A Single Parent’s Guide: From Cradle to College

A Single Parent’s Guide: From Cradle to College

 A Guest Post By Daniel Sherwin

Parenting is never easy. And when you’re going it solo, you have one less set of hands to help out. But, with a few preemptive measures, you can make your single-parent home a safe haven for you and your kids no matter their ages.



The first two years of your child’s life has her at her most vulnerable. From illness to the inability to explain aches and pains, your baby is 100% reliant on you. Start by giving her a safe place to sleep. A current model crib with a firm mattress and fitted sheets is best. Avoid the temptation to wrap your baby in heavy blankets and instead opt for warm, well-fitted pajamas. Do not place a pillow in your child’s crib and invest in a baby monitor, which will let you complete chores around the house while keeping a watchful eye on your sleeping baby.


Redfin offers this advice regarding toxins, which are inviting to a curious crawler, especially when at eye level, “Chemicals and poisonous or toxic substances, such as toilet bowl and window cleaners, oven cleaners, bleach, paint thinner, dish soap, etc., should be kept in a locked cabinet, in a cabinet that is secured with a child-proof safety latch, or in a location that is elevated.”



As your little one graduates from crawling to walking, he has a whole new world of ways to get himself in trouble. Since you can’t have your eyes on your child 100% of the time, you can prevent falls by using child-proof gates on stairways and keeping climbable furniture away from the kitchen, where a hungry toddler might be tempted to reach for the cookie jar. also stresses keeping children out of the kitchen while you’re cooking and never leaving him unattended near an open source of water – no matter how small.


Car safety should also be a priority in the toddler years. And while you won’t likely have another adult to help calm crying child, it’s best to keep him rear-facing until at least his third birthday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers more information on car seats and booster seats.


Young children

At this stage, your child is really gaining a sense of identity and independence, which can lull you into a false sense of security where their safety is concerned. Kids from preschool age to late elementary should never be left home alone — even for just a few moments. Talk to your child’s school about before and after care and summer day-camp programs.


Teach your children about fire safety, and make an escape plan in case of emergency. If your child is active make sure he has a properly-fitted helmet for biking, skating, or skateboarding. Make sure he or she understands how to react to strangers and which people are safe should they become separated from you. Today’s segment about “Tricky People” is a great 5-minute read that could change the way you, and your kids, think about stranger danger.



Although they are growing ever more independent by the day, the 9-and-up crowd still need you to look out for their health and well-being. Today, one of the biggest issues facing adolescents is something we use every day and has changed the world for the better: the internet. This is the perfect time to stress online safety. Never allow your children to text, chat, befriend, or instant message someone they do not know in “real” life. This privacy and internet safety Q&A by Common Sense Media is a great place to start.


This is also an age where children learn to drive. Make sure they have plenty of practice, understand seatbelt laws, and never drive when tired. Also discuss with your child to dangers of peer pressure, sexual activity, and drugs and alcohol.


As a single parent, you pull double duty 24/7. However, you can still keep your children safe if you make safety your #1 priority. For more information on parenting from pregnancy through young adulthood, visit the Centers for Disease Control online at CDC.Gov.

My Love/Hate Relationship With Blippi.

My Love Hate Realtionship with Blippi

Now, let me first off start this by saying I do not hate Blippi or anything that he does to promote education and inspiring curiosity in our small ones…. But that being said:

The songs he makes up and sings with Nicky Notes are on constant replay in my household,and the car, and anywhere my son chooses to grab my phone… And because of that, this mama is about to lose what little of her sanity is left….

Now let’s start this off with how Blippi came to be in our house…. My son has learning delays due to his prematurity and its harder for him to catch on using conventional methods of learning. He didn’t start speaking select words till just over two, didn’t start fully communicating using sentences until August of 2017, and I feel that is part in parcel to Blippi and how he does things. Spud would always watch random videos on our phones we put on for him while out and needed him to be quiet, like specialist appointment, my doctors appointments, and things along those lines. So at one point my husband decided, after his phone went for a fly across the room, that we were going to get him his own little tablet. So we found a cheap android tablet on Amazon, got a case for it and locked up everything we could, downloaded games and Kids YouTube apps. He loved it, now we didn’t let him play alone, and it wasn’t used all day every day. It was just another toy there that he could use from time to time. So one day Spud is sitting on my lap, I am 8.5 months pregnant with his sister at the time, trying to semi relax as everything hurt, and then I remember hearing this for the first time “So much to learn about, it’ll make you wanna shout BLIPPI!” and then he starts in about monster trucks, and my son was glued! He normally clicks away after a while but there was something there that he just found so hypnotizing.

A few days later we are at a Preemie follow up clinic and they are explaining what they feel he is delayed in and what programs we can get him in to and what we can do at home, the paperwork and pan-flits and that kind of thing. Well when we get home we have to book an appointment with our family Doctor so I can put my 3 year old in a specialty early education pre school to help him work on all his delays and get him caught up.

Side note:

This program is amazing and has done wonders!

He was signed up by the end of May and due to Start in September, and he was still speaking very little at this point, key words and that was about it, no matter how much we tried to teach and push the subject, more and more he wanted that tablet and to watch Blippi over and over and over again, I started looking in to all his social medias and followed him, sharing small clips and pictures of my son. From May to August, my son was singing songs, trying to say more words, asking questions and using his manners! I wish I could say it was from out persistence, but I think and feel in my heart that he is doing something on this channel that is speaking to my son on a whole new level that he was understanding and trying to use what he was seeing and learning from these videos. It was just amazing and I am ever so thankful for this, he has no idea how much it has eased my mind.


My son went from barely communicating to naming all the major parts of an excavator, and all the tools and parts of a fire truck. My sons school went on a mini field trip to the local Fire Station, and while we were there, my son shocked a few of the fire Fighters. When they were asking kids if they knew what certain tools were , or what certain switches did my son would yell it out and was right or really close 80% of the time.  He had a great time and didn’t want to come home….. That was until he realized we lived half a block away from the fire hall, then he was so happy, and he waves “Hi” and “Bye” every time we drive by it.

Now we are getting to the ‘hate’ part, but that is such a strong word, its a dislike for how catchy and how easily his songs get ingrained in your head…. So I was goofing about on Spotify and wondered if there were any Blippi songs on there, that we could listen to from time to time in the car should we be on a longer car trip… Well there were 2 Albums on there, and I am sure we are responsible for about 100,000 plays on each song…. We did a family vacation to Drumheller and the whole way down (three and half hours) and the whole way back (four hours…. More pit stops for our 1 year old) we Listened to only one album “Blippi Tunes Vol. 2 Machines” and OH MY GOD….. I am sure anyone who has done long car trips with toddlers, you do anything that will keep the calm in such a small confined space, and for us it was this, any time we attempted to change the music there was a full blown grand mall melt down…

He now has sucked his one and half year old sister into the Blippi vortex of learning, and my husband got sick of them fighting over the one tablet and figured out how to stream everything over the TV, so now all I hear is “Blippi Big TV Mommy? Please? Pretty pretty please? *inset cute head tilt leaning against you, Puss in boots eyes, and a pouty lip looking up up at you*…..

Now I know this title is misleading, because really I have so much to be thankful for in the Blippi channel, it opened a door in my sons mind that just allowed him to want to learn and explore things, he is always asking what things are, and what other things do, he knows different kids of trucks and construction equipment. He knows his colours and how to spell now! He tries to read, he is not even 4 years old yet and he is reading words, and spelling the ones he doesn’t know and trying them. This is a kid that at just under 3 years old was told he had moderate to sever speech, cognitive, developmental, fine motor and gross motor delays! This was a kid who I was told in September of 2017 I was told he was going to most likely need an aide when he starts kindergarten and his first 3 years of ‘big kid’ school. Now he is reading, spelling, singing songs, dancing, trying to teach his little sister things he has learned at school and on Blippi. He has made all these leaps and bounds all because of Blippi, he unlocked a door, and created a curious little learner that makes me smile in wonderment and awe at how far he has come in less than a year, and how much he is still trying to learn.

Please, check him out, who knows he may be just the right thing your child needs as well.


-Ashton <3

Roxoflove_ Movement

Good Morning everyone, or when ever you are reading this….

I met a beautiful woman on Instagram, Shaila, she followed me on the platform and I, as I always do, creeped her profile and saw the message she was putting out there, and I loved it! I have never had to deal with the loss of a still birth, and I can only imagine the grief that people like her go through that is behind closed doors. So I reached out to her and asked her if she was willing to share her story and what it is she doing with Roxoflove_ and she said yes. I think that this is something sweet and Beautiful and story that is worth being shared, something positive to be born from grief and loss, to help you find the power to keep going, not because you have to but because you want to and use it all in a way that helps others.

So in her own words, this is what she has to say about Rocoflove_


When you are pregnant you are told to go to the doctors, have a health check with a midwife, take a variety of birthing and parent to be classes but you are not told how to deal with grief; the grief that comes from a stillbirth.


Stillbirths are defined as ‘the birth of an infant that has died after completing 24 weeks of pregnancy’. Unfortunately for me, my little boy had slipped away at 37 weeks + 5 days. The statistics for stillbirths vary between 1 in 4, 15 a day and 1 in 16. It is very common for couples to suffer from stillbirths yet it is not talked about openly amongst people. Numerous charities have been set up but there is still an air of taboo around the subject, is it because people don’t want to discuss stillbirths or maybe they just do not know what to say. Either way, I am here to share my view tell you the story of my journey to a world of changed expectations.


I had a textbook pregnancy. Very little sickness, nausea and practically no health complications. I had reached 37 weeks, set up an area for baby to sleep, packed and repacked the maternity bag and was awaiting an appointment to discuss my labour plan. I went to sleep on the 19th of October at 11pm that night with a kick to my right side from my son only to wake up at 4:14 with no further movement. I went to the bathroom, there was no pain or bleeding, just a stillness in my womb. I danced about, trying to get my baby going, drank a cold glass of milk and played some music. Still nothing. Two hours later alarm bells began to ring. When my husband woke up he told me to go to the hospital just to check if anything was wrong. I sent my husband into work and off I drove, alone, to the hospital. When I got there they set me up in a room, did the routine samples and began to listen to a heartbeat. It was twenty minutes later that I was surrounded by two doctors and five midwives, with the alarm ringing above the hospital bed I was told “I am so sorry but there is no heartbeat”. You can only imagine the pain, sorrow, grief and mania that came after that. Me and my husband had heard the worst news possible.

I was given a pill to induce labour and sent home that day in the hope that my body would prepare for labour. I returned two days later into a special suite for parents who had been in my situation to prepare to deliver my first, and only, child. It took a further two days of medication before my body finally went into labour. I remember having contractions for the whole day on 23rd of October. Trying to make the best out of a bad situation, me and my husband were watching TV, listening to the radio, enjoying the gas and air and simply doing anything to take our minds off the pain to come.

I finally delivered my baby boy at 8:24 on Tuesday 24th of October 2017. I named him Emre Elahi and was stunned by his appearance. I have a small frame and had a small, neat bump throughout my pregnancy yet this long, beautiful baby boy came out. My first reaction was “whoah”. The hospital were then amazing at providing ways for us to create memories in those few precious hours we had with our son. We took handprints, footprints, a lock of hair and pictures to cherish him by, Immediate family came to visit and meet Emre. Tragically, Emre was the first grandchild from both mine and my husband’s side of the family. He was also buried on the day of my one year wedding anniversary.

Some things in life are not scripted. I find it amazing how Emre was such a huge part of the first year of our marriage and how burying him on our anniversary completed this chapter of our lives. It was an immense struggle to deal with my grief but burying Emre on our anniversary provided some hope that I would look back at him as a positive reminder of the time we had with him.

It was this hope that propelled me to find positivity in this difficult situation. I experienced a storm of emotions in the weeks after Emre’s passing. My expectations had shifted and instead of having a baby all I had was endless leaflets of support groups under my nose. I did not want to attend a support group. I was not strong enough to leave the house and share my grief with people. Instead, I wanted to find positivity, hope and happiness. Me and my husband were so lucky to have been supported by a strong network of people who were empathetic of our situation and wanted to help restore our smiles. We received a Happy Hamper to help us smile when we were down and various tokens and reminders of our son.

I found Art Therapy extremely helpful so I began to draw on pebbles and record messages of positivity on the back. It was from this I was inspired to begin my campaign roxoflove_ on Instagram. If being positive helped me and my husband then why should I not share it with others? We have been leaving pebbles around our home city to help spread messages of positivity. The campaign itself provides messages of hope and positivity for people who are suffering from grief or experiencing grief. This is because I was a statistic and there will be more women out there who have to face the pain I did. I simply want to show that they can get through this. There will, and have been, good days and bad days but a key point to remember is that “In time this moment will pass”. Whether it is a happy or a sad moment it will eventually pass so I try to enjoy every moment I can.


My campaign has reached out to a lot of people on social media who too have had Angel Babies. I also want to use this opportunity to thank various members of the online community who, like me, have suffered from the loss of a child and are giving back to the community.

Thank you to @carsonslegacy for creating amazing graphics in memory of our lost children

Thank you to @baby_blingg who creates bling for all babies thus echoing the key message of #stillbornstillloved

Thank you to @letters_to_lillyflower who created a beautiful piece of art in honour of my son




Below are some images of the different places we leave our rocks.



Toilet Talk

Occupational TherapistToilet Talks, Notes, Tips and Tricks from an Occupational Therapist in a toilet training seminar. I hope that you find help in all of this, I took the seminar because I have been struggling to toilet train my almost 4 year old for closing in on 2 years, and my daughter is starting to approach the age to attempt to toilet train, so when the opportunity came up to attend this I jumped at it, and this is a combination of their notes, my notes and fun graphics that took me forever to make…. So please enjoy.


The Goals for the seminar were simple, to learn about readiness and pre-toileting skills, establishing a toileting routine, learning how to use visuals to assist with toileting, how to look at reward versus punishments, and how to deal with accidents and other issues. It is important that you start toilet training when you AND the child are ready. If started too early, toilet training can become a power struggle, and that power struggle will effect just how long the toilet training will take and how successful you will be in the long run. Some kids might be under

Four Stages Of Toilet Learningreactive to being wet or dirty while others may be over reactive to those same stimulus.

There are Four main stages of Toilet Learning, there is stage one, Toilet Play. This step can include pretending to use the toilet on their potty, mostly with their clothes on, they become very curious as to what others are doing in the bathroom and they show more interest in the toilet itself, maybe not for using but wanting to learn how that it works. Stage two is Toilet Practice, and this step shows the child wanting to practice certain skills that are needed in wanting to use the toilet. Like practicing flushing the toilet, pulling their pants up and down, getting on and off their potty or the big toilet, squatting down then standing back up again, practicing hand washing and asks for your to check if their diaper is wet or dry, or clean or dirty as they are becoming more aware of what is going on. Stage Three they are showing more interest in wearing “real” underwear and feels the need to urinate by showing gestures (also known as the peepee dance), is verbal and uses facial expressions. They are beginning to hold urine in longer, like when they are playing and really dont want to stop to go pee or feel wet while playing, as they also start to feel the need to be clean more than sitting in their mess longer than necessary. They now have words for using the toilet and tells you when they have to go. They can pull their pants up and down a little more freely, and stand and sits on the toilet or their potty with little to no help. They are also showing signs of pushing and concentrating when they are ready to poop, they are also letting you know more and more when they have ‘accidents’ or need their pull up changed. Stage Four is the final stage, as they are now doing independent toileting.

Tips and Tricks for

There are a few tips and tricks out there for Potty Training, many are ones that your parents used on you and your siblings, then there are the ones your grandparents tell you about, you also can look online for many more, these ones are from the occupational therapist as well as a few from the other moms that attended the seminar with me that have older children that they were able to toilet train with no help as they didn’t have the same delays or different issues that our children have now.

So the first thing you can do is establish a toilet language with your child, you can use the actual terms like Urine or Bowel movement or the old stand by peepee and poopoo. Then there also the terms that you want to use for their parts, we are still working on stage one in our house for toilet training so when I am changing my son he is in charge of wiping his ‘macker’ and that is what he calls his penis, and that works for us as well as he calls his bottom his “smelly butt”…. Let’s not start that story. You can also model the stages of going to the bathroom for your child, “Oh I feel like I need to pee, lets got the potty.” They can follow you into the bathroom and you can narrate the steps you are taking. “I am pulling down my pants and big kid underwear. Now I am sitting on the potty, and going pee.” Things along those lines, you can also have a steps on a “Rip Chart” or a check mark sheet your child can check off as you complete the steps now and later when they are completing the steps.

Rip Chart

Rip Chart, each tab is Velcro and can be ripped off as each step is completed

Another step you can try is changing their soiled pull ups in the bathroom so they can start to associate the bathroom with getting clean, you can even start putting the poop from the diaper in the toilet and have them flush it down. Also, dress your child in easy to manage clothing so that they can start practicing pulling their pants up and down. My son when he is in his sweats will do it while he watching TV, not even really for the need to go to that bathroom, just because he wants to, his sister who is only 1 and half is already trying to mimic him, he has cognitive delays while my daughter is right on par with her age, so I will be potty training them at the same time.

Check Chart

Check off each step as they are done.

Establishing some sort of toileting routine will also help you in the long run, you can have your child sit on the toilet or their potty at regular intervals for 1 to 3 minutes, like every 30 minutes or 60 minutes regularly or 20 to 30 minutes after eating and drinking.  Also have your child participate in as many tasks as possible when they are in the bathroom, you can also use a tracking system to determine if your child is already on a routine. If your child has a fairly regular schedule, be consistent in taking them to the bathroom during the times that your child is mostly likely to go. Place your child on the toilet or potty approximately 5 to 10 minutes before their predicted time to go. Try and schedule toilet trails less than 90 minutes apart, timers may assist with keeping everyone on track. A wind up egg timer that you can show your child how to set may help them feel like they are in control of this whole situation.

If your child does not have a regular schedule, your child’s potty habits may be linked to eating, sleeping or physical activity, determine the amount of time between these activities and elimination, you might notice a pattern, also you might want to increase the amount of liquid intake 10 to 20 minutes before a trial to increase success.

Praise your child for appropriate toileting

toilet TRAINING tipsto help motivate your child, praise EVERY step that they do successfully, regardless of how much assistance you provided. Verbal praise should be used whether or not you use a tangible reward, like small preferred food or sticker. Accidents happen, keep calm, avoid getting upset when an accident happens, but help your child clean up. Avoid punishing your child for accidents, accidents can help your child learn what it feels like to be wet and how their body works. Issues that arise, child is afraid of the toilet, your child seems to feel unstable on the toilet, your child wont sit still long enough to go and your child responds poorly to wearing underwear.

Diapers vs. Pull-Ups vs. Big Kid Underwear

-Diapers make potty training less messy, but they dont allow your child to get that necessary feeling of being wet or dirty.

-Pull-Ups also pull away moisture fairly quickly as well

-Underwear provides your child with feeling of wetness which is necessary for learning how to stay dry.

-Let your child pick out ‘real’ underwear. They may have a favorite character like Barbie, Dora, Spider-man, or anything along those lines.

Here are the top ten do’s and dont’s for potty and toilet training. I also have a few other little tips that were shared at the seminar:

  • Try and put the big kid underwear under a pull up, that way they can get some of the sensation of being wet and dirty while you have less of a mess to clean up.
  • Teach girls to wipe from front to back, because we know that the bacteria transferred from back to front can cause infections and problems in the long run.
  • Hand washing should always be included at the end of every child’s bathroom routine
  • When accidents occurs, never leave a child in wet or dirty clothing change the child’s clothing as quickly as possible, and have your child assist you where appropriate.

Here are a few lists of books for parents and children that you can also check out:

List Of Toilet Training Books

I hope this was informative and helped you figure out how you can and will start Toilet Training your little one. Leave me a comment if you have any other tips and trick that you used that were helpful that I didn’t include, or please let me know if you have used some of the ones I did include and they did work for you.

Thanks for Reading

-Ashton <3

A Tired Moms Guide To Self Care

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I hope 2018 has started off great for everyone!

The one thing I am going to work on for me this year, aside from the eternal struggle of Potty training, is taking care of myself. I find that is the one thing us moms have a hard time with, self care. We need to feel the best version of yourself in order to keep your sanity and be the best mom and significant other we can be! I have made a small list of ways we can treat ourselves, without rushing it at night, and incorporate the small children that are around us 24/7, that we love, but sometimes wish would play safely in another room. SO! Here we are:

The Tired Mom's Guide to Self-Care

  1. Lavender Air Fresheners

    I have these in almost every room, except the bathroom because that has its own stronger smelling on. They are a light pleasant smell , and  is known as a calming and relaxing herb and has frequently been used for insomnia, anxiety, depression, and natural stress relief. One recent study discovered that  the scent of lavender increases the time you spend in deep (slow wave) sleep, though the effects were stronger for women than for men. So, surrounding yourself with that scent will help you throughout the day…. In theory anyways, I still live in a toddler type zoo, but it smells nice
  2. Monster Time
    I have two or three different masks that I use throughout the month, well I should say that I try and use throughout the month. But when you have two toddlers ripping and running around all day, a house to clean, food to cook, and dishes to do makes life a bit busy. Not to mention school and school related activities, so what can we do, to make sure we take care of our skin and manage children who want to play? Throw on a mask and play monster from the lagoon, or sand pit, or in my case zombie! My son loves it, he passes me one of light sabers and I am an alien Jedi and he is going to fight me, and my daughter just sits and laughs, some times joins in and wants to be chased by the tickle monster. I sometimes do it while the kids are in the bath tub, and I am the sea creature off to get them with shampoo and soap.
  3. Cup Of Tea
    Sometimes all you need is to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea, to sit back and relax and not worry about the mountain of laundry for 20 minutes, or the dishes, or the trash in the bin that you are sure is going to attract wildlife at some point. So, make a nice cup of caffeine free tea, cool of a cup or two (depending on the brood you have) and show them how to enjoy a quiet cup of tea just like mommy, or have a tea party with real tea, its a nice memory and also can be semi relaxing for you.
  4. Book Time
    I have always tried to read with my kids, their books, my books heck even a magazine or seven in a waiting room someplace. So, to make sure I can have some time to read a book, or my kids need to wind down from something I grab a book and read it. It can be kid friendly or, not so kid friendly depending on how brave you are and how much you know your child will repeat. For my 3 year old I find it relaxing having him on my lap for some quiet and bust out the Harry Potter chapter books and he will sit there and listen, enjoy and even point out certain words or letters that he knows. With my daughter I read what I am reading and he loves it, I think she likes to just hear me talk to her and try and talk like a man, as I am reading Outlander currently and she enjoys sitting with me so I can find some time to enjoy my book and relax and include her in that as well.
  5. DIY Exfoliate Scrubs
    My son likes to help me with anything and everything in the kitchen, and when i found a few recipes for Do It Yourself face scrubs that we easy to do, non toxic and kid safe I figured why not get him to help me. He loved to mix things with the spoon and help me dish it out into containers. He even uses a special coffee Vanilla one ( 3 Table Spoons Coffee Grounds, 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and as much Coconut oil to make it into a paste) he likes washing his hands and his belly in the tub with it. So why not make a special spa treatment you can share with your little ones?
  6. Music Playlist
    We all, as parents, are always listening to what our kids want, because it makes them happy. They saying is ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’, but us moms know the truth. If the kids are happy, we are happy and husbands don’t get snapped at for leaving the toilet seat up…. Again. So, what works for me, is i have a Spotify playlist that has a mixture of my kids song that I can stand as well as some of my favorite songs, and we sing and dance and sometimes I will just sit with them and let them look at my phone, or read a book with them while the music, instead of a TV, is on in the background. Our Favorite Right Now Is “The Unicorn” By The Irish Rovers, and “The Narwhal” Also By Them.

    Well, these are some tips that I have been using to make myself sane during the day, and honestly I feel happier and a better person for my kids, sharing certain things with them, and they are happy because they are still the center of my world and enjoying things.

    Please let me know if you have any relaxing tips that you use with your kids as well. Thanks so much for reading!

    -Ashton <3

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Solo Fatherhood

Guest Post By: Daniel Sherwin

Being a single dad is a tough job that gets way less credit than it deserves. In addition to the challenges you’d expect from single parenting, dads have a few unique issues that sneak in from time to time to dampen the day.


  1. People assume the mom has a hand in everything good.


According to Adam Petzold, a single dad interviewed by HuffPost, anytime his son looks well put together, people automatically assume the mom had something to do with it.


  1. Everyone has an opinion, and it’s rarely in the dad’s favor.


While the number of single father households is on the rise, there is still a stigma that can be hard to shake. It’s not uncommon for strangers to make innocent comments such as, “You’re doing a great job for a man.” While well-meaning, most dads are never prepared for the way this hurts.


  1. Support is hard to find.


There are single parenting networks across the country. Most cater to women. Even when men are “welcomed” into the group, it can be awkward. This Forbes contributor and single dad says many support groups are openly hostile to men.


  1. Breaking stereotypes is tough.


When you think of a nurturer, you think of a woman…maybe a new mom, a grandmother. You wouldn’t picture a bearded, flannel-wearing, manly man. Society as a whole portrays men and women differently. Dads were once boys, who were raised to adhere to these same notions. When they suddenly become the one that has to change diapers, mend broken hearts, and listen as their children recount the actions of the playground bully, they have to learn to be gentle.


  1. No one understands why the child isn’t with the mom.


There is no denying the bias toward women when child custody is in question. The US Census estimates that women are awarded care and financial support by the courts 82.6% of the time. When dad winds up with full-time parenting duties, it brings questions about the mother…questions that can be hard to answer when your child is within ear shot.


Mental and physical toll


Single parents, and especially dads, report negative mental and physical symptoms at a far higher rate than their married counterparts. And despite the availability of mental health professionals, men are less likely to seek help, which goes back to societal expectations of strength. These mental and physical health issues have serious consequences on the family as a whole, as men who rate their health poor to fair tend to be un- or underemployed. Worry about money only exacerbates the issues.


While you can’t do much to alter people’s perception of your parenting ability, you can take preemptive measures to ensure your family (and your health) doesn’t suffer because of it. Start by discussing your situation with your children in an age appropriate way. Help them prepare for questions by other children and educate them that there are many different family structures, and yours is no better and worse than others.


Finally, learn to focus on your own needs in everything you do. As mental health advisors note, “The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing.” When you’re a single parent, the easy thing is to ignore the issues, but facing them head on and with a positive outlook may be the best thing for you and your children.


Image via Pixabay


**Thank you Daniel so much for writting this peice, If you want to see more of what Daniel is writting you can check out his blog at

Perfect…. Music


This song… “Perfect” was my favorite song from this album to begin with. It reminds me of small intimate moments my husband and I had on our wedding day, small things that I haven’t thought of in years, things that most people forget over time. Little things he did, he said, that were very much out of his character that I wont gush about on here, because he does have family and friends that read this…

Andrea Bocelli, his music has been part of my life since I was little. I remember laying in bed, listening to my mom get her paints ready and then just before she would start painting, she would put on Him, or someone similar, or some beautiful classical music that would lull my brother and I to sleep. I hadn’t thought of those days in so long and how I feel they impacted my love and appreciation of music. It made me think about the music I play for my kids, and will it shape them the way my parents music shaped me? Will they have a set taste in music like their father or be fluid like me?

I shared this song with my grandmother, who I remember had more than a few Andrea Bocelli CDs growing up. And I hope this is a special song that we can share and create some sort of memory with. Music plays a huge part of my, because I see it and feel it as a universal language, its something we all have in common. Everyone has a song that speaks to them on some level, we never all share the same tastes, but that’s OK, its OK to be different, because then you have something to share, something to put out there..

Music doesn’t have to playing or even created at that point in time to bring up a memory, or a feeling. Music conveys so much, whether its the instrumental arrangement itself, or the lyrics speak to you on some level. Let me explain an example…

A few years back, a family friend passed away, and I was so sad about it, cried, it hurt. Then we all went on the hunt for pictures of this person, because we wanted to create a slideshow of our life and memories of him. and once the slide show was done we played it through and smiled and laughed at some of them. But something was missing, my mom or dad (not 100% sure which one…) heard a song and it made her think about that friend and how she was feeling at that point in time, of their passing. She put the song over the slideshow and instant tears! For all of us, the same pictures we just looked at before and were laughing with, now had us in tears, all because of a song! Music made the difference. It pulls emotion out, and it, to me, helps heal. I can listen to that song and smile now, thinking about this person, it helps.

Music to me is its own religion, a life force…. I heard a quote many years back and it said “Music is life…. That is why every heart has a beat.” This is something I will remember forever and live by.

I want music like this to continue for years to come…. I want my kids to share their music combined with the music that my parents listened to, with my parents and myself! I want music that combines childhood with adulthood to continue!

A song came out a long time ago, 2004, it was around the time someone I knew in school had committed suicide, it was a strange time for me because I had so many questions about it, and i was sad because this wasn’t a close friend, but I knew him, he was in a few of my classes, he and I had mutual friends. So when our teachers came in homeroom telling us what had happened, I was numb and confused. A few weeks later I hear this song “How Do You Get That Lonely?” By Blaine Larsen, and it asked the questions I was wondering, no answers but it was there, and it helped… I don’t know how but it did….. After a while i started looking up this artist and he was set to release an album soon… And in 2005 I got it, and on that album was a song that brought my music into my dads world.

My dad has always been the person I went to with music and he would listen to it, but in the end he would call it ‘long haired hippy shit”, so I was determined to find something he would listen to and love it, I was so very sure I found it!! “If Merle Would Sing My Songs”, my dad is a HUGE Merle Haggard fan, I grew up listening to his music when every my dad was home from work, and here was a song about this young kid going to Nashville to write songs in hopes that Merle Haggard would sing them…. and the last 3 lines were sang by Merle Haggard himself….

So Dad came home from work, there I was proud as a peacock, busted out the diskman and the head phones, “Dad I have a song I need you to listen to.” He played it off that he wasn’t even going to try and like it…. He put the head phones one, I won points that it was country song, more points when he heard the chorus about wanting Merle to sing his songs…. Then it got to the last part of the song, the last two lines, I watched my dad so intently waiting for that part, and when it hit I knew it, he got this look on his face and smiled… “That’s Merle.” He said, he listened to the song one more time…. Since then it has become one of my dads favorite songs my brother sings. I can play it every now and again and he will smile.

I won, music connecting us again, like it always does and i feel it always will.

I know I went through all kinds of twists and turns, and I hope you get what I am saying here….

‘Music Is Life…. That’s Why Every Heart Has A Beat.”

-Ashton <3

Mommy Book Club 2018

Mommy Book Club Will Start Up Again On January 1st, 2018 and The Book We will be reading is Book One in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.

Back Cover Synopsis:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second Honeymoon — when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach – an ‘outlander’ – in a Scotland torn by war and raiding boarder clans in the year of Our Lord… 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life… and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scot warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire… and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

I am giving everyone a heads up on this because it is a longer book and some of us… Mainly me… Will need longer than 30 days to read it. 

I hope you all join us in January on my Facebook Page Ashton Taylor – Our Preemie Family for a Facebook live or a discussion board on it. It all depends on how my kids do at bed time that night, lol. 

Thanks for your Time,

Ashton <3 

My Struggle With PTSD

There has been many articles recently about mental health for parents and family members that have experienced NICU life, and all the bumps, drop, loop de loops that roller coaster has in store for everyone incolved. I would like to share my battle with PTSD post NICU, 3 and half years later.

My son was born 16 weeks early, and I was a worrier before this, but this experience has amplified my paranoia about anything and everything that was not in my control. My little Spud was born at 24 weeks and 2 days gestation, 11 inches 1 pound 12 oz, and loud. He annouced his presence with a meek but powerful squeak, almost like a newborn kitten, I learned later that it was rare for little ones that early to have a powerful entrance, so much so that the nurses held him unsure of what to do for a moment or two. 

Now, this part is mainly to explain where I came from to have you understand where I am now. We were in the NICU for 157 days total and 33 days in a childrens hospital, with 2 attempts at coming home before the third one stuck. We were sent home the first time just before his due date, and his Respiratory therapist came tonthe house the following morning and as she hooked him up to the pulse ox monitor he stopped breathing, turned grey and she preformed CPR on him while i was on the phone with 911 amd rounded up cats. She got him breathing and crying and back to the NICU we went, they kept us for 4 days, ran tests and came up with nothing, so they wrote it off as a one off situation and sent us home. As I drove him home I make sure he was mad and would cry the whole 15 minute drive home. You might see that as cruel, I saw that as a way to keep calm. That was the beginning of my spiral down, we got home. My husband and I gave our son his first bath at home, I swaddled him up, put a bum on him and fed him. I handed him to my husband to burp while I went to clean the bottles. Two minutes later my husband is yelling, I run and spring into action, I start CPR, got my husband to wrangle cats and call 911. I got him to burp, fart and whine but no gasp or full cry. The paramedics, who were the same group that were at our house 4 days prior, lifted me off my child and into the hall to start CPR with machines and oxygen masks. 

We were admitted for 34 days in the NICU and 33 in the children’s Hospital after this incident. I refused social work while in the NICU and hospital with my son. I did not want to focus on me, I wanted my son to come home and stay home and stay alive this time. I spent hours writing everything down, filling my sons medical binder with everything and anything. He was my focus 110%.

The third time he came home on oxygen, on a tank I had to bring around with me, so I became a hermit and only left if I had a helper, or to the doctors office alone. He was home before Christmas, and off oxygen by March, my husbands birthday, and I went to a happy routine with him until June. I had to put my son in daycare for 2 hours a day while I worked nights, and my husband worked days. 

Thats when my husband and family started noticing a slight problem, at work I would be overcome with a sence of panic and call my husband repeatedly until he would answer anc check on Spud, make sure he was breathing, make him put the phone up to his mouth so I could hear it. It wasn’t just once and a while, it was 1 to 3 times a night 5 nights in a row. My family doctor put my ativan while at work, but to use as needed, he also put me in touch with a family councillor who was the first person to tell me I may have NICU PTSD and put me in touch with a psychologist. 

I saw her once a week, we worked on talking and medications therapies that helped calm me down. This was from July till October, I was down to once a month visits. The end of October I found out we were pregnant with baby number 2. And I had to stop my medications, and up my therapy visits to try and remain normal. But in January, I lost my job and my coverage for therapy and my husbands coverage couldn’t cover it anymore. I panicked for most of my pregnancy, I had a full meltdown at 22 weeks and again at 24 weeks. I had it in my brain that something was going to go worng. I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy with my daughter, I didn’t feel the joy of finding out it was a girl, I didn’t feel happy shopping for clothes because it felt like something was going to go wrong. But nothing did, Princess Tally came into the world 6 days overdue at 8 lbs 14oz 22 inches long via c section because she had a big head like her dad. 

I didn’t enjoy my 4 day hospital stay, I refused to put her down, I made nurses watch her while I went to the bathroom if family wasn’t there. They made me meet with a social worker to help me get back on medications, which ment I could not breast feed. I had to do it, I had to make this sacrifice for my daughter, so I would have all my mental faculties for her, Spud and my husband. 

I manage my PTSD with medications to this day, and I still have good days and bad days where I pop an Ativan to get through the day, I struggle daily with it, there are nights I wake up 4 to 6 times a night and check both kids, I do not work. I stay at home and try to find some normalcy for my family, for me, I start back to counseling in 3 weeks. Its a battle, but I am willing to fight this, because I have something worth fighting for. 

– Ashton <3

Journey To Heal Diastasis Recti: Part Two

Guest Post By: Lindsay Sutherland


Before I say anything more about this I want you to know that your post baby body is beautiful.  It tells a story of the miracle of new life.  And I’d like you to have a look at this (even if you have seen this before, it’s good to look at it again because sometimes we forget that there is more to physical beauty than what we see on TV and in magazines):

The reason I am on a journey to heal my diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction has more to do with function.  I obviously don’t want to pee my pants every time I sneeze or jump and also, I have a not-so-great back (I have already had to have surgery on it) so I need my abs and core to be at their best to support my back.  Of course I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care what my tummy looked like.  But I think in my journey to heel my core, the look of my tummy will take care of itself (I’m not talking fitness model 6 pack or anything, just something that I will be confident with 😉 )

I think it is important to take a minute and think about how you view exercise.   I think many people may see it as punishment for maybe enjoying too much of your favorite snacks.  Or maybe some people see exercise as just something unpleasant they need to do because they know it is good for them and they just want to get it done and over with each time they hit the gym.

I think a much better way to think about exercise is to see it as a reward for your body for all the hard work it does for you (including the amazingness that is baby creation!).  Exercise because you LOVE  and cherish your body, not because you hate it and/or want to change the look of it.

So, on to my update on my journey!

I have finished week 2 of this program, so I’m half way through now and I do feel my core getting stronger.  The program is also teaching me to think about proper alignment during the day whether I’m sitting, standing, picking up my toddler or making supper.

Again, not much of a different in the way my tummy looks, but this is all I can show you for a visual lol.  PS, I’m not sucking in my tummy or flexing my abs or core or anything, I’m also not pushing out my tummy…this is just a neutral tummy posture (very technical term here lol!).  These pics were all taken before a workout.  I find that sometimes right after a workout your muscles are more toned looking than they usually are, and I wanted a try story of any improvement so I’m keeping things as realistic and consistent as I can.

Tips for today:

Be Patient:
If you are embarking on a journey to heal your diastasis recti and/or pelvic floor dysfunction, think of it more as a marathon and not a sprint.  It takes time to build any type of muscle in your body, your core and pelvic floor muscles are no different.  Think more in terms of months rather than days or weeks when it comes to seeing a difference.

Stick with it:
The important thing is to stick with it, even if it doesn’t feel like you are doing much compared to traditional exercise programs where you sweat a bunch 🙂

Don’t check your ab gap too frequently:
Going along with my first tip (to be patient), try to resist the urge to check your gap too frequently.  I try not to check mine more than once a month.  Sometimes I’ll go a few months before checking it.  Why?  Well, to check it you need to hold a crunch position and crunches can make your gap worse.  I checked my gap last month and I’ll check it again at the end of the program that I’m doing now so that I can report on any improvement that has been made as a result of the program.

Be careful with high heels:
Wearing high heels changes your alignment as you lean back to compensate for the angle that the heels put your body at.  This causes increased intra abdominal pressure which you don’t want while you are trying to close your ab split.  If you are like me and love to rock some 4 inch stilettos this is pretty terrible news I know!  Realistically I knew I couldn’t give up high heels completely, so what I do is try to limit how often I wear them and how high the heel is.   Luckily the trend right now is a low block heel which is great for so many reasons!  So I have been wearing 2 inch block heels, some flats and some shoes with a 1 or 1.5 inch heel most of the time.  Occasionally, for short periods of time I will rock a 3  or 3.5 inch stiletto 🙂

If you missed my first post about this, check it out here 🙂

Cheers my beautiful ladies!

**Thank you so much Lindsey For sharing more of your journey here. If anyone wants to talked to Lindsey or follow her journey as she continues to rock it out , here are her social media and blog site links again: