Successful Habit #2: Staying Healthy

Are you a ticking time bomb?

Children with healthy mothers are much more likely to survive childhood, attend school and live healthy, productive lives.

Liya Kebede

I never went to the doctor as a young woman. After that, I only went when I was pregnant. Then to the pediatrician with my children. I rarely thought about my own health until the day I hit meltdown. That was the day I was diagnosed with hypertension.

I began taking medication but I was never aware that diet played a major factor in my overall health. I continued to eat whatever I wanted. When I had a headache —which happened frequently — I would just take pain killers. I would stay in bed for days on end until the headache passed. It never dawned on me that I was suffering from multiple transient ischemic attacks or TIAs. (more…)

Are You Fearful of Letting Go?

It's hard to let go even when they are grown up.

I can’t sleep in an isolated place without pills, earplugs, and both my children in bed with me for fear of scary, feral characters with a hankering for the wilderness.

Mariella Frostrup

Several years ago my two younger sons started staying out late.

For years before that, with the exception of school, they would always be in the house. There was actually a time when I wondered if they would make any friends.

They were each other’s best friend and I was comfortable with that but always knew it would be good if they had outside friends as well.

However, when my youngest started high school they both started to make new friends. Those friends would hang out a the house and I got to know most of them. Some of them even began to call me mom. (more…)

Mothering While Single: 5 Successful Habits

single mom

A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.

John Lubback


Over the next 5 weeks, I will be covering my top 5 successful habits of single mothers.  I wanted to do one post, but I realize I had too much to say and I didn’t want you to fall asleep reading my post.  So one habit at a time.

I may also, recommend reading resources that may help strengthen any habit you already have or want to adopt.

What Success?

When it comes to mothering while single, how does one define success? Can we measure success by how well our children behave? Or can we measure that success by how emotionally balanced those children grow up to be? (more…)

Microblogging Monday: Mothering a photo and a song

microblog_mondaysMy eldest son came to visit this past weekend.  It’s not the first time but it seems special this time.  Currently he’s working on his first single. He had me listen to the track. While I was listening I reflected on a photo of him when he was born.  Listening and reflecting was very emotional for me. You see I gave birth to him when I was 22 weeks pregnant. He weighed one pound two and a half ounces at birth.  That was 31 years ago!

While I was listening to the song I bowed my head and rested it in my hand, covering my face.  My son thought I was asleep.  After I remained quiet for awhile, he asked me if I was sleeping. I looked up with tears in my eyes and told him how beautiful the song was. I also told him what I was thinking about while I was listening. He looked at me, obviously touched and said that my reaction said it all.

My son 20 days after birth

Microblogging Monday: Single moms & Fathers Day

Every year, my best friend wishes me Happy Fathers Day.  At first, I took the wish as a joke but in recent years I have thought about that for a bit. Especially when he reminded me that I have been both father and mother to my boys.

So, this year I treated myself for Fathers Day.  I took a vacation day on Friday and made it spa day.  Happy Fathers Day to me.  As a single mom, what does Fathers Day mean to you?

Mothering while single: they do grow up

20150408_185026My youngest child is almost twenty years old.  Although it hardly seems that way, it’s been a long time since the dirty diapers, sleepless nights and bouts of ear infections.  Still the experience of raising children while single has left an indelible impression on my life.

Sometimes I look at my sons and wonder to myself “who raised those children”?  Because it’s hard to believe that all those years, amid the chaos of confused desperation, helplessness and hopelessness, came such emotionally healthy and respectful sons.  I always believed that my actions and decisions would have a major impact on the lives of my kids.  The consequences of my decisions were sometimes earth shattering yet positive. Other times they were life changing and downright destructive.  However, I still struggle not to feel guilty about some of the choices I made.  I question whether they would have turned out this way or that way if I had made another choice.  But I read somewhere that “you can’t blame yourself for the actions of your children: you are not that powerful and they are not that weak”.  Still I can’t help but think that when you chose the best route you know, like keeping your children safe from physical and emotional harm, life has a way of rewarding you with kindness.  Kindness for me is having adult children who don’t talk back even when they really could.

Looking back, I’m grateful I had the fortitude to push through the difficult times. Thankful that I didn’t walk out the door, never to return when things got tough.  Eternally grateful that I didn’t drown them in the bathtub.  And know now what I’ve always hoped…that they do grow up.

A daughter’s wisdom

2014-07-22 14.20.43I was watching a DVD of Dr. Christiane Northrup’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdon on the other day. Actually, I really do watch it almost every week. She is so insightful and very funny.  Anyway, in listening to her, even at age 50+, I felt I was listening to a mother speaking lovingly to her daughter.  I realize that I never had a woman sit me down and tell me anything about how to be a woman, let alone how to be a wife and mother. There were no “birds and bees” talks and no preparation for even simple life events such as my monthly cycle. I can’t even remember anyone giving me even a tiny anecdote about life as a woman. I therefore stumbled through life as a teenager and bumbled my way through three marriages.  Not that there are any guarantees even with wise, motherly grooming.

Dr. Northrup also mentioned a personality by the name of Mama Gena and I decided to look her up and see what she was about.  In reviewing Mama Gena’s website and reading her book Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, I was “violently” struck by how clueless I had been, growing up as a young woman without female adult leadership.  I do not agree with all her points in the book but some parts lead me to wonder what my life would have been like if my mother had taught me how to deal men and their “MARS-tian” behaviors.  Would I have gone through three marriages and divorces if I was clued into any of life’s little secrets some mothers share with their daughters? Would some gentle hand holding when I was heart broken over some young prince, help me to deal maturely with my future relationships? Who knows for sure?

What I do know is that by listening to Dr. Northrup (I also read her book “The Wisdom of Menopause”) I’m keenly aware for the first time,  what missing the experience of having a mother fully engaged in my life really means.  For instance:

  • there have been brief moments that I felt pangs of envy when I see a mother and her daughter shopping or discussing their upcoming vacation together.
  • I have been mildly jealous of a daughter gushing about how much she was looking forward to having a gab session with her mother.
  • And, there have been too many times when I wistfully admire a mother/daughter team participating in an event — even if they were just shopping for a home on House Hunters.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), I do not have a daughter.  There is no one to bond with in that special and unique relationship.  I’m not sure however, if I would have anything to offer her, especially in the area of communicating with men.  I certainly would not want her stumbling in my bloody footsteps — footsteps bloodied with the effects of too many mistakes.

Overall, despite having to figure out life for myself, I did not turn out too badly. Miraculously, I managed to turn on the inherent, motherly charm, hawk-like protection, and love for my sons with no thought of what I did or didn’t have. As a matter of fact, maybe I do go overboard sometimes just to make sure they aren’t “missing out” on life.  Fact is since I recognize that a mother can never take the place of a father, despite her best efforts, I seek to find positive, male role models for them.

So maybe in hindsight, life turns out for me exactly the way it should have. Truly I have no regrets or disillusions about what life should or shouldn’t  be. Through forgiveness and self love, I have learned to own my life and to take responsibility for my own actions, regardless of how well prepared I was for this game called life.

Happy Fathers Day Pa: Long gone but never forgotten


The father I knew was my grandfather. Pa to everyone. He cooked my meals, washed my clothes and taught me the word of God.  I can still remember the smell of raw chocolate being grounded up in the wooden mortar made from the gourd tree.  Soon, the sticky glob was made into super hot, delicious cocoa, sweetened with sugar and made white, and even more creamy with freshly squeezed coconut milk.

Another childhood smell that has stayed with me is the smell of raw coffee beans being grounded after being roasted. Pa grew both coffee and chocolate plants behind the small house we lived in.  I was very happy to pick the ripe coffee beans, peel back the skin, pop them into my mouth, sucking the soft, sweet gel that surrounds the actual bean.

The real treat for me though was the ripe cocoa pods.  I would break those open and repeat the process of sucking the sweet, soft outer coating of the cocoa beans.  Thinking about this now reminds me of the comfort and security I felt knowing my grandfather was always there for me.

I was never really interested in the cooked meals that Pa prepared. Still I remember the dishes of minced, salted mackerel, stewed in coconut milk and served with cooked green bananas and dumplings.  I’m getting hungry thinking about it and I don’t want to spoil my SuperJuiceMe program so I’m going to stop now.

So, Happy Fathers Day to you Pa. Happy Fathers Day to all dedicated, loving, absolutely gorgeous fathers being loved by your kids today.

Psalms 127: 3-5  (paraphrased) – Children are an heritage from the Lord, …a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…