SPAOA - Single Parents Association Of America
 
26Mar/150

Single Parent Dating: Convenient Places to Meet People

Divorced and single parents’ number one complaint when looking for a potential relationship? Lack of time. Luckily, meeting that special someone doesn’t have to mean a time-consuming break from regular life with your kiddo. Here are eight great places to meet people that won’t take up too much of your time or take you too far out of your daily routine.

The Gym

When you feel like time and energy are scarce, it’s important to remember that places that you already visit as part of your regular routine can be great spots to meet someone. The gym is a perfect example. As dating and relationships expert Dr. Tina Tessina explains, “If you go at a regular time when there are a lot of people, you can see the same person repeatedly, until you feel you know each other.” Which makes it easier to strike up a conversation—so try going to a particular class on a regular basis. Plus, as Dr. Tessina points out, the gym is basically a win-win: “It's getting something done while looking, so it's multitasking and not wasted time.” (Not to mention the obvious benefit of getting into better shape!)

The Park

Parks and playgrounds are kind of a no-brainer, since there will be plenty of kids and parents around. Hopefully you’ll find yourself pushing your child on the swings next to another single parent, but even if not, keep in mind that married people have single friends and they’re usually dying to hook those friends up.

Online

Online dating is maybe the quickest and easiest way to meet like-minded, single people. Even if you’re not ready to take the leap and joining a dating site, taking advantage of your social networks is a good way to find single friends of friends when you don’t have the time to socialize as much as you’d like to.

The Grocery Store

It may be a little clichéd, but the grocery store still is a great place to meet people—and you can tell a lot about a person from what’s in his cart, according to Dr. Tessina. For example, “If you're a vegetarian, don't waste your time on someone with a cart full of meat. If they're buying large quantities, they’re either in a relationship or planning a party—the type of purchases will tell you which.”

Farmers’ Market

The farmers’ market is a consistent event (usually every weekend during the spring and summer, depending on where you live), so, like the gym, you’re bound to run into some of the same people from week to week. Maybe even a cute, entrepreneurial farmer who knows 28 ways to prepare rhubarb, if that’s your thing. Plus it’s kid-friendly, and you’ll get a week’s worth of fresh fruit and veggies out of the deal. Another win-win.

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25Mar/150

#Woman Crush Wednesday

We hope you enjoy this inspirational video that Ellen DeGeneres hosted,Ellen doesn't always join in the crying, but in the case of kindergarten teacher Sonya Romero, she just couldn't help it — you'll see why.

Click Here: See This Amazing Teacher

This New Mexico teacher, who's mother to her son and two foster children. She makes sure her students have clean clothes, breakfast, and brushed teeth every morning before she begins teaching.

When Child Protective Services showed up at her school for two children, Sonya offered to take them in for the weekend, and six months later, she's their official foster mom.Ellen wanted to reward the selfless woman — who spends a lot out of her own pocket to make sure all her kids have everything they need.

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24Mar/150

Spring Break Activities

Spring Break is just around the corner and we have a list of inexpensive ideas you can do with your children.

Crafts and Projects to Make:

  1. Make a Lemonade Stand.
  2. Make homemade Popsicle. CLICK HERE FOR FREE RECIPES!
  3. Make a homemade pizza together.
  4. Make homemade play-doh. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO!
  5. Make up your own board game.
  6. Make your own kite. Here are 27 different kites you can make!
  7. Decorating Easter eggs. CLICK HERE FOR IDEAS!
  8. Make homemade bubbles. CLICK HERE!
  9. Paint with Kool-Aid. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO!

Things to Play and Do:

  1. Go bike riding.
  2. Have a scavenger hunt.
  3. Visit the nearest beach.
  4. Go on a hike.
  5. Go to a local park.
  6. Plant something- start your own garden.
  7. Play dress up
  8. Feed the ducks.
  9. Shop garage sales- you can find cheap board games, movies, etc.
  10. Visit the nearest water park.
  11. Make water balloons and have a water balloon fight.
  12. Have a bonfire and roast marshmallows.
  13. Have a scavenger hunt.

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23Mar/150

Ways to Solve Siblings Rivalry and Fighting

It's normal for siblings to have confrontations. Even the best of sibling relationships have their moments. With some time & patience, a peaceful harmony can be reached. When good relationships are established early, children will be taught how to manage conflict with their brother or sister, fighting and rivalry will be less likely to happen. Once a child begins to know their differences, this very important family bond can flourish and grow stronger.

Common ways how siblings have conflicts

Try to understand why sibling conflict may happen. Any little thing can set off by something different every time.  Lets say a conflict begins with who's turn is it to sweep or even what to watch on Television or over a toy but the root may be a bigger issue. Sometimes, the problem may just happen because different attitudes/personality's. In other ways just may be unresolved feelings of rivalry. Another child such as his/her brother/sister may feel resentful because she/he may think he/she doesn't get to do as much because she/he is younger. Or one sibling may simply like things to be quieter and calmer while the other one is all about action and adventure.

Handling sibling fighting

It's very important that parents do what they can to make a good relationships between siblings, to make sure that any conflicts do not damage their relationships. Here's some ways parents can help do this;
First, teach kids how to handle conflict in a positive manner. Children who are taught how to manage conflicts in a constructive manner lets say by listening to their sibling's point views or to not start the name calling. Another get things is when children grow up by learning how prevent and work out conflicts/disagreements will be better at negotiating and working out  compromises in future relationships at home & at work. Learning how to handle conflicts with siblings will help children grow into adults who are skilled with resolving & are better at managing relationship they may have.
Cast sibling harmony as important for the entire family. Explain to your children that your family is like team that's going to stick together. And like any good team, everyone single mom/dad and kids need to work together to have a peaceful loving home/relationship. Any fight among with family members can be hurt the family.
Step in. Some parents may mistakenly believe that it's best to let kids handle conflict on their own but sometimes that can't happen. That can only go to a certain extent, as long as the child have way to manage disagreements in constructive, positive, and peaceful ways. If the arguments are heated or there is verbal/physical aggression step in right away. So they know they shouldn't be doing that. If the children don't see the issue sit them down and have a discussion on what happened and make it clear that aggression of any matter is not okay from your team and well being.
Listen to each children's sides. There will be two sides to each story either the same or completely different. Let each child feel like he/she is being listened to, without judgment or interruption. Often child will feel better after venting to mother/father about the conflict.
Make respect a non-negotiable rule. As in no name calling no verbal/physical conflicts.  Also encourage them to really listen to each other's stories and them each other the respect they should get.
Encourage kids to get into detail and state the issues. Tell your child to focus on what he/she did wrong rather than her/his sibling. For instance, if your child is upset and the other sibling likes to always choose what game to play, she/he should state the issues about the conflict rather then saying 'You're not being fair"  By being specific about the problem rather than focusing on a siblings behavior. The discussion can become more stating the issue and solving it then their characterization on each other.
Ask the children to suggest some resolutions. Have your child come up ways to be fair with both sides. Encourage them to  put themselves in one another shoes.
Show good problem-soling behavior. Children watch and learn things from their parents and use there ways to settle conflicts on how to handle issues with different people. If we have to respectful and loving with one another. Also to clean our feelings and thoughts during  a conflicts, our children will learn and adopt those conflicts resoluti0n skill themselves.
Please leave some comments we love to hear our members feedback  .  Also check out our site at www.SPAOA.org
20Mar/150

Single Parent Travel Tips: How to Plan a Successful Family Vacation

Traveling as a single parent can be tough. Here are some simple travel tips, and ways to even have some free time to yourself.

Planning a trip with just you and your child? As a single parent, taking a trip with your child can be a fun and enjoyable experience, it can also be an exhausting one!

With few travel resources out there for single parents, planning a trip can be that much more challenging. But don't be troubled about having only one set of hands. There are ways to simplify your trip.

How to Plan a Single Parent Trip

Choose a destination where there will be other children. Let's face it, you and your child are ages apart, and after a while, you both need some time with people your own age.

Involve your child in the planning. Discuss the destination, the hotel, and the activities that you'd both like to try.

Consider all-inclusive packages. Perfect for single parent travelers, most family packages include lots of activities that will entertain your child and offer chances to make new friends. Taking a trip with fellow parents is also a great way to balance time with your child. The kids can bond, and the adults can share responsibilities.

Make it a hotel holiday, and embrace the kids' club. Many hotels offer kids' programs that can be modified to your visit, whether it's a half day or full day. While your child is busy with other kids, you can laze on the beach, sight-see, or plan some special outings for you and your child.

What to Do While You Are There

Look for activities that you can do together. But realize that your entire vacation isn't always going to be filled with organized activities, especially if you're traveling on a budget. So, here are a few wallet-friendly activities that you and your child can enjoy together.

Explore the hotel. Find fountains, peruse gift shops, wander through the lobby, or check out the restaurants. Many hotels have unique designs and architecture that can easily give you a couple hours of wandering time.

Find a local playground or park. An afternoon at a local playground or park is another perfect (and affordable) way to while away the afternoon.

Remember to schedule in some down time. As much as you need a break from the amusement parks, your child needs some down time too. Spend a morning, afternoon, or evening at the hotel pool lounging. You can be sure to find other families unwinding. Those kids will also be ready to make a new friend and engage in some non-structured play time.

Travel Resources for Single Parents

There are a growing number of resources for single parent travel. One of the best is Single Parent Travel (www.singleparenttravel.net), which offers advice and opinions on travel and parenting. The site has a trips section, which can help you find the perfect vacation spot for you and your family.

Parents Without Partners (www.parentswithoutpartners.org), a general resource for single parents, often has travel links and resources.

For vacation ideas, Beaches Caribbean Family Resorts for Kids (www.beaches.com), Travel for Kids (www.travelforkids.com), great resources for traveling all over the world, and TravelWithYourKids.com (www.travelwithyourkids.com), which has a lot of trip planning and while-you're-there resources.

19Mar/150

Five Benefits of Being a Working Single Parent

1. Model a “Can Do” Mindset to Your Children
The routine of getting out of the house in the morning, getting the children to school or nursery, traveling to work with thousands of other commuters, engaging in office communications, decision making, networking, learning, and the delivery of results… this is all positive! And it’s this attitude we bring back to our family at the end of the day. The children see that if you make a decision that you want something—you can surely make it happen!

2. Raise Your Living Standard
Bringing in a salary to the household allows you to have increasingly greater choices in how we raise the living standards for your family, year after year. Choices in food, clothing, the house you live in, clubs you join, vacations you go on, and education you're exposed to.

3. Develop Resourcefulness
You coordinate clothing, feeding, schooling, clubs, childcare, and self care for your children every day. If one of these things isn’t in place, you apply the back-up plan (and there has to be one!). For your work, we manage people, tasks, and politics in varying degrees, and for your household, you manage shopping, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and socializing. What does this tell you about you then? That you can do anything you want to when you put your mind to it. Anything!

4. Increase Your Independence
The ability to be in control of the household income is empowering. It takes away dependence on others—whether that’s another parent, a family member, a partner, or the state. There’s nothing wrong with having someone contribute to the upkeep of your family. However, there’s a freedom that comes from knowing that you have talents that are valued by others, enough for them to pay you a fee or a salary.

5. Gain Confidence
Confidence is defined like this: “Belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance.”

And again, it’s not just that you build yourself up by taking your skills to market, and working part or full time. You also model to your children that anything can be achieved when you set your minds to it. Plus you give your children a confident parent to be around. Beautiful!

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18Mar/150

How to cope with the first year of being a Single Parent

Develop a Support Network

1. Joining a support group for single parents is a good way to trade ideas and have a different view than your immediate family and friends. Make a list of people who you can depend on to remind yourself you are not alone and have people to talk to when going through a rough time.

Schedule Time to be Alone

2. Taking time to think and to ponder is important when being single parent. "Me Time" is a powerful tool. If you feel its hard to find some time to be alone, be creative, think out of the box. Consider swapping babysitting times with other parents. Or you can wake up a bit earlier than the kids, and have some non-cleaning time.

Time with the Kids

3. Right now you probably just want to lay in bed, cry, shove your mouth with candy and junk. But you still have your kids to worry about and your kids need you to be strong for them, they need you more than ever. A simple activity like playing a board game, or going on a walk together down the beach or block. These activities will give that message that life will go on and they will indeed, be okay.

Grieve

4. Expressing your feelings is important to your overall health. There is many ways to express your feelings without crying 24/7. A good way to express is to write in a journal or invest some time into a hobby, like yoga, sewing, etc. It is important to grieve and process the loss in order to move on.

Focus on the Positive

5. Having a positive attitude, even in the worst of events, can empower you to move ahead and show a characteristic to your children to adopt.

Ask for Help

6. This is the most difficult to apply to one self. You must realize that there is a bunch of people who are willing to help. Keep in mind too, that asking for help and letting others into your life is a gift to yourself and to the person assisting you. Sharing in one anothers lives during difficult times gives a deeper connection in the relationship you have with that person, whether it is a friendship or a family member. At the end of the day it brings a sense of purpose in everyday living.

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17Mar/150

Why you should read to your children

As parents we want our children to grow up being smart and bright. You have the power to boost your children's learning potential simply by making books a part of their lifestyle. As a parent, reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do to prepare him/her with a foundation for academic excellence.

Reading at a young age results in...

1. A stronger relationship with you

2. Academic excellence

3. Basic speech skills

4. The basics of how to read a book

5. Better communication skills

6. Mastery of language

7. More logical thinking skills

8. Enhanced concentration and discipline

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16Mar/150

7 Reasons Lorelai Gilmore Is Our Single Momspiration

1. Sacrifice

This is a woman who at 16 years old, left behind the strict and privileged lifestyle she had grown up with because she believed there had to be a better way to raise a child. And she made it work! First by getting herself a job as a maid at an inn nearby, living in the small cottage on site and working her way up to management. She proved every step of the way that she could and would sacrifice for her daughter, Rory. And then, when something came up that was more than she could handle (paying for her daughter’s private school tuition), she sacrificed again – going to her estranged parents and asking for help, despite how difficult it was for her to do so since this was the lavish lifestyle she had rebelled against. She did what she needed to do so that her daughter could have everything she needed in order to succeed.

2. Passion

Lorelai was the kind of mom who led by example, showing her daughter that women can and should chase their dreams. She worked for years to open an inn of her own, finally being able to see that her dream resulted of hard work and believing in herself. Every little girl should grow up with that kind of role model.

3. The Value of Good Friends

We are big believers in the fact that the people you surround yourself with say a lot about who you are. From an early age, Rory grew up watching her mom surround herself with genuine, quality people — people who also served important roles in Rory’s life. That’s pretty special when you think about it. And it makes us extra thankful for the amazing friends we have been blessed to bring into our families as well.

4. Open

Lorelai was the kind of mom Rory could talk to about anything, even when it was hard, scary or uncomfortable. Their relationship was built on that level of honesty, an openness that I think probably accounted for why Rory was such a good kid. We can only hope to instill the same kind of open door policy with our kids as they grow older.

5. Capable of Expressing Disappointment

As soon as Rory needed her mother, Lorelai was there.

Being available and easy to talk to didn’t mean that Lorelai was the kind of mom who pretended as though bad behavior was acceptable. When Rory slipped up, her mom made her disappointment clear – not in an unloving way, but in the way a good parent should when his or her child starts to fall off track. Regardless of the disagreement, or how long a fight lasted, when Rory needed her mother, Lorelai was there.

6. Fun

Lorelai was a fun mom, upbeat and enthusiastic, she was always up for another adventure with her daughter. Whether they were traveling Europe together or staying in for another night of takeout and old movies, Lorelai was the kind of mom you would want to have around. This kind of relationship is healthy for a mother-daughter bond.

7. Lessons on Love

Because of the lessons learned from her mother, Rory had the confidence to walk away and pave her own path.

Lorelai was willing to wait for love. She had options, but she didn’t want to settle. And she didn’t need to be rescued. So many women today don’t know how to be alone, but Lorelai was just fine on her own. And because of the lessons learned from her mother, Rory had the confidence to walk away from her young love, and chase her own dreams. We hope that the same message goes out to everyone; open to the idea of Mr. Right, but not willing to accept anything less than what you deserve.

I mean, if we’re talking about single mothers, it really doesn’t get much better than Lorelai. And the Rory-Lorelai mother-daughter relationship, fictional as it may be, it is pretty much the stuff that parenting dreams are made of. Which is why Lorelai is, and always will be, our single momspiration. We know that in the real world it is simply not that simple. But don’t let it discourage you. Be inspired and motivated, always have the “Yes I Can!” attitude!

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12Mar/150

Single Moms in Hollywood

More and more celebrity moms are becoming single parents due to divorce, the untimely passing of their partner, or adoption.

Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron is the latest celebrity to announce an adoption and join in the ranks of single motherhood. Let’s take a look at the stories of 10 single moms in Hollywood such as Sheryl Crow, Michelle Williams and Sandra Bullock.

Charlize Theron:

Oscar-winner Charlize Theron is that latest celebrity to adopt a baby. The actress just announced she is the proud mom of a 4-month-old boy named Jackson. “It’s been amazing, the amount of emails and congratulations,” Charlize said. “Everyone’s just been so lovely — it’s been really nice.”

Sandra Bullock:

There were big changes for Sandra Bullock in 2010! She won an Oscar, went through a divorce, and welcomed her son Louis. Proud to adopt a child from the U.S., Sandra has talked about the first time she met her son. “The first time I met Louis, it was like the whole outside world got quiet,” she said. “It was like he had always been a part of our lives. All I said when I met him was, ‘Oh, there you are.’ He’s just perfect, I can’t even describe him any other way.”

Halle Berry:

Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry has had a rocky love life! Since her 2010 split from Gabriel Aubrey, a nasty custody battle has ensued over their 4-year-old daughter Nahla. “While it was not a love connection for us, he was absolutely the right person to have this child with because she is going to have an amazing father,” Halle said of Gabriel. “And that was really important to me. We’ll make sure we always do what is right for her and put her first. And she will see as she grows that we have a lot of love for each other.”

Denise Richards:

Actress Denise Richards was once wed to Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen. Since their divorce, the pair have worked hard at peacefully co-parenting their daughters Sam, 8, and Lola, 6. The 41-year-old actress went on to adopt daughter Eloise in June 2011. “I’ve always wanted more children and [I] had to make a decision: Do I wait to find the right partner or do it on my own?,” Denise said. “So I just did it on my own.”

How does Denise juggle three kids and her busy career? “You have to take the pressure off yourself. If you try to make everything perfectly balanced, that can create guilt,” Denise said. “When I’m working, things give at home and when I’m at home, things give at work.”

Minnie Driver:

Academy Award-nominated actress Minnie Driver recently identified her 3-year-old son Henry’s father, Scotland-born producer Timothy Jonathan Lea, 52, co-producer of The Riches as well as the hit shows CSI New York and Law and Order. “Is he a good dad? Sort of,” Minnie admitted. “He’s figuring it out… I mean, he hasn’t been that involved, his choice. But he is now.”

The Good Will Hunting star admits she’d like more kids, but only if she has a partner. “Henry’s dad and I probably wouldn’t have any more together, but I would love to have more,” she said. “But I couldn’t do another one without a partner; I couldn’t do two as a single mum, I really couldn’t. It would be too much.”

Bridget Moynahan:

Motherhood hasn’t gone exactly according to plan for actress Bridget Moynahan, but in a recent interview, she said she has absolutely no regrets. The Sex and the City star opened up about her life as a single mom to her 4-year-old son Jack with ex Tom Brady – who ended their relationship when she was 3-months pregnant and quickly moved on with supermodel Gisele Bündchen. “I never made a comment about Gisele or Tom publicly,” Bridget said. “I have a relationship with these people on a daily basis. My son has two loving parents and an extended family, whether it’s cousins or stepmothers or boyfriends. My son is surrounded by love.”

Sheryl Crow:

After splitting from Lance Armstrong and then battling and surviving breast cancer, singer Sheryl Crow adopted son Wyatt, now 4. Of the decision to adopt Sheryl said, “There was a shift in my life when I got diagnosed, [with breast cancer] because it demanded I look at everything and redefine my life,” Sheryl said. “I always felt I would be a mom. I have strong ­maternal instincts.”

Sheryl went on to adopt another son named Levi, who turns 2 in April. “My sons didn’t have to be from me,” she said. “They didn’t have to look like me. I just wanted children to love.”

Michelle Williams:

Academy Award-nominated actress Michelle Williams was already a single mom to daughter Matilda, now 6, when she split with ex-fiancé Heath Ledger. Ledger’s untimely and shocking death due to an accidental overdose made her role as mother even more difficult.

As a single mom, Michelle said she felt pressure to find a partner and to give her daughter a brother or sister, “Because I really wanted, and I really expected or imagined, that Matilda would have siblings that were close to her age,” Michelle said. “I wanted that for her. But I couldn’t make that happen. And now that she’s 6 that isn’t even a possibility anymore. So something that was making me feel impatient, that’s been removed. For whatever reason, that’s not our luck, or our path.”

Madonna:

Queen of Pop Madonna recently admitted that raising her four kids - Lourdes, 15, Rocco, 12, David, 6, and Mercy, 5 – as a single mom is hard work. “I’m not going to lie – it’s hard work having four kids and doing all the work I do,” Madge said. “Everybody has something to say about the way I live my life. At the end of the day I’m doing my best. If people don’t like it, then that’s really their problem. Sometimes I cope with it very well, sometimes it’s a struggle. It’s a challenge juggling everything – multi-tasking is my middle name.”

Lourdes’ father is Carlos Leon, Rocco and David’s father is Madonna’s former husband Guy Ritchie, and Madge adopted Mercy on her own.

Natascha McElhone:

Californication star Natascha McElhone – mom of sons Theodore, 11, Otis, 8, and Rex, 3 – became a single mom when her husband unexpectedly died of a fatal heart condition while she was pregnant with their youngest son. She says of her sons’ late father, “He was the most unique father, as well,” Natascha said. “Always giving our beautiful ‘pups’ the alternate answer to any question, stimulating them, provoking them… I could write about him for the rest of my life. The part that saddens me most is that, whatever I can try to give my boys, their world for now has been halved, I cannot become him…”

The mom-of-three keeps the memory of her late husband alive while raising their sons herself, “We talk about him all the time,” she said. “There are pictures of him everywhere and his office is still exactly as it was. The boys go in there and raid it – they love the fact that they’re not going to get told off. I’ll often say to the boys, ‘That would really make Daddy laugh’ or ‘He’d be so proud of you,’ but the other day my eldest son was being trying. I said to him, ‘I think Daddy would have a few words to say to you about that.”

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