Stay-at-home moms and dads probably know the feeling. … With being a single mom, it's not easy and I'd have to say hats off to all the parents who …
Halfway through the summer and I’m already thinking about winter vacation. As most single, working moms we are counting down how many sick days or PTO (Personal Time Off – ideally paid) that we have left for the year. Yesterday I was feeling sick. It was the kind of sick where I experienced migraines, and nausea and it was difficult to concentrate. I more than likely should not have been at work but I “muscled” through. And why not? One hour after giving birth to my son, I was on the computer sharing baby photos and at that time I was a single mom doing it alone. Nobody in the delivery room and I asked my sister to make sure my laptop was there and charged while she took my other children home to care for while I stayed the mandatory days in the hospital. Honestly I was probably fooling myself and the stress of all of that is something I think about now that I am older and wiser. Who was I trying to kid?
So as I pondered about whether I would actually take a sick day or not, I began to panic. Well what if I need the PTO for a sick child? PTO is granted in case you need a day off for being sick, running an errand, car repair etc. I’ve used it for kid’s school functions etc. When you have a sick child as a single mom it can be difficult. No licensed day care will take them and I’d rather not infect another child. I get upset when parents will drop off obviously sick children in daycare but I know why they do it. Mainly because they probably don’t want to take a sick day OR they have none left and can’t afford to get a dock in hourly pay because they got bills to pay. So as parents we try to assess the situation to see if it’s real or not and end up trying to figure out on a weekday morning if the child is going to school.
The Itching eyeball
My daughter woke up one morning and her eye was red and crusted over. It was obvious that she was sick or about to be sick even if she didn’t have a fever. I tried putting a compress on it. My mom put a tea bag on it and it seemed to help but since Grandma was visiting, she could watch my daughter while I went to work and she was fine. The next day my daughter complained about her eye again. I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out if she was really sick or just wanted to stay home. It can be frustrating because all of these thoughts are going through your head – go to work? Stay Home? I figured it was a bluff and she ended up going to school.
The PTO dilemma
Now comes the tough part, do I take PTO or save it for some impending sick child later? The facts remain that kids get sick. Some get sick more than others. My son got sick and needed a nebulizer and a lot of breathing treatments. Managing things via co-parenting can be a challenge as well when they are sick and you are trying to talk to a health insurance provider that the other parent provides. You spend a lot of time on the phone calling doctors, making appointments, calling the health insurance company, calling the pharmacy and sometimes a specialist. It takes up a lot of time. A lot of time of signing paperwork, verifying who you are, signing privacy statements and signing over your life towards medical bills that you have no idea how high they will go or how you will pay for them. That is all part of my worries if I take a sick day for myself. I’d rather spend it on the kids when they are sick. And yes sometimes I take a PTO just to spend time with them and take them to a movie. You would think that I could do this on a weekend but it’s impossible with house cleaning and errands to do. So is the American Work Life.
I honestly don’t have one. There are many blogs and advice about spending ME time. Just today in my weight watchers meeting they asked us to make a goal of creating 15 minutes of time for myself doing things to escape, to relax and to create. One of the ways I escape is to take a relaxing bath. Also going for a walk is an escape and drinking a nice cup of coffee and staring out into my backyard is also relaxing to me. Someone in the group said sweeping or mopping is also relaxing. I can see that. I can’t function and calm my mind unless the house is sorta clean. Anyway I know that enjoying a healthier lifestyle just means that as a family we may spend less time sick so our PTO can be used for vacation and family fun.
Do you use sick days for when you are sick or try to save them for when the kids are sick?
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Last month our friends at Red Gold Tomatoes sent over a starter kit and recipes for lasagna. I have a winter birthday and when I was a kid lasagna was my favorite dish and I asked for my mom to make it every birthday. Why did I like it so much? Well I enjoyed helping my mom layer the noodles in the pan. It was always so exciting to build the layers, add the ricotta and the sauce. It was like a science experiment. Since I was also born after Thanksgiving I think the family enjoyed the departure from Turkey. So now lasagna is the ultimate winter comfort food for my family and I. Surprisingly as a single, working mom it’s very easy to make and freeze already layered pans of lasagna for future baking. So I was very excited to receive a lasagna gift pack from Red Gold Tomatoes and Laura’s Lean Beef including traditional and non traditional lasagna recipes that the family will love.
The gift pack included canned tomatoes of differing types, lasagna noodles, a Red Gold reusable tote, an apron, coupons and recipes. Red Gold is family owned and they are celebrating the comfort of lasagna this winter and giving away lasagna party kits, a Le Creuset Lasagna Pan and more.
The promotion began Jan. 13 during which twice a week they started giving away Le Creuset Lasagna Pans, a Simple Gourmet Lasagna Kit, Red Gold spatula, Garfield Toy, coupons and an apron. Head to theto enter.
This was the first time I ever tried or cooked with Red Gold Tomatoes. Compared to other varieties the tomatoes seemed more vibrant in color and robust in flavor. I especially enjoyed the Red Gold Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano. It saves me from having to find those ingredients in the store and chop them up myself. As you can see below it looks wonderful. I wish I had a better pic of it but family started serving themselves as soon as I got it out of the oven.
1/2 cup water – I modified this and used evaporated milk for a creamy consistency
1 (28 ounce) can Red Gold® Crushed Tomatoes, or 2 (15 ounce) cans Red Gold Crushed Tomatoes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
Salt to taste
1 pound Laura’s 92% Lean Ground Beef, or any ground beef or Italian sausage, cooked and drained – I also modified this and used 1/2 ground beef and half ground Italian sausage
1 (16 ounce) box traditional lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 (15 ounce) carton low fat ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350o F. In large mixing bowl combine water (evaporated milk), crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes, salt and ground beef, stir to combine ingredients.
Cover the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan with 1½ cups of sauce mixture. Arrange 1/3 of noodles on top of sauce, slightly overlapped. Top with ½ of ricotta cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of sauce. Repeat layers and top with last 1/3 of noodles and the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 to 1½ hours; until noodles are cooked. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
The recipe makes 12 servings, but you could divide the recipe into two 9×9 inch baking dishes and freeze one for a wintry night supper.
Disclaimer: Red Gold Tomatoes and Laura's Lean Beef provided DSM with complimentary items to help prepare this dish. All opinions are 100% my own.
I was sent the below infographic from a friend of mine who has an extensive tenure in PR and technology. We quickly became friends because she has an eye for my wicked humor. LOL! Anyway, we have often talked about the topic of toxic workplace environments. Life as a working parent is hard. Add on being a single parent trying to juggle life and bills the last thing you need is another addition to the avalanche of worries. However many of us work in a toxic environment. It can be a toxic boss, coworker, project etc. Even if you are not a working parent, you can be in a toxic church group, community organization, relationship etc. It is inevitable that you will work or be in a toxic environment. Amanda adds how to survive this chaos with her post on LinkedIn called,
These are great tips for active and busy moms. If you’re like most of those who made resolutions for 2014, you probably have some sort of fitness goal in mind. The intent to lose some extra pounds or get back into shape are easy resolutions to make, but notoriously hard to stick to because they have to do with breaking habits like finishing our kids’ dinner and changing lifestyle choices like grabbing that fat-packed latte and surfing the Internet after dropping the kiddos off for the day.
With all the temptations to fall back into your old ways, it may seem like you’re doomed from the start. But it’s not impossible to make the change you want and keep your resolutions. Here are some tips to help you keep your fitness resolutions in 2014.
Making a private resolution may work for a few, but going public with your commitment holds you accountable to more people than just yourself. Tell Facebook or Twitter. Blog about it. Join friends in fitness challenges and bets. Getting others in on your goals gives you extra support in the form of cheerleaders and team members.
If you have been couch-cruising and Cheeto-eating for three years, suddenly doing a 180 and eating nothing but celery and organic chicken is not going to last. Take a look at your lifestyle and figure out what small changes you can make. Replace the Cheetos first. Then later work in some sort of exercise.
Make your fitness goals work around your schedule. For example, if you are a stay-at-home mom, you probably don’t have the time in your day to get to a gym, so don’t join one just to let that resolution fail. Instead, find a way to incorporate the components of a exercise program into your day in spurts during lunch or nap times.
If you haven’t run since high school and you are now a 35-year-old mother of three who gets most of her exercise in the form of getting in and out of the car at daycare drop-off, you do not want to start your trek back to healthfulness with a five-mile run. You are almost certain to sustain an injury. Do yourself a favor and get a physical. Learn about where your body is right now.
Laser Spine Institute features a wealth of researched resources for strengthening your body. Activities like yoga have been proven to help with back pain. Weight and diet also have a lot to do with the health of your back. Working toward a healthier back will assist you in sticking with other fitness goals because you won’t run as high of a risk of injury.
Even with a team to support you, realistic goals in front of you and a smart plan, you will have days that you just miss the mark. You will have days where you give in to the temptation to eat the last cookie rather than deciding which child gets it. It’s OK! Be kind to yourself and start again. One stumble does not equate to failing or quitting, it is just a glitch in your otherwise great resolution to make yourself a better you.
Guest Author: Viola Walker
Viola just got promoted to a managerial position at her job. Her first initiative is to start a health and wellness competition for all the employees.
Disclaimer: All guest posts and guest authors are prescreened by Dallas Single Mom. All opinions presented are 100% the opinion of the author as applicable. Opinions expressed are not necessarily representative of this site.
Looking for guest bloggers or to guest post for more exposure? Check out MyBlogGuest
Special thanks to CashNetUSA for this infographic
Disclaimer: publication does not mean promotional endorsement
It’s 6:45 am again. You wish the alarm would just shut up so you can go back to your dreams because it took you long enough to fall asleep in the first place! On your schedule is everyone else’s to-do’s but your very own. You may have little to no time for yourself but that doesn’t mean you can’t look fresh, fun, fashionable and fabulous at work (which you should!)
According to Salary.com “multiple studies show that the amount someone is paid — and in some cases whether or not they get the job — is based, at least in part, on how they look.” When you dress up for work, not only do you look and feel your best, but you also take one step closer to earning a raise that will lighten the financial burdens of your single-parent home.
In the spirit of dressing for success (for less), here are 4 quick and easy tips for upgrading your work wardrobe:
Accept that your body has changed and work with it.
Although you may be a mom, there’s no reason to dress like one at work. Your body may have changed over the years after you had kids, but you can still dress to impress at work. The best place to start is by being mindful of your new body and learning how to accent your best features. Since every office environment is different, be sure to stick to your work attire basics and add your personal flare with shoes and fashion accessories.
Host a swap party with your friends.
The rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn it in a year, chances are it’s wasting space in your closet. There’s always something therapeutic about getting rid of the old and making room for the new. Invite your gal-pals over for a swap party to trade “like-new” clothing with one another. It’s the perfect way to get rid of your oldies but goodies and get something fabulous in return. If you and your friends have children, you can make it a fun daytime affair at a park or other site where the kids can play.
You should never pay full price or waste gas money and hours at the mall searching for a new work outfit. Instead, you can put the kids to bed and boot up the laptop or smartphone to shop online for great savings. To snag fashionable clothing for a fraction of the price, you’ll need to know the best times and place to shop for office attire. Shop off-season, Black Friday, and Mother’s Day sales to stock up on work wear. Also, use digital coupons on top of sale prices to increase your savings. For example, you can shop the sale section and search for The Limited Coupons to get additional discounts on already marked-down prices.
Download Free Style Apps.
Stay up-to-date with what’s trending with free mobile apps. Get inspired with new tricks and how-to picture tutorials by downloading some of the most popular go-to apps including Style.com and Fashionism. Take a few minutes out of your lunch break to sift through styles, order them on the spot, and get advice from notable fashionistas.
Whether you just got a raise or are looking for a job, it only takes four easy steps to reap the long-term benefits of taking better care of your appearance. Now that you are informed about how to choose the right types of clothing to flatter your body shape, get like-new clothes without spending a dime, shop online for the best deals, and stay tuned-in on the latest and greatest trends for free, it’s time to dress for success (for less) with your next promotion in mind.