Thursday, June 13, 2013

Happy Father's Day...Mom?!

Last month was Mother’s Day.  The week prior to Mother’s Day….really WEEKS prior to Mother’s Day, I know of people who were planning spectacular surprises and buying meaningful and thoughtful gifts for their mothers. There were very few people that waited until the last minute…
Fast forward to the week (well days) before Father’s Day.  Card stores are still full of cards, stores still full of last minute gifts, whereas a few days before Mother’s Day shelves were almost empty and good luck trying to find something the day before!  I’ve even had to remind friends this weekend is Father’s Day weekend. Nobody had to be remind about Mother’s Day! What is it that makes Father’s Day less celebrated than Mother’s Day? As if that isn’t enough, some fathers are totally eliminated from the day as mothers are celebrated even on this day. Yep…they even have cards wishing mom a Happy Father’s Day!

I know of friends that are taking their moms out to dinner on this day as well. Every year there is a debate as to whether this is acceptable….should single mothers also be celebrated on Father’s Day? I’ll be honest…I’m not opposed to it. I even have single mom friends that I wish a Happy Father’s Day too. And if someone wishes me a Happy Father’s Day I gladly accept their well wish…not because I’m a father…but because I am a single mother that has to do it all. Especially as a single mom of twins who were in and out of the hospital their first years of life, I’ll take that accolade since it was me who was up late nights comforting, giving medicine, and scheduled breathing treatments or spending the night at the hospital in PICU while the other parent “checked in” from afar, not choosing to not drive the super long 3.5 hours at times to be at their side. As a matter of fact my first mother’s day with the twins was spent in the hospital with one twin in PICU and not even a Happy Mother’s Day wish from the “other parent”. I digress, but I take the Father’s Day wishes in stride because I know I’m really being recognized as an extraordinary mother :)

So what do you think? Should single moms also be recognized on Father’s Day? Why or Why not?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Single Parents...the latest group for work discrimination?

So you know the one….she works 60+ hours a week…bragging about how she can function on 4 hours of sleep….not satisfied unless she’s in back to back meetings and involved in every big project at work? Never saying no to a project even if it means getting on a plane at the last minute to save an account…she is the shero of the company. If she can’t do it, no one can!! She tries to act modest but you know she is loving every minute of it...

Then there’s you…a single parent barely able to keep up with the 40 hours (but doing so, even going beyond 40 hours) struggling, doing your best to keep up with your deadlines (but doing so)…hopping on flight after flight for meetings with clients. Your children wonder when you drop them off for school if you’re going to pick them up after school or if you will be on a plane. Logging into work at 10 p.m. and working until the wee hours of the morning because you had to wait until your kids went to bed before you could finish a project. Compared to your other {married} co-workers who put in 60+ hours, your 45-48 hours look weak!

True story…I was working on a project with another co-worker{married with a 20 mth. old}. We had a meeting the next day for a client and decided to split the work in order to make the deadline. Okay, so because she has aspouse who can watch her ONE child she works non-stop and finishes her half. I on the other hand had to stop, pick up my THREE kids from school/daycare,finish homework, feed them, bathe them, and put them to bed before I could pick back up and finish my work. So once I finally get the kids to bed and settle into work around 9 p.m. I notice that Mrs. Married Co-worker has taken it upon herself to finish my half of the work. I was half thrilled and half upset! I sent her an email saying that I was just about to finish the work for our meeting and noticed she had finished the work and told her thank you. She replied back saying no problem, she was just on a roll anyway and had the time to finish it. But to our supervisor she said something totally different…that she had to finish work that I didn’t complete in time for our meeting with a client?? Wow!

Even for the office workers..always a few minutes late...or having to adjust your start time to a later time..working through lunch to be able to leave on time. No matter how much planning and preparation you have for the morning…there is always something that can go wrong. For some reason toddlers just don’t like to be rushed in the morning…or your preschooler spills something on her uniform and has to make an unexpected outfit change. Sure, your married co-worker has small children as well….BUT he also has a stay at home wife and often brags about how he just leaves her home to deal with the kids while he escapes early to work…yeah that’s just the kind of husband I want. That last minute meeting at the end of the day…oh yeah…he can stay…but you? Unless you want to pay $5 a minute for each minute you’re late picking up the kids…and yes that is per child…you have to go. Your other co-workers just roll their eyes as you leave while they stay. Your single, childless, workaholic boss shakes her head at you….I mean really..where are your priorities? She stays at the office until 7pm and the nerve of you wanting to leave before 5.

So is this a new discrimination? Should some jobs just come with stipulations that you just cannot apply if you’re a single parent? If you’re not willing to sacrifice time with your not apply?? Although the job advertises a 40 hour work week…if you’re not willing to put in at least 50-60 like your other married co-workers…do not apply?  Yes, the job says 30% travel, but you’re really expected 60% travel even if it means back to back weeks away from your children. Oh no, the job descriptions won’t say anything like this…instead they have words like “fast-paced”, “multiple projects”, “extreme customer service”

Maybe it’s my fault….how dare I take a job that pays enough to cover all the bills…at the same time…without having to worry about when/if the other parent is going to pay child support. It seems like the single/custodial parent constantly has to choose between career and family while the other parent rises to the top with no problem because they don’t have to be concerned with traveling three weeks in a row and being away from their children. And actually this is not just me being dramatic…there is a name for it…Family ResponsibilityDiscrimination (FDR).

Women with children are most likely to encounter Family Responsibility Discrimination. This group has been found to be 79% less likely to be recommended for hire, 100% less likely to be promoted and offered at least $10,000 less in salary for the same position as a similarly situated male.

What can you do if you feel that you have been discriminated against under FDR? Well, it depends. There is bad news and good news. The bad news…although some forms of FDR appear to be blatant….a supervisor asking you to work ridiculous hours, knowing your situation as a caregiver prevents you from doing so and then denying you a promotion…while this may appear to be a form of FDR, it unfortunately is not illegal. Even if your state DOES recognize these forms of discrimination as illegal, your employer may argue there is a business justification (other than discrimination) for giving you a promotion over a co-worker, since it is going to the worker who has worked more hours and presumably has contributed more to the business.

The good news?? FDR cases are on the rise in every state andin every industry and employees prevail in almost half of the cases. The best news…verdicts and settlements in FDR cases average over $500,000.

So what does this mean for you as a single parent? It means if you are the target of discrimination at work you can fight back…and the odds of winning are more in your favor than not!!

It isn’t fair that jobs which allow a single parent to be able to care for their children above poverty level are so out of reach…


  • sources for statistics and information:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

SWAKlife presents: Ready! Set! Go!! Summer Fun Expo!!

SWAKlife presents:

Ready! Set! Go!! Summer Fun Expo!
Free! Free! Free!
*Donations are appreciated

Come enjoy performances and fun!
Celebrate the end of the school year with Mr E! The Motivator!

Parents sign your kids up for fun, educational, active summer programs this summer!! No kid left inside this summer! Get outside and play!!

Interested family friendly vendors email us at for your free table!

Location: ADRS Building
3000 Johnson Road SW
Huntsville, AL 35805

Monday, February 25, 2013


Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength….asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength….repeat daily! I’m saying this to you, but it’s really for me. I have the hardest time asking for help. I will explore every option possible to do it myself before I ask for help…and by that time it’s a do or die situation. I guess my whole life I’ve been told what I can’t do….so I take that as a challenge. You can’t go to the Army… me. You can’t leave your husband….watch me. You can’t get pregnant…watch me (I think I overachieved on this one though!! LOL!) You can’t raise children without help from other people….watch me. I become so committed to proving what I “can” do….that even when it’s truly obvious that I need help…I refuse it…on the fear that I’ll appear defeated. It may also have something to do with the fact that when I have asked and accepted help from people, I was made to feel defeated instead of empowered….especially by family members who use every opportunity to “remind” me of their help. The funny part about this is I’m a giving person…not because I want to be recognized for it or stash up IOU’s…but because I genuinely know what it’s like to struggle…I mean really STRU-UG-GLE!!! If there is a way to prevent someone from going through hard times I want to help if I’m able…
But having children has definitely changed my perspective on asking and receiving help…I still struggle with it…but I’m more accepting of it now because it’s not about me. I have children who depend on me. My children didn’t ask to be brought into this world, I brought them here and they should not suffer for my need to “prove” I can do it all. Nobody wins in that! My BFF and co-founder of Nikeesha,  also made a good point in her recent blog at WE set the example for our kids and sometimes telling them isn’t enough...we need to SHOW them. Yes it's great for children to witness our strength, but they also need to know when they are not strong enough, seek help! I want my children to be able to ask for anything without feeling like a failure for doing so. I want to encourage and empower them to feel good about asking for help and to always seek help from others when they need it. Because sometimes you just cannot do it alone.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Oh no! Am I a {gasp} mommy snob??

Not in the sense that I think I’m better than anybody…let me explain…
So the other day I’m with a group of mothers…to give you some background info…most of us have more than one child and some are mother’s of multiples….but not all are single parents. Anyway, I asked a question in regards to my twins and the first person to speak up was a married mother with one child. While it was true that I did direct my question to the group as a whole, I really EXPECTED one of the mother’s with multiples to answer…so I immediately went on the defense when this married mother of one answered. For one…you are married…you have help! Two….you have ONE child, not three and definitely not multiples so how can you relate to what I’m speaking about?? And THREE….not to judge, but your child doesn’t have the BEST behavior…so maybe you want to take some “advice” and give it to yourself! Too harsh??  Probably…but hey those were my thoughts. Now I didn’t say any of this out loud…but I know my facial expressions speak volumes! The more I thought about my reaction to her advice I did feel a little bad. I thought geez…we are all mothers right? She was only trying to help. But I guess when I seek advice from a person, I want to feel that person has the same level of experience, preferably MORE experience to be able to provide me with sound advice, right? Personally, I only give advice on things I know from experience, so I always find it surprising when people give advice in areas they have no expertise/experience in. I even have this issue with my own mother, who feels that she is an expert because she has raised three children (30+ years ago!!)…and while she of course did a fabulous job (I mean look at me..) there are still certain areas in which we cannot relate…for example being a single parent. Now my mom was a married “single” parent when it came to raising us (meaning that my father’s role did not include raising the children…that was strictly my mother’s area) but unlike me she never had to worry about anything financially. Never! She moved from her father’s house to marrying my dad. And my dad took care of all the bills so her focus could be on the children. Now I’m not saying that she cannot give me advice at all, but there are just certain areas in which we clash because she cannot relate. Where she only had to fry the bacon, I have to fry it and bring it home too….so she doesn’t understand that just because the kids need new shoes, I have to wait until the budget (a concept she has yet to grasp) allows for that expense; whereas she can go to the mall and gets 3 pairs of shoes without blinking an eye. My biggest peeve are mother’s who have children close in age and tell me it’s “like” raising twins? Umm, no…it’s not “like” raising twins….its “like” raising kids who are close in age. Ohhhh Ohhhh wait..I take that back!! Without a doubt my biggest peeve are women who compare having a pet to raising a child???!!!!! Really??  Now don’t get me wrong…I’m a pet lover. In fact before I had children of my own, I had a dog, Jasmine, who was yes, “my baby”. BUT I never  thought to myself “this is what it must be like to raise a child” I clearly understood the difference between “my baby” being an animal versus being a human being. I even had one pet mom argue with me that her pet “child” had clothes, went to “dog” school, and she even paid for “doggie” daycare. Ooookay…but those are all personal choices you made for your dog, not necessities. You can choose to leave your dog home alone if you want to without any legal consequences or fear of them dying. AND…until I can go on vacation and leave my kids in a kennel…you have no leverage with me on that….end of discussion!!!
I guess overall I want to do what’s best for my children and when it involves an area where I’m still learning, I want to know what other moms “in that situation” do/have done.  Is that wrong?
So what do you think? Can you relate or am I a mommy snob? You can tell me…I can handle it! How do you feel as a single parent when a married parent gives you advice? Come on…don’t leave me hanging feeling like a bad mommy!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I don't date...

I remember being pregnant with my twins, thinking my life was over! I was already a single mom of one daughter and now I was about to be a single mom of not two, but THREE kids!!! Who in their right mind would want to date me?? I’m doomed to be alone forever! But after having my twins that fear quickly went away as I found myself in an unexpected position of MORE men wanting to date me?? How did that happen? You would think I would be excited that I wasn’t “off the market” but oddly enough, it was me that didn’t want to date or pursue a relationship...why?? Here are my reasons in no particular order but let’s just start with the “more” men I referred to earlier…
1.       A whole new world…of men!  Yes I found more men wanting to date me….men that probably would never give me the time of day before and vise versa. My highest “demand” category seemed to be men with more than one child. Men seemed to think that “hey…she has more than one child, I have more than one child…match made in heaven” Umm, no, not necessarily. Man + Woman + tribe of kids does not always = The Brady Bunch. The next highest demand category were older men who had children and didn’t want anymore and assumed that because I already have three I don’t want any more either….in this case…you are CORRECT! LOL! But these men usually have older children too and are past the tolerance level of dealing with small children like mine. And the last category is one that I hate….the men that figure I should be happy and thrilled that a man would want to talk to a single mom of 3 kids and I should feel happy with anything they have to offer….which most of the time isn’t much. As for this last group of men….don‘t even bother approaching me! My standards have not lowered because I have children…as a matter of fact they are HIGHER! Unfortunately for these men, my self-worth and self-esteem is not wrapped around a man wanting to be with me. I am very content being single and honestly don’t know if I’m even “built” for a relationship….
2.       My children need me! I think a lot of my lack of desire to date (not…two different things) has to do with my children being so young. I have three kids under the age of 5….so it’s not like they can fend for themselves (even though I consider my 5 yr old to be almost an adult….she can dress herself, bathe herself, go to the bathroom by herself, even fix herself a sandwich, juice, and cereal…I mean what’s left??) My point is they are at the age where my undivided attention is needed…at ALL TIMES. Plus I know for a fact the twins are the last of my babies {unless I’m giving birth to the next Jesus!!} I really don’t like to share my time with them with anyone else. And really after taking care of three children all day who really has time to date?? Which brings me to random reason number  #3

3.       “Ain’t nobody got time for that” – this is pretty self explanatory….umm, I don’t have time for that. Between working full time {and yes I have a REAL job even though I work from home!!}  AND being a full time single parent to 3 kids under 5….there is really not much time left…seriously….and when there is free time….it’s not REALLY free time. It’s “ time to do what I can’t do when the kids aren’t around” time…like cleaning rooms, grocery shopping, throwing out toys they don’t play with anymore, getting the car washed because they are scared to death of the “drive through” car wash….oh, by the way, does any other parent use this as a threat for misbehaving? No…just me….oh….well never mind…I won’t tell you that story. Anyway, my point is…my “free” time no longer consists of anything that actually has to do with me enjoying myself….which brings me to random reason number #4
4.       I’m selfish with myself!! – Yep, I said it….99.9% of the time I have to think about three little people….so when I do get the rare free time, which is ACTUALLY free time…to actually do something for me…it usually doesn’t involve another human being. It involves ME, ME, and more ME. Things like….taking a full shower...washing my hair, shaving, AND scrubbing…..a pedicure/manicure, going to the bookstore and reading all the magazines that don’t involve being a parent, or just going to a restaurant and ordering a meal and actually enjoying it…by myself…without sharing….without having to stop every 5 minutes and cut someone’s food, or clean a spill, or breaking up a food fight, or trying to explain why they can’t drink mommy’s juice (wine).

5.       It’s expensive!! Yes, even though I might be on a date where the man is paying for the meal and entertainment….trust me…my cost is just as significant as any meal or movie he might pay for! There is the hair, nails, outfit, makeup, and the most expensive cost of all {insert dramatic music} THE BABYSITTER!!!  Do men have any freaking idea how much a babysitter costs???? For three kids??? Between $12-15 an hour….and most have a minimum time of 3-4 hours…and then some have a mileage charge in addition to the fees!! So now I have paid probably well above what he has paid, for a meal where I feel like I’m interviewing for a job….and let’s pray the conversation is good because if not I have to endure at least 4 hours of boring date time….OR WORSE if the date IS good, I only have 4 hours of date time before I have to leave, because at some point I have to cut the date short to get back home in time for my babysitter to leave before charging me for extra time…..uggh! Sometimes the date is not worth all the trouble! Geez! *I do have an alternative for dating “after hours”….go on “lunch” dates! It’s almost perfect….you don’t have to pay for a babysitter because the kids are in school/daycare….you’re only required to look “business” hot (plus you get to see how he looks in a suit or business attire)...there is a defined beginning and end to the date because you have to get back to the office at some point….so if the date is going bad, you only have to endure it for an hour….and if the date is good then you know if it’s worth spending the extra money to date “after hours”…LOL!

6.       Let me Cater to you: Most men think because you are a mother, you are nurturing and caring….which to them is code for “cater to me”. Umm, no….true I am nurturing and caring….to my children, not grown men! Really after taking care of 3 other human beings and myself all the time….the LAST thing I want to do is cater to another human being! How about YOU cater to ME!!

So there you have it….why I will be alone forever don’t date!