Category Archives: Parenting Reflections

How to Manage It All

I guess it is safe to say that I am a blogger. (I mean, I have a few years of blogging experience now so I think that qualifies me to say that I am a blogger.) However, when I started this process I had no idea how much time and effort it would take to maintain it all. I did not take into account the amount of time that I actually had to devote to writing. I seriously thought that because writing is like drinking water to me, that it would be easy.

I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I did not start blogging to become the next big celebrity blogger. I don’t even like attention like that so becoming famous was the farthest thing from my mind. I came into blogging with the idea that I was simply sharing my thoughts with others. More than anything I wanted to help people move through life with as much free knowledge as possible. I blog about real life and give real reflections so that others can learn from some of the things that I have experienced. I feel that some lessons can be learned vicariously.

Again, I was not anticipating turning my blog into a business. I just wanted a place to lay my words. Within my first year of blogging, I did not do any serious research about the process and what it entails. I was still oblivious to the fact that you could earn money blogging. My life started to shift and I actually took a couple of years off from it. When I came back to it, I wanted to do it differently. As I learned more about blogging, I learned how easy it is to convert my blog into a business. During this process, I also learned about time management in a new way.

I knew that I wanted to share my thoughts about various experiences and spread knowledge at the same time. I did not think about creating a plan to accomplish this feat. I figured I would just write as things happened. I soon realized that operating this way is not conducive to the blog I envisioned. I had to create a method in the midst of my madness.

I began researching plug-ins, automation, and content mapping. I wanted to know how to make this as easy as possible. Especially since I still have to be mommy to my three little people. All of this was overwhelming, to say the least. This is also when I learned a great deal of information about scheduling meals, daily activities, and even downtime.

The importance of planning was revealed. I had to designate writing time in order to post as frequently as I wanted to. In addition to that, I had to learn how to schedule my post so that they would post without me having to sit and write every single time that I wanted to share something. At first, I was still a bit ambitious and wanted to post long post 2-3 times a week. I later scaled back to 1-2 post per week. Each blogger has to decide they posting schedule. Checking analytics for my blog helps me decide which days and times are most popular to post.

When it comes to being a mommy, I will never get out of doing what needs to be done for them. I started making them individual frozen meals so that they can simply warm up some delicious home cooked food even while I am wearing my writer hat and preparing my posts. They like to eat quick meals, so I started making them their own version of “canned pasta”. I also include them in my planning so that they are aware of which days are devoted to writing. I make sure that they have engaging activities to occupy their minds.

Just as I had to schedule a time to write, cook, and prepare a post, I also have to schedule exercise and down time. I even have to schedule a time to mingle with friends and family. Scheduling and planning are a major portion of blogging and that was the part of my life that was still in disarray when I became a blogger. I was all over the place and all I knew was writing. That was it.

Although I have learned a lot of the course of the last few years in relation to blogging, I am certain that I will continue to learn more. I am looking forward to sharing my lessons along the way.

What are some important lessons that you have learned while blogging?

Pack It Up – Working on the move

Anyone that is a creative person will agree with me when I say that there is nothing like finding your groove. If you don’t know what the groove is, I’ll tell you. It’s the moments generated from uninterrupted passion and exploration. The groove is the place where the magic happens for creatives. It’s a great place to be. I enjoy my groove very much. It can be very difficult to find your groove at times. For that reason, I am extremely annoyed when my groove is interrupted. I also understand that as a single mother and a rising entrepreneur, I have to make adjustments and create new grooves whenever and wherever I can.

I have been a single parent for roughly 6 years and I can say that the struggle with that never ceases. At the same time, I can say that the response to the struggle can make all the difference. We can affect the outcome by focusing on the positive lessons that can be learned from each experience. Some of the struggles that affected our lives was my work schedule, workload, and the time I spent away from home. I knew that some things needed to change but I did not know what to do.January 2016, I lost my job and decided to start my business. August 2016, I started homeschooling two of my children.

During this process of starting a business and homeschooling, one of the major lessons I have been learning is how to create a groove on the go. I have to be able to take my notebook, or my laptop, or my phone with me so that I can work while one child dances, one runs, and one plays softball. There are also field trips and educational outings that interrupt our days. This is not to mention the regular flow of life like grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and general errands.

I have had to learn how to be productive in my entrepreneurial endeavors all the while being a mommy. I cannot lie and say that is was not hard in the beginning. I can’t even say that it’s not hard now. I do know that I have learned a lot since I started. I was always getting frustrated with having to stop right in the middle of what I felt was greatness. I would feel like my kids were not letting me be great. Once I started to think that they were the reason that some tasks had to be postponed, I had to look closer at how I was prioritizing my time.

Of course, there are things that require devoted attention partnered with peace and quiet. I am not attempting to replace those moments. I am, however, interested in making better use of the moments when I do not have those luxuries. I had to not only look at myself, I had to include my children. I was making so many decisions around them without even taking into consideration how they may want to be involved. I had to learn to make their moments mean more just as I was attempting to make my moments matter.

I wanted to know how I could get things done and still be available to my children. I stopped guessing about what they wanted and asked them. They told me that they would like to be more involved with what I do. They want to be on my schedule for more than extracurricular activities. I listened to what they wanted and decided to devise a schedule that works for us all. It provides me with the space I need at times, allows me to accomplish my tasks, and keeps home school running smoothly as well.

In an effort to help keep me prepared for these interruptions, I started keeping “tools” all around me. There are notepads and pens in the car and in every room in the house. I have created a “to-go” back for my computer and notebooks that’s easy to grab and very functional. I have also synced my phone to my computer so that I can transition smoother. I use multiple apps to keep me organized and focused even when I have to pack it up and work on the move.

Dealing With a Deadbeat

There are so many women that struggle daily to provide for their children. Many of them struggle because they have children with a man who is a deadbeat dad. All men do not strive to be an absent father. However, there are some that are skilled at being absent and eliminating their parental responsibility. Some even go as far as to benefit from children that they are not involved with. As a single mother, I have had my share of experiences in dealing with a deadbeat. As a result, I feel that the knowledge that I have gained should be shared to help other women, and possibly men.

When discussing a deadbeat, we first have to define what we mean by that. Basically, it means that there is a parent that does not provide for or interact with the child. There are many parents in the world that walk away from their offspring with no remorse. There are some that are kept away for safety reasons as well. Nevertheless, some parents choose to be absent.

In my situation, the father of my children decided that he did not want anything to do with them after we agreed to end our marriage. This is baffling. The children were not the reason that the relationship ended. I will never understand how a person can walk away from their children. In any event, it happens.

As the mother, we are expected to keep it together no matter what. If the father decides that he wants to move on with his life and forget that the children exist, he is able to do so. The father is only held to the financial responsibility of caring for the child in most situations. When that is not even being done, what is a mother supposed to do? She is expected to smile, grind, hustle, be a lady, be a mother, be a woman, hold it down, and keep it together without complaining or crying.

The woman, in most cases, is the custodial parent. The woman has to adjust constantly to the demands of the children and the situation. Some women feel that they are mommy and daddy so they do not need anyone to help them take care of their children. Some women feel like they will do whatever needs to be done to provide for their children regardless of what they get. Some women feel like they have a mixture of the two all while they are still struggling. Women fight hard to keep their nose above water when raising children alone. Regardless of how successful that woman is, she should not have to accept or be content with raising children alone without the help of their father.

In the event that you are a single parent dealing with a deadbeat, I wanted to give you a few tips that I have learned along the way. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I would love to help eliminate as much of the stress as I can or at least provide some direction towards elimination.

Valuable tips

Intercepting Taxes – In the event that the non-custodial (NCP) parent is in arrears, when they file taxes the IRS will interrupt the payment and put money towards the arrears. It could take anywhere from 30 up to 120 days to receive the payment. However, if that NCP is in bankruptcy at the time, the child support agency will return the money to them. Regular payments cannot be included in the bankruptcy, but involuntary payments cannot be made on their behalf either. If they are married, their spouse can stop the interception by filing a claim stating that the debt is not theirs and they do not want to be responsible for it.
Disability – If the NCP files a disability claim, any involuntary payments that could be made to the custodial parent (CP) are not paid. No action can be taken on a child support case while there is a pending disability claim.
VA – If the NCP is a Veteran, it is possible that they could file for VA benefits as well. In the event that they file for disability benefits and have proof that they are the biological parent of the children, they will receive benefits for all biological children in the award. As the custodial parent, you will have to file an apportionment claim to get the funds sent directly to the children that are being claimed. It could take multiple months to receive a decision. It is also possible that they could deny your claim because it does not benefit the NCP.
Congress – In order to get claims expedited with VA, the CP will need to write to their local Congress person. They will follow-up on behalf of the CP to see if VA can process the apportionment claim faster. This is the only way to get a claim processed faster. This process could still take months.
Felony – If the NCP has arrears of over $10,000 it is considered a felony. In most cases local lawyers will not attempt to help with this, if you want to have it looked in to, due to the fact that it is a federal matter. Many lawyers are less inclined to work on this and more inclined to work with you on the child enforcement side.
Assistance – In the event that times get so hard for the CP and they receive government assistance, the child support payments could be affected. If the CP receives temporary assistance for needy families, they will only receive a portion of any child support payments that are submitted while they are receiving assistance. They will only receive that portion, IF the NCP is in arrears. Otherwise, they will not receive child support while also receiving this government assistance. Even if the assistance is less the child support amount. Food stamps are not typically affected. However, receiving food stamps could increase the amount of time that you have before you can file for a modification.

I hope that this information opens the eyes of any parent that is struggling to make it and those that are opting out of involved parenting. Either way, you are not alone. There is help available. I understand that everyone’s situation and circumstances are different, but the knowledge is universal. The more that we are educated, the more we are equipped to deal with various issues. If you have additional information, please share your experience.

Girls and Boys

The other day, as I was working on my book, I heard a commotion in the hallway outside of my door. I could hear turmoil in my son’s voice. I called him into my room and asked him what was wrong. He kept saying nothing but it was visible that he was bothered. So I paused my writing and looked at him and said, “Son, I know that you are not happy right now and I am asking you what’s wrong so that I can help change the way this affects you.” He responded by saying that the reason he’s upset is a petty reason; his sisters broke his lego creations. When he spoke it, I could see the fury rising. He was crushed because they just simply dismissed his efforts and destroyed his work.

I talked to him and explained that his feelings are valid feelings but instead of lashing out or acting out of anger he needs to be alone and calm down before he reacts. He sat in my room with me and we talked about different things and then we hear my oldest daughter chime in. “Yeah, and clean up your legos too.” My son almost lost it. At that point he was furious. I explained things to him and then I released him from my grasp.

I then called my oldest daughter and explained to her why her statement was wrong. She looked at me and knew, she had caused all of this. During our conversation I discovered that my oldest daughter broke my son’s lego creations because he closed the door in her face and she was mad.

The whole time I am addressing my son and attempting to help him see that there are different ways to cope than to be physical, I needed to share the conversation with my daughter. I was thinking that they were playing and it happened as a result of that. I had no idea that my daughter was upset with her brother and purposely destroyed his things.

This lesson taught me so much about parenting. I learned how easy it is to forget that girls need that direction with coping too. It was not as if they are not all taught that, but this situation was so unique. There has been so much unity being taught to them and drilled into them that coping with division was neglected. I interact with them differently because of their gender. Raising boys and raising girls is so different. The differences in the way that they learn, respond, and interact are very noticeable. They taught me that I have to pay closer attention to the lessons that they need to be taught. I have to make sure that I am a shining example of how to handle disagreements, dilemmas, and discrepancies.

They made me realize, in that moment, that they are requiring different things from me as they transition into a new stage in their life. They need me more than ever. This is the part of life when emotions get high and families experience distance. I want them to respect one another and look out for one another so that is what I address a lot. Now we have to make some more specific adjustments based on their individual needs. That’s what comes with the territory when you are raising 3 preteens.

Proud Moments

The moment that a woman learns that she is about to become a mother she also learns that her life will never be the same. I am certain that whether a woman gives birth or not, that moment of finding out that new life is brewing is a life changing moment.

In 2004, 2005, and 2006 I had multiple life changing moments. 2004 I learned that I would become a mother. I was scared and happy all at the same time. Learning that my child would have special needs was another moment that changed my life. Shortly after giving birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl with Down syndrome, we learned that we were going to be parents again.

The joy did not last long. Our tears turned to sobs when we were told that I miscarried. It was natural and very common. Yet and still, we were devastated. We wanted to have another baby. We wanted to increase our family. Instead of living in the pain, we started to plan to get pregnant. First time around, it worked! I found out that we would welcome another combination of us into the world.

2006 I was introduced to a spitting image of myself in the form of my son. I was so happy! The moments that we shared as a family were so precious in the beginning. The genuine love and connection made having these two little people who represented us all the more enjoyable. Then things changed. The relationship wasn’t the same.

In the midst of the turmoil, we learned that another person would join our party. We were pregnant again. This time, I was not happy about it. I was depressed. I did not want to bring a child into such a negative situation. I hated myself for a little for allowing this to happen. I wanted out.

That changed the moment that the ultrasound tech told me to look at the screen and see my baby girl. This was the first time that I saw her and she looked like a person, like a part of me. I fell in love. She would be the finale to our baby show.

Each moment, day, week, month, year has produced challenges. From having to answer tough questions to having to show tough love. We have managed to make it. These moments have shaped my life. My children are my biggest fans and my greatest supporters. When the time came for us to transition to life as a single mom and kids, they grabbed bags and were ready for direction.

My goal as a parent is to make the life that they know as smooth as possible. My intention is not to shelter them from truth but to expose it to them. When I related my first book, they screamed and shouted with joy and pride. When I began writing my children’s book, they read and read and reread the book and gave me feedback. When I decided to write full-time, they reassured me that I can do it. They believe in me more than they believe in themselves.

I want my children to believe that they are just as awesome as they think that I am. I want to show them that love is real despite how many times love has hurt you. I want to show them that when it comes to them, I will do whatever needs to be done to encourage and support them.

We participate in Buddy Walks which raise awareness about Down syndrome. We volunteer at various locations with a variety of organizations to help the community. We support one another; in life, and in sports. We have reached a point in our family story that is truly amazing. My son has made me the mom of a Junior Olympic contender.

This is a proud moment that I didn’t see coming but I am elated to be in the midst of it.

We need assistance to continue to support Aidan and help him get to Junior Olympics. I am happy to see that this proud moment is shared by both my girls and my son. The girls are so proud of their brother and he is so happy that he made it.