Single Mum Diaries: Meet Renae

This week I have a lovely new mum to introduce you to. I recently "met" Renae when she became a sponsor here on the blog. I won't prattle on too much, I'll let Renae tell you her story....but if you would love to find out more about this very inspirational can check her out at her blog Tealaholic.
Take it away Renae....

How many children do you have?
I have a 2 year old son who I call Jagger. Although I had never planned on having a son at this point in my life, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tell us a little about your story.
I became pregnant in high school at only 17. At 17, I didn't have any life plan whatsoever so becoming pregnant was a big life changer and big wake up call.
I first looked into adoption since that is what most people would consider the "best choice" for a pregnant teenager. I met with a lovely adoption agency that did amazing work helping families on both sides of the adoption. But after a few weeks of difficulty and soul searching, I realized that this wasn't the right route for me. 

I soon hit the ground running. I finished high school in just three months, I finished high school by attending summer school, online school, and night school. This let me stay home and not take any classes my entire senior year with my newborn son yet graduate with my high honors diploma and 3.8 GPA. I can't thank my amazing guidance counselor enough for helping me accomplish this.

After Jagger was born, I started a home based business making cake pops for local events and gifts. This surprisingly grew and allowed me to provide for myself while living with my parents. I also became a couponing queen with a fully stocked stockpile of baby items: diapers, formula, wipes, you name it.

Now I am going to a local university for marketing and living with my mom and dad until I graduate. I am also interning at a local marketing and ecom business so I no longer need to pinch pennies. Jagger and I are so lucky to have so much support and the ability to live in such a great area while I finish school. 

Did you find that your standard of living had to change when you became a single mamma, or were you able to maintain the same lifestyle?
Due to the massive amount of help and support from friends and family, my lifestyle has luckily not been changed. I like to think that it has even gotten better thanks to all of the opportunities that have fallen in our path. I can only thank the lord for all of his love and putting the right people in our lives. 

Have your friends and family rallied around to lend support in raising your little man?
Yes! My family and friends have been absolutely amazing. My family is always there when I need them for anything. My parents allowing us to live in their home has helped me have money to put in savings for later in life and given Trace a place to grow up that isn't a cheap apartment. 

What are your favourite things about being a mother?
I love seeing Jagger explore and discover new things at this age. We can go on adventures together just in the backyard and find something he thinks is amazing. I love being a part of that moment of learning about the world. At the end of the day, I know he will always be my little man and a mother-son relationship is like nothing else in the world.
As a single mamma, what do you struggle with the most?
At first, it was difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that, more often than not, I can't go out alone and do things I want to do. However, now I have realized that just during this point of life I will do everything with Jagger. In the grand scheme of things the years where Jagger actually wants to do everything with me is very short. Sure, he is going to throw a tantrum at the grocery store some times. Some days I will have to tell my friends I can't go out to a fancy lunch. But there is going to be time for that later and I need to cherish the time I have now. Eighteen years are going to fly by.

Dating, what do you think?Right now with Jagger, my cake pop business, my internship, school, friends, and typical household tasks I don't have time to search for potential suitors. I trust that God will put someone in my path when the time is right and I should leave it up to him. I'm in no hurry. :)

If you could change one thing about life as a single mamma, what would it be?
Some days I wish it were possible to be a stay-at-home single mom. Although I love school and my job is 90% at home, I still have some envy over the moms who get to clean the house, plan cute lunches and activities, and home school their toddlers. 

As you would know, a lot of people have very strong opinions about single mums, do you think we can change that? (explain)
I really hope that someday soon we can help correct the single mom stereotypes. One that bothers me the most is that single moms think they are better than not-single moms. Personally, I think a mom is a mom is a mom. It doesn't matter if your married, widowed, or been a single mom from the start, I still have the same goals and aspirations for my child. 

In contrast, I also hate the stereotype that single moms are worse than other moms. Although my child does not have the traditional nuclear family, he still has a family that loves him just the same! 

Wanna share your single parent story? Then I'd love to hear from you....just contact me HERE and we'll talk!

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In my past life (as I like to call it), I was an office manager. Most of my time was spent at a desk, in an office that was nice but it didn't have any windows. So if I wanted to see some green-age, I had to bring nature inside....which I did.

Actually, looking back...I probably went a little overboard, my desk was more like a jungle than a work space...the only thing that was missing was me swinging from vines in my Tarzan and Jane inspired bikini...but that's okay, because now I'm a little older and hopefully a little wiser, I can show you how to do it with style!
Of course you don't have to go with the whole "jungle theme" that I have...plants of course look and feel good in any work space...I mean seriously...who doesn't love a vertical garden? 

See what I mean...gorgeous!

And do you know why we love to see plants indoors so much? No, well I'll tell you...

So that's that....plants in offices = GOOD
If you don't have one, might I suggest you rush out and get one now...I'll wait...

Brought to you by the tree huggers at Gaddy's Plant Hire and me!
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Expose Yourself!

Every now and then I get this feeling that I need to change things up a bit blogging wise....have you not noticed how often my blog template changes?? What I'm talking about today though is advertising...

I like to change up which blogs I sponsor from time to time, but because I am a proud penny pincher, and I almost NEVER pay full price for anything...I always look for bloggers offering discounts on their sponsor deals... 

Just in case you missed them....I didn't because I totally bought both these awesome ladies ads....

And just because I am now talking about bloggers who are offering discounts and I just realised that I'm NOT....well now I am....I just went and created this discount code "BECAUSEICAN" and if you grab it now (or like before the end of the month) you will get a 50% discount.

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The Blogmopolitan Quiz

This is pretty simple...

I spent a couple of hours blog hopping tonight and came across a few bloggers who are so awesome, they've officially made it to my "stalk list". One of these is Erin from Two Thirds Hazel...

I'm not even gonna start telling you all about how great she're just gonna have to head over there yourself and find out...NOT YET THOUGH...just cool the jets!

While I was on Erin's blog I found a Quiz that she is sharing with other bloggers, and as we've already established...I'm a sucker for a quiz. I just can't help myself. If there is a quiz to be done, I will do it.....and now it seems I will also drag whoever I can along with me.

All you have to do to participate in the link-up is fill out the quiz using picmoney or a similiar program, post your answers on your blog and link up on Friday to Erins post. Too easy right?

So here we it weird that I'm excited about this?
Ok, now you can head over and download the quiz for yourself....have an awesome weekend and be nice to each other.

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Feeling Blessed

Our family has been doubly blessed this year with the announcement that we have 2 babies on their sister is pregnant with her 5th child (she's taken it upon herself to supply the extra kids that I won't), while my brother and his partner are about to add number 2 to their little nest.
It's all good because I like being an auntie, it's a way easier gig than being a mum....I get to do all the fun stuff with them, but I also get my win!

For our family, after the truly crappy year that we've had (you can read about it HERE and HERE)....these babies are finally something joyful that we can celebrate. 
Over the weekend I threw my sister a baby shower for her new little man who will arrive into our lives shortly. It was kind of a last minute decision to throw the shower, the first one had to be cancelled due to mums surgery, we'd kind of decided not to have it, and then at the last minute we thought "what they hey, let's do it" we did. Nothing like a last minute "shin-dig" to cheer everyone up right??

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Little Reminders....A Story about Vomit!

It's been almost 10 months since dad passed away. Most days I've accepted it now I guess. I have a screen saver of him and Monkey on my computer, so every morning when I switch on it I say good morning to him. Sometimes I say it out loud, sometimes I just say it in my head. It probably seems dumb, but that's my thing....

As much as we've moved on though, there are still those little reminders that catch you unaware, unprepared...those little reminders that stop you in your track and make your heart skip a beat. Sometimes it's a song, or a smell even....this week, it was vomit!

Haha, right now you're thinking, "she's finally lost her marbles", but it's true.....this week vomit made me miss my dad. And not just me, but my sister too.

Let me explain....

Our dad was one of those dad's who "took care of things". Usually it meant he took care of all the yucky, icky things that his daughters weren't "man enough" to deal with.

Over the years our dad has cleaned many a thing for us girls....he cleaned our ovens because he didn't want us breathing in those chemicals, he cleaned mould from our bathroom for the same reason....he cleaned our vacuum cleaners (who knew you were supposed to??), and he would clean our washing machines, which I also didn't realise was a thing I was supposed to do.

So it seemed just natural, that when our kids got sick and decided to vomit all over our houses, as children do, our dad would send mum to the hospital to sit with us and the vomiting child in question, and he would rush over to our homes and clean it all up for us while we were gone. That's what dads do right? Well that's what our dad said, so we went along with it, because it seemed like a good deal. Well it didn't seem like a good deal, it was a good deal! It was an awesome deal.

So this week, a bug went around, and my little Monkey caught it.....vomit went all over my sisters bathroom....and I (for the first time since she was born), had to clean it myself. It was disgusting, and smelly and all those things that I've been avoiding for such a long was something else though....the entire time I cleaned that stupid bathroom, I thought of my dad. It made me miss my dad so much that my heart ached, and it made me respect him even more for all the things he'd ever done for me.

I missed him not because I wanted him to clean vomit, but because by cleaning vomit he made me feel as though he always had my back, and I really miss feeling like my dad has my back. I really miss coming home and seeing him sitting on his chair smiling. I really miss him being here with us.

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Single Mum Diaries: Meet Jasmine

I started the Single Mum Diaries series a only two months ago, but so far I am really happy to say that these interviews have been hugely popular! I've received a few email from readers asking for more....

Who knew that people would want to read about the lives of single mums.....Oh me that's who, and ya know why? Because these ladies are awesome, gorgeous, lovely people...just like all the other mums you love!

Today I'm introducing you all to the very gorgeous Jasmine who writes over at The Jasmine Maria

How long have you been a single mamma, and how many children do you have?

I've been a single mom for about 3 years now. 

Tell us a little about your story, whatever you feel comfortable sharing

I got filed for divorce in November 2012 after I found out my ex husband was cheating. Trust me it's the worst feeling in the world. But it's made me a lot stronger now.

Does your child’s father contribute in any way? 

Not one bit. He hardly sees his kids! 

Did you find that your standard of living had to change when you became a single mamma, or were you able to maintain the same lifestyle?

Yes! Not only was i supporting myself but two other little humans by myself. It's hard. I still struggle until now.

Have your friends and family rallied around to lend support in raising your little man?

Yes. I live with my parents in the mean time and I get help with them raising my boys. But not financially. I do that on my own. I don't expect them to since it's not their responsibility.

What are your favourite things about being a mother?

Seeing my little ones faces every day. The joy they bring to me. I seriously can have the worst day and I just gotta look at them and instantly I get a smile on my face. 

As a single mamma, what do you struggle with the most?

I would have to say disciplining them. Making sure I'm doing things the right way!
Dating, what do you think?

I've been in 2 relationships since I've separated from my ex husband. It's ok to date just be sure it's serious and don't bring the kids around.

If you could change one thing about life as a single mamma, what would it be?

Probably being able to find someone that's willing to take my baggage. Lol it's hard raising kids solo just wish I had a partner to help me.

As you would know, a lot of people have very strong opinions about single mums, do you think we can change that? (explain)

You can't help it if you're a single mom. People like that need to try and live this life and see how long they would last. Lol

Thanks so much Jasmine for sharing your story with us....if you'd like to get to know Jasmine and her little men more you can always check them out HERE on her blog. Or if you are a single mum (or dad) yourself and you would love to share your story....give me a shout out HERE and we'll put something together.

Have an awesome weekend, I'll see ya back here on Monday

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Awesome Reasons Why You Need to Have Kids

1. You know those nights when all your girls friends are begging you to come out. All you want to do is sit around in your pj's, watch movies and pig out on popcorn and chocolate, but you end up giving up on that dream and going out because hey, peer pressure! 

Once you have a kid, you never have to go out again if you don't want to. Every night can be a coach potato night if you want it to be, and no-one will even question it....actually, they'll encourage it!

2. Once they can walk, you have a slave for life. Seriously....don't wanna get up off the sofa to pick up that remote...."baby can you grab mamma the remote", and they do. Thirsty but you don't wanna move? It's okay, cos the kids will do that too.

3. Your sitting on the toilet and when it's time to wipe....aaaaahhh, there's no toilet paper, and for some reason and I'm not exactly sure why, the spares are always in another's not a problem anymore, the kids will grab the roll for you and throw it through the gap in the door....they might complain about that one, but saved you that awkward "I need to wipe" walk!

4. Ugly days are a thing of the past, because your kids will tell you that you're beautiful even when it would appear you more closely resemble an ape than most of the human race. No makeup, a bit of extra weight on, ugliest clothes in the doesn't matter, those mini maniacs will think you're beautiful anyway....and they'll tell you. There ain't no best friend in the world who'll do that for you!

5. Love kids movies? That's great because you can see as many of them as you like when you're a mamma, know the fun character cups and stuff that they sell at the snack kiosk, well now you can buy them and pretend they're for the kids.

6. Forever more, the only answer you need to have to a question that you don't want to answer...."because I said so" easy!

7. They believe EVERYTHING you say! Really! Ever heard of Santa? the Easter Bunny? the Tooth Fairy? That alone is proof enough that kids will believe anything their parents tell them. When Monkey was little, I had her believing that all babies come from a special magical ward at the hospital, and if you're naughty mums can take them back and have the naughtiness taken out of them. She never asked how, but whenever she was misbehaving and I said we'd go back to the hospital, she was suddenly the perfect child. One of my friends likes to pretend that aliens have snatched her and replaced her with a clone....freaks her daughter out....ahhh so much fun!

8. You never have to be on time for anything ever again....just saying "I couldn't get the kids moving" will be enough, and actually if you have a few of them....people won't even look at you sideways about it, instead they'll applaud your efforts.

9. You're allowed to be silly! Dance parties in your pj's, food fights, making fart noises in public, making fart noises at home, farting in an aisle at the supermarket and then watching the faces of passersby and laughing, water bomb fights, singing silly songs, playing dress-ups....what ever it is that cracks you up....the kids will join in, and they'll go hard to make you laugh, they can't help themselves!

10. Ever had that day when you really needed a hug, but there's no one to give you they're on tap, given can have a hug just because you got outta bed this morning, you can have a hug because you smiled at someone....and all that hugging means you can't help but feel good!

Common mums, surely you have some reasons you can add!

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