Finances, Parenting, Single mom

Moms are Liars too!!!

A mother is a selfless, loving, caring human who sacrifices her wants and needs for the wants and needs of her child. Or something like that, right?

That’s what comes to mind when I think of the role of a mom.

I became a mom at the age of 16. A single mom to a son whose father ended up in jail.

A Hispanic male son, raised by a single mom, living in a city with a high crime rate.

I was naive!

I will work really hard to provide, and make sure he grows up to be a successful man. A man of good.

Those are just some of the promises moms make.

I worked really hard, as promised. Many times double shifts, and two jobs. Managed a few stores by the age of 18. Not bad for a high school drop-out who was kicked out from home. Or so I thought.

However as the years went by my biggest fears became true. My long shifts at work and multiple jobs were creating a distant relationship with my son. Along with the biggest depression and financial crisis a person can face.

I had accumulated debt through bills, bad money managing, followed years later by a gambling addiction.

The guilt, financial crisis, and the feeling of hurting the most precious jewel (my son) led me to depression and suicidal thoughts.

Not too many friends, no dating, just my addiction, my depression and a damaged relationship with my son. He went from a sweet boy to a boy full of rage and hate.

In my blog I will share details on how I got out of my depression, my addiction, and financial crisis.

Today, however, I want to share a few tips on how I healed the most important relationship in my life.

There is no doubt it is easier to just be a “good parent”. Whatever that means! But for those of us who have damaged relationships, and made parenting mistakes there is still hope.

Understand that this is not a destination; it is a journey.

Work on Yourself

The only way to continuously bring value to others is by improving yourself. Some of the tools I used were group meetings, videos, and books. Books on everything I can think of. Books on how addictions and triggers work. (Addictive drugs and behaviors provide a shortcut, flooding the brain with dopamine and other neurotransmitters). Books on parenting and self-improvement. Just to mention a few. Goal setting, writing down your parenting and life goals, and learning how to follow through on them.

 

Stop Pretending

Stop pretending to the outside world. I looked like a girl who had it all together. My son was the perfect, well-behaved, respectful kid (which he is). However, the reality was that I was in pain and constantly planning the details of who I would leave my son with when I was gone. ( Who can I trust to do a better job at parenting?) Then afterwards, feeling petty for not ever having the courage to do that. Just never feeling good enough. It now amazes me how much energy goes into faking a perfect life. The people who truly want to love you will help and support you. Not “fix you”, but help you get out of your situation. (Fixing yourself is your responsibility).

Get rid of the Guilt

Having guilt as a parent is not only exhausting, but is keeping you from parenting. Buying things for your kids to make up for the lost time is irresponsible and expensive. Not disciplining your kid because of the guilt of past mistakes is hurting and sending the wrong message to your child. You can’t make up time. Start building from now and heal the relationship.

Get Help

Surround yourself with positive people. Perhaps by parents you admire who you can follow in their footsteps. Friends, not the party girlfriends who sugarcoat everything, but friends who care and give you some tough love.

Love

Understand that if a relationship is hurt there might be some resistance and pushback. This was definitely my case. It wasn’t until he felt safe and saw consistency that the relationship healed. Until then, keep loving and giving lots of kisses.

 

Find a Mentor

Find a mentor for yourself and your kid(s). My son needed a male figure. Thinking I can do it all on my own was not only naive, but irresponsible. Find a couple at church or in your family. People who you know will be a good influence on you and your kid.

 

Admit Responsibility

It might seem scary to realize you are the only one responsible for your situation. For me I was full of self-sabotaging and self-harming, the pain to know it was all on me and nobody else to blame. However there is power in knowing that you have full responsibility for your situation. If you got yourself into a situation, then you have the full potential to get out of it. Use it to empower yourself knowing the power is within!

 

Apologize and Heal

Apologizing to my son and letting him know mom made a mistake created an unbreakable bond between us. Be genuine with your apology. I viewed this as a weakness as a mom, because as parents we are supposed to have it all figured out, right? Not!!!

Quality Time

Schedule dates with your kid. Just the two of you. One of our favorites is a trip to the library, and cooking a meal together. Not only does it help you bond, but teaches him skills he will later use in life. Another one is playing a “Would You Rather” card game, and end up arguing about each other’s opinions.

 

Accept your kid for who he is

Figure out what things make your kid feel loved, not what your idea of loving your kid is, but what makes him or her feel loved and understood.

Get rid of the idea of “the perfect kid.” I thought my son would grow up to like sports and want to be an athlete. I pictured and created an image of what my son should be like and how he should behave before he was born, without giving him a chance to create his own path in life. This was one of the most selfish acts I have done. My son Angel couldn’t be farther from my original image of him. He has no interest in playing any sports. His life is his guitars and creating music.

 

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All areas of my life are a continuous work in progress. I can, however, now say that I have the best relationship with my now teenaged 15-year-old son. And it continues to improve as I work on myself.

Finances

Saving Money Tips

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Create a Budget

Creating a budget helps you take control of your money. Track how much money you have coming in. Keep track of your expenses, and know where your money is spend. 

For a list of budget categories check out Simple and Effective Single Mom Budget

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Cook at Home

A great portion of our income goes to buying food. You can easily save money  by preparing your meals at home. Plan ahead and make a list of items you need before heading out to the store.

-Plan your meals around the items that are on sale for the week. You can find this information by logging in to the store’s website and looking at the weekly ads.  

 

Couponing

Save on your grocery bill by saving your coupons. You can download coupon apps such as ibotta, checkout51 and many others. You can also find coupons in the Sundays Newspaper, and by visiting the manufacturers website for printable coupons.

-Many manufacturers will send you free coupons just by writting them an email. 

 

Cancel Membership

We all have memberships we signed up for and no longer use. It might seem only a few bucks spend per month, but those expenses add up quickly.

– Cancel unsed gym memberships, and magazine subscriptions.

-If possible switch to Netflix or Hulu as an alternative streaming service.

 

Stay Healthy

I know it seems silly to think you can control when you’ll get sick. But living a healthy lifestyle will save you money in the long run. Start by exercising regularly and keeping a balanced diet. Keep your home clean an disinfect frequently.

-This few tips will help you avoid Dr. visits.

 

Buy Used items

Before purchasing an item, visit Goodwill or check out Craigslist and Ebay for affordable second hand items. 

 

Entertainment

Instead of going out to watch a movie  and spending $50.00 (plus snacks). Find creative ideas such as playing a board game. Check your city event calendar to find free or inexpensive events in your area.

– Invite friends over instead of going out. Get creative and plan a “no spending” date with your partner. 

Get The Kids Involved

Teach the kids how to save money. Start with a piggy bank or a saving jar. Get them involved in helping you create the grocery list and clipping coupons.

-Helps you save money and spend quality time with them.

 

Stop Collecting and Start Selling

We all have things we don’t use. Start decluttering and get rid of things you don’t use by selling them online. Another great way to get the kids involved by having a yard sale and teaching them how to make money.


Buy Quality items

Contrary to previous tip “buy used”. There are certain items such appliances and electronics that you might want to consider investing in buying new. It avoids having to replace them constantly.

– Save money by comparing prices and finding the best deals.


Increase Your Income

Increasing your income will help speed up your savings. You can learn a new skill and sell your services. Get crafty and sell handmade items. Or start a blog to make additional income.😉

-Something to definitely keep in mind is that learning to manage your finances is as (or more) important than increasing your income. If you don’t learn to live below your means, you will find yourself spending more than you make.

 

 

 

How to stay motivated while saving money? 

  1. Set clear financial goals and be realistic. – Don’t plan to save 10k when you have not learned to save 1k.
  2. Set an amount and date when you want to achieve your goal.
  3.  Choose a strong “why”. Decide why you want to save money. What will you use that money for. And  how it will make you feel to save it.
  4. Write it down and post it somewhere where you can review it frequently to keep you motivated. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting, Single mom

10 Annoying Teen Phases

When our kids are growing up, they go through many different stages. Some of them are fun and exciting. For instance, teaching them to ride a bike for the first time, writing a letter to Santa Claus, and getting a visit from the tooth fairy are all fun. However, parents, let’s be honest, that constant need for attention and the pretend play stages can become a bit tiring in many ways.

Even though I enjoyed all those stages with my son, when he began to move from those stages of toddler, grade schooler, and now a teen, I have to say it was an interesting new phase.   Conversations became fuller and more realistic, we can now play board games, and if I win, I win without a tantrum from him.

However, parenting teens comes with many challenges as well and even though it is a blessing to see our kids grow up and watch them become, “hopefully”, responsible young adults, there are other interesting challenges that come with parenting teens. If we are honest, some of these can be annoying at times.

Uber Driver

Welcome to the Uber driver, without pay. Our teens now have friends that want to “hangout” or “chill”, they also have school-related functions, and afterschool activities. This is great, in the way that our teens are figuring out themselves and no longer require that much supervision and attention on our part. But if we are honest, that stage of (non-driving) teen life can soon be pretty annoying and can make us feel like a lifelong taxi driver.

Naïve Parent

When my son first asked me about music, I was excited. I introduced him to bands I enjoyed. I bought him a few CDs, his first guitar and paid for classes. But I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’m sure you too can agree that the radio in the car no longer belongs to the parents, once the teens are in the car. All our favorite podcast and radio talk shows are something we will have to listen to in our own time. “You will probably be called old and uncool for liking that stuff anyways”.

The Refuse to Eat Teen

Having a teen son, I did not think I would experience this phase with him, or at least not the way I did. One day, teens just decide they feel and look fat, and go to the extreme of simply deciding they will not eat. As a parent maybe you’ll figure it will soon go away, but when a few days go by, it becomes concerning. Until this day I don’t know the direct reason my teen went through this, even though I think it was a crush on a girl, I am not certain of it. It wasn’t long until he understood that starvation is not the smartest way to go.

The Annoying Dance

No longer a kid, and not yet an adult. This new stage can make us feel lost as parents. We are familiar with protecting our kids and stepping in to solve problems. But at this stage, it feels more like a dance, of stepping in and out. Stepping in as parent to teach and advise, when our teen needs us, and stepping completely out when we are crossing boundaries and our teens need to learn lessons on their own. That can be a bit tough to watch from the outside without wanting to come to the rescue and solve it all.

The know-it-all teen

There is nothing more annoying than trying to help our teens, advise them and attempt to guide them, only to find out that they have taken none of our advice and do the opposite of what we suggested. One thing that helped me understand why teens do this, is to understand that a significant part of your teenager’s brain, the prefrontal cortex, is undeveloped. In fact, the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until age 25! Therefore, many of the things they do is just because they are still trying to figure out themselves and in the developing stages.

Gazillion Showers Teen

Does your teen take multiple showers? And stay hours in the shower? I know…that is a bit of an exaggeration of my part, but it sure feels like hours. I recently asked other parents, and I can tell you I am not alone on this one. But unless we notice a serious problem – OCD, for example – I think we can be honest and say we know exactly why teens spend that much time in the shower. Ha!

Best to give some space, he’s in a bit of a funny mood!!

Love me one day, Hate Me the Next One

One day they want to spend time with us, they miss mom, and just want all the attention and love. Yes, it feels good, we finally get our babies back, but only for a day. Next thing you know they hate us. Surprisingly, this often happens when discipline must be enforced.

The One-word teen

How was your day? Good. What are you doing? Chilling. Do you love me? Sure… This drives parents crazy, and for a valid reason. But it is important to understand that our teens are constantly fighting many battles themselves. Comparing themselves with others, trying to fit in and developing their own personality. Some days they want to tell you all about their day, and others you’ll get the one-word teen.

The Always Hungry Teen

As teenagers are growing up and developing, it is normal for them to feel hungrier. Like mentioned before, at times they decide they will starve themselves, and other times they will eat everything they find. I honestly debate if this is a good thing, or a bad one. My bank account and budget will probably say it is not fun.

Deeply in love

Love is a tricky emotion, and even though many of us go through being in love as teens, for parents, it can be somewhat concerning. Why? Well when we see our teens in, “lala land”, school is no longer a top priority, grades can begin to drop, they want to be on the phone all day, and lastly knowing that they might be sexually active can be rather scary to imagine. Why is this also concerning? This is because teenage breakups can be one of the more painful experiences in life, and it hurts to see our teens go through that. There is one last reason why the idea of this is concerning. Honestly, I am too young to become a grandma.

 

What are some of the phases, or things your teens do that annoy you?

Finances, Parenting, Single mom

Simple and Effective Single Mom Budget

There are hundreds of ways to create a budget. Finding one that works for you is the challenge. As a single mom, keeping track of my expenses is a top priority, I literally track every dollar that comes in and out. There is a very small margin for error or emotional spending, so keeping an effective budget is essential.

When I first started budgeting I tried different apps and worksheets . Some of them were good, but had nothing to do with my type of lifestyle and would only end up being too complicated to keep up with. Here is a list of my personal budget categories. I hope this helps bring some clarity to your budgeting process.

 

Some of the main tips to creating an effective budget are:

-Create a  new budget before the month begins.

-Review your previous month’s budget, before creating the new one. This will help you find ways to cut back on unnecessary expenses and save more money.  For tips on how to save more money visit – Saving Money Tips 

-Keep your budget simple, and realistic.

-Track every expense, regardless of how small the expense may seem. Even coffee every morning for $2.00 may feel like a small expense, and unnecessary to track, but small expenses add up and can make the difference between taking an extra vacation with your family every year.

 

 

Income

My income goes at the top of the list. Why? Because I need to know how much I have coming in every month to create an effective budget.

In the income area I add my base pay. Under that I add my bonus, overtime pay, and side hustle income which varies from month to month.

Note: I budget my bills and necessities using my base pay only. I never know how much a bonus, overtime or any other funds will be until I get it. Therefore, I never base my necessities on it. Once I receive those funds I use them towards saving, giving, or entertainment.

Check #1

Check #2

Bonus & OT

Side hustles

 

Giving

Giving is something that I added as part of my budget in the last couple of years. I enjoy giving, and I enjoy helping. However, making it part of my budget as a monthly commitment is a recent addition. In this category I include

Money to my local church

Charity (teen choice)

 

 

Saving

For my saving category I try to keep it very simple. I have previously tried a complicated system and I completely failed at keeping up with it. For my savings I have two categories. Why only two? Well, some of my savings come out of my checks automatically, such as my 401k. Therefore, I only keep two other categories.

Emergency fund

Rainy day

 

 

Food

I have seen many budgets that keep “eating out” as part of entertainment, however I decided to keep it under the food category. My teen and I mostly cook at home and prep meals, so the percentage we use to eat out is small.

Groceries

School lunch

Eating out

 

 

Housing

My housing costs are rent only. But if you pay HOA or have home repairs this might be a good place to add those expenses.

-Rent

 

 

Bills

I’ve seen budgets that list cell phone and internet under entertainment. I add it under bills as a necessity, since I use them for my business and my blog.

Electricity

Water

Cell Phone

Internet

 

 

Transportation

Transportation has been a big part of my expenses. Dropping of my teen at school every morning, driving to work, going to church and running errands all quickly add up.

Auto gas

Oil change

Tags & Registration

 

 

Health

We don’t get sick too often. (Knock on wood), but if we do and I have to buy medicine or pay for doctor visits, it is added under the health category.

Co-pays

Medicine

Vitamins

 

 

Insurance

I have medical insurance deducted from my checks. However, if that is an expense you have separately, you may add it under this category.

Renter insurance

Auto insurance

Life Insurance

 

 

Clothing & Personal Care

My family is a family of two. My teen and I. So this expense is usually small. Therefore I decided to combine them.

Uniforms & back to school

Haircuts, shampoo, bodywash, moisturizer etc…

 

 

Lifestyle

Lifestyle is the category I keep for non necessities. The “wants vs the needs”, these are bills I know I can cut back in case of an emergency.

Entertainment or fun category: movies, drinks with friends, Playstation membership for teen.

Netflix

Gym Memberships: even though I consider staying active important, I keep this as a want since there are many ways to stay active.

Teen allowance

Personal Development: books, courses and seminars

 

 

Miscellaneous

Because it is nearly impossible to plan for everything that can happen, I have found this category extremely helpful to have for one time expenses. This month I had to buy batteries for our scale. That is not a recurring expense so I added it under misc.

 

 

Gifts

Gift category is only added on the months it is needed.

Birthdays

Holidays

 

 

Debt Payoff

I currently have no outstanding debt. However, a couple of years ago I would add my credit cards, medical bills and collections to this category.

 

These are my personal budget categories as a single mom. Some categories I have seen other moms add are; day care, formula, pampers etc. You can definitely adjust your categories depending on your needs.

 

 

Categories:

Income

Giving

Savings

Food

Housing

Bills

Transportation

Health

Insurance

Clothing & Personal Care

Lifestyle

Misc

Gifts

Debt

Parenting, Single mom

10 BOOKS EVERY MOM SHOULD READ

The most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children.

 

 

The Kick Ass Single Mom- Emma Johnson

This is a book full of financial, dating and parenting advice. I first found out about Emma Johnson through her awesome blog “Wealthy Single Mom” I have to say she was one of my inspiration to start my own blog. Single moms this is a must read for you!

 

 

 

Strong Mothers Strong Sons – Meg Meeker, MD

As a single mother of a 15 year son. I have to say it has been challenging at times. This book provided me with valuable tools on how to raise a boy into a man. Great book for moms, single or married.

 

 

 

Breathe Mama Breathe – Shonda Moralis

Awesome book, specially for new moms. A book that it’s primary focus is on the health and wellness of moms. An easy to read book with practical ideas to incorporate meditation and mindfulness.

 

 

Mom Up – Kara Kae James

“Thriving with Grace in the Chaos of Motherhood”. This book not only inspires you but also encourages self reflection and digging deeper to become a better mom and woman.

 

 

 

5 love Languages of Children – Gary Chapmen & Ross Campbell 

A couple of years ago I read “The 5 Love Languages” for adults and was very pleased with it. Now that I have read “The 5 Love Languages of Children” I absolutely love it.  It gave me the ability to understand how my son needs to be loved. And what makes him feel cared for.

 

 

Girl Wash your Face- Rache Hollis

In this book the author shares her journey on becoming a wife, a mother, and a business owner. you’ll find practical ideas based on her own experience. A great read for the working mom who wants to learn to balance all aspects of her life. 

 

 

 

You are a bad ass-Jen Sincero

This books is motivating and inspiring. A book to help you reconnect with yourself and bring greatness into your life. This book also offers great skills and techniques to apply to your life.

 

 

 

Sh*tty Mom- Lautie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo & Mary Ann Zoellner

A book full of necessary humor. Perfect for the days you’re not feeling like the best mom in the world.

 

 

Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood – Melissa B. Kruger

An easy to understand bible study. The portions of scriptures are thoughtfully chosen. For those looking for a good study group book, you’ll enjoy this one. 

 

 

 

The Magic Years – Selma H. Fraiberg

This book helps you understand the developing mind and personality of your child. Great imformation about kids emotional and intellectual needs as they develop through the years from toddlerhood through grade school.