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Doing Life Together

ID-10062150Ten Ways to Manage Single Mommy Stress:

1) Find another single mom and trade out a morning or few hours of kid time so you both get a break. You agree to take her kids for a morning and then she returns the favor. Some communities have a mother’s day out program as well.

2) Put  a child who is at least 10 years old in charge for  10 minutes. Tell your kids you are going to your bedroom and lock the door. Unless someone is hurt, you are taking a short time out.

3) Get up 30 minutes before the kids. Take the alone time to enjoy a nice shower, read, think, or pray over a cup of coffee.

4) Get the kids to bed by 8:30 p.m. Older children can read quietly in their rooms for 30 minutes, but lights out for the younger ones. Start the bedtime routine  at 7:30, so they are in bed by 8:00 p.m. Then spend time with the older one. This way you’ll have a few hours to yourself at night.

5) Get the kids to help with small chores and picking up. Stay on top of cleaning, meals, and school activities. Just don’t strive for perfection.

6) Take care of your body by eating well. You cannot allow yourself to be run down from lack of sleep or bad eating habits. Remember there is a woman’s body hiding under mom. It needs attention.

7) View life as a challenge. Every stressful event is an opportunity for your family to meet the challenge and solve the problem.

8) Practice relaxation techniques throughout the day. While your sitting at the table feeding kids, do deep breathing, or tense and relax muscles to keep your physical body calm.

9) Run Bible verses through your head and teach them to the kids. Choose ones about God’s provisions and help.

10) Make sure you have support – people who will pray for you, help you in the time of crisis, and lend a hand once in awhile. Check your church to see if it offers any special helps for single moms. My church has a program called “Adopt a Single Mom.” Start one in your church. Get involved with other moms and share tips and information.

Above all, keep your relationship with God strong so that you don’t give in to defeat or discouragement. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you are one parent doing the job of two. But, He gives you the grace to do it!

 

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425877_crossToday is Ash Wednesday.  It is the beginning of the 40 days of preparation (Lent) that leads to the celebration of Chris’s death (Good Friday), burial and resurrection (Easter).

On this day, we focus on our sins, repentance and God’s forgiveness and grace. It is a reminder of the price our Lord paid to free us from the grip of sin.

So today, as we think about the seriousness of the cross and what it means, examine your heart in the area of relationships. Take a few moments to engage in quiet contemplation. What might you give up for lent?

This year I am giving up all sweets. But in years past, I have given up all kinds of different things. One year, it was worry, another it was anger at someone who had hurt me.

Pastor Phil of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Old Bridge, New Jersey posted a list of 20 things you could give up for lent. He also suggested you give these up for life, not just lent.

Here is his list and the link to his blog:

  • Guilt – I am loved by Jesus and he has forgiven my sins. Today is a new day and the past is behind.
  • Fear – God is on my side. In him I am more than a conqueror. (see Romans 8)
  • The need to please everyone – I can’t please everyone anyways. There is only one I need to strive to please.
  • Envy – I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
  • Impatience – God’s timing is the perfect timing.
  • Sense of entitlement – The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace.
  • Bitterness and Resentment – The only person I am hurting by holding on to these is myself.
  • Blame – I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.
  • Gossip and Negativity – I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic bringing other people down.
  • Comparison – I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.
  • Fear of failure – You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fail forward.
  • A spirit of poverty – Believe with God that there is always more than enough and never a lack
  • Feelings of unworthiness – You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. (see Psalm 139)
  • Doubt – Believe God has a plan for you that is beyond anything you could imagine. The future is brighter than you could ever realize.
  • Self-pity – God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
  • Retirement – As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. That does not come to an end until the day we die.
  • Excuses – A wise man once said, if you need an excuse, any excuse will do.
  • Lack of counsel – Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.
  • Pride – Blessed are the humble.
  • Worry – God is in control and worrying will not help.

Thanks Pastor Phil for the challenging but great list!

 

 

 

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Breaking free anorexiaWhen we hear anything about eating disorders, we tend to think of girls and women. Yet, some of you are familiar with the term “manorexic,” referring to boys and men who also struggle with a clinical eating disorder some time in their life.  In fact, 10 million men suffer according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

Robert was one of them. He came to my office incredibly thin and confused about his identity. Robert’s fear of assuming the role of a man and taking on responsibility pushed him to restrict his eating and take on a more child like look.  Family members then organized to take are of his illness. His dependency for care helped him avoid more independent living and decision-making.  The family was stuck and needed help to respond to his food restriction and fears.

Last week was National Eating Disorders Awareness week. While women still suffer with eating disorders at double the rate of men, men feel the pressure to be ripped, lean and muscular. If not treated, both genders are in danger of dying from these psychiatric disorders.

However, eating disorders are treatable. Healing and recovery are very possible but most often need the help of a multidisciplinary professional team. So if you know a boy or a girl, man or woman, who is struggling with an eating disorder, encourage the person to seek professional help.

 

For more helps: Breaking Free from Anorexia and Bulimia by Dr. Linda Mintle

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Not every person who is depressed can tolerate the side effects of antidepressants, nor are the medications always effective. So if a treatment with few side effects that targeted a specific region of the brain was available, would you be interested?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) may be that treatment. In 2009, TMS was approved by the FDA as an alternative form of treatment for treatment resistant patients. It uses technology to alter brain functions similar to what happens with medications and even electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). It’s being used to treat depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, and other cognitive disorders. The Mayo Clinic reports that TMS works best for people with moderate depression who have not been able to tolerate antidepressants. But keep in mind, this treatment doesn’t work for everyone, especially those who have not responded to electro-convulsive therapy (ECT).

According to Eastern Virginia Medical School, a TMS device generates a magnetic field that passes through the brain. The magnetic field is a powerful electric current that causes a therapeutic effect on the cortex of the brain. The current rebalances dysfunctional brain circuitry like a reset button on a computer. In terms of depression, the magnetic field stimulates nerve cells that improve depression.

The beauty of this treatment is that it is generally pain free and rarely shows any side effects.  In some cases, patients have noted mild headaches and muscle pain after the procedure.  A few patients have reported persistent ringing in the ear, and in very rare cases, seizures have resulted. The number of treatments needed varies with diagnosis. Drawbacks are that it can take several weeks to work and can be expensive.

Although there is more to learn about this procedure, it is a promising tool as an alternative treatment. For those who have not found success with medications, other therapies, or cannot tolerate side effects of medications, this is one more advance that might have real promise. In the case of any new treatment, however, we need time to evaluate if there are any long-term side effects and how to best use the treatment.  If you consider this treatment, talk to your physician about potential risks and benefits so you can make an informed decision and decide if it is worth the cost.

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