Single Mom Chronicles
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Who knew spending my day off in law library would mean one step closer to divorce. As I look back on hiring an attorney for my divorce, I realize I made so many mistakes due to lack of knowledge. I filed for divorce in the Fall of 2008 and moved out of my home in 2010. It was far too long. I had no idea that every segment of the time with my attorney was timed and billed. This meant every email, phone calls, mailings, time in court, and filing documents. In addition, to my divorce, she handled all the paperwork for child custody. The custody agreement was a waste of time as it was in effect for one year. As two years passed and there was deliberate defiance with trying to sell the property -I wanted out of being married any longer. It was senseless to go back to court and spend more money to sell a property. I started thinking about my insurance policy and the fact I was still legally bound to this person. As a spouse, I was responsible to some extent for the other party and vice versa. The worst thing imagined is having this individual make any decisions related to my health. I made the decision to be completely honest with my attorney on the need to save on my legal costs. My costs were quickly inching up to 5 digits and counting and she suggested her paralegal assist me with filing the remaining paperwork moving forward. I scheduled a day off from work and spent my entire day in the law library in the municipal building in Chester County.
I made the decision to be completely honest with my attorney on the need to save on my legal costs. My costs were quickly inching up to 5 digits and counting and she suggested her paralegal assist me with filing the remaining paperwork moving forward. I scheduled a day off from work and spent my entire day in the law library. My plan B was to tackle filing the remaining paperwork on my own. I scheduled a day and spent the entire day in the law library. Shortly, after I arrived in the library I learned none of the paperwork was available electronically. I had to look for the forms in the respective law book and manually type each form. This was extremely time-consuming but necessary to close that chapter.
After typing the forms, making copies, going to the prothonotary for a time stamp and mailing- the clock begins. I did not expect to receive a counter to the divorce. When I received a call from the paralegal to let me know I was missing a form, I thought I had to start all over again. The paralegal was concerned the judge would not accept paperwork with different filing dates. She filed all of the paperwork and the judge signed off on the divorce in December of 2012. I received my divorce decree in the mail in January of 2013.
I applaud my attorney for trying to settle with the property. In amicable settlements, this is standard. Unfortunately, this was not the case for me. After two failed attempts in court to get the house sold, I gave up. It was more important for me to get the divorce finalized even if I missed the opportunity to sell the house. The one lesson I learned is that the will to get something accomplished far exceeds holding out for material goods. A divorce is tricky but time is of the essence and the least amount of time spent the better mentally and financially. The wedding is less than an hour but a divorce can last for years. My issue is the hold it puts on moving forward. You are legally bound to a person you want to sever ties with permanently. This was a bone of contention for me as I wanted to rename my emergency contact, list my children as beneficiaries for investments and insurance. I wanted to know all of these areas were covered by individuals with a vested interest in my well-being.
In some cases, there is a struggle with settling finances, property, investments, pensions, 401K, etc. For me, I had to forgo the fight to properly sell my marital property, which ended up going into foreclosure. The seven-year mark on my credit far exceeds still being legally married. If the time is dragging, be proactive with your attorney and discuss options. It is difficult to move forward if you are still married. When you say “I’m divorced” it is a true sign the past is behind you legally.
New relationships after divorce are not a competition. It should be a thought provoking decision based on reality, not fiction. After divorcing I feel like the amount of advice was overwhelming and on occasion, filled with utter stupidity. I had an unnamed person tell me I should get married(remarried)! My first thought was for what reason? Is this a competition of some sort? The statement was so irrelevant to the conversation. I also must point out the statement was filled with contempt. It made me realize being happy and content after divorce is obviously an issue for some people. One thing I do know is that any decisions I make that impact my happiness will never be made in haste or to compete with another person.
One of the best lessons after divorce is to be very strategic in all decisions that impact my well being. A relationship sounds like a good idea, however, finding a suitable partner who shares the same values, goals, and lifestyle is challenging. While the choice to settle for less is very easy this brings so much unnecessary stress. One of the best advantages to being single is the ability to enjoy life independently and to be in charge of my well being. Personally, I know the worst mistake I made was thinking a relationship(s) was a replacement for a failed marriage. A failed marriage has you questioning a lot of things. I needed to take the time to evaluate what is needed in my life before including another person to share my time and space. This was eye opening because what I thought was necessary was more work than I need right now.
I believe it is important to stop trying to make up for the time spent in a failed marriage. The best thing I can do is focus on making better choices and living my best life. I am enjoying my time alone and being in charge of my decisions. One of the best parts is taking my time to make the right choices when it comes to the right person and a relationship. The art of weeding out the wrong one to find the right one becomes easier and easier. I am not phased with attention especially if it is not the right attention. After many lessons, the best advice I can offer is to discover you again, use the time to make yourself better, learn to enjoy you, love your self every day no matter how small or large, do not look for someone else to save you, make a conscious effort to try something new, take care of your temple, travel, start a things I want to do list (not a fan of bucket list).
I hope to continue to live the best life possible on my terms and if it is meant to share with someone else it will happen. It feels damn good to look forward to planning things I put on the back burner for so many years. As someone told me, it will happen because I refuse to settle. The words to live by are never settle and no regrets!
Home is where we unwind and entertain. If I had to design a dream dining room, it would speak to enjoying family and friends dining, and an inviting space for conversation. For some reason, I am drawn to the color purple. I love the boldness of the color and it just feels happy especially for space shared with family and friends.
This color guide from Arhaus Furniture explains the psychology of the color purple. For me, the color purple in the home makes a statement of style, elegance, and sophistication.
Home -Dining Room
My idea for transforming my dream dining room is to create a space that brings together friends and family for entertaining and dining. For the walls, I would love to use the color merlot either as a solid color or stripes on one wall for an accent wall. The seating should be comfortable with a hint of sophistication. I chose a beautiful, velvet high back chair to break away from the traditional wood framed chair. To incorporate a sense of cozy I chose a white wash wood table. The white allows so many ideas for changing up the table settings from season to season. I also added a white hutch and buffet to showcase my china and these are great for storing items as well. For the main attraction in the dining room, serving food, I added a server. A server is great for setting up food and allowing plenty of space on the dining table for place settings and glassware.
Lighting is essential for enjoying the dining room and a chandelier is a perfect touch. You can find additional lighting options here.
For those nights when it is solely adult entertaining, a bar cabinet is a must have in the dining room. I love this cabinet because everything is tucked away behind the doors and there is plenty of room for storage as well. My window treatments use my secondary color of gray and the fact I love the look of a lightweight fabric using the charcoal silk draperies. The perfect look is selecting a length that flows onto the floor. My final addition is a beautiful rug underneath the table that incorporates the color purple.
Some final touches for the decor would include framed mirrors, artwork, and photographs for the walls. Decorative vases filled with fresh flowers, candlesticks, linen napkins, glassware, and utensils. There are endless possibilities for creating the perfect dining room. All of the dining room furniture selected for my style boards can be found at Arhaus. *nonsponsored post*
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*this post includes an affiliate link which means I receive a commission if you click and purchase*
Vacations Destinations for Single Parents and Kids
I had no idea there are resorts that offer deals for single parents traveling with kids. If you’re planning spring break or summer travels. These are places worth checking out for the travel packages. Also learned some properties charge a single person supplement fee for one adult. The fee can be 10 to 100 percent of the standard accommodation charge. Some below do charge single person supplement fee.
Sonesta Hilton Head
This hotel offers a supervised kids club, Just Us Kids program includes game time, entertainment, swimming, and arts and crafts. Half day or Full day passes are offered for an additional fee.
for the Family Package, 2 night minimum required includes a $50 F&B credit and a $50 Leisure Activity Credit. the Leisure credit can be applied to bike rentals, kids camp or other on-property activities. Children ages 19 and under stay free if staying with an adult.
Vacation Express Smile Resorts
all-inclusive resorts, kids 2 to 12 eat and stay free. There is single person supplement fee.
This resort offers Single Parent Fun Months during specific months throughout the year. The single person supplement fee is waived.
Grand Velas Single Parent Getaway
This property offers deals periodically when the single supplement is waived. The current promotion is offered from September 1st to October 31st with promotion code 2-PACK16.
Hotels with Deals
Kids up to 19 stay free when sharing their parent’s room. Eat free applies to up to four kids 12 and under at any time of the day.
Kids stay free up to 18 if sharing the room with parents or grandparents.
Kid Friendly Cruise Lines
MSC Cruise Lines
A cruise line that offers an All in One package for Single Parents.
Disney Cruise Lines
For single parents who need a short break, 3-4 day trips are offered. The cruise offers many activities for kids and adults.
The cruise ship offers the Dreamworks Experience with their favorite characters and Sitters at Sea program.
Do you have a favorite vacation destination?
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Single motherhood is a challenging journey that requires perseverance and commitment. Every year on Father’s Day I notice a surge of posts on women celebrating Father’s Day. The fact that Hallmark found it necessary to add a card to its Mahogany line is even more ridiculous. We are in some way to celebrate a woman being a mother on Father’s Day because there is no way, in my opinion, you can hold down both roles. I believe only a mother can teach her children how to love and nurture which is entirely different than what a father teaches. Before I became a mother, I lived with both parents and I remember my father’s role in our home. Unfortunately, my father passed away when I was 19. The one thing I know I missed out on is having my father’s perspective on life and all the lessons that go along with challenges. Fathers who are engaged with their children shed a different light on the many facets involved with living.
As a divorced mom of two, becoming a single parent is by circumstance, not by choice. Motherhood encompasses so many levels and does not warrant acknowledgment other than on the third Sunday in May. For me, Mother’s Day feels like another day to some degree in terms of what is expected and required. I feel like I am always on the clock every day, week, month and year. There are so many hats to wear no matter the season. It is my one job that is without breaks, sick time, and vacation. Please do not feel compelled to acknowledge me on a day that was never meant for me. The blessing of giving birth is the role I was destined to have and all the responsibility that comes along with the role. This is not to negate the role of a father but I am good staying in my lane.
The blessing of being a mother is one of intent and purpose and I am fine in that seat.
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Reconciliation is not an option for all divorces. After a conversation with an unnamed individual, I was caught off guard when she said she was hoping for a reconciliation. Although this may apply for some couples it was not an option for me. This conversation really made me think about the mindset of certain people especially those who grow up with dysfunctional family dynamics. I am convinced that anyone who would encourage reconciling to go back to a dysfunctional relationship is not concerned about my well-being. It is so easy to live a facade for the purpose of trying to look happy on the outside while you’re crumbling physically and emotionally. I am so glad I had the wherewithal to walk away from a dysfunctional relationship with no regrets.
It is easy for some to live according to the rules of others and not stay true to themselves. I am so glad I had the wherewithal to walk away from a dysfunctional marriage. Her comments were unnerving in light of the fact infidelity impacts so many marriages. It feels like it is a cycle of unacceptable behavior in some families and it is continuously brushed under the rug.
I have learned it is far more important to stay true to my values and choose the life I deserve. This is why is it important for me to surround myself with a village who wants the best for me. In the process, it means not allowing people who do not have my best interest at heart in my life. It feels great to embrace positivity and those who want the very best for me.
Dear Diary, When you divorce, why is that you are no longer treated the same by others or extended invitations because you are now single? It never dawned on me until I was in the midst of being separated and then divorced. I witnessed how the dynamics of personal relationships change. Personally, it feels like the word “divorce” is the proverbial elephant in the room or the bug no one wants to catch. I have never received so much unwarranted advice from people who have absolutely no experience on the matter.
Single and Never Married: It is interesting for single people to attempt to give a once married person advice on marriage. I crossed my eyes on a number of occasions. One comment that still sticks to this day is one person telling me “that’s who you chose”. You definitely learn to developed thick skin and count to 5 multiple times to avoid having an out of body experience. If you need to vent or seek advice avoid sharing any of it with a single person, who was never married. There is more judgment rendered than support offered.
Married Once, Absolute Expert: One conversation I vividly remember was from one of my brother’s female friends telling me I “was angry”. This was mind boggling and definitely out of order! I felt like who are you to assess what I’m feeling when you don’t know my story. During one conversation I vividly remember one of my brother’s friends telling me I “was angry”. This was mind boggling and definitely out of order! I felt like who are you to assess what I’m feeling when you don’t know me or my story. Yes, I will admit in the initial phase of any experience your emotions are turned upside down and inside out. I think some people assume the role of expert because they have a specific experience. Let me tell you; never ASSUME anything about another person’s life. Although our experiences are similar, our lives are not woven from the same cloth. The last thing I needed was a psychological assessment from someone you have just met. If you want an expert, consult the nearest mental health professional for an appointment.
Married and Understand Dynamics of Marriage: It would only make sense that someone who is currently married with a clear understanding it is an absolute journey that requires work. I think this is your reality check of advice. They will offer a listening ear and provide a positive perspective on their lessons learned.
Separated/Divorce: I have found the greatest support from those who are separated/divorcing or divorced. They will understand how you are feeling and thinking as you navigate the same journey. It is important to surround yourself with true champions who seek the positive out of unpleasant circumstances. This is not the support circle to constantly focus on the negative but it is a tribe of encouragement, faith, and motivation. You may need to laugh, cry, vent and yell and still feel like you’re whole when the dust settles. It is important to establish this tribe as you will rely on advice, constructive feedback, and direction from a place of genuine love and support. My journey is a lot easier because I have this support network to
My JOURNEY is a lot easier because I have a support network to rely on when I need a POSITIVE perspective.
“When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade”
My divorce was finalized in January 2013. As I reflect on the process it dawned on me how much valuable time and energy is wasted mainly due to STUPIDITY! The bigger question is WHY? what do inidividuals hope to GAIN? why be DIFFICULT? It is so much more advantageous to speed up the process and go off peacefully. Here are my clear cut reasons why an AMICABLE DIVORCE is a matter of COMMON SENSE, I know I know this does not grow in everyone’s garden!!!! Bare with me HERE!
Why an Amicable Divorce is Necessary?
- Both parties can start to rebuild their lives sooner than later.
- Reduce the financial burden, lawyers are not inexpensive!!! Trust me I still owe 3 years later!
- Reducing stress is beneficial to your MENTAL AND PHYSICAL WELL-BEING.
- Establish stability for child(ren) involved. They have the right to live in a STRESS-FREE ZONE as well!
Parenting: CoParenting In My Words
Every time I hear the word parenting, I feel like it is a psychology buzz word. In the five years of being separated and now DIVORCED, it has been challenging to parent while living separately. However, I have learned that in order to maintain my sanity, I have to function with what works for me, POINT BLANK! I also realized my kids can morph into master MANIPULATORS! for their personal gain. They try to play both sides until someone says NO! All I can say is PUMP THE BRAKES! on this behavior and set some ground rules.
It is so important to me and it actually feels good to say NO to my kids. I have witnessed on multiple occasions how my kids have a false sense of entitlement. I know I am guilty of not setting limitations for them on so many levels. As a single parent, I find myself having very honest conversations with my kids on the reality of our new life. I feel it is important for them to understand my perspective on planning for our future even if they may not agree with my decisions. Now with that said I will say my teen has been the biggest opponent of most of my decisions in the past five years. Honestly, I feel no guilt because I realize he has a lot more maturing to do before he can fully understand this journey. On this journey, you will find that there will be a lot of agreeing to disagree moments and this is OK. Again this journey is about our physical and mental well-being as well for our children. I have found that while parents may share the same expectations for their children, it can be difficult to instill the same boundaries and limitations. My single parenting is a daily journey as I see the good, the bad and the ugly of having to diffuse every feeling and emotion that is warranted and unwarranted with my children. I wish it was as simple as sending my children to a time out chair but this is not reality.
There are days when I feel cheated because I get to experience the defiant side of my children on a daily basis. While the other parent gets to reap the benefits of bringing the fun. This can be a hard pill to swallow and I often wonder what is the true payoff. Coparenting looks different for everyone so I would encourage those who have it nailed- to stick with your game plan. I know for me it comes down to making the best decisions that impact our well-being and puts my children on the right track for the future.
We are five years in and the biggest win is for me to resolve to focus on what provides a win-win in our new home. After we close the door I need to open my parenting 101 book and hope for the best.
Top 5 things I need to make part of my daily parenting journey:
- Be consistent
- Setting boundaries and enforcing consequences for their actions
- Frequently communicate my expectations
- Have open and honest conversations even if it is uncomfortable
- Plan activities for family time