Tips for Surviving the Holiday Blues as a Single Parent

We know the holidays are tough for many Single Mothers Outreach parents. We hope this article will help. We also invite parents to attend SMO Thanksgiving and Holiday events to find other parents in the same circumstance and consider spending the day together.

Getting By When You Kids Are Visiting With Their Other Parent on the Holiday

By , About.com Guide

For many single moms and dads, the holidays are characterized by stress, anxiety, and – in the years when it’s the other’s parent’s turn to be with the kids – an ever-present ache.

When it’s not “your year” to celebrate Thanksgiving Day or Christmas morning with your children, what helps you get by and survive the holiday blues? In addition to doing what’s worked for you in the past, try applying a few of the following suggestions for making the best of the holiday this year.

1. Maintain Your Integrity

Feeling angry and resentful about not spending the holiday with your kids is natural. However, the only thing worse than how you already feel would be missing your children terribly and being ashamed of how you behaved when it was time for them to go. As hard as it is, do your best to put aside any negative feelings about the visit and make an effort to be supportive of your children’s relationship with the other parent.

2. Find Other Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Together

Work with your kids to plan an alternative holiday celebration in advance of the big day. Begin by asking each of your children to tell you which aspects of the holiday they most appreciate, and work to incorporate those activities into your own personal celebration time. Keep in mind, too, that finding a creative way to celebrate the holiday together is just as important to your kids as it is to you!

3. Take Care of Yourself

Use the time apart to pamper yourself. Sleep late and treat yourself to things you really enjoy, but rarely get to do. Simply talking in a movie or curling up with a good book can be rejuvenating activities that also serve to clear your mind and restore your sense of well-being.

4. Get Together With Friends

Don’t spend the day of the holiday alone. Instead, get together with some friends or your extended family. If you enjoy hosting events, invite some friends over for an informal wine and cheese party. Everyone needs a break at this time of year, and sometimes the most casual gatherings with friends become our fondest memories of the season!

5. Count Your Blessings

This is also a perfect time to reflect on all that is good in your life. Sit down and make a list of the ways in which you’ve grown personally in the last year. It’s been challenging, and there have been steps along the way that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. But at the same time, you’ve become a stronger person. Take some time to acknowledge how far you’ve come and treasure the blessings you’ve been given.

6. Help Someone Else

One of the best ways to curb your own sadness is to focus on helping others cope with challenges of their own. Visit the web site Volunteer Match to find local opportunities to volunteer your time, from holding babies at the local hospital to serving meals or passing out blankets to the homeless.

7. Be Productive

You may find that tackling a large project, such as cleaning out your “junk drawers” or painting a room, is a therapeutic way to spend your time. In fact, some projects, like getting caught up on your monthly bills, may even help you meet your goals for the New Year.

8. Refocus

While your kids are away, take some time to reflect on your personal goals and priorities. What is really, ultimately, important to you? And does the way you live your life everyday reflect those priorities? If so, how? And if not, how can you take small steps toward aligning your day-to-day actions with your highest aspirations for yourself and your family?

A Time to Collaborate

by DaAnne Smith

SaviaWe had our first Savia Community Partners meeting last week and I must say, I continue to be excited about the opportunities to work with the Domestic Violence CenterA Light of Hope, and Real Life Church to serve Santa Clarita families.

It only took a few days in our new location to realize that we had been isolated in our old space. Here, there are plenty of people to share work with and there is such a spirit of cooperation. For example:

We will be holding a Chamber Mixer on Wednesday June 19. Linda Davies, Executive Director of the SCV Domestic Violence Center, took the lead to set up the event with the SCV Chamber of Commerce, but all the partners, including Focus Building Solutions (the only for-profit partner here), are all helping to cover the expense. We are also planning to have Michael Crain from Smart Business Evolution come to train the partners on how to give exceptional customer service, something that is important to everyone who works here.

Open House 6-19-13

We also plan to share childcare expenses by holding some of our programs at the same time. And just this week, we walked three parents over to the Domestic Violence Center to help them receive services in addition to our own.

The result? Better services for all the families we serve. And that is collaboration at its best!

DaAnne Smith is the Executive Director of Single Mothers Outreach, whose mission is to empower single parents and their children by providing hope, support, and resources so that families can become self-sustaining.

Make a Mother’s Day | Celebrating Single Moms

2013-05-04 11.19.21On Saturday May 11, several single moms were treated to a special tea in their honor. Invited were  students, graduates from our financial training program, workshop participants and volunteers.

Moms enjoyed Tracy Hauser's message

Moms enjoyed Tracy Hauser’s message

Four women were honored for their achievements over the past year:

  • Academic Achievement- Lanette Hight 
  • Financial Achiement- Jeny Vazquez
  • Volunteer of the Year- Denice Arditto &  Aura Arredondo
Jeny Vasquez receives Financial Achievement Award

Jeny Vasquez receives Financial Achievement Award

Lanette Hight receives the Academic Achievement Award

Lanette Hight receives the Academic Achievement Award

Jeny shared, “One of the many things that SMO had helped with is with the FPU program. Not only has it helped me become debt free, no easy task, but it has helped me help other moms. I was $30,000 in debt but never really faced my debt until I was sick and tired of hearing how much I owed people. It wasn’t easy and it took a lot of sacrifice on my part, but it was worth it. I went from spending paycheck to paycheck trying to give my daughter a life I thought she needed, to living on a budget and working with my envelope system. SMO has so many programs that help many moms, but if I were to give a new single mom any advice it would be to take the FPU class.  I’m glad to be a part of such a great organization that not only helps moms out in a tough situation but helps them be independent, debt-free women who provide for their families.
2013-05-04 12.11.42

Denice Arditto receives Volunteer of the Year award

Lanette said, “Returning to school has improved my self-esteem and self-worth.  I feel that, even though late in the game, I am still accomplishing my goals and moving towards self-sufficiency by getting closer to the career that I have always wanted.  With this career I will be able to provide for my children and give us a better quality of life they deserve.  Before school, I didn’t know where I was heading, had some goals, but they were just “thought” goals.  I had no plans, nothing to look forward to. Going back to school gave me the  “doing” goals.  I am pleased at how such a small step has had such large rewards!
We wish to thank Real Life Church, Steve’s Valencia FloristRachel Rooney and Crossroads Community ChurchThe Body ShopJenn Hughes and MOPS from Grace Baptist ChurchShannon Motherspaw and her great chocolates, Martha Aguilera and Kokolita Cakes, and all the volunteers who made it such a special event for our moms.
Special thanks to Tracy Hauser for her inspiring and encouraging talk.
Aura Arredondo receives Volunteer of the Year award

Aura Arredondo receives Volunteer of the Year award

Raising Great Children in a Single Parent Home | A Daughter’s Story

We love stories of children from single parent families who become wonderful adults and a credit to their parent. Dana is one of those children. We hope you enjoy her story. -SMO

by Dana Abel

2013-04-22 05.59.06My parents divorced when I was 8 years old. We moved from La Crescenta to Santa Clarita when I was in 5th grade. The divorce was extremely hard on my two brothers and I especially because the reason my parents divorced was because my dad was an alcoholic. After many years dealing with the alcoholism my mom finally gave my dad the choice – alcohol or his family. He chose the alcohol. My brothers and I blamed my mom for years for ripping our family apart until we grew up and realized that it was necessary. When we moved to Santa Clarita in early 2000, we had a tiny two bedroom condo in Canyon Country in which I had to share a room with my mom. We had little money and had to get assistance with school lunches, food from the food pantry and clothes from Goodwill. I was in Junior High at the time and it was extremely hard for me to make friends and fit in with the “popular” crowd at school. Canyon Country little league would help with donations for the boys and I to play softball and baseball. My mom got involved in the SMO during the time we lived in the condo. We were able to benefit from Christmas presents, Holiday meals, clothes and food. I am now 23 years old, in my last semester at college, working for a drug prevention program called DFYIT (Drug Free Youth in Town) in the Hart District for the City of Santa Clarita and getting my teaching credential to be a high school teacher.

During my time at College of the Canyons I set up a small charity event for SMO through a communications class, supplying a park (North Oaks), donated food from Oggies and a donated bouncer for a fun meet and greet for single mothers and their children.

I donate my clothes to the Closet on Main but I always wish I could help more.

I just wanted to thank you for all the love and support SMO has done for the families in Santa Clarita.

‘Dangling a Lifeline’ for Single Parents

by Amy Storms 

Lifeline

 

“Pray for lifelines,” writes Melanie Lightbourn-Rowe, “and don’t drown while one is dangling right in front of you!”

Two years ago, Melanie found one such lifeline in front of her: Valencia’s own Single Mothers Outreach. Newly divorced, and new to the Santa Clarita Valley, she was in desperate need of support. At a friend’s recommendation, Melanie tried SMO.

“I got so much more than I had bargained,” she says. “I was introduced to [Programs and Services Director] Jennifer Kennedy for the first time and was completely impressed, not only with the level of professionalism with which I was handled, but with a great support base from the beginning.”

Since that day, SMO has been a much-needed resource for Melanie and her two boys. She has participated in the monthly Shop the Closet and annual Adopt-a-Family events, but her favorite program at SMO is Financial Peace University.

“I had a ton of financial issues that I didn’t know how to resolve,” Melanie writes. “But through FPU, I was able to pay off my debt and focus on saving for emergencies. Empowerment is SMO’s specialty, and I’ve been empowered in such a way that when I am able to make large contributions, SMO will be at the top of my list.”

Being debt free let Melanie return to school without excuses. She recently obtained her M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Leadership Policies, and she hopes to become a middle school administrator this fall.

Melanie admits that she isn’t yet where she’d like to be, and she credits Single Mothers Outreach with helping her strive for more. She inspires others to do the same.

“As single parents,” Melanie says, “we are not hopeless, nor are we crippled by our circumstances. We are uniquely strengthened because there is something that resides in us that pushes us to greatness.”

Today, Melanie “dangles the lifeline” of SMO in front of others, too. She has invited several single moms to the local office.

“We seldom seek help for ourselves because we are proud to be self-sufficient,” Melanie notes. “I had to place my pride in my back pocket. I realized that if a little help goes a long way, then a lot of help could change a life! And that is what SMO provides.”

Please shop at Closet on Main, located in Newhall, CA. All proceeds benefit the families Single Mothers Outreach serves. For more information on Single Mothers Outreach, call 661-288-0117 or visit www.singlemothersoutreach.org.