@first-parent-singular 

Starter Home, Starter Marriage

Illustration by Dori Hartley Apparently, my house has realized that the girls and I will be leaving it sooner rather than later. Within the past 24 hours, the toilet has begun leaking copiously from its base. In addition, the...I did not expect my washing machine -- or my mortgage -- to outlast my marriage.

On Single Life, Sickness and Safety Nets

Illustration by Dori Hartley I wake up just before dawn with a sledgehammer headache. Aghhh. I mince to the bathroom, head pounding merrily down the hall and back. I dig myself a new cave in my flannel sheets, shivering. My throat...Where can single parents find support?

Tips for a Future Stepdad Who Doesn't Know a Lot About Girls Yet

Watch This Video and Take Some Tips On Co-Parenting From AdviceMama
Illustration by Dori Hartley When it comes to love, I've always believed if it's right, it's right, and that I'd know it. But a good checklist never hurts, either....
Before entering our castle, this prince best take our advice.

Mommy Is Dating After Divorce: Do Tell, Do Ask

Illustration by Dori Hartley "So ... did you KISS him?" My inquisitor is my 7-year-old daughter. The Spanish Inquisition could have used her. This one, she's persistent. "What do you think?" I ask, stalling for time. "YES. I...I want my daughters to know their mama is not just a mama.

Divorced? Follow This One-Step Co-Parenting Plan

Divorce doesn't mean you can't still work together for your children. Illustration by Dori Hartley
This month, I've learned about four new divorces-in-progress -- with children involved in each situation.
My gut twists, thinking...
Learn the golden rule for co-parenting. It's simple, but it ain't easy.

Temper Tantrums: Mama Don't Play That Game

When temper tantrums hit, this mom doesn't back down. Illustration by Dori Hartley
It's one of those mornings. I try not to take them personally. There's no rhyme or reason to it. Daughter #2 had gone to bed at a sensible 8:15...
There is no negotiating with a first-grade terrorist. One must be prepared to make a spectacle.

Young Lady, You Look Like a Brick Poopyhouse

What do you do when you realize your children are acting just like you did as a kid? Illustration by Dori Hartley Recently, Daughter #1 (age 10) asked for a blue streak in her hair. Not the Halloween variety that washes out in a...Sometimes it takes orange hair to get parents to set boundaries.

My Inner 8-Year-Old Thinks I'm a Rock Star

Keep on rockin' in the me world. Illustration by Dori Hartley At 8, I assumed I had plenty of time. Plenty of time to get it all right. I'm not sure I ever knew what this mysterious "it" was, or how to define "right." But I was...What would your kid-self think of your grown-up self?

Greater Than or Less Than? Dating as a Single Mother

When you're dating as a single mother, it's about the kids, too. Illustration by Dori Hartley
I'm not dating anyone right now. More often than not in my life, there's been someone. And I'm grateful for that. I don't buy the...
If there's one thing I've learned from my relationships, it's that ignoring my intuition is a slippery slope.

My Family Is Broke, but Not Broken

Fairy Godmother, where are you? Illustration by Dori Hartley My daughters and I make our way down the Walmart frozen food and cereal aisle. I cast furtive glances around me, hoping not to see anyone we know from the girls' school. I...This mom might not have much money, but that doesn't mean she isn't rich in family.

FML: The New and Improved Version

Say BYE to FML. Illustration by Dori Hartley
As part of the 2011 Own Your Beauty movement advocated by BlogHer.com, Missy Germain recently wrote about her aversion to the phrase "FML": "In 2011, I will delete each and every...
I work hard to teach my daughters that words have power -- the power to change our thinking, our behavior, the way we define ourselves. So, what the hell am I doing, muttering "FML" under my breath?

Single Mom Delves Into World of Online Dating to Find ... Her Ex-Husband

Date? What's that? Illustration by Dori Hartley
Fact: I never dated.
I kissed. I made out. I fooled around. I messed around. I saw. I slept with. I went with. I went out with. I broke up with. I got back together with. I was...
I got booted from my cocoon of marriage to find that "dating" was back, with a horde of impatient, hot-but-not-so-heavy subcategories. Speed-dating. Online dating. Sexting. Naughty Skyping.

Opinion: Oprah, Ellen, Got Cash to Give Away? I'll Take Some, Please

Oh, Goddess Ellen. Oh, Goddess Oprah. Please hear our pleas. Illustration by Dori Hartley You know things are getting desperate when you see the ads for Oprah Winfrey's new OWN network, and the first thing you say is, "Gee, I hope...What does one have to do to get Ellen or Oprah to answer her plea for cold hard cash?

The Vat of Fail

Who loses the most in a divorce? Illustration by Dori Hartley
I have a book on my nightstand, "On Becoming Fearless" by Arianna Huffington. I use it as a coaster. I hate water rings on wood. The cloudy circles remind me of...
I doubt very much I will ever be convinced that divorce was the only option and that my husband and I and the girls will all be better people for it.

My New Year's Resolution

I resolve to ... Illustration by Dori Hartley 'Tis the season for everyone to be a pain in the ass, especially Mommy and Dan Fogelberg. This single mommy is particularly Grinchy the week before the New Year. It is a dangerous...'Tis the season for everyone to be a pain in the ass, especially Mommy and Dan Fogelberg.

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