Parenting with an Ex Series: Should Dad buy clothes for the kids and keep at his house?

5/20/16

Here's a parallel or co-parenting situation:

My kids are 10 and 12, their dad (my ex) has them every other weekend for visitation. Should I continue to pack clothes for them or should their dad buy clothes for them to keep at his house?


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Oh, I am familiar with this topic! With a month-long summer visitation on the horizon, clothing is always a hot topic.

Of course, when it comes to shared parenting/co-parenting/parallel parenting (whichever version you and your ex are doing), we should strive to have great, amicable relationships with our exes but we know that is not always possible.

There are many different thoughts and things to consider when deciding whether to continue to pack the kids clothing to take to their dad's house. Let's explore a few.

Situation #1 - The child should have clothes at both parents' homes

This solution could be easier and comfortable for the child to have clothing in both homes so that they don't have to keep a tally of what they have at mom's house versus at dad's house. Children should feel at home in both parent's home. This is one less choice they have to deal with. 

Situation #2 - Does the noncustodial parent wash and care for the child's clothes?

Does the noncustodial parent take care of the child's clothing? This situation applies if the noncustodial parent does not wash or care properly for the clothes. I have a close friend that experiences this when her children are visiting with their dad. 

Situation #3 - Does the custodial parent send clothes that fit the child?

I have read comments written by step moms who vent about the custodial parent sending clothes that are just too small for the child. This leads to the question of "what is bio mom doing with the child support money?".

Situation #4 - Should bio mom use the child support money to buy clothing to keep at dad's house?

This is a loaded situation! Many parents feel that if the noncustodial is paying child support, then the custodial parent should use that money to purchase clothes for the children, regardless of whose house the clothes will be kept.

As kids get older, they should be encouraged to pack their own clothes. This helps them to become more responsible and encourages independence. 

Dad should keep back up clothing at his home in case of emergencies, yes even for older kids. If dad feels that the clothes mom packs are not "presentable", he definitely needs to keep a supply of clothing at his home for the child.

Tread softly here...when voicing your opinion about your tween's clothing. Yes, parents MUST monitor what their kids are wearing. Once your tween reaches a certain age, though, they start having their own opinions about their clothing. Parents, please continue to weigh in. After all, it's you or the ex that's paying for the clothes! Or at least until the child is able to get a job.

When you weigh in, be careful to not make your tween self-conscious or project the image that the other parent's clothing choices are inappropriate. Children should never be caught in the middle of their parents' issue, let alone style choices!

Tween Girl is a different person, regarding her clothing style, when she is with me versus with her dad. With me, her style is more carefree and stylish, which definitely fit her personality. With that said, we do have guidelines on what clothing is acceptable or unacceptable. I allow her to have some say in what she wears to a certain degree. As she gets older, I have started to allow her to pick outfits to pack for her stay with her dad. 

Of course, in a perfect world, this very topic should not even be an issue. 

In an even more perfect world, moms and dads should be able to interact with one another on an amicable level. This would make a topic like this nonexistent.

Being in a parallel/co-parenting situation can sometimes make even the simplest things very complicated. As a result, someone must step up and be the bigger person.

Instead of going back and forth on who buys what, what should blended families concentrate on?


Within this series, I share my own parenting with an ex experiences as well as those of unRehearsed readers. Topics include visitation, communication and the emotional well-being of both mom and child(ren). 


Ditch Your Summer Bucket List

5/17/16

They're out there.

They can be intimidating.

They make you exhausted before you even finish the last bullet on the list.

You've either seen them or heard someone talk about them.

They are:

Summer Bucket Lists.

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Let's get real. Yes, parents are glad it's summer vacation time. But things get complicated when we have to figure out what to do with our tweens for the next 2 months.

I, like many moms, have created summer bucket lists in the past. I had good intentions of filling my kid's summer with activities and being fully present in their lives. Yes, we had fun but by mid summer, I felt overwhelmed from trying to fulfill everything from our list.

As a mom that works outside the home, our summer bucket lists could not withstand the times when I had a last minute, late afternoon conference call. Or the 6 car pile up on the interstate.

No one or nothing is immune to real life, not even a summer bucket list.

I am not sure if parents with tweens make these types of lists because by the time our kids hit a certain age, we have to come up with a real summer plan. Without a summer plan, parents would end up with zombie tweens: those who play on their cell phones, tablets or play video games all day.

A part of the summer plan should include some actual play time. Tweens are old enough to actually enjoy and remember having summer experiences. So why not create summer memories by being present in your tween's life and not locked into a summer bucket list?

Here's how we're ditching our summer bucket list (hint: you should, too!):

Creating memorable experiences with actual play and being present with our tween.

Electronics have the potential to rob us all from having real, human interactions. Knowing this makes "play" a bit different with tweens. Tweens are old enough to enjoy and remember having summer experiences. 


Reducing the amount of time we are on our phones/tablets/laptops will give us time for real play. Tween Girl loves riding her bike throughout our neighborhood while I walk/run with her. I want to run my first 5k race this year and will need to train. She wants to teach me how to skate (nope, I can't skate!) so that will make for a lot of activity, falls and laughs. Of course, we will make time for electronics (all in the name of balance) because she LOVES playing her Disney Infinity game and LOVES when we play with her. 


We have plans to throw water balloons at each other. 

Plans to build a fairy garden, to hike on Sundays. 

Plans to let Tween Girl help with cooking, plans to let her decide how we will spend a random Saturday or Sunday. 

Plans to have lounge days - days where we do absolutely nothing, regardless of how many times she whines about being bored. This may mean that your tween has to come up with their own fun, so be it. Express to them that it's fine to have days that are carefree. This may mean that your tween will play video games all day or sleep for a few hours. Or they just might become their own event planner. 

Yes, you may be saying " Wow, that sounds like a bucket list to me!". 

Maybe. 

The only difference is that our intent is to not spend the summer checking things off of a list, to not have any regrets about what we did or did not do from our list, to allow ourselves the freedom to add some spontaneity to our summer, 

Summers should be fun and carefree, not just checking things off of a list. The kids are out of school, parents don't have to rush to make sure lunches are packed, papers are signed, no PTA meetings to attend.

Don't feel obligated to miss summer for the sake of checking items from a summer checklist. 

Put those markers down and go have fun with your tween. 

How did you spend your summers as a tween?

A Conversation Between a Tween and Her Mom

5/13/16



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raising-a-tween-girl

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If you could go back to tweenhood, what would you say to your mom/parent?

There's a Groupon Coupon for that!

5/6/16

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

No kids allowed trips to the beach.

Date night BYOB painting.

Mom and daughter cooking class for Mother's Day.

White water rafting trips, to which on the last one, I fell out of the raft.

These are all cool and exciting things I've purchased using Groupon.

Did you know that Groupon offers coupons as well?

groupon-coupons


Groupon Coupons offers coupons and promo codes to a wide variety of places where you probably already shop.

Tween Girl and I visit Kohl's a few times per month. From outfits for the kids or yourself to decorating your home, be sure to visit the Groupon Coupons site for rewarding Kohl's coupons and promo codes.

Need to do something with the hundreds of pics you've taken of your family? Why not use the Groupon Coupon for Shutterfly to make an awesome photo book! Right now, photo books are 50% off using the Groupon Coupon.

Another awesome benefit to Groupon Coupons is that the coupons and promo codes are not just for retailers but there are also deals for events and travel from sites like Travelocity.

Rest assured that Groupon Coupons are verified and actually work! The coupons and promo codes are regularly updated, so it's good to check the site before you head out to your favorite stores.

When has it ever been any easier to save money?

Speaking of which, I just browsed a few coupons from my favorite retailers. Looks I've got some shopping to do and I am taking my Groupon Coupons with me!

5 gifts for my younger self + A Mother's Day $100 Giveaway

5/3/16

Growing up, Mother's Day was a day where I would make my mom a "gift" at school.

I didn't have the type of dad that would take us kids shopping to buy her a gift. 

Mother's Day was a day where I would hand her the "gift" I made and the day was pretty much a wrap.

So, of course, when I grew up, I would treat it just as I had treated it growing up.

That is, until, 2008.

mother's-day


In 2008, I went on a road to rediscovering myself.

I had "lost myself" during my first marriage and desperately needed to "know" me again. 

It was during those rediscovery moments that I realized just how important it is for moms to take care of themselves in order to be able to take care of her family.

I know, you've heard that before.

Many moms put themselves on the back burner in order to take care of the husband/boyfriend/significant other and children first. 

Hey, I am all for taking care of others but I can tell a difference in myself when I look after my own well-being first and then put my efforts towards taking care of my family.

"Aren't you selfish?"

"My family needs me."

Sound familiar?

I know you've heard those things before. Depending on which stage of life you are in, those things are probably true.

My current stage of life has allowed me to put several things in perspective and reflect on the type of person, not just a mom, I used to be. It would have been interesting to see the type of person/mom I would have been if I had embraced certain things, gifts, some years back.

There are four specific gifts that I wished I had given my younger self:


The gift of forgiveness

"Unforgiveness is like taking poison but expecting someone else to die."

Wow.

I have drunk my fair share of that poison. Guess what? I am the one who felt the after effects.

You see, the people I held unforgiveness against had no idea. 

They continued to live their lives while, though I was living, I wasn't living it to the fullest because of the unforgiveness I was harboring. 

Drinking the unforgiveness poison not only stalled my living life to the fullest but it also affected my physical body.

The gift of self-care


"You have to take care of yourself first in order to take care of others."

Moms, we should all get matching tattoos of that quote. Ok, so that's a long sentence. Maybe we could just put the words into action instead.

Self-care involves feeding your mind, body and soul:

Mind

What are you reading?

Who/what are you listening to?

What are you saying to yourself?

Find those things or people that will lift you up, encourage you instead of draining every drop of energy from you.

Body


Are you moving your body?

Every step counts. Your Mother's Day gift could be a new Fitbit so that you can have a visual of exactly how many steps you are taking each day. 

What are you feeding your body? Good stuff in yields you feeling good. Forget about diets and decide on a healthy lifestyle instead. Being diabetic has forced me to examine what I am putting in my mouth. Healthier eating and working out have afforded me to not be on any medications, I want that to continue. 

Spirit


Who/what do you believe in? This is different for all of us. Whoever/whatever it is, feed it. 

Let's take this a bit farther.

Mom, how's your self-image?

Are you confident in your appearance?

Self-care includes looking good as well. Yes, I may be vain by adding this to the list but it matters.

I notice a difference in myself when I wear certain clothes, fix my hair and makeup and slide on some cute shoes. Though my style is relaxed and laid back, I enjoy looking good. I do these things, first, for myself. This builds my confidence. 

The gift of dreaming again


A wise person once said, "why stop dreaming when you wake up?"

Dreams fuel our passions so that we don't get lost in the trenches of daily life. 

When was the last time you dreamed a dream while fully awake, Mom? 


The gift of discovering yourself

It's so easy for moms of littles to get bogged down in caring for their little ones. Diapers, bottles, teething and the terrible twos can easily consume a mom's day. 

It's just as easy for moms of older kids to get so involved with being a taxi to their tweens and teens.

Moms, we must find ways to understand ourselves and grow.

These four gifts have helped me grow in many areas of my life. These same gifts are ones that I want Tween Girl as she grows into a young woman. 

This journey has also allowed me to meet wonderful and great moms, who are in different stages of parenting. It's funny how, although, in different stages, the core is still the same: we are all trying to be the best version of mom our kids need us to be. 

In addition to the gifts I shared above, my blog tribe and I are giving the you the gift of cash this Mother's Day. Click below to enter. One fabulous winner will be selected on Friday!

Since money talks, what would you buy yourself if you won the $100?


Oh, the stories I will tell your kids...

4/12/16

Oh, the stories I'll tell your kids
Sitting on the front porch one day
Your kids will be waiting
To hear what I have to say...

About:

The late night feedings.

The temper tantrums just because the sandwich was cut in a square instead of a triangle.

The shenanigans in kindergarten that almost resulted in serious counseling.

Getting the write ups about how you talk too much during class.

The detention slips you forged with my signature...and watching you try to erase it as your teacher and I watched.

parenting



With both of my kids growing up, currently, 19 and 10, my husband and I decided that we would start building a treasure chest of the current things they do and say. These are things that have a tendency to annoy, astonish, anger, humor, otherwise kid stuff that they don't understand how it affects us as parents.

When they are fully grown, married and have their own kids, that treasure box will be ripped open to provide wisdom, nuggets of wisdom to their offspring. This will, hopefully, give their kids ideas (or weapons, depends on the context being used) on how to crawl right underneath their skin.

Here are the first 10 annoyances nuggets that have earned the right to go into the treasure chest, things my husband and I will say to our kids' kids:

1. Make sure you drink glass after glass of water right before bed.

2. Be sure to wake up at 6:30 am on Saturday mornings, bam on your parent's door like you're the police, requesting companionship. (On one occasion, my daughter even slipped us a note underneath our bedroom door, letting us know that she was hungry).

3. No matter how exhausted your mom looks, she absolutely loves how you bounce off the walls at bedtime. She musters up enough energy to read you a story most nights, so having you hide behind doors, your bed, underneath your bed and walking on her heels to follow her around, yeah, she LOVES all of that at 9 pm on a school night.

4. Blame your mom when you leave your book for your book report at school. Oh yeah, especially when it's due the next day. (I recall my daughter's words as being"what did you do with my book?")

5. Yeah, go spend the weekend at a music festival, and forget to call your job to see when you're scheduled to work again. Schedules are posted on Fridays, so be sure to wait until Monday to call for the schedule. My son decided to call for his schedule, he was met with an abrupt "you're supposed to be here right now", then CLICK.

6. Your mom especially likes it when you wake up on a school morning, decide you want to wear something different other than what she has already ironed for you. (I have a feeling this one's gonna get more interesting as she grows older. Which will probably result in many blog posts.)

7. Yes, your dad likes it when you rinse the dishes without actually washing them. I think the food residue from yesterday's dinner will add a certain flair to tonight's dinner. (A tremendous pet peeve of mine. I cannot wait to visit his place over the next few years to see what that looks like.)

8. Your dad absolutely loves that he spent $500 on a laptop that you allowed someone else to step on and crack the screen. Yes, pumpkin, he also likes the fact that you cracked your iPhone screen (or whatever Apple's making in the future) a few weeks after you got it. Yeah, he's big on pouring money down the drain to satisfy your electronic needs.

9. Yes, you should wait until the last minute to sit for your senior pics. I know, they sent you notice back in July. It's now September and the deadline is the first week of October. So what that everybody else waited too and the studio is over booked! No, the crowded portrait studio won't bother him.

10. Your mom loves nothing more than watching the same episode of your Disney shows over and over and over and over...

Moms with littles, your day is coming! Start compiling your list now so that you can create your own treasure chest of stories to tell your grandkids.

Our treasure chest is bursting already with stories to tell the grandkids one day, we're not in a hurry.

The beauty of all of this is that we can then send those kids, armed with the above nuggets of wisdom, home with their parents. At that moment, the Hubs and I will have our reward.

Bwahahaha!!!

What tales will you store up about your kids during this stage of growing up?

High Five Friday on unRehearsed #1+ a Beverly Cleary giveaway!

4/1/16

It's here!

Another week in the books and this time, I am talking about it!

High Five Friday, you know, where we get the chance to give Friday a big ole High Five! We are giving Fridays a High Five because we want to celebrate our big and small victories of the week and spread some positivity. Find out more details here.

high-five-friday


Here's what I am celebrating from this past week:

Easter Sunday kicked off our week

My Hubs made an awesome dinner for us, he is a great cook. My sister and her family joined us for dinner and an indoor Easter egg hunt. Thanks, Georgia weather! Even though we couldn't go to the park like we planned, the kids had a blast running up and down the stairs, searching for those plastic eggs filled with candy. The coveted silver and golden eggs took a while to be found but the squeals of delight were quick indications of when someone finally found them.

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Started my mornings with a 10-minute meditation, weight lifting, prayer and podcasts

It's taken me a while to get back to my morning routine of spending quiet time with myself before everybody else wakes up. I have been trying to meditate for quite some time now and figured this past week would be a great time to start. There is a great app, Calm, that can be accessed by website, iTunes or Google Play. I started with the 7 Days of Calm and must admit it's been a great way to start my day. I tend to get worked up and really needed a way to stay in control of my emotional well being. After I meditate for 10 minutes, I stretch and do 3 reps (36 total) of weight lifting.Even though I am in the gym 4 days a week, I don't lift weights there because I just have trouble figuring out the right way to use those weight machines! After weight lifting, I pick a prayer of the day from Prayers That Avail Much For Women. Not sure of your beliefs but I do believe in God and know that I need Him to help guide me. This book has great, bible based prayers that address many areas of life. 

Had minor oral surgery (nothing to celebrate there), extra attention from my family

Outside of a little bit of discomfort from a tooth extraction, I felt fine. Apparently, my family thought that I was in pain, they worked to make sure I was comfortable. From my Hubs getting me soup to Tween Girl snuggling with me to watch TV. 

My blog buddy Brittany from Champagne and Cheerios got her 1st sponsored post 

What a great feeling, I cannot wait to read Brittany's post! Before we get to her sponsored post, check out her current posts about celebrating life and motherhood. 


Celebrating National Drop Everything and Read with Beverly Cleary

National Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R) is a month-long celebration of reading, helping to make reading a top priority. I've always loved to read but haven't done much reading of physical books over the past few years. My Hubs reads on his Kindle and both kids enjoy reading. I started reading the Beverly Cleary books to Tween Girl a few years ago and she fell in love! Reading about Ramona, Beezus and Henry again made me feel so good about being able to share something I enjoyed from my childhood with Tween Girl. Beverly Cleary's birthday is celebrated alongside D.E.A.R each year, with this year being her 100th birthday.

We are celebrating both D.E.A.R and Mrs. Cleary's birthday with a great giveaway collaboration with a few of my blog buddies:



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We each pitched in and purchased the following for the "Beverly Cleary 100th Birthday Book Giveaway":

  • Mouse and the Motorcycle
  • Ellen Tebbits
  • The Luckiest Girl
  • The Ramona Collection Volume 1, which includes Beezus and Ramona, Ramona the Brave, Ramona the Pest and Ramona and her Father. 
Our giveaway is only available to U.S. residents 18 and older.

Ready to enter? Enter via the Rafflecopter entry form below. One winner will be chosen on April 13, 2016. The winner will have 48 hours to respond once notified. If no response, an alternate winner will be chosen. All books within this prize pack will be shipped individually by each of our sponsors.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are you celebrating this week? Bloggers, you can link up below. Non - bloggers, you can tell us about your wins in the comments section. 
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