New Friendships Intimidating But Worth the Risk!

Friends


New friendships can still be intimidating even at 41! Yes, I still get nervous when approaching new friendships because they are simply new! Your childhood friends know you. They remember you when you wore florescent, memorized every word to the Outsiders, kissed pillows (or walls, yes I did and pretended the wall was Pony Boy Curtis from the Outsiders LOL), and did a ton of other stuff that no one else will quite ever get. Then you have your college to adulthood friends from college who saw you emerge into an adult and most likely have shared some pretty heavy stuff with you some good and some bad. These friends are like comfortable blankets you can always wrap them around you and they warm your heart. But, making new friends at this age is a little challenging!

I’ve had some heartbreaks in the friendship arena recently and I’m recovering.Through the process I’ve done alot of self examination and praying. I know that God revealed things to me for a reason and I’m making peace with his will.  However, being vulnerable to new friendships are a little intimidating. With new friends you have to let down your walls, invite them in, and be ready to share if you want an authentic and genuine friendship. I think life is too short to have it any other way. What I realized recently is sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet! My daughter is going to a new school which we both so far adore. I’m really enjoying participating and meeting the moms. But I still feel that sense of caution. I don’t want to run up to someone and grab them by the arm and beg them to be a friend that isn’t my style, but I do want to develop friendships because I sincerely enjoy people. Although most of my friends would say that I’m outgoing, I really am pretty shy. I’ve had conversations with of the moms at Anya’s school in the mornings or the afternoons at pickup, but it is still very casual.

Then yesterday when the sun finally came out after days of rain I decided to take Anya to the farm for our traditional visit to this particular fall festival. As I was finishing up a few chores around the house, I kept thinking about asking this one particular mom if she and her daughter wanted to go with us. I went back and forth because I thought she probably already had plans for the day off school, so I almost didn’t ask. Then after some more thought, I decided to jump in and just send her an email and ask her if she wanted to meet. I wrote that I’m sure she already had plans (my way of saying no pressure) but if she wanted to meet us that would be great. So to my pleasant surprise she called! She said sure and had been thinking on the same lines.

We met at farm and had a wonderful time! I really enjoyed talking with her on a range of subjects and especially about faith. It was truly refreshing. The girls had a good time and everyone left happy! I learned that we have to take chances with people and not be so cautious! It is okay to put yourself out there I’m certainly glad I did! God intends for us to be relational and with every relationship no matter how short or long you can learn something from it if you decide to open your heart. So, go ahead and invite that mom from school or church over for a cup of coffee and just enjoy the moment and possibly a new friendship!

Create a Bucket List for Girlfriends!

I loved the movie, “Boys On The Side,” it was about three women who formed an unbreakable bond. The best line in the movie is when Mary Louise Parker is talking about that wonderful thing that occurs between women. If you have girlfriends then you know what she is talking about it, it is that lovely intimacy and vulnerability that bonds women through all degrees of happiness, sadness and everything in between. Some of our best and worst moments are undoubtedly shared with our girlfriends. I love having new experiences and what better way to have exciting new experiences than with your girlfriends!

Many of you may have a bucket list, but why not have a Girlfriend’s Bucket List! Get together with your nearest and dearest girls and write a bucket list to complete together. It can be for the year or it can span over a course of a lifetime. Host a Girlfriend’s Bucket List Dinner Party! Get some wine, good food, and a pencil and pad and talk about all the things you all want to experience together. Maybe it is a cooking class, backpacking through Europe together, or skydiving, whatever it is and regardless of how far fetched write it down! Think about which one are the easiest and least expensive to complete and then go for it! You may want to try to complete one thinsg on each person’s birthday or on a spring break when the kids are with their dad.

Many single moms usually have every other weekend to explore their interest when the kids are with their dads. Take advantage of this times, sure you miss your kids but this is an opportunity to do some fun things with the girls!! Life is short so let’s make the most out of it with the people we love. Send that evite for a dinner party and get the ideas flowing for your Girlfriend Bucket List.

Family Dinners Expanded For Single Moms



I am a huge advocate of family dinners. I especially love Sunday family dinners. I have fond memories of going over to my grandma’s house on Sunday and having family dinners around the table when I was younger. It is a tradition that I dearly miss by living in one state and my parents living in another state. But, families aren’t restricted to only immediate family members. Family are those people you love, support, and spend time with, so why not include them in on Sunday dinner?

Tonight I was thinking about Sunday dinners past and thought how as single moms we should include in our family, those who aren’t family members by blood but are family in every other way. So, I am proposing that a few of these lovely ladies and our families have a Sunday dinner once a month or more, but at least once a month that includes all of us sitting around the table with our kids. We can either take turns cooking or do a potluck. I think this is a great memory to create for our kids and it strengthens our little village.

I’ve read some emails from moms who feel as though there is an element missing in their single parent family, especially those moms with one child. This is a fun way to expand your family experience, while building friendships, strengthening bonds, and allowing the kids to experience a lively Sunday dinner.

I’ll post pictures of our first dinner soon!! Let the Sunday fun begin!!

The Single Mom Expanded Sunday Dinner Tips:

  • Choose one Sunday a month be commited, and to stick to it!
  • Decide on whose house will host the dinner.
  • Make a cooking schedule. Potluck probably works best, you can rotate, for example, one person makes the main dish and the others make the sides one week and then rotate who makes the main dish.
  • Help with the cleanup. Don’t leave the host with the stress of a sink full of dishes.  
  • Have activities for the kids while the adults are cleaning up (better yet have them help!) or throw in a quick movie.
  • You may want to do a family activity, such as play a board game or take a walk.
  • Create a ritual. Try going around the table and saying one thing everyone is grateful for, or the high and lows of the day. Make sure you have a positive conversation  flowing that is kid friendly!
  • Pray together.
  • The biggest tip is to do this all with LOVE!

Be A Friend! Give a Single Mom A Gift!

Lend a Hand

I believe all women should support one another whether they are married, single, mothers, etc. But, since my readers are primarily single moms I want to direct this to you all. When you become a single mom you know how vital is to develop meaningful sustaining friendships. You need support! But, you also need to be a support to other single moms. Giving a gift to another single mom is a great way to show your genuine care for her. Now, I’m not talking about shelling out dough, instead I’m talking about the gift of generosity. Here are just a couple ideas to try:

  • If you know your friend is having a difficult time or is just plum tired insist on taking her kids for an overnight stay. If they are too young to be away from mom overnight, then take them for 4-5 hours and give mom a chance to take a bubble bath, go to the coffee shop or just simply sleep.
  • Cook a meal! Who doesn’t like to eat? One evening when you’re making dinner make another serving for your friend and her family. Bring it over the next day with a simple note and throw in dessert while you’re at it!
  • Help out around the house. Who doesn’t need a helping hand? Surprise your friend by offering to come over and help her clean up a bit, get organized, or pitch in with the yardwork. This is especially helpful for newly single moms who are adjusting to life without a partner.
  • Write a note of encouragement. Words have the awesome power to uplift and encourage and all you have to do is just pick up a pen. Write a letter or a card and slip it in the mailbox along with some homemade cookies or their favorite dessert.
  • Take them for a walk or grab a cup of coffee. Simply walking with a friend and listening to them shows your support. 
  • Give them a friendship basket. Put together a friendship basket with all their favorites! Throw in some candles, soap, their favorite tea, some chocolates, a spiritually uplifiting book, and a note of gratitude for their friendship.

I’m sure you can think of a dozen more creative ways to show your friend you love her and are there for her. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple gesture it just may make someone’s day!

Thou Shalt Not Judge Another Mom

They Got It Right!

It is extremely easy to judge others, too easy in fact. It is interesting how quickly we can point out the faults of others, but rarely see our own shortcomings. I’ve been guilty of it and afterward I feel awful about making such hasty judgments. Most likely at one point in your life you’ve been criticized harshly and it isn’t a good feeling. Especially if you’re parenting skills are judged. Let’s face it parenting is difficult whether you are married or single, and when you are a single parent you could be dealing with a host of issues that make parenting extremely challenging.

It is important that as mothers in general we support other mothers, especially single moms. I’m not saying single moms are a charity case on the contrary most of the single moms I know do an phenomenal job at raising their children, maintaining a home, a job, friendships, and they can juggle a number of balls in the air without dropping a one! But every once in awhile, the ball does drop and instead of criticizing or judging them, take time to help them out.

If you are one of those moms who are feeling judged, my advice is be confident in yourself and your parenting skills. Don’t internalize everything someone says about you or you will start questioning yourself in ways that will only be detrimental to your entire family. When you second guess everything you do as a mom you begin chipping away at the joy of mothering. No one walks in your shoes, but you. Learn to distinguish and discern between advice that is beneficial and advice that isn’t. If it isn’t simply say thank you for your input and move on. All mothers will mother differently. Is it wrong, no everyone has their own unique parenting style. Married mothers may have a different support system than a single mother so their technique may be different, is it wrong? No it is different. Don’t allow anyone to make you doubt yourself. Ask God for advice first and listen to him first and foremost.

The old saying it takes a village to raise a child is true in every community. Moms need a village that is united and not divided. When you criticize another mom unfairly you hurt her very deeply because mothering is personal, it’s intimate and is a huge part of our identity. Sure, you may see things that another mom does with her kid that drives you batty and you may be biting at the chomp to tell her how she needs to discipline better but think before you say it. There is a gentle way of offering advice that doesn’t have to sting or make someone feel inferior in their parenting skills. The words we say have long lasting effects that can be damaging in ways that severe consequences.  Ephesians, 29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear,” is a scripture we can all keep in mind when offering our two cents. 

Moms are a community. We need to build one another  up so that we’re all contributing to raising our children to be loving, compassionate adults. We also need to support and love one another so that we can be the best woman and mother we can possibly be We all need advice on how to do something better or more efficiently.Moms are an invaluable resource to one another if they do it in a way that is encouraging and loving. I don’t have all the answers and sometimes I’m just simply at a loss so I welcome  hearing tips from other moms. It is comforting to hear what other’s are going through and how they handle their challenges. Remember, we all experience peaks and valleys it is how we navigate and help others through them that matter. So, the next time you see a mom struggling, please be kind, offer a hand, and think before you speak. It is all in the delivery. Build up your community by supporting it with positivity, loving words and gestures.

Letting Go of Relationships Can Be in God’s Perfect Will

Source

A common theme I’ve noticed in 2012 in my life is learning that everyone who was once in my life is not always meant to remain in my life. Some people are placed in your life for a reason and then they move on as they should. A prime example of this for me is Anya’s father. We were meant to have Anya, but then the purpose was fulfilled, then it was time to move on and I am ever so grateful for her regardless of our relationship. Then there is a relative of mine that has distanced himself from our family. We’ve  definitely have experienced our ups and downs, but nothing between me and him has transpired recently in the last four years. I’ve sent him Christmas cards, reached out to him through facebook, and  he just doesn’t reply. I know he receives the cards and the messages because he tells my other uncle, but doesn’t respond to me. At first I was hurt by this, because even if he didn’t want to speak with me there is Anya who is completely innocent and so loving, but she’s never received a Christmas, birthday card or any other type of communication from him. He did meet her at my grandmother’s funeral and seemed rather taken by her, so I find this part surprising. I guess the simple fact is he doesn’t wish to maintain a relationship with me.

Then recently, I emailed an old friend to ask how her mother was, because I knew she had  cancer. Her last communication with me was friendly, so I didn’t think about asking her how she was. Sadly, her mom passed away. She said she was fine her family was fine and didn’t wish to discuss this with me. WHOOOAAA Nelly! Really? Was that response necessary? I understand people grieve in all different ways none of which are wrong, but I was taken back by the response. I made a mental note not to contact her again. Both of these situations have taught me that some relationships are just not meant to last even from a distance and are for a season.

I will always treasure the memories I had with my relative and pray if a reconciliation is in God’s will that I will be totally receptive to it and if it isn’t I’ll have peace with that also. I’ll continue to send a Christmas card so that he can see Anya grow, and I know that is what my grandmother would tell me to do. I made peace and said what I needed to say to him. I told him if he was angry with me for any reason I hope he forgives me. That is all I can do, I can’t make him write back. I said a prayer for my old friend’s mother who passed away and remembered all the good times I shared with her when I was young and decided to move on.

It hurts when relationships aren’t what we expect or want them to be, but I’ve learned that sometimes letting go is in God’s perfect will for my life. When you are struggling with any relationship in your life, pray on it, allow God to act, and then keep moving forward in the season your in, but do it in love, make amends if necessary, and release any anger, hurt or bitterness that can weigh you down. Move forward in love and lightness. Learn to trust God and have faith that he puts exactly in your life who is meant to be in your life… it is his perfect will.

Sharing the Pew

One of the memories I cherish most from my childhood was Wednesday night bible study at my grandmother’s church. After I grew up and moved out of state my grandmother and mother went to church together every Sunday and Wednesday. They sat side by side singing hymns and learning the word of God together. How blessed they were to share that gift. They attended church together until my grandmother was physically unable to go any longer. When I visit home and go to church with my mom I’m always hit with mixed emotions when I sit next to her in the pews. I imagine her sitting without my grandmother in the pew they shared for so many years and my heart truly breaks for her, although I know she is surrounded by her church family and my grandmother’s spirit is always there. As difficult as it may be for my mom, she is still there every Wednesday, that is what a spiritual legacy does! I guess it is a bit of how I feel when I go to church and Anya is in Sunday school, a part of me always wishes my mom and gram where next to me.

Tonight, my very lovely friend, Christina filled that void. I invited her to Wednesday night bible study, and she accepted the invitation! I was so happy to share Wednesday night bible study with her and for us to do something that was positive and spiritually enriching. The topic was something I believer we’re both struggling with and it felt good to be at church and to get spiritually fed. In my bible there is a picture of my grandma and pap pap, when I saw it tonight, I was reminded of their love for God and for their church. Each time I see that picture I always feel a little emotional and tonight was no different. But, for a moment I was transported back to when I was a girl and the joy I got from the anticipation of going to Wednesday night bible study with my granmda. I remembered the deep satisfaction of being surrounded by those who loved the lord  and loved me. I fondly recalled the deep contentment I was filled with when the service was over and after all the hugs and goodbyes. With my daughter downstairs in the kid’s bible study and Christina sitting next to me, I left tonight with that same contentment I had way back then when I shared the pew with the women I loved.

Thank you Christina for sharing bible study and the pew with me tonight!

That Thing That Goes On Between Women

One of my favorite movies back in the day was, “Boys On the Side.” with Drew Barrymore, Whoopie Goldberg and Mary Louise Parker. There was this one line that stuck with me. Mary Louise Parker said,”I don’t know what it is but there’s something that goes on between women. You men know that because it’s the same for you. I’m not saying one sex is better then the other. I’m just saying, like speaks to like. Love or whatever doesn’t always keep. So you found out what does, if you’re lucky.” When she said that line a light bulb went off in my head! YES that is so true! There is something that goes on between women and I’m so grateful that it does!

Looking back through the years and especially recently I’m humbled by my friendships with those special women in my life that I call friends. Actually, they are my sisters. Sisters don’t have to be from the same parents, they are the women you can call when you are sitting in the parking lot of your child’s school crying hysterically because your ex has hurt you, they are the one who will let you bunk with them when you make a move across country even though they are married, they give that guy who is giving you the round around the stink eye even if you tell them not too, because they are your sister and sisters got eachother’s back.

Recently, one of my sisters came to my daughter’s gymnastic’s class in torrential rain because I think she knew how disappointed my daugther was that someone else that she wanted to come wasn’t going too. My sister came, and she will never know how grateful I am for her presence. Later that night, my daughter expressed how happy she was to see Christina there. She filled the void that even I couldn’t. Another friend came to the rescue when my daugther was extremely hurt, she swooped in and somehow managed to wipe the tears away by simply taking her on a trip to target with two of her best friends. I will never forget how my sister Lola helped my sweet girl. Another sister babysat my daughter twice even though her own child was with her dad that night so I could take care of some court matters. My sister Resheeda took care of my daughter and gave me peace of mind. When I’m losing it and frustrated about all this custody stuff, I can vent to my sister Alicia and she patiently listens to me for hours and ends up making me laugh. Her empathy means the world to me. See, this is that thing that goes on between women.

I recognize even through blogging that women care about women! I’m amazed at the ladies who support my blog or who have reached out to me. The support that I get is unbelievable. I was just reading a blog written by a wonderfully creative woman who is experiencing depression. The outpour of concern for her literally made me want to cry, you can never say there isn’t love in this world. Women are so exquisite, so complex  and beautiful and when we start sharing our stories and experiences, something powerful occurs. Every day I’m reminded of this unspoken bond we all really share. I even see it with my daughter’s friends. When she was hurting so badly recently, those girls rallied around her. I will never forget the girls coming into her room to check on their sister sobbing on her bed. Her one friend said with such maturity and sympathy, ” It’s okay Anya, you are going to be okay we’re here.” She said it with such reassurance and empathy, it was difficult to believe she was five. It was like she was saying listen I know you’re hurt, and you feel like dying but you are going to get through this because we’re here with you. That thing happens at 6 too.

We speak eachother’s language. There is this invisible but very tangible thing that happens when women get together. I can go on and on about how my sisters have been there for me, because their friendship is endless. I can only hope that they can say the same about me. You have to admit the energy between women is incredible and it is a force to be reckoned with.I know through the dark nights, heartbreaks, life altering moments, joy,and laughter we’ll get through it together hugging, eating, talking, sometimes yelling and crying but we’ll pull through because we’re sisters. My sisters are a gift, and I hope they know I love them with all my heart and am so glad that we got that thing!

Thank you sisters even to those I’ve never seen!

Find A Mommy Mentor and Be One!



My Favorite and Most Precious Mentor-My Mom!

Motherhood doesn’t come with an instruction booklet. I remember reading, “What to Expect When Your Expecting,”and afterward thinking, ahh you left out a few things! Don’t misunderstand there are some fantastic books out there about parenting, but nothing quite beats the real life experience of a veteran mom!  She’s been through the trenches, suffered the wounds that come with motherhood, and can give you invaluable advice on how to get your troops in order! Mommy mentors are a gift to all moms. So, I’m giving you a bit of a challenge- Be a mommy mentor to someone you know and find one for yourself. Utilize your mommy experience and be a gift to perhaps a younger mom, or another single mom who may be going through some difficult times. I’m not saying be all preachy, but be supportive, share your experiences, be empathetic, and develop a meaningful relationship.

Also take time to find your own mommy mentor. Maybe this will be your own mother, a grandparent, an aunt, or a friend. Use discernment and pray that God brings the right mentor in your life. Be careful who you choose to get advice or learn from. Keep in mind that not everyone has your best interest at heart. A mentor will guide you, listen to you, and be a good example for you. Remember no mom has all the answers so don’t hold her to standards that would be impossible for anyone to live up to.

If you are having a hard time finding a mommy mentor or are currently to busy to develop this type of relationship, don’t be discouraged you can still find a Mommy mentor. There are a few women that I’ve never met, but consider them mentors, for example Donna Otto and Karol Ladd are two of my favorite moms. I’ve gotten great advice from their books, websites and podcasts to guide me as a mom, homemaker, and Christian. The key is to find a mentor that inspires you, encourages you and makes you want to be a better mom! The beauty is all this knowledge you get from your mentor you can pass on to your mentee. Women have an incredible nature that should be shared and used to empower one another in their journey. Share your story, your love, and your support with someone who will benefit from it and be willing to receive it as well!

God Bless all of you wonderful ladies out there! Know your spiritual gift and use it to build up your fellow sisters!

Friends How many of Us Have Them?

My Grandma and a Friend

I’ve always been a bit of a loner. I was an only child for fourteen years and had to entertain myself quite often so being alone is actually comfortable for me. Although I enjoy people and being social, over the last few years I’ve had a tendency to hole up in my own private world. Partly, because I think  I was so preoccupied with adjusting to life as a single mom. Many of the women I once hung out with kind of dropped out of my life, for different reasons. Some moved to different states and others didn’t have much in common with my new lifestyle as a single mom. I’ve come to grips with that and I take responsibility for not always nurturing my relationships the way I should have. Over the past year I’ve become friends with some wonderful ladies. Many are single moms, some friends I’ve reconnected with from the past and I’m thrilled to say it has been delightful!

It is great to be able to call a friend to hang out, meet for brunch,  chat with and to depend upon. I’m guilty of the super mom complex. I’ve had a hard time being vulnerable and I think its due to experiencing some really hurtful experiences in the past few years. It’s easy to shut people out and put up a wall. I”m glad I’m finally breaking down that fortress and starting to invite people back into my life. God wants us to have relationships, to lend a helping hand, to fellowship, to cry and laugh together. Remarkable things happen when women bond. Especially, us single moms who really need the support and encouragement.

Friends are a gift from God. Don’t be too busy to share your life, don’t be too scared to be vulnerable, relax  and unwind and open you heart. You won’t be disappointed. Cultivate your friendships and be a friend. Reach out without expecting anything in return and receive a beautiful blessing…Friendship.

Thank you Christine, Alicia, and Jen for your friendship.