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Lessons from Linda
Single Parents and New Year's Resolutions - They just don't mix

By now, whether you're single or not, you might have defined and at least attempted to set some resolutions this year. Maybe you've kept them - maybe not.

Why is it that resolutions always seem to be a precursor for failure? Well, I think it's partly because instead of us planning our own time schedules, New Year's Day seems to be the one "universal" date that people set their schedules to.

And maybe we're trying too hard to change things using an unrealistic scale and unobtainable goals. I say forget that - make your own resolution day!

Pick a day, Any day! Chose one thing that you would like to change and plan it. For us single mom's here are some suggestions:

Once a month, pamper yourself with a manicure, or pedicure. Or maybe go to lunch with a friend - you know… the one you keep intending to make plans with but never do, or take an adult education class or cooking class.

Pick something just for you that you know will spark some inner excitement. Make a resolution that you know you can keep and are truly excited about keeping. It doesn't always have to be the usual resolutions like lose weight, eat healthier, save more money etc. Although these are things we all should do.

After all single parents need to stay healthy for our single parent families. Remember, they only have you to rely on for EVERYTHING! But set your own pace, be your own boss. We are so used to working for everyone else we forget about ourselves and what we really want.

Single parents have the craziest schedules of anyone on earth! We have full-time jobs, and full-time at home responsibilities with limited outside assistance. Think about it: we work, we cook, we clean, do laundry, help with homework, pull chauffeur duty, plan all the parties, create the loving home, and all while trying to teach our kids how to be responsible for themselves and courteous of others.

Well, guess what? without even realizing it - we really are teaching our kids how to be independent, caring, secure and responsible people. Children follow the actions of their parents. C'mon you know the saying "Oh no, I've become my mother". It's not so bad is it?

I've said this before, but statistics prove that if Mom is happy, the family is happy! So whatever that one thing is that you keep thinking about, or that friend that you want to reconnect with, or the college course you are really interested in - just do it!

And one other piece of advise that we all need to take very seriously…. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Ask someone to babysit for a few hours, you can always return the favor. Sometimes we behave like martyrs because we forget that we are supposed to take time for ourselves.

Well, we need to get over that. The time will come when the kids get older and don't need us as much. We need to think about "our" future now and make plans for it.

Here's an exercise: Find a piece of paper and write down all the things you want to do or accomplish. Then write down what's preventing you from doing them. Then be creative and find a way to achieve at least one of them for right now. The only one holding you back from doing it is you!

One other very good piece of advise, "Just say no". We can be completely overwhelmed most of the time with work and home - and there is only one of us. Why is it we consistently say yes to far too many things.

Volunteering on committees and events is a good way to meet other people and have adult time, but it can also cause unwanted stressors - something we don't need.

Here are a few websites I've come across that are worth reviewing.

singleparents.about.com lists plenty of reasons why we are proud of being single parents. There may be plenty of disadvantages - but take a look and it'll give you the "the glass is half full" attitude."

Another website www.parentsworld.com gives advise on coping with depression, being on your own during the holidays, and general tips about single parenting.

Whatever your situation, single parents do not take enough time to think about their wants and needs. Take a breather, resolve to do at least ONE thing that is just for you - and do it once a week or once a month - use the calendar - mark it down and be consistent.

C'mon I know you can squeeze a little room on it in between basketball practice, the dentist and PTO meetings.

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