Seeking Opportunity in Halloween

There is a lot of controversy among people of various beliefs as to why this night should or should not be celebrated.  I am among those individuals who enjoy the festivities of this night and as long as it remains a clean and fun night for my son, I plan to continue the traditions we have begun. My son loves the idea of dressing up in a fun character costume and pretending to be someone else for a short time.  He enjoys attending pumpkin patches, Fall Festivals at churches and playing games to win candy.  We have made many great memories and have pictures to support the annual pumpkin carving and the mess that we create while doing so.

Halloween is a great opportunity for me to establish healthy boundaries with my son using education on what the history of this night is and why we choose not to partake in the evil things that this night could represent.  My belief is that the good times surrounding this night are okay to enjoy and be a part of.  The origin of the Halloween night is not why many people celebrate Halloween. Most people simply choose to use this night as a fun dress up time with their kids and keep it innocent. My job as a parent is to guard this night for innocence and joy .

This year we are embarking on a new endeavor with our church family.  We have an outreach of an event called, Trunk-or-Treat.  It is a great way to reach out to the neighborhoods and to people who normally would not step foot on church grounds.  We are offering free games, free food and free fun! Each car will be decorated in something fun and non-scary.  We will pass out candy and simply offer an alternative to the spooky, evil celebrations otherwise available to these families.  

My son is all over this idea.  The artist in him has created a theme for our "trunk" of Super Mario Brothers.  He is dressing up as Luigi and I will be wearing a Mario hat. He has created images that we will display of a video game layout and we are even playing corresponding music while we pass out candy.  We are both very excited for this night of not just reaching out to the community, but also a night of memories we are building together! He thinks his mom is pretty cool to allow him the creative licensing to just go wild with his theme and bless others with his talent.  I am enjoying watching his artistic juices flowing.

Bottom line for me is that when my son and I dress up and enjoy this time together, it is a memory builder that has nothing to do with any form of evil.

How do you use this time to connect with your kids and create memories?

Be Blessed and Be Bonded

Life as a single parent for me is busy, mostly organized and even fun. I enjoy the bond that my son and I share and I especially like the times where it is just him and I and we are sharing in memories together that are specific to our situation.

He often comes to work part days with me and while I work, he is right there beside me drawing, creating a video game on the computer, reading and even finishing up his homework.  We share in commentary, laughs and stories. He loves being there and loves feeling a part of my work day.

That bonding time for us is something that only came out of our situation.  I love that being a single parent has not stopped the bonding process or the special memories from happening with my son. We are creating memories that we would not have in a different circumstance.

At night it is just him and I at home.  We have extreme moments of closeness that are personal to us.  My son knows without a shadow of a doubt that he is loved and adored by me.  The truth is that despite our situation not being in God's ideal plan for families, He is blessing us abundantly through memories that can only be made in a single parent home. For that, it is kind of a neat bond that a two-parent home cannot know of in the same light.  I am grateful for my son and grateful for each day that God provides.  Absolutely none of it is taken for granted or ignored.

What special times are had with your kids because of your single parent home? Have you given it much thought? What blessings do you experience because of your current path in life?  God is good in all situations and even if you are flying solo you are experiencing His goodness too.

Learning to say, "No".

Learning to say, "No".

Learning how to say no to people does not come easily for me until I find myself in a whirlwind of feeling overwhelmed and over-committed.  There are many activities I enjoy and as I go through this journey, I am learning what can be done now and what needs to be placed on hold for another day.

Let me give you a little taste of one of my days before I decided to cut some things out of the "to do" list.

One day out of the week I was at work by 8am and I did not leave until 5pm to pick up my son from daycare, then it was off to a "yes" commitment while grabbing fast food on the way since there was no time for a sit down family dinner.  I then came home about 8pm, got my son into bed and started on my school work.  I typically would not lay my head on the pillow until about 1 or 2 am.  I'd be up by 5:45am and ready to do another day.

Now, that was one of my busiest days but each day was full of commitment and time sucking things I'd said, "yes" to.  After writing each day down, I realized that the day I outlined in particular was not caring for the needs of my son at all.   My poor little boy was at daycare by 7:30 a.m., school soon after that for most of the day, then back in daycare until I picked him up at 5:30pm.  He was rushed through a fairly unhealthy dinner in the car just to be placed in another classroom for 1.5 hours while I helped out in my area of commitment.  Then, he was rushed home and into bed. By that time he was utterly exhausted!

When I realized this and had enough, I decided that instead of this anxious, overwhelming feeling I was having and the schedule I was allowing my son to endure, that I would take back my life and my time with my son and simply start to say "no".

It is amazing what happens when you start to set your boundaries and follow through with them.  My days have begun to feel calmer and I have had time to cook dinner most days of the week and enjoy time with my son.  It's great to experience the conversations and for him to know that I've set aside that time just for him.  He is also resting better at night since he has the opportunity to wind down before bed.

My eyes have been opened and I feel so much better since I've lightened the schedule for him and a little for myself.  I am happy to say we have down time and he is in bed at a decent time each night consistently.

What is in your life that you can say "no" to?

Are you feeling overwhelmed and unable to grasp extra time in your day for yourself and your kids?

The first step for me was making a list of all my commitments and then analyzing what was needed and what could be put on hold for another time.  When you do this you might surprise yourself with how much is on your plate. I wish you luck in finding your balance.