The concept of a zero-based budget may be an easy achievement for some, but for those that feel their financial situation is getting the best of them and struggling to gain some ground, I am here to tell you there is life beyond the misery.
I’m also going to tell you it’s more rewarding than painful.
A zero-based budget is one of the first and most simple steps in working towards a debt free life and forever changing the trajectory of your family’s financial story.
For all families this is important but for the single mom, it is — crucial.
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.
“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….
Sometimes we just need to take a break from the grind and hear something encouraging, sweet and deserving.
Because who is able to accomplish something great without being encouraged?
Few, my friend. Very few.
There was a time in my life I was very good at quitting. During high-school, I quit track and soccer. In that exact order.
Truth be told, if I’m digging a little deeper here, there were lots of things I quit in life.
- I quit believing in myself
- I quit trying
- I quit imagining the possibilities
- I quit loving myself
Thinking back to when I was a little girl…
My imagination ran to the wildest of places. One of my favorite childhood memories is that of me riding my pony, which was merely a saddle on a stand in a small 3 ft x 3 ft shed. But oh the miles I traveled while sitting on that pony, near the side of our little yellow house tucked deep in the woods. The indians I chased and the cowboys I ran with were enough to solidify any cowgirls wildest dreams.
But somewhere along the way, somewhere between little girl land and those tumultuous teenage years…
For thousands of years, generations of people have tempted to alter the definition of truth. Live outside of it, challenge it or simply, go against it. Growing up I recall forming my own opinion and believing “truth is relative”. My truth, of course, being most important here.
What I discovered along the way?
We’ve all made a mess of things in one way or another. Life can be unpredictable like that. Have you ever sensed the direction you were heading was about to take a significant shift, but you had no clue what that would look like? It’s similar to knowing where you are isn’t where you should be, and you’ve finally reached the point of change. But you’re left to navigate without a map.
One of those times for me was early spring of 2002. I was in transition of leaving my daughter’s father. What I recall most was the insurmountable feeling of uncertainty. I was facing a new truth.
DISCLAIMER: If you are one of those sweet mom’s that bakes warm chocolate chip cookies for after school snacks, or the mom of a child under the age of two, this blog post may not be for you. Although, please feel free to go ahead and continue reading, but promise me this: you will stick around to teach me a few things.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks since school started. If I’m honest, it’s been a rough couple of years raising a teen, and I only have one at this age.
Oh! You say you have more than one teen in your home?? Dear God who created the universe can you strike my friend with lot’s of happy pills, unlimited vacations without children and joy.
Yes, lot’s of joy to laugh hysterically when she thinks she’s lost her mind. Because there will be a time, my friend, when you feel you have lost your mind, if you haven’t already.
My last few blogs have been how-to tips about time management, putting the kids to work and blah blah blah…
Today, I’m going to share what has not produced positive results in my house, currently and over the years. Let’s start with my #1 Go-To parenting tool when life becomes too emotionally intense to think logically. #Don’tJudge #JudgeFreeZone
Can I confess a shameful secret that only my family, good friends, and bosses have ever known about me?
I am time challenged.
How on earth I’ve managed to get through to this point in my life, with this disability, is still a complete mystery to me. Looking back through the years, I’ve been this way my entire life. I have raced against the clock for decades. I’m 38; it’s been decades! Well, probably 2-2.5 but that is still plural. I haven’t mastered a way to beat it yet.
And guess what?
Do you ever think about how rich you would be if you were to get paid for all you did for your children? Ya, I rarely do either. Because, well, let’s face it, it’s our job. But when did it become our kid’s job to not work? I’ve heard the stories. Maybe you have too.Great Grandpa walked to school and back in the snow. Over the hill. Ten miles. He made the long trip after he had already been up since 4 a.m. milking the cows, delivered two sows (that’s a grown female pig. Probably didn’t deliver that but hey!) and fed the chickens. When grandpa got home, sure he had homework, but that was done after he plowed the field, helped his daddy with the wagon harnesses and prepared the barn for momma’s canning (I always wanted to can so I tossed that in there).
I don’t know about you, but being a single mom is HARD work. A different kind of hard work than our great grandparents may have had but never-the-less, it’s hard work. Why, then, does it seem like we give our children the easy way out? Why is it that we don’t make them push to be there best? Not only push them to be their best but set the standard and expectations around the house and assist them in following through. Well, my dear friend, if this is something you struggle with, I’m here to tell you…
It was 2004, and it was bad. As in, your life is a sinking hole of sewer scum. The toilet is still flushing with you in it, and you are going down the tubes faster than a rat up a drainpipe. Am I descriptive enough here? Let me explain it more clearly…
There was a second round of cockroaches scurrying about in my kitchen cabinets, at one point they wandered into my bedroom and met me in bed. Ya, gross! Never have I co-existed with roaches. The refrigerator had just gone out, and the food was spoiling quickly. The food I bought? I couldn’t even afford. I bought it on food stamps (thank God for those bad boys and the E.B.T card that came soon after so I didn’t have to pull out stamps to make a food purchase!).
That was just the warm-up intro to impress you. Let me continue…