ISO: Friends

Wanted ASAP!

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Friends for a single mom. Looking for people who enjoy the outdoors, deep conversations, the occasional total breakdown, themed events, baking, and confusing interactions that vacillate between hyper-engaged enthusiasm for the relationship, and unexpected distant awkwardness. The ideal person will have flexible time so that they can work within small windows of availability. Must have a near-Christ level of patience to endure several cancellations before eventual meet-ups. Should not expect immediate text replies or phone conversations (like, at all).

 

Scrolling through social media, I am always envious of the moms in pictures with their groups of girlfriends – at wineries, the beach, someone’s baby shower, brunch, etc. Some of you even have multiple girlfriend groups! You get matching outfits or t-shirts with cute slogans, you take annual trips; you do friendship right. It is impressive. I am jealous of you.

 

Friends are a struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like people. I actually love learning about others and creating connections. But I don’t know how people do it. Between work, kids, housework, life tasks, and attempting some level of self-care, I am always either low on time or (mental or physical) energy. I try to build friendships, but I seem unable to maintain them. Here’s a glimpse into the bum deal of my friendship:

 

You’ll invite me to parties and to hang out at your place, and I will come (whenever it is kid-friendly, or I can get a sitter). But, I probably won’t ever invite you to my place, because I live in a tiny two-bedroom apartment and I’m pretty embarrassed about it. So, you’ll think I don’t really want to be your friend. You’ll stop inviting me.

When you ask if we want to join you and your kids for a movie, I will likely want to. But, we live on a tight budget, so I will probably say no. In all likelihood, I will be too embarrassed to tell you that it is a financial issue, so you will think I don’t really want to be your friend. You won’t ask again.

 

You will offer to take my kids for a while, and I will accept it. Then, you will ask for the same favor, but I will likely have to work, so I will say no. The imbalance between a partnered-mom and single-mom investment in kid-swapping, and friendship, in general, will become progressively clear. So, you will think I don’t really want to be your friend. You will find new friends.

You will do something amazing for me, and I will plan a thoughtful and unique way to show my gratitude…but then I will get busy with and overwhelmed by life. I will keep the gesture on my to-do list, but by the time I get to it, so much time will have passed that I will feel too ashamed to execute it belatedly. You will find me rude for not having the courtesy to write even a thank-you note. You will think I don’t really want to be your friend. You will move on.

Initial encounters are probably the worst. I will approach you with the genuine exuberance for getting to know who you are. But when the conversation starts to move toward future plans, I will be silently battling the demons inside my head telling me that I am incapable of being a good friend, so I will appear distracted and try to find a way to move on to the next, more-superficial, conversation. You will think I don’t really want to be your friend. It will stop there.

So, if you’ve ever tried to be my friend and felt like I haven’t reciprocated, please know that I appreciate you deeply and I have entertained visions of our Insta-stories in coordinated clothing on our annual trip to the winery. I have daydreamed about sipping mimosas and laughing with you over brunch. If you want to continue trying, I promise that I will also try. If you don’t, I understand. Either way, please know that my ISO is ongoing, redeemable at any time.

A. Smith

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/