Shame On You!

Mom shaming: When you shame a mom on the Internet, at the school, at playdates, or anywhere for that matter. Anyone can be afflicted with this disease of the heart. It has been seen in mom’s and non-mom’s alike.

This “disease” takes on many different sizes, shapes and forms. I hear more and more people with a lack of understanding or knowledge of other parents’ circumstances, choices or decisions regarding their kid(s) and it seems to be contagious. Instead of being supportive they assume they know and comment negatively. Most of the carriers of mom shaming don’t have the ability to empathize with challenges of other parents, but have no problem telling them how they’re wrong and how they should be doing it or should have done it better. Remember, hindsight is 20/20.

I read this article today and, yeah, the mom was obviously having a rough day.  It was Mother’s Day, her kids were too young to do anything for her, she was single, and she was reading all these wonderful things wonderful husbands were doing for their wonderful mommy wives and she was upset/frustrated or whatever.  Is what it is, but what really got me were the comments.  It wasn’t hang in there it’ll get better, or “Happy Mothers Day” I’m sure your kids appreciate you more than you know, etc.  No, a lot of them were: You need therapy.  Your kids should be taken from you.  What kind of mother are you?  You don’t love your kids and it’s obvious. Your kids are going to grow up with problems because they can tell you don’t like them. Etc.  It just went on and on. I truly couldn’t believe it.

I think I’m a top-notch mom (big grin on my face and happy dancing…okay, maybe not happy dancing but feeling pretty sure of myself as I say this…okay, maybe not sure of myself, but a little sure….), but I have had some bad days.  Here are some prime Mom Shaming opportunities.

  1. I’ve had to rush my daughter to the ER before.  —-  Milla drank the children’s Advil I left on the table while getting her some water. I was SURE  this was going to put her into a coma and they may need to pump her stomach. I measured it quickly and arrived at ER telling them she had 3-4 tablespoons and they laughed and said she’d sleep good after checking her out. :\   Still feel guilty about it though.
  2. I lost my daughter in a McDonald’s playhouse and called the police.  — I was sure some pedophile had stolen my beautiful, little princess and I had every episode of Law and Order SVU running through my mind.  Cici was hiding under the slide the whole time. I was up the playhouse, all around it, questioning parents and generally in a paranoid frenzy.  Cici thought it was hilarious.  We found her when she started uncontrollably giggling. Yep…I never went back to that McDonald’s.  I mean, how could they leave that space under the slide that she could fit in? lol. j/k.  My fault.  No more hide and seek with the kids.  They’re getting too good at it.
  3. My daughter has pooped in an aisle at Party City. — Yes, that’s right. Pooped. Full on blowout.  Cici was looking at Little Mermaid party gifts next to me when she tooted and I was like, “geez sister, peeyoo”.  However, when I looked at her she had deer and headlight eyes and then I saw it running out her pant leg. O.M.G. . Me scooping her up, “Me: Cici where is your PullUp? Cici: On Ellie (her baby doll) at home.”  Can you say MORTIFIED? Disgusted? Gagging?

I can only imagine what the other parents at the ER, McDonald’s, and Party City were thinking. AND, these are just three examples that immediately come to mind. This doesn’t include Milla’s corn starch snow angels in the kitchen, Cici’s injured mouse friend (EEK), or a multitude of others.  Kids are kids, parents are human.  Some of these things are ridiculously funny to look back on, some of them were learning opportunities for them (reviewing stranger danger and why not to hide from mommy) or for me (the lid on everything should always be on tight and up high even if they’re sick for their safety-Advil or my sanity-Cornstarch). Granted, there are exceptions to every rule and you can argue the gray areas.  But most of the stuff I hear isn’t gray area it’s just straight mean — so let’s review some basic human principles:

  1. No one is perfect. Not you, not her, not him, not the President, not anyone.
  2. Venting is a release of built up emotions. I might feel overwhelmed and say “I need a vacation”, but I personally can’t be away from my kids for much time before I’m calling/texting/ready to get back to them.
  3. Just because someone is having a bad day, doesn’t mean they’re a bad parent.
  4. Your way of parenting is not better than their way of parenting.  It’s just different.
  5. Being a parent has ups and downs.  Things will get better, then they might get worse, then better, rinse, repeat. So lend an ear, or a hand, and be supportive of others.

I realize it’s a day and age of reality TV: Kardashians, Dance Moms, Teen Moms, Real Housewives, etc.  It’s a digital age where we are fed the lives of others and expected to have an opinion on it.  However, try to realize being a parent isn’t a reality show.  Being a parent is caring for and loving a little person so much you would do anything for them. REAL parents are constantly trying to improve, do the best, and be the best for their little people.  This life is better than reality TV because it’s REAL–unedited, unreviewed, moment by moment living.  Embrace it, enjoy it, and learn from it because none of us are perfect and so many of us are truly, desperately trying our best.

 

Let’s Get Real

Life isn’t easy. To be responsible for the livelihood and molding of another person? Shitz hard!

Today I started out at 3:30am, did some laundry and dishes, woke the baby at 4am for breakfast, worked out, then woke the girls at 5am for their breakfast, and then our day was up and running.  By 8am severe migraine – possible dehydration.  Two meetings and two Gatorade’s later feeling a little more useful.  Then the apocalyptic call – I don’t want to babysit your infant anymore.  It’s only noon. Dammitalltohell.

A quick rescheduling of meetings and a call to the boss and I’m off.  Picking up Baby J on the way to picking up Milla to drop her at school during my lunch break (she’s a half day preK kid).  I stop at three places nearby our home to request prices…totally out of our budget.  I hit up Craigslist and schedule a couple of interviews.  A few drive-bys (too scary to even stop) and a couple of interviews later and I think we have a winner.  She’s new to Houston, has a few respectful and sweet kids, lives in a gated community. She gives me a copy of her license and a background check later she’s tentatively hired for a trial week.

Let’s get real.  If you had a big bag full of gold you wouldn’t just drop it off at a strangers house and expect to pick it up later.  That’s what I feel when I drop my kids off.  I’m trusting someone whom is practically a stranger with one of my most priceless possessions!  I would literally kill for my kids.  I love them more than I’ve ever loved anything in my entire life.  I pay more than 1/2 my pay every month to people to care for these little people that I would personally pay just to spend more time with. Truth talk. I’m jealous of SAHMs.

Being a single parent isn’t easy.  It’s extremely difficult.  I do what I do to the best of my ability so that I may give my wonderful little people the life they deserve.  It’s not easy. Sometimes it’s a lot of fun; but it’s ALWAYS a lot of work.  Most days I feel extremely blessed and lucky to have these three beautiful little creatures that cuddle and look up to me.  However days like today are hard.  They make you shed a few tears, ask God why, and then you strum up the courage to say “Okay, I got this”.  There’s a quote by Mae West that comes to mind, “I never said it’d be easy, I said it’d be worth it.”

It’s not easy, but it’s totally worth it. Baby J cheering me on at the computer as we search for a new babysitter. Who can resist those eyes!!??

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How to Protect Against Sex Offenders

After listening to KRBE’s discussion on sex offenders on my way in to work I did a little research and read some of the below statistics on Family Watchdog:

•  60% of abusers are family friends (babysitters, neighbors, or friends of the family)
•  30% of abusers are their own family.
•  And 10% are strangers. -Most people think it is just strangers you have to watch out for, but 90% of abusers are people the victim knows.
•  Not all perpetrators are adults. It is an estimated 23% of abusers are under the age of 18.
•  Absence of one or both parents is a risk factor (Some research found that children living with only one biological parent at twice the risk of sexual victimization)

I decided to do a check of my new neighborhood and had a small heart attack when I saw an address a few houses down from us.  Just a reminder to always keep an eye on your children as you never know who or where the “bad” people could be.  How many times have you heard of someone getting arrested for something horrible and their family and neighbors all saying how wonderful they are?  Unfortunately, you just never know what goes on behind closed doors.  The nice, rich woman down the street could be your biggest threat and the cranky, old guy across the street could be one of your children’s greatest protectors and your second set of eyes.

I want to take this opportunity to urge you to empower your children to say “no” to unwanted touch and teach them that they can come to you with questions and concerns.  Doing this is a critical step to preventing your child from being sexual abused. Here are some things I do:

  • Teach children the names of their body parts so that they have the language to ask questions and express concerns about those body parts.
  • Teach them that some parts of their bodies are private.
    • Let them know that other people should not be touching or looking at their private parts unless they need to touch them to provide care.
    • Tell them that if someone tries to touch those private areas or wants to look at them OR if someone tries to show them his or her own private parts, they should tell you ASAP.
  • Teach them boundaries and that it’s okay to say “no” to touches that make him or her uncomfortable or scared.
    • Assure your kids that it is okay to get help, even if someone he or she cares about might be upset or embarrassed.
  • Teach your child that these topics do not need to be “secret.” Abusers will sometimes tell a child that the abuse should be kept a secret. Let your child know that if someone is touching him or her or talking to him or her in ways that make him or her uncomfortable or scared, that it should not stay a secret.
    • Abusers rely on the child’s likelihood of not telling an adult.
    • Assure your child that he or she will not get into trouble if he or she tells you this kind of secret.

As you talk to your child about these items, remember to focus on creating a safe zone. Hopefully, they don’t tell you about sexual abuse at the time of the conversation and you are just laying a foundation for future questions or concerns. Also, take a moment to do a sex offender search and read why they are on the list (this is important as not all offensives are alike).  Please remember that these are only the registered offenders that were caught and realize how many are out there that haven’t been.  Our children are our greatest asset and it’s our job to look after them and keep them safe.

If you live in Texas, you can check your zip code here.

If you live in Missouri, you can check your address here.

If you live in Florida, you can check your address here.

If you reside in a state that isn’t listed above, go here.

 

Just Another Single Working Mom

I read a lot of financial and money saving blogs, books, articles (and I do mean A LOT).  I consume tips and tricks as if they’re water.  I’m a single, working mom of three kids under six and I am the sole provider.  That being said, a lot of financial tips are aimed at either the SAHM or two parent households. For those of you out there in my Other category trying to scrounge to provide the best for your kids, hope this helps.

 1) Daycare. Ouch.  It’s more than my house payment.  All I can say is if you qualify for daycare assistance – get it! In my case, I am just over the threshold so I’m constantly looking for the next best thing.  It so happens that my older children go to one place and my youngest goes to another.  Yes, it’s inconvenient but it saves me $400/month.  I had a friend whose mother is really ready for grandbabies, but her daughter is not.  She agreed to watch my daughter for HALF of what the daycare would charge me so she could get her “baby fix” and she makes some fun money. Win-win number 1. This summer my older daughters will be going to a neighbors house instead of their regular daycare because I know a teacher that wants to make extra cash over the summer.  Win-win number 2.  This works for me because my regular daycare owner knows my situation so she doesn’t charge me cancellation/holding fees as she knows I’m just trying to survive the daycare years.  A neighbor of mine even received a 40% reduction from her language learning daycare just by negotiating.  If one place says no, go to the next place the next week and see what they are willing to do.  People want your business.

2)  Extreme Couponing? Let’s be honest, I don’t really have the time. I get up at 4am with the baby to have some one-on-one time and then we’re off and running and out of the house at 6:30am so I can get everyone where they need to be and me to work at 7:30am.  HOWEVER, there are a couple of exceptions.  Target, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart with the help of a few couponing websites like  KrazyCouponLady.com and livingrichwithcoupons.com.  I check them out before I do anything else in the morning and see if there is anything good for the day (i.e. free, practically free, moneymaker).  If there is I grab what I need and hit the store on the way to work, or on my lunch break if we hit a snag in our morning roundup out the door. Let’s face it, they’re kids and our mornings don’t always go as planned–babies spit up, kids lose their shoes, keys get lost…you get the picture.

 3)  Credit Cards are only to be used for money back and to be paid off every month.  I have a Sam’s Mastercard to get the 5% back on gas (and they almost always have the lowest price on gas in my area).  I have a Chase card that gives me 1%-5% back on everything and they give you cash back, not options to buy giftcards etc.  An Amazon Visa because I shop there for reimbursable work expenses and also regularly for diapers (love Amazon Mom and Amazon Family) so I get rewards points to use back at Amazon.  Target card (they have debit and credit option) to get 5% back on all of their purchases. That’s it and I use them where I’d be using cash anyways (just getting rewarded for it).  I write down the purchases in my check register each time so I know exactly how much to pay off when I get home. My bank offers free BillPay so I don’t wait for the purchase to hit my card before I send the payment off.

 4)  The coveted Side Hustle.  Let’s face it, if you can’t save enough money you must make more money.  I was looking for an inexpensive babysitter on Care.com that I never found, but I did find a Sunday gig.  A church was hiring for an infant sitter so I let them know I was interested, but had my own children I’d have to bring.  They were reluctant at first but wanted to meet everyone. My kids became fast friends with the regular kids, and a few months later they offered me the Wednesday evening sitter position as well.  ALWAYS be on the lookout for a side job and don’t be afraid to ask if your kids can join, etc.  Extra bonus: it’s a weekly built in play date for my kids.

Basically, there are always ways to save.  Every time I think I’ve scrounged to the max I find something else I can do to cutback on costs or add to my budget.  You cannot get complacent.  My biggest advice is to stay calm and positive and realize “where there is a will there is a way”.  Talk to people, network, know the prices, know what’s a deal. If you don’t ask you’ll never know so ALWAYS ASK and DON’T BE AFRAID TO NEGOTIATE. Five years ago I would have said there is no way I could survive alone.  Now I’m not only surviving alone, I’m providing for three little people and we are all thriving. Life is good.

Surviving and Thriving

This is my very first post. I’m starting this blog because as a single parent and sole provider, I’ve found very little information that pertains to my niche.  It seems like a lot of content is aimed at the SAHM and two parent households.  Unfortunately, there are those of us that don’t fit in that mold and don’t have many options that come with a two parent or co-parenting situation.  One of the largest shifts in family structure is this: 34% of children today are living with an unmarried parent—up from just 9% in 1960, and 19%in 1980. In most cases, these unmarried parents are single. However, a small share of all children—4%—are living with two cohabiting parents (pewresearch.org 2014). That being said, I think there are a significant number of us that fit into this “sole parent” mold.  And if you don’t, you can still benefit from some of the wisdom I’ve come across.  If I can even help one person in any way, then it was worth it to begin this blogging journey.

 

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