Posts Tagged ‘HealthyParenting’


Huffington Post Article: The Most Important Thing My Mom Taught Me About Parenting

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

The Most Important Thing My Mom Taught Me About Parenting

By: Marisa McPeck-Stringham for Huffington Post

The other day I was looking at a photo of myself at my toddler daughter’s age. I marveled at how much she looked like me, and I relished the family resemblance. We don’t have the same eye color, but we do have the same eye shape and the same long eyelashes. I realized that, although I was hoping she would have my blue eyes, she has hazel eyes like my mother. Then I pulled out a photo of my mother crying on her first birthday. I could see my daughter’s face in hers, since my baby has that exact same expression when she cries. I realized the family resemblance ran through at least three generations. These moments are especially bittersweet since I can’t share them with my mother because she died six years ago from pancreatic cancer. But the family resemblances don’t end at our face shapes and our shared hair color; my mom taught me a lot of lessons about parenting, and often, I’m a reflection of her.

Toddler me in 1979. My daughter looks just like me.

1. The love of reading.
Every Saturday of my childhood, my mother would take me to the library. She was an avid reader and always had her name on a list to reserve the latest must-read book. I spent countless hours at our city library stacking up the piles of books she let me check out. I remember when she got me my first library card and how proud I was to be responsible for my own books. I remember my mother said once she could survive anything in life as long as she had her books to take her away on a new adventure. She instilled her love of books in me. I don’t take my children to the library as often as she did, but I take them frequently. In the summer, I read a large chapter book to my children for a few minutes every night. They’re always begging me to read more chapters. Whenever I see one of my kids reading a book independent of a school assignment, I get a little thrill.

2. Parenting doesn’t stop when your child turns 18.
After my mother died, I was going through her things and picking out the books I wanted to keep while the rest would be donated. Among the thousands of books I found in her collection was a book about parenting from an empty nest. To think that my mother was worried about parenting her children right even after we were adults let me know how much she truly did love us and want us to succeed. I was married young, and after I had only completed two and a half years of college. My mother constantly encouraged me to go back to school. She wanted each of her children to have a college education, and it was an important goal for her since she never got the opportunity. After the birth of my second child, every so often my mom would ask me when I was planning on going back. Once I made the decision to quit my job and go back to school full-time, my mother supported me completely. She and my dad even paid for the semesters not covered by financial aid. It took me two years to graduate, and my mother couldn’t have been prouder. I’ll always be thankful she was there to see me graduate, since she died six months after I donned my cap and gown.

3. Loyalty.
My mom always taught me that “blood is thicker than water,” or that you should always stand up for your family no matter what. She taught me that you should always have your family’s back over other people. I think I learned this lesson too well, because one of the earliest memories my younger brother has is of me taking off my shoe in the foyer at our church and hitting a kid with it who was teasing him. My mother especially wanted her children to have a close relationship as siblings. I think it’s because she instilled that loyalty to my family in me that my sister and brother are two of the most important people in my world. I try to instill this in my own children, too, which is why it’s especially painful for me when they fight with each other. I want them to know that most friends come and go, but family is forever.

Mom on her first birthday. My toddler looks just like this when she cries.

4. Your life doesn’t stop because you have children.
When I became a mother for the first time, my mother told me that children are supposed to fit into our lives, not the other way around. Because of this I have not lost my whole self in motherhood to the point where that is my whole identity. While I love being a mother and parenting my children, I have retained my hobbies and my friendships and I encourage this with my husband as well. I completed my Bachelor’s degree when I had two children, and plan to complete a Master’s degree when my youngest gets out of the toddler years. Active parenting is such a short period of time, and while most of my time is devoted to parenting, I hold a small space that is just my own and only belongs to me.

5. Talking.
My mother was somebody I could always talk to. I would lie in her bed with her for hours talking about my life and my problems. Even during my cranky teenage years, my mother was someone I could always talk to, and she would always listen. She would even put down her book long enough to pay attention to me. Years later, as an adult, even though she only lived five miles away, I would call my mom and we would spend hours on the phone. I’ve had friends tell me that they could never talk to their mothers the way I talked to mine, like a friend. I remember the first time I reached for the phone to call my mother after she died, and realized, with a slap to the face, she wouldn’t be on the other end if I called her number. I still have the very last voicemail she ever left me, singing me a birthday song and wishing me a happy birthday. As my oldest is about the enter the teenage years, I have tried to develop this relationship with her. She comes and talks to me about school, her friends and the boy she likes, and I try to listen without judgment. The other day she told me liked hanging out with me, so maybe I’m doing a good job at this.

6. Accepting me for who I am.
I was flipping through a book about mothers that my in-laws gave me one Mother’s Day when I came across this quote by Fredelle Maynard and it struck me:

Beyond all lessons, beyond the model she provided, my mother gave me a parent's ultimate gift; 
she made me feel lovable and good. She paid attention; she listened; she remembered what I said. 
She did not think me perfect, but she accepted me, without qualification.

My mother always accepted me for who I was. She didn’t try to change me or push me into doing things I didn’t want to do. I mean, within reason. She did expect me to finish my vegetables at dinner. She didn’t try to change me into the Homecoming Queen when I was a book nerd. She let me make my own mistakes and learn from them. A lot of parents try to make their children in their own image, and that is not what my mother did. She let us find out who we were without expectations or qualifications, like Maynard said. As a mother, I have loved watching my children’s personalities unfold, and like my mother, I try to not push my own view of who they should be on them. I want them to grow up to be exactly who they are.

7. Time is a gift.
The most important thing my mom taught me about parenting is that time is a gift. The reason why time is so precious is that you never know when your time is going to end. My mother died when I was 29 years old. I believed that we had at least 20 more years together. I thought she would be around to watch my children grow up and to be an active grandparent in their lives, but she’s not. That has made every moment that I ever spent with her special. I don’t know how much time I have with my children on this Earth. That means the time I do spend with them is precious to me, and I want them to know it’s special, too. I can’t think of a greater gift to my children than to give them my time.

My daughter and me on her first birthday.

This post was originally published on the Iron Daisy blog.


 
“Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.”
 
Happy Mother’s Day from the Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P.C.!

Huffington Post Article: 10 Things All Divorcing Parents Should Say To Their Kids

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

10 Things All Divorcing Parents Should Say To Their Kids

By: Sophie Rosen for DivorcedMoms.com

Divorce is undeniably a tumultuous experience for any couple, regardless of how amicable the dissolution may be. It is very easy to get caught up in our own roller coaster of emotions, as well as with the challenges of navigating the divorce process itself. It is important to remember there are innocent bystanders sitting on the sidelines, watching and listening. Regardless of age, careful attention must be paid to the children of divorce, minimizing the fallout as they interpret it. Here are a few words of advice to offer children that may help guide them through this difficult period and ease their adjustment.

1. It is not your fault. Whether a child is three or 30, it is a natural response to look for reasons why parents divorce. As children search for answers, one place they may look is inward. How children perceive a situation is altogether unpredictable, and may be based on something as seemingly insignificant as a passing glance or an off-the-cuff comment. During my separation, my then six year-old, overhearing an argument between my ex husband and myself about when things first became bad in our marriage, associated that same time with his own birth. Of course, our issues had nothing to do with him, and I still remind him of that often.

2. There is no wrong way to feel. When adults go through a divorce, emotions run the gamut. The same holds true for children. Children of all ages need to know that on some days they may feel sad, angry, hurt, or even happy about the change in their family’s situation. All of these feelings are natural, and may fluctuate throughout the day and over time.

3. There is outside support if you need or want it. As a caveat to the above, if children’s perceptions about divorce become irrational to the point of being self-destructive, it is advisable to seek help from a qualified mental health professional. Even if a child’s response is not threatening, turning to an outside party such as a therapist, support group, clergyman, trusted relative, or family friend for added support can be beneficial. Help is out there. It is only a matter of asking for it.

4. Both of your parents love you. It is extremely important to reassure children that divorce is a relational matter between two parents, and not between parents and their children. Yes, living arrangements will likely change, but the love between a parent and a child is not affected by geography.

5. Parents show love in different ways. Children often question how much each of their parents love them in the wake of a divorce. In doing so, they tend to quantify, measuring the actions of one parent against those of the other. A wide range of situations may dictate that one parent spends more time with children than the other parent, spends more money, or engages in more enjoyable activities together. Reminding children that none of these scenarios indicate how much love a parent has for a child, and may be merely logistical and unavoidable consequences of divorce, is critical.

6. Your parents’ divorce does not define you. Children need to remember that just because their parents are divorcing, they are still the same person they were before. Hopes, dreams, and goals remain the same, and their parents’ divorce is no reflection on them.

7. Your relationship with each of your parents is independent of the other. It is important for children to maintain a separate and private relationship with each parent. As tempting as it may be to play the game of he said, she said with your children, kids must feel safe and secure in their relationships with each parent in order to have consistently healthy interactions on both sides. I stopped prying long ago. If my children have something to discuss with me, they will.

8. It is not your responsibility to fix your parents’ marriage. The factors leading up to a couple’s divorce likely existed for a long time before coming to a head. Marriage is a private affair between two individuals, individuals who were once closest in the world to one another. Children are not privy, nor should they be, to what goes on between a husband and wife.

9. Marriage can be wonderful. For many years, I loved being married. Children should understand that just because their parents’ marriage may not have worked out in the end, it doesn’t mean all marriages fail. Marriage is a sacred union between two people who love and respect one another, and they will know the time, if and when, it will be right for them. Of course, there are no guarantees for a successful marriage. But no two situations are ever the same, and history does not have to repeat itself.

10. Life goes on. Children will survive divorce, as will their parents. Change is difficult, but also inevitable. Divorce can ultimately be a positive experience for everyone involved, affording a second chance at a new and better life. As parents, we would never hope for or accept anything less.


Huffington Post’s article “10 Things All Divorcing Parents Should Say To Their Kids” reminds us that reassuring our children during a divorce is always important. They don’t understand the reasoning behind their parent’s divorce and often times we don’t either, thus it is essential to let our kids know that it has nothing to do with them and that both parents love them and will guide them through it.
 
If you are having a difficult time co-parenting and need assistant in finding an amicable solution between yourself and your ex, please contact our office. We can facilitate a resolution and therefore your children may have a stable environment with two active co-parents.
 
Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

Huffington Post Article: We Know Single Moms Are Amazing And Now Science Knows It Too

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

We Know Single Moms Are Amazing And Now Science Knows It Too

By: Taryn Hillin for Huffington Post

Single moms are often faced with tough challenges specific to raising a child on one’s own — but a new study says that, despite the hurdles, single moms are just as happy as their married counterparts.

In the study — published in the Journal of Happiness — researchers conducted 35 intensive face-to-face interviews with single mothers in Poland to get an in-depth understanding of their happiness levels.

Why Poland? The researchers note that Poland “has the worst system of public childcare provision in the EU.” Not only that, “bearing a child out of wedlock is not socially accepted, and lone parenthood is not institutionally supported” — making Poland a good place to study moms who truly have to do it on their own.

In addition to the interviews, researchers used a decade’s worth of data collected from 7,633 mothers as part of Social Diagnosis, an ongoing social study in Poland. Within that sample, 6,594 of the mothers were married, 538 were never married and 501 were previously married (divorced or widowed).

After analyzing both sets of data, researchers discovered that single mothers were no less happy than their married counterparts, despite facing more difficult circumstances.

“Our findings illustrate that children are a focal point in an unmarried woman’s life, and that many important life decisions are made more responsibly for the sake of the child. Motherhood empowers single mothers, increases their sense of responsibility, and allows them to escape pathological environments,” the researchers wrote.

Indeed, one 27-year-old interviewee said becoming a mother allowed her to leave a worse situation: an abusive partner.

“The man I used to be with, he had problems with alcohol and drugs. It was the reason why I left him. I didn’t think only about myself—but about the child, too. I had to start thinking… I had been hesitating before, I had wanted to leave him, but you know… love is blind. And it could be said that [my daughter] simply pushed me to do it.”

While many single mothers did say raising a child without a partner’s support is “very tiring” and “stressful,” they also emphasized that their child brings them joy, “energy” and a motivation to live.

As one study participant put it, “A child’s love compensates for everything.”


Huffington Post’s article “We Know Single Moms Are Amazing And Now Science Knows It Too” describes the science behind happiness and single parenthood. It’s essential to keep your children the focal point of your life and being single can allow you to easily think of the children first, although it comes along with a lot of stress, too.
 
Sometimes that pressure can be too much to handle, especially if you are dealing with an ex that can be unreasonable at times. If you need help in managing that anxiety, please call our office and we can assist you with your divorce, custody or support issues.
 
Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

Huffington Post Article: 12 Things Kids Think About Divorce But Are Too Afraid To Say

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

12 Things Kids Think About Divorce But Are Too Afraid To Say
By: Tara Kennedy-Kline for YourTango

Divorce can really suck. Two people, at one time so in love they committed to spend the rest of their lives together, find themselves communicating through lawyers and dividing assets and possessions so they can start their lives over again — on their own. But for families with children, there’s a whole other layer of complication and planning, and too often kids don’t have a voice in what’s happening. The only measure of control kids may have (at certain ages and in some states/countries) is choosing which parent’s house they would like to live in. But that’s just geography. What about the feelings that accompany a house torn apart, and their unspoken expectations of a life lived with a whole family?

The most vivid and painful memories many kids from divorced families have of early childhood aren’t of playground scuffles, skinned knees or getting in trouble. Instead, they relive scenes from their parents’ divorce. Kids of all ages — some barely aware of their own roles in the world — are acutely aware of events, situations and actions in families divided.

After working with hundreds of families — and observing the behavior of kids as they struggled through the breakdown of their families — here are the top 12 things kids think about divorce, but don’t have the world experience to say directly. If they could find the words or the courage, this is what kids wish they could tell their divorcing parents:

1. You got divorced, not me. I know you hate everything about “your ex”, but your ex is still my other parent, and I still love both of you. Please stop talking badly about each other to me or in front of me; it just makes me disrespect you. Don’t gossip with your friends and family about them when I’m around. It makes me feel like crap and you look like a jerk.

2. I really don’t care which one of you gets the car, the timeshare, or Nana’s ashtray collection, so stop telling me about how pissed you are about it and how you feel it’s “unfair”. When you start putting all your energy into material things, you make me think that’s all you care about. Honestly, you should be more angry about losing our family than you are about losing your gym membership.

3. I trust you to protect me from bullies or people who would hurt me. I may need you to shield me right now from the stupid things other people say to me. I don’t have all the right answers, and my feelings get hurt really easily, so please stand up for me. Also, it’s not ok to let your newest “squeeze” discipline me. They don’t know me well enough to scold or even correct me. They have no idea what I am going through, and I lose trust for you when you let them push me around or hurt me — even if it’s unintentional.

4. When you’re talking to each other about visitation, please don’t talk about me like a project that needs to be “managed”. If it’s your weekend to spend time with me, consider the fact that I may really be excited to spend time with you before you let me overhear you say things like, “I have a date. Can’t you just keep her and I’ll cover your weekend?” And when it comes to big events, keep in mind that I have family that I love on both sides. So how about instead of letting a judge decide who I get to see on the holidays — ask me what I want.

5. Don’t use your failed marriage and bitterness toward the opposite sex as your reference when you lecture me about my friendships and relationships. I’m too young to bear your wounds. My friends are my escape from all the stress your divorce is creating, so you may want to not talk badly about them right now, that will just make me rebel against you more.

6. When you start dating again, don’t assume that I am going to love every person you bring home. I have my own opinions, and just because you like them doesn’t mean I’m going to automatically hit it off with someone you’re dating. Remember, you have a different set of criteria for this relationship than I do. Your new “friend” is not my friend, so maybe I don’t want to be nice to them. As a matter of fact, I might fight with them on purpose because I want you take sides — my side. If I’m getting upset please remember that I may be a kid, but I still have feelings. It might be time for us to spend some quality time together — just us.

7. Don’t insult or make fun of the gifts and things I receive from my other parent or the experiences I have with them and their family. This isn’t about you. If you’re jealous, then say that. But insulting the things I like, enjoy and am proud of just because they came from my other parent, only makes you look like a huge, petty brat. It also makes me think twice about sharing new things with you.

8. Quit telling me I’m “being dramatic” about what’s happening. Don’t dismiss my emotions. I’m allowed to be sad/angry/disappointed/depressed over the divorce of my parents. The family I knew for the whole of my life is ending, and I am scared to death. And from my perspective, you simply stopped loving someone who made you angry, so how long will it be before I do something to make you stop loving me? And on that note, now that I have realized your love has limits, be prepared for me to test those limits almost daily.

9. I would really appreciate it if the two of you could stop acting like children and come up with a plan that allows you to be in the same space at the same time without being mean to each other. For example: my birthday, sports events, recitals, concerts, and basically any time my other family, friends, coaches or teachers are around. If you could manage to put your own selfish crap aside and be civil with each other every once in a while, that would be great for everyone.

10. Please get on the same page when it comes to values, rules and discipline. When — out of spite for each other — you let me get away with stuff that even I know is wrong, you confuse and frustrate me. You teach me how to manipulate people and pit you against each other to get what I want. It is then that I stop taking either of you seriously. Just because you stopped being married, doesn’t mean you stopped being parents. I need you to teach me how to resolve conflict, not create it.

11. Please recognize that there are some things that my other parent is better at than you … and that’s OK! I won’t think less of you if you let Dad teach me how to catch a ball or Mom show me how to drive. I need to learn from both of you. When you take those experiences away, I can see right through you. I know you want to be able to do this whole parenting thing on your own, but I don’t want you to! I like making both my parents happy. I love seeing you smile when I do something you’ve taught me, and it makes me very happy when you compliment each other by saying things like, “You should ask your (other parent), they’re really good at that.” When you allow me to learn from and value both of my parents, that teaches me to appreciate the gifts in others and to ask for help when I need it.

12. When I do something to make you mad, don’t compare me to the person you divorced. “You’re a slob just like your father!” or “You whine and complain like your mother!” are statements that insult me, not the person you divorced. Remember, you left that person. You removed them from your life because of the very things you are identifying in me. Saying that you see things in me that make you think of the things you despise in them makes me feel unlovable and self-conscious — and it destroys my already damaged self esteem. If you want me to clean up after myself or speak more respectfully, then show me how, or make a rule, or talk about it. Just stop putting in my head that my actions are just as offensive to you as the person you divorced.

Divorce isn’t pretty or upbeat, but it’s also not a time to shut down. When kids are involved, it becomes necessary to open a door for conversation and realization of what your child(ren) are going through — and what they desperately need from both parents. It may be an “adult” situation, but the kids are very aware of what’s going on. Be there for them.
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Huffington Post’s article “12 Things Kids Think About Divorce But Are Too Afraid To Say” gives insight to what children may be thinking when faced with divorcing parents.

It’s a difficult situation for everyone involved but remember that children don’t always understand what they are feeling and might be too scared to speak up when they want to. You know why you’re separating and can comprehend all the reasons that led to it but they don’t and they cannot grasp the motivation behind it. Especially in young children, knowing that two people don’t love each other anymore can make them frightened into thinking “what if they stop loving me too?” and that is why it’s important to guide your children through it in a positive and loving way.

Always remember to bear in mind that you are getting divorced, not them; so keep conversations regarding your divorce, custody or support issues between the adults only. Those are not conversations you share with your children no matter how mature they are or if you think they can handle a comment or conversation here and there.

Also, consider what your extended family and friends say when they are around your children, as well. Your children are your number one priority and protecting them against an onslaught of “he said, she said” is the same as keeping them safe from bullies. Stay focused on moving forward and being proactive in finding solutions and working towards a life with a co-parent.

If your circumstances is unmanageable with your ex-spouse and you would like guidance or have questions regarding your divorce or custody issues please call our office. We offer a complimentary consultation to answer questions and give you the support you need.

Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation.

Huffington Post Article: 6 Ways To Beat Stress In A Blended Family

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

6 Ways To Beat Stress In A Blended Family
By: Brittany Wong at Huffington Post

As part of our Blended Family Friday series, each week we’re spotlighting a different stepfamily to learn how they successfully blended their two families. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!

Want to know real stress? Get married, have kids, then get divorced and settle down with someone with kids of their own. From conflicts in custody agreements to vindictive former spouses edging their way into household drama, there’s no shortage of stress in the lives of blended family parents.

So what can stepparents do to reduce some of the tension in their lives? Below, we look back at some of the best advice the parents in our Blended Family Friday series have shared with us in the past. See what they had to say, then head to the comments and add your best advice on beating stress in a blended family.

1. Figure out a co-parenting plan with your spouse early on.
Parenting someone else’s kids is not easy — and those first few years are usually the toughest. That said, the road to peaceful relations with your new step-kid will be a lot less rocky if you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement on how you’ll parent, including who will be in charge of disciplining.

Step-mom Janice Bissell figured this out with her husband early on in their marriage.”[My husband] gave me fairly free reign on structure and discipline for his youngest, CJ, and he always backed me up.”

On bigger issues with her step-kids, though, Bissell said her husband is the decider — and she’s fine with that. “I’ve also learned to give up control, which has been so hard, but ultimately a very good and necessary thing for our family,” she said.

2. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take it one hurdle at a time.
Husband and wife team Jennifer and Jason said they handle stress the same way any non-blended family would. The only difference? The stress that comes their way includes “slow family courts, pricey parenting coordinators and difficult ex’s.”

So how do they deal? “Stress is stress. We eat the elephant one bite at a time like everybody else,” Jennifer said. “We keep an open forum for communication across the board and spend a great deal of time being together so our bond is strong and valuable. No matter how stressful any of our situations become, we never lose sight of our main goal, which is to experience joy.”

3. See your family — including the ex’s — as a team.
Having an “us against them” mentality is the best way to sabotage your attempts to blend your family or get along with your ex, said Prentiss Earl, a father of two who’s still close with his ex-wife and her new family.

“I’d argue that our situation was more stressful when we maintained a separatist attitude with our individual households,” he told us. “I don’t feel family-related stress as much as I used to because of the way we’ve come together as a team.”

4. Invest in a chore chart.
If you want to see chores actually get done in your home, it’s time to buy a big white chore board, said step-mom Raiye Rosado. “Use a chore chart, for the love of all that’s good in the world. Seriously, it changed everything.”
chore chart Photo credit: Raiye Rosado

5. Remind yourself to celebrate even the smallest of victories.
Your oldest and youngest bond while building a pillow fort. You and your wife managed to coordinate your custody agreements so you could plan a mini vacation in the fall. Small wins like this are worth celebrating, said blended family mom Andi Parker-Kimbrough. “Live one day at a time (or one moment if you have to),” she said. “Blend little by little and celebrate even the smallest breakthrough.”

6. Whatever you do, don’t aim for perfection.
No nuclear family is perfect, so why should any blended family strive to be? Our reader Kellee Mulkerin-Ford told us that the first step in making progress as a blended family is to lower your expectations a bit. “Stop thinking that things are going to be perfect. It’s not going to happen,” she said. “The kids will not get along all the time, the house will be not always be quiet, you will not always hear ‘please’ and ‘thank you.'”

Instead, she recommended that parents take a more sensible approach to blending. “What is realistic is taking stock of how incredibly lucky you are to have more children to love and to guide.”

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In Huffington Post’s article “6 Ways To Beat Stress In A Blended Family” they have a few ideas that could really help step-families reorganize into an improved and productive lifestyle.

There are many ways to beat stress but the key is to remember to do them!  We have all had ideas and made promises to ourselves to do more, plan better and work harder.  Life tends to change things around before we are even ready, so we need to prepare, plan ahead and always remember to work as a team.

And sometimes that means you need to stand your ground to gain control of a situation and sometimes it requires that you relinquish that need to control and become more flexible in an already chaotic circumstance.

Whether you are in a position that handles most of the choices for your family or at a point that feels as though you struggle to maintain the smallest of decisions, our office is here to assist you.  There is always hope and we are available to help you with the steps that are essential to create an improved standard of living for you and your family, it’s worth the call!

Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation today!

Huffington Post Article: 8 Apps That Make Post-Divorce Parenting A Little Easier

Friday, March 14th, 2014

8 Apps That Make Post-Divorce Parenting A Little Easier

By DejaVow for DivorcedMoms.com

Whether you’re separated or divorced, chances are your former partner is only around part-time and now you are solely responsible for doing the work of two parents. Funny thing, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are several apps that can help all of us divorced moms keep a handle on our family duties. Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order.

1. Our Family Wizard
Looking for a way to simplify your shared custody? Our Family Wizard is the tool for you. Use it to share messages, communicate expenses, and update your spouse about items like the children’s doctor’s visits. Best of all, you don’t have to involve your children by making them messengers between you and your ex spouse. By using the journaling function, “he said/she said” conflicts can be reduced. It’s written in stone so there’s no question about when, where and what took place.

The app includes a calendar, message board, expense log, journal, and an info bank for safe storage of family information. There’s also a notification center for emails and texts. You’ll never miss out on important dates or correspondence again.

2. Divorce Coping
Get your coping tip of the day. This woman is funny and I’m amused by her poetic inclusion of sagging boobs and wrinkles. Laughter is the best medicine.

3. Compound Interest Calculator
Are you intimidated by retirement planning? Well wake up sister, you can’t be any more. It’s you and you alone from now on. So make it easy on yourself and use this very simple Compound Interest Calculator to see how much money you’ll have saved after so many years based on different interest rates and contribution amounts. It’s not the most robust app but it is great for a quick and dirty look at how you’re doing. I usually put in a couple of scenarios, one at 5% interest and one at 10% interest. That way I’m prepared for the worst but can dream about the best.

4. Artkive
“The clutter-free way to save and enjoy your child’s artwork” is the opening statement on the Artkive website. Long gone are the days of the family fridge covered with scribbles and test papers. Well, stainless appliances put an end to that and now we have a suitable replacement. The next time little Timmy hands you a crayon drawing of the family cat just snap a photo with your mobile device, add a tag, and then store it. You can even make a book out of your child’s artwork…making struggling artists around the world Crayola jade green with envy.

5. Out of Milk
Easily one of my favorite apps. Out of Milk provides a cross-platform way to come up with your weekly grocery list. Installing this app on my tablet means planning menus on a large screen. Having the app on my phone means never forgetting my shopping list. And by adding your zip code, you can browse and choose sale items from your local stores’ published ads. As you pick items, you can categorize them according to your preference. I have my categories broken down by store section (fresh foods, freezer, dairy, baking, cereal) Have a coupon? Just check off the coupon box and even add in the coupon amount. The shopping list will keep track of your proposed spending while you sit on the couch.

Once you’re steering the shopping cart through the aisles, use the app to mark off the items you buy. You can even have them added to your pantry list so you never again have to guess if that can in the cupboard is evaporated or sweetened condensed milk.

Share lists with family and friends and you’ll never end up with the wrong item again.

6. Evernote
Another cross-platform app, Evernote is my catch-all for everything. I use it to track my work hours, jot down ideas for blog postings, and even save recipes I find on the web. I like that I have access to my scribblings, whether I’m using my computer, phone or tablet. I can easily save articles I find on the web or just take a photo of a hydrangea I would like to get for the garden. Setting up different notebooks is simple and the app is free.

7. Sniper Shooter Free
Admit it. Sometimes you just want to shoot someone. Now you can pick people off without an orange jumpsuit in your future.

8. Mint
Put out by the fine folks at Intuit, Mint allows you to track your income and expenses, even setting up goals like tucking away money in an emergency fund or long-term dreams like retirement. The secure app taps into your existing bank accounts and downloads transactions whenever you access the Mint application. It’s easy to establish budgets and the app will tell you what you’ve spent so far that month and how much is left based on your preferences. I used to craft my monthly budget using Excel, but this app made the process so much easier.

If you happen to have an app that you think other divorced moms should know about, just reply here. We’re a curious bunch!

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Huffington Post listed some important apps in their article “8 Apps That Make Post-Divorce Parenting A Little Easier”.  As parents, we can use all the help we can get, especially in situations of divorce.  This piece has a few key apps, such as, Our Family Wizard, Mint and Out of Milk, that will help you manage your schedule so that you are able to spend your valuable time doing the things you really want to do with your children.

When the apps and websites aren’t enough and you still feel like you are struggling to make things work with your ex and your children, our office is available for you.  Please call us for help to improve your circumstances for you and your family.

Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P. C. Santa Clarita Divorce
Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation today!

Are you Trying to be a Super-Parent? Trying to handle absolutely everything is super hard! By: Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman P.C. Santa Clarita Divorce

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Super ParentWe know this can be quite a balancing act, and one that you may be experiencing right now. Here are some tips for those going through a divorce or separation to help you stop and think before you attempt being (although we know you already are) a super-parent.

Many of my clients report feeling like a horrible mess of guilt and fear attached to their decision about parting, and one of the responses that can occur is what we in our office refer to as, unrealistic parenting. Unrealistic parenting is when you think to yourself, “Alright then, I’ll just do it all. I’ll take it all on and I’ll be everything to everyone, especially my children.”

We all understand this approach because it may seem like it’s one way to undo and make up for the pain and distress you may feel you have caused your kids. This unrealistic parenting then can trigger the hero role of the super-parent. Although it’s true you are capable of amazing feats, at the end of the day… you can only do so much alone and that is to be human. So rather than trying to be a super-parent, be a healthy parent.

What is a healthy parent?

As a healthy parent you are emotionally stable and balanced. You are able to be present and engage with your child on a daily basis. You are able to follow through with your commitments, and spend quality time with your children.

As a healthy parent, you set appropriate boundaries so your children can have a sense of direction, and feel that you are their anchor and their guide through life. Being a healthy parent takes the pressure off you to be a super-parent, and your role of being a healthy parent will help you and your children endure today and forever. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. Just know that you don’t have to do it alone to have your kids see you as their own personal super hero!

If you feel you need someone to speak to about being a healthy-parent rather than a super parent, call the Law Offices of Steven B. Chroman, P.C. today for a divorce coaching session. We can guide you through the process and help you develop a strategy for dealing with your ex, soon to be ex and your children’s best interest.

Call 661-255-1800 for your free initial consultation today!