Single Moms and Raising Teen-Aged Sons

Single Moms and Raising Teen-Aged Sons

By Diane Windsor (Publisher, MotinaBooks.com)
Diane@MotinaBooks.com

I remember so clearly when my son was little.  He was seven when his father and I divorced, and we moved out of state.  Sure, we struggled, but we had many good times, too.  I was a super-involved single mom.  When he was in elementary school, I knew all of his teachers.  I attended class parties, and I never missed a parent-teacher conference.

I made sure he was involved in fun extra-curricular activities with other boys his age.  We were very active in Cub Scouts.  The Pinewood Derby was always my favorite event!  Together, we built several cars that won the race!  I was a very proud Derby Mama; I knew how to polish those axels and make the cars go FAST!

He joined a basketball team for several years, and that really helped him grow.  I was there for every practice and game, and I was the mom who kept track of all the players’ statistics.  My son was good at defense, but he never wanted to shoot.  I’ll never forget the one time he was in the perfect spot to get a basket.  The parents were sitting on the bleachers wondering what he would do.  Then, he threw the ball and made the basket!  We all got on our feet and cheered.

But sports were not his passion.  And he decided not to continue with Boy Scouts.

My adorable little boy was becoming one of the most feared creatures on Earth; the teenager with an attitude.  He loved to argue with me.  Everything I said was wrong.  He was still doing pretty well in school, which was certainly a relief.  But home was a different story.  We got along fine as long as he was doing and getting what he wanted.  But when I needed him to do something for me or the household, it wasn’t happening and an argument erupted.

The Challenges of Raising Teen-Aged Sons

Being the mother of a teen boy can be so challenging!  I’m five-feet, three inches tall on a good day, and my son towered over me when he was only thirteen.  His father lived out of state, so I was on my own with this kid.  How in the world would life be bearable until he graduated from high school?

As a mom, I was tempted to just give in to his wishes to make peace in our home.  I certainly did not look forward to the days that, after being at work for nine hours, there would be a huge knock-down, drag-out waiting for me at home.

Truths About Raising a Teen-Aged Son

I needed to remind myself of several important truths:

  • I’m the adult, not him. This was my home, and he was allowed to share it with me.  I paid the bills, and I made the rules.  Even though he is absolutely sure that he knows more than I do, I know that I’m right.  I need to stand my ground and be the adult.
  • Giving in to his demands will not help him. As a parent, it’s my job to raise a child into an adult.  This boy needs to become a strong man, and I need to help him.  This means that he needs to understand that the choices he makes will have consequences, whether they are good or bad.  If he chooses to not complete his school work, he will suffer the consequences of that choice.  It’s not my job to bail him out.  The same rules apply at home.  If he decides not to do a household chore that is his responsibility, I will provide the consequences.
  • Enabling him and bailing him out will not help him. It would have been so easy for me to clean up after him, cook all his meals, and just give in, in order to keep peace in my house.  But is that teaching him how to be a strong, independent man?  No!
  • Parents have more power than we think we do. It seems that many parents today are almost afraid to discipline their children.  It is okay if we don’t give our children every single thing they want.  “No,” is a complete sentence.  We do not need to give them an explanation for the decisions we make.

This difficult time with my son is only a season.  It won’t last forever.  I know that it’s my job to help him grow into a successful young man, and he won’t always enjoy the process!  I’m looking forward to the day, maybe five or ten years down the road, when I hear the words, “Mom, you were right!”

How to Get Off the Child Support #Struggletrain

How to Get Off the Child Support #Struggletrain

Admit it. Getting your baby’s daddy to pay child support can be like pulling your eyelashes out one by one. Why can’t he understand that you both made this child so he needs to help support this child? All the excuses are getting old and tired.

The bills need to be paid.

The baby needs shoes? Food. Uniforms. Doctor visits. Clothes. All the things that make survival possible.

So how can you get him to pay up or get off the #struggletrain? Stick with me and I’ll share a few practical ideas you can start using today to make the struggle less stressful. Hopefully, the following tips will also prepare you to go into the battle with a better strategy.

My ultimate goal is to inspire you to seek a different path to financial freedom.

Reality Check: Honestly, unless you are a baller ex-wife, boo, or side chick, was married to a CEO or a business owner; it will be hard to make a living, much less a life off of child support. You will be more successful taking action on the tips I share in the second half of this article.

A 7-Step (Mostly) Conflict-Free Process for Getting Child Support

child support conflict agreement

Step 1 – Decide How Much You Need

What will it take to raise your child and meet all his needs? Check your food, clothing, utilities, and all the things your child uses and needs. When you have a number divide it in half. This is how much you need from your ex to raise your children. Be realistic about his ability to pay. Next access his finances.

Step 2 – Assess His Finances

How much does your Ex make? You may not know the exact amount but you can research his job position and the average pay for that position. Be realistic about how much he gets paid when you are considering your child’s needs and his income. There may be a huge gap.

Step 3 – Communicate Your Demands

The next step is to say what you need to care for your child. There is a difference between demanding money because you think he owes you something and asking for money because raising a child requires money. I suggest you go as far as itemizing the cost of everything your child will need for the year. Write it on a piece of paper and give it to your child’s father. Wait for a response then go to the next step. Negotiation.

Step 4 – Come to an Agreement

In this step,  talk about the list and decide, together, what he can realistically do. Sometimes it’s just not as cut and dry or black and white as you think. He honestly may not be able to give you everything but can do something. Ask him if it’s truly the best he can do. Keep at it until you both feel this is something you can live with for at least three months, six months, or a year.

Request a review after agreed time limit has passed to see if he’s in a better position to do more. Men need facts to make decisions. They do not rely entirely on their feelings. If you make it about feelings and drama you will get less than you think you deserve and he will make it harder to get it even at the risk of going to jail, back taxes, or anything to keep you from winning.

Step 5 – File the Paperwork

When you have an agreement put it in writing and you both sign it. This is now your contract to keep or file with the courts if that is part of the agreement. If it is part of a child support order, send it to your attorney or complete the forms yourself. The point is to have a record of the agreement and preferably a witness.

Step 6 – Communicate Regularly

Decide how you will communicate and what you will communicate with your Ex. Keep everything brief and business-like so you stay focused on what matters; your child. Keep your emotions in check and do not allow him to bait you into a conversation about your past relationship, your current relationship with someone else, and all the things you or he did wrong. The less you talk about unresolved personal issues when discussing child support the better off you will be.

Decide if you want to tell him about any special purchases you needed to make because of school needs, medical needs, or other needs outside of the usual food, clothing, and shelter he is contributing to with the child support payments. Make a communication schedule that you can agree on and stay within those guidelines.

Depending on how volatile your relationship is you may decide to only use text messaging, only email, and rarely a phone call. You may use a combination of it all. It is up to you. Whatever you decide to do, be consistent.

Step 7 – Wait for the Check/ Deposit

Now you wait for the child support check to arrive. It may feel stressful because you are not sure if it will come. If it doesn’t communicate with him and ask when you can expect it. If it does come send a quick text saying you got it and say thanks the first few times. The more you appreciate his effort and integrity in sending it the more goodwill you create.

How to Get Off the Child Support Struggle Train in 7 Steps

Now that you have tried the tactics to get child support I’d like you to assess how much you can actually survive off that money. Is it enough to pay the rent, car note, buy food, clothing, school project materials, take a vacation? Can you live off that amount combined with what you make at your job? Are you still struggling to make ends meet? Are you willing to think about the reason you are still struggling?

It’s likely that even after all the tactics and strategy, the child support is still not enough or nonexistent because he barely keeping up with the payments or not making payments at all. You can’t even depend on a steady payment every month. The struggle is truly real. So how do you get off the child support struggle train?

I’m glad you asked!

Getting off the #struggletrain won’t be easy but it is worth it if you want emotional and financial freedom.

Step 1 – Create a budget that does not include child support

Save your sanity and simply plan your spending around the money you bring in. You will introduce financial stability into your life and step away from the emotional struggle of depending on a child support check that may or may not come.

Step 2 – Create an Income Increase Plan

Now that you see your budget you are probably thinking to yourself, “This won’t cover all my expenses and it still feels like I’m struggling!”. I get it which is why your next step is to come up with an Income Increase plan. This means you think about ways you can increase your income.

Can you create a side gig? Can you take an online certification course to get a better paying job? Can you sell toys on Ebay? Create a long and short term income increase plan and start on it immediately.

Step 3 – Deal with Your Child’s Father Differently

Clear the negative energy you feel for your ex. Do it by any means necessary because as long as you feel anger, resentment, depression, fear, or hostility toward him, the more he is in control. You are better than that and can control yourself, your life, and your destiny. Anytime we hold negative emotions about someone we give them control over our lives.

Step 4 – Focus on Creating a Life You Love

Focus on what you want. Nothing else. When you learn how to focus only on what you want you get it. All distractions pull you back into a dysfunctional life and none of your dreams can come true. Focus on the goals you had before your relationship went sour, or before you had kids, or before your divorce.

Create a list of your top three goals and add a date you want to reach that goal. Keep the list in a place where you can see it daily. Your bathroom mirror, your bedroom door, or your phone lock screen are good places to keep your three goals visible.

Next Steps to Getting off the Child Support Struggle Train7 Strategies to turn Child support conflict and struggle into a happier conflict-free ending. RichSingleMomma.com

Step 5 – Ask for help

Find someone who has been where you are but is happy and successful. Ask them to mentor you and keep you accountable to your goals. This kind of support will do wonders for your life. The biggest challenge with this is trusting someone enough to open up about your struggles. Pray for the right person to come into your life.

Step 6 – Join or create a support group 

Find a group of women who are positive and want the same thing you want. It should be a group of women dedicated to problem-solving, not problem re-hashing. Whiners and complainers are not interested in forward progress and rarely get past the navel-gazing phase. Skip those kinds of people. Fine solution-oriented groups.

Step 6 – Trust your intuition

In your heart of hearts, you know the right answers for you. Trust yourself to make good decisions and you will. Do the research, ask people questions who have the answers, pray for wisdom, and know you can always start over if you make the wrong decision.

What’s Your Next Move?

There are two schools of thought on how to get the child support you need. Rely on the child’s father, who may or may not come through or rely on yourself, who will always come through. Some say he owes you but I say an unhealthy dependence on child support puts him in a position to emotionally and financially OWN you. I was put on this planet to empower single moms, through my own experiences and through practical solutions.

I’ve shared what I think are two solutions that may satisfy both schools of thought. You can pursue child support actively using the methods I shared in part one. You can even pursue it passively by simply filing paperwork with the state. But I think the second part of this article is feasible and definitely more satisfying. Of course, it’s up to you to choose the best course of action.

3 Secrets to Having the Best New Year Ever (Even if Last Year Sucked)!

3 Secrets to Having the Best New Year Ever (Even if Last Year Sucked)!

Happy New Year and welcome to a fresh start! Last year sucked for so many people. I had some challenges too so I’m glad 2016 is behind me. Now we have the chance to start again with a fresh new sheet of paper.

Last year sucked for so many people. I had some challenges too so I’m glad 2016 is behind me. Now we have the chance to start again with a fresh new sheet of paper.

We get to write a new story for a new chapter of our lives. There are a lot of opinions about how to make it a great year, how to keep your resolutions, and how to be successful. There are even these lists of 17 things floating around for how to make 2017 great.

Personally, I get overwhelmed with a list that’s over five items so to keep it simple for everyone I only have three things to do to make 2017 the best ever.

Here are my top three tips for how to have the best new year ever

1. Stop caring about what other people think

Listen to your heart stop caring with others think

As I get older I care less and less about what other people think, but this year I cared way too much. Big mistake. I was miserable trying to keep up with the opinions of others. That was a total failure.

This year I’m pulling the rug out from under the opinions of others who are not where I want to be or have not experienced what I have experienced. I’m taking the attitude of Trust, but verify. I have to do a gut check to see if what others are saying, the advice they are handing out like lollipops, is worth the time and energy to follow.

Take a page out of my book and just stop caring about what other people think. Start following your heart instead. You know the answers and if you don’t pray for wisdom and trust that God will give you the right answers and send the right people your way.

2. Do you (improve along the way)

Be an Original and Do You

We live in such a copycat world right now that it’s hard to know what is genuinely you and what is someone else’s influence. Social media plays a huge part in this phenomenon. However, you have to decide to do what you do best and forget about the rest.

Embrace your personality, your quirks, even your dark side. In the process, you will learn to trust and love yourself more so you have more to give your children and the world when it’s time. The hidden benefit of doing you is your level of self-acceptance increases.

When you accept yourself it is easier to make small improvements along the way. It is fun and you don’t feel the pressure of having to change because someone else said you should.

3. Plan for success and focus only on what you want

Focus only on what you want - RichSingleMomma.com

Finally, make a plan for success. How?

Simply decide what you want for the year (I suggest the top 3 things), write it down and post where you will see it each day.

The next thing is to focus only on what you want and ignore the rest. You almost have to have tunnel vision so you can’t see the distractions or the B.S. that is constantly coming up. This is the key and what they mean about living your life on purpose.

If you want to go to school put it on the list. Start with getting information about the school, programs, and enrollment dates. Talk to an adviser about your goals. Then register for a class to test out whether it is right for you.

Just stay focused on the activities that will get you toward your goals. Let the rest fall our of your view.

If you do these three things for the first three months of the year, the rest of the year will be on fire! Amazing! Unstoppable!

Want to learn the secrets to Unstoppable Power?

Grab my course, How to Unleash Your Unstoppable Power, for only $.99 (plus you get unlimited access to 1,000s of other courses for 3 months)! In my course you will discover the 16 steps to living fearlessly and authentically for the rest of your life, one day at a time.

Give the Gift of Safety this Christmas

Give the Gift of Safety this Christmas

With two teens, my daughter who is in college, works, and drives all over the city, and my son who is beginning to launch out I’m always concerned about their safety. I try not to be paranoid when they go out but I’m that kind of mother with the wild imagination.

I’m thinking about what to get them for Christmas. My daughter says she just wants clothes and makeup and my son wants Star Wars footed pajamas. If only life were that simple and if only those things could keep them safe. Well this year, in addition to getting them what they want, I’m giving them the gift of safety.

There are a few options. I can get my daughter a can of mace and a whistle. That really could work but she may need something more if she is stranded on the side of the road in her car or walking across campus.

Self-defense classes is a great gift. I took classes when I was in college and I always remember what I learned all those years ago. I need something more immediate, portable, and great for any sticky situation though.E/T Safety Lights Give Gift of Safety

I heard about and ordered the E/T muti-use safety light to see how it works. According to the website Special Operations
military uses it on missions. There are four colored lights that mean different things in a rescue situation. I don’t want to think about that kind of scenario but it’s better to be safe than sorry for example during hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc…

When I got the light, I took it out of the packaging and started pressing the button, I cycled through the four colors, red, yellow, blue and green. The final cycle was a strobe of all the colors. The E/T Light was originally designed for US Spec Ops medics. E/T Lights last from 4 to 9 days on a constant on selection, they can be used for backup lights for those with no power, signaling lights for rescue, and still be used for a Christmas party or Mardi Gras!

If you want to add another layer of safety to your kids, college-aged daughter, elderly parent, or yourself it might be a good idea to give the gift of safety with the E/T light and free Visual 911+ app.

Affordable Last Minute Holiday Gifts for Everyone

Affordable Last Minute Holiday Gifts for Everyone

Every year I plan to get my family unique Christmas gifts because I like to be original. It’s easy to go buy what’s being heavily advertised. It doesn’t take much thought, does it? I guess giving thoughtful gifts is just in my DNA. If you have no idea what people want, you can check out this list of last minute gift ideas I’ve curated. There is something for everyone! The list will keep growing as the clock counts down to December 25. Come back daily and check out what I’ve added.

Gifts for Teen Girls

This year my daughter wants nothing but makeup, clothes, and cash. She is into watching makeup videos on YouTube and showing off her femininity with comfortable, yet fabulous clothing. She will get what she wants but there is so much more to put under the tree for her. I know she will appreciate it. Here are a few gifts I’m considering for her and that you might want to pick up for your teen daughter.

5 minute makeover kit

Blue Mermaid Earrings by Mei Lei

Blue mermaid scale earrings in your choice of silver or antique bronze finish. The shiny scales reflect ocean blue-green colors and can resemble mermaids or dragons.

Buy it for the Holiday price of only $9.99

Roof Printed Tote

This fashionable printed tote bag comes from holiday collection of C-Starz , a new urban lifestyle brand. The abstract print design is inspired by street art.The bag is waterproof and contains a small pouch. This is a great gift for artistic women. Check out their website (https://c-starz.com) for more artsy accessories and promotions.

Buy it for the Holiday price of only $55

5 minute makeover kit
5 minute makeover kit

Key2BMe Keyring

Clip a key2Bme on your key chain or bag as a little reminder that YOU hold the key to your happiness! Each key comes with an inspiring mini quote card in an organza gift bag ready for gift-giving. Just $6.99 each with free shipping! 36 designs available on key2Bme.com

Buy it for the Holiday price of only $6.99

Vic Challenger Journals

I am a journal writing maniac sometimes so I’m always looking for new and interesting journals to write in. I think these are the perfect gift for journalers, scribblers, poets and other writers in your life. As unique as the people who use them. Also, makes fantastic notebook for students. Some have specified focus but can be used for anything. (foodies, dreams, planner etc) .

Get them on Amazon for $9.99  or Get them at Barnes & Noble

5 minute makeover kit
5 minute makeover kit

5 Minute Makeover Kit™

Introducing the 5 Minute Makeover Kit™. This kit has everything you need to get a radiant, glamorous look in just 5 Minutes. No, really. What’s even better? You don’t have to figure anything out? Our team of professional makeup artists have already figured it out for you. You just select your skin-tone. It’s that easy.

Buy it for the Holiday price of only $62.50

Tweexy

I love having pretty nails but I hate trying to balance the nail polish bottle when I’m out and about. Well there’s the Tweexy nail polish holder to the rescue. This item would be great in a beauty or makeover gift basket. Tweexy is The Original Wearable Nail Polish Holder and is small, soft, comfortable, easy to use, fashionable, colorful, wearable and mobile. Makes a great gift. Fits all fingers and bottle sizes – The rings expand, so size 3-17 will be comfortable. It’s in the Amazon best seller in the beauty category. Available on tweexy.com in all 7 colors.

Never spill again. You’ll have more money for more polish and other pleasures!

Buy a Tweexy on Amazon for only $9.99

5 minute makeover kit

Gifts for Teen Guys

My son is into the video games and sneakers but I’m not the kind of mom who buys just anything he wants. I have to add my own flair when it comes to gift giving. I’ve curated a few ideas that I think he will either like or benefit from. Maybe you will get some ideas from my list for your teen son, nephew, or brother.

The Agenda Game

I am excited about playing this with my kids. Since I homeschool my son this is a great way to teach him about politics. The Agenda Game – a small piece of political theater in a box where players throw their hat into the ring. But these candidates aren’t competing for electoral votes – they have agendas! The board game tickles the funny bone, “edutains” about American politics, and sparks fun dialog between family and friends.

Buy it on Amazon for only $34.99

5 minute makeover kit
5 minute makeover kit

E/T Signal Light

With a daughter in college The E/T Light was originally designed for US Spec Ops medics but has now found a home in various markets. Built so a man’s life could depend on it, you know it can take abuse. Use for Scuba, skydive, hike, bike, fish, walk, camp, etc… with it. The E/T Light is one of the newly certified approved products for Homeland Security. Give the best and latest in signaling devices and be prepared for both safety and fun.

Buy it at Triage Lights for only $29.95

Gifts for the Family

What do you get the family that has everything? That can be a tough decision. Here are a few very affordable options to choose from.

5 minute makeover kit

HoliMaths X

10 ways to play it -1 to 6 players – ages 7+
Innovative educational card games aimed to inspire meaningful/significant learning – Develops logical thinking – Converts an individual learning process into a collective one generating social interaction – Helps develop tolerance to frustration – Promotes strategical thinking to solve problems – Aimed for intergenerational integration involving parents and grandparents in a fun way for the whole family!

Buy it at holiplaygames.com for $29

Gifts for the Woman Who Has Everything (BFF, Mompreneur, Co-worker)

What do you get for the woman that has everything? Sometimes I’m stumped for ideas but I want to get the women in my life something meaningful. Jewelry is nice but your tastes may not match. You don’t want to risk getting the wrong size clothing or shoes. Gift cards seem too impersonal. But there are things you can get that says, “I thought of you when I saw this”. Check out the gifts I thought of just for moments like these.

5 minute makeover kit

Govivo Running Belt

I can see myself using this running belt when I go for my walks. I won’t have to hold my phone and house keys in my hand and risk dropping or losing either. You can be hands-free for a run, doing errands, or traveling with your iPhone or Android and other essentials at hand (cash, keys, gels, hotel room card, etc.). Keep your phone scratch-free in one pocket and essentials in the other. Soft water-repellent fabric and adjustable waistband. Wear it under clothing for concealed passport and cash storage. There are two sizes to fit either a small or large device.

Small – Buy it on Amazon for only $12.97  Large – Buy it on Amazon for only $19.97

Women Entrepreneurs Week – Maia Haag

Women Entrepreneurs Week – Maia Haag

November 19 was Women’s Entrepreneurship Day where the accomplishments of women in business are highlighted. I love being in business and meeting other women who are living on purpose and adding value to the world through their business. Instead of celebrating just one day I’m celebrating all week and possibly the rest of the month.

I’ll introduce you to incredibly innovative women and highlight their business for you. To learn more about them personally and/or what they sell, click on the links to visit their websites. Remember, when women are strong, the world is stronger.

Today I want you to meet woman entrepreneur Maia Haag, Co-Founder and President of I See Me!

What kind of business do you have?

I See Me! (www.iseeme.com) is the largest publisher of personalized children’s books and gifts in the US. We sell beautifully illustrated and designed personalized books that are made one-by-one especially for each child. The books make perfect holiday gifts, new baby gifts, birthday and baptism gifts for children ages 0-8.

i-see-me-fairytalebundle
What keeps you going? What’s your Why?

The mission of I See Me! is to make each child feel special. Our books help to build self-esteem in children because the child is the star of the story. Our books are deeply personalized. For example, many of our books allow the gift-giver to select the skin tone and hair color of the child. Other of our books incorporate a photo of the child’s face into the illustrations. As a result, children love reading their very own books over and over, and they cherish them forever.


What kind of help did you have to start and build your company?

My husband and I built our company together. We received a personalized book for our own child and we thought it could have been done better. My husband is a graphic designer, I am a marketer, and we combined our business minds to create a much higher quality personalized book than what was in the marketplace. Now we have a fantastic team of leaders helping to shape the company.

i-see-me-123blastbundle
What makes you feel successful in life and business?

I have re-defined success to mean not only building a successful business, but also having time for my children, husband and myself. I especially enjoy the one-on-one time that I plan with each of our kids and with my husband. For many years I was focused on the business at the expense of my personal life, and I have made some major shifts such as no longer working in the evenings. It required me to redefine my definition of success in order to do that.

maia-haag-womens-entrepreneur-week.jpgBIO: Maia Haag is an entrepreneur and general manager who has gone from managing multi-million dollar businesses at General Mills to writing and self-publishing personalized children’s books that have generated multi-millions in sales. Maia is the Co-Founder and President of I See Me! , the largest publisher of personalized children’s books in the world.