Sickness Survival Kit

How To Survive Any Illness: The Sickness Survival Kit

Y’all, I recently went through hell.

Of course I don’t mean that literally. But I felt like my entire body had betrayed me. It started, innocently enough, as a slight fever and a headache. I thought it would be one of those “here today, gone tomorrow” types of illnesses.

Oh boy was I wrong! 

I had a non-stop fever for days.

Days, y’all! 

I don’t have time to be sick. I’m a single mom and when I’m sick, my entire life stops.

This recent illness kicked my butt! I was too sick to even go to the doctor. Luckily, I have some family in town and they made sure I didn’t need anything and that the kids had plenty of food. They mostly survived off of Pop-Tarts and cereal amongst other forms of junk food. That’s when I started thinking about the things we should keep on hand when sick. I’m going to call it the Sickness Survival Kit. Here is what I would put in mine:

Pop-Tarts, Cereal, and other “Feed Yourself!” foods

If it weren’t for Pop-Tarts, Lucky Charms, and Doritos, my kids may have starved while I was sick. That’s only a slight exaggeration. They may not be the healthiest foods, but they worked.

Don’t Forget Chicken Nuggets

Kids cannot live off of breakfast/cold foods alone. Even kids get tired of their favorite foods. If they are old enough to cook, then have something hot they can make themselves. Chicken nuggets is a huge step up from cereal for the 7th time today.

Cash

Seriously, you will need this to pay the delivery person who comes to bring your kids dinner for the 5th night in a row.

Extra Tylenol / Ibuprofen

During one of the first days I realized I was allergic to the tylenol I had on hand and ended up running out of Ibuprofen. Here I am, days into the sickness, finally feeling well enough for a shower.

Sidenote: This is the thermometer I use to track my fertility and menstrual cycles

Netflix / Streaming Video

When I wasn’t sleeping, I was watching Netflix. I have never binged watched so much TV in my entire life. I watched so much that I ran out of things to watch. It’s good to keep your options open.

Rok, our husky, enjoyed breaking the rules and getting on the bed with me. He watched the chickens while I watched Netflix.

Amazing Family

Between my mom and the kids’ grandpa, we didn’t lack anything. They came over, made my kids clean up the mess that was masquerading as my house, and even brought the kids food.

I’m glad to say that I am finally feeling better, though still have a headache. I’m waiting to hear from my doctor to see if the labs they ran showed anything. They said it could be a couple weeks. In the meantime, my kids are enjoying some proper home cooked meals, but would probably rather not be cleaning.

Update July 15th, 2017: Turns out that sickness was pretty bad! I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, one of the most severe tick borne illnesses there is with approximately a 20% mortality rate which drops to 5% if treatment is started within the first few days of illness. Luckily I was put on the exact medication needed and didn’t need to be hospitalized.

How Do I Do It? Physically? #singlemom #strength

How Do I Do It? Physically?

If you are a single mom then you have probably been told how “strong” you are. I don’t think they are referencing physical strength here, but let me tell you, it takes a physically strong mama to raise children by herself.

And I don’t mean able to bench press your weight strong, I mean, pushing your body past the limits strong.

You go to bed late.

You wake up early.

And in between, you hardly get a chance to rest.

From housework to school work, to YOUR work, there’s so much to do.

This is part two of a three part series “How Do I Do It?” You can see part one How do I do it financially? here.

How do I do it Physically - Single Mom Answers by Aduke Schulist

Find a Support System

I’m blessed to have family close by that my children love spending time with. It isn’t uncommon at all for Losh to wake up in the morning wanting to go to Pa’s house. His Pa is happy to take him and spend time with him, freeing up some of my day.

Losh and his Pa - spending time together

If you don’t have family near by, turn to friends, or even ask your local college for baby sitter recommendations.

Leave Messes

As much as I hate to, I often leave messes for a later time. Seriously, that sink of dishes really is going to be there later. And, a little laundry pile never hurt. I’m not saying leave your entire house a mess, but it’s okay to take a shower instead of doing dishes. Don’t feel like your house has to be spotless.

Prioritize

This one often goes along with cleaning for me. There’s no way I’m going to clean an area my children are playing in. Instead, I focus on the area that is not going to get messy again soon.

Other tasks are prioritized and the most important one is done first. This way, I don’t feel guilty when I choose to watch Netflix instead of doing those dishes.

SLEEP!

You need your sleep just as much as you need to stay up late getting things done. And I totally understand, I am a night owl too, but if I know I have something important the next day, then I make sure I get my sleep the night before.

When I can, I nap. I waited so many years for my kids to be old enough to not destroy the house – or each other – while I napped and now I take advantage of it. I once knew a mother who would leave her young child in a playpen so she should get some rest. At first I thought the idea sounded totally ridiculous, but when my kids got to that stage, I totally understood.

Energize Yourself

Find something that energizes you whether that’s coffee or exercise. As a Mormon, I struggle with giving up coffee. I do good for so long, but then exhaustion hits and I find myself pulling through that drive-thru anxiously waiting for the barista to hand me my iced caramel latte with non-fat milk.

Iced Caramel Latte with Non-fat Milk by Mountain Mudd in Searcy Arkansas

For some, energy may come from a long bubble bath, or reading a good book. Find what makes you energized and embrace it.

Have a Positive Attitude

Ever hear somebody say they “couldn’t handle” what you do or that they aren’t “strong enough” to handle it? Yeah. It annoys me too. It somehow implies that what we do isn’t desirable. I’ve never met a single mother who told me that she wasn’t strong enough or couldn’t handle her role as a single mom. There’s no test seeing how strong you are.

Once you are thrown into this club, you just do it.

The secret isn’t about being physically strong enough, it’s about your attitude. Having a positive attitude really defines you as a single mother. Sure, you could be bitter and hate life, but that doesn’t teach your children anything.

Even on your darkest days shine bright by Aduke Schulist

What are some ways that you have helped support a single mom?

What Are You Adopting? (And other questions answered)

What are you adopting?

Do you want to know what is worse than being a single mother and announcing you are pregnant accidentally?

Announcing you are intentionally bringing a child into your single-parent family.

I recently announced our intentions to adopt. While, I knew it would be met with some strong opinions, I wasn’t prepared for some of the things that were being said.

 

First of all, no negative opinions have changed our decision to adopt. We are still adopting. I think one thing people misunderstood is the timeline. I mentioned the timeline could be anywhere from four months to four years and said a lot had to happen between now and then, and while some things have already fallen into place (hello, new van!), there are still some big hurdles to overcome. So that brings me to the first question.

Adoption FAQ

 

What are you adopting? Are you adopting an animal?
I didn’t really think I would have to clarify, but this has been the number one question we have gotten. A human! We are adopting a human. It stings every time I have to answer that yes, I, a single mother am in fact adopting a child. It makes me feel like they are questioning my abilities or choice as a single mother to adopt.

While I understand that some may not feel qualified to adopt for various reasons, I have already went over all of these myself and it has been a well thought out decision. I fully know what has to be done and what I am getting myself into and I am ready for it all. I think out of all of the questions, this one has been the hardest. (Side note: Do people really make a big deal out of announcing their intentions to adopt a puppy/kitten?)

When are we adopting? 
We have started the process and are contacting different agencies regarding the requirements and whatnot. The actual adoption and bringing a child into the home will take months, if not years. As mentioned, there is still a lot that I have to do first.

Are you adopting internationally or domestically?
We are aiming to adopt domestically, but if international adoption is possible then I would love to explore that route more. I have already fallen in love with some international children that need homes (like yesterday) but I currently do not meet all of the qualifications to adopt internationally.

What ethnicity/race are you adopting?
No clue. There is one little boy we are extremely interested in that is an entirely different race than either myself or any of my children, but honestly, he will probably have a forever home by the time we are approved and ready. I certainly don’t want to wish him to remain homeless until then. We are open to any race or ethnicity.

What age are you adopting? And are you looking for a specific gender?
There is also no preference for gender or age (to an extent). We are open to male or female. The age is a little tricky as Aybra has mentioned she would like to be the youngest, but understands that if I had another child biologically that wouldn’t happen. Kaia wants to be the oldest too and I am willing to agree there for a few reasons, but also because of the age difference between myself and a child older than Kaia.

Why did you announce when you aren’t ready yet?
Good question! I wanted to blog and vlog our journey so I had to announce our intentions early. Also, I am including my other children in the entire process. There is no way they could have kept this a secret. I wanted to announce it before they spilled the beans.

Are you open to adopting a child with special needs?
Yes! In fact, that is our preference. I’m not really sure I am qualified to adopt a “normal” child. All of my children had/have special needs and that is what I am good at.

Will the child keep their birth given name?
This one really depends on the age of a child. Either way, I would want to include their given name somehow.

Do you have any questions about our decision to adopt? Let me know in the comments. 

 

How Do I Do It? Financially? #SingleMom #Budget

How Do I Do It? Financially?

As a single mother, I’m not sure when people say “How do you do it?” if they mean emotionally, physically, or financially, so I’ve decided to turn this question into a series.

Financially speaking, this is how I do it.

 

Buy Used & Sell Used
The majority of things we buy are used. If I have exhausted all options and can’t find something used, then I will buy it new. The key to this is knowing what things cost and refusing to pay more. If I know that I can buy something for $5, then I won’t pay $10 for that item. Additionally, I save all of the kids’ outgrown clothes and sell them at a consignment store.

Make a Menu and Stick to it
Before you grocery shop, see what you have on hand and what you can make a meal out of. Then, make a menu including the items you have available. You don’t have to have tacos on Tuesday if you would rather have that roast you had planned for Thursday. Feel free to switch days and meals around, but stick to what you planned. The less you are in the grocery store, the less you will spend on impulse buys. It also helps to know what days you should prepare easy meals for. If you know it is going to be a busy day, then you don’t want to plan a labor intensive meal which could cause you to end up in the drive-thru ultimately spending more money.

Cheap Entertainment
While I do sometimes dream of extravagant vacations and taking my kids out of state to do fun things, I don’t feel like they are lacking in the entertainment area. As a family, we attend free festivals, see dollar movies, and skate on the cheap-skate days. Most places like zoos and museums offer reduced admission during non-peak hours or seasons. Take advantage of these offers. We have gone to the zoo on $1 day a few times, or used can food as admission into some museums.   

Barter
If you know you have a service to offer, see what bartering can get you. Maybe you can watch your neighbor’s kids twice a month in exchange for them cutting your grass. Or maybe you don’t have a garden but have chickens that lay eggs. If you have a creative talent, offer that as a barter. Never pay for something that you could get with a barter.

Sell Your Talent
If you are good at something, there is no reason you shouldn’t be making money for it. If you know how to play an instrument, consider giving lessons a couple days a week. Know how to paint? Sell some of your artwork. Don’t beat yourself up thinking your talent isn’t valuable. More people than you may realize will find value in your talent.

Be Patient
My kids are just like any other YouTube watching, game playing kid out there. As soon as they see a YouTuber playing a new game, they want it. A little patience pays off though. Don’t purchase the game (or whatever it may be) right away. Instead, wait a few months and the price will drastically drop or they will lose interest in it. Just think about it, how many times have you bought something your kids wanted, only to find it abandoned a few weeks later? Your kids may not have the newest thing, but they will be okay.

What are some of your budget tips to help single moms (and those on a single income) do it financially?

We are… ADOPTING! – Single Mom Adoption

Single Mom Adoption

Our family of four is growing in size;
In no time at all, we’ll be a family of five.

Yes, that is right. We are expanding our family.

No, I am not pregnant.

We are adopting!

We are Adopting! #SingleMom #Adoption

 

Growing up, I always wanted a large family and knew that I would adopt children with special needs. When I had children of my own with special needs, I thought perhaps it was God’s way of giving me what I always imagined my future to be like.

So, I focused on nuturing my children and waited to see what the future would bring.  

Even though I had three children, I knew I wasn’t done. I still wanted a larger family. I assumed I would get married before I was 30 and then work on adoption with my husband. I’ve come to realize that marriage just isn’t in the cards for me. And that’s okay.

I also thought that there was no way they would approve a single mother to adopt children with special needs. I was also under the impression that single mothers/single people in general were not able to adopt or foster in the state of Arkansas. The more I learned, the more I realized I was wrong. Single mothers are chosen a lot and actually preferred by some. Single mom adoption isn’t as uncommon as I first thought! 

When I realized this a few years ago I began getting serious about the idea of adopting as a single mom. I sent letters to inquire about the process and even filled out a couple applications but found it hard to commit to the process and stopped. But I never stopped browsing the children available and praying that if it was in God’s plan it would happen.

Another fear was the fear of judgement. I’m already judged as a single mother. What will everybody think when I announce my intentions to grow my family as a single mother? I’ve never lacked confidence in my ability to raise more children as a single mother, but there is just something scary about the unknown.

But, the more I thought about it, the sillier it seemed. Why was I worried about what people would think when I was trying to give a child a loving home? If I was going to be judged, then so be it.

The Big Reveal

Over the weekend, the kids helped film and edit a video announcing our plans to adopt. They had already been involved in the process of searching for available children and I had to get on the ball with announcing before they spilled the beans.

We are all super excited, and while we each have our preferences as to what kind of child we would like, we know that it is ultimately in God’s hands. We are only in the baby steps and there is a lot that must be done in order for this to happen (for one, I want to trade my car for a van). I cannot give a timeline, but it could be anywhere from 4 months to 4 years. You never know what can happen. In the meantime, we are preparing as much as we can.  

I will be filming a video with some frequently asked questions as well as answering some on the blog, so if you have any feel free to leave them in the comments, send an email, or find me on social media.