Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Post

Hi there! This is Ashlee from the little wannabe blog The Baking Diva. I’m lucky enough to call Mila a friend and when she asked me if I would guest post on her blog I immediately replied with a YES! (There might have been a few more exclamation points and a smiley face or two. Texting doesn’t bring out the best in my grammar skills.) Her blog is everything I wish mine could be and I’m so excited to be posting here today. :)

Mila asked if I would post about how I balance work, school, and being a single mom. The truth is that it’s something that I struggle with every day and even more honestly I feel like I lose the battle most days. Between work and going to school there’s only so much time in my day for everything else I have to do – including being a mom! I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful boyfriend who has stepped up to be the most amazing father to my son and who’s willing to help me out with anything everything I need. My son turns 3 next March and while I’m still learning new things every single day, here are some of the things that I’ve learned so far…

Don’t balance – juggle!
I really feel like it’s more of a juggling act to figure out how to live as a mom, student and worker. I’ve had the summer off which has been wonderful but once school starts there’s always something that’s in the air, waiting for me to get to it. Organization isn’t my #1 talent, but the more I work at it, the better things go. I’m a big fan of alerts on my phone, planners in my purse and I’m a BIG believer in a weekly menu plan, even though I have yet to actually plan one AND implement it – retail hours are the worst for family schedules!

This is my goal for this next semester. The TV is truly my enemy and I’ve lost a lot of time to the mentality “Just one more episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and I’ll get started ______ !” which always leads to me rushing through homework, to school or work, or not putting in enough quality time with my son. Sometimes prioritizing is easy…If you have a paper due tomorrow morning, you better be working on it NOW. If you have work at 9 AM you better go to bed at 10 PM. (I suck at keeping my own bedtime! :P) But sometimes it may not be so easy. Yeah, you may have homework due tomorrow, but you haven’t had spent any real time with your family in a few days turn off the TV, grab a book or a toy and sit down and spend some quality time with them. 15 minutes won’t put you too far back on your homework and sometimes that’s all it takes to make a difference in the attitude in your home. Every once in a while I need to take a mental step back to look at the big picture. Yeah, I’m working and yeah, I’m in school but my ultimate goal is to be able to stay at home with my children and everything I do needs to lead me to that goal; even if it’s sacrificing some of my homework time to remind my son, and even myself sometimes!, that he’s the most important thing.

Choose your attitude
I’ve heard this all my life. No one MAKES you feel a certain way; you always CHOOSE your attitude. I need to print it out and put it on my wall, though, because sometimes I forget and start to blame others for my attitude…Or anything else I can. I even went through this just in the last week. I got the idea in my head that my job was starting to affect how I am as a mom to my son and starting worrying that he was starting to recognize my boyfriend as the “mom” and was all too happy to see me as the parent who went to work and therefore the second parent. (No I’m not overly dramatic, why do you ask?) I let this me affect me for days, losing my patience way too easily with my son, not spending enough time with him, and generally being a grumpy pants  to the point where my boyfriend noticed and asked what my problem was. (He actually was a lot nicer than I deserved. ;) ) After talking to him about it I realized that I was choosing to see things negatively when in reality it was MY problem and the solution was as simple as – big surprise – putting my son higher up on the priority list, making the effort to play with him, and choosing to have a positive attitude throughout the day. So while he woke up early today, I chose to smile and spend a few minutes cuddling with him instead of grumpily trying to catch 5 more minutes of sleep by distracting him with Dora the Explorer. I chose to sit down and focus on him and play with him rather than just hangout while watching cartoons together. And tonight, instead of rushing his bath and getting him to sleep, I let him play as long as he wanted and after I got him into his pajamas I spent a good 20 minutes playing with him, and even let him give me 5 wet willies – an adorable trick his father taught him. (Just kidding. They’re just as gross from a 2 ½ year old as an adult.) And while it took him longer to calm down and go to sleep than usual and I started to get a tiny bit frustrated with him, I remembered to choose my attitude and today was a much better day than the last 3 or 4 have been!

Support System/Time to yourself
Those two might not seem to have a lot in common, but bear with me. I’m lucky enough to have only spent a few months as a true single mom, but let me tell you those months were hell. There’s not a snowball’s chance in that aforementioned place that I would be anywhere close to where I am right now were it not for the support of my boyfriend. Having a support system is the difference between keeping your sanity or losing it like that squirrel thing on Ice Age. That support system will be there for you when you feel like you’re going to scream if you hear “Mom? Mommy? Mooooooom?” just one more time or you just cannot take your toddler’s fascination with watching you go to the bathroom yet again. (Not spoken from personal experience. Or maybe it is.) I’m extra lucky in that my boyfriend’s mom not only likes me but loves my son and is willing to watch him every once in a while for us so that we can catch the occasional movie or even just a quick trip to Target or Costco just the two of us. 

As you can probably tell, I am nowhere near a perfect mom and I know that I never will be. But I love being a mom and my son is the best thing that’s happened to me and I count him as one of my blessings every single day. I work hard to make sure that he knows his mom is there for him and that she loves him enough to drive herself crazy with school and work in order to give him the life he deserves. Nothing I’ve written here is rocket science, but I feel like sometimes being a parent is a bit like being an ostrich…Sometimes my head just gets stuck in the sand and I need a little reminding to get it back out again. Hopefully the same goes for you, and this helps you! If any of you mamas or papas out there have any other tips or tricks, feel free to share them in the comments! 


  1. Hey! I'm a new follower from the Married Life Post on FTLOB! Such a cute blog and Baby!