Category Archives: Series

Life Lessons From A Single Mom

single mom

As the country looks for clues about what turned Nikolas Cruz into a cold-hearted mass shooter, many “experts” blame his violent behavior on a “broken home”. According to numerous media accounts, the shooter came from a fatherless home.  Apparently, single moms are now the main cause of males becoming mass shooters. The unfair stereotype is still invoked: a single mom presides over a broken home that produces a troubled child.

As a single mom of three, I don’t agree with this popular prejudice. Many single parents do their job of parenting extremely well. My children are a good example. In May, my oldest daughter will graduate law school at just 23 years of age.  Her sister is getting ready to graduate college, summa cum laude. At 14, my son is a straight “A” high school freshman. My kids love life, people, and animals. They are responsible, hard-working, caring human beings. I’m incredibly proud of them.  Not all children raised by a single mother end up as mass shooters or drug dealers.

From my experience, when it comes to creating a healthy family, it’s not the number of parents in a home, but the quality of parenting a child receives that matters most. A home is only “broken” when healthy family dynamics break down: communication stops, love is absent, or destructive behavior sets in, for example.

What is true is that single mothers and fathers must take on additional family responsibility. However, by rising to this enormous challenge,  single parents develop remarkable skills and strengths  worthy of appreciation and recognition.

Here are just a few strengths/skills and ideas I have developed and (hopefully) passed down to my children.

single mom

1. Be resilient and never give up.

Since becoming a single mom, seven years ago, I’ve had to face all the challenges by myself.  As hard as things sometimes get, my kids picked up some significant perks from watching me do so much. They’ve learned how important it is to come up stronger every time they have a new, painful experience. My kids know about the art of taking life’s losses in stride. Learning the skill to recover quickly from difficult situations goes a long way with the ability to adapt and persevere.

2. Be financially savvy.

In my house we don’t waste money or food. Learning how to stretch a dollar – a skill which my kids learned at a young age – seems to come with the single mom territory.  My kids have developed a frugal mindset and have far less money stress than most people their age. These lessons go a long way in forging their path towards financial independence.

3. It’s ok to be alone.

People often ask me whether I date. The answer is “no”. I’m a happy, healthy, and busy woman, who doesn’t need a man to be happy . I tell my girls I may be alone, but I’m not lonely.  Doing things alone can be a wonderful thing. One of the best things my daughter Christy did while interning in New York was explore the city by herself. She was alone and independent… and she was incredibly happy. Meanwhile, my boy has learned to value my and his sisters’ strength and independence.

4. Develop multitasking.

My daughters are two of the best multitaskers I know. From the day I became a single mom, they knew that between work, home, and after school activities, their mom is juggling nonstop. My kids caught this skill automatically and will reap the benefits all through their lives.

5. Enjoy the small things.

When life has more challenges than luxury, everything is much more appreciated. Every little happiness calls for a celebration. I urge my kids to live a full and vibrant life. No point in waiting for things to happen down the road. I encourage them to be passionate, to love deeply and to live every day fully. In our house, memories and special moments triumph possessions. You can’t buy true joy or love.

6. Women are as capable as men.

My kids have seen me do just about anything: from gutting a bathroom to changing car filters, to cutting trees and mowing the lawn, to paying bills, to decorating a birthday cake, to curling my hair and applying make up. etc. This has given them an enlightened view of gender roles.

7. Be independent.

Watching me take care of our family on my own has taught my children to value their education, career and worth in an everlasting way. My kids don’t rely on other people to take care of them. It’s important to be able to be independent and do things on your own.

8. Stay organized.

Single parents manage a lot of responsibility. It takes organization and routines to run a home efficiently. As a result, all my kids thrive in a clutter-free, organized environment.

9. Your siblings are your “forever” friends.

I will not live forever, but I hope that my kids will always have the strongest bond with each other. After all they have been together through awkward, embarrassing, joyous, and miserable times.

10. Raising children alone is the hardest job in the world. 

It is always a privilege to be raised by both parents but sometimes life has something else in store for us.  Sure, our lives would have been different with two parents. But that doesn’t mean they would have been better. My kids learned about sadness and frustration from me. But they also learned about joy, determination, gratitude and love. So much love for all of them.

single mom

What are your thoughts on this controversial topic? Are you a single parent? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Softest Shag Rug For A Teen Room

**Disclosure: I received a free product for review. All opinions are 100% mine.**

New Rug in Teen Room
teen room

Shag rug for teen room

Natural Rugs

For a teenage boy his bedroom is like a fort protecting him from the outside world. It’s a place where he can go to get some private space or hang out with friends. It’s also a place where he can start to express his own identity separate from the rest of the household.

A few months ago, my teen was ready for a larger bed. At 14 years old, he stands 5’11” so his old twin sized bed just didn’t cut it anymore. He upgraded to a queen bed, which meant getting a new mattress, bed frame, comforter, duvet cover, and sheets. I also added new art work and a better desk chair.

My son loves neutral colors – grey, black, and brown are his favorite. He prefers minimal decor with sleek , clean lines. Recently, we added a rug to his room, which provides some extra padding to the hardwood floors. I let him pick out the rug and he chose this Natural Area Rugs shag rug.  Shag rugs are cozy, soft, and luxurious. I love them. This rug feels so soft on bare feet and compliments the room’s modern decor. It adds style and comfort. Now the room feels “warmer” and cozier.

Natural Rugs

Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy to pick a rug. Natural Area Rugs has a huge selection of contemporary, jute, sisal, grass, etc, rugs. All their rugs come with a FREE rug pad and shipping is always FREE.

Here are just a few of their products.

Product Image

Bermuda Oriental Rug w/ FREE Rug Pad             Grandeur Contemporary Rug w/ FREE Rug Pad

My Experience With Lowe’s Gutter Installation

**I was not compensated for this post nor did I receive free installation/products. I just wanted to share my experience and opinion.**
gutters

We all know that good gutters is your home’s best defense against harsh elements. Unfortunately, gutters warp and bend as they age. Along with it, so do the hangers and other hardware that was used to install them. This can cause the gutters to pull away from you home and lets water fall uncontrolled. This was the situation with my gutters. Every time it rained, there was a downpour of water right above my patio door.  Before my home suffered any water damage, I needed to take care of this issue. Prior to contacting gutter companies, I did a lot of research on gutter materials, sizes, installation, cost, etc. For a minute I even looked into DIY gutter installation. I figured I’d need more than two hands to do this. Once I was a little better informed, I contacted the first company: Lowe’s.

After filling out an online form, a Lowe’s employee called to set up a free home consultation. Three days later, one of their project specialists came to my home to take measurements and inspect the current gutter situation. He was friendly and knowledgeable. He informed me that I have 97 linear feet of gutters and that 24 linear feet of fascia wood would need to be replaced due to wood rot. That was the area above the patio door that was pulling away. The gutters above my garage were also bend and started to pull away.

Lowe’s offers 5″ and 6″ gutters. My old gutters were 5″ so I stuck with the same size. This also allowed me to keep my four existing downspouts which were in great shape. Keeping the downspouts  saved me over $200. The total cost for 97 linear feet  5″ seamless gutter installation came to $1,078 after tax. This included all materials, labor, and hauling away of job related debris.  He left me with the written quote and encouraged me to call him with any further questions. I appreciated the fact that he wasn’t pushy – which wasn’t the case with Home Depot.

While I have nothing against Home Depot ( I shop there all the time), their guy was very pushy. In addition to quoting nearly $400 more for the same job, materials, etc., the guy  tried to talk me into getting  a Home Depot credit card, which I politely declined.

The third company was a local roofing company.  Their quote was around $100 less than Home Depot’s. The problem with them was that they couldn’t commit to starting the work for at least  another month or two. The concern I have with local companies (some at least)  is that today “they’re in business”, next week they can be “gone”. I don’t mean to insult anyone but I had seen it happen before. Six months after a local company did work on my AC unit, their phone number was disconnected. At least with big box stores labor is guaranteed for a year and the store “isn’t going anywhere”.

Gutters

After doing my research and meeting with three companies, I decided to go with Lowe’s. Two weeks after meeting with the Lowe’s guy, two independent contractors (hired by Lowe’s) came out to do the work. The installation was smooth (about 4 hours) and I’m happy with the results. Since then we have had major rain storms, ice and snow. Every so often, I walk around the property to inspect the gutters. Everything looks fine – no sagging, no pulling, no leaks or holes.

Gutters

Gutters

Have you ever hired a big-box store to do installation at your home? If so, what was your experience?