Readers are leaders! Whatever your single-mom related questions, issues, joys or challenges are, there is a single mom book for it.
In fact, I wrote a book for you, too! Here is my list of vetted titles of books for single mothers, designed for you in whatever state of your journey in, no particular order. *cough*
Featured: The Kickass Single Mom (DUH!)
As I write this, The Kickass Single Mom is scheduled to come out soon, and I am so proud of it. It is all about my own experience becoming a single mom, the details about how much pain I went though, how I got back on my feed financially, thrived professionally and in my motherhood, and came to enjoy dating, sex and romance.
It includes lots of incredible stories from other, kickass single moms, research, and tips from incredible moms and experts.
You’re not going to want to miss this one!
Alcorn, a married mom of three, found herself physically and emotionally incapacitated by trying to do it all: be a mom, wife and fulltime professional. Maxed Out tells her story to recovery through her research which supports what you already know: Corporations and the U.S. government do little to support families, and moms bear the brunt of this.
It’s important work, this book, and it is no wonder Alcorn is getting scads of much-deserved press. But I worry that it is dangerous to pacify the working mom’s stress by blaming policy. Voting and fighting with your employer to adopt flexible work schedules is important — but that is not going to change your life today. Instead, I think we (and when I say ‘we’ – I’m speaking to my professional mom peers) stand to get a grip on our mental health by adjusting our expectations:
- How much time we really need to spend with our kids to be considered adequate parents?
- How many meals do we need to cook from scratch?
- Do you REALLY need to do all that laundry yourself (ANSWER: HELL NO!)?
- And what are your true career objectives?
- How much money do you need to be happy?
Can you take the initiative to create the career and family life that you want — and take corporate culture out of the equation entirely (ANSWER: HELL YESSSSSSS!!)?
Check out Maxed Out: Working Moms on the Brink here on Amazon.
Mean Moms Rule
The lovely Denise Schipani interviewed me for her blog, Mean Moms Rule.
We talk mostly about the history of this blog, money and single moms, but since Denise and her new book Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later are all about discipline, she asked my thoughts on the topic from a single-mom perspective:
I want to ask you specifically about things like discipline and order and being in control in your house. What issues along those lines do you face? Do you see them as different now that it’s just you?
When there is one parent, there is one personality and one voice telling the kids to pick up the chunks of banana pancake they threw on the floor. There just isn’t that support. That said, many married moms feel they don’t get discipline support – and I wonder if that silent or contrarian parent might contribute more to unruly behavior when compared with an absent parent, or two parents who support each other in discipline issues, but live in different homes.
So many times married moms complain to me that it’s easier to discipline their kids when their husbands are not involved: “When he’s here, he just lets the kids run wild – but he doesn’t have to deal with them all day!” Or the flip side: “My husband is so uptight, the kids feel so nervous when he’s home. I wish he’d lighten up and let them be kids.
It doesn’t really matter what everyone’s position is. The reality is that if the two power sources in the house have strong opposing views on a topic, it breeds shame in the kids. If your daughter is about to gleefully bellyflop from the back of the couch onto the cushions – which you think is hilarious – she also feels ashamed because she knows her dad doesn’t allow it. Likewise, if under his mother’s supervision your son obediently sweeps the floor after dinner, that can also breed bad feelings if his dad is adamant the task is too much work for a kindergartner.
This speaks nothing of the tension that permeates a home when parents can’t agree on discipline – or anything else, for that matter.
Ideally, a house has two parents – plus many more loving, not-crazy relatives and friends – who find ways to work together and support each other on most important issues. But the further away from that idea a family gets, the more realistic that single parenthood becomes.
After all – how many times have moms – married, single, divorced – thought, “Gah! It’s easier if I just do it myself!”?
Money & Business
Smart Money Smart Kids
Personal finance giant Dave Ramsey wasn’t messing around when he raised his three kids. There were chores, “commission” en lieu of allowance, and mandated entrepreneurship. Want a car on your 16th birthday? You earned and saved half (even though, of course, Dave and his wife are loaded). Want to have fun at the amusement park? Budget your money at the gate.
These and other priceless lessons were learned by Rachel Cruze, now a 25-year-old financial expert in her own right and co-author of Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win With Money, which is out this week. I admit that I was expecting a standard-issue, predictable lesson on how to raise financially responsible kids.
But, the pages are full of funny family anecdotes and practical — though ambitious — advice from both Rachel and Cruze. Plus, I found her tons of fun to talk to.
What do YOU want to ask the Ramsey progeny? What is your No. 1 toughest problem when it comes to teaching kids about money?
I interviewed Rachel for RetailMeNot here. She shares about saving for a Tiffany bracelet as a teen and teaching kids to give to charity.
What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast
The demands on single moms’ time and emotional resources are far greater than many other demographics, and our financial resources – at least initially following a divorce – are far less. Which means we need to be as efficient as possible. I outsource all my laundry. My lovely housekeeper, Sandra, visits every week. And I bask in the flexibility my home-based freelance writing career affords my family.
But what is less evident in this system are the less tangible resources it takes to raise children – and paramount in this diagram is the required emotional support.
Everyone needs emotional buttressing: and as a single mom, I must consciously find ways to get that support in order to fill my own emotional well, a topic I explored on the blog of LauraVanderkam.com. Laura’s new book is What the Most Successful People Do at Work: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Career.
Laura Vanderkam, best selling author of the new What the Most Successful People do Before Breakfast, is a friend of mine and has changed the way I live my life. I credit (blame?) her with helping me see the light about laundry and shushing many of my guilty thoughts about hiring child care.
Here she lends more advice about how to deal with overwhelm — and people around you complaining about overwhelm.
Stop Saying You’re Fine
A guest on Emma TV, Mel Robbins, the host of reality TV series Monster-In-Laws, author of Stop Saying You’re Fine: The No-BS Guide to Getting What You Want and the founder of Inspire52, a site which curates inspiring content and gives back to the community with each share.
Here Mel and I talk about morning overwhelm — the thorn in every working mom’s side. Why you’re overwhelmed, what you can do about it, and whether it’s unrealistic to having meaningful family time before 8 a.m.
(I say yes, Mel says I’m nuts)
The Economy of You
I love it when other people’s passions align with my own.
Kimberly Palmer, a long-time money reporter for U.S. News & World Report, started an Etsy business when her youngest child was born as a way to build in job security and additional income stream on top of her corporate job.
She has written a great book, The Economy of You: Discover You Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life. Here we talk about the importance of self-employment:
- Job security is gone. A side hustle insulates you from the ups and downs of the economy.
- There is nothing scarier than having one source of income and worrying it will disappear.
- The self-employed are free from frustrations of lousy raises. They just give themselves a raise.
- Self-employment is awesome for parents seeking work-family balance (take it from me).
- Freelancing and moonlighting are nothing new! Kimberly found the number of people working side jobs has remained steady over the past century.
- There is far more financial upside when you own your own business, and as companies deconstruct their labor into more contract and freelance work, that means more income for you — not less!
When She Makes More
My good friend Farnoosh Torabi’s When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women addresses the very essence of this moment in feminism: We are winning the war on the pay gap, with 24 percent of married women earning more than their spouses and 40 percent of women being financial head of households (accounting for many single moms).
Yay us! Right? Well … not so fast.
When you earn more than your man, you have a 50 percent higher chance of divorce and a greater chance both parties will cheat.
This is a bitter pill to swallow for professional women — and single moms in particular. After all, you already face a significantly higher chance of divorce in the event you remarry.
Farnoosh tackles these facts head-on: The book assumes that a marriage in which a woman earns more is rife with peril, and she offers up advice for navigating the omnipresent landmines.
I think about this dynamic often. As I date and explore the kind of relationship I need in this next phase of life I’ve come to realize that I need to be with a man who is at least as professionally ambitious as I am. That usually translates into financial success, though it really isn’t about the money. My career is a huge part of who I am– I need to be with someone who identifies with my drive to use my gifts and resources to contribute to the world and build a huge and awesome life for myself and my kids.
A part of me also equates a the courage to pursue professional dreams with the courage to love deeply. If a guy can’t stomach risk in business, can he have the bandwidth to take the ultimate risk — heartbreak?
In the video below my friend Farnoosh, also the host of “Financially Fit” on Yahoo! Finance, and I have a candid discussion about why it is so hard for both men and women when she is the breadwinner. We pick apart her admonishment that one of the main ingredients in making such a a partnership work is for the woman to stroke the hell out of her lesser-earning man’s ego (isn’t that patronizing/embarrassing/even more work?).
But I wonder: What is your experience with this dynamic? Do you seek out men who earn more than you? If you earn more than he does, how do you make it work?
Share in the comments!
Sex, Romance & Relationships
Pussy: A Reclamation
Mama Gena lays it all there for us, ladies. From helping your daughters to nurture their own femininity and sensuality, to what the word “pussy” (really) means to us, it’s all there.
No holds barred.
Check out the podcast, hear what Regena has to say on the magical topic of pussy, and learn to embrace what makes, well… us.
She’s one of us, divorced young with a small daughter, yet she found the means to build a business which boasts seven figures!
The 5 Love Languages
This one is just a staple for every woman (and man) to read. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts is such an impactful book because it shows us how we can all give love, and receive love, in the most powerful way unique to us.
You think you know someone, and what makes them tick?
You may want to think again. Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the 5 Love Languages, puts love and relationships into a whole new perspective, one which might just flip your world on its head.
Never did it occur to me there was more than one kind of unspoken love language, but here we are. And, admittedly, Chapman digs right into you and those around you.
If you’re anything like me, expect one of those “Aha!” moments, maybe more than once.
This #1 best seller for the NYTimes is here to stay. Make sure the people you care about are, too, and learn their language.