6 Tips on Co-Parenting Through a New School Year

A new school year is upon us and the lazy days of summer will soon become a memory. It’s time to get back into the school routine and if you’re co-parenting that means getting on the same page so that your kids have a smooth transition and your stress level stays low.

Try implementing these 6 tips (or a few of them) on co-parenting through a new school year that will make life a little easier for everyone!

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Daily Dose of Scripture: Which Water Are You Drinking?

John 4-10

I’ve always loved the story of the Samaritan woman. A story of forgiveness, redemption and a revelation of truth. Although I’ve never had five husbands, I do understand drinking from the well of the world.  The well with its enticing water that quenches your thirst for a moment, an hour, perhaps a day, but leaves you dehydrated and always needing more. The water that is so satisfying for a short time, but never really makes you full, but only empty.

Like the Samaritan woman when I first had a taste of the real living water it was beyond anything I had ever tasted. Finally, I wasn’t thirsty! No, longer was I searching for the elusive well that would fix my permanent thirst. I wasn’t dipping my cup into waters that offered empty promises, my cup was constantly full.

I think about when my lips first tasted this living water, a day that would be etched in my mind. Also, like the Samaritan woman, my shame was washed away. The chains of my past fell off. My identity was no longer defined by my mistakes, but it rested in Christ. The water had given me a new life, one that was a spring bubbling with faith, hope, joy, and contentment. It’s that spring that bubbles to the surface and inspires you to share your testimony so others are encouraged to drink the living water, to be refreshed, redeemed, and to live in the fullness of the Lord’s love. I often think of the Samaritan woman’s story when the world’s wells are calling me back to drink from its water. I remember the thirst and then I pull out the cup the Lord has filled and there is no comparison.

Dragging? Try These 10 Simple Steps to Boost Your Energy!

-my mother used to tell me that all the time.it was the best advice i ever got.-allie chardin

Are you dragging yourself out of bed in the morning? Or is it the afternoon slump that hits you hard? I’ve experienced both and on the same day! Life is busy as a single mom! You don’t have to feel depleted.

Try these 10 Simple Tips to Boost Your Energy!

  1. Make a Date with Jesus- When our spiritual life is out of whack we lack energy. The very first thing you should always do is have a little talk with Jesus! When you dive into the word and get spiritually fed it carries over to every area of your life.
  2. Sleep! Consistent shut-eye can do wonders. If you’re staying up until the wee hours of the night and waking up exhausted you’re doing some serious damage to your body. Get a good night sleep, ideally 7-8 hours, but if you can’t figure out the amount of hours you need to sleep to not feel like a zombie the next day.
  3. Exercise– When you start physically moving all kinds of endorphins are released that make you feel good! There are gyms such as Planet Fitness that are $10 a month that make it incredibly affordable. Not a gym gal? It’s okay! You can get exercise simply by walking or even jogging in place. Try to make exercise a part of your daily routine and not only will your health improve, but so will your energy levels.
  4. Feed Your Body with Healthy Food- If you feel your body with junk you feel like junk right?Try to incorporate as many fresh fruit, veggies, lean meat, and grains. Instead of grabbing a sugary donut for a snack opt for some pre-cut veggies and fruit. Prepare small baggies so you can just grab them on the go.
  5. Stay Hydrated-When you’re dragging it can simply be because your dehydrated. Drink water. It’s that simple.
  6. Take Vitamins– Ask your doctor about the vitamins they suggest you take. Most common are a multivitamin and a B12, but you may be lacking a certain vitamin that has your body completely out of whack.
  7. Stay Away From Emotionally Draining People– This isn’t meant to come off harsh, but there are people who literally drain you until you’re a puddle on the ground. Try to keep a healthy distance from people who are negative and live in a place of stinking thinking. It’s contagious so the most effective antibiotic are boundaries.
  8. Talk to Someone Who Is Uplifting! We all need those friends who can pick us up and when necessary whip us into shape. They are energy boosters! Maybe it’s your parent, a friend, a minister, whoever it is have a good old heart to heart, you’ll walk away feeling a whole lot better.
  9. Take a Time Out– When everything is spinning out of control, chances are you are too. Sometimes you have to get off the crazy train and take a time out. You don’t have to hop on a plane to a remote island (although not a bad idea!) but you can create some serenity by simply taking a step back. Maybe your time out place is your bathroom, a closet, the back porch, or your parked car. Find a place to unwind and take a breath.
  10. Do Something You Enjoy– When we’re happy, engaged and passionate we have boundless energy. When you’re feeling low go back to your sweet spot, that happy place and do what it is that you love! It will give you the boost you need.

What’s Your Narrative as a Single Mom? Create The Story You Desire!

travelle

I’ve had women approach me and say, “you seem really happy,” or “you make being a single mom seem not so bad.” In fact for the most part I am happy. I’m content and I got my groove down as far as the single mom part goes. It doesn’t mean I don’t experience my share of struggles and trials. I’m just like every other woman who is raising children, because let’s face it whether you are a single mom, married mom, whatever your status is…parenting is serious and sometimes scary business and we all got the scars to prove it! For me, arrving at a place of contentment was and is an intentional journey that I work on because I refused to accept a story that didn’t fit the life I was living, so I changed it.

I can genuinely say that I do feel complete and so does my daughter. She doesn’t feel like she’ from a broken family or a statistic. She feels loved, secure and part of a family regardless of the size. When I first became a single mom I worried about creating a sense of family in our home and at times I allowed outsiders to shape the narrative of my life instead of creating my own. What a disservice we do to ourselves and our kids when we permit others to tell us what’s going to happen in our lives. What’s dangerous is when we start believing them and our actions and thoughts begin to reflect this preconceived notion of what is most likely going to happen to us as ‘single parents.’ If you’re struggling with insecurity about being a single parent, ask yourself if you’re creating the narrative you desire for your life or are you allowing the whispers of naysayers and to take root and wrap itself around your family.

Only you are responsible for creating the narrative of our life. You are planting the seeds of what you want to cultivate in your garden. If you believe your family is broken then it is! If you believe your children are lacking, they will be! If you rely on feeling whole by your marital status instead of on your relationship with God then you will always feel a void, regardless if you’re single or in a relationship. You are the storyteller of your life so don’t leave it in the hands of another narrator or in the shadows of the past.

A major stumbling block for single moms is refusing to let go of a life that no longer fits who they are  instead of embracing what remains. They keep trying to breathe air into it and in turn they get breath sucked out of them. Trying to relive an old story never works. It’s like quick sand, every step you take sinks you further in, putting a halt to your progress to move forward until it eventually suffocates you. God doesn’t want you to sink, he’s reaching out his hand to pull you out of the quick sand of an old story because he wants you to rise to the purpose he has in store for you as a woman, a mother and a child of God. He wants your narrative to be based on his truth for you not in the lies of Satan.

God can redeem and restore any situation. Do you think God looks at you and your family as being incomplete? I don’t believe that for a minute. God doesn’t work that way! Step into the narrative God has for your life. Let your story be filled with pages of grace, determination, endurance, love, forgiveness, laughter, family and purpose.

How do you perceive your story? Are you relying on someone else to write the pages? Do you have confidence in who you are as a mom? Are you happy with the family dynamic you’re choosing to create? If you aren’t then change the narrative, it’s your choice. Speak to yourself differently, create another vision for your life, and think about years from now when you look back, will you say your time was well spent or did you spend a lot of time trying to live up to a narrative that was never yours in the first place? If you live in a place of I can’t instead of I can then you won’t.

I believe from the bottom of my heart that God has a purpose for you, but your narrative has to match what a child of God deserves. It isn’t always easy because you have to change your thought and belief pattern, but it is possible. Maybe it requires healing, forgiveness, or something only God can do, but go to him in prayer and ask him to change your story. God is listening! Know that you are capable of creating the life you desire in God’s will, but how you view and speak of yourself and your family will determine if you get the life you want or you settle for less. We only live once, live well!

June Series: Summer Fun On the Cheap For Moms!

Swap the Dining Room Table for a Summer Picnic

Summer fun doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re a single mom, most likely you’re already thinking about budgeting for back to school clothes, supplies, maybe tuition or summer camps. But, there are a number of fun, bonding and inexpensive activities you can do in them summer with the kids that will keep your budget on track. This June Series of ‘Inexpensive Summer Fun,’ will give you ideas to implement throughout the next three months.

One of my favorite inexpensive summer activities is to swap your dining room table for a dinner picnic outside. You have to eat right? Why not do it under the blue sky on a blanket? You can have a picnic in the park, in your yard, or maybe at an outdoor event. Ask the kids to help put together their favorite dinner, dessert and drinks and head outdoors!

10 Activities to Do With The Kids In DC on Memorial Day Weekend!

Swing Into Summer

Memorial Day weekend doesn’t have to be spent on the road if you live in DC metro area. There are some fun activities going on in your own backyard. Have a staycation and spend more time with the kids and less time on the road. Here are 10 Ideas to have fun with the kids this holiday weekend.

  1. Jazz in the Garden at the National Art Gallery: Enjoy live music from 5-8:30 pm. Spread a blanket, get some yummy food from the cafe and hang out with the kiddos for FREE. This is one of my favorite things to do in the summer!
  2. PBS National Memorial Day Concert: This weekend is meant to honor our men and women who sacrifice their lives. This FREE concert on the west lawn at the US Capitol on Sunday, from 8-9:30 PM.
  3. Free Outdoor Movies: Check out the complete lineup for 2017 for DC/MD/VA and lay out under the stars.
  4. Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly & Caterpillar Exhibit:We’ve visited this exhibit several times and it’s magical! Visit Brookeside Gardens at 1500 Glenallen in Avenue in Wheaton MD from 10-4 pm. $8 ages 13+; $5 ages 3-12; Free ages 0-2.
  5. Hometown Holidays in Rockville: Enjoy this 3 Day FREE Festival with 7 stages, entertainers, kid’s rides, teen activities, VisArts Fine Arts, and a parade in Rockville Town Center.
  6. Strawberry Picking at Butlers Orchard:  My absolute favorite place to pick strawberries is open from 10-6 pm. Strawberries are $2.79 a pound. They are delicious!
  7. Viva Vienna Festival: FREE Festival with food, games, entertainment, amusement rides and vendors. Saturday-Sunday from 10am-10 pm and Sunday from 10 am-6pm.
  8. Delaplane Stawberry Festival: A fun 2 days of everything strawberries, games, music, and vendors on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-5 pm. Advance tickets are $20 per car. This would be a great activity to split with friends.
  9. National Memorial Day Parade in DC: The annual parade starts at 2 pm. Get there early so you can get a good spot and visit the many free museums after that are open.
  10. Hangout at Georgetown Harbor: Get a tasty cupcake at Georgetown Cupcakes, if you’re a cat lover visit Crumbs & Whiskers where you can grab a coffee and even adopt a kitten, or just walk along the harbor!

Enjoy! Go out and make some memories!

8 Summer Co-Parenting Tips for the Single Mom!

travelwhileyou areyoung

We’re finished with spring break and in a few short weeks, summer will arrive in all its glory! Single moms may find summer break and co-parenting a little challenging for several reason. One, you miss your kids. Two, you have to reconfigure schedules. Three, you want to maximize the time you have with your kids. So, here are a few co-parenting tips that will make this summer a little bit easier!

  1. Confirm dates in May. Some of you may have specific dates on when you’re sharing the summer. If not, I suggest you do it by next month. The more time and notice you give one another the less stress you’ll have with the transition. If your kid’s dad has 4 weeks in the summer, the quicker you know which dates the better prepared you’ll be for the months ahead. It’s okay to send a friendly reminder if you don’t have dates in the works.
  2. Take Into Consideration Any Camps or Special Programs Your Children Will Attend: For example, if your child is enrolled in a specific dance camp or football camp, make sure the other parent knows those dates in advance so that they can plan around it or make appropriate arrangements with you for pick up and drop off.
  3. Communicate With The Kids About the Summer Schedule: Kids like to know where they will be and what they’ll be doing during the summer. Keep them abreast of the schedule and get their input (especially if they are older) on how they’d like to spend summer. Ultimately, parents have to work around each other’s schedule, but it’s so important to give your kids a voice.
  4. Create a Keep In Touch Schedule: Depending on the age of your kids and the circumstances, keeping in touch when they are away is important for everyone. Most parents won’t make a big deal about this, but if it has been an issue in the past, talk to your kid’s father and figure out what works best for your kids.
  5. Exchange Important Information: Make sure that you exchange phone numbers, insurance cards, and anything else that both parents should have access to for the kids.
  6. Confirm Summer Holiday Plans: Take into consideration when you’re planning the summer the holidays, such as the 4th of July, Labor Day and Father’s Day. Depending on how you share holidays this may be something to consider when planning out the summer schedule.
  7. Stay Positive! It’s hard to be without our kids, even if it’s a day. But, we want them to happy and comfortable. Staying positive and being excited for their time with dad will encourage them to have a good time. It’s okay for them to know that you’ll miss them, but you know that they will have a great vacation as well!
  8. Plan a Little Fun for Yourself: This is an opportune time to get in some you time! Explore a new hobby, read a juicy book, take a drive to a new city, hang out with girlfriends and try to enjoy the free space. You deserve it!