Some Blogging Positive Reinforcement

gottmanbook1 John Gottman, in his wonderful book, “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail…And How You Can Make Yours Last” (1994) discusses the criteria for a stable marriage:

“…it all comes down to a simple mathematical formula:…you must have at least five times as many positive as negative moments together if your marriage is to be stable.” 

So, you might ask, what’s a single mom like me doing reading a research-based marriage book?

Yeah, well, about that.

It has nothing to do with wanting to be married or in a relationship, though I do love Gottman’s work and the way he writes about it. I actually stumbled across Gottman’s work through my own research and study on student behavioral success and creating positive learning environments for all children.  Creating a positive learning environment is not unlike marriage in some ways. If a relationship is to be perceived as positive or stable, there must be 5 times as many positive interactions as negative ones. This applies to relationships between parents and children or colleagues.

So, you might ask, what’s that got to do with blogging?  

Well, yeah, about that.

To be honest, blogging hasn’t always been a positive experience for me.  If you are a blogger you know that it feels great when people comment on your posts, when people notice, etc.  This creates a community of sorts where people connect, comment, share and exchange pieces of their lives.  There is a positive exchange and even if you don’t always get positive comments, hopefully, when things are going well (your blog is getting traffic and the traffic is commenting) you, as the blogger experience at least 5 to 1 positives for every negative.

That’s the positive part of blogging.

If, however, you are not self-employed, or have a flexible schedule like a stay-at-home parent or an entrepreneur, or a job that allows you to blog as part of your daily tasks, or, if like me, you just simply don’t know what the he** (can I say that here?) you are doing, then you might begin to experience some negativity associated with blogging.

If you wish to blog daily, but can’t, tally one negative for the frustration of wanting to write but not having time to do it well.j0433180

If you can’t write daily, tally another negative for the disappointment in seeing your blog stats decline.  Blogging really is an “if you write it, they will come” endeavor. 

If you can’t write daily and your blog stats dwindle, it means you are not getting traffic to your site and you are less likely to get comments or feedback on your blog.  Tally another negative or two depending on how much this bothers you.

If you already don’t have enough time to write daily, you likely don’t have the daily time (except maybe on weekends or vacations) to do the required research and study to find out how to get your blog SEO or to drive traffic to your blog, develop your personal brand or simply get over to other blogs you love so you can keep up on what’s happening in their lives, and thereby comment, create and sustain a blog community for yourself.  Tally, at least three negatives for that.

The positive?  Hopefully you are writing for your own purposes and that is enough.  If so, tally more positives for you than negatives.  If not,  then you’ve just ended up in an unstable blog relationship which might not last if you can’t turn that around for your bloggy self.

Maybe intervention is necessary.

For me, this intervention occurred, in part, when Amber over at Making The Moments Count awarded me the Sunshine Award.  I wrote briefly about it in my post titled Awards, Recognition, Reality & Paying It Forward.

That equated to a number of tallies on the positive side of blogging for me. It was not enough to turn around my faltering blogging relationship but it at least kept me from divorcing my blog…at least for now. 

You see, I do write for my own purposes, but somewhere along the line things changed and it became more than just about me.  It became about what I like to refer to as “The Community”.  It is about the friendships.  It is about the challenges we all encounter and share in life.  It is about the camaraderie, the laughter, the tears, the connections. It became about connecting with the real people behind the print.

The biggest negative for me is that I’ve missed keeping in touch with those other really excellent writers out there who share their stories, their perspectives, their knowledge and their lives through their blogs.  I’ve missed what I gain from reading them.

So, you might ask, where am I going with this?

Yeah, well, about that, too.  Like a wayward toddler in the toy store this post had a mind of its own.  I’m working hard to put it back in the stroller, so to speak, but I’m failing, so I’ll get to the point.

sunshineblogaward1 I am going to pay it forward to 10 other bloggers who bring sunshine to my life, but again time constrains me so I’m going to do it in parts.  What makes the bloggers I’m recognizing today so sunny for me is that they, like me, are not professional bloggers or writers.  They struggle with the time demands of a job (outside writing) that takes up most of their day then they come home to the second shift, often on their own without the benefit of a partner. In fact, they don’t even write daily some of them.  That worked in their favor here and that NEVER happens in the blogosphere. 

So, here we go with the first three of ten to get the Sunshine Award from me. 

Drum roll, please.

The first of these blogs I stumbled across months ago.  The author has a graduate degree in Communication, the same area of study I did my undergrad work in.  I’m fascinated by his approach to planned change and how he’s implemented the strategies in his own personal life to not only change his life but deliberately plan and improve his entire existence.  Give it up for jassnight at The Critical Path. Better yet, go visit him!

The second of these blogs, I stumbled across a while back during my internet excursions. I was encouraged by the perspectives of a dad, who blogs and can cook and lives to tell about it.  This must mean his cooking is tolerable; a quality I definitely admire in a man almost as much as I appreciate a man’s ability to communicate thoughtfully.  He says he’s not first date material, but I’m thinking he’s got that wrong, after all, he has a day job and it isn’t blogging.  Give it up for Travis over at A Culminating Life.

The third daddy blogger, gets the sunshine award for keeping it real and sharing the good, the bad, and the irritating post-divorce single parenting realities.  He works in one of the most stressful professions I could imagine in probably one of the most stressful locations in the country.  I applaud him for consistently trying to be the best dad he can be and for sharing his joys and his disappointments so candidly.  If you haven’t done so already, I’d encourage you to visit Big City Dad.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

So there you have it.  Today’s top three.  I hope they got some positive reinforcement from this award and will now share this award with ten other bloggers who bring them sunshine (however, they choose to define it).  It’s going to be very fun reconnecting and visiting all their great links…at Spring Break! 

What’s Up With The Broken Heart?

So, I posted yesterday’s post and a bunch of peeps contacted me today wondering if and why I had a broken heart. 

Just to clarify…no…I am not currently experiencing Broken Heart Syndrome.

Yes, I have experienced it many times in the course of my life, with 2009 being a record-breaking year in the relationship department since being single. Contrary to popular belief, a broken heart doesn’t get easier to deal with as one gets older.  I think it gets worse. I don’t know why this is.

As for last night’s post, I just wrote and what came out is what came out.  Were there any events that triggered that post?  That’s a great question!

In all honesty, I’d have to say yes there were incidents that led up to me writing a post on the broken hearted, but it wasn’t my broken heart that started me down that path. 

Nor was it the sense of any dying dream that I was coming to grips with having to give up. 

In reality, I was just tired.

I was bone weary tired to be exact.  It’s been a long, grueling, exhilarating six weeks.  The adventure of doing new things, the excitement of opportunity, the hope of what can be possible is both energizing and exhausting.  The most difficult element is that when the demanding pace slows, and the seeds that were planted lay momentarily dormant before bursting into full bloom, there is a season of waiting.  This waiting can be somewhat anticlimactic.

I know this because I’ve been there in that place of let down after a great experience.

I am not there now.  I don’t feel any let down or disappointment or anything other than a sense that something really exciting is just around the corner.  Even if the most exciting thing that is around the corner is Spring Break, I still am feeling nowhere near sad, lovelorn or despairing because things somewhere in my life are less than I desire.

The reality is that some things in my life are less than I desire (except where the scale is concerned and then…well…let’s not go there in this post), but I’m not broken up over them.  Well, at least, not today.  The reality is also that some things in my life are better than I ever could have imagined at this point.  It’s also true that there are many, many things in my life that are still unwritten, untold, unimagined.  These are the things yet to be which are not now. It’s life.  It’s my life.  It’s everyone’s life to some degree, I think.  The good, the bad, the becoming, the yet to be. The happy, the sad, the exciting, the disappointing…the ever so daily.

Life is just moving along and I like it…at least most of it, most of the time.

No broken heart here, though I’ve had my share of experiences with the Broken Heart Syndrome.  No thwarted dreams, though I have a few of those too. The reason I wrote what I wrote yesterday is simply because I sat down to write last night and that post is what came out.

I liked it.

I posted it.

That’s all.   

A Broken Heart

 

imageI know it is an idiom: The idea of a broken heart.  Your heart doesn’t literally break like some glass ornament that can shatter when it falls from the tree. It is merely an expression indicating great pain. Pain usually associated with the loss of a love.

I know this pain.

I know this pain intimately.

For me, this pain, while usually referred to in emotional terms, is one I experience on a physical level as well as on an emotional level. Most often, for me, it has been associated with the loss of a love, the end of a hope of a shared joy, the end of a dream that will never become a reality.  For me, mostly, this broken heart experience occurred when I finally realized that the relationship I thought I had was nothing like what I thought I had.  Broken hearts, for me, represent endings.

It is a very real emotional pain, but I also experience a tangible physical pain. It resides in my chest, just to the right of center and it feels like someone wedged a pick ax in at that particular point and is now trying to pull my heart right out from my body or, at least crush it so that it beats no more.

It is a physical pain as well as an emotional pain.

What I didn’t know, was that sometimes, a broken heart occurs for reasons other than lost, failed, or unrequited love.

A broken heart can occur sans the love between two humans.

A broken heart can occur when a dream that you loved, that you hoped for, that you worked for, dies.

Broken hearts might always be about love, but sometimes they are not about lovers.

Awards, Recognition, Reality & Paying It Forward

sunshineblogaward1

Sometimes life is funny and when you least expect it, it happens.  Whatever “it” is.

I was gifted with my first blog award by my friend Amber over at  Making The Moments Count.  To be honest, she completely blew me away with this!  She awarded me with The Sunshine Award.  She mentions in her post that I pose questions that make her think. I’m pleased that what I write resonates at some level with someone.  On a more personal and direct level, thank-you, Amber for letting me know in such an affirming and public way that my Random Musings means something to you.  Your appreciation means more to me than the award itself.  Thank you!

Reality

I’ve long desired to be recognized as a blogger, but I’ve also been realistic in my thinking.  I don’t have the time available to me each day to really do the kind of consistent search engine optimized writing every day that I need to be doing in order to really be an award winning blogger.  This post is likely a good example of what I’m talking about as I’m writing it at nearly 11 in the evening after a full day at work with kids and then a full evening at home with my own children. I won’t edit effectively, I know.  I get that I can’t devote all my time to blogging and it shows.   I’m also not so certain I am the next  J.K. Rowling or John Grisham of the blogging world.  So be it.  I have to write to please me instead of for other reasons at this time of my life.  I’d given up whatever fleeting hope I had of being recognized in the blogosphere.  And then…Amber.

I’m so honored that I was noticed and recognized by another bloggy friend in spite of the fact that I can only visit and comment sporadically on her posts (or anyone else’s for that matter these days).  I am especially amazed that I received it given that I don’t write daily and blogging is such an  “if you write it they will come” sort of endeavor. 

Recognition

Amber has given me the gift of a positive recognition for something I do that she appreciates.  When she gave out the award, she didn’t just say I was great or that she loved my stuff.  She specifically named what I did that meant something to her. 

Think kids or dogs are the only ones who appreciate some positive recognition and attention?  No way!  I’ve basked privately in this one for the last week (or has it been longer?) since she awarded it.  It means something to me. It means something to me to know that something I thought and took the effort to put in print resonated with someone else.  It especially means something to me that it resonated with Amber, because when I read her blog, I read myself, 19 years ago or maybe 17, with two young girls and I feel all the same things all over again.  Mostly the fatigue!  I’m so grateful I could impact her life positively if only to question, to challenge, to stimulate thinking, because I sure can’t help with babysitting, though, if we lived closer together, I’d certainly be glad to help! 

Paying It Forward

j0430681 Amber received something from my writing and she paid it forward by letting me know.  Now it is my turn to pay ten other bloggers the compliment.  I will be paying it forward in the next few days (I am preparing for a big presentation at a state conference while also preparing for a professional development class for educators next week so, please, be patient). 

Further, I’m going to encourage my readers to consider paying it forward positively as well.  Have you had someone do something or say something that mattered to you in the last week or month.  Has someone done something or demonstrated some quality or skill that you admire?  Has someone made your life better, easier, more joyful in some way?  I encourage you to take a moment and let them know.  It could be that the positive response from you is just the thing they need to hear at just the right moment. 

If it matters to you…if it resonated with you…if it made you think or impacted you …won’t you let the person know?  I’m certain they’d appreciate knowing that their contribution to this thing we call life didn’t go unnoticed.

Lessons from Family Guy

It’s been said that children are always learning and learning all the time.  The real question is, “What exactly is it they are learning?”.  Further, the concerned parent might go so far as to ask where are they learning it and from whom? I’m warning you.  Don’t explore this too deeply.  The knowledge you discover might  alarm you if it doesn’t send you to your grave early.

Today, I was attempting to convey the meaning of the word synagogue to a group of fourth graders.  The word for some of them who are still learning English is a bit of a mouthful and I wanted to help attach some meaning to it for them since, it was in our reading selection for the week.  Don’t get all alarmed that I wasn’t respecting the proper division between church and state.  We were reading an Encyclopedia Brown excerpt.

After explaining the meaning of the word synagogue, one of my students blurted out in frustration, “Awwww!  I should have known that!  I learned that off Family Guy!”

Okay, maybe my definition was off…I’ve got to go back and check Websters.

Sigh.

Children are always learning and learning all the time.

Even in homes where television, radio and computer access are strictly controlled and monitored, children learn things that their parents are less than happy about.  Even though a parent might be diligent in monitoring the influences that children are exposed to, it is difficult to monitor the influences their friends are exposed to.

In spite of the very large influence that school, friends and media have on how children are influenced and what they learn, the home (generally) and parents (in particular) are the most influential factor in a child’s learning and development.

It is also often the case that what we intend to teach is not exactly what was learned.

Children are always learning and learning all the time.

What are you teaching?

Is this what they are learning?

How can one be sure?

I ask the questions simply because, if we are to be honest, our children learn far more from who we are than what we tell them.  Are they learning what we want them to learn? Better yet, are they learning what I want them to learn?

Behavior Expectations~Do You Have Any For your Child?

It is the busy season for The Wild Mind.  I have a day job that I love and which keeps me busy enough.  In addition, I am in the process of  branching out to include teaching and working with adults.  Currently, I am teaching a series of workshops on creating a positive home climate.  Everyone wants it. How do we achieve it?

Clearly a big piece of this focuses on behavior expectations for children, and how it is handled when the child does not meet the expectations.  Research shows that it is best if parents, teachers, caretakers adhere to a set of 3-5 clearly stated expectations.  As an educator, I intuitively understood this when thinking of my students and my classroom environment, but when it came to my home?  No way!

Over the last 4 years, I’ve changed my tune entirely.  Not only did I come to realize in my rejection of the three simple rules idea, that I actually had many more rules and expectations for my students than just the three.  This was in impossibility to enforce and, as such, it never really was enforced.

I now have three expectations in my home:  Be safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible.  These expectations drive everything we do and how we behave in my home.  After all, am I not, as the only adult in my home, the key player in my home for providing clarity and order.  Am I not the one tasked with trying to make sure my children are prepared for adulthood and successful in life, especially once that life no longer involves me reminding them of all they must do?

I’ve mentioned my 3 expectations.  They are not the only ones out there.  I know this.  They are just the ones that work for me (and there is some research behind them that indicates that they really work for many others).

Have you stopped to think about what your expectations are for your children?  How many expectations  do you have?  Are they clearly written somewhere?

Monsoons of Adolescence or How Parenting a Teenager is Sometimes Like Experiencing A Sudden Flash Flood.

Teen-Arguing682874470a-main_Full Ever been in Tucson in the middle of the summer?  For me, the weather is gorgeous.  I love opening my door and feeling that blast of heat that resembles an oven set to 450 degrees.  I lived in Tucson one summer and loved every minute of it.  It was the only time as a parent that I enjoyed the stay-at-home-mommy status. 

One thing that comes with that glorious heat is the instantaneous monsoon weather.  One minute the sky is brilliantly blue and the weather hot.  Perfect tanning times.  The next moment, you are running for cover under a downpour so torrential even a native Oregonian would fear for her life.  Flash floods are no joking matter.  Monsoon season is just a way of life for the native Southwesterner.  I loved it, but during my short stay in the region, I never got over the sudden switch the weather could make from serene to stormy. 

Sometimes we mess up as parents and make the wrong decision or say something ( even well intentioned) in a way that wasn’t received quite the way we hoped by the teenager. Before we know it, the sunny weather in our home has transitioned to hurricane force gales with words hurling like debris in a tornado. 

In instances like these, you might wonder, what just happened there? You might also wonder, why am I saying that?  Or why is he/she saying that?!

The reality is, no matter how good we become as parents, we are bound to have some conflict with our teenager at some point. My mother used to suggest that the best remedy for this sudden monsoon like behavior in our teen is, simply, to dig a hole, bury them and unearth them when they turn 25.  Now, I’m not sure how practical it would be to bury anyone alive, let alone a teenager (especially if they have a cell phone with text messaging), but I got my mom’s point:  sometimes all you can do when dealing with the sudden mood shifts is to hang on and wait out the storm.

Sometimes those mood shifts are unexpected and unexplained.  Sometimes, we as parents, create them by being less than supportive, or positive or by not listening closely enough to our child.  Whatever the case, even in the best of homes some conflict is bound to occur.

What strategies do you employ to mend the rifts and stay connected?

Fun vs. Duty

j0202108 I’m crazy busy these days doing what I consider to be a number of very fun things.  The time it is taking away from my writing, however, is less than fun.  As I was pondering this minor dilemma I began thinking how much of our society panders to our desire for self-gratification.  We want our needs met in relationships.  We want to be fulfilled in our careers. We want to be entertained and amused.  We work all year to blow our money on once-in-a-lifetime vacations that we take year after year. We leave marriages because we’ve simply fallen out of love.  We ask, “What’s in it for me?”

What are your thoughts?

Are we a hedonistic society that panders to the pleasurable? Do we look for the easy way out?  Has duty disappeared with disco?

I’m working on a post that further elaborates on this topic and I’d sure like to know what you think.  (Yes! You!)

Soap Operas, Harlequin Romances, and Heavy Drugs

daysofliveslogo There are some things that have never been a draw for me.  Soap operas, Harlequin romance novels and heavy drugs (or even really mild ones, for that matter) have never posed any particular temptation for me.  Even so, I remember the words from one of the soaps my mother, or maybe it was the babysitter, used to watch: “As sands through the hour glass, so are the Days of Our Lives”. 

Sand, hours, days, lives, soaps, romances and heavy drugs.  It’s an impressive lineup don’t you think? 

Heavy Drugs

Most of my childhood occurred during the seventies when there was a real emphasis on educating children about the dangers of drug use.  Fat lot of good that did any of us!  Sadly, all that well intentioned tax money was wasted on me.  I had, after all, the very best, real life, hands on drug awareness experience a child could have.  I had someone in my own home overdose, get hauled out on a stretcher (yes, picture three wide-eyed children under the age of eight, two bewildered and alarmed parents, large medical emergency vehicles with lights flashing, watching the live-in babysitter get hauled off on a stretcher).  Take one wild guess which of those three children was tasked with trying to awaken the body that had already slipped into a drug induced coma.  That’d be me. 

j0308903 No. Drugs, even in an effort to satiate my deep seated need to be accepted, approved of, and mostly to belong, never ever posed even the slightest temptation to me. 

Soap Operas

This is easy.  Force something on a child all the years they are growing up and, well, chances are they will either acquiesce and adopt the thing or they will rebel.  I had soap operas and TV and noise going on all throughout my childhood. I think this had something to do with having an aging father and two other siblings and living in a home where conversation and opinions and even dissension were not only tolerated, but welcomed.  I rebelled against the TV and noise but retained a love for all things passionate and articulate especially if they tend toward the nonconformist.  After leaving home, I never watched an episode of any of the daytime or nighttime soaps, I loathe TV except for the express and planned purpose of vegging out because I am so overwhelmed and just need to turn my mind off. If given the choice to stay in and watch a movie or something on television, I will opt to read a book, do something in the yard, surf the net, the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-by-stieg-larssontake my dog for a walk, invent cryptic status updates to annoy all my friends on Facebook (who haven’t yet hidden me) with, or write.  But, lately, I don’t have time for even that. Lies!  I’ll always make time for the status update messages, because, well, now I has iPhone!

Harlequin Romances?

This is a bit more convoluted because I love romance.  I love the idea of it.  I love the feel of it.  I love the hope and passion it can inspire.  But really?  If you’ve read one Harlequin romance novel, you’ve read them all.  Give me something along the lines of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, or Dumas’ The Man in the Iron Mask, or even the much more recent and sadly deceased, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy and I’m all in, but a Harlequin romance.  Ugh.  Yawn.  Not a draw for me. 

A Rehabilitated Internet Dating Junkie

In posts past, I’ve alluded to the fact, correction, I point blank declared, that I was an internet dating junkie.  I was.  I admit it.  I was successful with it too, if you consider being able to get dates with attractive, intelligent, employed men by merely posting a profile successful.  If the truth be told, I am still meeting and getting to know people that I “met” and began corresponding with online, over two  years ago.  My social calendar is exceptionally full these days and I haven’t had an online profile anywhere for months.  Okay, I lied, I tried out OKCupid.com and Zoosk on Facebook because I have several friends on Facebook that are dating coaches and, well, curiosity killed the cat. They suggested, I bit.  I’m over it now.  I was on each of those for two weeks, met one person in person who is fabulously interesting, but I could quickly ascertain that I neither have the interest or desire or energy to get back into the online dating thing.  Screening profiles, deleting winks, and wading through thousands of misspelled, poorly punctuated and horribly written profiles is, well, a lot like reading a Harlequin romance.  When you’ve read one…

Temptations and Time~Living Life in Face to Face World

ar120347955688524 The days of our lives can slip away from us like sand pouring through the narrowest portion of the hourglass.  The sand at the top appears untouched, but the sand at the bottom is fighting desperately to comply with gravity’s demands. Eventually, the entire lot of it cascades into the bottom portion of the hourglass.  This seems an appropriate analogy for much of life. 

For me, spending time in fantasy land like soap opera world, internet dating, drug use or reading Harlequin’s is just not something I want to do.  The false and superficial have never attracted me.  Give me an authentic disagreement (done respectfully, I hope) over a false veneer of cheery friendship any day.  When it comes to internet anything, it is so easy to hide, to disguise, to pretend, to escape.  This,  I’m learning, is a temptation that can be very deceptive.  After all the internet comfortably keeps people at a distance.  You can connect, without really ever having to connect.  Don’t want to talk to someone, just show up in stealth mode or “unfriend” them.  It’s the convenience of digital relationship.  Besides, who wouldn’t love to recreate themselves (if even for a few minutes) into something that only mildly portends a resemblance to the reality, or disappear into a relationship that holds the promise of the upside (fun, flirty, romantic and non-invasive) of relationship without any of the downside (how the heck are we going to decide which side of the bed you’ll be sleeping on? And why do I have to make room in my closet for you?). 

I’m also learning that this kind of relating, while useful for providing some entertainment value and escapist fun, does not really work for me.  I’m not twenty something anymore.  A few years back, I had to renew my driver’s license.  My picture, is awful, as most of them are.  Mine was especially bad, because as I was going through the renewal process I was crying.  I was aging, caught in a nightmare at that time I felt I could not escape and I truly thought my life was over.  My outlook is so different today. 

I’m still aging.  I can’t do much about that.  I ended the nightmare the best way I could, but I ended it.  The fallout from that has not been easy but life is good.  I’m meeting many fabulous new people through the adventures I’m having with the friends I already know in my face-to-face world.  Some of the digital relationships have bridged the gap from being merely digital to actually tangible, and, while romance isn’t running rampant in my life like weedy vines overtaking my garden, some very valuable and wonderful friendships have developed.  I’m busier than ever with work opportunities in an area where people are struggling to hold onto their homes after losing their jobs.  I’m meeting people in my community that I enjoy spending time with and who, while very different from me, are a source of friendship and camaraderie.  I’m healthier than I was at the start of the year, in every sense of that word, and I like it.  I’m busier than I’ve ever been and yet, less stressed and more content.  I find all of this slightly ironic, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth by over-analyzing it.  

j0179131I’m simply going to ride this horse where ever it will take me.

After all, life is short.  Far too short and far too valuable to allow it to disappear into the meaningless, the shallow, the pain-dulling fantasy escapes that come in so many forms whether, digitally digested, inhaled, injected or imbibed.

Southern Oregon Single Parents Group Startup?

j0308958 I’ve long been pondering something and I think the time to make this dream a reality is upon me.  I’ve toyed with the idea of starting up a single parents group that is more than just an opportunity for single parents to get together to date or do activities with their kids.  Opportunities like that abound already.  I have a vision for something more.  I have a vision for a group that caters to the single parent socially, but in other ways too.  I have a vision for a group that is a resource and a network for single parents to provide them the support they need in the tough adventure of parenting solo. 

I have a number of single parent friends, both male and female, who have sole custody of their children.  The other spouse has gone AWOL, disappeared or is somehow nonexistent.  These parents have the pleasure of not having to co-parent with an antagonistic other parent, but they also have the down side of never having a weekend or evening to themselves without having to pay for a babysitter.  They also have the added emotional burden of seeing their children struggle through the emotional pain of feeling abandoned by their other parent.  I’d love to create a group that provides resources for these parents so that they can find the counseling they need or desire at a reasonable cost (free if necessary).  I’d love to create a group that can provide quality trained babysitting for these parents so they can get away to shop without the kids or just have some of their own adult time. 

I also have a number of single parent friends, both male and female, who are on the outside looking in.  These are the parents who have, through divorce and circumstance, ended up being ousted out of their children’s lives by the ex.  The pain, loss and loneliness these parents experience is unbelievable.  I would love to create a group that meets the needs of these single parents too.

j0401884 As a single parent myself, newly divorced, I was scared and had no idea how I was going to maintain my home on my own on a very limited budget.  Were it not for friends and even community professionals who cut me a deal every now and then, I would never have been able to make the repairs and improvements to my home that I  needed to make.  Things like changing a light fixture, installing a ceiling fan, designing and installing an in-ground sprinkler system and caring for plants and a yard, changing the oil in a car and maintaining vehicles are all things that can be overwhelming to the single mom and maybe some dads, who just aren’t handy and who don’t have the post-divorce finances to hire a professional.  I have a vision for a group that provides the training, the networking and the expertise of area professionals at a reasonable cost to those single parents who must watch every dime as they recover from the havoc that divorce can wreak in the life of a family financially, emotionally, socially and more. 

I’ve been a single parent now for three years.  It hasn’t been easy and I’ve struggled and stumbled much of the way.  Thanks to a wonderful support group of friends and family I’ve made it, but it hasn’t been easy.  I would have loved to have had a resource I could go to where I could connect with others in a similar situation, learn from them, get help with home maintenance or other needs, and not have to worry about compromising my already very tight budget. 

I have a vision for something more than just another social networking activity.  Maybe it’s just a pipe dream.  I don’t know. It just seems like it is the kind of thing that could really help make the difference in the lives of single parents and the children they love.