8 Things Single Moms And Dads Need To Know About Taxes
You cannot split this deduction for a single child, but some parents agree to take turns claiming children on alternate years, or if there are two or more children, agreeing that each parent can claim one of the kids. However, the IRS determines that a …
I must admit that I missed him. The hustle and bustle of the holidays was taking its toll and while I enjoyed the Airbnb home I was staying at, my heart still fluttered a little for this new “love” who was missing me back home. Who doesn’t enjoy being missed? As we talked on the phone and he mentioned how good it felt to miss someone I allowed myself to enjoy that feeling also. ALLOWED! Yes I allowed it. That can be difficult for a single parent or any adult who has experienced relationship difficulties to admit. It is exactly what was keeping me from enjoying my dating experiences over the last few months. I never ALLOWED myself to indulge in those romantic moments or to relax in vulnerability.
“My Girls May be with me when I pick you up, is that okay?” the text message updated on my phone.
I’m actually a pretty cautious person and secretive with my personal affairs. I also don’t like surprises at all. So while I took a few seconds to let his statement sink in that basically read “You are meeting my children” common sense prevailed that I really had nothing to worry about. See countless dating articles and advice gurus will tell you to watch out for a man that moves too slow or moves too quick. The constant pendulum swing of reading dating advice about what to do versus not what to do causes us to over-analyze mundane details about people and their actions. In reality much of the people you meet could care less about you and are only passing the time away or compensating for their “lack.” However when somebody genuinely wants you to meet what’s most important to their lives it’s something you should take seriously.
The scary part of meeting someone’s children
Meeting someone else’s children is scary and as I’ve gotten older I have been more cautious about it. Mine are young and don’t fully comprehend the concept of boyfriends, girlfriends, and dating. His children are much older and can comprehend so they are not stupid and I would insult their intelligence to pretend they are oblivious. I’m comforted by the fact that they are aware and are used to both their parents dating. I can’t just pass off as being their father’s friend because obviously I’m much more special and “NYScorpio” (his nickname on the blog) is very demonstrative in his affection. So he didn’t really leave the decision up to me, he sort of surprised me with meeting his children. One of the things that I’m careful to do is to be calm and relaxed about the situation and how it unfolds.
As I trudged up to baggage claim in the aftermath of holiday travel chaos he found me before I could find him. It was a sense of relief for me and it felt like that moment when you are plopping down in a comfortable recliner. I was nervous but as the adult in the situation I knew we could make meeting in such a crowded and chaotic atmosphere almost seamless. Besides the distraction of tasks at hand such as getting the bags, getting the car and delegating tasks it helps to take off the sting associated with the awkwardness of meeting someone else’s family. Not really the ideal situation for me but nevertheless done and complete.
So here are just a few things I learned from this initial experience:
- Don’t Take Things Personal – Actually this is one of the The Four Agreements from Toltec author Don Miguel Ruiz Sr. Most people identify with this feeling when it comes to harmful words or awful situations but even in good situations – don’t take it personally. If the person you are dating introduces you to his children or his family don’t allow your imagination to go wild with thoughts of what it means. Enjoy the moment, educate yourself and engage in learning about the people you just met. Allow things to take their course instead of trying to control situations.
- Be open and non-judgmental of who you meet – By audience I mean the people you are meeting. I knew right away that I was meeting preteen girls. I know nothing about preteen or teenage girls. I only know what their father tells me. As the adult I take the initiative on starting conversations based upon what their father has told me and not on what I assume. This goes back to not taking things personal and taking in the knowledge of these human beings that I’m about to meet no matter how little or tall they are.
- Don’t pretend – While you don’t have to disclose your entire life upon first meeting, don’t pretend to be larger than life or something more. As you get to know each other any lies told from the beginning will unravel later and you will have to explain them at a point when you get close to someone emotionally. You can’t betray someone whom you have no close emotional bond with.
- Have fun – Explore the things you have in common with the other person’s children. Be ok if you have nothing in common but as the adult, be open to new experiences and be ok to communicate whether you like something, have no experience with something, or don’t like (not comfortable) with something. Just as they don’t have to like what you like.
- Keep communication open – At some point if you ever decide to hit a milestone in your relationship such as being exclusive, moving in together or getting married this is where keeping communication open and honest is important. The key people you need to protect are your own children. Respect the other person’s communication about life changes with their children and families. Communicate openly with your own children instead of surprising them. Be open to the possibilities of their emotional reactions. I would highly recommend that such big life moments be discussed with both partners together and explaining to the kids but this can only be done if the pattern and routine of communication has been already established and is a comfortable mode of communication with the kids.
Something tells me that this romance will be a little bit different from the others. Based upon his actions it is clear that he is very much into me and I take that knowledge in and breathe with it for a moment. It is best to savor slowly instead of rushing ahead without full understanding of what life has yet to unfold. Love is not that hard and it comes to those that are willing to be patient. I am enjoying this romance so far and what it teaches me about myself. Of course only time will tell but in any case I have met some very wonderful people.
There are a few challenges associated with being a single parent. Not to discount the challenges that married couples face but for single parents there are many challenges and if you also have an ex-spouse you will also have to add co-parenting to that list of challenges.
One of the hardest issues to surviving as a single parent is an overwhelming feeling that you should complete the role of both mother and father. This feeling evolves and will be more intense if the other single parent is not playing an active role in your children’s life.
Trying to play the role of both parents is not a badge of honor
I personally feel that when somebody congratulates me on taking on both roles it’s not something I’m proud of. It is necessity and just a survival mode. It’s life and shouldn’t be championed because it is our reality. Completing the role of both parents is stressful and some single parents try to fight this feeling often in two ways. Either you try to compensate by being both the mom or dad or you get on one of those wild life hunting explorations to search for a partner to fill in the other role. May I give you a piece of advice? Neither one of these options will work. It is easier said than done. One of the ways you can try to overcome this feeling or need to either complete both mother and father is to identify what insecurities you have about parenting alone. What are you afraid of? There are more single parents by choice, more parents are same sex couples, and more parents that cohabit but are not married along with blended families. Women are having children later in life but the challenges to young single mothers that have children are real. If you have a good support network of friends, family, babysitters, coaches or other single parents then the stress of trying to play both roles will ease. It is hard to trust people and it’s something I completely understand but is necessary to ensure that you don’t get stressed out or stay with an abusive partner.
Society and lots of research tells us that having both parents in a child’s life is better for the child but the reality of having both biological parents may not be realistic if the other partner is abusive, in prison, unemployed, does drugs or if both parents just can’t get along and close to abusive of each other. As shameful as it is to admit, all the fathers of my children were unemployed and habitually unemployed. Based on how hard the experience has been to be a single mom to three children I’m thankful that I’ve kept my corporate job since 2008 which means stability and a stable paycheck so far. If your partner is abusive, habitually unemployed, does drugs or is just not a good life partner it is less likely they can be a good co-parent to your child. That is the challenge with co-parenting is that old resentments create another added stress to single parents. Don’t give into the pressure of society to create a standard for your children without addressing your life issues. The key thing to remember is that your child has another parent and if they are involved in their lives even better. If the other parent is not, it’s a situation or a reality of their life that they need to accept or cope with and that you need to teach to your children.
Single parents should never feel guilty
Single parents always bring this feeling of guilt for the reason that their children do not obtain the love and care they could be getting from another parent. So what are you supposed to do? It is a very difficult situation.
For example, you are a single father with three children. This gets even more complicated if two out of the three are girls and you will have to choose between being a mom or to hunt for the mom to be able to have a better orientation for your daughters.
You would most probably go on an exploration to fill the second. Not a year has passed and you would probably go back to being a single parent. Some research has shown it is worse for the children to see parental role models come in and out of their lives. That’s why kids should really never meet or be introduced to the person you are dating until you know for sure that you are exclusive.
You cannot replace the mom or the dad. Of course, this does not mean that it is impossible to find people who are ready to be a huge portion of both yours and your children’s life. What is really meant is that this should not be the reason of the relationship you form. Relationships are about learning about yourself and coexisting with another as they also learn about themselves. It should be about love between two people first and later on as commitment ensues should evolve into blending the families. This is not an easy task and should be taken seriously.
Resist the urge to replace your wife or your husband for your kids and focus on what you need to provide or give to them? Being a single parent is not a reason for you to feel guilty. You should rather be proud that your sons and daughters have you.
The key to your child’s happiness is you
This article is written to help you, single parents, realize that your children love you and if you are going to find another spouse or feel guilty, you are not going anywhere. Single parents do not have to have a mate to make your kids happy.
If you are a single parent, then you are probably strongly thinking that you should fill both roles. This is empowered by the feeling of guilt for finding our children in difficult positions. You are only human; you are not a super hero. You cannot do everything by yourself and you should never feel that you are second best just because of this.
Your children will sometimes not offer a helping hand and themselves should not be a replacement “spouse” or partner in the home. Children are not evil, crazy or anything of that kind, they are just being what they are, kids. It is what kids always do, and it turns out that it really works well for them. You need to adapt to working with your kids with your own provisions and not feel disenfranchised when things don’t go smooth in the household.
In total, you gain the respect of your kids if you follow what this article just said. No matter how much and how well you try, you surely cannot be both your children’s mom and dad. So take my advice and quit trying.
You do not need to be fit and lean to make your kids love and appreciate you. They love you just the way you are. You should even appreciate yourself first in order to make your children and others appreciate you.
Being a single parent can be tough but it also makes you tough and your unique experience is becoming much more common. There are more single parents like you and experiencing the same feelings. So date and find a partner that you love and that fits the reality of your life. You shouldn’t date someone to fit a mold or to raise children because after the children are grown up you will also want a life partner that means something to you.
How do you find time for yourself as a single parent?
In this latest reader advice column, Sun Sign Capricorn has a question about confessions. If you don’t know what the term means, the term “dip” refers to chewing tobacco.
Dear Dallas Single Mom,
I’ve been dating this guy for a year. A can of chewing tobacco happened to be in his backpack. When I asked him if he “dipped” he said it was an old can and that he doesn’t do it anymore. On various occasions I have asked if he “dipped” and he keeps telling me no. I don’t believe him and I’m not sure why he just doesn’t admit that he does. We keep arguing about this and we broke up over it. Why can’t he just admit he dips?
Sincerely, Sun Sign Capricorn
Dear Sun Sign Capricorn,
You remind me of a police detective. You have all the evidence in the world but what you really want is a confession. The other part of that is you really want to put a feather in your cap and prove to him that YOU ARE RIGHT. Try to examine your reasons for wanting these things and see if they are really worth losing a relationship over. If chewing tobacco is a deal breaker for you than break up. Your delivery of the message might need a little bit of work. Instead of taking an accusatory tone with him, help him feel comfortable to be honest with you and share his habits with you. Acknowledge his habit and then explain how it makes you feel (if it’s a dealbreaker for you). If it’s not a dealbreaker, just acknowledge that you don’t like it around you. If he denies the habit, I would generally try to evaluate why he feels the need to lie to you and if you are willing to put with dishonestly on such a level. I personally feel this is a pretty straightforward situation. Put up with it or don’t. I’d put up with dipping but the bigger issue here is his need to lie about it. Then ask yourself if you are willing to put up with that.
Generally if I were to add another tip for a smoother divorce on this list I would definitely say keep healthy and fit. Reason being is that getting sick and having to deal with illness or having no energy to deal with the divorce is not fun and mounting medical bills on top of a divorce wreaks havoc to finances.
Getting a divorce can be hassle, generating far more drama than you ever wanted. Whether you just fell out of love or your spouse cheated on you, there are a lot of factors that make divorces difficult, but you don’t have to make it more difficult than it has to be. Here are a few tips to make your divorce run a little smoother and cut out a little drama you’d rather not deal with.
Cancel Joint Accounts
One of the first things you want to do when getting a divorce is split the money. Typically, financial disputes are one of the biggest sources of contention when a relationship goes sour, so the sooner you can separate the accounts, the better. If both parties are on good terms with each other, you don’t have to wait for the court to split the finances. You can take care of the financial decisions amiably, cutting all the joint assets right down the middle. And with that out of the way, half of the battle is over, and you can move onto the rest.
Check Credit Report
Make sure get a credit report and know your credit score. Have a good idea what the problem areas are in your report, along with the strengths. You might be able to use the information in it during the divorce negotiations.
Get your credit report as soon as you even suspect you’ll be getting a divorce. You don’t want any chance of having your credit score affected if your soon-to-be ex decides to be malicious. If you have documentation of your credit score prior to any vengeful acts, you’ll be able to get everything fixed, and you can stay calm throughout the ordeal.
Fix Insurance Policies
As soon as you can, you’ll want to look into your different insurance policies, for property, health, and life. You need to adjust those to your changing marital status, and you’ll want to remove your ex’s ability to make decisions about you. You’ll also want to fix any policies that your ex benefits from, naming your children as the beneficiaries if you can.
You’ll want to look into changing policies before you actually file for divorce, because in some states, you can’t adjust policies once you file a divorce—you have to wait until after the divorce is settled.
Keep Emotions and Emotional Health in Check
Emotions run notoriously high during divorces, but getting angry and upset during the proceedings won’t accomplish anything. Keep your emotions contained regardless of what happens. You also want to be careful who you express your emotions to and where you express them. Letting mutual friends know what you’re upset about means that your ex will probably find out. You should also refrain from posting anything on social media—even if you’re just telling your close friends and family—because you could be held in contempt of court and punished for those kinds of actions.
Additionally, pay attention to your emotional well-being, because it’s a proven fact that divorce wreaks havoc on the average person’s health and happiness. Do what you can to stay happy and feeling good about yourself, despite your changing marital status.
Spend Time with the Kids
Most importantly, remember to spend time with your kids. Make a plan with your ex for how your want to parent your kids from this point forward. Even if you two aren’t getting along, put your differences aside for the sake of your children. They need to know that both your still love them and will be there for them, and you need to work together to ensure your children will continue feeling that love.
Even the best marriages can end if one or both parties fall out of love, but just because the love isn’t there and you choose to get a divorce doesn’t mean you need to fight all through the proceedings. By using these tips, you can make your divorce smooth and as drama-free as possible, even if you’re separating from adultery or domestic violence. From Edmonton to Atlanta, keep your divorce smooth.
Eloise Hamilton has always been fascinated with law. In college, she studied the subject briefly before switching to business, but she still loves to maintain her knowledge of all things law, by visiting all kinds of law sites like The Defence Team. She seeks to inform the general public about the finer details of law in a way they can understand.
Most parents would agree that raising children is one of the most fulfilling, rewarding experiences that life has to offer. From infancy through adolescence and even adulthood, kids depend on their parents for basics like food, shelter, and clothing as well as emotional necessities like love and guidance.
Unfortunately, having a family is also expensive, and the vast majority of adults have to work. For many parents, travel is a job requirement, whether it’s regularly, such as the life of an OTR truck driver; just on rare occasions, suck as overseas travel for corporate conventions; or a short-term stay like oil field workers in the Bakken region of North Dakota. Putting in long hours at the office as well as on the road can take its toll on your family, especially if your children are fairly young.
Even though one parent will obviously have to tackle day-to-day duties like carpool, dinner, and laundry while the other is out of town, it is possible to stay connected to your kids while you’re on the road. Your children will miss you and may have negative feelings about the situation, but try these seven suggestions to help remain involved in their lives.
- Prominently display a framed family photo in your child’s bedroom. Set a photo on your child’s dresser or hang a photo on the bedroom wall where he or she can easily see it.
- Call home regularly. Meetings and appointments run late, but make it a point to call home on a regular basis – daily if at all possible. In fact, call home more often than you think you should!
- Invest in webcams and video chat regularly. These days, most laptops have built-in cameras. Even if your family’s computer does not have one, a webcam is relatively inexpensive. Phone calls are wonderful, but actually seeing each other is even better. Ask your child to show you his homework or pictures that he has drawn, books that he’s reading, or even his favorite toy.
- Read bedtime stories over the phone or on webcam. Pack a few children’s books in your suitcase or carry-on bag, and read them to your child over the phone or while you’re on webcam together. Remind her that you’d love to be there to tuck her in and will do it again just as soon as you’re home.
- Tell your children—often—that you miss them and can’t wait to see them. Young children often mistakenly assume that busy or traveling parents would rather be at work than at home. Remind your children that you miss them and can’t wait to spend time with them! Plan something to do together when you return, perhaps dinner at a favorite restaurant or a trip to the movies.
- Mail postcards from the places work takes you. Emails are great, but make an effort to mail your child a postcard from each city you visit. Create a scrapbook or notebook full of postcards when you get home.
- Bring home a small souvenir each time you travel. Bring something back for your children whenever you have to travel for work. T-shirts are easy to find in airport gift shops, but the gifts don’t have to be big or expensive. They can even be free – perhaps a notepad or pen from the hotel.
- Make sure to involve yourself in the details of your children’s lives when you call. It’s truly all about the details. Even if you have to write yourself a little reminder list to go over when you talk to them, it will make a difference when they know you are actively participating in what is going on for them. Ask what difficulties they faced in school that day and offer suggestions for them. Ask the if they are completing tasks and chores without fussing and make sure to praise them for work well done. Have them tell you what some favorite moments of the day were or if anything new came to them about life in general. Get specific and get to know them.
- Find out how to assist them in dealing with life at home without you. What are the specific challenges it brings up for them and ask them how you can help them work around those things.
- Make sure to ask the parent who remains with the children what things you can do. Often times they will see the needs that you are simply unable to perceive by voice.
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but children may not agree. Make a conscious effort to stay involved in your kids’ lives while you’re out of town for work. They grow up before you know it!
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://bigstockphoto.com
Paul Moore works with a company in the booming North Dakota regions, providing furnished suites for short-to-long-term employees that include all conveniences to keep up with family members.
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A few months ago, I met up with an old flame for some food. I have referenced him here and there as my Mr. Big (like Sex and the City). That man that sort of flows in and out of your life like the tide except when the tide goes out your soaking wet and your hair is a mess. Yeah THAT Mr. Big! He and I dated a very long time ago and he is ten years my senior. At the time he was also a military officer awaiting retirement and going through some stuff. While we had a bad breakup on Valentine’s Day of 2009 after I pretty much caught him in bed with another woman. I have since moved on from that, forgave him and went on with my life. He is continuously amazed that I would even speak to him after that CRAZY incident.
On this particular occasion we talked about our lives, our children and the holidays. He had been on my mind and a topic of conversation with my mother as she and I discussed my “emotional unavailability” in relationships and the “emotionally unavailable” men I had dated. Mr. Big was at the top of that list and we talked about how he will more than likely settle down but will NEED someone to be very attentive to him and his needs – something of which I could not AND WILL NOT provide.
As we devoured our ceviche and I braved a blue margarita I then asked him in a joking sort of way, “So when are you getting married again?” From which he looked at me and said, “You are the second person to ask me that?” His sister had asked him the same question and I can tell as most sisters would be that she just wants to see her brother happy. I asked the question because he’s getting old and I know his creature comforts, countless women, toys and motorcycles will not satisfy him for long. So he proceeds to tell me about the person that he is dating.
(As a sidenote: I do not like to divulge details of who I am dating with anyone, especially not this man because of his age he tends to feel inadequate and the pleasure of my company is basically on his terms and for companionship. Which is the reason why we never worked out romantically.)
I just want to be with someone that will listen to me
He asks me straight out, “What is my son’s name?” I looked at him strange and then told him, “Your son’s name is CJ (name changed).” From which he replied, “See, you know my son’s name. Six years later you can tell me about my son, his girlfriend, where my son is going to college and what he’s up to.” From which he tells a tale about the woman he is dating and has been dating for a few months. He tells me she’s beautiful and sexy. He also tells me she’s fun and closer to his age and that she tells him she loves him. After dating this woman for a few months, he did what I have always known him to do, he once again put up his emotionally unavailable wall. He basically told her, “You don’t listen. You can’t even tell me my son’s name. Yet I know your son’s name and his nickname.” He didn’t tell me what she said back, but apparently he felt like this was a lack of attention to him. I had told him that maybe he should consider not holding her hostage to that one thing, by which he proceeded to tell me many other things such as almost getting into altercations at dinner due to her flirtatious nature. There is no advice I could give him except to tell him that at 43 years old, he’s a little too old to have to deal with that kind of drama and maybe he should just admit he is lonely but emotionally unavailable.
Take time to listen
As you can tell, this blog post is not about me offering advice on how to be attentive to a man, but it is about how to build relationships and communicate with people. The key is to listen and assess. Listen to the words and watch facial and body language closely. Listen to not only the message the other person is trying to convey but also to how they like to be communicated with. I have learned a lot about some things that a dating partner will deem as important and the key here is remaining genuine and attentive to learning about the other person and how they communicate. You must not however hold expectations that are too high if you are just dating. You will always be disappointed. You can set standards and gauge how a person measures up to those standards then decide for yourself if you want to continue dating or not. However, I can assure you that you need to assess whether you are giving that person another chance or not.
Now Mr. Big then proceeded to ask if I would ever do “him and I” over again. I told him that at present time No. We are way beyond that. Then he asked if I could go back in time would I do it and I said “Of course.” In my mind, I love the person that I am today and he is a big part of that – drama and all!
Here are some books I recommend on communication with your partners.
Communication Miracles for Couples by Jonathan Robinson
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Disclaimer: The above post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own.