"Forced" New Beginnings

So it's January 2, 2017. You know the saying "New Year, New Me" or "New Year, New Beginnings". Well what if some of those new beginnings that take place aren't even yours? What if they are forced on you? Let me explain and then tell me if you have experienced the same. 

I already know of several life changes coming my way this new year for me. My ex-husband just announced his wedding date to his fiancé. Water is under the bridge with that relationship, but that doesn't mean this won't bring a different perspective to things now. The girls' lives, my life. A new step-mom and step-brother. Also new people to love them and want to be there for them. I've been down this road before; he married after leaving me. So I feel like I am prepared in some odd and strange way. This new beginning isn't even mine, sometimes they come from others, forced as I said. I will embrace it just as I have done once before. I have always said and believed that as long as my girls are well taken care of nothing else really matters, it's just one more person that gets to love them. 

Another life change for me is I will officially have a teenager in my home come March. I have never had a teenager before. She is my first-born. She is a really good girl, kind and compassionate. But I know she'll make some bad decisions. I know there will be a poor choice made here and there. Boys will start coming into the picture and I'm sure she'll want to start spending less time with her family and more time with her friends. This new beginning isn't one that I've chosen, rather I don't have a choice in the matter. I am confident in knowing who we have raised our daughters to be though. I'm looking forward to this new beginning for her to be able to start spreading her wings and becoming the person God made her to be. 

Probably the biggest life change that will happen this year is concerning my employment. I have known for six months that I will be unemployed by the middle of this year. I am grateful that I continue to have my job, others were not as lucky. I will be starting back to school in the coming weeks to finish my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. I have no clue what I will do when it's time for this next chapter. But I'm not worried. Not even the slightest.  

These are just the ones that I already know about. Life is constantly throwing stuff at us, seeing if we are able to withstand the tide or be swept into the ocean. I can look back at my past; the good, the bad and the ugly, and see it all got me to next step or place that I was meant to be. I know there is a plan set forth, even if I don't know the next move to take yet. So I wait, trust and believe that good things are going to happen in my life. Even through forced new beginnings.


The Top 10 Single Parent Do's and Don'ts for 2017

Esme and I were just thinking about how we would like to forget most of 2016, but more importantly we are excited for the New Year to come! This is the time of year for resolutions and goal planning. There is no time like the here and now to start being nice to yourself and loving the person you have become.

Here are a few suggestions we have put together for single parents to help start your New Year with a fresh and positive spin!!

1.      Get organized by buying a planner (and actually using it) or there’s no time like now to start using that calendar app on your phone (JLR lives by her calendar app)! This will help you as a single parent get in the habit of checking your calendars and stop forgetting important appointments or even bills to pay.

2.      Start researching wills and power of attorneys. This makes a lot of us uncomfortable to talk about, but it is smart to have this in place because you never know what might happen and you want to make sure your children are taken care of in your absence.

3.      Start a budget/savings plan and put into place for the year. Make sure you budget for that new car you need or those miscellaneous items like teacher gifts and friend’s birthday presents. The more detailed the better.

4.      Set up a plan to work-out (or walk-out as Esme likes to call it). Even if you only walk 15 minutes a day it will change your outlook and increase those endorphin's. Bring your kids along with you; it is nice to have some time away from distractions with them.

5.      Plan at least 5-10 minutes of quiet “you” time at the start or end of the day. While the children are asleep, meditate on the things you’re grateful for and the positive affirmations you are instilling in yourself and family.

What are the best things that happened to you this last year? Try making a “Gratitude” jar this year and every good thing that happens, write it on a small paper and put in it in a jar. When you have low times over the year you can get them out and read to see how many great things have happened.

Lastly, here are some gentle and helpful reminders of what NOT to do as you start the New Year off. Some apply to New Year’s Eve while others can be used all year round. Cheers!

6.      Do NOT start the year off with a new online dating profile because you are lonely. Lonely is not a good enough reason to date someone. Date yourself for a change and learn to love it!

7.      Do NOT text your ex no matter how much you miss them. You know who we're talking about, the one that broke your heart and lied to you. Let’s face it, there was a reason it ended in the first place whether you know the reason or not.

8.      Do NOT start the year off in the bed of a random woman/man. Instead get your butt home…alone! You will thank yourself later for it (and thank us too). ;)

9.      Do NOT continue to talk about last year and play the” woe is me” card. We all know 2016 was hard and terrible, but let’s focus on the here and now and how to make it fantastic!

10.      Do NOT harbor unforgiveness and anger any longer. No matter whom it is towards or what it is about, it only leads to hurting yourself. Reach out for help or counseling if you need to (the only time that number 4 can be broken).

We all make many mistakes over and over again until we learn not to do them. Just as we teach our children to not do the things that will hurt them we must also keep those reasons in mind for ourselves. Just don’t forget about grace; the grace we need to give ourselves to see those changes.

Many blessings to each and every one of you as you start off 2017!

Esme and JLR

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