Sunday, June 4, 2017

Parenting through grief

Mom2MomEd Blog: Parenting through grief
I recently wrote about life being overwhelming and how I'm coping. Today, things seem more dire than ever. As I write this, I'm sitting next to an extremely ill family member and preparing myself for the worst.

I've already ugly cried twice in the last few hours and probably will have several more ugly cries before the day (weekend, week) is out. 

I'm trying to take things one day at a time...one hour at a time...

I'm trying.

But, I also have a son to think about. Even though my son is 18, he's still my baby. His brain is still developing, and all of his hormones are still all over the place. Overall, he's a normal 18 year old in most regards.

I feel so lucky to have the son I have. 

Like any other 18 year old, he's forgetful. He's more into his MMOG--massively multiplayer online game--than chores. He'd rather talk about The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad than school or a job. He's concerned that his hair parts in the right spot and how he looks in his jeans.

He loves Campbell's Chunky Soup, Doritos, and Hot Pockets, but he'll eat fruit and veggies if I put them in front of him.

He loves our dogs and where we live. He loves his family and his friends. He's smart.

He doesn't party or sneak around. Other than forgetting his chores, he's super responsible and dependable.

I have a good kid. He's a good egg.

But, we are struggling with grief.  I started going to a therapist a few months ago to deal with my multiple responsibilities and a health issue of my own, but now it's time for my son to talk to a therapist too. We're both close to facing some major changes in our lives due to our family member's health crisis, even if that family member pulls through and comes home.

Which brings me to the point of this post...how do you parent through grief?

My natural inclination is to hole up, alone, at home, and to block out everyone and everything, but I'm a mom. I can't ignore life.

For now, I'm parenting through grief in the following ways:

1. Counseling
There is absolutely no shame in seeing a therapist, a shrink, a counselor--sometimes the pressure of what life brings is just too much to bear alone. I needed a safe, judgment free place to talk about what I'm going through and to get unbiased input in how to deal with it all. Sometimes just talking it out is enough, but at other times my therapist has given me exercises to work on or specific tasks to take care of. Even if the sessions are sometimes really hard, they always help.

I've been to counseling before, and if you are considering going, please know that sometimes the first few sessions make you feel worse before you feel better--keep going! Also, if you don't like the first person you see, try someone else. You need to have a good fit with your therapist in order for counseling to be effective.

If you don't have insurance or think you can't afford counseling, ask about sliding scales, fee forgiveness, and payment plans. Years ago, when I was in an abusive relationship and had virtually no disposable income, I was able to pay a mere $5 per session thanks to a sliding scale. Some churches and organizations even provide counseling for free.

2. Medication
Just as there is no shame in seeing a therapist, there is also no shame in taking an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication. I was on antidepressants for two years when my son was a toddler. I was overwhelmed with a bad relationship, trying to be a good mom, and trying to finish my undergraduate education. I stayed on those meds until right before I left our abuser. I would not have gotten through that period of life without the support of medication, a primary care doctor that was incredibly supportive, and a good therapist.

Today, I saw my current primary care provider, a nurse practitioner, and got a prescription for an antidepressant. My emotions and thought processes are all over the place due to stress related to ill family members and emergencies, work, parenting, my financial situation, and more. I needed help...I'm hoping the medication will help smooth out the edges and reduce the emotional roller coaster of emotions to gentle speed bumps. I don't want to be numb to life, but I want to be clear enough to handle everything.

3. Friends and family
I am thankful that I have a strong network of friends and family--many friends who are so close that they are like family--and so does my ill relative. I was able to ugly cry in the arms of one friend and she and her husband were extremely helpful in facilitating a meeting with a doctor and to articulate my relative's wishes clearly when I was at a loss for words. They also have been wonderful at intercepting contact between other friends and concerned acquaintances in order to give me some space to focus on the situation at hand. 

We are lucky in that our friends and extended family are willing to pitch in and help with my son too. A neighbor can take him to the grocery store and already often brings him soup and other homemade treats that he loves--even when we don't have a crisis happening! Friends, neighbors, and relatives fill in the gaps.

4. Ugly cry
I cried in the shower last night, and I pulled over my car and ugly cried in a parking lot. Getting out those overwhelming emotions while alone allowed me to pull myself together to focus and get through the hours ahead before the next wave of emotions. 

5. Exercise and nutrition
I have to admit that I've had two very large coffees today and I have a Coca Cola in my bag as I type this. It was tempting to stop at McDonalds or to guy buy junk food, but I made a better choice and bought a small package of almonds and filled my water bottle with actual water. In an hour or so, I plan to go to the hospital cafeteria and get some fruit, veggies, and protein. 

And, this evening, and again tomorrow morning, I will take my son and our dogs for a long walk. Exercise, even just walking, gets the positive endorphins going. I don't expect exercise or nutrition to make me perky and happy--all sunshine and rainbows--but it will help give my son and I a little boost. Walks together also give us time to get out of the house and outside of our own heads. And, occasionally, a walk opens up communication and we talk about deeper topics and what's going on in each of our hearts.

I anticipate a long road ahead for both my son and I. And, I anticipate that life will get worse before it gets better. Grief is a process though and even after all the unknowns around our family member's situation are resolved it could be a while before life goes back to normal.

If you are facing similar challenges, remember to be kind to yourself and focus on what you can control. Eat well, exercise even if only a short walk, and lean into your friends and support network. Go to counseling. Talk to your primary care doctor about what's going in your life. Consider medication--but only if you know you can take it safely and carefully.

And, if you are so overwhelmed that you are having dark or dangerous thoughts, get help immediately. Call your doctor's office. If you are thinking of hurting yourself or others, go to the Emergency Department for immediate help or call a suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Take care of yourself so that you are able to take care of your family. Sometimes, it's ok to put yourself first. 

And, if you have any good tips on coping with grief while parenting, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What do you do when life is completely overwhelming?

Mom2MomEd Blog: What do you do when life is completely overwhelming?
Just as McKenzie and I were starting to get back into the swing of things with Mom2MomEd, I got blindsided by one emergency and then another. And, that's after finally fully recovering from my own health crisis. 

I'm not ready to dive into details about the family emergencies, but I do want to talk about how I'm handling life right now.

It hasn't been particularly pretty...

After returning home from an out-of-state emergency, I hardly slept at all and had to work three 12-hour shifts. And, of course, my dogs were freaking out after not having me at home for several days, and I'm sure they picked up on my stress and exhaustion which only made them freak out more.

Then, I slept for almost three days straight through, only waking to use the bathroom, occasionally eat, and to take my dogs out to do their business.

And, my son has been picking up on my stress too and kind of acting more teenagery than usual (he's 18).

I had a brief moment of energy Tuesday and started to deep clean my kitchen and then went right back to bed, despite my best intentions to deep clean the bathroom and more of the kitchen.

Today is Wednesday, and I slept most of today too. I finally got up and started to get some stuff done in the mid-afternoon. I cleaned up a little bit of my living room, but wasn't able to get much done before a crisis erupted, requiring my immediate attention.

I. AM. EXHAUSTED. 
I. AM. FRIED.
I. AM. OVER. IT!

I've not been handling overwhelm very well lately, even with the help of counseling. I started going to counseling a couple of months ago, and it was helping a lot until the past couple of weeks. It feels like one problem just gets resolved and replaced with a bigger problem, and the bigger problems seem to be ones over which I have very little control.

And, when things start going wrong, my control freak comes out larger than life on the areas of life that I can control!

I just spent the last 20 minutes creating a medication schedule for a relative, organizing a meeting with several people involved in the second crisis, and making plans to organize several other things.

My already freakishly organized and color coded calendar is now in overdrive.
My son and I are working out a chores calendar.
I'm planning every freaking day of my summer as much as I can.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my therapist and to take my car in for service. I also plan to talk to a friend that needs to be looped in about crisis number two, and I need to make two doctor's appointments for myself.  I also have a ton of research to do regarding crisis number two.

So what do I do when life gets completely overwhelming? I let my inner mama bear come roaring out. She is a planner, a doer, a protector, a make-things-happen-in-the-face-of-the-impossible kind of woman. But, she also can tire herself out easily.

I'm hoping to get help from a group of friends and the local medical community, possibly also from a local charity that deals with crisis number two (sorry to be vague). 

If there's one thing I know, it's that you can't handle every crisis alone, and I've got more than one going on at a time. 

I need help.


Everyone needs help at one time or another.

How do you handle it when life completely overwhelms you?
If you are feeling overwhelmed too, know that you aren't alone. Check out these other posts about how McKenzie and I deal with the various stresses in life:
http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2017/04/words-from-serial-procrastinator.html
http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2016/07/5-self-care-ideas-for-busy-moms.html
http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2017/03/adulting-trying-not-to-freak-out.html

And, of course, check out our Etsy shop for printable lunchbox notes, meal planning sheets, and more:
http://mom2momed.etsy.com

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Words from a serial procrastinator

Mom2MomEd Blog: Words from a serial procrastinator
I've been meaning to write a new blog post for three months now. It's not that I haven't had a single spare moment or the desire to do so. It's that I'm a serial procrastinator and just can't seem to get anything done lately. 

I envy those of you that are organized, efficient, and on top of your game.

I'm a hot mess.
I can pull most things together flawlessly at the last minute, but sometimes too many things pile up and I can't do anything. 
Literally anything.

Guess where I've been? Over here, just doing nothing......

Well, not exactly.

I've been teaching full time, grading papers, working at my au pair job, raising two kids, tending to a husband who has been knocked around for about six months or so, studying for two big tests, and "meaning" to do a lot of other things.

Dinners have been pizza, tacos, and anything easy. I feel so unhealthy from my poor eating habits and not having time to go for daily walks. Fresh air alone is medicine for my soul. I have the best of intentions and then snap....the day is gone. It's dinner, bath and bedtime and boom.....guess who falls asleep while putting the kids to bed? 

Don't even get me started on how often my daughter sleeps in my bed just out of survival, so I don't die of sheer exhaustion.  (You can read about how "pleasant" my daughter can be at bedtime here.)

I realize it's one of those ebb and flows of life, but damnm it's uncomfortable for me.

As a self proclaimed control freak, it's really difficult for me to feel out of control, and I definitely internalize it more than I should. I turn into a huge introvert. It's not exactly easy being a introvert with two active and social kids.

So guess what I turn into next?

A crabby mommy. 

Yea! Please tell me I'm not the only one and that someone out there in the universe can relate?

I'm really trying hard to focus on the things that are going well right now....since I am way overdue on giving an update, I thought that now would be the perfect time to spell those out!

1. My kids still love me.
No matter how many times I'm cranky, irritable, and fake playing animals, they still tell me they love me, they hug me, and they think I'm the greatest thing in the world. Kids are wonderful for our self esteem, aren't they?

2. I finally got out in my yard this week and I can't wait to plant our garden. 
The kids and I talked about our garden plan, and they love the challenge of trying to buy no produce (that isn't necessary when you have a garden--just something we want to try!) at the grocery store. We're armed with a bag of seeds and some seedlings and can't wait to get back out there!

3. I'm taking my kids to Disneyland in a couple of days.
Yep, it feels a little crazy, but I can't wait! My parents are going too, and my husband is going to enjoy a few days home alone in a quiet house. (Oh my goodness, how I would DIE for that!) I'm fortunate to be able to do that though and I'm going to enjoy every minute of that chaotic magic.

4. My husband is on my team. 
We aren't perfect, we argue, get irritated, we say things we don't mean, but we don't give up on each other. I'm thankful that I have a strong guy who lives this life with me. Not to mention that our kids are lucky to have him too!

5. I'm alive. 
Some days that is just enough. I'm walking, breathing, I have a fridge full of food, a closet full of clothes, and a house full of family. I definitely don't take the time often enough to really just be thankful. I realize how lucky I am, and I take it for granted way too often.

I had a million thoughts flowing through my head when I sat down to write this post and kept saying to myself "don't admit you're a hot mess....fake it until you make it." Right at this moment though, I don't have the energy to even fake it. 

Life is busy, life is messy and life is crazy. 

I'm not the only person/woman/mom who gets stressed out, overwhelmed or who procrastinates until it's paralyzing (right???). When Malea and I started Mom2MomEd, we decided we'd be real, no matter what. And, sometimes real is messy.

How about you? How has life been chaotic for you lately? Are you a procrastinator? What can you find to be thankful for when life is too crazy?

If you enjoyed this post, we think you'll also like these articles:
 http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-real-moms-get-it-all-done.html
 http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2016/11/20-ways-to-treat-your-fellow-moms.html
http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2017/03/adulting-trying-not-to-freak-out.html

And, be sure to check out our Etsy shop where you can find printable lunchbox notes, meal planning worksheets, family finance planning worksheets, and a whole lot more:
http://mom2momed.etsy.com

Friday, April 7, 2017

A fun, FREE typing program for children

Mom2MomEd: A fun, FREE typing program for children
I'm willing to bet that your children have quite a bit of experience using technology--even if they are only toddlers! They've probably already spent some time typing on a keyboard and can likely navigate a tablet almost as well as (or maybe even better!) you.

But, when your child is plucking away on a keyboard, are they just pecking at the keys or letters and numbers with their pointer fingers? If so, you might want to start encouraging them to develop proper typing skills.

Why does this matter?

In the many years that I have been a tutor and teacher, I've noticed that the kids who learn to type properly are able to complete their work more quickly and with fewer mistakes. They also are able to process information mentally more efficiently because they don't have to waste mental energy on the act of typing--they free up brain power for learning. They also develop a skill than will help them in any number of future endeavors ranging from simply playing a game online with friends to writing an important report at work. 

I taught my son, JP, to type at age 5 and now, at age 18, his typing speed is well over mine. We both took typing tests last week, and my speed was 94 words per minute after adjusting for errors. Pretty good, right? My son blew me away with an adjusted typing speed of nearly 120 words per minute!

So, how did I teach him to type properly?

We used a little online program called Dance Mat Typing. This is a completely free, fully online typing program from BBC Bitesize, an educational website from the BBC. The program is fun and cute with lots of little animals and sound effects. 
Your kids will learn which keys should be pressed with which fingers, and where their hands should sit on the keyboard. They can practice a number of drills, starting with super simple combinations and working their way up through a few different levels.
Now, Dance Mat Typing is not a comprehensive typing program and does leave a lot to be desired, but overall it's a great starting point! I had my son start out with just a few minutes per day, repeating several segments over the course of several days, and eventually he was able to learn the key strokes and correct typing skills. From there, he was able to start using a computer keyboard properly and his speed and overall typing skills increased at a fast rate, naturally, since he had the basics nailed down.

Here are a few additional screen shots of the program:
You can check out Dance Mat Typing HERE. Be sure to come back and let us know what you think of it and if your kids benefit from it! 
Did you enjoy this post? Check out these additional articles:
http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2016/07/parenting-my-spirited-child-can-you.html


Friday, March 31, 2017

Adulting: Trying not to freak out over an abnormal medical exam

Adulting: Trying not to freak out after an abnormal medical exam
The past several months have been ROUGH!

R. O. U. G. H!

McKenzie and I have been working on Mom2MomEd as much as we can, but you may have noticed a significant drop off in our blogging lately...sooooo much has been happening for both of us!

I've mentioned a few times that my uncle is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor and that my mom's memory is declining. On top of both of those, I was admitted to the hospital for three days back in November for a partial bowel obstruction.

Well, my bowel obstruction seems to have reversed itself--the consulting surgeon thought it would and wanted to be conservative in his care--but I'm still having tons of pain and nausea every day. I've been seeing a great gastroenterologist, but medication and non-surgical options aren't helping at all. (I wrote briefly about it in THIS post about what a colonoscopy is REALLY like.)

And, because the health insurance I have right now is the best I've had in the last eight years, I figured I might as well get on top of things and get all of my annual routine exams taken care of, including my annual lady exams--a gyno exam and breast exam. My gynecologist is incredibly nice and put me at ease right away and, thankfully, my clinical breast exam and pap smear exam were totally normal and lab results for my cholesterol levels and thyroid function were excellent. And, even though guidelines vary and I could wait until I'm a bit older to have a mammogram, my gynecologist recommended that I get one now since I was adopted and don't know my biological family's medical history.

For the normal test results I've had so far, I've been thrilled! WooHoo! I'm doing GREAT other than this belly problem!

Those results felt like small victories given the health issues myself, my uncle, and my mom have been having!

But then...

My GI doctor suggested that I follow up with the surgeon I had seen when I was admitted several months back and that surgeon thought I should see someone a bit more specialized. All three doctors suggested that I have surgery--a right hemicolectomy, in other words, surgery to remove at least part of the colon.

I'm not thrilled about the prospect of this surgery, but I agreed to it because my symptoms aren't improving and there is a real risk of a major medical disaster in the future if I don't have the surgery.

So, I made an appointment to go back to the original surgeon to talk about scheduling the procedure and how to prepare. That same day, guess what? I got called by the mammogram clinic and told I had to come back.

My mammogram had an abnormality and I would need additional x-rays and an ultrasound.

Now, logically, I know that the likelihood that something is actually wrong is pretty low. There is a quite high chance that this is nothing and I'm totally fine.

But, honestly? How easy is it to be totally logical when you get news like that???

I'm freaking out a little bit inside.

I met with my surgeon later that day and told him about the abnormal result and that I was scheduled for follow-up imaging, and he reassured me that this is likely nothing and he is sure I'll get a clean bill of health.

Yet, I couldn't let it go.

I persisted and asked him if the additional tests showed that something IS wrong and I needed a biopsy or something, would he be able to do that in the same visit as for my surgery. He said yes.

My additional tests for the abnormal mammogram aren't for a few more days and I'm trying to remain calm.

At work today, I had some downtime and researched abnormal mammogram statistics and I'm a little bit--but only a little--reassured that it's actually fairly normal to be called back after a first mammogram. Why? Primarily because it's a first mammogram--there are no other images or exams to compare the x-rays to, so the radiologist must be meticulous in looking at the images for any sign of an abnormality. One article I read even compared breast tissue to being like a fingerprint--no two ladies have truly similar breasts, making the job that much harder for radiologists so they tend to be overly cautious.

I'm trying not to freak out.
I'm trying to remind myself that the odds are very much in my favor.
I'm trying to remember that even if something is actually abnormal, I have a great team of doctors and exceptional health insurance--many are not so lucky.

How do you handle news like this? Have you had an abnormal mammogram or other test in the past? How did you handle it and what happened?

Edited to add: It's been a while since I initially wrote this post and I've had both my abdominal surgery and my follow-up breast imaging. Sure enough, the abnormality in my breast exam was NOTHING! It was a small little cyst! Whew! I feel so much better having that confirmed!


And, my abdominal surgery seems to have been successful so far! I'm pretty much pain free other than a little tenderness around the surgical incisions and feeling tired if I try to do too much in a day. I'm bouncing back and am sure I'll be back to normal in no time!
Did you enjoy this post? If so, check out these other great articles:
http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2016/07/parenting-my-spirited-child-can-you.html

http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2016/07/5-self-care-ideas-for-busy-moms.html

http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2016/11/20-ways-to-treat-your-fellow-moms.html

While you're at it, we'd love to invite you to go shopping on Etsy:
http://mom2momed.etsy.com

Thursday, February 23, 2017

We unintentionally unplugged and....no one died!

Mom2MomEd Blog: We unintentionally unplugged and...no one died!
Hey there...it's been a while.  I have some serious stories to tell and I can't wait to share all of the crazy and exciting things that have been going on in my life.

But first.....a few weeks ago I got hit with a triple whammy. It was pretty much my worst nightmare come true.

Let me quickly fill in some gaps that may be helpful for you to get the full effect of my chaotic weeks!  I have been subbing at my son's school (read about how much I love his school here) and it has turned into a longer term position.  That's great and I love it.

BUT....it's teaching kindergarten AND first grade.

You teachers will know that means!

Basically, it means that I'm spending all of my time with walking, talking petri dishes. Of course, a few weeks after I started working full time, my class was hit with the most horrendous strain of stomach bug that I've ever encountered! For several days in a row, I had only 50-percent of my class present, with the rest dropping like flies throughout the day.

Since I'm a mom and I can't help myself, I was running around checking foreheads and giving cuddles while my young wards waited for their parents to pick them up. And, I was letting them sit close to me during circle time. Needless to say, I got the bug too. I am no baby when I'm sick and I can tough it out 99% of the time.

Not this time!

I was bedridden with a high fever for a few days.
I smelled like putrid sweat and filth and barely did anything to even mask my odor.
I didn't play with my kids.
I didn't join my family for meals.

I literally laid in bed and occasionally shuffled out to the kitchen or the bathroom--only under emergency circumstances, of course.

The week before, I almost died from the this virus (seriously, that's how it felt), my family changed internet providers. They were supposed to come out within two days to hook up our new service, so we cancelled our old service, figuring we could manage for two days without an internet connection.

Guess what?

They changed our hook up date to two weeks later. Yes.....TWO WEEKS! I can't even explain to you how frustrated we all were.

By the time I almost died from the bug going around and was stuck in bed, we had no internet and guess what happened next? 

My phone ran out of data.
Seriously.
No data. No internet.

In bed, feeling like I was dying.

Of course, that all was super stressful and I almost had a panic attack. We're all so connected to our phones, tablets, and computers that I couldn't fathom how we could possibly survive.

Our sweet neighbors let us use their wi-fi, but the connection was so weak that it was more frustrating than helpful.

So we toughed it out.

The kids couldn't watch PBS kids. We couldn't check e-mail or Facebook. I couldn't prepare for my days as a teacher, communicate with Malea, or do any real work on Mom2MomEd.

I thought I'd spend most of the time mooching free internet at Starbucks, but I ended up going only twice for very short windows of time. 

In truth, there was something freeing about not checking my phone very often or absentmindedly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. I think it was easier because I wasn't trying to disconnect consciously--I literally had no choice.

I can honestly say that I didn't miss being connected as much as I thought I would. Don't get me wrong! I did miss the world of the internet and being connected 24/7, but through this period, my time on the internet had to be more planned out and calculated. I made sure to get what I needed to do done and not waste time screwing around. 

It did become glaringly obvious that it's impossible to completely disconnect in our world today. We rely so much on e-mail and Facebook and social media to keep in contact with our friends and our families, as well as to do our jobs and so much more.

While it was nice to have fewer distractions from electronics, I fully admit that I wouldn't ever disconnect willingly. My kids like their time watching a show on the tablet and this mama likes her short bursts of quiet time while the kids are occupied. It's relaxing to scroll through Facebook and I love reading the news online.

Have you ever intentionally or unintentionally disconnected from the internet? If so, how did that go? Did you notice any changes in your daily routine or mood? Would you do it again? Leave a comment! I can't wait to hear about your experiences with disconnecting!

http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2017/01/add-pets-to-your-family.html
http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-birth-story-and-birth-advocates.html

http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2017/01/family-financ-FPU-week-one.html

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Financial Peace University~*~Week TWO review

Mom2MomEd Blog: Financial Peace University~*~Week Two in Review
Last week, I wrote about starting Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU). Week one was a great confidence boost and fired me up to get debt free and financially stable once and for all! It was a great overview of why so many of us wind up in debt and often stay there.
Week two, was just as good!

In week two, Dave talks at length about the impact of money problems on relationships and why money fights so often lead to divorce. Most of week two was focused on couples and how to talk about money, the family budget, and so on. I had heard from a YouTuber that I follow that FPU is heavily focused on couples working their way out of debt together, so I was afraid that week two of Financial Peace University would hold little of value for me.

I was wrong!

Although I am not married or in a relationship at the moment, I still enjoyed the lessons on relating to your partner and to your money. I gleaned a few ideas on how to talk to my son about money as well. In week two, there was also a segment specifically about being single while on the journey to financial freedom.

I truly appreciated the approach to being single and in a financial mess as presented by Dave. He points out that single people trying to dig out of debt and to become financially free have some special challenges not faced by couples.

Namely, single people are trying to do this ALONE.

We need support just like people in relationships, but we are missing that counterpart and accountability partner. Our homework was, in part, to find accountability partners. Funnily, I had my annual lady exam and my gynecologist saw my Dave Ramsey book. Turns out she and her husband are doing FPU as well! It was a great way to break the ice as I'd never met this doctor before, and now we have a common bond.

But, I digress...

My dear friends, I hope that YOU, along with McKenzie, will step up and help me to stay accountable and on track! Posting about my FPU experience certainly will help, so please keep coming back and reading about my progress through FPU and towards my goals of financial freedom!

Week one's lesson was all about "super saving" and building up a starter emergency fund of $1,000. Well, I don't have a spare $1,000 lying about, but I did count out all the change in my coin bank last night and will set that aside as the base of my emergency fund. That's just shy of $20. I also applied for four part-time and on-call jobs to supplement my income. I have an interview with one of them on Monday. Any of the four would likely result in an extra $1,000 net monthly income which would--BOOM--give me that starter emergency fund!

As soon as you have your mini-emergency fund saved, you get to move on to baby step two in the Dave Ramsey plan: paying off all non-mortgage debt. I did send a little debt payment last week as I owe a friend some money. This friend saved my butt during a vacation that went wrong and I owed her a little over $600. I have gotten that down to $300! I'm super stoked to be more than halfway towards paying her back!

(Can you tell I spent my teen years growing up in California? I'm STOKED, y'all!)

At the end of each reading assignment associated with FPU are several reflection questions. This week, the one that stood out for me was "In what ways could stress and fatigue impact your financial plan? Give specific examples."

That reflection question is so timely for me! As a single mom, I feel stressed ALL. THE. TIME. Even when things are going well, part of me is stressed and worried. I think all moms (and dads) feel that way at times, but Dave mentions that single parents often feel a different type of stress since pretty much everything is on our shoulders with no one to help share in it all. 

I've been pretty stressed out lately due to my uncle's cancer diagnosis (see point 4 in THIS post...I also mention Dave Ramsey in the same post), but lately, I am even more stressed out due to a health problem of my own that has lingered for a few months now and suddenly has become worse after a very brief respite.

Plus, I'm under a lot of pressure from certain family members to "light a fire" under my son and to get him motivated (more on realistic expectations and marching to your own drum in another post). Add in recent stress at work (I can't really post about that situation though as I love my job and don't want to give anyone the wrong idea about anything), and the stress is just piling up!

And, on top of it all, it's *just me* trying to dig myself out of my huge amount of debt and to climb my way up Mt. Financial Freedom! I don't have a spouse or boyfriend to lean on. Most of my friends and relatives view debt as normal and most see it as a positive as it gives you a credit score (Dave has a lot to say about this!).

When I'm stressed out and tired, I don't spend time planning out my spending. I find myself grabbing expensive pre-made meals at the store or hitting a fast food drive thru. I spend cash at Starbucks instead of finding ways to earn a gift card to pay for my coffee. I cave in and buy junk food for my son.

I get lazy.

I have very few people around me other than a good friend in Phoenix, McKenzie, the friend that gifted FPU to me, and now my doctor, that are on board with the Dave Ramsey plan.

The lack of broad support is stressful...

It is hard to tell others who don't get what I'm doing or why I'm doing it that I can't go out to lunch, I can't drive across town just to say hello, I can't just go shopping, I can't stop for Starbucks without a gift card. 

I can't, in good faith, do things that keep me from my goals of debt freedom and financial stability.

I want to be debt free and financially stable so I can live my life like no one else--to learn more about that, be sure to check out my book review of Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Dave Ramsey's daughter, Rachel Cruze.

Are you following a Dave Ramsey inspired path towards financial freedom? How has it been for you? Be sure to share in a comment!
Curious about Financial Peace University, but not ready to take the class? You can still read the associated book, Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money. Just click HERE or click on the picture to buy it on Amazon.
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And, be sure to check out these additional great articles and blog posts:

http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/search?q=financial+peace+university

http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2016/10/book-review-love-your-life-not-theirs.html


http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-birth-story-and-birth-advocates.html


http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-real-moms-get-it-all-done.html


http://mom2momed.blogspot.com/2016/10/5-reasonswhy-you-need-downtime.html


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