Love Yourself

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February is the month of Cupid, chocolate, and love. It’s everywhere. The Walmart aisles. The radio stations. The restaurants. Facebook. Instagram. All over the place. And, for a single mom, this season could be bittersweet.

However, let’s take a different approach this month. It doesn’t matter if you have a date or not. February can still be the month for love. But, instead of waiting to see if you’ll have a night out with your dream man or with Netflix, how about you schedule time in the next weeks for a very important person.

YOU! Yes, momma. You!

Love your neighbor as yourself isn’t just some feel good saying that Jesus muttered to the masses. He knew that the only way you could truly love others is if you truly love yourself. I’m not talking about some kind of prideful, “I’m all that and a bag of chips” kind of way. (Which, of course, you are!) I’m talking in the kind of “I’m happy to be me” kind of way.

This kind of self-love knows your strength and weaknesses and accepts yourself just as you are. You use your strengths to excel in life, and you learn to trust God in your weaknesses. Loving yourself means seeing yourself as the Father sees you: A wonderful, fantastic, mom, rocking the single mom life! We aren’t perfect, and we’re OK with that. At the end of the day, you know that you started your day with God and ended it with God, and because of His grace, you and the kids made it through another day. And, bonus points if no one yelled and the dinner didn’t burn!

Momma, take this month to really look at yourself and see just how beautiful you are!

And, then, take care of YOU! Get some gals together and have some fun. Go to dinner. Watch a movie. If you can, get a pedicure. Buy a new pair of shoes. Or, just allow yourself some extra time in the bathtub. But, don’t get caught up in what you don’t have this month. Don’t regret decisions that were made. Don’t look at all the flowers arriving for co-workers and start doubting yourself.

This month, I challenge you to love everything about being you and about being a single mom! After all, you’re a daughter of God, and He loves you so very much! 


Gwendolyn Irene

www.gwendolynirene.com

How to Smooth Your Way Into Mommyhood

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There’s a baby coming, bringing with him or her out countless hours of joy … as well as spills, puke and sleepless nights when you’ll be wondering why they won’t stop crying. It’s an emotional roller-coaster, to say the least, but the positives will outweigh the negatives if you make the right preparations. That’s especially important for single mothers-to-be who have no partner to rely on. No matter what your relationship status, keep your head up and follow this advice.

Write a Birth Plan

It’s a document that lets doctors, nurses and midwives know how you would like to give birth, including who is present during labor, what forms of pain relief you allow yourself to use, and what to do with the placenta. The experts at Parents have drawn up a checklist to make it easy for you to create the perfect natal environment, but bear in mind that your preferences may be ignored in the case of an emergency.

Get the Right Gear

A stroller, clothes, diapers: The costs certainly add up. Luckily, an experienced mother with Eco Baby Steps has come up with a list of things that you will definitely need, followed by others that would come in handy. Prioritize and use your baby shower wish list wisely. Plus, the other mothers in your life may have some things left over from raising their children. You may not have to pay much at all if anything.

Prepare Their Room

You want to make sure that you have easy access to everything you need to care for a baby in their room. A designer writing in lifestyle magazine Today suggests keeping diapers, wipes and other changing items to the side of your dominant hand. As for the overall theme, it can be exhausting to choose one, because there are so many options. Start with the furniture, followed by a color palette and decorations to match.

Simplify Your Daily Routine

Now, back to you. Time is of the essence once taking care of the baby becomes your first priority. But your household isn’t going to take care of itself, so you need to streamline your tasks to get them done quickly. The first step is to automate all of your bill-paying so you don’t waste precious time on finances, then find ways to speed up your morning routine and save time on cooking by preparing food in batches.

See a Therapist Now

Even if you’re not dealing with any negative emotions now, they’ll help you determine your susceptibility to postpartum depression based on a number of factors, such as the history of mental illness in your family or incidences of abuse during your own childhood. It’s good to understand your treatment options now just in case you need to see someone later.

Make Self-Care a Priority

Start with the basic elements of overall good health. That means getting some exercise, eating healthy and staying hydrated. Moreover, you should find ways to relieve stress, and there are plenty of ideas to consider, such as taking a walk, practicing yoga, deep breathing or watching the sunrise or sunset. Don’t be afraid to pamper yourself at the spa. You’ve earned it!

Reach Out to Friends and Family

As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. Create your support network now by talking to friends and family about the help you’ll most likely need. That could be someone taking care of the baby, helping with the cooking and cleaning, or taking you to the doctor’s office. There’s always paid help if you can fit it into your budget.

Talk to Other Moms

You’ll find plenty of wisdom and comfort from women who have already been where you’re going, whether it’s advice on putting your baby to sleep or just a shoulder to cry on when the going gets tough. Nowadays, you’ll even find plenty of helpful communities online if there’s no one who can be there for you physically.

It may seem like more than you can handle, but there’s plenty to look forward to, like the baby’s first words, first steps and first day at school. One day, you’ll look back and wish you could do it all again.

Amanda Henderson

Check out more by Amanda at http://safechildren.info/

Four Crazy Friends

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When I ask, “who are your crazy friends?” Who comes to mind? What names flash right through your head?  

After my divorce, I met a lady at church, who pretty much made it her mission to make me laugh again. And, boy did she ever! We would get together, watch movies, go shopping, talk about men, and scout out the single guys in church. Just picture two ladies, cruising around town, laughing, and listening to Taylor Swift very loudly!

               “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.

                Everything will be alright, if you keep me next to you.

                You don’t know about me, but I bet you want to.

                Everything will be alright, if we keep dancing like we’re 22…”

We were Thelma and Louise, just without the sad ending!

There was once a man, who was very sick. He needed help and he needed it desperately. He had four friends who wanted to help him. They heard of a healer, but their friend couldn’t walk. Well, these guys had an idea. “Let’s take him.” They carried this man to Jesus, but the house he was out was so crowded, they couldn’t get in. But, these guys were just crazy enough to find a way. And the only way into that house was through the ceiling. So, up they go, take off the roof, and lower him to Jesus. The Bible says in Mark 2:5, “Seeing their faith.” Jesus saw the faith of these guys and He forgave and healed their friend.

So, I’m going to ask a question. Who do you have in your corner who is crazy enough to do something wild and outside the box, just for you? Who can you count on to go all the way with you? Who is your tribe? Who are the ladies you can count on for anything and everything?

I’m pretty much an open book. I tell people about things in my life and things going on. But, it’s not the deep stuff. Not the things that are under the surface. My deepest feelings are only shared with a few. Just those ladies that are crazy enough to cheer me on or kick me in the butt, no matter what’s going on. They are also the one’s I like to hang around with; the ones I pray with, talk to, and text.

If you don’t have friends like this, go look for them. Ask God for some divine connections. You may meet them at church, at work, or at the grocery store. These are the friends who will hold you when you lose your job, who will laugh at your corny jokes, who will schedule a day trip when you need a break.

And although everyone needs four crazy friends, I believe single moms need them even more. At times, when the weight of all we do is weighing on us, we need the friends who are willing to go cray-cray when needed. Just think about that one man with four crazy friends! I’ve got to wonder what these guys did after their encounter with Jesus. The laughs they must’ve had. “Remember that time you couldn’t even walk? Dude, we carried you for miles! You owe us big time!” And, I’ve no doubt that man returned the favor, in whatever way he could.

Find your tribe, ladies.

Find the one’s who will be there when you need to cry.

Need to laugh.

Need to go crazy.

And, after you’ve found them, allow yourself some crazy, memory-making times! Take the pictures of you laughing and having fun. Show your kids how life can be absolutely amazing, even if the circumstances surrounding you may not be. Show them how God-ordained relationships really work!

Gwendolyn Irene

www.gwendolynirene.com