, we’d get a bobber.  My son actually had to show me how to cast.   It was sooooooo much fun.  My inner tomboy came out and I was putting worms on the hooks and pulling fish off the hooks without hesitation.  In the end I only caught 1 little sunfish.  My son caught 5!   Fishing is something I plan to do a lot more of now that I know how much we both enjoy it.  I am a nature girl at heart!

Jack fishing

My itty bitty fish

We took advantage of getting outdoors when there was a break in the rain, taking a hike and swimming again and more fishing as much as we could.  The rest of that day we colored, did some reading and even enjoyed a lovely afternoon nap.  I don’t think we’ve done that in years!  That evening it was storming quite a bit so we did cuddle into bed early and watched a movie on our tablet (ok, so not completely unplugged but given the circumstances of the storm, I don’t really think it counts.)

Sunday came so quickly and unfortunately we had to pack up and head back home.  We will surely be looking forward to returning for another great weekend next summer!  A big thank you to Mary and Tim at Woodland Park for such a great weekend!

Us on the dock

I learned a lot from my little social media break.  I learned that I have way too many email subscriptions that I don’t actually read.  When I turned my data back on my email box got flooded with tons of emails that I literally deleted without a need to read.  Time to do some Unsubscribing.

But most importantly I learned how much time I was taking away from my son.  I learned that I don’t need to be checking my social media constantly during the day.  When I have my son, I can turn the data off and devote my time strictly to him.  We will enjoy what little time we get to spend together totally focused on each other.  I can scroll thru Facebook when he goes to bed and catch up on everyone else’s lives then.  I can make memories with him in the moment and share these moment on Instagram when he’s gone to school or back to his Dad’s.  I need to live in the now and not in everyone else’s now.  It was a huge eye opener and making changes going forward  My son is so much more important to me!

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

#ProjectStandForLove

Lately it seems like I am constantly reading posts from fellow bloggers about how this world has brought them to tears and it breaks my heart.  We are worried about the world that we are having to bring our children up in and what the future holds for them.  Thankfully there are people like Bethanie from The Garcia Diaries, Rah of Wire and Honey and Mandy of The Blue Evelope in this world, that want to make it a better place.  They have come up with the #ProjectStandForLove initiative that I was more that happy to promote and take part in.

Project-Stand-for-Love

In their words …“All you have to do is write a sweet note, deliver it to a friend/neighbor/stranger, and share the act on social media with the hashtag #projectstandforlove! By following these simple steps, you are SPREADING KINDNESS AND LOVE! It’s so easy and it’s life changing!

Yesterday, my son and I decide to try and make our little bit of difference in the world.  We decided that we wanted to show our local firefighters how much we appreciate them putting their lives on the line day in and day out for us.  We decided to bring them some cookies that we could enjoy on their down time.  We arrived at the firehouse and the firefighter that greeted us seemed genuinely shocked and grateful for our little delivery.  To my son’s delight, we were invited in to see the firetrucks.  We were just stepping into the garage when the bells starting ringing that they had a call to go on.  The firefighter was so apologetic that they had to leave and invited us back for another visit anytime.  I am not sure what was more exciting for my son, seeing the fire truck or being there when they actually got a call to go out to!  We hope the firefighters all returned safely from their call.

PhotoGrid_1468796715731

Remember, it doesn’t take a lot to show a friend, a neighbor or a complete stranger that there is kindness and love in the world.  If you would like to do your part, print out this note, add your own words of kindness and perform an act of kindness!  It’s that easy to help change the world!

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

A Single Mom’s Pity Party


The other day I had a party.  Guest count = 1.

It was one of those days when I just wanted to wallow and feel sorry for myself.  I wanted to think about everything that I wasn’t happy about in my life and about and be miserable about it.  I didn’t want to put on my smiley face and pretend everything was perfect.   I didn’t invite anyone to my party, I didn’t want them there either.  I wanted to feel even lonelier and having people there wouldn’t help.  I didn’t want to leave the house.  I just wanted to be 100% miserable!

My very own personal pity party!!

Poor me

What was I so upset about?  I was sick of feeling alone, I was tired of seeing everyone else with their significant others all happy and loving and I didn’t have my own person, I was missing my boy as it was Daddy’s weekend, I was mad about that whole situation and how there is nothing I can do to change it, I was tired of constantly feeling tired,  I was tired of losing the same 5lbs only over and over again, I was tired of looking in the mirror and not being happy what I saw, I was unhappy about not having enough money ever, I was tired of feeling like a broken record with my complaints to my family and friends, I was tired of seeing all the bad things happening in the world on TV.  It was everything and anything.

And then, like a kid’s birthday party, it was over in a couple of hours.

I got up, brushed myself off and said “damn it, get over it”.   Sure, everything isn’t picture perfect, but I have so many things in my life to happy and thankful about.

I have:

  1. A son who is my absolute world.  Just thinking about him brings the biggest smile to my face and warms my heart.
  2. A family that is always there to listen to me and love me, no matter what.
  3. Friends that listen to my broken record and always make me feel welcome.  No 5th wheel.
  4. A roof over my head, food in my belly and clothes on my back.
  5. A job to go to each day so I can provide for myself and my son.
  6. My health and so much more……..

There are so many others out there that can’t say they have some of or any of these things, so I am truly blessed.  Dwelling what I don’t have, doesn’t solve anything and is no way to live life and definitely not a kind of life I ever want my son to be subjected too.

It was a great party that I needed to have and now it is over.  My only last complaint, I didn’t get a looty bag at the end of this party.  😦

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