Before You Date a Single Parent

So there is a single parent in your life that you are interested in.  Before you take the plunge to ask him or her out there are some things you need to know.

1) Our time is precious. We have a lot going on ALL THE TIME.  Like normal single adults, we love to meet new people and do things, but don't waste our time.

2) We need a plan. The days have long gone for us to have last minute discussions over coffee or impromptu dinner plans. Our activities usually involve another person caring for our children so giving us notice is vital to our functioning routine and peace of mind. 

3) Our children are more important to us than you are. They came first and will always be number one in our eyes. They are our responsibility and we take that task very seriously.

4) Please leave your parenting advice at the door. If your plan is to "help" us in our parenting, please recognize that we were doing just fine before you and will be okay after you are gone. Unsolicited parental advice is usually not accepted well so probably safest bet is to avoid.

5) Don't ask to meet our children quickly.  Honest fact is that our guard is up toward anyone who may hurt our kids. We will move very slow when it comes to introducing our children to someone we are dating.  In fact, don't be surprised if you aren't even mentioned to our kids until there is marriage talk.

Dating for a single parent is more than just a fun night out. It requires a babysitter, expense to pay the babysitter, uncertainty if dating is what we really should be doing, and even a little guilt that we are doing something for ourselves instead of for our children.

Many people may not feel ready to journey down this path with a single parent and I totally understand that. The journey can be very rewarding but is also one that should not be jumped into lightly.  People can get hurt.  And by people, I specifically refer to the kids.

Too Busy For Thank You Notes

Christmas day has come and gone.  The presents under the tree have been opened, scattered throughout the house, and you are left with the memories of what another holiday season has created. I don't know about you but this season is usually a whirlwind for me and when it's over I find that, that is when all of my true busyness comes into play. I'm talking about the aftermath. The path of destruction left behind and the overwhelming feeling about taking down all of the decorations, packing them "just right" for next year.  Along with the bareness of the walls, shelves, and lack of festivity, the fact that my new chores have just begun leave little to be desired. 

During this time, it is easy to feel like you simply survived the rush of it all but don't forget about thanking those who selflessly thought of you as they were shopping. I feel lucky that I grew up with a mother who made sure thank you notes were written in adequate timing and that I was taught the art of expressing thankfulness for everything.  To this day, I write notes no matter what the kind act. I find it a way to continue an old-fashioned tradition of paper and pen action to express a feeling towards another person.

With the increase of technical offerings, e-cards are great because they require zero postage, but they seem so impersonal. Even if the rush of the "after season" is affecting you, be sure to place Thank You Notes at the top of your list.  After all, the people in your life are way more important than a perfectly packed Christmas decoration box.

Alone on Christmas- 5 Things To Remember

As Christmas fast approaches, it brings significant changes seasonally as well as full schedules and gatherings.  I've always loved Christmas and couldn't wait to decorate, bake yummy goodies with my family, and celebrate the traditions.  Those memories and experiences are why I am still in love with Christmas.  They are why I longed to pass memories onto my son and give him something to cherish like I had. First to cherish the Christmas story.  Then to cherish memories that can be made this time of year.

This year will be quite different in my household. This will be the first Christmas without my son. The first Christmas I will spend alone. I will be transparent that this year I'm not feeling quite as festive. The story of Christ's birth is alive and very much well in my soul, but the presents, the tree, the memory-makers just don't seem all that important.

I struggle with this more than I'd like to admit and I'm figuring there are other single parents struggling also.  Parents who legally, willingly, or reluctantly spend Christmas without their children.  Waking up on Christmas morning alone, disregarding traditions because alone they would be heart-wrenching to do, or knowing that you are missing an important day...those are just a few reasons that my heart aches for the single parent enduring what I am this season. I'm not sure anyone can understand the depths of this feeling until they have gone through it.

It is because of this feeling and an inspiring conversation I had with a very close friend of mine that I have created the top 5 things to remember as you go this holiday alone.

1) Remember that you are not truly alone. God is there and is someone you can talk with, cry with, or simply just be with. Take heart in the reason for this Christmas celebration and concentrate on strengthening your relationship with Him.  Your children are okay.  They may not be with you, but they are making some of their own memories.

2) Christmas celebrations do not have to happen on a specific day. You can celebrate before they leave or after they return.

3) If you do have day specific traditions, it's okay to do them alone. You might be surprised at the satisfaction knowing that you kept them up.

4) It is okay to wallow. If you need to wallow and you want to stay in bed and just "get through" this day, that is okay! It is important to feel your feelings.  Really feel them. You begin to understand what causes them if you allow yourself to feel them. People who haven't gone through this feeling will not accept this easily so keep it private and don't announce it, but take the time for yourself as you need.

5) Stay off of social media. Do not use this as an opportunity to create a pity party and do not log in to watch all of the great memories your friends are making. Wait until your children are back home to look and see how everyone's holiday was.

Bottom line is that being without loved ones on Christmas is difficult but there are action steps you can take to survive and dare I say, even enjoy the season still.

Share your tips on my Facebook page!