Meet Jaimie: Our Single Parenting Contributor

[really_simple_share]

The following is by contributor Jaimie of Two Chicks and a Hen.

Two years ago, when I was a relatively new stay-at-home mom, I googled “stay at home mom routines.”  I had been working outside of the home since high school. For the first time, upon the birth of my second daughter, my work took place inside the home, and I needed some help adjusting and getting organized. It was at this time that I found Simple Mom, and I found Tsh’s advice really helpful.  I started reading other mom blogs and really identified with a lot of what I was reading.

Fast forward to September 2009: I became a single mom.  I still needed and valued the ideas and inspiration the parenting blogs offered, but it was at this time, and not a moment sooner, that I started to notice something: the vast majority of the parenting media is aimed at married mothers and two-parent households. And this is fine if you live in a two-parent household.  Advice and ideas for those homes is valuable and necessary.

But what about the rest of us?

Solutions like “to encourage night-weaning, send your husband in when your toddler wakes” are only helpful when there is another parent in the home.  And after awhile, you either learn to tune this out, or you start to feel alienated.  If you’re a single mom reading this, what I’m telling you right now is not news.  You’ve no doubt read lots and lots of suggestions that you under no circumstances could actually use.

And if you’re not a single mom, you’ve probably not noticed this.  I know, because I hadn’t paid attention until I myself became a single mom.  And that’s OK.  There’s no way anyone can possibly write parenting columns that apply to all families at all times.   I do, however, believe that we might expand the offerings in the parenting media to encompass a wider variety of family structures.

And since I know about life as a single mom with small children, and I live it every day, I’m thrilled to be on board at Simple Kids as the single parenting contributor.

jaimie31

Photo by Jaimie

Does Simple Kids really need a regular single parenting columnist?

Single parents are not a tiny niche group.  Around 13 million families in the US alone are headed by single parents. There are certainly plenty of us out there.  Beyond that, as the comments on my previous post help highlight, there are plenty of other parents who, while not single, find themselves alone for great periods of time—military wives, spouses of those who travel frequently for business, and more.

And, I imagine, even parents who are not single in any sense of the word might also find useful ideas in a post on single parents.  After all, we still have more commonalities than we do differences in our daily challenges to raise happy, healthy children.

As we approach the new year, I’m looking forward to sharing experiences and advice in order that we might all achieve our parenting goals in a peaceful and positive manner.

I’d like to put out a call to all readers—single parents, sometimes single, or not at all: what would you like to see in a post on single parenting? What topics interest you, and what challenges are you facing?

[really_simple_share]
About Jaimie

Jaimie, an American ex-pat living in chilly Montreal, is a single, work-at-home mom to a preschooler and a kindergartener. When she’s not busy building her freelance editing and writing career or making messes with her kids, she blogs about her adventures in creating a simple, creative, sustainable life for her family at Two Chicks and a Hen.

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

Comments

  1. Sarah Gainey says:

    I’m not a single mom, but have a husband who travels frequently for work. He’s an awesome, involved dad, which I think makes it double lonely when he’s gone. My biggest challenges when he’s gone are 1. Not getting a break at the end of the day (even if that break just means cooking dinner uninterrupted) and staying motivated to keep a clean home! (I’m not neat by nature, it’s a labor of love!) I’m really looking forward to what this column has to offer.

  2. I think it’s wonderful to have a single parenting contributor! I’m not a single parent but I was raised by one. I’m looking forward to reading your posts. :)
    Alicia´s latest post: Free Ink and Fairy Dust magazine focuses on Laura Ingalls Wilder

  3. Single Mama by Choice says:

    I’m a single mother by choice, and I am thrilled, as I’ve said before, that you are part of the SK family! You are absolutely right – single parents are usually overlooked, despite our numbers, and it is very frustrating to read about having the father/second parent take over when you are sick, need a break, or whatever. I could use help with finances on a limited single income, having energy for my toddler, creative and inexpensive craft ideas, and trying to keep our apt clean when I’m exhausted all the time. Looking forward to your columns!

  4. Can’t wait to see your posts. I am a single mom and would love to see what works for you and others. Right now I am dealing with a sick child. It is hard because you are the only one around to take days off work and days off work mean no money which means the budget is that much tighter. The “single” is the hardest part, everything rests on you. It is almost mind numbing to think about…it is mind numbing to do. Going through the motions with no emotional or physical energy left some days.

  5. I’m a new single mama with a 2 yr. old, and so I’d like to hear about pretty much anything and everything you’d like to talk about related to single parenting!

    The other commenters had great suggestions. The only other thing I can think of (and I’m not sure how much of it you could or would want to go into here) is how to encourage and support a positive relationship with the other parent (assuming there is another parent involved).
    Cara´s latest post: update

  6. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!

    I’ve been a single mom from more-or-less the get-go, and although I used to love reading Simple Mom/Media – this past year, I’ve started to neglect the feed in my reader (in fact, I’m only now catching up!). Like you said, I began to feel alienated. I want to raise my son in the kind of environment that ‘simple living’ fosters – but as a single parent, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile the alluring blog posts about managing finances, canning, family activities or even homeschooling against the realities of exhaustion and struggling to find time to fold the laundry, let alone sit down and assess the finances!

    For me, it would be great having someone even just acknowledge the small, everyday difficulties that single parents face (consistent discipline is certainly one of mine!), let alone offer advice or a sense of camraderie. I’m really looking forward to reading your posts!

    • Marina,

      I’m totally with you on the sense of camaraderie. Sometimes it just helps to know of other single moms out there who are also interested in simple living–or even single moms at all! I know we’re here, but we aren’t really visible in the parenting media–and often what you do see about single moms in the media in general is not so positive. I’m so excited to see that there are so many single mom readers out there.

      Jaimie
      Jaimie´s latest post: Advent- Day 16- Camping out under the Christmas Tree

  7. While I’m not a single parent, I’m also looking forward to reading your posts! I’m a military spouse and even when my husband is not deployed, his particular job still takes him away from us for weeks (or even months) at a time on a fairly frequent basis. Even though he is with us as much as he can be, I have found that quite a lot of parenting advice just does not apply to us.
    Satakieli´s latest post: Outside in the Snow

  8. hi there
    I am excited to follow this topic. As a single mother of a 7 year old girl there are certain areas that I feel challenged with and would like to hear how others deal with.
    The area I would like to read about other parenting experiences are mothers rest, rejuv and recharging techniques! and how other mothers deal with being the disciplinarian all the time while others friends and family seem to have the fun with the kids!

    A little about us, we live very rurally and simply in western massachussetts. We home-schooled until this year but for several reasons changed our plan this year and Zoe is enrolled in second grade at a charter school. It is going well.I also run a school of herbal medicine out of our home. You can read about our home adventures here and my work adventures here.
    http://plantinggreendreams.wordpress.com
    http://blazingstarherbalschool.typepad.com/
    Many Blessings and Thanks
    -t
    tony(a) lemos´s latest post: Happy Holidays from Us to YouRecipes- A Giveaway- Gift Certificates and more!

  9. My husband has been gone/deployed/TAD/special schools with the total time adding up to be 3 out of the last 4 years (he’s a Marine, and once again, deployed for the 4th time in 4 years). So I’m basically a bankrolled single parent.
    When he is home, I encourage him to spend time/play with the kids to create a relationship with them so he really doesn’t have time to ever help with anything.

    I have a special needs child, with PWS, who needs constant therapy and care right now, although it is getting a bit easier. She will need one on one supervision her whole life and is 16 months old. My oldest daughter is 4. It’s been an exhausting year.

    I’d like to hear about strategies for coping with all of this; not to feel alone in feeling alone/resentful because of our situation; and how to create an environment where my daughters can get a feeling of wholeness with the lack of male energy in our household that is necessary for balance. I don’t want them looking for that energy in unhealthy ways and I know the foundation/talks/coping techniques need to be laid now while they are still young. I have already seen both my daughters gravitate towards male anything – nurses, doctors, boys, other daddies – in a kind of daddy hunger.

    I have learned to let a lot go. Like housework. My house is messy but right now my daughter is playing creatively with her dress up clothes, the therapist is in the messy kitchen working with my youngest on speech and I’m about ready to go bake some scones. For our personal situation, I have actually found it MUCH easier to deal with my kids by not allowing television at all. It’s hard for them to wean off at first – it gets worse before it gets better – but eventually she has learned that Friday is movie and popcorn night and doesn’t ask the rest of the week. It’s also an earned privelege and not a right, so it does get taken away sometimes for bad behavior. This has left us with so much more time for other things; and when I am cooking/cleaning/whatever, she is much more comfortable entertaining herself.
    Laurie´s latest post: Amelias Imagination

  10. I just wanted to add how wonderful it is to finally discover (via the comments here) some other single mama blogs. I knew there must be some out there somewhere, but it’s been hard to find them! It makes me feel less alone.

    Hello and hugs to all of you! ;-)
    Cara´s latest post: update

  11. So glad to have a single voice on here. I am not single, but my husband is a merchant marine with a 3mths on/3mths off schedule. I’m the only adult in my house at least half of the year. One area that I am working on and getting better at is socializing while my husband is gone. As most of our friends are couples, its been hard for me to go out with them alone and not feel like the odd one out. Yet, I need that time with grown-ups and practice does seem to make it easier. Although, I still often beg out of events such as weddings. We also have a few close friends, all married with children, who love to get together for dinners regularly. This used to be exhausting for me as I’d have to cook something, get both of my children and myself ready, and then drive home and do bedtime often hours late at that point by myself with two whiny children. But after talking to my friends, we now do every dinner at my house when my hubby is gone and my friends bring the food. I need to tidy the house, but no cooking or going anywhere, and bedtime is so much better. It works for me and my friends were happy to alter the plans to make life easier for me.

  12. I’m really looking forward to reading more of your posts! I am not a single mom, but my husband works a lot and travels frequently.

    Even though my family is a “sort-of conventional” sort, I actually have noticed many blogs that assume that the readers have conventional 2-parent households (often also with the assumption that the primary caregiver is female). I have often hesitated to share posts from blogs to friends and family who are single parents.

    As far as topics that interest me/challenges – I would love to know if you have any advice for handling criticism.

  13. I’ve been a single mom since Oct 2007, and also unemployed since 2009. I,too, am not neat by nature. I, too, am concerned about the effect a lack of a father figure in the house, both on my daughters & my sons, and what I can do to make up for the lack. Really, I’d love to read about every topic mentioned above! I noticed in your author’s decription that you work at home – I would love to read about how you did that! I’ve tried searching on Google about how to do it, but have never been sure what I could trust, always afraid I’d end up losing money, something I can’t afford to do! Would love to read your insights.

  14. Welcome to SLM, Jaimie! I think you are filling a void here and look forward to what you bring to Simple Kids.

    PS. Let’s met for coffee sometime! ;)
    Aimee @ Simple Bites´s latest post: Citrus &amp Pomegranate with Vanilla Syrup- A Holiday Fruit Salad

  15. 1. how to deal with a child’s questions about a dad who isn’t around and how to love them enough for two people when you are only one. countless studies show that rejection from the father in their life is the biggest cause of crime/juvenile delinquency and future problems… I don’t want that for my son but can’t seem to find anything that says “this is how to overcome that” just countless rants about not having a child as a single parent.

    2. how to be calm and loving and patient when you feel anything but. again, as a single parent…most other blogs are all “I take a break and go out while my husband watches the kids” even many single blogs share custody – I don’t, he’s mine all mine but it does get overwhelming and exhausting sometimes.

    3. cooking as a single parent. I mostly feed my son what he wants and make what I want but I get sick of the same thing and eating leftovers. I know people say “I am not a restaurant” but I just don’t care to fight about it and mostly, he eats well so…other things are more important to me.

    4. how to answer questions of your kids about fathers…why they aren’t around..
    Nina´s latest post: I get it

  16. I’m another of the part-time single moms: DH’s job requires him to spend every other week out of town (he also works long hours when in town). I’ve been starved for community with and advice from other moms who understand what it’s like to fly solo, so I’m looking forward to any and everything you want to share. I guess my biggest issues are:
    1. Being honest with myself and others about the challenges of (part-time) single parenting without falling into the self-pity/I’m a victim trap.
    2. Bearing the fruits of peace, patience, and joy in the midst of those challenges.
    Thanks so much for being willing to open your heart and life to us–you’re meeting a very real need!
    Kathryn´s latest post: Put It in Writing- Inspiration from Letters- Historic and Otherwise

  17. oh sorry see that I repeated myself twice…its been coming up more and more with my son “they have a dad…” yeah “but I don’t” no…those dumb shaving commercials! grrr …not to be totally rude but I’m not interested in reading about people’s search for a mate – I found a few single blogs when I first had my son and that was all they seemed focused on…dating and meeting someone to be their life partner and father for their child. I think its GREAT if you have that or do find it but I am just not interested in making that my most important focus in life (or even much of a focus at all!)…oh I’d also like info on working at home – waves to Melinda (hopefully I remembered that right) I’ve been unemployed since 09 too and its tough…and sad for me and my son if I do have to go back to work. I did have a pt job this summer and going to day care was awful…it is so hard too when they are sick as a single parent. especially when he was in daycare with multiple children, every two weeks it seemed he was sick.
    Nina´s latest post: I get it

  18. I think its so great to have a single-mom’s voice!!! I am not a single mom… but lots of non-single moms could really do with the voice of a single mom… My husband used to travel a lot… nothing like having a couple of toddlers and a three day old and a husband off on another continent for five months. Now he works insane hours and a week can go by when we don’t see him as he comes home sleeps and leaves. You feel as alone as a single mom, and you need all the tips for a single mom, but you aren’t one!!! There isn’t a lot of support from single moms because you aren’t one… When we are “single-parenting” it is often easier – we have a different routine and life to when the father person is home… everything is done pretty much my way… when I want to go to bed, when I want to get up, I choose the menu… When he is around a lot more choices are thrown into the pot!!! But we have a lot of fun and I would rather cook a huge breakfast and spend the morning cleaning up and having him around… than cereal and dashing off with the day without him!!! So there are ups and downs, pros and cons, and I think all moms can learn from other moms and support and encourage moms regardless of if they are single or not, or if they have one kid or twenty, or if they homeschool or not, or whatever… A long winded way of saying great to have you along!!!
    se7en´s latest post: Se7en’s Winter Wonderland in Summer…

    • What an interesting position you bring up–being in a “semi-single” situation, but not getting support or empathy from single moms because you aren’t a “real” single mom. All these comments are making me think we all need to work harder on uniting as mothers to support each other no matter what our situations!
      Jaimie´s latest post: Come Meet me on Simple Kids Today

      • Maybe a post just on non-single single parenting would be an option? I know I was never very good at identifying with married single moms. I think it might have something to do with the original family still being intact. I think there’s probably some envy that goes into it. I can’t speak for every mom but I’m sure there was some of that on my end. A few years ago I was really wishing I had a ring on my finger and a guy in my home. Being around all of the married moms got to me. I’d like to think I’ve found some perspective since then, I’m happier now than I would’ve thought I could be- and I’m still rocking the single parenthood. I’d like to see every mom get the support she needs. Being a mom is a full time job regardless of ones relationship status.

  19. I love this site. I’m a single mom too and it’s not always easy, as you know- especially around the holidays. I get frustrated with parenting mags that feel the need to cater mostly to married moms and advertise affordable clothing for kids that is anything but affordable. Budgeting is difficult when you pay almost your entire salary for daycare and rent and when the rest of the bills roll in, you go trying to find lottery tickets. haha, well, maybe not lottery tix but you pray that maybe they will just accidentally send you an extra child support check or something. It is just wonderful to hear from another single mom b/c most moms I know are married and/or live with their parents and don’t have the same situation (although all moms have their own difficulties, I would never suggest married moms have it easy either). I love my very small family and it’s wonderful to read your blog because it makes me feel less alone in the daily stresses. Thanks and great work. I’m adding you to my reading list!

  20. Jennifer Lind says:

    My husband passed away in September but I’ve been a single parent since April. Wow, it’s so hard, and yet easier too. I find myself saying, It is what is it–all the time, because you can’t go back and fix it and you have to do the best you can.

    Issues: #1 for me is loneliness-both at home because all I have to talk to most of the time is my two young children, and at events and things where singles are the exception and not the rule. I’m trying to meet and find other single parents, but haven’t really suceeded. #2 the simple chaos that raising two young boys is. I’m so very organized and yet, it’s so hard to get everything done-I’m still working full time right now but hoping to reduce to 30 hours next month – the minimum I think I can get away with and still keep my job. There’s just not enough time in the day for laundry, lunches, mopping, making the beds, picking up the toys, feeding the dogs, doing the shopping…so hard. The semi-
    perfectionist in me has had to settle on so much less than what I would like.

    And, I love everything that Nina said-I totally agree.

  21. I’m a single mother by choice to twin 2.75 year old girls. For a long time I needed the advice of multiple moms more, but now that the girls are older, I definitely identify more as a single mom. Holidays, vacations, budgeting – those are at the forefront for me now. And dating, can’t forget dating! Or the lack of it. At the end of the day, there just isn’t much left.

  22. I’d love to see a post for a single -homeschooling- mom. So far I’ve only ever met one other woman who fit into that category but I’m sure there have to be more. Otherwise there’s really a lot you could cover- how to build the notion of a family that differs from the common two parent, 2.5 kid one (media suggestions would be cool to see), ways to organize a family worth of stuff into a two bedroom apt, advice on introducing a new person into a little one’s life, how to overcome relationship loss, etc. Oh- and single parenting without support (not just financial) would be a GREAT topic! I was 100% on my own from pregnancy on and, having recently moved, am working on finding new places to connect. Not every single mom has access to her relatives and that can make a difficult situation even harder.
    Satsuki´s latest post: Weekly Giveaways &amp An Update

    • Great, great suggestions! I’m certainly planning to write about getting support without relatives–I moved to another country before I became a single mom, so I can identify there! It’s a different world when you don’t have family to rely on, but it can be done. You’ve given me a lot of food for thought with your comments. Thank you!
      Jaimie´s latest post: Come Meet me on Simple Kids Today

  23. Glad to see someone’s looking out for the single moms among us. I’m a single mom and other than occasionally getting annoyed about being treated like a completely different species, I feel like there’s not much that I have to face that married moms don’t also face — I just have to do it ALL and ALONE.

    One thing that is different, though, is socializing. It’s sometimes tricky to get together with other families because there’s no one for the dad to talk to. It’s a little strange — I sometimes even invite my ex-husband to come along so the dads can hang out, too.
    Meredith´s latest post: Getting Healthy

  24. So glad to see Jaimie as a contributer. She has a wonderful voice through her blog and her ideas for simple living are both creative, attainable and memory-making.
    KJ@letsgoflyakite´s latest post: Crafting with my kids- Borax Crystals

  25. Hi Jaimie, so excited to see what you do for the single parenting community. I am not single, but my husband does travel 75% of the time so more often than not I am home alone with my 3 littles. We are also a former military family and relocated about a year and half ago. My biggest problem has been finding friends in a new city. It’s hard to meet anyone with 3 kids 4 & under running circles around you and I have never been in a situation where I didn’t have some sort of community to introduce me to people. Now that we have left the military we are here on our own and well, getting in to a circle of friends is harder than I thought it would be. I could also use as many posts on balancing it all as you could throw at me. Anxious to read more, Stacy
    Stacy of KSW´s latest post: Let’s have a rain parade!

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