Super Single Mom Moments

Whether your going to school, college or working everyday you will find yourself doing something incredible because you are a single mom. I call those Super Single Mom Moments!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A holiday without my kids just isn't really a holiday!

It has been a while since I have posted due to technical difficulties, mainly a really old computer and no job to earn money to buy a new one.
I am at my parents today using their much newer computer and enjoying the 4th of July.

Our family is very close and so many of my niece and nephews are here enjoying the swimming pool and eating burgers. Unfortunately my children are at their fathers and will be going to a quarry for their fireworks. I know they will have fun, however I ache that they will not be able to participate in something that is priceless to me. The fun of a large close family!

I grew up spending every holiday with the same aunts, uncles and cousins. We played sports, made up games, had water gun and water balloon fights. It is part of who I am today and it makes me sad that they will be missing out this year.

I know their time with their father is important but I wish his idea of enjoying a holiday was being surrounded by family not strangers watching an exciting fireworks display! But I guess family is family at least they will be with their siblings and with their father who does love them.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Just Call me Mamma Grad!

As my school days come to a end I can't help but think of the long hard road that brought me here. I started Owens right out of high school and continued for 3 years before I got pregnant with my first child. I took time off and said I'd go back soon. I worked in factories and then Wal-Mart in the mean time.

I had just had my second child when a few friends of mine took myself and another girl out for mothers day. As we talked to catch up I sat there listening to him talk about living in Germany for two years, a year n New York and now living on the beach with his brother in Florida I expressed my adoration for his courage and success. He looked at me and said, "What's stopping you?" As I stared to make my excuses he shook his head and he told me if wanted something to do it.

I thought about his words for a week and then I realize, the only thing holding me back was myself. I signed up for classes and began my collegiate path again.

I learned of programs such as FASFA that would be able to help me be able to afford school. Friends told me of child care assistance that enabled me to afford childcare. Government programs such as HEAP helped to keep my utilities working.There are organizations such as churches and The Salvation Army can help also.

However; it was I who worked hard to earn the grades and pass the courses I did, with the help and understanding of many professors who really cheered me on as I struggled but overcame and finished.

On Saturday, May 8th I will walk with my fellow Public Relations friends as we receive our Bachelors of Science in Journalism/Public Relations with a minor in Sociology. In the audience my mom and dad will see the first of all their children receive a college diploma. My sister, aunt and most importantly my 10 year old daughter will be watching also, and cheering me on.

Super Single Mom Moment: Pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments, you earned them!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Parenting from guilt

As a single mother, there are times that I sob about all the missed moments with my children. Whether it be because of school or work I always feel like it is my children who have missed out. I am a child of two parent home where my father worked, sometimes two jobs, and my mother stayed home. I know her job was not easy and she worked very hard and I also felt like we are close partly because she was home all the time.

My father and I have a good relationship now, but for years he was the man who I saw on weekends sometimes and vacations. His work ethic has always been high and to make ends meet he did what he had to do.

Now, as I parent my children in a single, working mother environment it is only realistic that I feel some guilt. My childhood wasn't perfect but their are many things I wish my children could also experience.

I found myself parenting from guilt, especially early on. I would buy my eldest almost everything she wanted and I never followed through with many of my punishments. I would find myself so frustrated because after being gone all day the last thing I wanted to do was to yell at my daughter or keep telling her no.

Through the guidance of the Children's Resource Center (CRC), I learned to let go of much of that guilt. I learned that giving her discipline for wrong choices is something she needs to become a positive and productive part of society.

We worked on setting boundaries and the importance of house rules and consequences and rewards. It helped me to become a better parent and I will be eternally grateful to the programs I went through and the councilors we worked with.

Children don't come with instructions and being a single parent is twice the stress. It is not easy to always know what the right thing to do. I think it is important for people to not be ashamed to ask for help from agencies such as CRC. They are professionals and are there to help each person individually.
I still have guilt sometimes, as everything I choose to do has an opportunity cost. School and homework takes away from my children, my children take away from my housework sometimes and time for myself always feels like cheating. However I've learned to not sweat the small stuff. If the dishes go unwashed for a night it's OK, take the time to play with the kids. If I create a game for them to play together while I work, I'm still a good mom. And most importantly a happy Heather, with a little time spent on herself, is a happy mom for them!

Super Single Mom Moment: Don't feel guilty for doing the best you can.

Group Projects, a continuous thorn in my side

As a college student and single mother one thing, besides the obvious money issues, has really been an obstacle throughout the years, group work outside of class. As a single mother dependent upon child care schedules the time to work on individual projects is very limited. Add to that a group project with other people's schedules and a project can be almost unmanageable.

As a senior I had group projects in this semester alone I have been involved with one small group project and two semester long projects that count for either all or over half of my grade.

According to the 2009 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) 58% of the seniors worked outside of class with classmates to prepare assignments and 23% participated in a community –based project as part of a regular course.

I realize that working in groups is a valuable tool to help students prepare for the work place.i. According to an article in the Journal of Education for Business, more than 80% of organizations employ multiple types of workplace teams. Also according to the Teaching Tips from the BGSU Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, “groups are a resourceful way for students to share ideas, partner to solve problems and help one another.

Group projects in the classroom are a problem because of Time management
According to the 2009 NSSE 36% of BGSU graduating seniors spent between 11-20 hours preparing for class, 12% spent between 11-20 hours working off campus and 15% spent between 6-10 hours participating in co-curricular activities (NSSE, 2009).Additionally According to the 2009, BGSU Graduate Senior Questionnaire 71% of seniors reported working at a Job off campus while enrolled, 65% participated in volunteer/service work, 52% in social clubs, and 57% reported working in a co-op (BGSU Graduate Senior Questionnaire, 2009).

Because of this issue I believe group projects should be given more time during class and outside class time group projects should be optional. Another way to aid in this issue for single parents is to enact a program for watching children for at the most two hours while their parents meet with group project members on campus.

Super Single Mom Moment: Finding time to add something else in your day is hard, make sure you explain your predicament to your group. Your time with your kids are just as if not more important then a job.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Life on Medicaid

One of the programs I qualify for is Medical assistance or Medicaid. It has changed since I first began using it. Now I have two providers to chose from, Paramount and Buckeye Community Heath Plan. I was automatically put in Buckeye Community when the switch happened but I have often wondered if I should switch. A friend of mine has Paramount and we have noticed differences. I wish I had something I could hold that could tell me the pros and cons of each

According to a New York Times article With Medicaid Cuts, Doctors, and Patients Drop Out reimbursements from Medicaid are so low that Dr. are losing money every time they take a patient who has Medicaid.

Because of this, patients are having trouble finding doctors and dentists who will accept their coverage. I myself had to call 3 different eye doctors, who were recommended by my medicaid insurance company agent, before I found one that would take my insurance.

Not only is it hard to find a doctor who will take the insurance but then the insurance may not cover a procedure you need done. The New York times article said that "The states and the federal government share the cost of Medicaid but it falls to the state to control spending by setting limits on eligibility, benefits and provider payments within brad federal guidelines."

So how does Ohio's two medicaid providers stack up against each other?

With treatment and prevention coming in even one would have to wonder exactly what the big difference in satisfaction comes from. It is possible the inability to get quick or fast care are factors in this. The availability of service providers and quality of those providers likely have a lot to do with it.

Unfortunately there is no quick answer to these problems. I believe that Obama is on the right track with his health care reform. However, is it enough? I don't know but I hope. However with the large debate about the health care bill going around it is hard to know what will happen.

Sometimes I hear people I know say horrible things about people in HUD housing and who use medicaid. Some of them I call friends. It is hard but I have to let them know how I feel about it. I feel it is my duty to remind them of the reason those programs exist. Not to let people be lazy and do nothing, but to help those who need it at the time. I am one of those people, although with my impending graduation, I hope to change that. It still has helped me get this far.

I know some people who are ashamed to be using the programs I speak about, I have a friend who doesn't tell her kids let alone anyone she may date what her situation is, and I respect her decision even though I disagree with it.

I am not happy I'm in the exact situation that I'm in but I'm not ashamed either. I am a single mother just finishing college and these programs are in place to help me to be able to get that education and do better. I think letting my daughter believe that money and food just happens to drop out of the sky, when I'm not working, is irresponsible.

I want my daughters to know that there is aid, but I'm working to get off of it. That nothing should be taken for granted. That the house we live in is available to us through these programs because society should care about those who are less fortunate, not less of a people.

I want them to know that it is not out of the kindness of our hearts that we should have programs in place for those less fortunate but as a member of society it is our duty to help those who need it.

Super Single Mom Moment: Know the programs that are out there and research the ones best for you, like which Medicaid provider is best for you and your family.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A member of my support system

I have often spoken of my support system and how they are essential to my success as a single mom and a college student. Here is a video that I made of my kids and my dad. He tells about his special relationship with my kids.

Super Single Mom Moment: Utilize those around you who love you and your kids. Everyone wins when these types of relationships are built.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Neverending Story; My Domestic Violence Story: Part III

“How do you get rid of an abusive boyfriend?” That was the question I posed to my Wal-Mart coworker in October 2004.

As I stated in an earlier blog, The Beginning and The Beginning of the End; My Domestic Violence Story: Part I , domestic violence is when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate another. Most victims of Domestic Violence suffer physical, psychological/emotional, and financial abuse.

Many times throughout an eight year relationship family members and friends asked me why I did not leave my abuser. It was not until I went to group therapy at Behavioral Connections of Wood County that I felt as if someone understood.

I had learned of the group through my Rape and Domestic violence advocate Ivy. As described in The Terror of Giving a Statement; My domestic Violence Story: Part II, I met Ivy that day I told a coworker and ended up at the Wood County Hospital to participate in a rape kit.

A rape kit is the biological and physical evidence collected from a victim of a sexual assault. It is used as evidence and may be declined by the victim. Clothing samples were taken, swabs were used in areas where bodily fluids may be and pictures were taken of various parts of my body. And then after giving a full statement to the police I had to recount it for Ivy and the nurse to take notes.

Ivy met with me to find out how I was doing and to help guide me through the court process. As part of the road to healing she suggested I attend a domestic violence group that she mediated.
The group consisted of me and other women, all in different stages of their domestic violence healing.

We came together to learn more about our abusers and how to stay safe. Some of the women had been victims when they were young, some were still with their abusers and a few of us were just getting out of our relationships. I was the only one in that group about to face a trial. No others had brought charges against their abusers.

Police have a hard job when it comes to domestic Violence. The fear of retaliation keeps women from following through with charges or even reporting them at all. Temporary Protection Orders (TPO’s) and Personal Protection Orders (PPO’s) are only good to those who call when violated and those men who abide by them.

I was told to give a copy of mine to work, my child’s daycare and her school. When I went to another town I was told to call the police and let them know I had one and that I was coming. At work there were so many people that worked the doors it would have been hard for them to know if he showed up.

When I called the police to tell them in another town I was going to be staying, they asked why I had called unless he had broken it. I felt embarrassed, doing something that I was told was to help protect me. These orders look good in the abstract however in reality the confidence in them is low.
Mike Williams, a police officer said, "Until the TPO or PPO is violated there isn't much we can do. However, giving the police a heads up can help them be aware of a possible situation."
Williams also said that keeping records and contacting the police every time the order is broken is helpful to show a pattern of unlawfulness.

After all of this the trial can be the most difficult part of coming forward as a domestic violence victim. Witnesses, evidence and being face to face with your abuser are why many do not want to take it this far.

I had a lot of support both legally with the prosecutor, my lawyer (appointed and free), my advocate both from the prosecution office and social services and my family and it was still the scariest thing I ever did.

I felt like I was on trial for everything I’d ever done in my life. The defense lawyer, of course had no sympathy. This is another reason why many women never file charges on their abusers.

I ran into snags left and right during the process, such as keeping my new address private and off the court papers. Without the help of my advocate, I would have been completely lost in the process.

I would like to say I went all the way through the trial, but I did not. After the birth of our second daughter we got back together and the prosecution struck a deal with the defense. My abuser was forced to get an assessment and to undergo counseling.

With the aid of all those around me I did finally my abuser. We have three children together and he will never be completely out of my life. I get stronger and further away from him every day.

If leaving the abuser was as simple as some think we would have no need of all the Domestic Violence Programs. Fear and psychological effects are hard to overcome, especially when you add children to the mix. Even with all the help a woman can receive now it is never simple or easy.

Super Single Mom Moment: Every case is different, take a deep breath and utilize those who can and want to help and those who love you to make the decision that is right for you!