Missed Firsts

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 He missed her first steps, first words, and first dance. I missed her first trip to the nail salon, her first visit to Disneyland and her first airplane ride.

   I have always loved “firsts”. We celebrated many firsts in our tiny family. Things like first time to ride a bike, first day of school each year and any other “first” we could think of, we celebrated. If I am being honest I love to celebrate. Any excuse for a party, a treat or a happy dance, I am in.  I have always known this about myself, but what I didn’t know is how much I hate to miss “firsts”. I was crushed when I found out that my ex-husband's girlfriend took my girls to their first nail salon visit. It was something that I had been looking forward to doing with them when they were a little older. I was sad each time I missed out on a milestone as little as it may seem to others, they were important to me.

   Divorce is not the only reason we miss out on “firsts”. A child can lose their first tooth at school, say their first word at Nana’s house or get up the nerve to jump off the high dive at the one swim practice you missed. And it’s not always a bad thing that you missed a first. Sometimes our children are more adventurous when we are not supervising them. Sometimes someone else gets the benefit of watching our littles first accomplishments. But other times we could do a better job at including the other parent. I know some of you are saying “you don’t know my situation; my ex is so uncooperative. We can’t even be in the same room together” I get it. I have even experienced it and I am sorry for the difficult situation you are in.

   But if that is not your situation. If you can communicate with your ex, if you are able to work together so that both of you get to experience as much of your child’s childhood as possible then not only are you both winners but most importantly your kids win. So, the next time your child is preparing for a milestone, why not let their mother or father participate. Heck send out an invitation and celebrate with as many people as possible. After all, “firsts” are meant to be celebrated.

Trudy McSwan

Helping Your Kids Embrace the Holidays after a Recent Divorce

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When you think of the holidays, you often picture happy families gathered around the table sharing a meal or opening presents on a cold winter morning, the snow falling gently outside. But as this excellent article from the Child Mind Institute shows, this Norman Rockwell-type of image is far from the family situations we have in today’s world. The holidays can be a stressful time -- not to mention sad -- especially if you are recently divorced. If you have children, the holidays can be particularly painful after a divorce. Here is some advice to help your kids deal with the pain of divorce and still manage to embrace the holidays.

Involve Your Kids

Help your children understand that even though you and your ex are separated, you still care about them, and your love for them will never change. Discuss with your kids how they wish to celebrate the holidays. Fathers.com encourages newly divorced parents to involve their children in designing the holiday plans. Maybe they want to celebrate the holidays at your house, at your ex’s home, or with both parents together. Of course, if there is still a great amount of tension and anger between you and your ex, it’s best if you don’t try to celebrate the holidays together with the kids. It will only lead to arguments and ruin the holiday for everyone.

Gifts and Traditions

Don’t think that you should shower your children with expensive gifts to compensate for the sadness they feel over the divorce. CNN offers a great article on focusing on what really matters during the holidays for divorced families here. Remember that the best thing you can do is give them the gift of your time. Also, do your best to keep some of the same traditions that you as a family enjoyed when you and your spouse were still married.

Your children will like participating in traditions that remind them of happier times, but it’s also important to do things that you may have never done before. Try working your way through this celebratory winter list to celebrate all the magical things about the season - from making snow angels in the front yard to making homemade soup. Slide down snowy hills on a sled -- even if it’s merely a garbage can lid! Make hot cocoa complete with marshmallows and whipped cream. Focus on engaging in fun, inexpensive activities that will create new memories for your children and help establish the new holiday normal. Look at this challenging moment as an opportunity to choose what activities you want to become the new holiday traditions for you and your kids.

You can also simply curl up on the couch and watch classic holiday movies, or pile into the car and drive around the neighborhood so you can admire holiday lights and decorations. As you can see, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars during the holidays to help your children enjoy this special season. Merely spending quality time with them and doing simple, fun activities can fill the whole family with joy.

Staying Positive

Avoid making negative comments about your ex. It’s understandable that you may feel bitter and angry, especially if he or she was the one that left or betrayed you. But venting to your kids about your ex-spouse’s faults will only cause them more anxiety and sadness.

If your children will spend the holidays with your ex, be careful not to make them feel guilty about being away from you. Instead, be upbeat about their time with the other parent.

Celebrating the holidays after a recent divorce is not only difficult for you, it’s difficult for your kids too. The pain and sadness they feel can interfere with the ability to enjoy the holidays. But that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy themselves during times of celebration. By being sensitive to how they wish to celebrate, spending quality time with them, and trying to stay positive, you can help your children move past their pain and learn to accept the new changes in their lives.

-Alexis Hall 

Visit this website for more form Alexis http://singleparent.info/

It's Just One of Those Messy-Bun- Hair Days!

Have you ever just had a day where you were ready to shout, "Do over!" by 9am?

You and the kids overslept.

The laundry never got moved from the washer to dryer and it's still wet.

Breakfast was throwing granola bars at the kids as they ran for the bus.

The kid's dad called and was upset about something, but you didn't have time to figure out why.

Messy bun on top of your head because you didn't have time to style it.

Running late for work and the gas tank is empty.

And just when you thought things couldn't get worse, you walk into the office bathroom and look up…and you forgot to put on your make-up!

"Hope this wasn't the day I was supposed to meet Prince Charming, because he'd turn around and never look back!"

We've all had day's like that. Days that things just didn't go according to our well-made plans.

But, you know what? It's OK. Go ahead. Look in that mirror, Momma. Take a deep breath or two. And just say it, out loud, "It's going to be OK."

There are times we must stop and remind ourselves just who we are; imperfect moms who have a perfect Heavenly Father! Psalm 46:10 tells us to "Be still and know that I am God." Those are God's words, written just for us. I have to believe that God looked across the expanse of time, and saw those messy-hair-bun days. He knew that we would need to be reminded that He's got us!

Lately, I've had quite a few of those messy-hair-bun days. Want to know what's funny to me? Those are the days I get the most compliments! "I love your hair today! It looks great!" Wait! What? I'm ready to throw in the towel, and you're telling me I look good? My hair is up because I just couldn't handle one more thing today! And you think I've got it all together! How does that even happen?

Because the God of the universe, cares about those messy-bun-hair days. He sees it all. He knows about the teenager that rolled his eyes all morning. He knows about the 3rd grader, crying over a spelling test he failed. He knows the extra bills that came in the mail. He knows that some days, getting out of bed and facing the world, takes every ounce of strength that's in you.

And, He looks at us and smiles.

"It's OK, daughter! Just take a deep breath. Allow me to quiet you. I'm working in these situations. Just do what you have to do. Do the best you can. I've got you. I've got your kids. Just wrap that hair in a messy bun and go out into your day! It's all going to be OK!"

Momma's, you're doing great! Even when it doesn't seem like it. Even when you forget to thaw out the meat for dinner. Even when you forgot to bring umbrellas to the soccer game on a rainy day. Even when… just fill in the blank. We've all had those days.

And, on those days, your super-power is pulling that hair back into a messy bun and doing life with your kids! Because you know, everything is going to be just fine!

By Gwendolyn Irene

www.gwendolynirene.com

Daring Adventures of Single Parenthood, A Devotional. https://www.gwendolynirene.com/books/