Category Archives: Single Parenting

10 secrets about your kids and divorce

My sister shared with me this little bit of advice when I was first going through my divorce: “There are two sides of every divorce – yours and sh**head’s.” On that, there are two kinds of divorces out there. The really ugly ones, and the ones that are just pretty bad. Ok, there are ones that are completely friendly and even resemble something like a friendship. It’s rare, but it does happen (i.e. Mr. W and his ex. Yes, he’s perfect. Yes, it’s sickening). But for the most part, divorces are not what you would call pretty. And I think it’s safe to say no divorce feels good. Let’s put it this way:  the person you once loved more than anyone in the whole world, who knows every single thing about you – from what makes you tick, to what your biggest pet peeves are, to what pushed buttons will set you off – has now become your biggest nemesis. And they hold all those gifts you once trusted to them as their own personal weapons to bring you down. And it’s not like you’re the innocent here, either. You have all the same weapons at your disposal to hurl at them with full force. Fueling the fire are a whirlwind of hurts and broken promises, as well as the knowledge that all hopes and dreams made together are suffering a painful death alongside a marriage that was supposed to be forever. Add in the reasons for the divorce in the first place, and you have a tiny World War 3 unfolding in a courtroom.

And I haven’t even mentioned the kids yet.

I have seen countless marriages crumble to the ground, the former husband and wife battling it out against each other, forgetting there are innocent bystanders standing in the crossfire. And every single insult or retort they put in the holster of their broken hearted gun and fire, they are nicking the very beings they claim they’re doing their best to protect, and who the battle is supposedly for in the first place.

It’s not like I’m free from guilt here.

In the beginning of my divorce, I had a really hard time remembering the very person I felt betrayed by was also my kids’ father. The way I viewed him was completely different from the way they saw him through their eyes. And I had to teach myself ways to keep my own personal opinions about him to myself.

The best way I could do this was to separate the person that was my ex from the person that was my kids’ father.  And it also meant that when it came to speaking about him in front of my kids, I could only speak FACT. If any sentence wasn’t something that could be printed in an Encyclopedia, it was better kept for times when they were out of earshot, or never spoken aloud at all.

And no, “Your father is a jerk” cannot be considered a biographical fact.

Let me divulge several secrets.

First secret – Your children have two parents. And they love both of them. Their father may have cheated on you. He may have lied to you up and down. Your wife may have spent every penny you had, or never gave you any sign of appreciation. That is not your children’s concern. That is YOURS.

Second secret – Your children do not share the same kind of relationship with your ex as you do. Even if he was the worst husband in the world, or she was the worst wife in the world, that person is still your children’s other parent. And even if your marriage is ending, the fact that they have another parent does not change.

Third secret – The relationship your children have with each parent will affect the adult they will one day become. If they have a bad relationship with their father, the kind of man your daughter chooses or man your son will grow up to be will be affected negatively. If they have a bad relationship with their mother, your son and daughter may also suffer in their life choices. But if they have a good relationship with their father and mother, it affects their adult choices positively. It’s actually best to encourage a healthy relationship between your children and their other parent.

Fourth secret – If you keep your children away from their other parent, they will resent YOU. Let me state that this does not apply to dangerous situations with another parent. But in normal divorces, a child MUST have access to each parent whenever possible. After all, it was YOUR divorce, not theirs.

Fifth secret – if there is some sort of character flaw in your ex-spouse, your children will figure it out on their own. They do not need your help finding it. First of all, if you are telling them what is wrong with their mother, they will defend her to the death. Second, you will have taken away their ability to form their own conclusion. Not only that, disparaging your children’s other parent will actually have the opposite effect – they won’t hate them, they’ll hate YOU. Kids are smart. And they see through a lot of the bull we tend to be blind to.

Sixth secret – Your children are wonderful. Every single part of them. After all, they’re made up of parts of you. But they are also made up of parts of their other parent. When you disregard their other parent, you are disregarding a part of them. And it will make them question if you really love them, or only the parts that remind you of yourself. How fair is that?

Seventh secret – The majority of your opinion about your ex-spouse is influenced by the anger you feel towards them. After all, they were once wonderful enough to make children with. Remember this if you ever need to speak about your children’s other parent in front of your kids.

Eighth secret – Your ex will move on. And your children may love this new person. And they may hate her. That is not for you to decide. Your marriage to their father is over. If your ex chooses to have a new partner in their life, your child should be allowed to develop a relationship with her without you interfering.  Again, this is only in regards to the most normal of situations, and not one that is dangerous.

Ninth secret – Your children are not your spouse. I know that sounds weird, so let me explain. They are not the keeper of your secrets. They are not to be confided in over worries or fears regarding the other parent, being single, or any other adult feelings that they are too young to absorb. Your children are your CHILDREN. It’s not fair to burden them with anything that will keep them up at night.

Tenth secret – YOU WILL BE FINE. So will your kids. Divorce is not the end of the world. Your kids will survive. You will survive. Sure, it’s not the path you chose when you first started out. But it does mean that a new path has been realized. Rather than standing in one spot, looking back at what was just given up, start looking forward to how to make things good. This is the BEST way for your child to grow up healthy – by seeing their parent pick themselves up in times of adversity and keep on going.

The ghosts that haunt

My ex is not my favorite person in the world. In fact, while I no longer harbor resentments against him in any regards towards the demise of our marriage, I also do not sit here and think friendly, loving thoughts towards him. I am not sitting here putting daggers in the voodoo doll of his memory either. I just don’t give him a thought at all. Let’s get that out of the way right now.

I divorced him for a reason, and I am very happy not being married to him.

I also do not speak much about him, neither here nor in my real life. He is my kids’ father, and I respect that. And when he is mentioned, it is because my kids have brought him up and want to talk about him – about their excitement to visit him, about missing him when they can’t see each other, or about an issue they’re having, etc. I have separated the lines between his role as my ex-husband and his role as my kids’ father. As far as I’m concerned, my ex-husband is dead. Yup, it was awful – by some flesh eating bacteria that rendered him pretty much unrecognizable. My kids’ father is alive and well, and a very real part of my kids’ lives. I can deal with my kids’ father. But my ex-husband is decaying in the ground as we speak, and every now and then I go and dance on his grave.

However, just when I think that I’m rid of the body his ghost comes back and haunts me, affecting me in ways of letting me know that maybe I do harbor some residual effects from being in a bad marriage. And just the simplest forms of animosity between us send me in a tailspin, mixed with emotions of fear, anger, loathing and resentment. And I find myself sick to my stomach over someone who isn’t even a part of my personal life anymore, but who will be a part of my life one way or another through our children – for the rest of our lives. And above all, it makes me upset to know that even when I have physically moved on with my life – through love, career, and picking up the pieces that were shattered in the beginning – I will never be free from the hurt and pain and every other negative feeling that comes from a bad marriage.

I will never be free from him.

Our conversation the other night didn’t go well. Or I should say, it didn’t end well when I found myself on the end of a phone with a dial tone, his last word given before he hung up and prevented any further words from me. It came without warning, no tense conversation to precede it. He had been done talking, and so I should have been too. And I don’t know about you, but for me being hung up on is by far the worst way to gain my favor. It made my blood boil. And in that moment, I hated every single part of him in an anger that only he can bring out in me. And the fact that he had that much power over me and my emotions only made me angrier.

And yet, even while fuming mad at my ex, I had to somehow address the infractions the kids had committed while at his house. Part of me felt like letting it lie. After all, whatever wrongs they did were at his house, not mine. From what he told me, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. And besides, I didn’t call him whenever something went wrong here. I just dealt with it. So why did I have to deal with these things when they were at his house, when his complaints felt more like tattling than an effort to deal with it together?

“While at my house, YOUR kids did this….”

And truth be told, a big part of me felt like “GOOD, glad to hear our kids are paying you back for every time you have been a jerk to me.” And being that he had just hung up on me, that feeling was a bit overwhelming. But on the other hand, since I am the primary parent, I am the main guardian in charge of molding these kids into the adults they are to become. And this is where separating my ex from their father had to take place.

Of course, it had to wait until I had put some time and space between the phone call, as well as a bit of time to talk smack out of the kids’ earshot. But once done, I sat each of the kids down and we went over behaviors they should be exhibiting with a parent, or any adult for that matter. And then I kissed each of them goodnight, turned off the lights, and retreated to my room where I pulled out a little tiny voodoo doll and tortured it a little before I fell asleep.

Being frugal

As a single mom, money is on the top of my list of things to think about on a daily basis. You could say that I obsess about it. I balance my checkbook every day, and am never off in my money assessment. I know how much free money I have, and how much I am not allowed to touch so that my responsibilities are taken care of throughout the month. I wish it were different, that I could spend money without abandon and never have to worry about what I will have to give up from my grocery shopping list if I buy a cheap pair of gloves to keep my hands warm. But it’s also a reality. Do I consider myself unfortunate? Hardly. I am lucky to have a home to live in, money to buy groceries, the ability to afford my bills, and enough leftover at the end of the month to add to my savings. There are many families out there that have way less. But our household does live on a tight budget to make things work, and I wish to pass some of the tips we’ve learned your way.

1. Know your balance. I’m not just talking about what your bank account says you have, I’m talking about what your true balance is. Write down every single thing that comes out of your checking account as soon as you spend it. At the end of every week (or more often, if need be), cross check your expenses with what has cleared through the bank. This will help you catch any expenses you may have forgotten to include in your balance. It will also help you be aware of everything you are spending money on.

2. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it. Paying with a credit card because you do not have the cash on hand does not get you out of paying the bill. You just have to pay it later, with additional interest applied. In the long run, paying with credit is actually more expensive. And it also opens up the possibility of never being able to pay it, ruining your credit. I do not own a credit card. I live solely on the money I currently have, and that’s it. If you find yourself whipping out the card to buy yourself a new pair of jeans, question whether it really matters if you buy them now, or wait until you have the money in hand.

3. Map out your bills. My job pays me twice a month. The paycheck I get in the middle of the month is dedicated to all of my bills, grocery and gas money for the entire month, and a little to put in savings. The paycheck at the end of the month is dedicated to the next month’s rent. Before I allow myself any “free” money, I subtract all of the bills I have to pay with that paycheck. That way, if I’m ever “broke”, I at least know that my bills will be paid.

4. Savings. You’ll notice that I keep referring to my savings. I cannot stress this enough – save your money! Instead of eating out, buying coffee, or enhancing your wardrobe, throw your extra money into your savings account. I have gotten so that putting money in my savings feels just like spending it on something fun. I know the money is there if an emergency comes up. It’s also good for expensive events that are coming around the corner – like birthdays and the holidays.

5. Pack your lunch, and make your coffee at home. Sure, that $6 lunch or that $3 coffee isn’t very much to spend in one sitting. But if you’re doing this on a daily basis, how much is it costing you? About $200 a month! It’s so much cheaper just to keep a steady supply of coffee beans and lunch meat at home for your daily food needs than it is to indulge in a bite out to eat. Plus, the lessened caloric intake from a brown bag lunch will go easier on your waistband.

6. Make dinner, and lots of it! Eating out at night is even more expensive than lunches during the day. It costs so much less to just make sure that your fridge is always properly stocked. And if you create larger meals, you can have dinner for the next two or three nights. Our family loves the Crockpot for this very reason. It’s easy to create a large meal with very little prep involved. Dinner is ready when you get home from work. And there’s enough to stretch the meal over several dinners. Get your family used to leftovers, or just learn how to creatively disguise leftovers so it seems like something different every night.

7. Find alternatives to fun. Want to go to the movies? Rent a movie instead. In desperate need of a manicure? Do it yourself at home with your girlfriends. Need some new clothes? Consider consignment or thrift shops (btw, I totally scored on a cute skirt and shirt outfit for a total of $6 the other day, and no one was the wiser that it was secondhand). Itching for a gym membership? Spring Lake has some awesome hills that will work those quads in no time. Just because you are pinching pennies does not mean you have to give up on having fun. You just have to be frugally creative about it.

8. Nix the bills that you don’t really need. PG&E is a must, so you can’t give that one up. But there are other bills you should think over about whether they are really necessary or not. For us, we decided against a cable bill. Sure, it sucks sometimes not having a TV to tune out with. But it was the least important of all our needs, so we live without it. Is there a bill you are paying for something you could live without?

What are some ways that you are being frugal to stretch your income?

Halloween for the divorced family

Don't bum her out this Halloween.

While Halloween is probably the least stressful of shared custody holidays, there is still the dilemma regarding who gets to see the kids all dressed up for the night, and who will be missing their kids that night.  And the parent missing out can become even more bummed by the constant ringing of the doorbell from other kids trick-or-treating. But because it’s at the start of the holiday season, this is actually a great holiday to set a precedent on how holidays will be dealt with so that the kids are happy, and for you and your ex to come to an agreement you both can live with.

How to have a successful split Halloween:

–    It’s not about you.  First and foremost, and I can’t stress this enough, is that Halloween is about the kids – NOT YOU OR THEIR OTHER PARENT. The kids want both parents involved, and that isn’t always the easiest thing to make happen. Fighting about who has the kids that night is NOT making the holiday about the kids, it’s making it about YOU. So do whatever you can to come to a quick agreement. If this is not an easy decision, make sure the kids are not around as you make it. 
–    Split up the holidays.  The most common way to split up the holidays is to do an “every other” approach. One of you gets them for Halloween, the other for Thanksgiving, then switch back for Christmas/etc, and so on. The following year, switch it up so that each parent has the opposite holiday they had the previous year. It’s straight forward, even, and fair. And there is very little discussion needed to implement this plan.
–    Dole out the responsibilities.  Share the excitement by splitting the prep work for the holiday. One parent can prepare the kids costumes, the other gets to take them out Halloween night.  On the other hand, let the parent foot the bill for Halloween if they get the privelege of trick-or-treating with them.  Saving money does make a bummer of a situation feel better….
–    Plan a party!  If it’s your ex who gets them Halloween night, plan a fun pre-Halloween party for your kids and their friends so that you get a chance to share in the festivities with them.
–    Trick-or-treat together.  If you and your ex get along (and I mean REALLY get along, not just on the surface), both of you can take them trick-or-treating. There is no steadfast rule that once broken up, you can’t do things with the kids that involves both parents. Of course, watch your behavior around each other by keeping your main focus on the kids and not on each other – if there is no chance of reconciliation between the two of you, you don’t want to give your kids false hope.
–    Trick-or-treat at your house.  Have your ex stop by your house so that the kids can ring your doorbell for candy. Or vice-versa if it’s you who has the kids. This way the kids have a chance to show off their costume to both parents.
–    Record the occasion.  If it’s impossible for one of the parents to see the kids in person, take a photo or video of them and send it to that parent, letting the kids add their own personalized message.

Things NOT to do:

–    Do not make the kids choose who they will be staying with. Think about it…  By asking them whose house they’d rather go to, you are basically asking, “Who do you like spending time with the most?” or “Who do you like best?”  Totally uncool.  This puts a heavy burden on their shoulders, deciding who they will make happy, and whose feelings they will hurt. A decision like this is only meant to boost your ego, and is completely unfair to the kids. It’s less stressful for the kids if the adults handle the decision of who gets the kids for the night.
–    Don’t stay home.  If you are the one without the kids that night and know that you will be sad about it, don’t stay home to pass out candy. Occupy your time by going to a fun adult’s only Halloween party. Hang out with a few friends. Treat yourself to a movie – scary or not. Do anything to keep you from feeling sad about not having your kids that night, and avoiding trick-or-treaters at all costs!
–    Don’t let your children know how bummed you are that they won’t be with you. Instead, amp them up by reminding them how much fun they will have trick-or-treating, taking the focus off of their not being with you. If they think you’re going to be upset, it takes away from their fun that night as they worry about you being lonely or sad.  Their Halloween’s main focus should be on dressing up and collecting the most candy, not on your feelings.

This is the rough part about being divorced – missing out on important events, like holidays with your kids.  Unfortunately, this is a reality that comes along with divorce.  And it’s a reality you have to adapt to.  But trust me when I say that, while it will never be your vision of perfection, it does get easier to handle. 

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Being a teen mom

I started family life at a relatively young age. I first found out I was pregnant at 19 years old, was married by 22, and finished my family planning by 23 when I had my son. And at 26 I was divorced. I had cycled through a whole lifetime in a matter of years, and before any of my friends had even thought about settling down. But that was ok. While it was tough in those first years as a young parent learning on the job, I was glad that I wasn’t beating down that biological clock that was just starting to tick for my friends by their late 20’s. Been there, done that, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt, a bigger food bill, and some amazing kids to raise on my own.

Thing is, that biological clock doesn’t just magically go away – even if I had experienced it all already.

Now I am 32. My daughter is closing in on 13, my son almost to double digits. Their father is absent once again, and for the moment we are working on that reality being a part of our norm. I am dating a wonderful man with an amazing son. And this man is kinder to me and my kids than any man has ever been to us. We are all happy in this life that has settled down to something as comfortable as a favorite sweater on a winter’s day by the fire. And while nothing is perfect, this is pretty damn close to it.

But at 32, my friends are all at that age where new love is blooming. And that love is solidified by numerous announcements of wedding plans. Gorgeous ceremonies take place, my friends enveloped by white and taking those first steps with their new husband, love radiating from their eyes. And a year or two after those celebrations, a new announcement is made. Their family of two is about to become three.

Having just gone to another beautiful wedding this past weekend, it’s hard to describe the feelings that go along with taking part in this joy. Of course there is happiness. You watch your friend experience something that you once took part of, and you know exactly what they are feeling. You are excited for them, remembering those first years of being a part of a union that seemed unbreakable. You remember what it was like to be only two, and then suddenly be three, and then one day, four. But when your own version of this fairy tale took place and ended in the last 10 years, wistfulness is an underlying tone in this happiness. And in my case, the fairy tale version of how a marriage and family planning is supposed to be didn’t exactly match the reality.

My teenage pregnancy meant shame, especially since the father and I were on the rocks already. Friends came to me and strongly suggested adoption, even abortion. I fought against it. The father and I reconciled, but I was living without him in my parents’ house when I had the baby at 20. We didn’t move in together until she was 4 months old. And we didn’t marry until she was 18 months. I wore a purple dress, a choice made mostly because, let’s face it, the jig was up. The wedding was perfect, exactly how I wanted it to be. But I admit that it was an unextravagant wedding on purpose, as I already had a child and we were already living as a family. Our funds were dedicated to the family that was already created. Paying for a huge wedding was not in any of our means, and would have been too ridiculously frivolous.

In essence, by becoming pregnant young and marrying out of necessity, I had robbed myself of so much. I robbed myself of my youth, as I was nursing a baby while my friends lived it up in their glory days. I robbed myself of that innocent excitement of wondering what it would be like to live with this new person following our wedding, just the two of us. I missed out on the joy of discovering that we would be welcoming a baby into the world, a baby that was planned – or even a joyfully unexpected surprise that was happening when it was supposed to. I missed out on family planning at the same time as all my friends, being able to compare and contrast notes as our babies grew together. And at 32, while my kids are at that halfway point between baby and being out on their own, my friends are all just starting out on their own adventures. And while I am happy for them, it gives me that feeling reminiscent of a biological clock ticking.

Don’t get me wrong, I would never change the way things are. I am so in love with my kids that sometimes it feels like my heart is going to jump out of my chest for them. My daughter is a carbon copy of me, almost as tall and with a better sense of humor than I ever had. My son is growing into a young man that I am incredibly proud of. And in both of them, I can see the adults they are going to be – so much clearer than I could see when they were just babies. I can relax into parenthood now, at the young age of 32. While my friends are gearing up for labor, suffering sleepless nights, and chasing around toddlers, I get to hang out with my kids and share the household duties with them. And when their kids get to that stage, I will be in my early 40’s and experiencing the quiet of an empty nest.

But when I speak to my daughter about the life cycle, marriage, and family planning, I stress the importance of waiting. And it’s the best advice I could give to any teen that is starting to feel like a baby will be the answer to all their problems. Yes, a baby will give you joy. But with that joy, a lot of life will be sacrificed. And you won’t realize the full extent of all you missed out on until years later when your biological clock rewinds and haunts you with that damn incessant ticking.

Single mom seeks help

Every now and then a reader emails me a question that I could not possibly give an unbiased answer to. And so, with her permission, I am passing her email off to all of you – hoping that you may have some advice for a single mom in quite a predicament.

—–

Hi Crissi,

I have been divorced from my sons’ father for 8 years. They are now 14 and 9. During our marriage, he was physically abusive to me and addicted to drugs and alcohol. After our divorce, he continued using drugs and abusing alcohol. The courts still mandated that we share legal and physical custody. It finally came to a head 4 years ago when he got drunk with the kids in his care, the police were involved, and he brandished a weapon on the cops. Needless to say, he was arrested. I was awarded full legal and physical custody, and he was not allowed visitation for 2 years. After that time was up, the kids were reintroduced to a relationship with their father through court-ordered supervised visitation, eventually turning back into unsupervised visitation. While I had my suspicions that he was still using, I had no proof. And it seemed like the kids were doing well in his care. It has been two years now since he re-entered the kids lives. Just two weeks ago, he got drunk again and attacked his own mother. He was arrested and is now in a yearlong rehab program. It was admitted that he never stopped using. And it’s apparent that he hasn’t changed, either.

My question is, what do I do? My personal feelings are that I want him out of our lives forever. I’m angry that he lied over and over, and that he has never taken responsibility for his addictions. I’m angry that we all worked so hard for this reunification to work, and now my kids may have to go through it all over again. And I have no faith that the rehab will do him any good this time. He tried several different programs the last time around, and lied about his progress. And I’m afraid he’ll do it again But I understand that I need to separate my personal feelings from what is best for our kids. My 14 year old son wants nothing to do with him. My 9 year old son cries and misses his dad. I just want my kids to have a predictable life they can depend on without the rollercoaster their father keeps putting them through. But I’m having a hard time seeing past my own resentments to come up with a solution towards future visitation. He’s been in rehab for 2 weeks now, and is already calling to talk to the kids. And I haven’t been able to answer the phone because I don’t know what to say.

Help!

-Confused Single Mom

The age of the boomerang

Art by the talented Gina Boyett

I posed a question recently: “Would you move back in with your parents if you had to?” and I received several very emphatic answers on the SR Mom Facebook page:

“H*** NO!”

“Never!”

and my personal favorite…

“Rather my mom, than my in-laws!”

Almost 7 years ago, I was faced with the same decision. I was packing up all the belongings of my house and consolidating them in the smallest amount of boxes possible. My father came and loaded everything into a trailer and the van. And the kids and I took our seats and were driven to our new home – or rather, a home that was very familiar to us.

The home of my childhood was about to become theirs too.

We are in the age of the boomerang, when grown-up children are moving back in with their parents, mostly for economic reasons due to job loss, divorce, and myriad different situations beyond their control. It was definitely an economic choice on my part. Having spent the past year as a stay-at-home mom, I had no means to support myself or my kids now as a divorcing woman. My parents were more than willing to take the kid and me in, putting us up in the largest room of the house. They had cleared it out completely, making room for my King size bed and their bunk bed.

Moving home definitely made life easier at a time when life was at its hardest, and it just made sense. But in doing so, I had to bite back a lot of pride. Now don’t get me wrong, when I made the decision to move back home I pretty much had nothing left. Pride was the last thing on my list of worries. But as I settled in, it became embarrassing to admit, as a mid-twenties woman with two children, that I was living at home with my parents. There is a prejudgment that goes along with an adult who moves back home with his or her parents. I felt like a failure already because I wasn’t instantly capable of being the head of our household, and I needed my family’s help to make it. And I knew that without them, I would be homeless.

The second part of the equation is that while I love my parents immensely, living with them totally changed the dynamics of our relationship. Suddenly I was a child again, and my kids were also like their children. There were different rules to abide by, stricter than what would have been in my house. And it became my parents’ say that ruled over mine. Of course, being that it was their house, their rules should be the ones to follow. But it blurred the lines over who was the parent of my kids. And it left me feeling powerless, and much like a rebellious teen. Not only that, you can imagine the frustration on my parents’ part with having to share their home with three other people, two of them being noisy kids who tend to leave messes wherever they go. My parents had raised their kids. And suddenly here they were, parents all over again. All of this caused a lot of strife between the folks and me.

As I neared the time of independence, the need to stretch my legs and have a space of my own was overcoming me. That need became so overwhelming that after 2 years in their home, I finally made the jump to start looking for a place to live. 6 months later, the kids and I were on our way out the door, moving on to a life brand new to us. We didn’t have a lot, but we had enough thanks to wonderful friends and my family who made sure that we were set to start off on our own. As a housewarming gift, one of my friends painted me a picture that said “Home is where your story begins.” The “home” she spoke of was the home I was moving into, the very first place I had ever lived as the sole adult. But now when I look at that painting, I see something different. My story began long ago when I was a child. Home was where I was taken care of by the two people who would have done anything to ensure my comfort and safety. And later in my adult years, that devotion didn’t change. They took me and my two kids in so that we could heal from something very traumatic, and get back on our feet. My parents’ home will always be my first home, the place where my story began.

Would I move back home now? “H*** NO!” Well, that’s not entirely true. I love my parents very much, but we get along much better when we have our own separate places to go home to. I can say with assurance that they agree with this sentiment. But there is no shame in biting back pride and boomeranging back into your parents’ home. For me, if the only choice were homelessness (after I had exhausted every single option – such as applying as a live-in deckhand on a cargo ship that bent the child labor laws), then yes, I would move back home again and share one cramped bedroom with my two tween kids.

As you can imagine, this has forced me to be extra, extra careful with paying all of my bills and rent on time.

How about you?  Would you move back in with your parents if you had to?  Has this decision already become a reality for you?  How’s it going?