3 Benefits of Applying One of the Best Tools You Will Ever Master as a Single Mom

Boundaries

 

Boundaries. For some this concept is simple. Easy. A no brainer. They whip these things out like CHUDAN ZUKI — a wild karate chop delivered straight to their opponents gut. You’re welcome.

For others? It’s a disaster. An emotional debacle in it’s purest form.

I fall into the later category. Depending on the season I am in, the idea of setting boundaries can make my skin crawl. I am by nature the co-dependent, emotional nurturer to the state of depleted and broken. As a busy single mom with too much on my plate, the word made my head spin with one thousand three hundred and forty-two excuses.

But once I typed that seven letter word into Google and began to process the little fella, it all started to make sense. Now, six years later, I have become nearly dependent on them. They keep me safe. They keep my home in order by providing structure, guidelines, and expectations. When things get out of control around these parts I can usually track it back to slacking off on not carrying through with the boundaries I have already established.

Because starting something new and unfamiliar can be overwhelming, especially when you are inundated with so much as a single mom, I thought it would be nice to walk you through a few of the benefits you can expect to see as a result of putting a few simple boundaries in place.

Benefits that will give you more freedom and control over the mess you might currently be dealing with.

Create More Leverage in Your Home. Let’s just get right down to it. There is not enough of you, single momma, to go around. When you have clearly identified the problem areas in your household and begin to implement the boundaries and consequences that will enforce order and organization within your home you will create amazing leverage. Saving you time, stress and guilt.

Gain Peace in Those Out of Control Relationships. Faulty relationships come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. I think the best relationship besides friendships and co-workers that boundaries helped me in was the relationship with my daughter’s father. When I began to put my emotions in check and create the boundaries desperately needed I was free from the control and manipulation. Some people are masters at the art of manipulating. Don’t get sucked into the cycle. Create a boundary. Draw the line.

Establish a Voice that Creates Change. I am always telling my daughter, “Let’s move forward.” I don’t mind struggling in some things but to continue the same struggle over and over? Let’s move on. This is what setting healthy boundaries will do for you. They will allow you to grow and move forward. It will give you the strength to use your voice by identifying the need and setting a plan in place that creates the change you need. For you. So you can be…. a better mom.

The hard part of setting boundaries?

Identifying where you need specific improvement and following through can be the most challenging part of setting boundaries. People can be intimidating. Pinpointing those all too comfortable learned behaviors can be challenging. And putting a plan in place can not only be exhausting, but overwhelming and frustrating.

But please don’t let this discourage you, my friend. Anything worth gaining peace and creating positive change is well worth it. Take your time. Get a plan in place with the resources you need. It will be worth the time and investment in the long run. I promise.

Take away: 1) What part of setting boundaries stresses you ou?  2) Where could you benefit from setting one or a few?

Please share. I would love to hear!

 

Five Things I Am Doing Differently in the Waiting Room of Life

How are You Spending Your Time?

 

Few things in life we learn are worth mentioning. Like tieing your shoes. We’ve all done it. Right? Boiling water. Not exactly brain surgery material. Taking out the trash. Ya. Good job.

And then there are the life lessons that come in time. Like enduring multiple storms and seasons of laborious heartache and pain to finally understand that in the middle of the storm, in the waiting rooms of our lives, it can be very easy to waste precious time and, we do this all too often.

When we are in the muck and mud of things trying to dig ourselves out why do we often pick up the wrong tools? Or just the opposite, when we are in a time of ease and good transition why do we not take notes and prepare our hearts for hard times, as if the hard seasons won’t come and go.

A lovely and very wise Indonesian friend of mine said it like this…

Responsive Solutions to Those Challenging Problems

Part 2 of Single Mom Self-Care

I had fought relentlessly for this day to arrive. I had worked hard to see it through. With duct-tape, band-aids, a bulletproof vest and little one in tow, I made my way through college. And I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of graduating in the next month until I hit what seemed like a steel wall.

How was I going to wrap up this last quarter of college when I couldn’t type my papers and do the research from home. Cause who wants to take their 5-year-old to the library? How was I going to pay rent with no money? How was I going to maintain a clear mind to do all that is required to participate in life AND provide love and care to a 5-year-old little girl who just needed her momma? Too many things were falling apart and I wasn’t able to fix them all.

I wasn’t enough.

10 Triggers That Are Sure to Make Any Single Mom Go Mad

A Two-Part Series of Self-Care

Stretched in too many directions, single moms have got a tall order of hectic on their plate. This plate, full of life’s stresses, doesn’t actually fill you up, instead, if we’re not careful, it will leave a momma hungry  — and starved. I can recall a long season of being in desperate need of some good food.  Not for the usual burger, slice of pizza or carton of ice cream, although that was and still is always welcomed. I was hungry for food that would feed my soul. Not fried chicken, chicken noodle soup or greens. No. Not that kind of soul food. But the kind of food that would set deep into my being and provide me the strength and hope to persevere the tough season I was moving through.

Being a single mom can do that to you. Turn you into a crazed and starving mad woman.

Looking back on that season, I didn’t consciously realize that I was barely hanging on. I didn’t know I was running on empty. I had been doing it for so long that it had become my new normal. Life was hard, but it was doable. I was doing it.

But I was barely doing it and at times I bet you are too. 

Eight Strategies to Rise Above the Single Mom Grind

And Become a Winner in the Game

 

So often, as a single mom, I was convinced I was standing in the middle of a large lake of quicksand. Regardless of the direction I stepped, it didn’t matter.  It was as if I were just hanging out in this spot, sinking in the middle of the mess. Getting ahead of the grind felt like an unobtainable task. Like sitting in a classroom waiting to take a test I never studied for over and over again. Then…..Replay. Replay. Replay.

Does what I am saying sound familiar to you? Do you know that overwhelming emotion that sits in the pit of your stomach and drives you to a nervous wreck?

Because I love you and want to see you rise above your own storms, I sat down and wrote out what tools I gathered in those many lakes of quicksand. What I walked away with and how I could help you. So here are eight of my BEST strategies to help you rise above the single mom grind. Hand delivered to your heart in hopes you won’t struggle as long as I did!

Drum roll….please!

How I Built My Identity on Shaky Grounds

And what I've been doing about it...

It may have been a 30 or 40 feet walk to that church altar that early Sunday morning. In time, it would become my shortest walk making one of the biggest decisions of my life. I was somewhere around five years old. My mother wasn’t as convinced. Presenting me with questions hoping they might sink in and I would wait till I was a little older to make such a big decision.

Surprisingly and so unfitting to my character ;), I resisted her advice.

Thinking I knew full well what I was getting myself into, I marched down the aisle layered in a faded burgundy carpet to announce my decision to give my life to Jesus. Oh, the brave and innocent faith of a little child.

That faith and innocence didn’t last long…

Single Mom: 10 Simple Steps to Help You Monitor Your Teens Cell Phone and Social Media

**DISCLAIMER: if you are the awesome parent of a teen who is in the 1% population with straight A’s and no cell phone or no cell phone struggles: stop here. Least your judgment burn through and wreck havoc on my fragile ego.

For the rest of you, especially single moms, let’s talk about the headache of social media, parenting, and what we can do to gain control of it.

A Sacred Friendship

I'll Carry with Me Forever

 

The first time I spoke with her was over the phone. She wanted to go to college, and I was working at the University of Phoenix as an enrollment counselor.

Her goal was to obtain a degree in art, and because she was in and out of the hospital with ongoing medical issues, she would need a college that would allow her to earn an education online.

I must admit, I had reservations about her physical ability to move forward in the completion of an associate degree, but it was her persistence, confidence, and determination that told me otherwise. She was going to college regardless of my enrolling her or not. I came to the decision that I was glad to be a part of her journey. I was more than excited to be the enrollment counselor who would cheer her on and help her succeed in whatever way was presented to me.

And that I did.

But what I didn’t know was that our crossing of paths that day on the phone would turn into an eight-year friendship where she would be the one enrolling me into a classroom of mine own. A class that would teach me life long lessons of love, courage, and friendship.

Building Adventures Without Regret

“Get your backpack little one and fill it with your favorites,” I called from the small open spaced kitchen as I reached into our old green faded fridge to grab fruit snacks consisting of red dye 40, a sugar induced Caprisun and a granola bar — her favorite snacks.   Cause I was an awesome single mom, living before Pinterest came along offering thousands of “quick and healthy snacks for kids” ideas.

With her hands full and her little footsteps toddling down the hallway and into the living room, I looked at her adorable, barely three-year-old, face with those two messy-twisted buns on the side of her head, and I knew I had to work hard to stuff every bit of it into her little bag. It’s not an option to leave anything behind when you’re heading out on an adventure.

That was the beginning….

Time, Healing the Brokenness of a Single Parent Home

The family unit is everything. It is the heartbeat of our nation. The beauty of our communities and the backbone of our American culture. It is this very vital and precious piece of our country that remains broken at its core. Seeking to heal from an oozing wound that is in desperate need of attention.

According to the 2012 United States Census, approximately forty percent of the children in our nation are being raised by a single parent. That is so very close to 1 in 2 children that are not living with both a mother and a father.

This statistic breaks my heart, perhaps because I know the reality of it. I know the pain that is so very real and alive in the homes and hearts of these “statistics.” Pain that is masked by the busy burden of keeping up and maintaining the daily routine.

Pain that is covered up because there just isn’t enough time to deal with it.