Archive for the ‘Single Mom’ Category

What NOT To Say To a Single Mom: How Do You Do It All?

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While exiting my city bus years ago with a sleeping toddler an older woman came over, gently placed her hand on my arm, looked into my eyes and said I was an inspiration. I was confused, because I was just trying to get my baby to daycare and get to work. She was a woman I’d often see on the bus in the morning though we never spoke. She told me she didn’t know how I did it, how I got the stroller on and off the bus every day and how I kept my daughter entertained on the bumpy ride. All by myself.

That wasn’t the first or last time friends (and strangers) would gasp with amazement and ask how I did it all. How I could handle being a single mom. That picture above is how I feel every.single.time someone tells me this. So stop it…seriously.

Let me explain.

So I’m a woman, right? I got all my womanly parts. I have two arms and two hands. No cape (I checked), no Maleficent wings, and even though I am desperate for Thor-like super-powers I do not hold any magical powers within my 5’5 frame. I swear too much, I talk to myself at work, and I like drinking white wine. I lied. I LOVE drinking white wine. I would wear my faded converse, a T shirt, leggings and NO bra all day everyday if I could. I’m self-conscious about my weight, think my face favors a chipmunk and I’ve got too many rolls to count. In my past I had to be royalty – I mean my name is Alexaaaaaandra. I cry at commercials, I like to watch action thrillers before I go to bed and people annoy me all the time.

Oh and I happen to be a single mom. But, let me be clear, running a household alone doesn’t mean I am any different from anyone else. Single motherhood arrived at my doorstep when my kiddo was 2 years old and I think if I paid more attention to what was going on in my life I would have realized it was going to be in my future. It wasn’t something I wanted, but guess what – shit happens.

How does she do it? Her daughter is sooo well behaved! How did she go back to school and graduate? How did she get a job right out of college? How DOES she DO it?! How is she succeeding, how isn’t she failing?

How? I work my ass off. Every. Single Day. The SAME as a lot of mothers and parents out there. I ensure my daughter is happy, fed and loved. The only difference is that I am raising my daughter without a partner in the home. I co-parent (which is super stressful), but at the end of the day it’s just ME. I’m responsible for her well-being, for ensuring she is growing up to be respectful and kind. I work hard every single day to provide a life for her. The SAME as a lot of mothers and parents. There is nothing unique or special about being my situation – I hold no special powers and I’m actually pretty upset I’m so damn ordinary.

So when I get told “Alex, how DO you do it all?” I roll my eyes. Twice. I do what I can – which is never enough, but that’s quite OK with me. I make mistakes, I slip up, I fall, and I’ve even crashed and burned. It’s life. I’m learning through my accomplishments and failures. When I became a single mother, there wasn’t any other choice but to get up and kick ass. There was no way I was going to let someone else raise my daughter, so I had to muster up the strength and find a way to make it all work. Single mothers can and DO thrive and succeed. Our success and our children’s happiness shouldn’t be unusual. Because they’re not. And I am proud to know so many single parents working their asses off every single day for their kids, knowing there isn’t someone they can fall back on, wanting the best for their children.

So the next time you feel the urge to tell a single mom “how do you do it all?” I encourage you to find another way to compliment her in a way she’ll appreciate. I promise, she’ll appreciate it.



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Advice Needed: Considering a Family Move to NYC Single Mom

Don’t compromise yourself; you’re all you’ve got.

-Janis Joplin

I’ve spent a lot of the past nine years stepping over and around my life. I’ve compromised myself and my happiness over and over because I’ve been too afraid to take risks or take a leap of faith. A mom at 19, and single mom at 22, I was determined to provide stability and find strength through my struggles. I thought the only way I could persevere was to stay within my comfort zone and have life stay the same. I didn’t want to rock the boat for fear I would get thrown off and wouldn’t be able to find balance again.

As my 29th birthday rapidly approaches I’ve been thinking a lot about all that’s happened in my 20s – a child, finding love, losing love, becoming a single mom, graduating college, watching my daughter grow. It’s been an incredibly remarkable and devastating experience thus far. But as I look forward – I want more.

I talk much about my struggles in coparenting, trying to find strength in raising a daughter on my own and my lack of a support system. What many don’t know is that over the past six years I’ve had the pleasure of welcoming love back into my and my daughter’s life. I’ve found what I thought I never would – a forever kind of love. His support and love is unconditional, he is amazing with my daughter, and he wants us to be a family.

One problem. He lives in New York. And we live in Massachusetts.

When we were first talking about our future, moving to the big apple was completely out of the question. Me in NYC? I can’t even survive weekend visits there. Mass is my home, it’s where I grew up, where some of family is, I KNOW Massachusetts. New York is unfamiliar, how could I ever think of moving to the city that never sleeps….with my daughter?

Remember that boat I was worried about rocking? Remember that leap of faith I didn’t want to take? There have been far too many times I’ve blamed life and its circumstances for my not pursuing various avenues in life – when really the only person standing in my way was…me. My 20s have been about change, growth, and trying to figure life out. I want my 30s and beyond to be about LOVE and HAPPINESS and ADVENTURE. It’s all I’ve wanted but have been too scared to accept into my life.

And so I’m considering moving to New York next year.

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It’s crazy to even write since I’ve been so against it for so long. But, there comes a time in life where you can either continue along the same path you’ve been on or decide to venture off somewhere new. I’m blessed to have someone amazing and completely supportive by my side as we navigate our future. There is so much to consider – which borough we’d live in, what school she’d attend, what job I’d be interested in, battling with her coparent to leave the state. But you know what? I’ve spent too much time avoiding difficult situations that I’m facing this head on, but I need help and advice. Moving out of state to a large urban environment is a huge adjustment – especially when the number of people I know is much more limited.

With a year to figure this all out – what should I be considering? What should I be factoring in and what resources can I tap into for support? How can our family prepare for such a change?



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I. Shall. Not. Break.

Alexandra’s ramblings…

And it is as if I am unknown…to myself. In an instant I remember her. Gracefully progressing. With the smooth delivery of her words she inspires. Her sturdy smile a perfect complement to the sparkle in her eye, she exudes strength with incredible ease. She’s a warrior, a solider. Unwilling to be shackled, she looks to her past with warmth and acceptance. Forgiveness and fairness she lives by every day.

I can see her. I extend my arms to her. I reach. And reach. But am unable to feel the cool touch of her upon my fingertips.

She is me. I am her. Though she is trapped within me, urging, fighting, screaming to live.

I must give it up to myself; I have the most amazing way of throwing myself in a corner, unwilling to accept anything other than one specific ideal. My thought process allows for only one way, there are no options. I’ve morphed into someone unfamiliar these past few months, which have me wondering, searching for the beauty I once possessed. A beauty seen in my face, heard in my laughter.

There is nothing fiercer than being at odds with yourself. To go about your day on shaky ground, second guessing you’re every move, constantly anxious and fearful. Waking up in the middle of the night scared, worried.

I have been tested, I have been defeated. And again with some unknown reserve of endurance I lift myself up. Will I break? Is it just a matter of when? Give yourself a break… You’re doing a great job… they say, but in one ear out the other it goes. Means nothing if I cannot accept these words as fact.

This blog, these words, are my thoughts in its purest most organic form. As I have said before I write to heal – to understand the many swirling thoughts in my head. To better understand why this 26 year old single mom, college grad, independent working Mom can’t give herself a damn break already. To understand why the hell I create these ridiculous expectations of myself. To understand why I feel like I am going to crumble and b r e  a   k.



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Surviving

I was so excited to launch the new blog and post some new kick-a** content and then BOOM life got real. In a matter of a week I somehow worked 70 hours, helped pull off a 360 gala at a swanky hotel, and went through some medical ish that had me in the hospital for 7 hours the night/morning before my huge event. I only got 1.5 hours of sleep that night *gulp*. Don’t ask me how I did it; don’t ask me how I survived. I felt terribly guilty working so much and had to rely on family and friends to help with my daughter, who missed me and wondered when I was going to be home.

I was thisclose to walking out of work many days last week, the pressure and stress got to me. I wasn’t able to think straight or be creative. Thursday night I got home a little after midnight from my gala event, I checked in on my daughter snoring loudly, went back into the kitchen and wept in my boyfriend’s arms. I didn’t say surviving was easy. I try so so hard to hold it all together, but last week proved that there are cracks in my armor…and that’s ok. I have to cut myself some slack, we’ve all got to give ourselves more credit for all that we do, and how hard we grind for ourselves and our families.

Life is still a ball of crazy but I’m able to see better this week, and I’m taking it slower, cutting myself some slack, and patting myself on the back. Somehow, someway I get up every morning and put my best foot forward as a mother, woman, and employee.

Shoot, I’m doing better than surviving. I’m living.



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What’s been keeping me up at night

Well aside from my insomnia and sleep apnea….coparenting. Yes another post on coparenting from me. Co-parenting has always been something I have struggled with being a single parent. This past year has been an incredibly tough year for me and my co-parent and his relationship with our daughter. Our daughter is old enough now where she is severely affected when he is not around when he says he is going to be. Watching my daughter’s big brown eyes peer out the window waiting impatiently for her Dad, and him never showing up has shattered my heart into pieces. His previous absence and inconsistency really affected her, and as her Mother, I of course want to protect her and don’t want to see her hurting. 

I wrote a post titled What Scares Me About Co-Parenting, it was a very honest post about my concerns with this our usually dysfunctional co-parenting relationship. From the post: I am afraid that my daughter will grow up not trusting men. I fear every time she asks where her Daddy is.I fear that our daughter will resent me because I’m the tough parent and he’s the fun parent (when he’s around). I fear that she will grow up to be me. A worried child who felt like her Daddy didn’t love her. Because if he did he would surely want to spend time with me. He’d want to come around on birthdays, at my high school graduation, at the birth of my child. 

I’m glad I’m taking the time to be mindful of all these issues, but at the end of the day, she has me, and if I can say so, she’s pretty damn lucky to have such a passionate and loving mother. I can’t change her father; all I can do is keep the line of communication open with our daughter so she’s comfortable enough to have conversations about how she’s feeling. And we’ve had a few so far, they haven’t been easy for me, but they are important to have. It’s important to respect her feelings. This situation is difficult for her as well, and she needs to be able to have a voice. So while all these worries consume me at night, when I peek in her room and see her peacefully sleeping tangled between her favorite pillows, one foot hanging off the bed and snoring, I take a small comfort in knowing that I’m enough. 


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