Tag Archives: Single Parent

Single Parent: Skip the 
Holiday Hoopla

December 17, 2013 by
Photography by Natalie Jensen Photography

As kids, we got to live the fantasy. But now, as adults, it’s up to us to create the fantasy of the man in the red suit and the wonderment of one’s faith during the holiday.

Being a single parent adds a unique, stressful, and pressure-filled layer all its own. Whether we want to make up for the fact that it’s only one adult doing all of the traditions, decorating, and planning to create those once in a lifetime memories, or even creating a substitute holiday because the kids won’t be there for the actual day—it takes a lot of mental gymnastics to get through the season.

Last year, I knocked it out of the park when it came to Christmas. We went to church Christmas Eve, had the family over for our traditional spaghetti dinner, and I bought everything on my children’s Christmas lists. And guess what? The day after Christmas, I still felt a little disappointed, like something was missing. And might I add, so did my kids. This actually got me angry, but then I had a revelation. Why did I kill myself to do all of these things if it goes unnoticed and unappreciated?

I began to take notice of what did stand out to my kids, and I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t the most expensive item they got Christmas morning, but my homemade coupons for extra privileges, the scavenger hunt with cheap items that Grandma does every year, and the cash in the bottom of their stockings. Could it be that the most important and memorable things about the holidays were the heartfelt and thoughtful touches? Lesson learned.

I am relieved that the holidays can be just as special without all the hoopla.

Single Parent: What Does “Family 
Holiday” Mean Now?

November 19, 2013 by
Photography by Natalie Jensen Photography

The holiday season. I’m not sure if there is another phrase that can evoke such extreme emotions. In just one moment, it can put smiles on our faces and send chills down our spines. I could write all day long about how we have lost the meaning of the holidays, but I particularly want to talk about how we’ve lost our definition of “family holiday” during this traditional season.

Take Thanksgiving, for example. Before becoming a single parent, you probably cooked for your family—your spouse, your children, maybe even your extended families. Now, you might not even have your children on the actual day, which can be really lonely. We’re supposed to be thankful on this day, but that might be a hard emotion to muster when we’re at odds with our family situations.

This year, I’m challenging all single parents (myself included) to redefine what a “family holiday” is. After all, your definition of family has changed, so why shouldn’t your expectations for the holidays change as well?

One idea is to combine and celebrate with other single families in your situation. It cuts down on costs and is an interesting way to create new traditions. Another option (if it’s not your time with the kids) is to team up with other kid-less adults and enjoy a more adult Thanksgiving meal. Whatever you do, just remember that “family” doesn’t always mean the spouse, the kids, and the white picket fence.

I’m not going to lie. Sometimes, the holidays cannot be over fast enough for me, but I have to remind myself not to glamorize what the holidays used to be like. If I’m honest, they were usually just as stressful for different reasons. So try to see the good, and don’t forget to be thankful.

Single Parent: Consistency

September 24, 2013 by
Photography by Natalie Jensen Photography

“It’s not what we do once in a while that changes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”  Anthony Robbins 

It’s boring, I know, but consistency is a keyword to success in single parenting. Some of us come by this naturally; to others, consistency represents an uphill battle, especially when managing all of the parenting responsibilities on your own. But like everything else you do, just a little extra effort can result in big rewards.

Success always starts with goal setting. This can seem daunting because, when we first have our babies, we have grand plans and visions of them becoming great athletes or scholars, curing world hunger, and embodying powerful personalities with hearts of gold. And then you get into parenting, and you’re just glad that they can walk, talk, and clean their room. (Okay, most kids don’t clean their room. But when they do, it kind of feels like they cured world hunger.)

These are the goals that I have decided to make consistent in my family life: I want my kids to feel loved, so I make a point of setting aside time each day to tell them they’re special and priceless to me; I want them to look back at their lives and realize they felt safe, so I make sure that I do what I say I’m going to do to build security in them; I want to teach them responsibility, so I check grades every Sunday night to determine if they’re doing what they should be doing; I want faith to be a foundation for them, so we all go to church on Sundays, even when we don’t want to; I want them to live a healthy lifestyle, so we talk about portion control, and we go to the gym. Last but not least, I want them to be able to hold conversations with someone without looking at their phone.

Your idea of successful single parenting might be completely different than mine, but one thing is for sure—consistency is the key to parenting. Creating patterns and habits will determine who your kids will become.