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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This Weekend: WGBH Boston 2014 Music & Ice Cream FunFest! #WGBHfunfest

I’ve partnered with Fidelity & MEFA for this post in support of the U.Fund Dreams Tour. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 I scream, You scream, We all scream for, Ice Cream!

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Summer and ice cream. Can you think of a more perfect union? Well, if your family loves music, ice cream, and fun you won’t want to miss WGBH’s FunFest this weekend, sponsored in part by MEFA and Fidelity Investments. Get all the details below:

When: Saturday, July 12, 10am-4pm (rain or shine!)

Where: WGBH Studios, One Guest Street, Boston, MA 02135

What: The FunFest will be full of music, ice cream, performances, face painting and interactive games. Are you excited yet? You’ll want to make sure you stop by the Massachusetts Educational Financial Authority (MEFA) U. Funds Dreams Tour tent and give your kids the opportunity to live out their dreams. What’s a Dreams Tent? It’s where your child and their dreams unite! Does your child have aspirations to be the next President? Astronaut? Musician? Watch their dreams come to life in front of a real green screen complete with props, and leave with valuable information about saving for college along with a takeaway of your child in front of a background of their choice! The dreams tent does not disappoint!

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Who: Some of your favorite kids characters like Curious George, Arthur, and Clifford The Big Red Dog! You’ll leave with a happy belly after stopping by some of the vendors including Ben & Jerry’s, Friendly’s, J.P. Licks, Nesquik, and Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese!!

Will we see you there? Click here for more information about tickets and parking.

WGBH enriches people’s lives through programs and services that educate, inspire, and entertain, fostering citizenship and culture, the joy of learning, and the power of diverse perspectives.



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Are Your Kids Outside Enough? 10 Reasons They Should Be!

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HOORAY FOR OUTDOOR PLAY! I was a pretty active child. In middle school and high school you could find me playing sports year-round. I still have nightmares of field hockey practice on hot August days. For a few weeks we had double header practices – one at the crack of dawn and the other later in the afternoon. I don’t know how I survived! I’ve always loved being active and would spend countless hours riding my bike, playing with neighborhood kids, swimming or and participating in jump rope contests (I was pretty good!) – my childhood in one word could be described as ACTIVE. When my daughter came into the world I wondered what pieces of me and her Dad would live on inside her. Her Dad was pretty active too, so I hoped she would also love getting outside and getting moving. Well…she hasn’t stopped moving since she started walking! Being car-less has it’s pros and cons – but a BIG pro is that it encourages us BOTH to be active and get moving. And it’s no surprise that we’re currently training for her first kids Triathlon in a few weeks. Yes, my 8 year old daughter is participating in a Triathlon! And let me tell you – she is kicking butt during our training sessions!

I want to encourage her to always desire the simple pleasures of playing outdoors – with so many kids sitting inside playing video games – my daughter craves time outside – hiking, at the beach, on the bike path, at the park – and I couldn’t be any happier.

It’s pretty disappointing that so many kids don’t get outdoors, and the following benefits show the endless benefits to living a healthy lifestyle:

Thank You to PaperKarma for these images

Thank You to PaperKarma for these images

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How do you encourage your kids to live an active life?



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Goodbye Laptop and Hello #Intel2in1! #ad

#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel This could include Intel providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

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I’ve been pretty bummed ever since my Sony Vaio laptop broke earlier this year. My Vaio and I were close and I was devastated when Sony couldn’t fix her and I was without a computer. Even though I work full-time on the computer, I still needed time on a device at home to create and edit blog posts, compile pictures, communicate with friends and my daughter’s teachers – so being without a computer has been pretty difficult. I recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy 5 which is amazing – but it doesn’t replace my need for a computer.

Just last week I was lucky enough to receive my very own #Intel2in1 device and I couldn’t be more excited! There has been a lot of buzz over #2in1 devices which are essentially the product of a laptop and tablet. These devices are not only sleek but portable, versatile, and sturdy. With an innovative slip-hinge design you can go from using the #2in1 as a touch screen tablet to ‘laptop’ with the addition of a sleek keyboard. Powered by 4th Gen Intel Core processors and Windows 8.1 with a HD display and over 8 hours of battery life – my new #Intel2in1 is wayyyy more than just a pretty face!

She Has Durable Style: Constructed with precision cut aluminum and carbon fiber, it maximizes strength and minimizes weight with premium materials.

She Has a Resilient Display: The edge-to-edge Corning® Gorilla® glass display resists damage from scratches, drops and bumps.

She is Stronger, Lighter, Cooler: The carbon fiber body is as strong as aluminum, but lighter and cooler to the touch.

Not only do I love the extended battery life (my Vaio only lasted 4.5 hours!) I love that it’s compact enough to throw in my bag without needing an additional bag. It’ll be my perfect on the go accessory this summer!



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