Here are some fun suggestions to get you going:
“Put Your Records On” — Corinne Bailey Rae
“That Song In My Head” — Julianne Hough
“Vogue” — Madonna
“Pick Yourself Up” — Dina Krall
Now go listen, dance, sing out loud!
Also, why not share some suggestions of your own?
A Dose of Savvy…
I feel like the Fall friendzy is just around the corner! I just finished going through the calendar from now through the end of 2010 with my former husband, filling in the weekend and holiday and school schedules. Even though two will be away at college, they are still on the schedule… getting to school, Parents’ Weekends, getting to and from school for holidays. And then there are Back-to-School nights, sports schedules, SATs and college visits for my two high-schoolers.
I hear from single moms all the time about the frustrations and stresses of co-parenting. Many times the challenge isn’t just in making the schedules; it’s in sticking to the schedule, as well as the poor communication between the parents that makes things complicated.
Between custody, school, activity, and vacation schedules and day-to-day life, it can get tough to keep track of it all while trying to work and run a household. Things may be missed or even forgotten, schedules may be switched at the last minute, and in some cases one parent has been known to keep information from the other parent. Unfortunately, this only hurts the children!
If you need help with communicating information and family schedules, or even expenses, I recently came across a resource that can literally change your life! Our Family Wizard is an online information manager that allows you to easily schedule and track parenting schedules, share important family information and expenses, as well as create clear communication. Both parents, as well as the children, can have access to the system which includes the family calendar, message boards, private and shared journals, expense logs, and a family information bank (for vital information such as school information, emergency contacts, health care providers and health information). Money can also be transferred for expenses and is logged for future reference.
If you’re not divorced yet, you can even use the system as you create your family plan. Our Family Wizard has common plans already in place that you can choose. Courts in over 35 states have ordered that the parties use this system in contested cases.
Life as a single parent is not always easy so take advantage of any resources that can simplify things. The Our Family Wizard system protects kids by keeping them out of the middle and reduces divorce conflict between you and the other parent by eliminating miscommunication, reducing stress, and avoiding arguments. Ultimately, though, it allows you to focus on and improve your parenting!
A Dose of Savvy…
A Dose of Professional Savvy…
Did you know that, according to The Center for Women’s Business Research, women are opening businesses at twice the rate of men? From the beginning of time, women have shown their entrepreneurial spirit by starting businesses either in or out of the home.
Believe it or not, a recession is a perfect time to start your own business! Most successful businesses have been started during a recession, and many even during the Great Depression. Trader Joe’s, Apple, and Revlon were all started during recessions and many businesses continue to thrive despite the recessions. Just look at Pay Pal!
During tough economic times people seem to become more creative and resourceful., which is something we, as divorced women, have learned well. Hungry to succeed on our own, we are open to all our options. So, why not you? Why not take advantage of the recession to follow your passion and start your own business?
First, though, you must determine if you have the personality to be an entrepreneur. Are you a risk taker? Are you willing to invest in yourself and your business? Are you ready and able to work long hours for little or no pay initially? Many of us are, and do just that, in order to follow our dreams. Sometimes doing what you love just doesn’t seem like work; but the reality is, you still have to pay the rent or mortgage and feed your family. Make sure you are ready with a good business and financial plan, and are committed to doing whatever it takes to make your business successful.
Many communities have a small business center that caters to women looking to start their own business. They will assist you in launching your business, taking it from business concept to business plan with workshops, seminars, and coaching. Many of these resources are free or low-cost so be sure to take advantage of this support. Many local business women volunteer in these organizations to mentor aspiring entrepreneurs. Call your local Chamber of Commerce or do a search on your local area for “Women’s Business Center”. You might be shocked at who you will find to assist you!
If you have always dreamed of starting your own business, make sure you have a plan, get your finances in order, and move forward. Do not allow a recession to stop you because it may just be the very best time to get your business started successfully. Join the many other divorced women who are finding economic independence through entrepreneurship!
For additional support in starting or growing your business, I encourage you to take advantage of the information shared by the 12 Top Experts who participated in my Savvy Divorced Chicks Online Biz Bootcamp. Click here for all the details!
It is normal to feel lost and confused at times, but don’t let yourself stay in that place… it’s time to take back your power. You are a strong and capable woman, so step up and take control of your life. No one else is there to help make decisions. It’s all about you. Don’t let this drag you down, or make you feel bad. It’s meant to lift you up! You have the power to control your life now!
Now’s the time to recharge your batteries and rediscover what made you tick before marriage. You may not be able to go back to exactly what that was, especially if you are now a single parent, but perhaps you can find something better. Maybe your passions have changed over time or maybe it’s time to explore new ones. Whatever you do, don’t just turn inward. Make decisions and take action on those decisions.
Embrace your new life. Travel when your kids are away, pick up a new hobby, find a career you are passionate about…whatever it takes to get into the world of living and not just existing, do it. The past is the past and the entire world lies ahead. Don’t go out into the world just to find the next person to marry. Try your hand at living for you. Life does not have to be about living in pairs. It can truly be about living life on your own terms, but only if you will let yourself. Your life is not over after divorce…it’s just beginning!
Monday’s Dose of Inner Savvy…
My teenage son and daughter and I have been watching the Olympics for the past 10 days and thoroughly enjoying it! It has been a great way to hang out as a family once we’ve gotten through after-school hockey and play practice, dinner, and homework.
In addition to the intense competition, I love the behind-the scenes stories of the athletes…the challenges they (and their families) have overcome; the sacrifices they have made; the pride they feel for their countries; and the pureness of competing for the love of the sport, not because of any amount of money. Clearly these athletes have earned their status as the best athletes in the world. As I’ve watched them, I realize it takes much more than just skill to be in the Olympics…it also takes an “Olympic Mindset” to compete at that level.
When I see the joy in the Olympians faces, it occurs to me how we should all have that same kind of joy in our lives! Though it may seem difficult in our life after divorce, we can have that same joy if we just adopt the Olympic mindset in going after what we want. Here are the characteristics I’ve noticed that we can also apply to our lives…
1. Resilience…An athlete may not have a great race or game or competition every time, but they are able to celebrate the victories and move on to the next competition. In life after divorce, we are forced to deal with adversity. Only by letting go of the past can we truly bounce back and move into our future.
2. Positive Perspective…An athlete’s training focuses on repeating what they do right to perform at their highest level (ultimately eliminating any bad habits), as well as their inner belief that they can and will accomplish their ultimate goals. In order to find true joy in our life after divorce, we need to to rid ourselves of the negative emotions, fears, and limiting beliefs we sometimes carry around.
3. Personal Power…The athlete is really the only one who can control their performance and outcome. Just as they must find and exude an inner strength and confidence, so must we. It is crucial that you rediscover you…who you are and who you want to be as you recreate your life after divorce.
4. Commitment…Developing into an Olympic athlete does not come without personal sacrifice, but that is part of achieving the goal. We also need to make a commitment to do the personal development work necessary to be able to shift our old patterns and choices to achieve more inner peace, confidence, health, abundance, and positive interpersonal relationships.
5. Support…Just as an athlete is supported by their coach and teammates, it is important for us to have emotional support in our journey of transformation. Don’t be too proud to ask friends or family to help you when you need a break from your kids, or contacts when looking for a new job, or help moving a piece of furniture…they want to be there for you! You may also feel you need more professional help so empower yourself and seek out the resources of a support group, a therapist, or a coach.
6. Intense Focus: Keep the End in Mind…The Olympic athlete has the ultimate goal of going for the gold. All of their habits…healthy eating, mentally preparing, keeping in shape, a rigorous practice schedule…focus on that goal. In our life after divorce, to tuly have a life that is “better, not bitter,” we need to intensely focus on our personal development, health & wellness, finances, career & business, and relationships.
Enjoy the rest of the Olympics! I’d love to hear how you’re applying the “Olympic mindset” in your life after divorce.
Wednesday’s Dose of Financial Savvy…
A Savvy Divorced Chick recently asked me a question about health insurance once her divorce is finalized. I thought maybe some other women in our community might have the same concerns so I’d like to share what I have learned.
While it is definitely better to get your own health insurance while you are healthy and don’t have pre-existing conditions, your husband or former husband’s company (if he is employed and has health benefits) is required by law to provide you with COBRA for up to 36 months.
COBRA is the temporary continuation of health coverage under a group plan. You will typically have to pay the entire premium unless that is part of your financial settlement (though the premium will no longer be subsidized by his company), but at least it can tie you over until you can find employment with benefits. Also, you will still receive dental coverage under COBRA if that is part of the company’s plan, but dental will most likely be an addition to any private insurance plan, not automatically included.
If COBRA is offered and you take it, make sure that you follow up with your husband’s corporate HR department once the divorce is finalized to make sure all the proper paperwork is executed. You only have 60 days to notify the plan administrator to have your existing coverage continue. My former husband didn’t realize he was supposed to notify his company and I almost lost the option of COBRA!
Personally, I took the COBRA option for a few months and then found less expensive individual insurance online at www.ehealthinsurance.com. This site will provide you with lots of comparable options in terms of coverage such as deductibles, copays, services, etc. The higher your deductible, the lower the monthly premium you will have to pay. If you are very healthy, this may be the more cost-effective route!
Also, if you have children, your husband will probably be responsible for covering them until after they graduate from college. Your divorce agreement will outline who is responsible for the deductibles, co-pays and perscriptions beyond the premium payments.
If you decide to start your own business rather than work for someone else, you will have to cover your own insurance either with COBRA or private insurance. This may also be a deductible business expense you can take advantage of , but be sure to check with your accountant to make sure. You may also be able to take advantage of a group rate if you become a member of your local or state Chamber of Commerce or become a member of an association affiliated with your industry.
If your divorce is not final yet, I would make sure you discuss all these details with your attorney and include as much detail as possible in your agreement regarding you and your childrens’ health insurance. If your divorce is final and you have private insurance, I would suggest evaluating your individual policy annually to make sure it is covering your needs.
Tuesday’s Dose of Outer Savvy…
It’s amazing how trying something new can energize you, even if it’s a simple activity! It’s actually been a while since I remember trying something new, but recently a friend invited me to be a guest at a Zumba class at her health club. In case you haven’t heard of Zumba, it’s basically a dance exercise class on steroids. Sounds easy enough, but I have never felt so uncoordinated and I am pretty athletic. What a workout, though…and so much fun. I don’t remember laughing that hard in a while!
In addition to burning a lot of calories and moving parts of my body that had never moved, a simple Zumba class reminded me of a few things. Most importantly, it reminded me of the opportunity my divorce has given me to open myself up to new ways of being and doing, and to put the fun back into my life. It’s easy and safe to keep things as they always have been, but the more we try new things in our life after divorce the more we are able to develop a new identity.
As a single mom, depending on your childrens’ visitation schedule, you may now have more free time than you did when you were married. Very often friends may be busy with their families and aren’t available to get together when your kids might be with their dad. Pursuing new interests and interacting with new people not only keeps you from being alone, but also expands your social network and potentially even your professional network. It also allows you to surround yourself with people who may be facing some of the same challenges you do. Be sure to surround yourself with only positive people, though, or those relationships will become draining.
Trying new activities, pursuing a new hobby, or overcoming a fear can truly ignite a new energy within you and make you feel more optimistic about the future. In some cases, it can even have your kids looking at you differently! I’ll never forget the look on my kids’ faces when I told them I had zip-lined through the rainforest in Belize when I went on a business cruise…they know how afraid of heights I am.
I’d love to hear about the new things that you’ve tried in your life after divorce. Please share!
A Dose of Relationship Savvy…
It is inevitable that our relationships change after our divorce. Relationships may change with our in-laws because, after all, blood is thicker than water. Relationships may change with our friends…couples we may have spent time with may feel they need to choose between our former husband and us. Your relationship with your children may also change, depending on your final custody arrangements and the relationship you have with their father.
Some of these changes can leave you feeling badly about yourself , affect your self esteem, and create trust issues you may not have experienced before. You may find that your negative emotions take over and sabotage you. These are not issues that would be healthy to a new long-term relationship, and need to be faced head on.
While you need to adjust to these changing situations after your divorce, the best place to start in transforming your “Relationship Savvy” is with you! You may feel a real sense of loneliness and it may be tempting to jump into another intimate relationship, but give yourself the gift of time. Wouldn’t you rather be alone than in another bad relationship?
Use this time of transition to really get to know yourself again…it’s easy to get lost in the role of wife and mother. Rediscover some of your interests and put them back in your life, while also giving yourself an opportunity to discover some new interests and new friends. Be honest with yourself about your needs and desires, as well as your fears.
Open your mind to the possibilities in your life! As you do, you will start to feel a sense of optimism and happiness that may not have seemed possible as you went through your divorce. You will start to notice all the things that are good in your life, no matter how tough the situation. It is more fun to be around happy, optimistic people and you will ultimately start to attract them into your life as well.
Once you are able to open your mind, you will also open your heart and create the fulfilling relationships you deserve in your life!