Is your family disaster ready?

for the future, Nonfiction, prepping, Uncategorized

The warning sirens just went off in Madison. Now today was a drill but I had to look it up to be sure because I knew it was at 11am and knew it was Wednesdays but I always think it’s the first Wednesday but nope it’s the second Wednesday at 11am. So no real threat today. Whew!

But then I realized—as a parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle, etc.–what would you do if the sirens had gone off and it wasn’t a drill? Do you know where the school would take your loved ones for you to pick up? Do you have a full tank of gas–right now? Do you have anything prepared so that you could jump into your car and take off from home and be prepared to not come back for several days, or a week or more? What’s the plan for your pets if you have to leave? Does your extended family have a planned meeting place that everyone knows about? What is the plan if someone doesn’t arrive? I’d be curious to know how many of us are ready for a real disaster?


Co-Parenting is Tough Stuff

parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized, Your Ex

If you’re a single parent, whether divorced or never married, you will find yourself dealing with a myriad of issues that weren’t part of your dream of having children.

On top of implementing new routines and schedules to fit your new family dynamics, you still have to go to work everyday, get the kids to/from school, and handle running the household without assistance from your former partner.

In addition to all those daily changes, you are also dealing with other issues like paternity tests, divorce paperwork, child support, visitation schedules, missed visit disappointment, along with issues that either of you finding new partners brings for everyone. The list seems to go on forever.

As soon as you feel you may have resolved or conquered one issue, the next one rears its ugly head and the roller coaster begins again. But for the sake of your children and their emotional well-being, life must go on. And it is ultimately up to the adults to make sure that happens when there are minor children involved.

Children from single parent families need reassurance that things will be okay and they need some kind of stability above all else to heal. So how do you achieve stability for your child in a way that acknowledges and sustains the bond children should have with both of their parents and doesn’t compromise your dignity?

Co-parenting is made more difficult if you are dealing with a former spouse or partner who isn’t willing/able to remain in their child’s life on a daily or at least a regular basis. Trying to co-parent effectively can be fraught with emotional wounds between the parents that still need to heal. So how do you make sure that the emotional wounds or possibly unpredictable actions of the other parent don’t interfere with what’s best for your children?

Control, Communication, and Compromise are the three C’s that will help you get through whatever issues you have to deal with from the point of your single status forward. Control your emotions, communicate the needs of your children, and compromise with the other parent to make sure their needs are met.

It’s a tough journey, it takes maturity, and it requires the ability to put your pride and ego in the backseat. You must do your best to give respect while requiring it from the other parent as well. You won’t always do it perfectly and there will be times when your resentment and anger get the best of you.

How do reassure your children that things will be okay when you really aren’t even sure yourself what’s ahead of you?

Have confidence in your ability to provide a life for your children no matter what happens. If you commit to doing whatever it takes to make sure that things are “okay”, then you can confidently project that aura to your children. It’s okay for them to see you frustrated, angry, confused, or sad. The key is to make sure that you role model for your children the appropriate way to deal with and resolve those feelings.

Just as children are different from one another, relationships between parents who have separated, can really vary. What might be an issue for you and your former partner could be a total non-issue for another divorcing couple. While there could be no one set of instructions as to how to co-parent perfectly with your former spouse or partner, there are some basic rules to follow.

  • Do not bash your child’s other parent. It’s okay to vent your feelings of frustration or anger to another adult. It’s especially crucial to avoid doing this in front of the children.
  • It becomes very important to separate your emotions and relationship with your former partner from the relationship between the children and their other parent. You may need to seek therapy or counseling to identify and separate these emotions and issues so you can make decisions solely based on what’s best for your child’s needs at the time.
  • Although it’s natural to want to shield your child from disappointments and you want to avoid speaking negatively about your ex, sometimes it’s better to just give honest answers (without blaming the other parent) so children can begin to accept what’s happening and start the healing process also.

Here’s a great co-parenting guide with some more helpful information>>>>

Mark Zuckerberg, I’m happy for you. I’m sad for our nation’s families.

parenting, Uncategorized

I think it’s great Facebook is so generous to its employees, I really do. But this hits a nerve for me and I’m sure for many others.

For most Americans who live in the real world and yes, that means they live paycheck to paycheck, maternity leave is NOT something pleasant or a time of joy. It means a missed paycheck, maybe more than one. It means lean times all the way around as you figure out how to pay bills and rent and finance things a new baby needs or your recovering body needs, on even LESS income than you had before.

I’ve raised four children alone. There was no “PAID” time off available for any of them. In some cases I wasn’t even sure I would still have a job when my body recovered and I returned. I worked up until the day I went into labor with all of them, except my 4th because extreme stress took it’s toll and landed me in the hospital and then on doctor ordered bed rest 3 weeks before she arrived.

I can’t even tell you the financial burden that incurred–because again–no PAID time off. With all but my first child (I was 18), I was back to work in 2 weeks or less because I couldn’t “afford” to stay home. Not to mention the pain and guilt involved with having to leave your newborn all day, five days a week, in the care of someone other than you. And the added guilt of knowing they will basically be raised in daycare because if you don’t go to work all day, every day, then there is no money for anything let alone all those things that as a mother you want your child to have and experience. You come to dread basketball signup sheets, fundraiser packets, picture day, field trips, all of it because it just means MORE money that you have to figure out how to come up with from somewhere, someway, somehow. And most can’t count on child support to help at all because unless they were impregnated by someone in the 1%, it’s virtually impossible to receive it on a regular basis, without the help of an attorney, which you can’t afford. If you do get receive it, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the expense of raising children and comes very sporadically or coupled with an ex who is angry about giving you money and so thinks they can complain about how much they pay to everyone they know and/or question you about where “their child support” goes.

So I think it’s great Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife have the luxury to stay home with their newborn. Their child is extremely lucky. I think it’s great that they have such a great plan available for their employees because those children will benefit greatly.

I think it’s just extremely sad that we allow so many other companies to get away without providing such a needed benefit….we know it makes better families, we know it makes better employees, we know that leads to happier communities and yet—I don’t see any boycotts of companies that don’t give their employees PAID maternity or paternity leave.

We have more families than ever breaking apart early in a child’s life. We have fathers killing their children and/or the mothers. We have mothers killing children. We have children killing each other and children killing themselves.

And yet we just shake our heads, post how sorry we are or how tragic it is.

Or worse, we take the easy way out, and we blame the parents when issues in families become overwhelming. When the continuous rat race becomes unbearable. When parents and their attention deprived children just suddenly snap and make news headlines. That’s when we care but only until the next one comes along.

So WHEN are we as a society and a nation going to insist that employers recognize the importance and value of spending quality time with our families? I think we’ve failed as a country hugely in this regard.

I think I’ll be doing some research about companies without such liberal PAID parental leave policies.

When I have the list, I’ll pass it along. You can decide for yourself whether to stand aside or stand up for families!

In a post to his millions of followers, Mark Zuckerberg announces his plan to take two months of paternal leave after his baby is born.

#100 I can live without electronics, Riiiiight

for the present, postaday2011, prepping, technology in the home, Uncategorized

My phone, laptop, Ipad, tab and desktop are dead, which would I miss the most?  If this had been yesterday’s topic I would have told you that I could live without all of those things fairly easily.  But as luck would have it, this morning reality hit.

My desktop was infected with the Windows Recovery virus and I completely lost my mind as I realized that my data files were not only at risk but being wiped out systematically.  Now mind you folks, I teach computer skills and anyone that has been a client of mine will tell you that the very first thing I always tell them is backup, backup, backup your files.  So you would think that the teacher would follow that rule, right?

Wrong.  I’ve been swamped lately and I probably haven’t completely backed up in about four months.  Sure I moved some stuff to a new Drop Box account and I have some previous versions of my book on a flash drive but nothing complete.

And this morning, disaster struck.  I watched as my data files disappeared and the alerts popped up saying critical data error and damaged data sectors detected, etc.  And then suddenly I realized that the logo on the Windows Recovery message wasn’t actually a Windows logo at all.  It looked very similar, same color scheme and all the warnings certainly looked official, but it wasn’t their logo.  Ahh my computer mind kicked in, a virus and I needed to stop it and fast.  I launched my Malware Bytes Anti-Malware program but it derailed.  I closed it and launched again.  While it ran, I called the one person I knew could fix it but got no answer.

It was up to little old me.  So through my tears over my missing data files, I grabbed my daughter’s laptop and did a quick search.  I tried not to think about all the photos, my novel in progress, my project files disappearing.  I found instructions for removing the virus.  It seemed doable.  I downloaded RKill which by the way is my new favorite program.  The pop ups and critical error messages stopped!  Malware Bytes was able to complete.  I ran a full scan after that.  Virus successfully removed.  I could breathe again.  But my data folders were still empty.

I went back to the instructions and read further, the virus hides your files and they can be unhidden.  There was a glimmer of hope.  But would it work?  I held my breath and watched for several minutes as the program ran on that eerie black screen.  And then the message that my files should now be visible.  I checked and they were there!  I checked again just to be sure it was real.  And then I actually cheered out loud.

Tonight I’m backing up my files.  So….I guess the answer to that question is I can make it through the day without my electronics, I’d probably miss my phone and laptop the least.  But my desktop data files, now those I’ve got to have!

So just a word of warning, watch for the Windows Recovery virus and don’t click okay on something just because it says Windows.  I imagine it would have been a lot worse for me if I had clicked okay to anything.  Always double-check the logo to make certain that it is actually legit.

Are your files backed up? 🙂

If I Had A Magic Tree…

Just for Fun, postaday2011, Relationships, Uncategorized

Tonight’s post of the day 2011 will be short and sweet.  If I had a magic tree, it would grow “time”.  The reason I decided that this is what I would want my magic tree to grow is that I have discovered that there are so many amazing things that can be done in this world, there just seems not enough time to do them all.

I also would love to have an ample supply of time that I could pick as I need it so that I could spend more time with my children and my grandchildren who even though they occasionally bring some headaches, truly bring me so much joy every day.

So there you have it, get in line for the magic tree in my backyard will soon be sprouting leaves of time.