Archive of ‘Single Parenting’ category

Daddy Did Something Called ‘Suicide’…and Other Things I Told My Children

By Michelle Miller

***DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or therapist of any kind. Deciding what you tell your children about suicide and/or the death of their parent is entirely up to you. What you decide to tell or not tell them is about knowing who they are and what they can and cannot handle based on their unique personality. The night my husband killed himself, I called our marriage counselor and discussed with him the best way to tell my children what had happened. The following blog is about the conversation I had with my kids (to the best of my memory), and is being posted with the intent to help others, not to judge what methods anyone else has used in regards to their children’s grief process.

The transcript of the conversation I had with my kids about John’s death is being shared with the permission of my children (now 10 and 14 years old). Certain parts that they found too personal have been left out, but the majority of the full conversation I had with them has remained intact. It is their desire to help other kids who have lost a parent to suicide feel less alone in their experience.

I believe talking to children about the death of a parent should never be a one-time conversation. I believe it should be a series of discussions that take place throughout their lifetime, and the following blog post was the first of those conversations.

 

THE “S” WORD

I remember when I thought the most uncomfortable conversation I’d have with my children was about sex; turns out, I was wrong. My husband John’s suicide in 2014 obliterated my fear of the sex talk; actually, his suicide pretty much obliterated everything in my life……and all of the things around my life.

And outside of my life.

And inside of my body, heart, and soul.

Ah suicide aftermath! The horrible gift that keeps on giving.

What I will not be discussing today, is the emotional environment that existed the morning I had to break the awful news to my kids. I am still (almost three years later) unable to put into words what it is and what it means to tell your kids what suicide is and that their father has just done it.

***shutter***

What I will be discussing today is the plain facts of what was said, and why I chose to tell my kids the truth. I know it is uncharacteristic of my writing, but I will be keeping humor and emotion out of it for now.

WHY I CHOSE TO TELL THEM THE TRUTH

I want all of you to know why I decided to tell my kids the truth about John’s suicide in the first place. I mean, I could’ve spared them the trauma of suicide aftermath and told him he accidentally shot himself during target practice, right?

Wrong. For our family, this would’ve been the wrong choice.

What I know about my son (who was seven years old at the time) is that he is curious, and what I know about my daughter (who was eleven at the time) is that she is highly intuitive, which is why there was no way in hell I could’ve lied to them about their father’s suicide. Not only was the term “self-inflicted” going to be on his death certificate (that they would be able to have access to one day should they ever want it), but I also knew that they would be able to tell that I was hiding something from them.

I feel like in general, we as a society tend to minimize not only the intelligence of children, but the deeply profound spiritual connection they have to their parents.

Kids know. 

Kids know more than we think, so I believe that we might as well tell them. My six years of working with elementary and middle school special needs students in addition to parenting my own, has assured me of this fact.

KIDS KNOW.

I feel like lying to my children would’ve invalidated their inner voices. It would’ve invalidated the thing whispering to them, “there’s something more to this story….” and as their mother, I’ve always believed it is one of my many jobs to teach them to not only listen to their inner voices, but to also trust those inner voices.

I felt completely confident telling them the facts about what had happened in short, easy to understand sentences. I told them a few facts that morning and answered any questions they had, while restraining (by some miracle) tears or panic in my voice.

Shock is a gift and it’s what made me able to tell my kids what had happened without having my emotions usurp their own.

 

WHAT I TOLD THEM

Setting: In their bedroom at my parent’s house, early Monday morning.

Me: We need to talk. Last night while you were sleeping, daddy died.

They: (hysterical cries)

Me: (physically comforting them without saying a word)

They: How did he die?

Me: His brain was sick. 

They: We saw him yesterday and he didn’t seem sick. 

Me: Brain sickness can be hard for other people to see. I think he hid it from us so we didn’t worry.

They: Did he just fall down and then you took him to the hospital?

Me: No. He died out in the middle of the desert. 

They: How did you know he died?

Me: He knew he was going to die, so he sent me a text message and then I called him and talked to him for a little bit before he died while Papa called 911, but by the time they found daddy, he was already dead. 

They: How did he know he was going to die? Did his brain just start hurting?

Me: Daddy did something called ‘suicide.’ His brain was so sick that it told him he shouldn’t be alive anymore. His brain told him to take a gun out to the desert and to shoot himself.

They: He shot himself?!

Me: Yes. But it wasn’t him shooting himself, it was his sick brain. If your heart stops working, you have a heart attack. If your lungs stop working you can’t breathe and you die. If your brain stops working it controls your thoughts, and your thoughts tell you that you should be dead so you do whatever you can to make yourself die.

They: (more hysterical cries)

Me: There is going to be a lot happening this week. There is already family in the living room and more people might want to come by to see us. You guys can do and say and feel whatever you want. If you don’t want people here, I’ll tell them to leave. If you want your friends here and you just want to stay in your room that’s okay too. Nothing you do will get you in to trouble except for maybe if you burn the house down (slight laughter and ease of tension). You don’t have to go to school this week unless you want to. You might hear people using phrases like, “passed away, funeral, casket, suicide, cremation” and other things that sound confusing. If you want to know what they mean, just ask me. If you have any other questions about what happened, just ask me. You will see a lot of adults cry. This might feel scary for you but it’s going to be okay. A sad thing happened and it’s okay for everyone to be sad and cry. 

*****

And just like that, their innocence was taken.

So many parents miss this. They wake up one morning to find that their children no longer exist in the realm of childhood, and they wonder when and how it happened. I got to witness the beginning of my children’s transformation into the heaviness of adulthood. They had responsibility now. They would have to learn to heal themselves. This is something I cannot do for them; this is something that cannot be taught.

I don’t remember if it was seconds or minutes, but that morning, in the presence of that unique kind of light that happens when it is still night time, but also morning, I watched my kids sleep. I watched and I savored their last moments as children before I had to teach them the one universal truth about life: that it is not fair. Dad’s die.

There will never be a greater privilege in my life than watching the last moments of their childhood.

And even with all of the darkness that took place after this, even after all of the screams and tears and coldness inside of my body that I still can’t seem to shake, this memory of them sleeping warms me.

Well, so much for me not getting emotional! I still held up on my promise to not use humor in this post though so I am half way winning!

Even after writing this, I still can’t believe this actually happened. Furthermore, I still can’t believe I have been given the gift of a forum and an audience to speak about these things on and to! Thank you all who continue to read my ramblings and commiserate with me through this train wreck called, widowhood.

© Copyright2017 Michelle Miller

What My Daughters Have Taught Me About Grief

By Lisa Dempsey Bargewell

Dealing with my own widow grief is harrowing; however, dealing with my daughters’ pain is beyond paralyzing. One is an adult and married, my other is 16 and as I have written about before, she has autism and requires 24 hour care. For me, the delightful pleasures of motherhood can lift me incredibly high and the pain of watching them mourn can capsize my spirit. If you have children, how have you dealt with their sorrow? What have they taught you about grief?

As parents we want to mend and banish our children’s suffering. Their foundation and beliefs of the world have been fractured. Nevertheless, grief is individualized and as distinct as a set of handprints smeared in finger paint. Many days I have felt overwhelmed not knowing how to meet all of their needs or how to be their resource of direction. In fact, in countless ways, they have also lost the mom that they knew as well.

As my daughters’ names are lovingly etched in the corridors of my heart and in my prayers, I have grappled with how to proceed. Through my grief counseling, the following ideas (primarily for my youngest) have assisted me in navigating their grief: 1. Reveal age-appropriate information about their father’s passing  2. Address their fears  3. Provide reassurance that they are not to blame 4. Acknowledge their feelings  5. Allow them to express their emotions in a safe manner and for me to listen to what is being spoken and more importantly, what is not spoken  6. Re-establish their sense of safety in the world  7. Respect their way of copying  8. Facilitate their involvement in remembering and honoring their father 9. Cultivate a support system that is going to help them forge ahead 10. Encourage them to joyfully embrace the future while taking along the precious memories and building on them.

My parenting goal in life has always been to celebrate their individuality. Furthermore, to emulate our Savior’s love, to lavish them unconditionally, and to reflect my faith even amidst our catastrophic loss. Nevertheless, the interesting thing throughout this journey is once again, my daughters have been my unsurpassed teachers.

My oldest daughter captivates me. Her enchanting grace dazzles me and the tenderness in her eyes recharges me. She learned at a young age how vulnerable life can be. She assisted in the care of her grandmother during her fight with cancer, she has sacrificed and advocated for her sister, and she lost her first “official” boyfriend to suicide. Moreover, while her father was undergoing his courageous battle with cancer, she took time off from college to assist in his care. Since David’s death, she continues to be my biggest motivator as she empowers me to re-establish who I am. Just one example, shortly after my husband’s passing, I realized that I had not gotten gas in my car for nearly 20 years. I understand this might sound laughable; although, David always got if for me and the thought of getting gas on my own was literally terrifying. She took me to the gas station, not just once, but three times and patiently showed me how to work the pumps. She sweetly explained the steps and told me, “Mom, you can do this and you have the ability to grow.”

My litany of love for my youngest is also beyond measure. No one ever expects to have a child with autism; on the other hand, the awe factor in that statement is that no one ever realizes the undeniable miracles and beauty that arises forth. Consequently, her comprehension is so limited and yet, I believe she is so much smarter than me. On the days that she is missing Daddy even more profoundly, she always puts in the movie, “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” She signs to me or tells me on her communication program, “Sit down and watch with me.” While we watched it again last night, every time a quote dealing with life and death was spoken, she took my hand and put it over her heart. Here are a few: “Now I am not asking you to be happy at my leaving but all I ask you to do is to turn the page and let the next story begin.”  “We must face tomorrow, whatever it may hold, with determination, joy, and bravery.” “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”

As my girls have been my pillar of strength, I constantly reiterate these two nuggets of parenting wisdom: “Being a mother, as far as I can tell, is a constantly evolving process of adapting to the needs of your child while also changing and growing as a person in your own right.” -Deborah Insel and “As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible.” -Ruth Bell Graham.

As always, you are welcome to comment and/or share. I am humbled time and time again as I learn from each one of you.

Due to health issues, I will be cutting back to posting my Wednesday blog to every other Wednesday. On April 29th my topic will be, “A Widow, a Wedding and a Funeral.”

Holding All of You in My Heart and Prayers,

Lisa Dempsey Bargewell

Follow the Star

By Cathy Nelson

I hate the holidays!!!!

It’s that time again to celebrate with family and friends, and I find myself asking, Celebrate what?????

This is my third holiday season without Ray. During the last Christmas we shared, it was all he could do to sit in a chair while IV fluids ran into his veins. The highlight of the day was when some members of our church stood outside our window and sang Christmas carols and hymns to us. As I recall this memory and share it with you, my tears are flowing.

Perhaps you’re like me – a caregiver who spent years tending to your ill husband. In this position, you spent countless sleepless nights, experienced endless hospitalizations, and attended numerous doctor appointments, all the while constantly worrying and working to pay the mounting bills. Now that your husband has passed away, you find yourself a single mother who spends hours working and caring for your children. Of course, you didn’t have any say about these situations with which you’ve had to learn to cope. And it’s just plain hard.

When you think about the holidays, perhaps, it’s not that you hate them. Maybe, it’s just that you’re exhausted – both emotionally AND physically spent.

I’d like to make a suggestion to offer you a change in perspective and to help you through this difficult time. As the holiday season picks up steam, one of the signs you’ll often notice is that of a star, which represents a light in the darkness. Maybe, if you can embrace that light, your spirits will be lifted. I know, for me, the light represents the miracle of the holidays – the joy, the love, and the peace that can come into your life, if you will allow it to do so.

Just as the three wise men followed the star to find their miracle, so you too can find your light this holiday season.

If you’re looking for something positive upon which to grasp, here’s my suggestion: follow the star; its light just may lead you to Joy.

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Wacky Wednesday-a New Perspective!

By Lisa Dempsey Bargewell

I ache for my husband. My soul yearns for him, and I wrestle with despair. Nevertheless, as I have encountered the different stages of grief, I have strived to decipher the vastness and resolution of death. My youngest, precious gem of a daughter cannot. She has profound, low-functioning autism. Her compression and processing abilities are severely limited. My husband, her father, passed away a little over two and half years ago. She continues to ask for him through sign language or on her augmentative communication program, sometimes up to 50 times per day. Their bond was miraculous as he was able to engage her and tirelessly advocate for her needs.

Although my endurance comes from my faith in our Almighty, I feel powerless as I hold back the tears each time she asks when he is coming home from work. She feeds off of my emotions- negative or positive. With that in mind, I have to choose life despite the dark terrain that I am traveling. I have to navigate and create a joyous perspective for both of my girls. Oscar Wilde’s quote reflects my goal, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that’s all.”

Keeping my explanations simple and direct, I usually answer her by reminding her how much her Daddy loves her. How proud he is of her. That he did not want to die. That he wanted to stay with her, that she did nothing wrong. Sometimes people get sick. Most of the time, people get better. For whatever reason, Daddy did not get better. He is up in heaven with Jesus. He is not in pain anymore. In addition, I always convey to her that she can talk to him anytime. We always end our discussion blowing kisses up to him in heaven. She seems to need this tangible, comforting reminder over and over.

I facilitate a home based autism academic and therapy program for her. The trick to teaching her is to keep the mood goofy, light, and fun infused. Despite the gaping hole in our life, I desire her to know the grandness of being alive. That amidst our sorrow and her adversity that hope arises, that unexpected delights are always present, that the anticipation of wonder is still around the corner, and that she is loved and celebrated immeasurably by me, others, and ultimately by God.

With that said, I have formulated names for the days of the week that we use as a springboard to redirect and propel us forward with a new perspective. Right now the days are:

  1. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Sunday”- As soon as I even start to say it, she starts laughing-which is music to my ears. Throughout the day I find ways to implement it into our conversations, it never loses its ability to promote giggles.
  2. “Make-Believe Monday”- We dress-up and act out various TV and movie characters. Playing pretend holds such magic and allows her to flourish.
  3. “Terrific Tuesday”- We keep a chart on how many times we can say terrific (sign or communication app), we aim for 20 and then we get a special Tuesday treat.
  4. “Wacky Wednesday”- Everything, and I mean everything, is set forth to be crazy and backwards! It’s her favorite day, especially when I try and wear her clothes and her socks on my hands.
  5. “Topsy-Turvy Thursday”- Upside down, turned around, inside out, etc.… You name it, we do it!
  6. “Freaky Friday”- We base this on one of her favorite movies. We reverse roles; she becomes the mother and me the daughter. The twinkle in her eyes on Fridays never cease to charm me.
  7. “Serious Saturday”- As the name implies we attempt to be stern; however, as cause and effect takes over, this has become a proven avenue to being lighthearted and cheerful.

I marvel at how my daughter unknowingly has made my heart teachable; how following through these daily themes has altered my being and made my spirit bendable. It reiterates the fact that we have the power to cultivate our thoughts and enrich our lives. Even if you don’t have children, maybe you can use this silliness to fuel a change of perspective? Moreover, as Proverbs 4:23 states, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” A Wacky Wednesday to all of you!

Blessings to You,

Lisa Dempsey Bargewell

Next Wednesday’s blog topic: The Day I Lost My “Esprit” and Put On a Mask!

Take the Sick Day

By Roslyn Geertsen

I am rarely sick. When I feel an illness coming on, I’m impatient, and never want to take the time out of life to rest enough and care for my body so it can deal with the illness before it blooms into something painful and enduring. I tend to just keep going, putting in token efforts to take the remedies, but taking the attitude of “I don’t have time for this. If I don’t keep going, who will do all that needs to be done?”

I did it again. I became ill on vacation, and when I got home I had two days where nothing was planned. Then on the third day, major responsibilities were back on my plate.

I could have taken those two days and stayed in bed. I could have rested while I had no commitments, let my body have all the sleep it was begging for, and started the healing process.

But I listened to the nagging thoughts in my head. “It would be so good to get THIS done…”,  or “You really ought to do THIS…”…and the two days quickly filled to the brim with tasks and I never rested. When the third day arrived, I was feeling worse, and the next two weeks were filled with congestion and coughs that seemed never ending.

Finally, last weekend, I had to give in. This had been going on for weeks, and apparently my body was giving me a message: Slow down! I had taken the grandchildren to a petting farm, and they’d had a wonderful time, but as the morning wore on I felt worse and worse, and before lunch time I knew I was in trouble. I took them home and let their mother feed them while I immediately went to bed. I piled on the blankets (now I was alternating between fever and chills) and fell asleep – and slept for five hours. I awoke long enough to drink some juice, and slept the rest of the evening and through the night.

I’d let it go on long enough I needed medical help, and I saw a doctor the next day. Finally now, after four days, I’m beginning to see improvement. But how much better would I most likely be if I’d taken those two days two weeks ago to take care of this?

When we are the only caregiver for our children, and all the responsibility for everything lies on our shoulders, we can think we don’t have time to take care of ourselves. Let this be a reminder that you’re much wiser to, as soon as possible, force yourself to carve out the necessary time to let yourself get better – BEFORE it turns into something much worse.

So if you’re coming down with something, call in reinforcements to help with children, job, and other responsibilities; do whatever you can to clear the calendar – and Take the Sick Day!

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Ideas for Connecting with Children

By Roslyn Geertsen

Last week I wrote about the importance of being able to play with our children, to help them feel joy once more, especially in light of the great loss they have experienced.

How do you play with the children in your life?

I attended a conference for people in business, and one of the speakers said that the most effective business people know how to make time to play, even in very simple ways. He talked of one man who owned a multi-million dollar company who would go to the park and swing on the swing set to feel the joy he wanted to feel.

As I sat there, I realized I hadn’t really played in a very long time. I’d become serious about everything, and rarely thought about playing with my children. I realized not only did they need that play, needed it too.

Here are a few ideas of simple things you can do with your children to bring back the playfulness that can lighten the load you are all carrying.

Go to a park and ALL of you swing – not just the children!

Go fly kites together.

Mix up a batch of playdough and see what you can create.

Take a ball or frisbee to a park to play with.

Finger paint – (don’t forget the old shirts over your clothes!)

Pillow figjht – with SOFT pillows and a few ground rules!

Paper wars – wad up a bunch of papers, and just like a snowball fight, chase each other around the house seeing how good your aim is.

Jump on a trampoline together.

It’s just a start – and my challenge to you is to make your own list so when you have the urge to do something together you can quickly make a choice and go do it!

 

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Children and Grief – Help Them Remain Children

By Roslyn Geertsen

Children and Grieving – Help Them Remain Children

Childhood. That word often brings up images of innocence, of carefree years, of discovery, joy, and wonder. Adults often go to great lengths to help their young child feel safe, protected, and secure. When a child loses a parent and they are forced to face tragedy, in their eyes that security and protection can be shattered.

My daughter was ten when her father drowned. As the months passed, I noticed she was becoming more sober, more serious, and less childlike.

It’s normal after experiencing tragedy to realize that life is uncertain, and that the possibility of tragedy is ever-present. Often children lose their spontaneity and their delight in life, and live in constant apprehension of yet another tragedy. Their childhood seems to be cut short.

What can we do to help them?

In studying things that bring happiness in life, one thing that I have found to be true is the idea that as long as we live, we need wholesome recreation. We need to remember to play, no matter how old we are. As a person grieves the loss of a loved one, it will take time to feel a desire to ‘have fun’, but it is important to respond to that desire as soon as you can.

Help the grieving children in your life to heal by helping them be children as much as possible. Create times to have fun together, if even for just a few minutes. Keep a list of the things you enjoyed doing, so when you feel a need to play together again, you can quickly choose an activity to share.

I’ve always loved the scripture, “Men are that they might have joy.” I believe that as we help the grieving children in our lives to find that joy, our hearts will experience it, too, and we will all find deeper and more long-lasting healing.

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Integrating a New Man Into Your Family Life

By Ellen Gerst

family 72314While some of you may be ready to find and welcome new love after loss, your children may not be so anxious for this life event to proceed. If you’re thinking about this, here is some food for thought.

Let’s talk about what is at the core of the issue first: how you have been approaching dating AND how it is affecting your children.

I believe your approach, which includes the way you integrate dating into your life and the life of your children, greatly impacts how well they might adjust to an eventual marriage and step family.

After my first husband died, my first thought was about my children. Somehow, I had enough faith to know that VERY far in the future I would be okay and even possibly find another mate. My children were another matter, for they had lost their father and would never have another one. That is not to say that they couldn’t have a “father-like” figure or some other male role model from whom they could learn and eventually emulate.

The very first piece of advice I received on how to assist my children with their grieving was the best. When I asked what I could do for my children, the counselor told me that they will follow my lead. If I chose to recover, then they would too. If I stayed mad at the world, depressed, etc., they would too.

So, a week after he died, I made a conscious decision that I was going to be proactive in my grief work and do everything within my power to show my children how to gracefully move from darkness to light. My energies were focused on them and we did most activities together. It was about two years after the death of their father that they finally said to me – Why don’t you go out and have some fun with your own friends!

What I accomplished by focusing on the kids in this way is that they were feeling safe again in the very unsafe world they experienced after their father’s death.

During this time, I also conveyed to them what I was doing to keep myself healthy so they didn’t have to worry about me getting sick. I always let them know where I was and when I would return. Even if I was going to be a minute late, I called to let them know. And because of this, they always returned the courtesy. Even when they were older in their twenties, I always got a phone call if they were to be late.

When a child feels secure, it’s easier for him/her to understand the concept of the ever expanding heart – which is that there is room in it for lots of people. Just because someone new comes into your life, it does not mean the old residents get kicked out. Love simply creates more love. It is to be shared, and there is enough to go around.

This is a foundational issue in building a step family because jealousy between the children of the different spouses or jealousy over a new wife or husband can easily arise.
 

Parenting – and Tolerances

By Roslyn Geertsen

If you are now a single parent, there can be so many more decisions to be made, and so many more instances where you have to take action in response to a behavior. A lot depends on what the dynamics were when there were two of you parenting – who was the disciplinarian? Who was the comforter? Who decided (and how) what was acceptable behavior, and how was it enforced?

To help reduce the overwhelm you may now feel as you try to parent, I’m going to share a few basic principles you can use as you decide what your parenting is going to look like from this point on.

Start with looking at your tolerances. What do you tolerate in your child’s behavior? What do you feel is unacceptable? Do you tolerate whining? Begging? Shouting? Climbing on the furniture? Sarcasm? Disobedience and defiance? Not finishing what’s on their plate at a meal? Try to think through all the situations you meet in a day that cause you frustration or concern.

Then take a sheet of paper and make a list of those things that really bother you. “I can’t stand it when Sally ________” or “I am so embarrassed when he/she______” or “I feel so out of control when he/she__________”. (Substitute, of course, your child’s name in each instance.)

Once you’ve made that list, then number them in order of what ones are most important to you to change. Then ask yourself why it is important to you that this doesn’t happen anymore. What does it make you feel? What does it make you think? Really ponder about this – it’s important that you know, deep-down, what you want to teach your child, and what skills you want him or her to learn so that family life can be as pleasant as possible.

This should take you a couple of days. In my next post, I’ll share some ideas of what you can do with these lists. Take heart – as you learn and practice some tried-and-true principles, there can be peace as you raise your children, even when doing it on your own!

 

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10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Being a Single Gal + a Parent

By Ellen Gerst

This is my son’s wedding weekend, so I’ve asked the talented Claire McCarthy to write a guest blog post.

I recently met Claire, a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, who helps people in the Phoenix area to lead healthy, happy and productive lives after experiencing loss. Although she hasn’t buried a spouse, she, too, has experienced great loss. Six years ago, her 6-week-old infant died, followed by the almost immediate disintegration of her 10-year marriage. Just one year later, her father passed away. She has managed to mend her broken heart, and she has a strong, yet comforting, voice in her writings about coping with grief. I think there are other blog posts that she has written, which you might find helpful. Click here to visit her blog.

This particular blog post, which I’m sharing, is a tongue-‘n-cheek look at some of the issues with which you’re confronted as a single person. I hope you’ll chuckle as much as me when you read it!

There are countless articles and opinions on which is better or harder – being hitched (or in a relationship) vs. the single life. Recently, I’ve seen a lot of commentary about single parenting vs. solo parenting vs. part-time parenting. I’m not about to argue because I could probably come up with a decent pro/con case for all of the above. Instead, I offer you a few nuggets that I’ve learned over the years.

 

super mom

1. The weight of your 40 pound sound-asleep child, especially when you’re trying to get him out of a vehicle, is the equivalent of a Cadillac. Throw in a flight of stairs, and you might as well audition for American Ninja Warrior.

2. Bugs be gone …or, for us living in the desert of Arizona, scorpions aka the spawn of Satan. I have to hunt them and kill ‘em, and I’m not too proud to say they make me cry a little. I can handle spiders, ants, crickets, even roaches, but them dang scorpions. Ick!

3. No matter how many parenting books you read, you will never be fully prepared for your 5-year-old son to call excitedly from the bathtub… “Look at this Mom; look what it can do.”

4. Groceries are to be bought strategically because you’re the only one unloading them. Insert the earlier referenced stairs and a parking space approximately 18 miles from my front door, and you just got your workout in for the day. Young ones don’t always make the best grocery schleppers.

5. Just because you know a single guy, and I happen to be single, does not a perfect match make. I learned this the hard way over the years, so now I ask questions like: “Why do you think we’d click? What makes him such a good catch? Does he even like kids? And, my favorite – If you were single, would YOU date him?”

6. Things that go bump in the night are all on you Sistah! Could be a kiddo with a nightmare, projectile vomit, or Freddy Krueger’s even scarier brother, Frankie. No matter what it is, you’re up! Learn defensive tactics; get an alarm system; and, for goodness sake, if you have a firearm, GET TRAINED!

7. You are the good cop / bad cop all rolled into one (without the back-up). Kids are smart, like really smart, and, at some point, they develop the ability to figure out when you’re too exhausted to even stand. That’s usually when they pounce on your weakness, spill entire bottles of nail polish, break family heirlooms, ask for everything on their Christmas wish list or decide to have a total meltdown of their own.

8. Cooking for one (and a half) can actually be harder than coordinating a themed formal dinner for twelve. I love crock pot cooking … but really, how much chicken can one person eat in a week? The war of leftovers: an unexpected challenge of single life.

9. I don’t have a cat for many reasons, but mainly because, if something happens to me or I drop dead in the middle of the night, I don’t want it to eat my face off. Be sure to have a check-in plan with a family member, friend or co-worker who somewhat knows your schedule through-out the week.

10. Some things just take two adults, at least. No, not that… but… hanging a large picture, assembling ANYTHING from IKEA, card or board games, a good back scratch and getting certain jewelry on or off (I’ve given up on most of my bracelets).

What did I miss? I’d love to hear from you! You can reach me via my website.

 

 

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