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Showing posts with the label parenting

9 Things I Have Learned As A Single Mom Prepper/Homesteader

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(Circa 2007 when this journey began)
I am the only one who can do for myself and my kids. Of course I have a great support group of family and friends who help, but at the end of the day I am still the only one for for my kids. I have to do the work required to keep up the home, bring in the money, and to do for ourselves. I have to do the canning, be worried about security, working to stay of debt, keep buying groceries to eat and to store, and be creative.

I learned really fast that being a single mom, after being married for eleven years, came with a steep learning curve. Suddenly I had to do two parents' worth of work as one person. I had to figure out a lot of things for myself. I had to change my ways, look further down the road, and prepare for it. Preparedness became extremely important to me because I never knew when the child support would or would not come. I might have $700 in child support one month and none the next month. 

Now cchild support isn't an issue, but the…

12 Safety Tips For College Students

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This August I will be sending my second child to college. I have sat through two college orientations and my favorite session is the personal safety session for parents. I have learned a lot about how to help my college-age kids safe while at college. I have a lot of confidence in my girls being able to protect themselves and being aware of their surroundings while at college. 

However, let's be real here. There are some potential situations that girls or any kids can face at college (or even high school). Some situations may be unavoidable, bad decisions may be made, or small problems can become big problems. Drinking, drugs, sexual assaults, bad roommates, thefts, and fights can be situations they could face.

In light of this, here are twelve safety tips for college students and young adults. These are tips that have been given by safety officers, campus police officers, and some common sense tips from myself. These are tips that can be used to avoid or prevent a bad situation fro…

Parents, Life Is Meant To Be Simpler (And Not So BUSY!)

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Life gets so crazy sometimes. We run and run and run. The kids are involved in several things at once, we can't say no to the latest commitment, and home is only a place to rest your head. Does this sound familiar?

Life shouldn't be like that. Yes, I know. I can hear y'all now.Kids are only young once. They need to experience all these things. They need to find out their potential. We need to be involved in their things. We need to be active in everything. The kids need to know what it is like to be involved and learn to get along with others.

Stop it.

Life is meant to be simpler.

Kids need to know that their family is also their best companions. Kids also need to know what it is like to hang out at home and be a contributor to the household. Kids need to learn how to keep a home, be content with what they have, be content being home with family, and live a simpler life. Kids need to learn how to work and develop a work ethic. Kids need to learn to entertain themselves instead…

Yes, Your Kids Do See What You Do!

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This week's weather in northern Iowa has been less than ideal. We never really appreciate a day before Thanksgiving snowstorm. Those have a tendency to make travel a bit difficult.


School was cancelled on Wednesday due to several inches of snow being on the ground already and more coming down. The kids were to go down to their dad's house to have Thanksgiving with him on Wednesday. We already had the day planned, had moved Dane's doctor appointment earlier in the day so they could leave earlier, and Shali had some food made and ready to go.

My kids do not let weather stop them unless it is really bad. I think they get that from their mother. Shali is 19 and Jordan is 18. While they are young drivers yet, they are very experienced in winter weather driving. They both have been through some difficult driving conditions and made it home in one piece.

They decided to leave a bit later than planned and their dad knew they were coming. They as well as him and I kept a close eye …

How Will You Entertain Your Older Kids When The Power Goes Out?

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Let's face a fact: most kids are very happy playing with something that is electronic. They would play them all the time if they could. I know the pain of that statement because I have a ten year son who is the same way.

I worried about how he would entertain himself if the power went out and the batteries on his Nintendo 3DS died. I worried about how my two daughters at home would entertain themselves without cell phones, computers, Kindles, and Netflix. I worried about all of us dealing without Wi-Fi.

However, we have had a few times of dealing with this now and they dealt just fine. Why? How?

1. The batteries on various electronic things take a while to die. We also have a few solar chargers.

2. I had the foresight to give them a love of reading. With a flashlight or candle, they can read forever.

3. I never wanted to be the parent that had to constantly entertain her kids. I had them entertain themselves and play with each other (the joys of living on the farm with a homebody mothe…

Raising Your Kids To Be The Opposite Of Society's Expectations

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Some beliefs I have encountered:

Many people believe that kids need a gentle, coddling introduction to being a grown up.

Many people believe that kids cannot function on their own until they are 22-25 years old.

Many people believe kids do not need to have a job while in junior high, high school, or college. They should just concentrate on their studies and being involved. They have the rest of their life to work.

If the kids have jobs, they still don't need to pay any of their own expenses. They should save their money or just blow the money on junk.

Many people believe that kids need to go to college in order to be successful. As long as they graduate with a degree, they will be successful.

Many people believe that it is okay for kids to move back home after being gone for a few years and not have to contribute to the home or pay bills. They need to concentrate on finding a job and saving money to buy a car or a home.

All of these beliefs? They are the reason why we have a gener…

Single Mamas: Life Does Get Better

Dear Single Mamas:

Life Does Get Better.

Someone said this to me when I was going through my divorce and I thought I couldn't be a single mama, full-time working mama, soccer mama, and whatever hat I also needed to wear. I thought life was going to be even harder when I realized I was truly on my own and their father wasn't going to be an active part of their life.

But life got better. And it will for you too.

It is hard to see that when you are knee deep in the trenches. It is hard to see that when you are crying with frustration in bed. It is hard to see that when your child is disappointed and you are powerless to help. It is hard to see that when you are robbing Peter to pay Paul and may need to rob Simon too. It is hard to see that when you have a screaming toddler and impatient, attitude-filled teenager. It is hard to see that when all you need is another person who understands your situation and you think no one does.

Life does get better.

Your children will pass through …

Kids and Finances - What Do You Tell Them?

I had a discussion with a friend a few months ago and we came to a point that we had to agree to disagree. We were discussing what you should tell your kids about your finances. This can be a sticky area for most families. I would like to tell you how I handle finances with my kids and what I do with them.

First of all, I will not lie to my kids about money. If I don't have the money, I certainly am not going to spend more on something for them. Most of the time it is a frivolous want, not a need, and they need to be told no anyway. I simply say that I do not have the money for that item right now, but if they want to spend their own money on the item, that is fine.

Some kids will spend their own money and some will show their true colors by not buying it. I want to send the message that it is not okay to spend my money on something that they would not spend their money on too.  As the kids get older, I have them start buying their clothes, accessories, etc. I will buy them things…

Teach Your Kids To Work and Survive in Life

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Would you like to hear what is wrong with our country right now?

Most people expect to have their lives handed to them. They expect to have to work as little as possible and get the most money they can. They expect to have grand benefits without having to pay for them. They expect to graduate high school/college and automatically have a better standard of living than their parents. They want really nice things without having to save up for them or work up to them.

Trust me, I know. I once had that mindset. Not to the degree that I see now from young people, but it was there. I thought I could do a little work and get by with it. That all changed when I found myself married with little ones, going to college, and working three part-time jobs just to get by with what my then husband was doing: working a full-time job, going to school, and coaching. We found ourselves knee-deep in debt and struggling to pay even minimum payments.

The good life is what you make of it, but teaching our kids t…

A Mother's Desire for Her Children

These last few weeks have been crazy, slightly emotional, and full of firsts/lasts. I find it very hard to believe that my oldest daughter is a senior in high school already. Time really does fly and I look at the wonderfully made, beautifully mature young woman that she has become with awe. She is experiencing a lot of lasts with a few firsts: last first day of regular school, last season of high school volleyball, etc.

As her mother, I feel even more responsibility for her to be launched into the world with the character qualities that I want her to have as well as the moral fiber that will make her a strong, wise young lady. I also feel some difficulty in letting her go to make her own decisions. I have never strived to make all my children's decisions, but guide them to wise decisions. I have had to step in and make decisions for them when they do not appear to be heading the right direction. As they get older, I have felt more compelled to guide them in their decisions to avo…

The Single Mama Gig

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I have had this post cooking in my mind for awhile and not sure how to write it. You see, I never intended to be a single mother. I never wanted to be a single mother. I wanted to be married and have the support of a marriage while raising my children and thereafter.

Life threw me a curve ball. One I wasn't prepared for. One that sent me to my knees and still does. My then-husband did not want to be married anymore. He did not want what we had built together. Now, looking back, I see that we had not really built too much together and how much of our marriage was focused on him. 
But we had four incredible, wonderful blessings together. Blessings that to this day give me so much pleasure and hope for the future that I want to be better for them. Blessings that also keep me going from the time my feet hit the floor every morning until I go to bed every night. 
So I find it disturbing just to say the least when people comment to me that life must be easier as a single parent. 
That I am …

Friendship Advice for Teenagers

Looking back at my teenage years, I was a horrible friend. I had no idea how to uphold friendships and no idea how to deal with others when I was hurt by them. I know what I did wrong now by watching my teens negotiate their way through friendships. I also want to apologize to everyone I hurt during that time.

I want to pass on some wisdom that I hope helps you.

Here is some advice for you to take to heart:

1. Treat others how you would like to be treated.

2. If you want your friends to listen to your problems, start by listening yourself.

3. Your friends will hurt your feeling from time to time. Forgive quickly and move on.

4. Respect and trust can be quickly earned and given. Respect and trust are not easily regained when lost.

5. You can be friends with lots of people. It is okay. But don't forget those that have been friends with you for a long time.

6. Honesty is the best policy. You will hurt your friends sometimes with your honesty and they will hurt your feelings when the…

Kids and The Public

I just came home from the tractor pulls in Wisconsin. I had a great time and the little break from home life and the kids was just what I needed to get recharged. Notice I said a little break from my kids. I missed them like crazy and wished they could have come, but the thing is...they don't care for the tractor pulls. They would be fine sitting through one show/night of the pulls, but five shows would be torture in their eyes.

Some of the things I see at the pulls and in general public just makes me shake my head. I don't like to condemn other parents for doing what they feel is best for the child and them. I am all for taking my children with me if they would like to go with me. Sometimes I do exert a little pressure to have them come with me if I think a life lesson or a skill could be learned.

I just can not handle the parents who do absolutely nothing to control their kids. Nothing. Case in point: We were sitting in the top row of the bleachers. A young boy of 4-5 years …

Personal Information Sheets for Kids

The more I learn about preparedness, the more I learn I am not! Welcome to my weekend project: making a personal information sheet (or a life sheet) for each of my children. I do not have anything like this in a file or in the car if needed. The experts also recommend that you put a personal information sheet in each of your kids' bug-out bags. We do not have those either, but I would like to get this part started.

What should be on the personal information sheets? Here is a list:

Child's Name
Address
Phone Number(s)
Parents' Name
Parents' Address (Important in two household situations)
Parents' Phone Number(s)
Medical Information - known conditions, allergies, history
Emergency Contacts
Personal Information: height, weight, eye color, hair color, distinguishing marks, skin color, gender
Child's Photo

I will be making my own sheet, but I have found a sample sheet if you would want to go that route. This sheet included fingerprinting your child. I am not sure I …

Back to School Routine

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We are back in school again! I usually have mixed feelings about the kids going back to school, but despite my feelings, we have to get into a routine! This helps simplify our lives so much.

To help our mornings, we like to have our things together the night before. These are things we do to simplify our mornings:

bookbags are packed and ready to go clothes are laid out for the next morning shoes are found, accessible, and ready to go by the front door  showers taken for those who don't worry about their hair or own a flat iron for their hair
In the mornings, we get ourselves ready for the day. Since younger two kids have to be on the bus at 7:00 am, they usually get first priority in the bathroom. Paige wakes up at 6:15 am to get into the shower. She showers, dresses, brushes hair and teeth, and is downstairs by 6:45 am usually. She will also make her cold lunch if the school lunch is heavy on dairy that day. Dane wakes up by 6:30 am if not earlier. He usually gets dressed, brushes h…