Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Single Parenting (page 1 of 4)

Catch a Dream by Wendy Brown-Baez (A Review of a GREAT Novel)

I was excited to read Wendy Brown-Baez’s novel, Catch a Dream, when I read the synopsis that it was about a woman on a healing journey in Israel.  Someone very dear to me is from Israel, and this blog (and my life) is often about self-care and healing, so I thought this book fit into my life at just the right time. And I was not wrong! I loved Catch a Dream, and I think you will too, if you enjoy well-written women’s fiction with complex characters and an interesting setting.

Here’s a quick synopsis (by the way, I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review AND as part of WOW! Women On Writing’s blog tour):

A woman’s healing journey begins in a country embroiled in relentless turmoil. In Israel, the first Intifada has just begun. Palestinian frustration for a homeland erupts in strikes, demonstrations and suicide bombings; and Israel responds with tear gas, arrests, and house demolitions. Lily Ambrosia and Rainbow Dove arrive in Haifa with their children on a pilgrimage to sow seeds of peace. Lily’s fascination with Jewish culture inspires her to dream she can plant roots in the Holy Land. She falls in love with the land itself, with its people, and with Levi, a charming enigma, dangerous but irresistible. Eventually she is fully immersed in Israeli life, earning her way as a nanny, hanging out in cafes with friends, and attending Yom Kippur in the synagogue. Her son rebels against the lifestyle she has chosen, and war with Syria looms on the horizon. Will she be able to stay? What does she have to give up and what will she be able to keep?

What I really enjoyed about this book besides the setting of Israel was two things:

  1. The love story between Lily and Levi
  2. Lily’s struggle, determination, and strength at being a single parent (even though she does have help!)

I’m sure these two plot lines resonated with me because of where I am in my life–dating after divorce and raising my daughter as a single parent (and I also have a lot of help and support). Because Wendy’s writing is beautiful and honest, the book is easy to read, and I flew through it. It’s also not too long–only 181 pages with book club questions in the back. (One last thing, the main character does suffer a traumatic event (which I don’t want to put a spoiler here), but I always think it’s important to let readers know to ask about this, in case certain things trigger them. )

Any reader who enjoys women’s fiction, stories about life-changing events and other cultures, and well-written prose will love Catch a Dream. Check it out! 

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Motherhood: How Can We Be a Good Parent and Yet Be Fulfilled as a Woman?

Today I welcome Wendy Brown-Baez, author of Catch a Dreamwho is on a blog tour with  WOW! Women On Writing! She has written this wonderful guest post below on motherhood and also being an adult with feelings, desires, and passions. What she says below is what I feel like I struggle with constantly and somewhat the same message that Brene Brown had in her latest book: Braving the Wilderness. Please read and comment, and then look at the information after the post about Wendy’s book!  On June 3, I will post my review (which I have been working on during the pre-summer reading challenge!) so stay-tuned.

by Wendy Brown-Baez

In Catch a Dream, Lily struggles with balancing motherhood with her own desires, although not at first. As she travels with her best friend and their children, she describes their lifestyle like this: “People ask why we don’t put the children in school while praising their intelligence, their savoir-fare, their knowledge of their world, their innocence and wildness…They are loved, so we don’t feel that they lack for anything.”

Later, she admits: “Jonah never knew his father and has been yearning for one.” The profound link between Levi and Jonah is a thread through-out the obstacles between Levi and Lily in the book. Jonah’s anger at their separation is the start of his rebellion and soon he visits Levi behind her back.

At what point do we stop and consider if our choices for ourselves are the right ones for our children? I think this is the crux of parenting. My parents wanted me to go on to college, but I was a wild child; I wanted to experience life, and school had stifled my creative spirit. As a parent, I wanted my child to be free and to explore the world, but all he ever wanted was the security of the middle class lifestyle I left behind.

Relationships are both exhilarating and painful, and it is normal to go through misunderstanding and hurt as well as passion and exulted joy. Children feel the repercussions in our behavior and moods. It’s hard to be cheerful when our hearts are breaking. It’s just as hard to be steady when our hearts are rejoicing! It is not easy to wait until our kids are grown to follow our hearts, so we take a step forward. Sometimes it leads to forging a new family, and sometimes it is heart-breaking.

There was an incident in Israel that I don’t write about in the book. A rock was thrown at my son’s head. We had to go to the hospital for stitches and x-rays, and I describe it in a poem as “the longest hours of my life.” A few days later, we walked past the rock-thrower, a young Arabic boy. This was during the uprising, so tensions were high, but I scolded him, instinctually fierce: “Don’t you ever do that to my son again!”  I think of my audacity in defending my child. It never crossed my mind that my life might be in danger.

On the other hand, there were plenty of times when I trusted my son to make good choices while I was occupied with my own thoughts, dreams, creative projects, and love affairs—and wish I had been more present. Was Lily a good parent? She tried to be. Do we ever stop evaluating ourselves or second-guessing ourselves as parents? Probably not.

Catch a Dream:  (ABOUT THE BOOK): A woman’s healing journey begins in a country embroiled in relentless turmoil. In Israel, the first Intifada has just begun. Palestinian frustration for a homeland erupts in strikes, demonstrations and suicide bombings, and Israel responds with tear gas, arrests, and house demolitions. Lily Ambrosia and Rainbow Dove arrive in Haifa with their children on a pilgrimage to sow seeds of peace. Lily’s fascination with Jewish culture inspires her to dream she can plant roots in the Holy Land. She falls in love with the land itself, with its people, and with Levi, a charming enigma, dangerous but irresistible. Eventually she is fully immersed in Israeli life, earning her way as a nanny, hanging out in cafes with friends, and attending Yom Kippur in the synagogue. Her son rebels against the lifestyle she has chosen, and war with Syria looms on the horizon. Will she be able to stay? What does she have to give up and what will she be able to keep?

BIO: Wendy has facilitated writing workshops since 1994 including at Cornerstone’s support groups, the Women & Spirituality conference at MSU Mankato, Celebrate Yourself women’s retreats, All About the Journey healing center, The Aliveness Project, Unity Minneapolis, El Colegio High School and Jacob’s Well women’s retreat. Wendy received 2008 and 2009 McKnight grants through COMPAS Community Art Program to teach writing workshops for youth in crisis. The project at SafeZone and Face to Face Academy developed into an art installation
showcasing their recorded writings. When it was noted that students’ reading scores improved, she was hired as Face to Face’s writing instructor.

In 2012 she was awarded a MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to teach writing workshops in twelve nonprofit arts and human service organizations. She continues to teach at Pathways: a healing center, in MN prisons, and in community spaces such as public libraries, yoga studios, churches, and cafes.Wendy has taught memoir at MCTC continuing ed and through Minneapolis community ed.

In addition, Wendy has managed shelters for the homeless and visited incarcerated teens. She is trained as a hospice volunteer and as a facilitator of Monologue Life Stories. Wendy studied alternative healing, ceremony, and spiritual traditions with Earthwalks for Health and lived in Mexico and Israel. She has collected wisdom teachings from these diverse cultures, as well as written memoirs of her adventures.

You can find Wendy Brown-Baez at:

Website: www.wendybrownbaez.com

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A Few Odd Things About Me, Why I Don’t Like Air Conditioning, and Please Take My Poll About Yanny

Did you listen to the Laurel or Yanny sound clip? What did you hear?

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I start with that poll because it’s what inspired this blog post. I was scrolling on Facebook at my daughter’s bedtime, like I usually do, and I saw a post that said: “I’m Team Laurel.” I was thinking: Is this a How To Get Away With Murder thing I don’t know about? Is there another season of Bachelor already? What is Team Laurel? So I go on to read the comments, and I see that most people know exactly what he’s talking about and they’re saying either: “Me too” or “Team Yanny”

First, I commented: What are you people talking about? And then I googled. Even after reading the explanation of the Laurel and Yanny craze, I was like: How is this a thing? It’s just like the dress debate a couple years ago, which I also didn’t get. So then, another friend of mine told me to google the Yanny/Laurel debate, and I told her (still all on Facebook because who has real conversations any more? This stuff is much more important): “I did google.” She said, “Well, what did you hear?” And I said, “I didn’t listen. Am I weird or what?”

Does that make me weird? Does it make me NOT curious enough?

Here’s something else I discovered yesterday. I don’t like air conditioning. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for it. I live in St. Louis, where the humidity is ridiculous in the the summer. I also don’t have a good cross breeze in my home. But I mentioned this dislike to one of my friends, “I don’t like air conditioning.” And he said, “Why not?” (as in–are you crazy? How can you not like air conditioning?)

I didn’t really have an answer for him, but the biggest thing I kept thinking is: It makes me feel closed in. (I also don’t like air conditioning when it is on so cold in a place that you have to bring a parka in the summer either.) But, a furnace and heat don’t make me feel closed in during the winter. I guess it’s because on those in-between weather days (temps in the 70s and 80s) when my dog is panting and begging me to turn on the air conditioner because the temp in the house is reaching 77 degrees F, I like the windows open and the breeze hopefully coming in, and it feels like I am more productive and energetic.

Does that make me weird?

And here’s the last one I’ll share with you today because goodness, I hope you come back and read this blog again, and don’t think: She’s weird. Why would I listen to her advice/opinions about parenting or self-care or finance or dating?

I love writing. I love working on my novel. Whenever I do, I feel good–I get lost in the words, and I’m not constantly thinking about my problems, like I usually am. But I don’t do it on a regular basis. If I didn’t have my lovely critique group, I probably wouldn’t work on my novel at all. WHY DO I DO THIS? Why don’t I make time for something that brings me a natural high?

Does that make me odd?

 

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Yes, You’re A Parent, But 10 Ways To Care For Yourself Too

(contributed post)

Being a parent can be tough, we all know that. And as much as you love your children, and as much as you wouldn’t trade this blessed job for anything else in the world, you’re still a human. As an adult, you really do have to be able to put them first, but also cover off your own needs too. Whether you are a single mom or not, this is essential. You know the saying about putting your life jacket on first before helping anyone else? Well, that comes into play a lot here. It’s great that you want to be a wonderful mother, and you want your children to be happy, but you also need to be happy too. And not only that, healthy as well.

If right now, you know that you’re not really doing enough to put your own needs first, then you may want to think about changing things. You’ve probably got yourself into a bit of a rhythm with how you care for your kids, and that’s okay. But if you know that you’re neglecting your own needs, then things need to change. Or worse, if you’re stressed out, tired, overworked, and just generally unhappy, then you really do need to take action. Of course, even if you are happy (or you think you’re happy enough) some of the ideas we’re about to walk through may apply to you too. So let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to start taking care of your own needs better.

Think About Your Future

First of all, you need to start thinking a little more about your future. And this is incredibly important. If you want to be able to be happy in life, you need to make sure that you’re on the right track. Yes, you’re a mom, but that’s not all you are. And when your kids grow up, you don’t want to feel like you missed out on doing something that you love. So plan your future and figure out what you can do today that’s going to get you to where you want to be in ten years time.

Give Yourself An Hour

When it comes to physically looking after yourself on a day to day basis, you just need to be able to give yourself an hour. There are lots of different ways to find time for yourself, no matter how busy you are. So shift your schedule and make sure that you get an hour each day to just be you, relax, and do something that you love, like take a bath or read.

Balance Your Work Life

Next up, you’re going to want to focus on finding a balance with your work. Now, this isn’t always easy, but you can’t just be an employee and a mom, and then go to sleep. You’ll be exhausted. So you have to have boundaries and be able to slot your work in with everything else. Don’t feel too pressured to keep on working when the kids are asleep, you need time for yourself too.

Create A Social Life

One of the main reasons you need to keep your work life balanced is because you need a social life too. And this is essential. Even if you’re a single mom – well, even more so! A rewarding social life is something that we all deserve and it doesn’t have to be impossible to find. When you build the right network around you, you’ll feel like you’re finally putting your needs first.

Pursue Your Passion

Next, you’re going to want to make sure that whatever you want to do in life, you make time for it. If you want to write or paint, then make sure that you accommodate more time for this in your life. Life is too short for you not to do the things you love, even as a busy mom!

Take Better Care Of Your Health

But at the same time, you also need to focus on your health. Because you are only human, and if you don’t take care of your body, it will show. So above all else, eat well and stay active. When you’re focusing on your health, you will always feel great too.

Take Action

Next, you need to make sure that you are taking control of any situation that you might be in right now. If you need to handle settlements or get compensation, speak to the right professional like Muth Law and take action. Now’s the time to do it. When you do, you’ll feel like you have so much more control over your own life.

Focus On Relationships

From here, you should also start to think about your relationships a little bit more. It’s important that you’re able to develop great parent-child relationships and not just be their mom. At the same time, you should want to think about strengthening the bond you have with others around you. It’s so important to be able to have good relationships with those around you if you want to be able to feel your best.

Do Something Just For You

At the same time, you have to ensure that you’re doing things just for yourself. Not because you feel like you should, not because someone else wants you to, but because you’re taking care of your own needs. Maybe you want to take a class or you want to start a course? Whatever it is, just make sure that you take the plunge.

Always Aim To Live Your Best Life

Finally, you should definitely make sure that you’re living well on your own terms too. Remember, this is your life. You won’t ever want to feel like you didn’t live it your own way. So look how you want to look, dress in a way that makes you feel confident, take care of your appearance and feel good about yourself. Make sure that you act in a way that makes you feel like yourself. Do the things that make you happy. Because you should never look back and regret the things that you didn’t do!

 

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Round-Up: Self-Care and Emotional Health Top 5 Articles

Self-care and emotional health are two very important topics to me. I recently saw this quote on a quote calendar I own:

“You must love and care for yourself because that’s when the best comes out.” ~ Tina Turner

So true, right? And as we all know, it is not always easy when you’re a parent, especially. So here is a round-up of the top 5 articles on my blog that have to do with self-care and emotional health. I chose this round-up thanks to everyone who took my poll on what topics readers would like me to focus on next. So here we go…

Life Is All About Your Reaction and Your Tribe (This post is about surrounding yourself with people who make you better and how you can’t control others, but you can control your reaction!)

Parents: Taking Time For Yourself (This post is about a trip I took with my girlfriends and why it is important for all parents to fill their well.)

The Thing About Change and Not Giving Up (This post was inspired by a book I read about ways to NOT become unglued and making imperfect progress toward goals.)

5 Things I Learned About Living In 2016 (From “balance is key” to “parenting is hard and give yourself a break”, this post shares my personal experiences while trying to improve my emotional health.)

Make This the Year You Start Taking Care of Number One  (Three tips for taking care of yourself and why you should! )

 

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Thriving, Not Just Surviving, as a One-Income Family

The following contributed article has four really good tips that we have all heard before but that are so true. One of my goals this year is to stop using credit cards and to pay for things with cash. We have stopped eating out as much and are looking for free and inexpensive (but fun) activities to do this summer while we save up money for future better vacations. Anyway, when this article came in, it really hit home for me, so I hope it does for others, too. 

Being a family that is living off one income can be tricky, but it is possible to do it and to thrive as you do so, rather than just survive. The key is to get serious about your finances and keep track of them, which may seem tedious. But it can help you to stay on top of things and to not feel like each month is such a struggle. There are plenty of families that out there, living off one income, whether as a single parent family or a family where only one parent works. So here are some of the tips and strategies to help your family do just that.

Plan a Precise Budget

When it comes to money and making sure that you have enough to go around, you need to have a budget that is specific and precise. It is no use just looking at your income and guessing what the bills are that you owe. Check your statements and bills, so that you know exactly what you do owe each month. From there, you can set a specific budget for groceries, clothing, entertainment, etc. When you’re specific and precise, you know exactly what money is going where, and what you should be left with at the end of each month.

Shop Around

It pays to shop around in all aspects of your life. Take your mortgage (or rent) as an example. No doubt this will have been set up a while back, and not looked at since. But you can change your mortgage provider, even when you are still owing. The debt gets “transferred” to the new provider. So shop around to check that you’re getting the best deal possible. Are there mortgage brokers that perhaps offer cash back or guaranteed low rates? Shopping around works for other things too: from your cell phone provider, to your grocery store, to where you buy school shoes. Shop around, don’t just take someone’s first offer, and you will save.

Reduce Debt

One of the best things that you can do to really thrive as a single-income family, is to reduce the amount of debt that you owe. You can never truly thrive as a single income family if you have debt around your neck. So as part of your precise budget, make sure that you look at paying off credit cards or other loans as a priority. It may mean some sacrifices to start with, but it will be so much better all around when you are consumer debt-free.

Use Cash

Using credit cards can be tricky for a number of reasons. One of which is that you don’t “see” the money going, so you can kind of get out of hand as you spend it. And for things like groceries, you just buy what you want and put it on a card. But using cash, and not having cards with you, makes you pay more attention to your budget. If you’re in the store, you can only buy what the cash in your hand will cover. So there is no overspending unnecessarily, and you’re more conscious of what you’re spending.

 

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How Hard It Is To Be Still

Lately, more than one person has said to me: “You have trouble being still. You are never still.”

My initial reaction to this statement is always millions of unspoken thoughts of how impossible it is to be still. Try living my life and see if you can be still. As a single parent, I ask myself: when am I supposed to be still? Maybe you can relate. If you’re a parent, a working parent, a parent of multiple children, a caregiver for elderly parents, or any combination of these roles, you know how hard it is to be still. There is always a to-do list, and it is always impossibly long. You’re always being pulled in multiple directions, and sometimes, those directions are physically and mentally exhausting.

For me, I must add to the trouble of being still the desire to be involved in activities (I’ve always been a joiner), my fear of life being too short and missing out on anything, ambitious goals, and my avoidance of tough, emotional issues—and that equals being too busy, never being still, and feeling completely overwhelmed.

But it’s catching up to me. I’m exhausted. And my loved ones would not be telling me that it’s important to relax and be still if they didn’t see the negative effects of my current lifestyle.

This is a blog post that’s difficult to write because at this point, it has no ending. I’m not writing this because I have a magical answer for how to be still. I try to meditate. I say no to some requests for my time. I prioritize tasks. But this problem for me goes beyond that busy calendar–this problem is because I am uncomfortable with myself, and that is the root. How do I get comfortable spending time with this person underneath all the labels and responsibilities, tasks and to-do lists, flaws and quirks and joys, and be still with her?

If I can figure that out, then I think I can be still.  It’s similar to the saying: Being comfortable in your own skin. If you are constantly moving and exhausted, you don’t have to worry about any of that because you don’t have time for it.

How about you?  Are you still?

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Learning To Listen To My Gut

“Always trust your gut. It knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.” ~Anonymous

Geez, if only I could easily follow this advice…but I’m in the process of learning it–maybe I’m at the very beginning of the lesson. I’m an infant at listening to my gut. My friends can tell you this. I overthink. I rationalize. I decide to give someone/something one more chance–despite what my gut says. Because…how could my gut be right? But I think 10 times out of 10, if I go back and look at a situation, I will remember a moment when I should have known that something was off. Has this happened to you? Have you had the old HINDSIGHT is 20/20 thing in your life? Listening to your gut doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to say good-bye to someone or that you have to quit doing something, but it does mean that you have to address whatever gives you that uneasy feeling in  your gut. This is the key!

This is so true with dating! Even if you’re married now, at one point, you were dating. How many times did you go out with someone way longer than you should have when your gut was telling you that something wasn’t right? This doesn’t mean that there’s something terribly wrong with the person–he or she might be lovely or fine for someone else. But this experience does mean that this person wasn’t right for you or for your current situation, and your gut was warning you.

Recently, I had a situation where someone asked me out, but I couldn’t go that evening. At first, everything seemed fine. But then, a text message came from him that was not super nice–but you know text messages, they are infamous for sending the wrong signals because you can’t tell tone. A couple more messages were exchanged, and I still didn’t feel right about him; but by the end of the night, I had convinced myself that I was overreacting. Maybe I misread what he meant. Maybe I don’t know what that particular emoji actually meant. Maybe I was overthinking.

So, I turned to my trusty girlfriends, and as you know, the people I surround myself with are extremely important to me. I explained the situation to them, sent a screenshot of the few texts, and asked: What do you think?

Immediately, they came back with–that wasn’t very nice, and trust your gut. Move on. So I did. But why did I need that confirmation from others? Why didn’t I just trust my gut to begin with?

That is the big question, and one I am currently working on exploring. I wonder how many of us are good at this. How many of us go with our gut immediately and don’t stop and overthink? And I wonder how many of the people who are able to trust their gut right away have lives that are much less stressful and anxiety-ridden?

There are all kinds of opinions about this–some people think trusting your gut too much is irresponsible, while others swear by it. Some scientists have studied what happens to the body when people are faced with a choice and “go with their gut.”

But here’s what I am starting to realize–when I’m forcing myself to “get over” something someone has done or said, and this person has not truly apologized or shown any better behavior or concern, then I need to listen to my gut. Life is too short to spend it with people who make you feel uncomfortable and/or don’t respect you. 🙂 So if you see me, ask me…how is it going with listening to your gut?

How about you? Do you listen to your gut? When has it worked for you?

 

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Tips for Helping Your Children Deal with Divorce and Breakups

This article was contributed, but man, it is good. It hits home, and I especially like the paragraph that I highlighted with my Practical Moms Unite logo. Since my daughter did have to live through a divorce and my ex-husband and I share custody, I know how important and difficult the points in this post are! I hope it helps someone else, too. 

Sometimes relationships don’t work, and that’s part of life. However, when there are children involved, things can become messy and out of control faster than you’d like to think. It’s important to be able to create a relationship with your former spouse or partner, so that you can co-parent your children like you have been doing, but just not living together. Unfortunately, too many people don’t protect their children from the problems they are having within their relationships, and this can have a very negative effect on them. Co-parenting can be difficult, but children shouldn’t have to suffer through endless arguments between their parents. When all is said and done,  the only important thing is that they are healthy, happy, and thriving children. Here’s how you can get through the struggles of co-parenting, so your children can thrive.

If you were married to the co-parent, then things can become a little more difficult than if you weren’t because of divorce proceedings and dividing what you’ve built together in a fair way, so that there are no arguments. You will also have to check what rules there are with the best divorce lawyer so that both of you are clear on what should be done.

It’s also likely that when the time comes to tell your children that you are no longer going to be together, they will be upset. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way out of this, but there are ways in which you can break the news to them more gently and avoid them feeling like their whole world is falling apart. Here are some things that you can consider doing:

  • Rather than simply moving out or having your partner move out, prepare your children for the move first, so it’s not such a shock to wake up one morning and have one of their parents no longer living with them. It might be difficult for the two of you to be around each other, and that’s understandable, but it’s the kindest thing to do for the sake of your children.
  • Speaking to your children in an age-appropriate way about what’s happening before making any decisions or changes in their lives will make the whole process much more smooth for them as they will understand the changes they are experiencing.
  • It’s always best to explain that even though their parents aren’t together anymore, the love that you have for them won’t change and that they are the most important thing in both of your lives. This always seems like an obvious thing to say, but if left unsaid, it can leave your children feeling or wondering like any of this is their fault. Make sure they know that they haven’t done anything.

Obviously each family has their own problems, and dealing with something like a break up isn’t going to be the same for everyone.

The next thing that you will need to think about is the time they will spend with you vs the time they will spend with the co-parent. Come to an agreement that allows your children to know exactly when they are going to be with you, and when they are going to be with their other parent.

Letting your children have some decision making is always a good idea, so they don’t feel like they are losing all control. For example, when the transition of moving out is happening, allow your children to choose things to take to their other home You need to try and remember that it’s not just you and your ex dealing with the break up, it’s the children too, so if they need some comfort by taking a toy or comforter between each home then that shouldn’t be stopped.

Having to let your children go to their other parents’ home for a few days will be difficult! Since they were born, you may not have known a day without them. It will be heartbreaking to watch them as they go off happily, or if they don’t go off happily, that will hurt too. A great way to help diffuse the situation for both you and your children is to set up times where they can call you to tell you about their day or even something simple like saying good night.

Once you and your co-parent are no longer living together, decision making can become a tricky situation, especially if you are both disagreeing on something. Try to set up some sort of arrangement, where if there are decisions that involve your children to be made, you either meet or have a conversation on the phone. Many co-parents make the mistake of just making a decision without the other’s input, which then leads to arguments that could affect your children. On the other hand, there will be times where you disagree and you argue, but this should always be done in private, so your children don’t have to see their parents screaming and shouting at each other.

Relationship breakdowns are hard and are an emotional time for everyone that’s involved. Try to keep your composure, so you can make the transition as easy as possible for your children because at the end of it all they are the only ones that matter in all of this mess. Co-parenting is hard work; but if you both work with each other rather than against each other, you can make the process a little bit easier on everyone involved.

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Spending Quality Time With Your Little Ones

(contributed article)

Whether you’re a single parent or not, life with kids is busy and hectic, but also full of fun and adventure, too. It’s crucial that you’re in a great routine with your little ones, so that they feel happy and secure, and they know what to expect. However, sometimes the routine can overtake the fun stuff; and spontaneity can get pushed aside, replaced with homework, dinner time, and bedtime. Therefore, when it comes to the weekends or school holidays, it’s time to step away from the rut and make an effort to enjoy more quality time with your children as they grow up, which will happen way too fast. There is definitely no harm in mixing things up a little and making some great memories together.

During the free time with your little one, it’s your chance to teach and educate them about all the stuff they don’t learn at school. Perhaps it’s about getting outside and appreciating the environment more or a trip to where you grew up, so they can learn more about their family history. Whatever you choose to do, it will be time well spent. Therefore, it’s worth thinking about how best to spend your free time, writing a list of places you’d like to visit and things you want to do and going over in your mind the values you want to instill in your kids. Sometimes, getting it all down on paper and writing a to-do list can help you implement activities and make them happen. The following are some tips for busy parents who want to focus more on spending quality free time with their kids.

Time Management

As previously mentioned, it’s tough to juggle life and all the things that kids bring with them; but with a little planning, your time can be divided up successfully. If you co-parent with an ex-partner and had the best law firm for divorce, you’ll already have figured out the exact times and dates you’ll have with your kids, well in advance. This is great for your plan; you can utilize a large monthly calendar and start popping down the things you’re going to do, how much it may (or may not) cost, and any details needed to make each fun activity work out. Whatever your parenting situation may be, you can still utilize a plan like this,  which while having fun, will also help you think about those needs kids have, such as napping and healthy choices for meals. 

Appreciate The Little Things

Kids might not remember the exact zoo, park, or fun fair you took them to, but they’ll remember how they felt at the time and specific things you’ve done or said to them. Therefore, make sure that you’re praising them for great behavior, noticing the little things they do and say, and take loads of photos! Even on an average morning, when everyone’s trying to eat breakfast and get ready for school, make it a moment to remember and take a picture. Your kids know how much you love them, so give them plenty more memories to take into their future and show their kids.

How do you like to spend time with your kids or grandkids? Do you have a list of stuff you want to do this spring and summer?

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