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For Single Parent Families

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Often for Valentines, I remind parents (and myself) to focus
on the love of God, the love of Family, the love of Friends and the Love of our
Children – not just romance. It just seems that on this holiday,
there is so much focus on romantic love that families need to be reminded that
that is not the only kind of love to celebrate! Romantic love is great,
don’t get me wrong, but, it seems to come and go in many of our lives. At
Single Parent Advocate, we used to do a Valentines Dance for parents to come
with their kids and do crafts, and celebrate each other. It was
always a fun time and I hope we can bring that kind of spirit into our homes
and LOVE EACH OTHER!

2017 Valetines Single Parent Families Single Parent Advocate

 

When romantic love is fleeting, it is easy to look in the
mirror, and really get down on yourself. We do this by focusing on
all the things we cannot be, or cannot do, or cannot have. For example, I
find myself always wanting to give a little more, do a few more chores,
participate in more activities, read more, cook more, clean more…look better,
be more fit, be more smart….you name it. So much so, that I have
become my own worst enemy.

Honestly, if we question our ambition – why do we do this to
ourselves? Is it because we do not LOVE ourselves? This is
especially important for us as single parents to explore. After all, it
is said, you cannot love others, unless you first, love yourself.

Well, to me, that is a tall order. How do you
even do that? Especially when our opinion of ourselves is so often
centered around other’s opinions and evaluations of us even though we all know
that everything cannot be perfect.

Valentines Day 2017 Single Parent Advocate

So this Valentines, I want to send you a little love note –
a message in a bottle – if you will. Picture this little note
floating your way and surprising you with a message that has come a long way,
and is just for you – and picture it on the inside being a truly good thing –
filled with exactly what you needed – and may have given up on.

 

Here goes:

I want you to stop a moment, and close your eyes, breathe
in, and imagine yourself just as you are being accepted, appreciated, and
fulfilled. Picture your family and friends and even God lovingly smiling
at you with warmth and care. Then look at yourself in the mirror,
and do the same.

Loving yourself, really? Where do you even
begin? Especially when so many around you are so quick to say all
the things you are not. So…let’s begin right there- let’s begin
with what we are not:

Make a list of all the things that you ARE – not a list of all the things you
are NOT. We are not designed to be everything to everyone.
Expecting that of ourselves is unrealistic and unachievable.

Then, trim that list to the things that you LIKE about yourself, what you are
proud of, or what you enjoy being capable of.

Include what you are thankful for in your life. What are thing unique things
to you that have really made you pause and say thanks.

Remember, who you are is not equal to what you do, or do not
do. You are not the sum of your failures.

You are unique, and you are incredible. You have
amazing potential.

You deserve to be loved – especially by the one you see
every day in the mirror.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your families. May it
be full of all the kinds of love there are!

 

Happy Valentines Day Single Parent Advocate 2017

·
Mark 12:31 (NIV)

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no
commandment greater than these.”

·
Galatians 5:14 (NIV)

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your
neighbor as yourself.”

·
James 2:8 (NIV)

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”
you are doing right.

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Before Anything Can Get Better, You Have to Believe It Can Get Better

 

Your car starts to make a funny noise on the way to the
grocery store. You feel your heart sink
a little. “Not you too,” you say to yourself as you tell the two kids, an eight
and ten year old, in the back to stop fighting or they both will be grounded
from their electronics. No one is happy, not even the car.

Shopping for groceries on a slim budget is giving you a
headache. It doesn’t help that you have to keep saying “no, we can’t get that”
down every aisle as your kids beg for their favorites. Your annoyance is
increasing.

After getting the kids and fewer bags of groceries than you
wanted back in the car, the engine doesn’t just make a funny noise it starts to
sound like a dying cow.

“No, no, NO!” you scream.

This can’t be happening. You could barely afford groceries,
there is no way you can afford car repairs and there is no way you can afford
being without a car.

In a situation like this, frustration, anxiety and worry are
all understandable emotions. For some it may be just an every now and then bad
day. For others, it may be a typical every day. Either way, it doesn’t feel
good.

The usual reaction to this frustration is a burst of anger,
but that only helps for a moment until the worry comes back. In our anger, we
have upset our kids, a service person, or others who happened to be around.
This has us feeling worse, and more frustrated.

It feels like a trap.

And, it is a trap as long as we believe that it is the
situation that is having us feel so bad.

Now, I can hear you saying, “But it is the situation. If the
car wasn’t breaking down, the kids weren’t screaming and I had plenty of money,
I wouldn’t feel this way.”

That seems logical, but it keeps us in the trap.

So if it’s not the situation that is having us feel so bad,
what is it?

It is what we believe about the situation that has us
feeling bad and therefore trab2ap3_thumbnail_What-would-you-do-it-you-werent-afraid.jpgpped.

Let me explain.

We feel good when we are going towards what we want, and we
believe that we can get there. We feel
bad when we aren’t. Take, for instance, driving to a destination with plenty of
time. Even if you find the road under construction and your planned way
blocked, you would just look for a different route. You wouldn’t feel worried
or frustrated. You might feel a moment of annoyance but then you would focus on
what you need to do to get to where you want to go.

Now, if you were taking this same trip but needed to be
there at a certain time, this same situation with construction blocking your
chosen route would create a much different set of emotions. The emotions may
quickly go from annoyance to frustration and anger or even panic. Why? Because
you believe that the obstacle is going to keep you from what you want. It
hasn’t yet, but because you believe it will, every slow car and stop light
starts to reinforce the belief that it will, and therefore, the negative
emotions increase. You are thinking more about what will happen when you are
late, and what idiots block a road during rush hour than you are about what
path will get you to where you need to be on time.

The bad feeling we get is from believing that something is
going to keep us from what we want and there is nothing we can do to change it.
Fortunately, when we notice that we feel bad, we have a choice. One option is
to believe that we are not going to get what we want. We become upset with what
we think is in our way and then feel anxious and worried about what we believe
is coming. Another option is to believe
there is the possibility of it all working out, and that things will get better.
We are then able to shift our thoughts to what it is that we really want and
look for ways to get there.

In our example, even if you have a deadline but believe that
even though you have to take a detour you will still find a way to make it, the
emotions you feel are a lot less stressful.

So, it is not the situation, but what you believe about the
situation that determines how you feel and react. For things to get better,b2ap3_thumbnail_we-believe-what-we-tell-ourselves.jpg you
have to believe they can.

Okay, but how does knowing this help when you have a broken
car, screaming kids and a small budget? Knowing that it is your belief about
the situation that is having you feel bad doesn’t take away the fact that you
still have a car that is not sounding good and kids to feed. By believing that
you can find a solution does make a difference in how you feel and react. Believing that there is a way to work
things out has you looking for options that you may miss if you are worried or
angry.

You could keep believing that things are not going to work
out and blame your car, your ex or the economy for your bad luck. You can even
worry about what disaster the future will bring to you next, none of which will
move you any close to what it is you really want. Or you can believe that you
will find a solution that will move you closer to what you want.

Believe Puppy

You have a choice to believe

things can work out

or

believe that they won’t.

It’s up to you.

What will you believe?

 

 

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If you are a single parent, or if you are considering supporting a single parent family, please know this is one of the most meaningful things you can do. Below are some of the real challenges of life as a single parent in America today.

Resource Management: This can be anything from finances to childcare to food. Stretching the dollar to cover normal daily needs–and dare I say desires/wants-of self & family. If finances are not the challenge, single parents must make the most of time to pay the attention required to meet children's needs (like school, activities, quality communication, and care) the demands of employer(s), and expectations of extended family, while still making room for recreation and rest. There is often more month than money or time in a single parent household. When a single parent comes home from work and starts their "second job" of cooking, cleaning, homework, bill paying, project making, and grocery shopping – they have completed a solid 12-14 hour day. Normally, social connectedness, and self-care suffer tremendously. Self Care – if you do not take care of yourself with proper nutrition, rest, exercise and spiritual food – you cannot possibly be balanced enough to take care of others and make sound and healthy decisions alongside having sound and healthy reactions to life's more challenging moments. A single parent must remember to ASK FOR HELP. There is no replacement for investigating and learning the community resources and unapologetically putting them in place as an active part of their home. This can be like recreation centers, libraries, coupon groups, babysitting exchanges, the church, and so on. maintain a work life balance.

maintain a work life balance

Social Networking: Because time and money is stretched, it is difficult to build a support network, but it is a MUST. Many single parents have mentioned that they struggle with loneliness and isolation. Often, the dynamics of dating are so challenging that people choose to stick to themselves. Many adults do not want to date a full time single parent and share attention with the children or bother to try and "blend" a family. This type of rejection is often met with heartache and brings about low self-esteem. I believe a sound solution is to surround oneself with other FAMILIES. You are not a single – you are a FAMILY. Our first priority as a family is to its members. Our activities as "grown ups" like dating, girls/guys night out, trips to the salon, etc can be supported by the circle of families to which we belong. In turn, we can offer the same.

Making up for the missing Parts: Many single parents try to play both parent roles. If there are any moms like me, the lack of interest in baiting a fishhook or tying knots with the boy scouts must be met a neutral role model of the opposite parent that is trustworthy and consistent who will commit to this type of relationship on an ongoing and long term basis. Additionally, it is very difficult to balance the demands of work fully when your child needs you at school or at home. Overtime crushes more than the clock for a single parent– it crushes our ability to give our hearts in full connection with our child–and then crushes them. A single parent needs a network – this can be with neighbors, school, church, family – whatever circle is safe, consistent, and reflective of good & sound ethics that support the parent and the children and is at the ready for life's unexpected moments.

Guilt /Shame/Self Worth: Many single parents feel guilty and some even ashamed of having to ask more of their children than in terms of sacrifice and household operations. Often, "letting a kid be a kid" is a rare privilege. Single parents carry guilt about this at times, or overcompensate with tough love, which can be good–or build walls, depending on how it is approached and presented. Making choices about what we can do and cannot do as it relates to time and money adds to the guilt that parents carry regarding their situation. However, single parents MUST build each other up. They MUST commit to a positive and productive perspective for their kid's sakes.

Anxiety/Fear: Single parents are often faced with making the quality of interactions make up for the lack of quantity interactions. Most single parents, however, find themselves in what I call "survival mode" emotionally, financially, or physically. They are in a stance of fight or flight rather than in a place where decisions can be made based on patient, thoughtful, well strategized, and intentional efforts. Hearts that filled with grief, guilt, shame, anxiety and fear are however leading homes and families all across America. It is VERY IMPORTANT that we recognize this and develop healthy alternative habits. AWARENESS is step one – ACKNOWLEGEMENT of this reality and a plan to replace unhealthy perspectives with positive and productive perspectives and reactions is a commitment we must make and apply starting today.

Single Parent Children Struggle AlsoSingle Parent Children Struggle Also

 

Many children in single parent families face their own challenges:

Countless studies show that children in single parent households are under a lot more stress. When the stress accumulates it can lead to problems in school and behavioral issues. So what are single parenting's effects on a child's mentality overall?

Effects on Your Child's Emotional Health - When a single parent argues with the other parent in front of the child, this can lead to stress in the child. It is especially problematic when the parents try to get the child to take sides or deliver critical messages to the other parent through the child. The conflicts between parents and single parenting's effects on a child's mentality can lead to the child's inability to grow an attachment with either parent. This lack of an emotional attachment can lead to feelings of insecurity in the child.

The Effects of Abandonment on a Child's Mentality - When discussing single parenting's effects on a child's mentality, it is important to note the effect abandonment can have. Abandonment refers to when a parent leaves the household and cuts of all contact. Feelings of abandonment can lead a child to question his or her own self-worth. The remaining parent must help the child cope with the other parent's absence so the child doesn't develop low self-esteem. Abandoned children also tend to have trust issues and bottle up their emotions rather than express them freely.

The Effects of Constant Moving on Children - Single parents move around more often usually because they face more economic hardship and must move around frequently in order to find more affordable places to live. This frequent moving is another one of single parenting's negative effects on a child's mentality. Each time children move they have to leave behind their neighborhood friends and the transition is even more difficult when they change schools. The possible effects of frequent moving are a sense of isolation, depression, and anxiety.

A toxic combination of unstable schedules and unstable access to childcare leads to a pattern of serial quitting. Single parenting's effects on a child's mentality vary but due to its inherent challenges, single parenting can cause stress for both parent and child and it is the parent's responsibility to make it as least traumatic as possible. It is possible for the negative effects to be balanced out if the parents make an extra effort to provide their child with all the emotional support they need.

If you are a single parent, don't be hard on yourself. It is a fight to move forward so, keep up the pace, ask for help and use your resources! If you are a supporter of single parent families, THANK YOU!!

If you are considering supporting a single parent family, please know this is one of the most meaningful things you can do.

You can CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO SINGLE PARENT ADVOCATE and support our work with nominated families.  

If you would like to get involved, you can CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER.  We definitely need your help.  

If you know a family that needs help in the Dallas County, Collin County, or Denton County areas in Texas, please review our resource page on this website. If you are unable to find suitable aide, please email us and we will try to help as well.

If you are outside of this area, please like us on Facebook, and Twitter!

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Self Awareness – Success is Unique to YOU and Your family.

No one snowflake is exactly alike, similarly – no one fingerprint is either. Neither is one life, one family, or one child, one mom, or one home.

You are special, one of a kind.   You have tremendous value.   You are not like others – as an individual or as a family.

Your perspectives, experiences, perferences, relationships, instincts, personalities, dreams, visions, everything – is unique. Hair/body/eyes –all of it.

Your family dynamic is as a snowflake – as a fingerprint - DON’T COMPARE!! IT’S NOT FAIR!!  SUCCESS FOR EACH ONE OF US IS DIFFERENT.

When we try to compare our families, we are setting ourselves up to fail. We can event estrange our friends and families with our jealousy, insecurity, inferiority, envy, and ….well, you fill in the blank.

We should remember that ours is a precious family and trust and value its unique dynamic – and sustain it in a healthy way. Respect others differences, including our own. Believe in yourself!!!


Understand YOU and your family can be fulfilled & that it can be whole as a single parent family.

YOU choose…The choices are YOURS, the results are YOUR LIVES…

Wholeness – Completeness – comprising the full quantity/amount/extent/number/etc without diminution or execption!! Containing all the elements PROPERLY. Belonging, complete. This is hard to sustain when we are in the middle of turmoil, and change.

How many of you feel fulfilled? How many of your kids feel that way? Contentment goes against the grain of our growth mindedness. We get filled up with supposed – to – be’s. I want to encourage you to fill yourself and your kids up with IS’s. Do you know the story of the professor and the rocks? Big Rocks – then the gravel – then the sand – then the water. What are you spending your thoughts on, your time on, your heart on?
Many want to be a more of success at work, & a success at home, but the truth is our balancing act is beautiful and amazing. Like the man spinning plates in the circus – We are agile, smart, prepared, nimble, talented, resourceful, diligent…

You are not broken, you don’t need replacement parts. You are talented, amazing, whole and ABLE. Do your BEST. Make the right choices, and enjoy the right results. You can do it. It’s not a cake walk, but – there is always room for desert along the way – make time for that. Count your blessings, smell the roses, take time to see yourself for what you really are – which is AMAZING. Embrace it.

 

Commit yourself to your kids. Put your heart & mind & energy & time & pride & joy & contentment into this.

No one – NO ONE can replace you in the lives of your kids. Not your X, Not their teachers, not “neutral role models”, not your neighbors, your inlaws, grandparents/aunts/uncles/family of any kind. NOBODY.

Be present, be beautiful, be reliable, be invested. Don’t replace a relationship with them by seeking a new mate, or by a thriving social life. Make balance in this area, but FIND YOUR WHOLENESS IN THEM & IN YOUR FAMILY. The other things might be good to have, but not if they are in the way of a strong, and healthy family dynamic.

You have such a short time with them. Enjoy it. Carpools, sleepovers, sports, plays, games, deserts, the whole thing – BE THERE. Happily.

 

Care to Dream & Inspire your kids to do the same.

I take time to seek inspiration and ways to “fly” as an individual. I dance, I worship and sing, and I travel. I love to listen to worship songs, and sermons. They charge me up. These are the things about me that make up the fiber of who I am “at play”. Do you play? Do you hope? Do you dream, and dare to encounter those dreams, pursue them, and bring them to life? Have you shelved them? Why?

My son knows my dreams, and what makes me have joy – strawberries, travelling, diving, dancing, music and singing, and he LOVES to support me in those as I support him in pursuing his dreams. IF YOU DON’T DREAM AS A SINGLE PARENT – YOU ARE TEACHING YOUR KIDS TO STOP DREAMING TOO. If resources are a challenge then rotate the dreams you are working on at different times of the year, apply for scholarships (SPEAK UP), volunteer and just give your gift away donate your time and talent– it is up to you to walk in this. You must never feel like you cannot overcome and be who and what and how you dream to be. It is crucial.

Don’t give up on who you are just because you are a mom. You are MORE because you are a mom – not LESS!!

 

Educate yourself about resources for support – this is not a one person job.

Faith based, community based, and civic organizations have a TON of support for families. This is not always in the form of cash to pay a bill, but may be in the form of a better job, and good friend, and a helping hand. If you need food, go to the food pantry in your area. If you need clothes, go to the Goodwill or a Thrift Shop in your area. If you need shelter, seek a job at an apartment complex. PUT YOUR MIND INTO THIS LADIES. Our hearts have been sliced – not our heads!!!!

Create a babysitting network, a Sunday School or Bible Study, a social outing club that is family friendly. SPEAK UP about how you are seeking flexible job solutions, and boldly pursue your options, and even ask for new options to be created. Be ready to hold up your end of the bargain in all this. Don’t look for a hand out – look for a hand UP. Sometimes those come with bonuses.

Resources. Use them. Apply for financial assistance for a degree and get a better job. Whatever it is we are looking for, sometimes we feel like there is no where to go – but that is a lie. Be steadfast. Be smart, be resourceful and engaged with your talents and USE THEM. Speak UP when you need help – shelve pride for the sake of your kids if not for yourself. Pride comes before a Fall! You MUST lay down your pride – and submit to the fact that we are not designed to raise children alone. You need to ask for help when you need REST – so your child will not be the victim of impatience and what comes with it. You need to ask for practical assistance, so your child doesn’t have to do without.

Parenting education, safety education, resource education (USA.gov, United Way, Salv. Army, Goodwill, YW/MCA, BBBS, Boys & Girls clubs, Habitat for Humanity, HUD, Workforce Commission, Nemours, Care.com, CCCS….it takes a village. There sometimes seems like there is nowhere to turn and that there is not a hope. This is A LIE. There are many working to make them more reachable for single parents and their children of all ages.

 

Seek Spiritual Wholeness, physical fitness, & mental empowerment so that you can pass this on to generations to come.

• Spiritual Wholeness: find peace with your beliefs. If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
• Physical Fitness: Take care of yourself so you CAN take care of other. Get exercise & REST! Eat Healthy.
• Mental Empowerment : Guard your hearts- Garbage in Garbage Out – Zig Ziglar, Joel Olsteen, Oprah…whatever! Eat it up!! You can go to our social sites and pick up some great things too! 

Take time to POWER UP! So, you can pour it out on your kiddos  Remember you are no good to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself. You have to take care of yourself so you CAN take care of others. . Your child needs you to be healthy and in order for that to happen – you need to do a good job of networking and reaching out. You don’t have to do this alone.

 

Surround yourself with strong, positive, supportive, caring & kind network of family and friends.

We have discussed so much, but I don’t want to leave this stone unturned. BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH
DON’T COMPROMISE OR SETTLE OR “MAKE DUE” IN your personal relationships or in those relationships that you allow near your kids. Be careful who you place them with.

There is a saying that YOU ARE who your top 5 friends are. Your choices, perceptions, hopes, and standards are established in yourself, and enforced in your daily life. Be very careful about who you give your time to, your mind to, yourself to.
If you don’t have friends or family that will support you physically, emotionally, practically, THEN GET OUT AND FIND SOME ADDITIONAL ONES. I am not saying alienate family – or friends, - but consciously, befriend those who are headed in the same direction you are – who are already there.

Stop, look, and listen. Look at yourself exactly for who you instead of who you think you “should” be, and Listen to words of wisdom and grace. Accept your life – and know it is yours to live abundantly – even now. Especially, now.

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AskForHelp Logo 2In speaking with many single parent families, there is a common thread of guilt and/or shame when it comes to asking for help. The truth is that so many families are facing tremendous ruin of some kind like abandonment, divorce, death, disease, disability, or economic duress; and, it is very difficult to prosper in those conditions.

Furthermore, Single Parents must earn more as an individual to be self sufficient than dual parent two-income households. In fact, it takes about $45,000.00 annually for a single parent to raise 2 children on a conservative budget and do so self sufficiently. Most available jobs do not provide that level of income.

Therefore, single parents MUST educate themselves about their corporate, community, faith based, and charitable resources. Not only that, they MUST use them responsibly.

 

 

Faith based, community based, and civic organizationsyou have two hands one to help yourself and one to help others have a TON of support for families. This is not always in the form of cash to pay a bill, but may be in the form of job education and advancement plans, work/life balance resources for affordable childcare and flexible scheduling options, and health and savings resources. Often, by communicating concerns and needs, a family finds they develop help, and also, potentially, a good friend, and a helping hand.

So, single parents, we want to encourage you. If you need food, go to the food pantry in your area. If you need clothes, go to the Goodwill or a Thrift Shop in your area. If you need shelter, seek a job at an apartment complex and reach out to your civic housing authority or HUD. PUT YOUR MIND INTO THIS. Typically, as single parents, our hearts have been sliced a bit by life, but we cannot let it affect our heads!!!!

 

Single Parent Families can do many things themselves to create community like create a babysitting network, a Sunday School or Bible Study, a social outing club that is family friendly. SPEAK UP about how you are seeking flexible job solutions, and boldly pursue your options, and even ask for new options to be created. Be ready to hold up your end of the bargain in all this with your employers. Position things carefully so it is clear that you are not seeking a hand out – but that you are seeking a hand UP.

Whatever it is we are lDont Be Discouragedooking for, sometimes we feel like there is no where to go – but that is not always the case. Be steadfast and don't quit or give up in your pursuits. If you quit - you teach your children to quit. Be smart, be resourceful and engaged with your talents and USE THEM. Speak UP when you need help – shelve pride for the sake of your kids if not for yourself. If pride comes before a fall - You MUST lay down your pride – ask for help when you need REST, or WORK. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your children. Ask for practical assistance, so your child doesn’t have to do without.

Parenting education, safety education, resource education (USA.gov, United Way, Salv. Army, Goodwill, YWCA, YMCA, BBBS, Boys & Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity, HUD, Workforce Commission, Nemours, Care.com, CCCS….all offer suitable aid). There sometimes seems like there is nowhere to turn and that there is not a hope, but do not be discouraged. There are many working to make better lives possible for single parents and their children of all ages.

If you are seeking resources, please visit the Resources page on the Single Parent Advocate website. It is a great place to start. We are researching and looking to add more too just for all of you. Take heart and have courage. You are not alone, and this is not impossible - it is just challenging. Believe in yourselves!! We believe in you!!

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