Single Mom it is!

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I’ve been divorced since 2007. For most of those years, I rejected the term single mom, instead opting to be labeled a divorced mom. In the past, the term single mom has held such negative connotations to me that I couldn’t stand it. Matter of fact, I wrote about it two years ago and I believe my exact words were, “If there is one term I despise, it is the term “single mom.”

My previous writings went on to say “my life is difficult to manage with three kids…but whose isn’t? There is an African Proverb that says, It takes a village to raise a child. That statement is for everyone. Married, single, gay, straight…everyone who has children needs to understand that.” But the fact still remains that my marital status is single and I am a mom — thus the fitting term being, I am a single mom. Even if it sometimes makes my skin crawl.

Years ago I thought that single parenting suggested my kids don’t have a father, don’t know their father, never see their father. While I would like the visits to be a bit more frequent, my kids do know their father, they talk to their father, and they love their father greatly.

But you know what? The simple fact remains that he is not around enough for me to be able to honestly say that we co-parent. Because we don’t. We talk here and there, and when we do I often find myself racking my brain to remember everything I need to tell him because I’m not sure when I’ll have the opportunity to talk again.

I also used to think that single parenting suggested my kids have less financial resources than others. The truth was that I was worried that others would judge our family’s financial situation based on my marital status. I have had my share of instances where some people have that thought If we don’t have something, it’s because  we are the poor little family without a man in the house. But for the most part, those who are in my circle and close to me know and understand the truth that we are not struggling — but we are sustained by my income and mine alone. Single income from a single mom.

I thought that if I referred to myself as a single mom that I was slighting those close to us who have helped and poured so much in to the livelihood of our family. I’ve now realized that using a title does not negate the love and support we’ve been given by those in our village. I’ve also realized that not using the term single mom can slight those sisters whose children have absolutely no contact with their father. Instead of saying we are all in this together, I was choosing to lessen their reality and distance myself from it.

I am a firm believer that having three kids and experiencing a divorce was not a coincidence. I think this is part of my calling. However it’s time to move past the divorce and focus on the calling of motherhood, as a single woman. And while that calling can still be difficult and sometimes frustrating, I’m able to seek guidance from God, live it, and embrace it — single mom title and all.

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The Back to School Photos

In attempt to boldly stay on top of the back to school activities and not feel pressured as we approached August 24, I mentioned on Periscope and in a post on this blog that we were probably going to to back to school photos the weekend before school started. I announced my plan to the kids and they grumbled a bit, but were not adamantly against it. The grumbling, I believe was in the idea of the actual photo shoot as if they were little.

After a little thought, though, Tyra mentioned that it sure would be nice to have a few photos with her friends taken with the big, fancy camera. Which got my photographer’s mind thinking about how cool these photos of 13-year-olds would turn out.

You know, since 13 is an actual teenager, but not quite in the throes of the teen attitude and still kind of playful. And since I have a photographer friend who’s kids also needed their photo taken, we made it a big family affair.

Except we all weren’t related to each other.

And it was hot. But despite the heat, everyone was basking in the back-to-school excitement and in Tyra’s words, “to be around the squad again.”

The girl squad.

The girl squad.

With a few siblings.

With a few siblings.

The beauty of photographing my own kids is I can experiment with new camera settings.

The beauty of photographing my own kids is I can experiment with new camera settings.

Even though my kids are wonderful subjects, I asked my cousin if her daughter could join us. She definitely helped temper the teen sarcasm of the day.

Even though my kids are wonderful subjects, I asked my cousin if her daughter could join us. She definitely helped temper the teen sarcasm of the day.

These of the photos of my three that were approved to be shared on the blog.

These are the photos of my three that were approved to be shared on the blog.

And the beginning of the school year has come and gone. I’m already starting to look forward to next year’s shoot, as I will have two kids in high school. I’m thinking I need to start researching ideas now!

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Questions About Parenting…Ask them!

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In blogger language, your audience of readers is called your tribe. My audience is mostly women who are moms from the ages of 30-50. In my nine years of blogging, I have found that I learn as much from my readers as they learn from me. Simply put, they are very smart women!

Do you have a question about parenting? Are you stumped on an issue that just baffles you? Send it to me at twillisbestshot@gmail.com or on Twitter to @twillisbestshot. I’ll read it, think about the best way to answer it, and most importantly, I’ll ask my tribe.

You’ll get a variety of non-judgemental responses that will help you inform, then act appropriately. All names will reman anonymous! Remember, we aren’t meant to navigate this journey alone — and chances are, if you have the question, at least 5 more moms right here are dealing with the same issue.

What would you like me to ask my tribe?

Three Things to Bring You Joy This Week

Happy Monday!

The kids have officially been in school now for a week. As we are all easing back into schedule of things I won’t be long, but I have three things to make you happy this week!

  1. Go see the movie War Room. This movie is phenomenal. It meets you exactly where you are in your own prayer life. It was exactly what I needed and right on time. It opened this past Friday and had a stellar weekend at the box office. It is definitely a must see for all ages.IMG_1130
  2. Shea Moisture coupons. I’m not a regular couponer, but when coupons are available for a product I love, I am happy. The Red Plum insert in yesterday’s paper has two coupons for Shea Moisture hair and body products. Special thanks to my friend Tracy who told me about the coupons, and reminded me to save them until Walgreens or CVS has a buy one get one free sale — giving us more savings.IMG_1151
  3. Great Read: The People Factor by Van Moody. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m evaluating all of my interpersonal relationships. and really analyzing how I can better serve those who are important to me. This book has helped me identify what makes relationships thrive — be it familial relationships, work relationships, friendships, or romantic relationships.thepeoplefactor

Still Need School Supplies?

Whether we are ready or not, the school year is up on us and it’s time to rock and roll. About two weeks ago, I was so proud that I had accomplished everything and bought all of the kids school supplies on-line. I love on-line shopping, and I knew I did a great job for my three kids. Except for the baby composition notebooks.

You see, I’ve quickly found that when you are buying things on-line, you must read the description of what you’re buying, as items in the photo may look bigger than they are in really life.

The kids and I are still laughing about the “baby journals” that I bought but once I figured out that I needed to buy a few more items, I did what any good mom would do. I posed the question on Facebook. Where are the best places to buy school supplies?

And here are the responses I received:

  1. Office Depot (in-store and on-line)
  2. Walmart
  3. Big Lots

By far, the most responses I received were for Office Depot/ Office Max. However, I received one suggestion that you can take the Office Depot weekly ad to Walmart and they will price match. And if you use Walmart Savings Catcher, if you make your purchases at Walmart, the app will check to see if there are better deals and reimburse you the difference.

I did my shopping for school supplies at Office Depot on-line and had a fabulous experience. The baby journal incident was totally my fault, not theirs, and some of the items were delivered the very next day!

And just because I want you to enjoy the baby journal experience in photos…here you are.

CJ showing the journals a la Forrest Gump.

CJ showing the journals a la Forrest Gump.

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Jada letting the dog know that she has a composition notebook that’s just her size.

Back to School Countdown: 4 Days

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  1. Today i am praying for my kids problem solving abilities as they relate to interpersonal relationships.
  2. Each child has to make a list of the friends at school they are thankful for.
  3. Do enough laundry that will last until Monday or Tuesday. (Busy weekend ahead — need to prepare now)
  4. Make sure all devices are charged and ready for the events we’re attending this weekend.