Archive for October, 2008

Dating – When to Involve the Kids

The single parent night life can be no different than any other. It’s when there’s a love connection that it can get hairy. Ever start a conversation without immediately saying ‘I have a kid’? I rarely do, honestly. I don’t like wasting my time so I throw it out there right away, take it or leave it. Saves me the trouble of rejection later. But it’s those few times where I unexpectedly meet someone and I connect through intense conversations about anything other than my kid and then I wonder, will it change things when I bring up my lifestyle? I’m guilty of that thought –and action! I’ve actually saved the detail for a later time. And yes, I felt guilty! But it’s natural. You may wonder why it has to make a difference. But it’s a world of difference. I’ve been rejected for being a single parent but I understand. Before I had my son, I did not want to date someone with history, like a prior marriage or children. So when I get rejected, I look back at my choices then and nod with approval that everyone has a choice to live the life they choose. So I move on and keep living with a positive attitude.

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October 30, 2008 at 8:37 AM Leave a comment

A Child’s Thoughts (from SP Magazine’s Vol 1 Issue 1)

Being an Only Child with a Single Parent

By Peter Rodrigues (unedited)

 

Being an only child with a single parent is normal for me now. I also got used to having a pet. I’m 12 years old now. My whole life I’ve been alone with my mom. There are very bad and very good things about having a single parent and being an only child. First of all, the disadvantages of being the son of a single parent: One is that my mom is always working so I’m always alone. Also, one parent might not like things you do but if you had another, that one might. Now about being an only child I don’t have to take away spare time to take care of a little kid or get bullied by an older sibling. Plus, I dn’t have to let anyone mess with my stuff or me getting in trouble for getting mad.

 

            Now, the benefits of all that. If I want to do something, my parents don’t need to have an argument. Then they might argue and by the time they’re done, they say yes but it’s too late now. And two parents would be a problem because of double punishment, and double strictness.

 

            Something that would be good about having two parents is that we would have more money, which means I could get more things. So that’s all I thought of today about being an only child with a single parent. My name is Peter Rodrigues. I’m 12 years old. This is how I lived all my life and that’s all I have to say about being an only child with a single parent.

October 29, 2008 at 8:40 AM Leave a comment

Going Green (from SP Magazine’s Issue 1 Vol 1)

Going Green?

By Barbara Beelitz

 

Sometimes the idea of “going green” can feel overwhelming, and sound expensive – hybrid vehicles, solar heating panels, new appliances. Yikes! That sounds like more than most of us can afford. We don’t know where to start, so we don’t start at all.

 

But, like any other project worth doing, if we break it down into bite-size pieces, we can actually begin to make a difference. Every step in the right direction counts.

 

Don’t take it all on yourself. Involve the family. If your children are old enough to use a computer, give them the assignment of finding one or two changes you can make every month so they can feel they are making a contribution as well. Introduce your children to sites such as http://www.epa.gov/kids, www.pbskids.org/eekoworld or http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/kids. They’re fun and informative. Or, just do a search for “kids green websites” where you will find an amazing number of sites to explore.

 

So you want to get started immediately but don’t have the time to figure out where to begin… here are a few changes you can make right now, as well as the positive impact they will have on our environment.

 

1.     Skip the bottled water – There are 2.7 million tons of plastic used to make water bottles each year. In the U.S., less than 20 percent of water bottles are recycled. Also consider the health ramifications of plastic. According to the Enviromental Working Group (www.ewg.org) “Make sure your stainless steel bottle doesn’t have a plastic liner inside, which may leach bisphenol-A (BPA), an industrial chemical linked to birth defects of the male and female reproductive systems and other health concerns.” Filter your tap water, and consider purchasing a reusable bottle such as the Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottle at http://www.kleankanteen.com. They’re durable, lightweight and come in a variety of sizes.

2.     Bring your own mug to coffee shops when you stop for your morning brew. You can determine just how much your traditional paper or Styrofoam cups are contributing to landfills by going to http://www.dzignism.com/projects/coffee.waste. If you’re ready to make a change, go to www.reusablebags.com where you can shop for a “stainless steel travel mug”.

3.     STOP THE PLASTIC BAGS FROM TAKING OVER! Approximately 100 billion plastic bags are used each year. Very few of them are recycled. Bring your own cloth bags to the supermarket to bag your orders instead of using plastic. Some stores are actually issuing credits for reusing your shopping bags or bringing your own cloth version.

4.     Make sure the paper products you need to use are made from recycled paper. Sunrise by Marcal paper products are 100% premium recycled paper manufactured by New Jersey’s own Marcal Paper Mills. Marcal has been recycling paper for over 60 years, collecting over 200,000 tons of recyclable paper annually from local towns and offices.

5.     Don’t exceed the speed limit when driving. “Driving 75 mph instead of 65 mph will lower your fuel economy by about 10 percent, and can dramatically increase tailpipe pollution in many vehicles,” as per Greenercars.org.

6.     Another great website to visit is www.idealbite.com. You will find simple, innovative ways to go green.

 

Remember to give yourself credit for each step you take. There will always be ways we can improve and lead healthier lives for our own good as well as the good of our planet. Keep in mind the words of Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian author, educator and scholar, who once said On Spaceship Earth there are no passengers; everybody is a member of the crew. We have moved into an age in which everybody’s activities affect everybody else. Take responsibility by taking action. Now.

 

 

Pamela Beelitz is a Shaklee Independent Distributor whose product lines include nutritional supplements, green cleaning products, weight management, skin care, cosmetics and air & water purification.

October 28, 2008 at 8:37 AM Leave a comment

Getting Organized (from SP Magazine’s Issue 1 Vol 1)

Clean Up

4 ways to help kids learn about organization

 

By Patricia Diesel

Did you know that by having a routine and being organized you can reduce the level of stress within your home?

Providing structure and discipline within your family is a way to instill good habits for your children that will foster their well being and bring you peace of mind.

Make it routine

One way to teach your children how to become better organized is by modeling your very own routine.  Routines show children how to be responsible, thus making them feel safe and secure. 

A simple routine for your children can begin with setting a ritual bath-time and story-time followed by lights-out.  This promotes a sound night’s rest and overall good health.

Make it clean

Showing your children how to clean their rooms and maintain the messiness is another way to show your children the skills of organization and can also reduce the risk of accidents.

Introducing the concept that a child’s room is a place to retreat from the daily stresses and worries will help them take pride and have respect for their space.

Make it simple

A smart way to lower your kid’s level of frustration is to simplify their lives.  Take a look at what activities your children are involved in and then rate the level of importance to their well being.  If your children are continually stressed out, ask yourself what’s the payoff?  Does it makes sense to continue down the same path or do some of the activities need to be cut back?

 

 

 

                                                                                                                        Page 2/Clean Up

 

Make it last

Depending upon the age of your children, think about what you can begin teaching your kids right away that will become life-long skills for them.  Is it learning how to boil water and working your way up to cooking a simple meal?  How about sorting the laundry then progressing to doing the wash and maybe even ironing?  Simple household chores such as taking out the trash and vacuuming the floors are smart ways to introduce segments of good housekeeping rules.

Children are products of their environment and a clutter-free home promotes a clutter-free mind.

October 27, 2008 at 8:33 AM Leave a comment

Single Parent Adoption (An Article from SP Magazine’s Issue 1 Volume 1)

Single Parent Adoption

Lucy Aponte

 

In 1977, as a single mother of three I ventured to adopt, unaware of the prejudices I faced as a single Latina woman. I was excited as I entered the NY agency for my interview. Introducing herself the worker led me towards the elevator. I wondered if my child was amongst the little children we passed in the halls and in the elevator. Little did I know, the worker had already decided I would not qualify to adopt.

So, after confidently answering the questions posed to me, I was told there were no children. The children I had seen, she claimed when I asked her, were not for adoption. I could not believe that in this huge building, there was not one child that needed a mother’s love. In fact thousands of children lived isolated, hidden deep within the bellies of such institutions; alone, unloved and parentless.

Confused and feeling inadequate, I left with tears in my eyes.  

 

It would be another year before I’d have the courage to try again. But, this time research led me to the New York Council on Adoptable Children.  At COAC I learned that my experience with the previous agency was commonplace for single parents wanting to adopt. I was relieved to learn from the counselor that there was nothing wrong with me.  They helped me through the process of looking and deciding what kind of child I could parent. Although I originally wanted a two year old, I was willing to take an older child. All children yearn for love and family and I had that to give.

 

Ten-year-old “Michael,” ironically lived under the supervision of the agency that had rejected my application. He had a severe developmental disability and did not speak. Experience with baby sitting my Downs Syndrome cousin gave me the confidence to meet such a challenge. Visits began, first at the institution and then weekends at home. When I’d visit Michael, other children grabbed me kissing my hand, hoping I would take them home. Michael would possessively lead me towards the door so we could leave. I detested going to that institution and after three months I insisted I was ready to take him home. The institution was reluctant and warned I’d be back with him within two weeks.

 

Michael came home on three psychotropic drugs to manage behavior. Most of his misbehavior was due to lack of basic social skills, because of low expectations by previous care-takers. We taught him to use the toilet, tie his shoe laces, eat with a spoon and fork and we all learned sign language, so he could communicate. With patience, consistency and training Michael acquired social skills that allowed him to integrate within the family and freed him from drug-induced immobilization and isolation.  

Weeks of shampooing uncovered Michael’s natural blond hair beneath the brown grime. For the first time, he had clothes that fit and that he didn’t have to share. Rather than gauze to hold his pants and to lace his shoes, he wore a belt and tied real laces. I wonder today, if the hospital is still waiting for his return.

 

 

Three years after Michael, we heard about 8 month old Daniel, a boarder baby. I knew I could care for a sick baby, I was a nurse. But, learning he was terminally ill stopped me dead in my tracks. I did not want a baby to die in my home. He’d go to an institution, as he was due for discharge. His doctors and my children convinced me he’d be better with us. So, after two months of visits Daniel came home. We would give him loads of love in his final month and lots of holding.

 

Daniel would never sit, stand, nor walk, predicted doctors. But, my fourteen year old daughter Kim, decided he would do so before he died. So, every day Kim exercised Daniel, strengthening his back, neck and abdominal muscles. She’d stand him on her feet to practice walking through the apartment. One month later, Daniel walked between Kim and me into the clinic, holding our hands. The doctors were excited and took him up to the intensive care unit for his nurses to see how he’d grown. They were thrilled to see him and passed him around. These visits became a must at each appointment. Daniel had countless emergency situations, hospitalizations and three near death experiences over the next 12 years. Yes, he survived that first month and today, he is a twenty seven year old young man, doing well. He came to be known as “The Miracle Baby” of Jacobi Hospital.

Single parent adoption is more common today but too many children are still waiting for their permanent family.

Contact COAC @ 212-475-0222 for adoption information.

October 26, 2008 at 8:24 PM Leave a comment

The Birth of SP (Single Parent / Step Parent)Magazine

A single mom since 1996, I struggled to find publications that contained editorial on being a single parent. For years I said to myself that if no one was going to do this, I would. But fear always took precedence. With no publishing background, I would take minor steps, I even bought a domain to start a website, but time and experience and fear would get in the way and eventually I would put it aside for a later date.

Fastfoward 9 years. In late 2005, I was laid off and thought to myself that it was a very good thing. I would finally research and start the magazine! But fear took over again and I decided I would stick to what I knew well and that was corporate computer training. But less than 2 years later I found myself struggling to find work. It took almost a year, and thousands of dollars in debt later, to finally get the courage to start the magazine. I had NOTHING to lose, literally. I was on the verge of losing everything because I had pretty much depleted my ‘debt income’ (my term for living off of my equity and credit cards) and was unable to pay bills.

In February 2008, I recruited help from networking events and a meetup group I started at meetup.com and found a production manager, one who had decades of experience in magazine layout, and a few writers. Salespeople are hard to come by so I set out to do sales myself. By the end of April I had enough sales to cover most of the printing costs so with the last credit card standing, I maxed it and sent out the finalized 16-page production to a printer and SP Magazine was born!

The week the magazine was born (it really felt like I gave birth) was a very good week because I also found work. Although I wanted to devote 100% of my time to this new child of mine, I new that I had to take care of my priorities in order to keep my son fed with a roof over his head.

Today I work full-time for a great organization that is getting me back on track with my bills. In the evenings and weekends, after I’ve spent quality time with my boy, I am working on the magazine and reinventing a plan for the publication to run smoothly next year. There will be one more issue in 2008 and it will be available in November. Thank you to all the volunteer writers and volunteer contributors that are helping to make this happen! And thank you to the subscribers that have faith in me and this magazine!

October 25, 2008 at 7:49 PM 3 comments

Raising a Teen – the early stages

I’ve entered what I like to call Phase 3 of Child Rearing. Phase 1 is from childbirth through 4 or 5 years old where everything is an adventure because life is grand and new, always learning and retaining.

Phase 2, through about age 11 or so, is when life tones downs a little, it’s not always fun and games due to the new responsibility of homework and a more regiment routine. My son had such a wonderful Phase 1 that even today, in Phase 3, he wishes to go back to a time where he didn’t have to worry about assignments and being mature (the latter he’s taking his time with).

Now we’re in Phase 3, which starts from about age 12 or 13 and, from what I hear (my son is 13), it lasts until about age 16. This phase is a detachment phase. Since my son was 1, it has pretty much been just the two of us. We’re very close to say the least. But in the past year I have unexpectly had more time for myself. I’ve learned from asking and reading books that, though he loves me very much (at times undeniably), I’m pretty much the last person he wants to do fun and exciting things with. If I compare my situation to other parents with young teenaged children, we’re doing a heck of a lot together but I’m preparing myself and accepting this phase, that my little boy is no longer little :(. As he enters this phase that will lead him to adulthood (phase 4), I wish him much wisdom and success with friends, education and new responsibilities.

Here’s to all the single mothers and fathers who I credit greatly on doing a heck of a job. Remember, we ALL make mistakes. So when life throws you lemons, remember that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Pat yourself on the back for being two people in one, a mother and father (or vice versa, whichever you prefer :)!

October 22, 2008 at 2:01 PM Leave a comment

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