Single mother’s guides: Raising your children alone

By Micah Reeves 

Single parenting is difficult. There isn’t anyone there to tell us we did a good job telling our son no, or making our daughter’s tears into a smile with a little tickle to cheer her up. Becoming a parent isn’t about recognition. It’s about giving and having a part of us around. Being a family.

A family can be from 2 people on up. One parent and one child is indeed a family. It is up to the parent to make enjoyable holidays, birthday’s, put band aids on the boo-boos, listen, and be consistent with discipline, all at the same time.

Does our child or children appreciate it? Maybe not right now but later on in life they will appreciate all we’ve done. They will remember that that their parent asked them their favorite part of the day. They will remember that their parent taught them how to say their prayers, be nice and share with others, be respectful of others, get to bed on time, have fun on a rainy day, and gave them time outs when it was needed.

Keeping structure is the most important issue for a child. Structure keeps them feeling secure.

Consistency with discipline is another. Mixed messages just tell our children that yes means no and vice versa.

Love. Not just telling them we love them but showing them. Taking time to watch them on their favorite video game, look at their homework, work on projects of any kind with them, and surprise them with little gifts for no reason at all.

Respect. Teaching our children respect will go far. Think of all the people we have heard say “My parent’s raised me too….” That’s because they remember and respect what we have taught them and how to respect others.

Family values. Teaching them that family is the most important thing. If we can help a family member we do it without complaint and never accept money for help. This goes for anyone that needs help but particularly for family.

Vision. Let your child have a dream, no matter how unrealistic, dreaming is the first part to achieving goals.

Lastly, somehow let go when it’s time. We’ll know when it’s time. Our child has grown up, when it seems they were just born yesterday. Let go with love and bless them on their path to adulthood. For we were the mother and the father.

 Micah is a single mom and freelance writer and blogger.  Her food and recipe blog is http://www.cookingspoon.blogspot.com

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelo

 Dr . Maya Angelou is hailed as one ...

A free bird leaps on the back of the wind                  
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange sun’s rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.
© Maya Angelou

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Single Mother of the Week

Sandra’s Story

 

I always knew that I wanted kids, but was not prepared to find myself pregnant at twenty-one years of age.  At the time I was heavily into drinking and generally destroying my life.  Along with this was a one night stand that changed my life forever.
I knew I was pregnant before I had even taken a test.  I could just feel it.  I was about three weeks along before I got up the courage to take the pregnancy test.  It turned positive immediately.  I had never been so scared in my whole life.  A million thoughts raced through my mind.  One thing that I never thought about even once was NOT having the baby.  It wasn’t even a possibility. 
I got married when Anna Grace was three months old.  I hadn’t known the guy long, but he seemed really good with kids and I knew he’d be a great dad.  Needless to say, the marriage didn’t last long, and I soon found myself in an abusive relationship.  I had to get my precious daughter out of that situation.  The laws in Kentucky (where I was living at the time) state that you cannot obtain a restraining order if you report an incident but there is no physical contact, even if there have been previous incidents of physical abuse.  That scared me.  The night before I left Kentucky for good, my ex-husband put his fist through the glass in our front door, while aiming for me.  And I was holding the baby at the time. 
I called my mom in Missouri and she borrowed a truck from my grandma and drove as fast as she could to come and get me.  We packed up as much as we could fit in the truck, which meant that I had to sit with my knees up to my chest for the six hour drive!  Every inch of space in the truck was packed.  I love my mom for helping me get out of there. 
I came back to Missouri in June, and by July I had a job at a Travel Agency.  I was able to move my child and me into our own apartment in September.  I was determined not to live with my parent’s.  I wanted to provide a home for me and my child of our own.  The job lasted for two years, and during the last six months before I walked out, my boss began harassing me for staying home with Anna when she was sick.  The daycare wouldn’t take her when she had a fever and I didn’t have a backup babysitter.  Everyone else that worked with me was single and under the age of thirty with no kids.  I was always on time and did everything my boss wanted without complaining.  But it wasn’t enough.  Finally his accusations of me not working and various other things got to be too much.  I knew that I had to figure something out because my stress from my job was being carried home and I was irritable towards my child.  
I left my keys on my boss’s desk and told him that I couldn’t handle it anymore.  He wasn’t being understanding and I was miserable.  When I went home that day, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  
I’ve been spending lots of time with my daughter and it’s been wonderful.  I am unfortunately depending on Government Aid to pay bills and buy food, but am starting school in August and plan to study Surgical Technology, and work in labor and delivery.  I want a job where I can make enough to support me and my child, but not have to spend 40+ hours away from her each week.  I look forward to being self-sufficient again, but right now, I have bills piling up and no way to pay them. 
I’ve volunteered raising money for The Children’s Miracle Network, as well as Newborns In Need.  Now I am in need of help, and I hope that my story inspires other single moms to get out abusive situations and know that they ARE strong enough to do it on their own.

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Dating and the Single Mom

Going Fishing?

 

  

They’re everywhere. They are in the market, on the menu, in your fish tank, and when you find one that you like, they may even show up at your door. There are so many fish in the sea and all the single gals must admit that sometimes we all consider going fishing.

 

 

Gasp! The thought of dating, for the single mom, can often seem overwhelming. The decisions that a mother faces when she decides to date can run the gamut. Questions such as do you introduce or not introduce your kids to the fish? If not, how many dates into the process does it take before he meets them, or does he have to wait until your wedding day? Better yet, do you talk to your kids about him? Do you let them know that mommy has been to the fish market?

With all the inner turmoil that a single mother has to endure, I thought I would try to ease the process if I made some suggestions about the kind of fish that is not worth you losing your bait or sleep over. It is always important to know which fish to throw back.

  

The Puffer Fish

This fish cannot stay in the single mom’s vicinity for long without finding flaws in her life. He is prideful and thinks so highly of himself that you can see his head and ego expanding every time he inhales. He knows everything, has traveled everywhere, and is intellectually superior to the infinity power.  There is not a book that that has not passed the scope of his fingertips or pupils. He is Greek Mythological figure in his own mind, and you will be perpetually bored as you listen to his vast knowledge on Socrates and the Nixon administration. Don’t get me wrong I like a smart guy, I just don’t like a know it all. Throw this fish back.

  

The Octopus

The Octopus has six arms that are hiding under his tightly fitted muscle shirt and his designer jeans. He is all over you like white on rice within 20 minutes of your first and only date. Unfortunately his mother never taught him the valuable lesson of keeping his hands to himself. After this date is over you will feel dirty, and need a shower to wash his sweaty fingertips off of you. You will also ask yourself why you didn’t stay at home and watch I love Lucy reruns. At least Lucille Balle doesn’t try to molest you. Throw this fish back.

 

 

The Needle Nose

OUCH! This guy beats all that you have ever seen. He has no kids and has never even been married. Yet, he thinks that he can tell you how to raise your kids. Over dinner, you mention that little Sally just brought home her first D on her report card. You are obviously upset over her low grade. He is audacious enough to tell you that you should have instilled the value of education in her at an earlier age. “What?!”   . You wonder and accidentally say out loud. Who does this guy think he is and where does he get off? Please for the love of God – Throw this fish back.      

  

The Sea Horse

Oh yes, the sea horse can be quite deceptive. He looks great on paper; a great job, a nice home in a lovely neighborhood, and he even dresses well. But do not be deceived by this superficial exterior. He is arrogant and as conceited as the Prince of Wales. He is all about prestige and securing a young trophy wife. Furthermore, he will end up caring less about you and your children and more about the figures on his spreadsheet. Run for the hills Girls; this haughty horse in no keeper. Throw this fish back.

 

 

I hope this helps all you girls out and at least gives you some insight or a laugh. It is always important to know who is worth the single mom’s precious time and effort. If the guy is a chump and not worth your time – just throw that fish back. Besides, we all know that there are plenty of fish in the sea.

 

 

 

 

 Kristie Shaw

Copyright 2007

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Bathrooms Aren’t Just For Reading

By Q.J. Brown                          

 

 

 

Bathrooms aren’t just for reading they’re for hiding too!  Or at least I used to think so.  As a single mom of an only child, there were times when my son was a toddler that I just needed a moment to myself.  After the playing, the napping, and the “whatever else I could think of” to enrich my son’s day, there were times when I was exhausted and just needed a moment to regroup.  It was during that time that I would look for a way to escape!  Because I was always fearful of my son accidentally locking himself in a room, I replaced almost all of the doors in our small two-bedroom apartment with knobs that didn’t lock.  The only exception was the bathroom.  In my limited thinking I came to the conclusion that although my son was “my shadow” and would follow me into the living room, the bedroom and wherever else I seemed to go, he surely wouldn’t follow me into the bathroom.  After all, I thought he understood like others do, that the bathroom is for taking baths and other private affairs.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.   Although I usually just needed a few minutes to relax, it never failed that whenever I closed the bathroom door he would immediately start to ask “what I was doing” and if he could come in.  Thinking back to those times, I have to smile.  Even then, the moments brought a smile to my face although I never relented and just replied that I would be out in moments.  Now that my son is a teenager, I no longer have to look for such opportunities.  Because now, since I want more of his time, he seems to be the one that is hiding from me.

 

 

 

 

 

Q. J. Brown is a freelance writer who is enjoying and somehow surviving the ups and downs of being a single mom of a teenage son.  Her hobbies include singing, sewing, and chocolate chip cookie eating.  When she is not indulging in her hobbies, especially the last, she is actively pursuing a higher learning degree in the school of life. 

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Give Us Peace

                                          

Where is the rest for a soul that is weary? Where is the comfort and the one who brings the peace. There are few words that can strike fear into a heart the way the word cancer can. How do you, a soul that is tired and broken, take up this banner and fight back? When faced with chemo and radiation therapy, how do you hold your head up and know that this is the will of God? Why do so many women pride themselves on their strength or their stoic abilities? Forgive me…I cannot champion the cause of the single mother today. I can only sit and fall apart.

I want to break into a million pieces and fall face first into cold tile floor. I want to be the puddle that gets cleaned up when the mops are broken out. Last Wednesday my Bother was diagnosed with Cancer. Today we learned that it is terminal. How can this be? How can a 36 year old non smoker, non drinker be so sick. How, why…why?

He has a wife and a son and a life. He went back to school at the age of 30 when most men would have resigned to their fate in a local mill or factory. Not him, no, he graduated a year ago, after pushing himself to see the journey through, so his family could have a better life. Why….?

I have no words. I have nothing to say. I can only sit and stare in disbelief. I look at my child who sits across the way. Her legs are draped over the arm of the chair and she is oblivious to the crisis brewing in my soul. I tell myself to hold it together for her. I have to be strong for her. But all I want to do is to crumble. This is the life that I am resigned to. I am looking for a soft place to fall and praying for God to catch me. This is one of the areas where the word “single” brings a whole new meaning to the word “single mom”. There is no one else to turn to and embrace, only Christ. Please God – rock this weary soul to sleep tonight.

Above all else – please God just help my brother. Give strength to his wife. Heal his body and allow him to live and to see his son grow and graduate high school. Please God – give him this. Give us all a little PEACE.

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Remember When

We are pleased to announce one of our newest feature writers the lovely and talented Ms. Q. J. Brown.

Ms. Brown is a single mom going through many of the same issues that we face day to day. We feel she brings a fresh perspective to our publication and we are proud to bring you her story…

Remember When

By Q.J Brown

 

As a single mom of an only child, “Let’s play” or “Mom, would you play with me?” used to be the first words out of my son’s mouth in the mornings.  Because he had no siblings, it seems as if he would awake with an abundance of energy, ready to spend his quality time with me, and boy did I welcome it!  We would go for a walk, and smile at the wonders of nature such as the flight of the Monarch butterflies that blessed us with their beauty.  Or we would go to the park so that we could practice the joys of throwing a ball back and forth to each other, or eagerly make new friends with other like-minded, outside loving people.  But now, those days seem long gone.  He no longer wakes up with such jubilation. Instead he pontificates on how 5-minutes in bed are a necessity for him to make it through the day.  Or he makes a rolling tumble toward the bathroom as he grumbles a good morning to me.  Although I can remember how I was as a teenager, it’s an awkward feeling being on the mom’s receiving end of such blasé behavior.  In addition, I am no longer his top choice in playmates these days.   At best, most days I seem to fall somewhere after his first choice of video games or his second choice of spending time with his best friends.  Even if I could turn back the hands of time, I wouldn’t because I know that even this is a natural part of the “growing up” process for both of us.  It just increases my desire to linger on to the precious times when we do talk and I see his smile, if even for only a moment.

 

 

 

Q. J. Brown is a freelance writer who is enjoying and somehow surviving the ups and downs of being a single mom of a teenage son.  Her hobbies include singing, sewing, and chocolate chip cookie eating.  When she is not indulging in her hobbies, especially the last, she is actively pursuing a higher learning degree in the school of life. 

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