Did you choose to be a single mother?

by mssinglemama on September 22, 2012

A while back I asked you, my lovely readers, for some stories.

I have been writing here for years and now it is your turn. I want to hear from you–why are you a single mother? Why did you choose this path? Or was it chosen for you? How have you evolved? What are your greatest challenges? What are your greatest achievements?

I still believe, in my heart, that without my experience as a single mother, without taking a stand for myself and leaving a bad marriage–I would not have found the happiness I have today. There’s just no way. We choose our paths. Each of us is responsible for the decisions we make in our lives. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. And becoming a single mother forges something in your heart that either brings you down or makes you stronger and better for it.

This post is from Nancy. Leave her your comments and cheer her on. I think this is beautiful.

On choosing single motherhood because of persistent tug in the gut.

By Nancy from BC, Canada

The single mama life came about to an unlikely target a few years ago. That target was me. Coming from a traditional, Portuguese Catholic family where life was mapped out for me- ie. – get married, make babies (yes, much like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding), it never really dawned on me that I’d be in this little pickle.

I suppose my streak of independence and stubborness and my sense of resilience, determination and positivity bit me in the butt, which ultimately contributed to the earth shaking news – that I wanted to leave my marriage.

I remember the first time I thought of leaving. I was washing my dishes on a beautiful summer day. My kids were happily muddling around the house when the thought crept inside my brain. Though I had spent numerous years in an unhappy state cheating myself thinking it was normal to live unhappily, I never gave the thought serious attention until that day. There was a brief moment of exhilaration or as Oprah would say, I had experienced an “a-ha” moment.

That moment quickly came crashing down when the over active left side of my brain poured out thoughts like, “That’s crazy,” or “Why leave? I have a

husband, two healthy kids, a house, money in the bank,” or the most powerful and dominating thought, “Everyone will think I’m crazy.” As I’m writing this, I can’t believe how this fake and debilitating thought has crippled so many decisions in my life. The thought to stay safe, do what I’ve been taught, and to not change. That moment I experienced while washing the dishes entered my body like the plague because no matter what I tried, whether it was a vacation for just the two of us or the counselling sessions we attended, the thought wouldn’t go away. I desperately tried to feel something to make me stay but that feeling never came.

I took a very long time to physically leave the marriage. Since my departure, I’ve had some low lows and some high highs, but one thing that has always kept me afloat is the tremendous support I feel from my friends and family and my kids. I’ve learned that showing support to someone about anything they want to do can really breathe new life into their lives. There are no crazy ideas, only brave ideas. There will always be a few people who feed off of gossip nourishing their own insecurities, but those people do not outweigh the ones who are knocking on my door and surprising me with a triple fudge brownie after a bout of sobbing or the ones who laugh with me over a glass of wine or the ones who come over and surprise me by washing my dishes and cooking dinner.

I’ve finally retired the negative thought “Everyone will think I’m crazy” and replaced it with “I could be crazy but I’m healthy, strong and happy. I’m really, really happy.” And if indeed I’m headed to a mental institution, well at least I’ll have a smile on my face. Besides, I hear they serve good cookies.

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Am I an evil step-mother?

by mssinglemama on September 12, 2012

Am I an evil step-mother? I sure feel like one sometimes.

Read about it here. Blending families isn’t easy. We’re tackling some tough issues on the new blog and hoping you can chime in with any advice or encouragement.

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Where to find me.

by mssinglemama on August 31, 2012

Lately I’ve been hooked on Instagram. If you use it, please find me @mssinglemama.

You’re missing all kinds of good stuff from the day to day battle lines of blending a family. Also if you haven’t been over to Beauty and the Biker lately, check it out. The kids went back to school, Lily and I have re-discovered She-Ra and Uncle Ben and Seth are as handsome as ever in their biker gear. ;  )

Oh! And I am doing my thrift giveaways, as usual. But they’re over on Beauty and the Biker now. Another one is coming up soon.

And, as always, my Facebook fans receive a free copy of Ms. Single Mama Uncensored, my eBook with all of the nitty gritty details of my dating and relationship escapades before meeting Seth. Just hop over to my Facebook page and click on the tab that says “Free MSM Uncensored.”



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Money, money, money

by mssinglemama on August 20, 2012

This blog was always a place for me to share my perspective on dating and relationships. I never touched on the financials of being a single mom. This, in spite of the fact, that I recovered from the financial devastation of a divorce while also recovering emotionally.

I now have my own business and am doing quite well when compared to my starting salary after I left my husband–a whopping $8.00 an hour. This is largely due to my hard work but also to smart management of money. Oh, and did I mention child support is not in the equation for Benjamin and I? We had some for a brief time years ago, but now it is intermittent at best.

While at BlogHer 2012 (read my BlogHer post here), I met Emma. She is another successful single mom who told me she was about to start a new blog about managing your finances as a single mom. Of course, I told her what a wonderful idea this was and we got to talking. We spent a few hours together at the hotel bar and I’m sure I’ll never forget her.

One thing about single motherhood that never ceases to amaze me–is you. All of you single moms who are truly kicking ass (emotionally and financially). For the emotional side of things, stay here. Dig through my archives, read them and weep and learn from my experiences. For the financial side of things, turn to Emma and her new blog.

Here’s a guest post she wrote just for Ms. Single Mama readers:

10 Financial Steps to a Rich Life as a Single Mom

It’s no one’s Plan A. But being a single mom does not mean you’re destined for the welfare line, free school lunches for your kids, or living in your parents’ basement.

The first step is to convince yourself that your new life will be one that is full, joyous and financially rich. For some people, it can take a long time to believe. Maybe you’ll have to fake it till you make it (as they say). But nothing is possible unless you can see the end goal.

Here are a few steps to get you going:

  1. Get a grip on how much you you’re spending. I’m a big fan of Mint.com, a free online tool where you plug in all your bank, credit card, brokerage and mortgage accounts to get a snapshot of all your finances.
  2. Get a grip on how much is coming in. Mint will help, but I recommend a visit to your accountant – your tax situation will be very different when compared to when you were married.
  3. Check on your credit score for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. I go into the reasons why in my post here http://www.wealthysinglemommy.com/part-1-screw-up-your-credit-screw-up-your-whole-life-and-your-childrens-lives/  .
  4. Set some short- and long-term goals financial goals. Short-term might be to pay off a credit card bill, build an emergency savings account, or make more than you spend. Long-term include buying a home, saving for your kids’ college, or investing for retirement. [click to continue…]


How Ms. Single Mama Will Live On. I need you!

by mssinglemama on July 31, 2012

Thanks to all of you who have hopped over to BeautyandtheBiker.com. I love that you are there, continuing our journey with us. We just had a really fun thrift giveaway. You wouldn’t believe the bag I found. So cute!


For those of you still here and still very much single mothers I have a few items I’d like to throw your way:

1. Who would like to be Ms. Single Mama approved? Do you have a blog about being a single mother? Email me at mssinglemama-at-gmail.com and I will review your blog. If you’re approved, you’ll receive one of these nifty little badges. Use the subject line: MSM Approved

Don’t steal it… that would be mean.

2. Would any of you like to guest blog for Ms. Single Mama.com? I don’t want this website to die or disappear at all. In fact, I want it to continue and live on. The archives and posts here walk readers through my journey as a single mother and there’s so much here to learn from. If you are interested in guest blog posting, please email mssinglemama-at-gmail.com with subject line: Guest Blog Posting By a Human (to prevent from spam). Also, I am going to be really, really picky about who guest blogs for me. Your writing should be engaging and your story should be compelling and most of all, positive. What have you learned? What could you share? How can your experience help other single moms?

3. Check out my latest post on Beauty and the Biker, in which I shove a cake into my brother-in-law’s face, allow my child to try a margarita and narrowly escape a religious debate at the in-laws and go ziplining in Columbus. You can read it here.

4. If you are going to BlogHer, leave a comment. I would like to set up an impromptu gathering of the single mom bloggers who are attending. Leave a comment here and I’ll check in to see if you are going, or @ me on Twitter – @mssinglemama.

Thank you! Look forward to your emails.


A new home.

by mssinglemama on July 19, 2012

Some of you have just discovered Ms. Single Mama, some of you have been here since the beginning.

All along the way we’ve shared our trials and our victories and it’s been an absolutely incredible experience. I think this blog has truly accomplished something magnificent. This is evidenced by the emails I still get every single day from those of you who have found this community and then been moved to leave abusive relationships or flat out just plain bad relationships and others who are single moms who finally feel empowered and proud of how far they have come.

However you slice it, we have moved mountains.

There are over 20,000 unique visitors to this Website every month. There have been over 3,250,000 page views and there have been over 25,000 comments. All by single moms who, before this blog and the others that were created before it, had very few “real” sources for what it is truly like to be a modern single mom. We don’t fit into traditional stereo types and we don’t have a collective voice. We are hushed by some, but have learned not to be. We are who we are and, by the way, our children will be just fine (gasp).

As my long time readers know I have had a few panic attacks and nearly shut this blog down on several occasions. I have long since accepted the fact that I can’t stop publishing my story. For myself, sure. It’s fun. I love writing, I love publishing, I love creating. But also for my children and their children. I want this story to be somewhere for them to find. And for all of you. For every single parent out there who is just trying to figure this stuff out.

For that reason, this story will continue. In part here. I won’t be abandoning Ms. Single Mama completely. But for the most part, the story will continue here – on a new blog that fits the new chapter in my life, in our life…

I hope you love it as much as we do! And we can’t wait to see you after the hop. Click here.


The winner of the bag is Hollie Barnes (can you email me – at mssinglemama@gmail-dot-com. Congratulations!




In bed…

by mssinglemama on July 11, 2012

Sleep has always been a touchy subject for me. I never get enough of it and I am jealous of people who do. I envy well rested people like most women envy dewy, perfect skin or thin thighs. You can have your thighs and your skin, I just want sleep.

I used to dread sleeping.

During college sleeping proved to be a difficult task for a girl who loved to party nearly as much as she loved getting an A+ on her anthropology test. And after college I went and got myself a job in morning radio which means I had to wake up at 4:00 AM every morning. Very healthy for a 20-something who was staying out until 2:00 AM.

Needless to say, I would make a fantastic candidate for a sleep clinic studying the long term effects of sleep deprivation or irregular sleep patterns.

When I quit the day job back in 2009, I was in total denial at the time, but I had a few months there of full blown insomnia. Even during good years, steady jobs and good boyfriends, it would still take me at least 30-45 minutes every night to fall asleep.

Before we were officially living together, Seth would come over nearly every night. [click to continue…]


From my closet to yours…

by mssinglemama on July 8, 2012

I found another purse for one of you thrift shopping this week.

Isn’t it cute? It’s a mustard brown. Yum. Yum. So soft and cushy.

Not real leather, but sure looks like it. The price tag? A whopping $2.99. And my gift to you.

This time, leave a comment and you’ll be entered. Just comment. That’s it. Deadline to enter 7/15/12 at 8:00PM EST.

I read all of the entries to the first thrift giveaway and couldn’t bear choosing. I appreciate all of your comments, but who am I to judge who deserves a prize the most. So… I totally copped out and used Random.org. The winners are:

1. A super cute vintage turquoise wallet. Lovie Arthur. (Love your name, lady)
2. A black and white scarf. Will go perfectly with this season’s brights and patterns. Jacy. Randomly drawn, but so deserving. Her blog is here.
3. A pair of genuine snake skin vintage heels. Size 8, they run small. These are the real deal. Beautiful! Heidi. I think you were one of the only ones who wanted the shoes, so you just get them and clearly you have earned them.

I thrift shop on a weekly basis. It keeps me out of trouble and I can get my shopping fix. There will be more of these contests. Do you like?




Common Questions

by mssinglemama on July 6, 2012

As a blended family and a newly-married blended family at that, we get lots of questions from friends and near strangers. In no ranking order of popularity they are:

1. How did you meet?

OkCupid.com. I feel like I should send them a check for a million dollars. The $5.99 I spent clearly does not constitute a fair trade.

2. Do the kids get along?

For the most part. They definitely have their moments, but overall they’re already acting like typical siblings. We have seen a shift from blissful interactions (at first) to heavy fighting (right after the wedding ) and now – a nice balance equal in positive play and then the occasional and expected tiff. The dynamics are always shifting between the kids, but as long as us adults stay on the same page, everything is just as it should be. Seth and I are from large families, so we’re built for the chaos that seems to constantly surround us.

3. What do the exes think?

Mine is completely uninvolved and sees Benjamin for a few hours once a month. Seth’s is more involved as she recently moved back to Ohio. Ex-relations are never “easy” but I think all of the adults are doing their best to adapt to the new relationship. At our house, we have an open dialogue with the children about their emotions and make sure they don’t feel like dropping statements such as, “I love Daddy more than you” will hurt our feelings or make us upset. Benjamin said that today actually. I asked him because he asked me who I loved more, him or Seth. I said I didn’t want to answer a question like that and then I asked him, “It’s like me asking you who you love more – me or your real Daddy.” And then he paused for a moment and said, “Daddy.” Another pause. “But only because I don’t see him very much.”

4. Are you going to have more?

More children. The inevitable question from well meaning interested or merely curious parties. The answer? Not so easy. Seth definitely wants more. But I’m on the fence. You have to remember, when I had Benjamin,I was alone and it was hard. So hard in fact that I cried into my pillow on just about every evening and cursed the Universe and all mothers before me for not telling me how hard it would be. “Why didn’t anyone warn me?” I thought.

I have heard other mothers have differing experiences.

But regardless of being single or not, depressed or happy, breast feeding or bottle feeding, newborn babies dominate your world for months in and out of the womb. What would it be like, though, if I had help? Especially in the way of Seth who is God’s gift to mothers. I mean, the man is a child rearing phenom. Would I be able to enjoy the little guy or girl? I did enjoy Benjamin, but I had zero time to myself for years and years and yes, I’m probably still traumatized.

So, yeah. Me. Fence. Seth. Rearing to go.

Either way, we want to wait. So, I have time to continue pondering the idea of another little Gremlin to add to our collection. In the meantime, I leave you with a picture of Seth holding my adorable baby niece at my cousin’s wedding in North Carolina.

Um yeah, can you hear my ovaries from there? They’re screaming. But my brain is overriding them … for now.

After these pictures were taken, I kidnapped Daphne for most of the reception.


Myrtle Beach

by mssinglemama on July 2, 2012

After our flight, and after they’ve examined every inch of the suite, the kids are bursting with excitement to get down to the ocean. Seth takes them right away and I dive into the big, cozy bed. A few minutes later, I am sound asleep. The ocean right there. Loud, intrusive and extremely humbling. Nature’s trump card soothing me to sleep.

I have officially settled into being pampered constantly. I get to sleep in on most mornings while he makes breakfast. The garbage is out every week without me even thinking about it. The kids are occupied when [click to continue…]