Positive Mindset, Single Mom

You Can’t Be Pro-Life Without Being Pro-Single Mom

I have seen many Pro-Life posts and shares on my Facebook feed in the past couple of weeks, and we all know why:  New York signed a bill that made it possible for a baby to be aborted up until the moment of birth.

What I have NOT seen are posts that celebrate Single Moms.

It’s as if most people don’t see that the two go hand in hand.

Picture this:

You head into the check-out line at Wal-Mart, and the woman ahead of you pulls out an EBT to pay.  Like most moms with young children, she seems a bit frazzled, hair a mess. She’s alternating from sliding the card to keeping her two bouncing children in check.  You notice she has no ring on her left hand.  The man behind you makes a comment about how his taxes helped pay for her food, and you watch as a flush colors her cheeks.  What do you do?  How do you feel?

What if I told you that same man was sharing anti-abortion memes the day before?

Let’s think about this logically.  Some people 1) Do not support free birth control  2) Want to ban Plan B  3) Claim to be Pro-Life and 4) Complain when a single mom has to use government assistance.

That, my friend is NOT Pro-Life.

You can’t be Pro-Life and then complain about mothers who get government assistance.

You can’t be Pro-Life and want to ban Plan B (which is NOT an abortion pill.  It does not abort a baby).

You can’t be Pro-Life and not want to hand out free birth control to everyone.  (54% of those who had abortions in 2015 were not on Birth Control while 41% were using it inconsistently).

You can’t be Pro-Life and shame or look down on those who had the baby that they could have aborted.

The reality is that many people have sex.  Not all of them choose great partners. Sometimes this is because they are a bad judge of character, but many times, a person doesn’t reveal who he really is until it is too late.

Supporting single mothers and celebrating their choice to give life instead of looking down on them can only help the abortion rate continue to decline.

How can those who oppose abortion support single mothers?

Financially

According to a survey conducted in 2004, 23% of women who were having an abortion said they did so for financial reasons.

Babies are expensive.   If a single mother had more resources available to help her, maybe that would help her make a different decision.  After all, 86% of those women who choose to have abortions are unmarried, and 59% have had at least one child before.

So in theory, a woman may have decided not to abort in the past, but now she does not see how she can financially support another child.

Change the Narrative About Single Mothers

33% of the women who had abortions in 2015 did so because they did not want to be a single mother or were not ready for a child yet.

Some of the same people who scream that abortion is murder look down on those who chose to give their babies life.  How does that make sense?

According to waitingtillmarriage.org, only 3% of people waited until marriage to have sex between 1994-2003.  Between 1954-1963, only 11% waited until marriage to have sex.  That  means that a lot of the people who are looking down on single mothers should really be counting their blessings that they are not in the same predicament.

*While I think waiting until marriage is commendable and an attainable goal, if the Pro-Life Movement’s objective is to save more babies from abortion, we must all be realistic about the facts.*

As a single woman with an unplanned pregnancy, one would think that part of the appeal for abortion would be that no one would know.  If she keeps the baby, there would be no way to hide that the pregnancy exists.  In my opinion, this is what makes the option of adoption a less attractive choice than abortion for some.

An interesting statistic was that 54% of the abortions performed in 2014 were done on women who had affiliation with the Church (either Protestant or Catholic).  Could it be that the demoralization of unwed mothers has led to more abortions from those who identify as Christian?  After all, if one sin has already been committed, maybe committing a subsequent sin to cover up the first seems like the best option.  If a woman is a “sinner” no matter what, why not commit an additional sin to save face or her reputation?  This is just speculation on my part, but food for thought.

If being a single mom could be easier, and seen in a more favorable light, maybe more mothers would choose to walk down that road instead of taking the quick and quiet way out.

Support Programs that Support Single Mothers

While there are some government programs that provide assistance, you may also have local ministries or programs that provide some type of additional help.  Actively look for those programs and support them financially, as a volunteer, and by sharing them on social media.  That may make a bigger difference than sharing about how abortion is murder.  At this point, I don’t think many people in America are in the dark about abortion.  They may, however, not know about the programs that can help out single moms during and after the unplanned pregnancy.

Take the Time to Listen to Single Moms

Many single moms have heartbreaking stories.  Their boyfriend broke up with them after they got pregnant.  A guy who was supposed to be there went MIA.  Some are survivors of abusive relationships.

Many single moms are trying the best they can.  They work full-time, and then they spend the evenings and weekends parenting alone.  Some do have some government assistance, but some make just enough money with their job not to qualify.  Many receive no child support, or their previous partner is thousands of dollars in arrears.  The majority are just trying to raise their children the best they can just like most moms.

But the best thing about single moms is that they are survivors and fighters.  They are proud about what they have accomplished.  Tell them that you have noticed.  Tell them that they are good moms.  They probably don’t hear it often enough.

Be a Friend

“The physical difficulties of only being one person who has to be responsible for so much isn’t the hardest part. Yeah, I’m sleep deprived and stressed and constantly on the go or looking for something that someone lost. The hardest part for me has always been the lack of a partner to support me in being a mom. The absence of someone standing there lovingly admiring my kids when they say silly stuff or do something special for the first time. And when my kids are hurting and it breaks my heart, there’s no one there feeling that with me to console me. For me it’s always been the lack of emotional support that makes it so incredibly difficult.” – Karen

Being a single mom can be lonely and isolating, especially if the mom has no one to help her with childcare.  Be there for her.  Listen to her stories and watch her videos of her kids.  She may not have anyone else to share those special moments with.

Give Her A Break

One of the things a single mom craves is rest! If you like children, offer to babysit for her while she does something for herself or even just takes a nap. If you aren’t a kid person, you can offer to help in another way, such as helping with dishes, laundry, or bringing a meal. Many single moms are used to doing everything by themselves, and while they may be rocking it, everyone deserves a break now and then!

Pray

Pray for the single moms in your life and community.  Pray for their children.  Pray for our society.  Pray for compassion.

I don’t know all of the answers.  I DO know that being Pro-Life only makes sense if you also support the mothers who give their babies life.

Let’s use this opportunity to celebrate those who gave life to their children when faced with a difficult decision.

Celebrate and support the single mom.

Positive Mindset, Single Mom

Why I, A Single Mom, Take Pictures With My Kids and Their Dad

Why I, a Single Mom, Take Pics with my Kids and Their Dad

Why Involve Him at All?

How involved should a single mom allow her kids’ dad to be in her life?  And why take pictures with someone you used to be romantically involved with? Since my divorce, I have joined several single mom’s groups, and each one has countless questions (or rants) about this very issue.

Some moms go to the extreme.  If their kids’ dad doesn’t want them, then they will do everything possible to make sure that the dad has little or no relationship with his kids.  Some women go the other extreme and live in the same house with their exes so that their kids can have as much access to both mom and dad as possible.

But most of us are just trying to find that perfect balance in between.

My children have always loved their dad, and he was an involved father.  We used to spend a lot of family time together, so that was a hard adjustment when things ended with us.  We still even ate lunch together for awhile after church every week, although it was a little painful for me to be honest.

With time, however, the awkwardness and pain ended.  We each have our own spaces and lives now (we actually live 3 hours apart), but we do still have the occasional meal together with the kids, usually revolving around pick up/drop off or a school or dance event.  He joins us on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought the kids, and we all eat breakfast together.   We sit beside each other at school events and dance recitals.  We celebrate the kids’ birthdays together.  I can only speak for myself, but it feels comfortable for me now, and I hope it’s the same way for him.

I do know that there is no one who I want to be at those events in my kids’ lives more than him.  He is their dad, and even though things didn’t work out the way I wanted between us, that doesn’t mean that I want to ruin things between them.

I don’t want for my kids to have two birthday parties, or to celebrate and not have one of their favorite people, their dad, in attendance because I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable.

I don’t want for my kids to run down and see what Santa got them without having their dad there the way that my dad was.

But Why Take Pictures With Your Ex?

I’m not sure when we started taking family photos at some of these events.  Usually, someone else asks if we want a photo together (sometimes they don’t even realize that we are no longer married), and we take one.  Every time, I am so happy to have that moment preserved for my children.  It is a moment captured in time when they are with the two people who made them.  And they always look so happy.

The issue of pictures as a “family” came up in one of the single mom groups that I am in and one girl commented that she has always made the point to take family photos with her daughter and her daughter’s dad so that her daughter would always have them when she grew up.  She said that she only has one photo of her with both of her parents, because her parents were not together when she was growing up, and she said that she always treasured that photo.

After she made that comment, several other children of divorced, or never together parents agreed that they also would have loved a picture of their parents together with them, but they never had that.

Even though I am no longer with my kids’ dad, that does not mean that he is no longer a part of their family.  They still have only two parents: him and me.

Every time we take a photo together, my daughter has a photo that she can put on a poster at school of her family like everyone else in her class.

Every time we sit together at her dance recital, she only has to look one place to see the people she loves.

Every time we eat a meal together or experience a special event together (like getting ears pierced or dying hair for a birthday present), she will remember that BOTH of her parents were there.

We have a lifetime of family events to attend together.

She has a lifetime of memories to create.

My hope is that she will remember all of those memories fondly, and that she won’t feel like anyone is missing.

And she’ll have the photo to prove it.

I know that not every mom has this option.  Not every dad wants to be involved.  But for those who do, why not embrace it and give the gift of two parents to your children?

But Won’t Other People Think That’s Weird?

If you choose to let your kids’ dad be involved, you may get some backlash.  Friends or family may not want to be around your ex.  The thing is…your ex is your kids’ dad.  If it is your kids’ recital, school event, birthday, etc. your friends and family should be able to suck it up like both of you are and put on a happy face for the kid they love.

Significant others can make things messy as well.  So far, we have not had this problem.  I told my boyfriend from the beginning that my goal was to have a friendly relationship with my kids’ dad.  Instead of feeling threatened, he admired that.  He joined us on Christmas morning and at other events, and made an effort to get to know my ex.

That is what adults do.  They look for the good in those people who their kids’ love so that they can be friendly and kind and actually enjoy them.

And, let me tell you…it gets easier.

At first, your smile in that photo may be a little forced, but after some time, you’ll find that it is more relaxed.  Just like that first time you sit beside each other at an event may feel uncomfortable, but after a few, you’ll find yourself laughing together about something your child did.

So, Is Taking Pictures With Your Kids’ Dad Worth It?

Yes.  It is absolutely worth it.  Share the moments.  Take the pictures.  It’s worth it for your kids, and it’s worth it for you.

Positive Mindset

Raining Lemons

Y’all.

I have been looking so forward to starting this blog about being positive and living your best life as a single mom, and then, oh the irony.  Today, the day I finally took the plunge and bought my domain, my toilet overflowed ALL OVER THE DOWNSTAIRS.

Tomorrow morning, my oldest daughter will be put to sleep for the first time for a minor procedure and her dad is not able to make it due to being between jobs and living in another state.  My youngest just got over the flu.  And then this happens.

Today is a day when I feel like I have been dealt a few lemons.  Too many lemons.  Well, I’m trying to do my best to make the best darn lemonade I can.

We are all dealt lemons sometimes.  Divorce.  Job loss.  Moving from somewhere we love.  Sickness.  Death of a loved one.  I know I have had all of those thrown at me and more.  But it isn’t about the lemons, what matters is our mindset when they come.

When lemons come my way, I try to deal with them and stay positive, even when I want to curl up in a ball and cry (and sometimes I do that first, just being real here).  However, I don’t stay in that place.  I reset my mind on the positive, and these are some of the ways that I am able to do that, even when everything is bad.

  1. Look for the positive in the situation.  There is always a positive. Tonight, I caught the water before it ruined the entire downstairs.  That’s a pretty big positive.
  2. Meditate on your blessings. My kids are generally healthy.  The flu did not spread through our home (knock on wood).  Speaking of homes, we have one and it is a nice one in my favorite place to live.  I have a wonderful family and lots of friends.  I am not doing this thing all by myself, even if it feels like that in the moment when no one else wants to take care of my sick kid and no one else is there when the toilet overflows right when I need a break.
  3. Ask for help. Tonight I called my parents for advice on how to deal with the plumbing issue (and to commiserate with them).  When my daughter had the flu, I posted on my neighborhood page looking for someone to bring me Elderberry syrup (I had cash) and I had two different strangers bring me things I needed to take care of her since I couldn’t get out.  Even though my daughter’s dad won’t be there tomorrow, my boyfriend will be at the hospital when we get there and my dad is going to come when he has to leave so I won’t be alone.  If you need help, ask for it.  Then pay it forward.
  4. Create more positives. If your life right now is just one big lemon, focus on the problems and tackle them one by one.  Have no friends?  Make some (get started here).  Dating life stagnant when you don’t want it to be?  Put yourself out there.  Unhappy with your health?  Start making choices to move towards your goal.  Create more positives in your life instead of focusing on the bad.
  5. Accept that life will not be perfect.  Life is not perfect for anyone.  There are some things that we just have to deal with.  Parenting is hard.  Relationships take work.  Dealing with an ex on a regular basis because you have children together isn’t super fun.  Focus on the things you can change and control, and look for the good in the situations you can’t change.

I am not perfect, and sometimes I have to have a bit of a breakdown before I get to the stage where I can look at the positives, but it really does help to reset my mind and look for the good in a situation instead of wallowing in the bad.  Because no matter how great a person’s life looks, there is always at least a little bad.  And no matter how awful your situation or mine looks, there is always at least a little good.

What are your tips for keeping a positive mindset when it is raining lemons?