The Best Ways to Overcome the Challenges of Being a Single Parent


Being a single parent can be difficult even when things are going well. As anyone who has taken on both parenting roles will tell you, there are times when it seems like going on after a particularly hard day is impossible; having no one to tag in when you’re sick, tired, or stressed takes a toll after a while.

For these reasons, it’s important for single parents to know how to take care of themselves, make time to do things that relax them and make them happy, and stay healthy. Here are some of the best tips for moms and dads who need to take a time-out.

Practice self-care

Learning how to take care of yourself isn’t just about eating right and getting exercise, although those are two very important things to know. It’s also about remembering to take time for yourself to do things you enjoy. You can’t expect to be the best parent you can be if you’re tired, stressed, or unhappy, so take a little time every day that’s just for you. Turn off your phone, stay away from emails, and get to it: play a video game, take a hot bath with a glass of wine, or relax with a good book. The most important part is to keep guilt out of the equation; don’t feel bad for focusing on your own well-being for a little while. It’s absolutely necessary.

Find healthy ways to cope

It’s easy sometimes to defeat stress with a cigarette or a few beers, but when you become dependent on drugs or alcohol to get you through the day or to help you sleep, it might be time to take a look at your situation and evaluate whether you are making healthy choices. If you have been relying too heavily on unhealthy coping methods, you might consider trying something new. Work exercise into your day, which can help you with energy levels as well as getting more restful sleep. Try yoga or meditation, which can help to dramatically reduce stress and emotional issues. Get creative and take up a new hobby, such as drawing or sewing. Stress from being the sole caregiver can lead to depression, substance abuse, and even suicidal thoughts, so take care of yourself.

Remember that it’s okay to say “No”

Friends and family may not understand sometimes just how busy you are, so don’t be afraid to say “no” to invitations once in awhile. It’s okay to put your own needs first at times, especially if you’re tired or overworked.

Find a support system

Having friends around you who also have children is one of the best ways to combat stress, as talking with someone who understands what you’re going through is always helpful. If you don’t know anyone who is a single parent, consider looking online for support groups or even groups of single parents who meet up socially for playdates.

Being a single parent is never easy, but keeping your stress levels down makes for a happy, healthy you.

Working from Home: Heaven or Hell?

Work at home

Working from home has become the latest trend and we are talking globally here. Every day, more and more companies are allowing their employees to work from home at least once or twice a week. And even more companies are looking to outsource, looking for employees who can work from home and, sometimes, from a different country. We can see these “work from home” job offers increasing every single day on the different job boards and people are really starting to get into this new groove because, let’s face it, staying at home has to be better than going to the office every day. However, this is not true for everyone. Working from home has its pros and cons, but, in the end, it depends on each person.

Let’s begin listing some of the pros: no commuting, that alone should convince you to stay home, no traffic, no public transportation, no people on top of you during rush hour, just bliss while you walk from your room to the office space; flexibility of hours and in managing that time, most of these jobs do not necessarily have a rigid schedule you need to follow, so you are able to manage your own time, especially if you are a freelancer; less stress, since most people working from home are their own bosses, or their bosses are nowhere near them, stress can be reduced to a minimum; less distractions hence more productivity, no useless meetings, no coworkers telling you about their 13 cats or children, no running around the whole office looking for a photocopier that actually works, no wasting time with small talk, just you and your family; more family time, since you are already at home, there is a really good chance you can spend more time with your family, or your dogs, while working from home, you just need to be organized and know how to manage your time in a productive way.

Even though you are now probably ready to pack up your desk and go home, you need to know that working from home also has its disadvantages: isolation, even though some people prefer being alone, others would rather have some company during the day, but if you have a family, this is not really a problem; distractions, we might have more distractions in an office, but that does not mean there are not any at home, browsing social media becomes your biggest enemy while working from home; separating work from home, this is probably one of the worst disadvantages of working from home, you need to be able to organize your day in a way you get to spend enough time working and enough time with your family or friends, try to have a separate space for working, do not stay in your bedroom, find a good nook in the house to do so; working endlessly, since you have no one controlling your hours but yourself, you might feel the need to work at all times, that is why you need to be very organized with your time and prioritizing your responsibilities.

Now you are ready to consider your options and decide whether you are a good candidate to work from home or not. Welcome to the future!

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MoE Means of Exchange -The sharing economy


CoAbode: Room for a little one?

By Sally

Using emerging technologies to build a resilience economy

In the US, pregnant women and young parents are turning to new finance models to fund the costs of taking maternity leave. Could the sharing economy step up to the challenge? I came across CoAbode, a site which functions like an online noticeboard and community for single mothers across the US.

I read recently that there are currently about 1300 GoFundMe crowdfunding campaigns listed by women in the US seeking financial assistance to support their maternity leave. The article points out that many of the crowdfunding pages list circumstances that are exacerbated by medical bills or mortgage repayments, but that many still find it difficult to raise sufficient funds to fulfill their targets.

For separated parents already struggling to pay the day-to-day expenses of raising children, parental leave is an inconceivable luxury. According to 2014 data from the US Census Bureau, there are almost ten million women running single parent households in the US. The median income for single mothers is $26,000: for some, a significant proportion goes towards childcare provision and mortgage repayments.

CoAbode: the real sharing economy

A tool that for fifteen years has been quietly tackling this issue stateside is CoAbode, a mother buddy-up site started by Irish-born entrepreneur Carmel Sullivan following her own experiences as a single parent. On CoAbode, single mums can register a profile online and match with others nearby, leading to house shares, as well as food and childcare in some cases.

For some women, using CoAbode can make the difference between keeping their child and turning to adoption services. Sullivan mentions a pregnant Latino girl, aged about 17 years old and a few weeks away from giving birth, who wrote to Sullivan saying that she had no way of supporting a baby, and her only choice was to have the child adopted.

“I took it upon myself personally to find someone for her,” says Sullivan. “I found a single mom with her own home who was willing to share with her, exchanging childcare in return for living costs. To me that was just the most amazing testimony because she got to keep her child.”

While CoAbode is sent emails every week from women in unusually desperate circumstances, Sullivan says there are typically two real reasons that single mums post a profile:

“One of them is financial, because when you share your rents and pool your resources, you can share a bigger and better house together. The other big issue is loneliness.”

“A lot of women come on the site who have big houses, but they are just lonely. As a society, it seems we’ve lost the idea of extended families and single parenting is a lonely task, we’re not built that way. We want connection with other people.”


In the wake of the economic crisis, demand for CoAbode has surged – at peak points, Sullivan says that 120,000 members are live on the site and traffic ranges in the millions. Sullivan activated a Canadian outpost of CoAbode after discovering that women living in towns on the border were falsely claiming US zipcodes in order to use the site. Local CoAbode communities (“Circle of Friends”) and support networks have also formed; Sullivan tells me about a CoAbode ‘village’ in Brooklyn, New York, in which three brownstones (townhouses) in close proximity to each other were all occupied by sharing single mothers.

“On my own time & on my own dime”

Amidst all the discussions around platform ownership and profit, as many ‘sharing economy’ startups monetise their sites by taking a cut of all transactions, CoAbode remains resistant to commercialisation.  The CoAbode site was founded on – and continues to use – simple technology to achieve its aims. That said, Sullivan thinks that the introduction of algorithms to calculate profile matches would improve the site’s effectiveness and help those who are too shy to make the first connection. For this to happen, Sullivan needs financial support: “For the last few years, I have basically been running this on my own time and on my own dime.”

Sullivan has experimented in the past with asking users for a donation, but, as she says, even $5 a week can make a big difference to a single parent family’s budget.

Instead, Sullivan has converted CoAbode from a non-profit-turned-startup and that they are in the early stages of looking for investors. CoAbode is also considering more formal partnerships and corporate  sponsorship to help their homeless single mother clients resolve housing issues.

With a sustainable model in place, Sullivan believes CoAbode could expand overseas. She is enthusiastic about exploring collaborations with different demographics – potentially working with single dads and senior citizens.

– See more at:


Our Gift


Am I ready to accept my gift?

Kids are the best gift that any woman can have. The only issue being
whether we are ready to accept this gift.

They call the earth “Mother Earth.” Why?
Because she gives of herself in every possible way. She gives when you
ask for it and she gives when you don’t ask for it.
She bears our burden gives us space to build upon.
She provides us with grains, fruits, flowers . you name it she offers
it and does so beautifully.
She provides us with beautiful landscapes, valleys, mountains, hills
and so much more to explore, to travel upon when we need to.
She provides us with jewels, gems, precious stones to adorn us.
She provides us with beautiful trees that sustain us, that provide
oxygen for us to breathe.
As our Earth is a Mother, so are we chosen to be Mothers. Why?

Because we are able to share in the beautiful process of creation.
Because we can nourish a life, sustain it.
Because we give of ourselves, our energy, our time, our love, our support.

But, we can only do all this when we are ready from inside, when we
are ready to accept our gift, wholeheartedly.

Having a child changes our life, there is no denying this. But it is
in our hands to keep this change positive. Yes, there are sleepless
nights, increased expenses and less time for yourself. All of a
sudden you are a mature adult looking after a child.

Tell yourself I will manage if I want to. I will take the changes as
they come. So maybe at times I will be tired; I am only human. But I
am ready to give it my best effort; it’s all for my very own child.

Just like Mother Earth, we too have the capacity to to be there when
we are needed. We have the strength to bear life and to sustain it.
So be proud of yourself.

By Nusrat Malak

How We Live Now

How We live now._SL75_   By Bella DePaulo, PhD

A close-up examination and exploration, How We Live Now challenges our old concepts of what it means to be a family and have a home, opening the door to the many diverse and thriving experiments of living in twenty-first century America.

Across America and around the world, in cities and suburbs and small towns, people from all walks of life are redefining our “lifespaces”—the way we live and who we live with. The traditional nuclear family in their single-family home on a suburban lot has lost its place of prominence in contemporary life. Today, Americans have more choices than ever before in creating new ways to live and meet their personal needs and desires.

Social scientist, researcher, and writer Bella DePaulo has traveled across America to interview people experimenting with the paradigm of how we live. In How We Live Now, she explores everything from multi-generational homes to cohousing communities where one’s “family” is made up of friends and neighbors to couples “living apart together” to single-living, and ultimately uncovers a pioneering landscape for living that throws the old blueprint out the window.

Through personal interviews and stories, media accounts, and in-depth research, How We Live Now explores thriving lifespaces, and offers the reader choices that are freer, more diverse, and more attuned to our modern needs for the twenty-first century and beyond.

CoAbode mentioned in the US Guardian today.

“Single-parent and cohabiting-parent households are just a few of the many contemporary ways of living. Some of the 21st century innovations in child-rearing are so new that we have little or no social science research on the long-term implications. For example, the CoAbode website offers single mothers and their children the opportunity to find other compatible single-mother families with whom to share a home and a life”.Guardian Discrimination against single parents has vast implications for their children | Bella DePaulo | Comment is free | The Guardian

There will be no periods. Period.

I distinctly remember the first time I got my period. Not a fond memory. I was with a friend – not a close one – for the weekend in a rustic mountain cabin that had no phone and signs on the toilet that said “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” Ewww. There I was. Reaching that developmental milestone with a sort of friend, playing monopoly with her entire family. I hated Monopoly enough, but now it’s intricately woven into the memory of..well…a very bad weekend. I spent an entire weekend with toilet paper in my underwear, wondering what the sign on the toilet would have to say about that.

Although, I must say, it wasn’t much better when my mom finally picked me up. I told her, of course, at which point she dragged me to the neighborhood drug store to get pads. It was then that I realized she lacked sensitivity. And an indoor voice.

“I have to put those where?”

They say that these days, girls “develop” much earlier, so, in an effort to avoid similar humiliation for my daughter, I gave her the rundown when she was about 9. I told her it’s her body’s way of practicing building a nest for a baby. Which, I pointed out, she wasn’t allowed to have until she is 30. I tried to make it positive and talk about it matter-of-factly, but ya know what? There’s just no super happy, won’t this be cool, way to tell a 9-year-old girl that when said nest practice is over, “blood will come out of your hoo-hoo.” My daughter freaks out when she skins her knee. But I tried. I really tried.

We came up with a code. If she got “it” at school, she could call and say “code red” – I assured her no one in the office would have any idea what she was talking about. And that was that.

One day when I picked her up, she excitedly ran up to me, and whispered “code red” in my ear. What? Huh? Nahhhhh. Must be a urinary tract infection. Surely, it couldn’t have already happened. “No,” she assured me. “I have it now.”

It took awhile for me to collect my brain cells. Then it occurred to me. For two straight days, she had eaten barbequed beets – the red kind. I summoned her and explained that I thought root vegetables – not “development” – were to blame for the red tint she observed.

It’s been a year. She hasn’t eaten a beet since.

But she is developing and her chest is sprouting, and I pray and hope that her erratic behavior is because of hormones and not a more serious personality disorder.

She does that head-bobbing sassy thing and she’s mad and then she’s sad and then she’s possessed by Satan. She’s 10. I don’t know if it’s hormones in the milk or BPA or some change in the universal cycle, but what I do know is that she is nowhere near emotionally mature enough to handle this “development.” I wish there were a way to hit the “stop” button on her body.
When I look at my daughter, I see the little baby I cuddled, the helpless little tiny thing whose every need I had to meet. I don’t see boobs and boys she’s likes and attitude and independence. I tried to demand that she stop growing up, but that didn’t work.

But dang. They shouldn’t be growing up this fast.

Respect, Trust, Acceptance- Magda Gerber’s Therapeutic Approach To Child Care


Magda Gerber


Magda Gerber’s approach to child care is like preventative medicine, and it’s therapeutic for both parent and child. Her philosophy  – based on her psychoanalytic training and work as a child therapist – emphasizes self-acceptance, the need to set boundaries, the importance of ritual and of expressing your feelings, the fact that life is made up of choices which have consequences and that there are no victims. These are familiar principles to those who know 12-step-program theory, and their effect is at least as profound when applied to infant care. And while hers is a low-stress, simple and common –sense approach that acknowledges the realities of working moms, its vision is ambitious: “authentic” infants who become secure, autonomous, compassionate adults.

While too many theories of child-raising focus on making children do or be something more than they are, Magda argues the less we do the better, and suggests that many parents try too hard. She believes infants should be left to explore a child-safe environment with minimal adult intervention, because “spontaneous, self-initiated activities have an essential value.  The pleasure evolving from exploration and mastery is self-reinforcing, and the infant becomes intrinsically motivated to learn.”  But parents must also set aside quality time when they are simply available, watching and listening without judgment, thinking only of the child. Says Magda, “We are conditioned to always be doing something. But it is very comforting to know the parent is there, really there, without the little person being under pressure to do something to keep the parent’s attention.”

The key word in Magda’s vocabulary is respect – for parents and their needs as well as for their child’s. Even the smallest infant is looked at, handled and talked to as a thinking, feeling, participating human being, and never discussed in the third person if she can hear. “Many awful things have been done in the name of love,” says Magda. “But nothing awful can be done in the name of respect.”

Some of her very practical suggestions, with the caveat, “What you teach is yourselves”:

  • Before you pick up a baby, tell him what you’re going to do. Do things with, not to or for, a baby.
  • Allow the child to experience conflict and work it out for herself; let the child experience pain or sorrow, and let her choose when and if she wants to come to you for comfort.
  • Be clear. Be honest. Ambivalence from a parent produces a nagging child.
  • Children need expectations; they need to know the rules. Discipline is an integral part of a rooted, secure feeling. A child who is never told “no” is a neglected child.
  • It’s a misconception that children must be happy all the time. That is not the way life is. If children discover that too late, they will find life difficult and frightening.

When Magda came here from Hungary in 1957, there was no such thing as an infant specialist. Even today, infant care in the USA is neither lucrative nor prestigious, despite our increasing recognition that basic patterns of coping, living and learning are set during the first three years of life. Magda’s Hungarian teacher and colleague, Dr. Emmi Pikler – who originated many of these ideas – was famous for her work with institutionalized children. At her residential nursery, she’d created an environment that encouraged them to reach their full potential. Many studies have since shown that these children don’t exhibit the impaired development – such as a lack of initiative and volition and an impersonality in relationships – associated with institutionalization, and have become healthy, well- adjusted adults.

Perhaps the best thing about Magda’s infant-care philosophy is that its wisdom works just as well in adult life. Mutual respect, and the trust and acceptance it engenders, open the door to well-being and happiness. As Magda says, “Lucky is the child who grows up with parents who basically accept and love themselves, and therefore can accept and love their child, who reminds them so often of their own selves.”

Gloria Ohland ( is a longtime Southern California journalist and former staff writer at the LA Weekly.


Looking for a money tree. That’s blooming

So I was driving my son and his friend home from karate the other night, and his friend asked if he had some new violence-laden video game.

“No,” my son said rather emphatically. “Haven’t I told you we’re poor?”

“Honey, I wouldn’t buy you that game because it will turn you into a felon,” I explained. But I gulped a bit before that. Because the truth is, we are poor. Well, not poor in the sense that my kids don’t have enough to eat or a great place to live. Poor in the sense that there isn’t a penny to spare.

And it pretty much sucks.

I am a college educated professional who makes a decent – but not great – living. Back in the married days, it was fine dining and massages at least once a month. About the closest I get to that now is a really yummy lean cuisine and the neighborhood cat rubbing against my calf. Between extracurricular activities, clothes for kids who just won’t stop growing and counseling they need because of the divorce, I’m broke.

When I get paid, the joy of having money in my checking account lasts for about 3.5 seconds. Money is so tight for me, my accounts can’t even squeak.

I have bartered for karate fees and begged to post date checks so my daughter can still go to gymnastics. Mostly, people are nice about it. I am creative with my budgeting and most of the time, most of the bills get paid. When my cable gets turned off for non-payment – god forbid my children miss an episode of ICarly – I exclaim with disgust that the television is malfunctioning – inexplicably – once again. Even when my books are balanced, all it takes is the cost of school pictures to send me into the red. If my car breaks down, I’m screwed.

My ex is remarried. That means income times two. That means fancier clothes and big vacations and Christmas presents that Rockefellers would wish they had. Bitter? No. Envious? Perhaps.

I’ve toyed with joining one of those sugar daddies online dating websites just to make ends meet, but it occurred to me a 40-something mother of two with ripped up jeans is probably not the hottie they’re looking for. I’ve borrowed from friends right before pay day and I’ve pretty much abandoned the notion of shopping sprees – or even a pedicure. My artwork is so old it’s back in style – remember the Erte alphabet? I’m relatively sure I’m the only woman on the planet who goes to a hair stylist who charges on a sliding scale. God bless him. I once emailed one of the super rich guys – ya know the ones that started the billionaire club – and asked if I’d count as a 501(C)3 non profit so they could funnel me moolah. Never heard back.

This is not what I planned for myself.

On the upshot, I’ve learned that kids will relish playing in the rain almost as much as going to the zoo and that hide-and-seek is practically as entertaining as an amusement park. I’ve learned that rich folk take seriously nice clothes to consignment stores – or even Goodwill. I discovered dollar stores – did you all know everything in there only costs a buck? Crazy.

Money. It might not buy happiness, but it sure pays the bills.