“To: The Fake Santa”

Humor has always been part of our family, it makes its way around every moment regardless of how serious or joyful the situation might be, I guess its our way of sharing hope and being positive as much as we can.

A few Christmas ago I found this on our Christmas tree. I wasn’t sure how to take it but it sure made me laugh:

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Yes, the SANTA conversation had finally arrived and it definitely took me by surprise. I guess a lot of us have the same experience.  I always thought there would be a day when I would sit down on the couch with my kids and gracefully  blurt it out, they would take it nicely and our lives would go on.  No, it didn’t happen that way, not sure for how long they knew of Santa’s real identity but this is how they told me, with humor.

For as many years as I could keep the secret I tried hard to make this day special for my children. I went over my head getting them as much as I could, making all their wishes come true, I guess it was a way to compensate for how it felt seeing them open their presents with only one parent next to them.

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Honestly today I don’t  see it that way, I don’t think it affected them as much as I thought it would.  I believe at the end I was really compensating for the fact that I was on my own and I didn’t have a  partner to experience that magical moment with me.

Christmas Day arrives and once more you drag yourself out of bed hopefully at 7 am in the morning to open the presents.  Still tired from last nights clean up, cooking, running around and getting things ready your feet can barely make it to the tree.

The morning is beautiful and joyful, you take a lot of pictures and with every new present that opens comes a surprise cheer, the living room is a  mess of broken boxes and gift paper.  A couple of hours later, its clean up time.  A reminder that once again, you did this on your own.

This happened to me every single Christmas until the secret was finally unveiled, until I found that wish list for the Fake Santa waiting for me on the tree. I’m very grateful to my children.

Somehow on that day I was liberated, I was finally freed from  being the sole guard and accomplice of a secret that to me was more enjoyable if it was shared with a loved one, I didn’t feel sad anymore.  I could now go on and make of the whole season and Christmas day even more special for me and my boys, it was ours, I was no longer Santa.

 

Many more Christmas mornings have come over the years and we open our presents appreciating each other.  We’ve talked about the beauty of the season and its meaning, we’ve talked about empathy, compassion, service, unity and love for one another, we’ve done volunteering and spread the holiday cheer!

 

 

Everything that happens to us is an opportunity for growth, it has unlimited potential to be turned into something great.  Sending love to all Moms out there!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Time and Timers, managing tools to ease up your day!

Timers are not your enemies…sometimes they feel like work but I’ve discovered (with time) that it’s a good idea to make them my allies and use them to my advantage. I tend to be forgetful, and I guess it’s normal for us single mothers having to take care of so many things!

A couple of weeks ago I ended up at the Supermarket at 6:00 am, that’s right, 6:00 am! My son had told me about an upcoming school trip to remind me of his lunch (on field trips I allow them to take snacks that I don’t have in my pantry, chips, cookies etc) and I thought “hey! It’s next week, there’s time to get ready” and dismissed it!


Situations like these happen to single moms ALL THE TIME, we want to prioritize (not blaming us from doing so) but we tend to dismiss the details that drive us crazy later! What could’ve saved me from ending at the supermarket at 6 am? Run the night before after work? Use my workout time? NO, that would’ve sent me straight to the “sacrifice” mindset again, instead I could’ve set a reminder on my cell phone and a deadline to have his snacks at least 2 days before the school trip. 

I realized that not taking advantage of alarms, timers and gadgets available to me added a lot of unnecessary stress, single mothers have to do a lot and the amount of womanpower available is 1 so the more prepared, the better.  I’m sharing a few ideas and items that have worked for me and hopefully will work for you as well:

Set up Reminders, as many as you can!

Yes, this might sound like too much but think of this: how many times have you said to yourself “I wish I had an assistant to remind me of things” well this is your chance, you have more than one right on your phone.

Google calendar is one of my favorites. It’s easy to use and you can set up many reminders as text, email and alarm anytime from days in advance to a few minutes. This is specially helpful if you need more than one alert.  I set things to do as events regardless of how small they seem, (remember is the little details we tend to forget and to later see them coming at us like a Bulldozer) set an email reminder 3 days before, and 2 texts, one 24 hours before and one in the morning the same day.  This takes off the stress and fear of forgetting things, you’ll be reminded 3 times!

Phone Reminders, these are also easy to use and are very convenient for things that require your immediate attention but the display doesn’t always show days or weeks in advance which I prefer. Still is another option.

Invest in Kitchen Gadgets with Timers, they work.

I love cooking meals for my children but when I get home I feel too tired to start cooking a fancy meal from scratch, stews, BBQ ribs, baked mac and cheese, and roasted chicken seem like a whole lot of work to start at 6 or 7 pm besides taking all my time to do other important things like my workout, spending quality time with my children or preparing things for the next morning.

The Slowcooker

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A World Wonder for single moms. It only requires a few minutes (15 max) before you go to work in the morning.  I put my meals together while I drink my morning coffee! Prices range from $23.99 -$300.00, depending on your budget and how much you have to cook there are a lot of options out there for you to choose.

I use The Crockpot brand, got it for $39.99 and does a great job!  its big enough for 2-3 meals for the three of us (I rather cook more so I can serve that some other day of the week combined with a different side dish). Love making Beef stew, Chicken Cacciatore and BBQ Ribs. There are plenty of easy recipes that come with the item, also if you want to have your recipes handy the Crockpot Recipe book  is only $11.68 on amazon (Love it).  There is no mistake on this one, nothing like finding your dinner ready when you get home and you get a lot for your buck!

Convection Oven


After giving it some thought for a while I purchased a NuWave ($99.00), to my surprise it was amazing! and the best thing about it is the speed. I can have a complete meal in 10-25 min or less.  Chicken, Steak, Pork Chops, grilled veggies, sweet potatoes, baked “fries” for my boys can be perfectly cooked in a matter of minutes.  It also has layers so you can cook different things at the same time! Seriously, you can cook anything on this thing. Totally worth the investment!

Your Old Stove Oven range

Let’s say you have planned to spend the day at home but need to run some errands that might take a long time.  Later  you’ll come home  tired and go straight to the kitchen to cook in the worst possible mood humanly possible…So here’s an idea: your range oven might have a delay feature, YES! Even the very old ones allow you to set your cooking for a later time and also shut off by itself so you wont have to worry if errands take more than you expected.  If you have one of these take advantage of it! 

Although all brands are different, I wanted to offer an example of how you can set up your oven timer  I found in allmygoodthings.com, it is detailed and it has pictures!

These are just some ideas that might be available to you.  At home you might have a lot of other things that you are not taking advantage of as well.  As single mothers we have a lot of things to take care of besides our children so why not help us a little with whats already there? Lets start paying more attention to all the ignored timers we have at home and use them, they are helpful!

Sending Love to all single moms out there! 

Mastering Single Motherhood, a perspective that changed everything.

After many years of single motherhood I reached a point where I felt I could no longer take the weight.  All the responsibility and struggles that come with being a single parent head of household became too much to bare.

This was reflected in a constant mood of of  nonconformity and unfairness, I kept asking myself why do I have to struggle so much?  Will it always be like this?  I felt it wasn’t fair and I was mentally and physically exhausted.  Inhabiting this state all the time kept me strictly focused on what I lacked and had lost instead of what I had and was able to do. Ingeniously and gracefully by the way.

We assume that we are not prepared to raise a family on our own, neither are we trained to do so because we expect to work with a team, a team of two.  That of course, is not the case of many of us who have found ourselves shortsighted by a mist of uncertainty  when facing the scary and unavoidable reality of  having to make it on our own and not knowing the way, with our children by the hands.

This is the moment where  fear settles in, all our previous beliefs are challenged and so is our self confidence. We don’t believe we can make it but we have no choice.

So we jump in ready to do whatever it takes for our children, hoping to learn as we go without realizing that everything we do is under that “no choice” umbrella, that perspective that makes all our efforts and accomplishments as single mothers feel like sacrifice.

From the moment we wake up we are in a constant doing, planning, rushing, timing, stressing, running and worrying that we feel never ends but at the same time, we are getting things done.  The problem is we are not focused on our ability to do things and our strength, we are in the “no choice” mindset and when you have no choice but to do something that means LAST RESOURCE.  Is living our every day lives with our children a last resource?

This never ending story is also nurtured by how we take in social constructs and other people’s perceptions of us as single mothers. For example, think about that moment in a conversation you outer the words “I’m a single mother”.  A very popular reaction in most people I’ve personally encountered (after an awkward pause) is an expression that lives between  “I’m so sorry” and “I admire you, you must be strong”.  In the other hand, how do you feel when you say these words? I’ve honestly always felt a certain amount of fear of embarrassment and a sense of failure and guilt, but why? I wanted to change that.

Asking all these questions made me look back  and observe my journey as a single mom. I got to the conclusion that despite who comes into my life or what happens, I will always be a single mother, I will always do whatever humanly possible to take care of me and my children.  The question is why does it have to be like this? What if I accept single motherhood not as a condition or a temporary state but as part of who I am?  What if I believe that I can do it?

How many times have we heard from others “I have no idea how you do it” or “It’s amazing how you are able to do all that on your own”, how can others see what we are able to accomplish but we don’t?  This is the FIRST step, lets start seeing what others see, lets start observing ourselves and focus on HOW and HOW WELL we do things.

The truth is that although we have not been aware of it  we have learned, we have found many different ways to take those things that represent challenge and made them work for us. We’ve been doing it ALL ALONG but we weren’t aware of it.  We are still getting better every day and we will for as long as we are mothers and raise our children. We have become masters of our single motherhood.

Single motherhood is not a condition or a terrible state from which we have to get out of. As it presents many challenges, it also offers many blessings: motivation, courage, strength, persistence, purpose, self-worth, responsibility, a very special bond with your children and immeasurable love to give.

Our goal here is to discover and love these gifts and find the joy and extraordinary in what we do and who WE ARE. As we strive to raise our children we will also become much healthier, stronger and happier women.

Sending love to all Master Single Moms out there!