when the kids aren’t so little anymore

Single Mom Thrives

Everywhere I look online, I see moms with young kids…blogging about it. It seems like there are pictures of happy families– a husband, a wife, a couple young kids. I often reminisce about those days, wondering where the time went. I see photos I took during those days and wonder why I can’t remember those moments.
I remember those days when the kids were young and my days were made up of trips to the YMCA to work out and have some coffee and chat with my friends, errands, housework, naps…you know how it goes. The days were grueling with three kids home under the age of 4.

Being in the trenches of motherhood are NO.JOKE. Although I love looking back at pictures and I absolutely adore my kids, I’m not entirely sure I’d go back to that time in my life. I filled myself with them completely, to try and…

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Fall in Love With You

Last Friday, I got my hair done (professionally) for the first time in a year. It’s generally not something I spend my money on, but I was feeling drab and needed to do something for myself. I was feeling tired of everything, always giving to everyone else, and putting myself aside.

 When we forget to take care of ourselves, it’s really hard to continue to give ourselves completely to those we love, especially our children. My family and my friends are good at being encouraging and loving and saying kind things to me and it helps me, but sometimes the voices in my own head sound so loud and seem to be screaming at me that there’s no reason to care for myself, the kids are more important and I don’t want them to go without. I started to feel like what I was doing for my kids didn’t matter and even though I know better about expecting kids to have a complete understanding of putting others needs ahead of their own sometimes, I start to feel like they don’t care about me. It’s silly. I know they do. I don’t have a boyfriend and I don’t really go out where I need to get dressed nice and so sometimes I just figure why bother?! Pretty soon, I’m just a Pity Party of 1 and everything sucks. No one likes to be around anyone like that.

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We love natural hair!

When I had my first child, a boy, I was IN LOVE with his curls. He’s mixed (black and white) and his curls were the.cutest.thing. They’d get little blond tips in summer and although he hated having his hair combed, I discovered the best way was in the bath with lots of conditioner and a hair pick. The thing he never liked was braids, product in his hair, or to have it combed (much). He went through some phases of wanting it cut shorter, but for the most part, he loved to rock his natural hair in afros, a flat top, the old “let’s just let it grow and see what it does” look and most recently, it was faded and then twisted on top. 
I never understood the people who would comment about his hair needing to be cut down and short. He’s 16 now and he loves letting it do what it does. His hair was, and is, amazing.

So, now let me back track a bit. My daughter, Amaija, was born in 2006. Her father and I had agreed, when we knew she was a girl, that we would never chemically process her hair to take the curl out. I agreed for a few reasons: I wanted her to learn to love the hair she was given. I prefer to go the natural route with our health and wellness and so chemicals on the hair was not going to happen. I didn’t want her to spend her life fighting her hair. This may sound crazy, but I didn’t think many white girls really had curly hair. And the ones I did see with curly hair, straightened it as often as needed.

My first son was 6.5 years old when Amaija was born, and I felt like I knew how to do this hair thing. I paid attention to her curls and the texture of her hair as she grew. For the longest, I did not need to do much with her hair because it took quite a while to grow in. When the curls came, I had so much fun doing little pony tails on top and using a very light product since her hair was really fine. Her hair grew in full and beautifully curly, still keeping it’s fine texture. We tried out different products along the way and got quite the collection. The thing I always wanted was that she KNEW how to take care of her hair and love the curls and know how to work with them, instead of against them. When it started to get longer, we started washing and then combing with a heavy conditioner, rinsing and then we just let it be. We would put a little curl product in her hair and played around with various braids styles, three piece twists and finger coils, but for the most part, she wanted it to do its thing without messing with it too much.

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Embracing my own curls.

I myself had gone back to straightening my hair and so as she grew she would ask me to straighten her hair. I would agree now and then, but it was so.much.work. I knew I had to embrace my own curly hair to be a better influence on my daughters and to practice what I preach. Her hair helped me in my own journey of accepting my hair.

I decided to do a little interview with Amaija about her hair.

What is so great about your hair? Why do you like it?

Because I can do a lot of styles with it. And not many other girls my age wear their hair like me.

 

What is your hair care routine?

I wash it a few times a week and in between those washes, I co-wash. Co-washing is conditioning only and I do that so my hair doesn’t get so dry. I use a wide tooth comb in the shower with conditioner in my hair. After I rinse it, I use my fingers to separate the curls while rinsing out the conditioner. When I get out of the shower, I towel dry it and put in some kind of product. My favorite is Mixed Chicks Leave-in Conditioner because it isn’t too heavy and my mom likes it, but we haven’t bought it recently because it has parabens and dyes that my mom doesn’t like. We recently bought a new Shea Moisture and so far, we love it. And it’s $10 cheaper!

Sometimes we straighten your hair with a blow dryer, round brush and flat iron. What do you like about that style and in the end, do you prefer it straight or curly and why?

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Can we say “Shrinkage?”

Sometimes it is a little easier to do my hair once it’s been straightened. Keeping it straight is hard though because it goes back to being curly after a day or so. I always like when my mom does straighten it so I can see how long my hair really is! I prefer my hair curly because when my hair is straight, I have to brush it (which I don’t do when it’s curly) and after a little while, I get annoyed with it on my neck and down my back. Plus, I know that straightening my hair damages it.

What do people say about your curly hair?

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Today at the Mall of America

Most people love my hair. Since I was little, people want to always touch my hair and ask my mom if it’s hard to take care of. I don’t really mind if people touch my hair, but they have to ask me first.

I’ve noticed the other girls at school with curly hair always have it in braids or they’ve permed it so it’s straight. One of my friends has spent a lot of time getting Brazilian blow-outs and most recently a lye-based chemical relaxer. I like that my mom has taught me how to take care of my hair and to love it, instead of spending so much time straightening it.

My message to other girls with curly hair would be don’t damage your hair to have it straight by perming, using chemicals or heat. Learn to take care of what you have and you will get a lot of compliments! Celebrate who you are and what God gave you.

 

 

 

when the kids aren’t so little anymore

Everywhere I look online, I see moms with young kids…blogging about it. It seems like there are pictures of happy families– a husband, a wife, a couple young kids. I often reminisce about those days, wondering where the time went. I see photos I took during those days and wonder why I can’t remember those moments.
I remember those days when the kids were young and my days were made up of trips to the YMCA to work out and have some coffee and chat with my friends, errands, housework, naps…you know how it goes. The days were grueling with three kids home under the age of 4.

Being in the trenches of motherhood are NO.JOKE. Although I love looking back at pictures and I absolutely adore my kids, I’m not entirely sure I’d go back to that time in my life. I filled myself with them completely, to try and avoid the pain of my marriage. Something big that was missing for me was time for myself, to have friends outside of my kid-filled world, to do the things I loved, for me. My now ex-husband offered little support, which made it even more stressful. I felt like a single mom even though I was married. I would have had PLENTY to mom-blog about when they were young.

So much great material. 

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my days were filled nursing babies,

 

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stopping accidents from happening,

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Reflections on divorce

It’s coming up two years since the divorce was finalized. I used to call it “my divorce,” but I’ve stopped saying that and am now calling it “the divorce” because it’s not mine and it doesn’t define me. For a while, it was the thing that consumed me almost as much as being a mom did. Divorce sucks and with all of the draining legalities, comes a whole different set of things you go through.

While I was going through the process of the divorce, I googled often. I looked for blogs, real people who were willing to talk about divorce and how, yes, this is quite possibly the worst thing in the world, but here are some tips to get through this alive, well and MAYBE, happy. Divorce is like an earthquake. It shakes every part of your life up, some things shatter, some are slightly damaged and some things seem to be just fine. Some things even come out stronger as you rebuild and you realize there might be a better way to do something as you re-build.

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Stop asking why I’m single

Ever since I became single (or rather, each time I become single), people have wanted to know if I’m dating. And when I say no, they seem to have some well-thought out thing to say, like, “Oh, it’ll happen at the right time.” Or if I’m out, people want to know why I’m single. Well, I want to set something straight. We don’t all want to be in a relationship. I, personally, love being single. I was dating someone for about nine months and realized that dating someone was simply not what I wanted to be doing. It didn’t make my life feel any better, except that I could say I was dating someone and the best thing that came out of it was the reaction I got from others that seemed like relief, at best. I desperately wanted balance in my life and being in that relationship brought a complete unbalance. It wasn’t just his doing, but mine, as well, for allowing my time to be given to him for the most part. When you’re a single mom, the free time you have is limited, the time you have free doesn’t always align with your friends’ free time, so it became easy, and seemed natural, to spend increasing amounts of time together.

Does being single carry some sort of outcast sentiment? Does being single make people think there is something wrong with you (or them, maybe)? I can’t help but feel sometimes that society expects that women will always want or need to be in a relationship. If I say I have plans some night, and the first question is usually if I have a date. It’s gotten to a point that I don’t know what to say. So I resort to saying, “Um, no. I have plans with friends. GIRL friends. Maybe my sister. Maybe I am going to a movie alone.” (I did this once and it brought me a lot of anxiety and nervousness, but in the end, was pretty much fine). But why is a date (or some kind of nighttime thing) the first thing that comes to mind?

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My favorite divorce book

 When I was going through my divorce, I found this book  by Carolyn Call super helpful. It is by no means religious and would be beneficial to anyone going through divorce. They say divorce is the second most painful life event, after losing a child. If you’re looking for a book to help guide you through, this is a great one! It pushes you to explore what is going on, how to heal and move past the pain. There is a lot of journaling, thinking and feeling. It’ll definitely push you to move out of a place that one could get stuck in.

the chicken soup recipe to end all recipes

I have a confession.

The soup, like most food I make, has no recipe. I’m sorry if this doesn’t work for you. It’s all made up as I go. And it’s soup. You seriously cannot go wrong. There is nothing like a homemade soup on a freezing cold Minnesota day.

I had a rotisserie chicken left from dinner one night and there was a ton of chicken left. Normally I do boil the bones to make bone broth, but I wasn’t feeling that today. I knew what I was working with and where my motivation level was and I just did it. That being said, I saved the bones and the chicken and will make bone broth another day (FRUGAL).

I know you’re wondering just HOW I made this beautiful soup. Here you go.

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11 ways I stay sane as a single mom

Almost daily, I have at least one person stop what they are saying mid-sentence, stare at me with wide eyes and ask me, “how do you DO it?” I know i make this single parenting biz look seamless (yes, that’s sarcasm), but really, i have no idea how I do it. I’ve been thinking about this, however, because so many people ask me with such disbelief. Parents with one child. Adults with cats (and no kids). Married people with one child or maybe two. One of my favorite parenting mottos is to have only a few rules, but I make sure the rules are clear so there is little room for misinterpretation and negotiation, like “food stays in the kitchen;” instead of any other combination of “don’t eat the food in the ____ room.” Clear and concise. Beyond that, this is how I do it… (cue Montell Jordan). I was going to do 10, but felt compelled to add one.

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the problem with our society is not single mothers

The other day I came across this article,”The problem with single mothers,” via the HuffPost Divorce page. Naturally, I wanted to find out for myself what this author’s purpose was with writing this article because the title itself pretty much disgusted me.

My initial response to this article’s title alone was exactly my reason for starting this blog of mine. Is there a problem with single mothers or is the problem actually society’s response TO single mothers? There are so many stereotypes and negative responses to us when we say we are single moms. I say we because most single moms I know personally have similar experiences as I do. After further reading, the author does explore the current trend in our society in terms of the numbers and research polls. The overwhelming result is that society has a problem with single moms who do not actively choose to single parent by themselves, however, single parents by choice receive a different response. First of all, I believe this article is wrongly titled. There is no support that there is something wrong with single mothers. The problem is bigger than that.

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