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Hope this Monday meets you with peace, quiet and a calm sense of grace. May you bloom where you are planted and make the very best of this week. xo – Team DSM
Over the last few days, I have seen things that amount to an all out miracle. I have been reminded of all the beautiful blessings that we take for granted on a daily basis until life is threatened, and we realize just how awesome this place that we live is. Every now and again, you see a person on social media with a less than generous spirit and that nonsense is quickly shut down. Quite frankly, people don’t have the patience for it. People are hungry for community, peace, hope, a means to help and healing. There is literally limited tolerance for negativity, divisiveness and unhelpful keyboard commentary.
I am a Native Texan. I spent a large portion of my childhood in the region that is currently under water, and there is no feeling quite like the watching The Weather Channel and seeing streets you have walked down, the shops you have sipped coffee, schools you attended washed away beneath a river that didn’t exist last week.
I’ve lived in Texas for a great portion of my life and have trekked across America for work and for love and came back again to our home in the Dallas area to raise the short people and grow as a mama and woman.
Because there is no place quite like home, the comfort and security of family and the structures that made you who you are. No matter how far I ran, my Texan foundation was always evident, a forthright truth regardless of where I went, who I met or what I experienced and because of that foundation it remains a source of pride.
I have probably never been more proud of my home state than I have these last few days as Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas and threatened to submerge the 4th most populous city in the United States and the surrounding region under a deluge of water. After a rough couple of years, rife with discord, disharmony, mistrust and ego stroking, Hurricane Harvey set out to test what this gorgeous state is made of. It has reminded Texans and Americans that we operate under the same social contract to protect life, link arms together and do what we can to grow, rebuild, heal and work together to do what we do and make our communities places that we can be proud of and are honored to live in.
At the time that I am writing this, the rain is still falling. It has put our leaders to the test and will continue to. The call for help, assistance and humanitarian love is still ringing out. This storm has helped an entirely new group of Texans define what it means to be helpful, a good human and a hero. It has called up the Spirits of Compassion, Humanity, Courage, Neighborly Love, Usefulness, Selflessness and Hospitality. Neighbors from near and far have risen to the challenge and given what nothing else could — the touch of a human saying, “You matter, and we got you.”
This is the community spirit that great feel good movies are written about, and it brings tears to my eyes. The social contract has been signed, and thankfully, Texas has stood strong.
Keep stepping up.
Don’t let the news cycles discourage you from seeing the everyday miracles that are happening right now.
We are standing with you, Texas Proud, Texas Strong.
Things are changing around here at Dallas Single Mom. You have probably already seen the changes if you have been keeping up on social media. I (Heather) have gotten engaged but I am also handing over the reins to Teia Collier. She is also a DFW based blogger and I feel like her commitment and expertise as a blogger herself will really take Dallas Single Mom to a whole new level. Dallas Single Mom has been my baby and my first venture into freelance writing and marketing. Turning this corner is difficult for me but change never comes easy and I think the readers deserve a lot more than a part time blogger. There is a new sheriff in town that is as vibrant and brilliant as her smile. This new chapter in my life is one I want to experience with the entire depth of my soul. I will still be blogging here and there whenever my blended family lifestyle seems to be pertinent for many this blog and to the many DFW area single moms but I am also exploring food, travel, culture and astrology over at LetsGoHeather.com.
I don’t’ have a big, fancy proposal story for you. Boo! Hiss! I know. I think as I get closer to 40 and with three kids of my own the “fairy tale” everyone envisions has been replaced with a NEED for practicality. Every now and again the spark and the fire of our whirlwind romance nestles into our not so distant memories but the reality of our present and the excitement of our future together requires us to be grounded. I have learned a lot from the being the first one to discuss marriage. I mean aren’t women supposed to wait for the guy to ask? I wouldn’t have brought it up if I didn’t think I wanted to be committed. He also would not have asked if I wasn’t ready. This was me telling him I was ready to take our relationship a step further. What that step further was not just being partners, but comingling finances, blending families, opening up our baggage and becoming the Buen-Ruiz Family 2.0. It has been an incredible ride and I know I will have another crazy adventure to come.
I had once told him that I would break up once we “ran out of things to talk about.” A little over two years and EVERY SINGLE DAY we speak to each other. Every single day is another “I Love you!” and another smile. In my daily life, every other thought that falls back to the person that I met so long ago. He is a single parent like me and we navigated co-parenting, blended families and our future. We share so much of our experiences and we helped each other when things were down. Most importantly we lifted each other when times were tough and best of all we laughed way more than when we disagreed.
I don’t think there was only one thing that led up to me discussing marriage. We don’t have to get married. We are perfectly fine with being committed. We have our own houses and our own lives. There were challenges and doubts on my part. I had spent so many years being single – especially being Dallas Single Mom, that I questioned what I could possibly know about being in a relationship – especially a healthy one. Steve is a single dad with primary custody of his three children. They have gone through divorce of their parents, and dealing with a mom in a supervised visitation situation. That is not a pretty picture at all. Would I be equipped to take on this situation? Did I have what it takes? Was I good enough to parent HIS children? Would I be able to blend these two families? There were so many questions. I had screwed up my own marriage and I had married before on the idea that “things will work themselves out.” I was not going to leave things up to chance if I decided to marry again. So when I suggested we get married I gave careful considerations to the 6 other human beings that needed our love, protection and security. This meant we needed to try hard to maintain stability. What led me to want to marry was me giving myself permission to marry this family.
I am choosing to not just marry Steve. I am also becoming a part of his family and he is a part of mine. Our kids will be a family together.
Women don’t propose marriage for a variety of reasons. Single moms may not propose marriage because many have “been there and done that.” I can’t list all the reasons why women don’t propose marriage because I didn’t “seek” advice on how I should propose or if it was the right decision for me. I just knew it was. As a self-aware couple we could easily bring up discussions and situations with each other.
I am close to 40 years old. It’s kind of silly to ask my parent’s permission to marry or ask his parents. It’s also silly that at 40 years old and with three kids that I would even try to adhere to a standard that has already passed to the wayside. I absolutely know what I want. I want Steve and I have always wanted Steve. And Steve has always wanted me and has always chosen me. No one is looking for greener grass or biding their time for things to come their way. We are making things happen. We have the time and the life we have always wanted – yet we want more. Steve IS faithful and he IS there for me and he IS the person I want to spend the rest of my life with fighting over the last portions at dinner. I am the one he vents to when things are not perfect and I vent to him. So I didn’t ask permission from the world to marry him, I gave permission to myself.
This is an easy question. He had to think about it. It was a sigh of relief that he said no the first time. I felt like “great – I already asked and now the burden is off of me and we can go back to enjoying our relationship.” You see, we don’t need to be married to be committed. We already chose to be committed when we chose to be in a relationship and when we told our kids. I think the decision to tell our kids was much more serious than a marriage proposal. Steve thinking about things is Steve (being a fixed sign in astrology) taking careful consideration and thinking hard about what marriage means to him this time. Now that he got the green light from me that I wanted to take the next step it allowed him to process and see how he could integrate our family into his.
When my ex husband first proposed to me I had just gotten lasik – I couldn’t see a damn thing but my ring was “GORGEOUS” – I had been there and done that. I realized it doesn’t matter what kind of ring you get if behind the scenes your marriage is a colossal mess. It was the same experience for Steve. When Steve proposed on his first marriage he was young and he didn’t really want to get married. He did love her but others were telling him to either shit or get off the pot. In hindsight maybe he should have got off the pot instead of #2. Steve and I can both agree that our marriages were failures but it never kept us down. Through children and Tinder – cheesecake and dinners we cherish the products of our marriages – our children. As for time to think about it? I gave him forever.
“When you love your partner you give them all the time they need. I didn’t make any ultimatums. I made my desires known and he was determined to make them happen”
I don’t need to get married. Steve doesn’t need to get married. We just WANT to get married. There is no con or ulterior motive. I don’t have to force him or nag him to marry me. His ex had done such a great job at ruining the experience of marriage for him that I was surprised he would even say yes to me. But HE DID! I was completely against the idea of marriage for a very long time and would still recommend that young women wait awhile before getting married. This goes for single mothers as well. Build your own nest egg and get reliable income before getting married.
As I have matured, I smile whenever he gets excited calling me his fiancée and I get excited when I am consulting astrology on the best date to get married. We don’t NEED to get married instead we chose to have the ultimate form of PARTNERSHIP. Stability in families requires commitment, dedication, responsibility and most of all LOVE!. As we plan for retirement, college and home buying it requires us to safeguard those needs. If something happens I want to know that he will be able to take care of and make decisions for Baylee.
But doesn’t asking a man to marry you just mean you are desperate?
No. When it’s love you don’t have to resort to desperation. Every person’s situation is different. Desperation causes us to do manipulative things to undermine a person’s feelings and their best interest. You don’t start a marriage through manipulation. Proposing just means you are being honest and vulnerable to a person you love. It also means you are in control of the decisions in your own life. This also requires a form of healthy communication.
I highly recommend a book called Nonviolent Communication by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. If you are looking to improve upon communication in your relationships or with family this is the book to get.
by Marshall B. Rosenberg PhD [Puddledancer Press]
What if he said no?
He did say no. I respected his first answer. I would have still been committed for the foreseeable future regardless of what answer he gave.
Why would you stick around if he said no?
Because I knew he would say yes and he did. I know this because I am in tune with my partner on a higher level and not on a lower level.
Weren’t you afraid he would look at you differently after you asked?
No. I have always been non-traditional. I wasn’t worried about what he thought or how he looked at me. I presented my most honest self from the beginning and ever since. In fact on our first date he asked to go dutch treat. He ended up having a great time and paying but I have always loved that even playing field and this was no different.
Aren’t you emasculating him?
He is a single father with primary custody of his own children. He has been given a gift of being put into a situation that society deems as a “woman’s role.” He is both mom and dad. Steve is so responsible and in touch with who he is that the opinion that others have of him isn’t important to him. As an adult comparison is the thief of joy. At the end of the day trying to please everyone or be someone else leaves less time for “You being You!” Am I worried about emasculating him? No. Being truthful of what I want and being honest is not emasculating him when that kind of intimacy is all he has ever asked for. If you are uncomfortable being open and vulnerable with your partner, then you need to work on that. Even a strong feminist like me is still capable of being open and vulnerable with a partner.
If a woman has to ask a man does that mean he is not committed?
I think for some men the answer would be yes. For most single dads in the same situation as Steve commitment in a relationship has to be rock solid because they are caring for their children. Is that the case for all men? No. I ask because I am comfortable asking. I am not concerned about antiquated and outdated belief systems to please everyone else except for our own families.
So were you scared?
Yes. I got over it by reminding myself why I was doing this
When and where are you getting married?
We are getting married around the summer of 2019. That will be the same time we move in together since we are working on our finances to buy a new home. We plan on a destination wedding to Hawaii or the Maldives.
What does your family think?
My family are happy about it. My mom doesn’t think marriage is necessary at our age but as long as we take care of ourselves and are happy. His parents are happy and we got a lot of congratulations!
Where’s the ring?
Currently it is sitting in my mom’s jewelry box. It no longer fits my mom’s finger and since she is elderly she is giving my sisters and I her jewelry.
So what do your exes say?
Does it really matter. My exes have not said much about it even though my children have told them. I plan on telling them a bit more about plans such as moving, homes, new bedrooms when the date of us moving in together gets closer. As for his children’s mom, I am not sure. She is in a very volatile emotional and mental state for the past few years with her alcoholism and physical and mental health issues. Our main focus is ensuring she gets sober and becomes much more capable and emotionally healthy to have unsupervised visits with her children.
So what are you doing now?
I still blog and I am focused on my career and going to school for my Masters Degree in Finance. We are also working on our budgets and finances as we prepare to get married and buy a house.
What advice do you have for other women that want to propose marriage?
There is less pressure when a woman proposes marriage because there are no expectations. You have to really know your man and know what you want. If your guy is pretty hip to modern gender roles he will be ecstatic that you asked. The key is to keep calm and say what’s in your heart. Most proposal stories I have heard have been for practical reasons as the couple came to a consensus on it. Nothing can stop you except yourself. If you believe in the traditional engagement ring then buy one or make your own traditions. You do YOU!
As we transition the blog over to Teia, you can still find me over at LetsgoHeather.com
We scoured the web for our seven favorite Independence quotes. We found good ones from Ronald Reagan, Optimus Prime, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou and others. Do you have different favorite? Share in the comments.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
“Independence is the Right Of All Sentient Beings.”
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
“My mom has made it possible for me to be who I am. Our family is everything. Her greatest skill was encouraging me to find my own person and own independence.”
— Charlize Theron
“Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty.”
— Ho Chi Minh
“I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.”
— Maya Angelou
“Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance.”
— Woodrow Wilson.
There’s another giveaway going on for Dallas Single Mom Readers. For a limited time, enter to win one of 5 copies for Eve Schaub’s new book “Year of No Clutter.”
Everyone eats. Everyone sleeps. Everyone accumulates stuff.
The hilarious author of Year of No Sugar, Eve Schaub, returns with her new memoir, Year of No Clutter, to tackle the issue of “things.” Specifically, the 576-square-foot room in her house that is overflowing with stuff she can’t bring herself to throw away, like her fifth grade report card and pieces of plaster wall stuffed in a box.
Year of No Clutter is more than the tale of how one woman organized an entire room in her house that had been filled with pointless items, it’s a deeply inspiring, and frequently hilarious, examination of why we keep stuff in the first place, and how to let it all go.
Sign up to receive a daily e-newsletter with tips, advice and videos from Eve Schaub on how to start conquering clutter this spring during the Week of No Clutter, March 7-14. Sign up now! http://books.sourcebooks.com/
Giveaway ends on 03/14/2017. Read the disclosure statement for full disclosures on giveaways. You can enter to win 1 of 5 copies of this book.
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I have a strong mother. Not just strong in the way of physical strength but strong in manner, work ethic, family, love and service. It was the hallmark of my childhood to grow up in a household of very strong women. From my grandmother, to my mother, my aunts and now to my daughters and I. My grandmother died this past summer and my mother is getting older and now it is my turn to teach my daughters what it means to live in the “Age of the Feminine.” It’s something more than just feminism or women’s rights it is about viewing the human condition with the coming of age of truly defining what it means to be feminine. Our friends at Dove™ have partnered with Dallas Single Mom and my daughters in their latest #LoveYourHair campaign where I can give my fellow single moms some of my experiences in helping my daughters learn to be confident in themselves and confident in their natural hair and their self image. We are creating a conversation with mothers on how & why they should share hair positivity with their daughters. Dove Hair will be hosting a website where people can personalize their mother/daughter photo with creative text and images for sharing on their social networks.We all have a story and I encourage you to share how you guide your young daughters to embrace their natural hair. Here’s a little bit about my contribution to the Age of the Feminine. . . .
The hair on the top of your head is a mixture of the genes and DNA from your parents. It is one of the most obvious traits that let people know where you come from. Your hair is a tribute to your heritage. I was fortunate to have been born and raised in Hawaii with an ethnically diverse background. My mother has naturally red hair and my dad has naturally dark hair. I also danced hula – and your hair is such an important part of hula. Whether you wore your hair very long and big or whether you wore it tied up with flowers, it completed the full picture of what the song and the dance was about.
My hair has natural waves to it. When you dance the hair moves with you and your hands and skirt. It’s one of the many things that make hair such an essential part of my Hawaiian culture. No matter what your ethnic background is or your culture, hair is a very important part of that. To love your hair is to love your family and where you came from.
In what seems like a time period of hyper masculinity there are still glimpses of what I like to call the Age of the Feminine. If you are a follower of astrology as I am, you may have heard about this. With such hyper-masculinity in the news and what seems like very fearful and aggressive times it is this hyper-masculinity trying to fight the forces of the Age of the Feminine. It is inevitable the Age of the Feminine and dominance of women is here as we saw two women in the running for President of the United States – Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein, one of which had the highest popular vote totals in the country. This would not even be conceivable a decade ago. We are seeing more women and minorities serving in Political leadership in this country, serving in executive positions and obtaining college degrees. Women are outnumbering men in college degrees . This is the time that we must teach our daughters about what it takes to grow up in the age of the feminine and to not only honor your appearance (like your hair) but to also work hard in school, try hard in sports or activities, be a good friend and neighbor and grow up to be responsible.
I asked Baylee about what she wanted to be when she grew up. She has changed her career choice twice for a 6 year old. When she was 4 she wanted to be a hair stylist and then when she turned 6 she wanted to be president. These are such exciting times for my daughters to grow up only knowing a black president. Now that we have a new president and they have truly been aware of what an election for president looks like the work ahead for my daughters is to stay focused on studies and growing up. Before we get into some of the hair tips I have for our daily routine I want to offer up some tips for growing up girls in the age of the feminine.
My youngest Daughter is Baylee and my oldest daughter is Cameron. They spend a lot of time playing together and with their little brother. They will do each other’s hair.
While most of the time they like to keep it long and put a headband on their hair. I like to braid and tie it up. I sometimes French Braid my hair just so that it stays out of my face. Even though Baylee has a short bob cut I can still braid her hair over the crown of her head. This is called a Crown Braid.
Why does Dove™ Hair care so much about our hair? Well they are committed to creating a broad spectrum and definition around what is beautiful hair and ensuring that hair is a source of confidence, not anxiety for both women and girls. Mothers like you and me are going to empower our daughters in this Age of the Feminine to be leaders for our daughters in their hair confidence by teaching them how to love their hair.
How it seems society and the media views “beautiful hair” is narrow and earlier this year, Dove™ Hair found that 8 in 10 women feel pressure to wear their hair a certain way. For many, these pressures begin at an early age. As mothers, aunts, grandmothers, cousins, godmothers and more we can impact a girl’s confidence as a positive role model. In fact, a recent Dove™ study found that 82% of girls learn to care about themselves from their mother.
I am a single, working mom. Most of the time I wear my hair tied up or in a braid at home. Other times I leave it down. When I do my hair it always helps me feel my best and confident. I know I have taken the time and I can make it through my very busy schedule and work day.
With natural waves it holds a curl very easily. In high school I chopped my hair off very short. I used to play sports so I always had it up. I learned to love the color and the thickness of it and especially how easy it was to curl it. I hope my daughters learn to love their hair. My oldest daughter has very long black hair. We love to braid it and she takes care of it. My youngest daughter has a short bob cut which frames her face. I love that they enjoy watching me do my hair and that they see me as their role model. The hope is that they grow up to be confident young women in this Age of the Feminine. As a mother, you can make a difference and help ensure your daughter grows up feeling confident. Celebrate the beauty of your daughter’s hair today–so she loves her hair tomorrow with Dove™.
Tell her why you love her hair and inspire her to do the same by creating and sharing a custom #LoveYourHair animated message with @Dove: http://bit.ly/2gErLzn
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dove™.
I was a single mom with a 9-year old daughter. The first thing I did was call my family. We were all devastated but started researching this type of …