pregnant mom

Facing and Embracing the Challenges of Being a Single-Mom-to-Be

Whether you’ve made a conscious choice to become a single mother or you are unexpectedly facing motherhood alone, you may be worried about dealing with pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting without the support of a partner. According to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 13.6 million single parents in the US, who are responsible for raising 22.4 million children. We have compiled some tips for you to navigate these waters as a single woman.

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Find Ways to Make Your Life Easier

The exhaustion in the first trimester of pregnancy can be overwhelming for many expectant moms. If you find yourself struggling with fatigue, pain, morning sickness, and other issues, scale back and take care of yourself. First, talk to your doctor to determine whether you should take a multivitamin or other supplements during your pregnancy.

Next, talk to your boss about a little flexibility at work. Would it be possible to go in later if things are tough in the morning? Could you work from home part-time or full-time? Most employers will make accommodations for good workers. There are a number of other things you can do to simplify your life: put your bills on auto-pay, get your groceries delivered, sign up for Amazon Subscribe and Save, and so on. These changes are simple and small, but they really add up. If you can afford it, hire a cleaning service to come in once or twice a month.

Find Your Village

Even if the baby’s father is not around, it doesn’t mean you don’t have other sources of support. Relatives, friends, and coworkers can help you throughout your pregnancy. Particularly, look to bond with other women in your situation. You can find online support groups like Single Mommy Tribe, as well as help from local doctors and clinics. The women in these groups know your struggles and concerns more intimately than anyone else. They’ve been there, or are currently right there with you. They can provide advice about pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, finances, and parenting. If you are newly divorced, you can join a divorce support group or attend a workshop to help you through the healing process.

Prepare Well Ahead of Time

Preparing for your baby well before delivery day is important for both you and your little one. You’ll feel less stressed because you reduced or eliminated the need for last-minute shopping, and your baby will have everything they need. The simplest way to ensure that you’re prepared is by making a list of all the things you’ll need to take care of your little one and outfit the nursery, then checking them off as you buy them. Besides the basics like diapers and baby clothes, you may want to include a maternity gown that feels comfortable. Look for a gown that comes with useful features that will benefit both you and your baby. Some gowns have pockets for storing your phone and other items, and they’re designed to open easily at the front for ultrasounds, skin-to-skin contact, and breastfeeding.

Seek Out Assistance When You Need It

According to Single Mother Guide, 80 percent of single-parent families are headed by mothers, and nearly one-third of those live in poverty. If the baby’s father isn’t pitching in — physically or financially — during your pregnancy, it will probably be the same once the baby is born. Seek out legal help to make sure your baby gets the monetary support they’ll need. If finances are tight, seek out resources that can help. You may be eligible for Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and other government programs. WIC can provide food assistance and services to low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children under the age of 5. Also look to local food pantries, crisis centers, and other such organizations for help. And don’t be afraid to ask.

Get a Birth Partner and/or a Doula

It’s important for you to have someone by your side during the delivery. Look for a friend or family member to become your birth partner and accompany you through the entire experience. During labor, they can help with breathing, get ice chips, fluff your pillows, and do anything else to help you every step of the way. Also, consider hiring a professional doula to support you through pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. Your doula can act as your birth partner or work with your chosen birth partner to make things easier on you and the baby.

We can’t deny that many of the aspects of pregnancy and parenting your child will be difficult as you go it alone, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any positives about becoming a single mom. You’ll be able to pick the name you love, bond with your bump, and raise your baby your own way. So, celebrate your pregnancy and your upcoming journey as a mother.

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Single Mom Raising Boys: Bad Grades and Winning

I say it often: being a single mom raising a boy is hard and often leaves me feeling inadequate as a parent. There always seems to be something missing or just not quite good enough for me to offer especially when it comes to school and bad grades. But every once in a while, something really cool happens that reminds you that there is no straight line to good parenting. We all have to duck and dive with the ebbs and flows of life.

Like a lot of other parents, I find myself looking at what other kids are doing. Facebook and Instagram are great places for us to see how perfect everyone else’s lives are. From a young age, my son was always around great kids doing awesome things in school, sports, and life in general. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing everything I can to help facilitate my son’s success.

After all, when your child does poorly at something when you see so many others succeeding, you can feel like maybe you should be doing more or something different.

Then again….

A Choice to Test Out of a Class

Parents are often faced with keeping smart kids mentally stimulated in classes that bore them. For some parents, skipping a grade or testing out of a class is the best answer. It’s a tough call in a lot of ways. When you have a smart kid, will the adjustment to a higher-level class be one solution only creating a social problem of not fitting in with older students. My choice leans finding a balance of mental and social stimulation.

There has never been a question that my son is a smart kid. As a middle schooler, he decided to test out of Algebra I during the summer so he could get a head start on math for high school. The summer was essentially dedicated to this singular goal and I spent quite a bit of time and money both relearning Algebra and bringing on the hired guns to tutor him. It was accelerated and took a couple of tries, but he passed.

My concern was that Algebra I is the foundation of all other math he will do from here on out. Did he have a good enough understanding of the principals to do well in the future or would it be a problem in the future. He was only in the 8th grade taking Geometry and Algebra II concurrently. Ultimately, he got A’s in both.

Getting Help for Poor Performance

When your kid succeeds at something you were concerned was a wrong decision, well, a bigger pride comes over you simply because they proved you wrong. The Algebra thing concerned me and I still wondered about the long-term effects of cramming Algebra I into a 3-month tutored lesson. But, he not only passed the test, he also showed great dedication and resolve in the process.


boy with Apply laptop on bed

Along comes high school. He got through his Freshman year in a new school and a new state. His grades weren’t perfect, but there was no concern over bad performance. He became very involved in jROTC and weight training. All in all, he was building a group of friends, doing well in school and starting to develop into a young man of character. All things moms are proud of.

Welcome Trigonometry. At this point, my son has well surpassed my math skills. I wrapped at Algebra II in high school and never thought twice about taking another math class. I would never be of any help. As the quarter went on, it became apparent that he was having more than a slightly hard time with the class. I barked at him as a mother concerned about her child’s GPA would.

Parenting Through a Failing Grade

My barking became a search for solutions. He was required to see the teacher at lunch and after school. I hired a tutor – actually two of them because the first just wasn’t connecting with him. He put the time in. We thought he was making progress but at the end of the semester, the final grades came in and it wasn’t even close. He had failed the class miserably. The F stood out among what was an otherwise excellent report card.

I remember sitting on the sofa looking at the report card as he sat next to me, clearly concerned about my reaction. The rule was that if he didn’t take care of business (his school work), he’d lose his afterschool jROTC activities. I could feel my own anger well up, wondering how such a smart kid could let this happen. Why did I waste the money on a tutor? This was going to be hard to overcome for college planning.

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From Lamenting to Learning

It probably took me a good five minutes of frustrated nagging in search of any plausible answer from him for the grade. He simply had no answer and I knew it; he had gone to the teacher every day. He had gone to the tutor twice a week after school. He did the extra work. I saw it – that I demanded. He put the effort in and neither of us got the result we wanted.

It became very clear to me that I was upset because I want the best for him; I expect his potential to shine through on everything he does. However, there are times in life when you will do everything right, everything you can to succeed and life will just throw you a curve ball. That is what this was, a great big stinking F-bomb (math style). A series of my own failures and struggles in life ran through my head.

A big deep breath and then a hug. I apologized to him for my reaction but he kept apologizing for the grade. It took me longer to articulate my thoughts because the emotions of disappointment still swelled throughout my body. Finally, I was able to explain to him that I was upset that the grade is bad and there is work we need to do to address that but that I was proud of him.

Proud of a Failing Grade?

He heard the word proud and took a beat, shaking his own head in disbelief. Why would you be proud?

He worked hard. He didn’t give up. We knew the journey from Algebra I had its risks that could lead to failure and maybe that had finally caught up to us. He was probably burnt out on all the math and science and his brain simply wasn’t computing things, literally. How could I be mad at someone for giving everything he had and coming up short.

These were points that took the better part of the night for me to explain. Sometimes life doesn’t give us what we want. It is up to us to continue to try, to find other solutions and to work hard. Overcoming a bad grade would be the next project.

HESTEMP and Summer Learning

We conferred with his counselor and decided to pull him out of math for the second semester of his Sophomore year. He already had all the math he needed to graduation so it felt like the right decision to let him focus on other classes and use the period for study hall. As summer approached, he and his friends started a voluntary program through the University of Hawaii, HESTEMP.

They started going to UH on weekends to work with their mentors, Ph.D. students in the engineering program working under a doctorate professor. His group decided on a project idea and the mentors gave them a list of the curriculum to go and learn. Over the course of the summer, my son taught himself via YouTube lectures, conversations with his friends, and some direction from his mentor Calculus, Trigonometry, Advanced Physics, and Coding. They designed a rocket and the systems in it to determine guidance.

Sample HESTEMP project
Similar to what he’s working on.

At this point, I can’t even explain what he was learning or doing other than his end goal was to eventually work on a piece of a NASA project. The program gives him no grade. He gets no credit for going, even though he diligently caught the bus almost every weekday summer morning and many weekends since school started back up. He spends hours online reading scientific papers and determining how what he is developing can be applied.

Math theory. I’m not even sure what that is. All I know is the kid is into it.

Along Comes a NASA Conversation

After nearly a year of self-education, recruiting a couple younger team members and presenting his project idea to the PhD students, professor and a few NASA representatives, he tells me that the algorithms he is developing have applications for NASA and the FAA regarding drones in urban areas.


Did he just say NASA understood what he was talking about, felt it was correct, and applicable?

Single Mom Panic to Parenting Win

As I listened to the joy come from him as he explained how successful his presentation was, I couldn’t help think back to the conversation on the couch about putting the work in, being motivated to succeed, and persevere through hardship. I’m not sure what is next on his educational road – we’re planning the college scouting trip for the summer. What I do know is he has the tenacity and intelligence to accomplish what he wants in life.

That doesn’t mean life will always put checks in the Win column, but I feel good knowing he has cracked the code to overcoming disappointment and failure. There is no way to tell if my reaction to his Trig grade played a roll in him developing that skill. Like I said, I’m always wondering if I’m doing this single mom parenting right, if I’m doing enough, and if I’m helping him grow.

This one time I’d like to think that I did the right thing.

Wondering if you’re doing this single mom thing right, too? Come join the Single Mommy Tribe. We’re here to vent, laugh, and support.

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The Reboot: 2017 Review and Lesson Learned

When you finish a year in a whirlwind of change as I did in 2016, you look forward to the promises of a New Year to continue moving everything forward.

The bulk of 2016 was spent dealing with a move from Los Angeles to Hawaii, my home state. This move required custody issues, Hawaii quarantine logistics, selling a house and relocating my son to the approved school district in Hawaii.

The craze of the 2016 whirlwind culminated in spending Christmas Eve in our new home, no time to even get a tree up. Finally settled, I came up for air and began to look at how to reboot.

It seems odd, after all, my divorce began in 2004 and finalized in 2007. I had been single for a long time and done well to build a new career, launch and run some great businesses and live life on my own terms. We were finally home and living in a wonderful neighborhood where I felt my son could safely navigate high school without needing mom to drive him around daily.

Why would I need to reboot?

Because for all my successes I had never felt settled in California. There was always an underlying anxiety that something else was going to go wrong.

Doing the simple math, that’s more than a decade of living in an anxiety-ridden state despite being successful on so many levels. The result of this anxiety was one constant underlying theme: the risk taker stopped taking risks.

Over that time, I trudged through my business and freelance career. I ran an insurance agency. I dated here and there. But I never jumped fully – not in the way I had prior to my marriage and subsequent divorce. And I knew that every day this choice, yes it was a choice to succumb to my own anxiety and fear, was killing my soul.

Hence the reboot.

It didn’t take long to feel settled back in the islands. After all, it is Hawaii. Waiting for an agency opportunity, I rebuilt my freelance writing career and expanding my niche areas.

I found a new level of personal integrity, owning my mistakes as well as my desires. Living in the islands became the best excuse to seek balance as well, waking up early to finish contract work and then walking the beach in the afternoons.

As things began to hum along, I was offered an agency to take over with the start date of January 1, 2018. I began the training process and was nearly complete.

Then it happened: I blew my knee out in a 12-foot fall at the rock climbing gym. Unlike any injury I’ve had in my lifetime as an athlete, this has taken me down and rendered me practically useless. Sitting on a sofa or lying in a bed stuck on pain medications is not my idea of living. There is NO Netflix binge that can sustain this.

All those years of waiting for that anxiety to prove me right did just that – when I wasn’t looking. You can imagine the frustration of everything being put on hold. Agency training and opening dates deferred. My brain unable to focus on the simplest of tasks let alone writing assignments. My body is in total atrophy after months of finally getting back into shape.

But here’s the thing: prior to getting back to the islands, that underlying anxiety would have led to a complete meltdown, at least for a period of time. But as I wind the year down, still unable to walk, drive or put weight on my right leg, I find myself assessing the universe and it’s message to me.

I have quieted the voice of anxiety just enough to deal with the task at hand. No, it isn’t pleasant and I’m frustrated to be laid up for so long. I can’t sleep. I hate how pain medication makes me feel. My son is on holiday break and I can’t do anything fun with him.

It would be easy to say that all that great momentum I had developed just died. Certainly, I felt this way at times since November 26 when I got hurt.

Yet I am optimistic in a new way. I know I’ve been taking the risks my soul requires of me. Years of programming have the universe sending me a test of volition.

It’s true that the universe never keeps time in the fashion we desire. If it did, the last 5 weeks would have involved launching new and big things. Instead, I was forced to be still and remove the noise so I could hear what my inner voice was truly telling me.

Looking forward to 2018 and sharing some of these musings with you.

What have you learned about yourself in 2017 that will make 2018 better?

Love At Bandwidth Speeds – Friday Night Dating Sites

It’s late on a Friday night. I find myself home alone without even a good movie or book to dive into. My son has plans and is gone for the night while I flip through the channels of movies and shows all of which have some element of romance, love or sexual tension.


Watching this is painful. I can’t even lose myself in suspended disbelief. The concept of a real life man actually keeping eye contact with me for reason other than I accidentally cut him off on the freeway is the wildest fiction.


In spite of what everyone might think, I am indeed human. Like all other humans, I long for someone to connect with on various levels beyond freeway interludes where fingers are flipping me off rather than… flipping me off.


So I throw together a profile on one of the dating sites just to see who is out there. I’m not desperate. Let’s be clear. I am happy. I am comfortable with my life’s direction. At the same time, I would love to meet someone. This is that line in site About Me pages that says, “looking for someone to compliment my life.” Total utter garbage!


We are all liars!!!!!!!!


Here’s what happens next. The inbox gets twenty hits immediately because I’m fresh meat. Most introductory emails involve emojis complete with heart eyes.


Of those 20 hits, 8 are 15 years younger, 8 are 15 years older and 4 are in my age range but only two have pictures and a discerning eye might suggests that “athletic and toned” was a high school memory recalled when creating the profile.


It’s a nice ego boost.


I can still attract those looking for a MIFL or cougar or whatever the kids are calling it these days. I mean I only use Kik to spy on my son who uses Kik. Now you want me to “hit you up on Kik so we can learn about ourselves?” What does that mean?


How does Kik help us learn about ourselves? I’m pretty sure I’m okay on the understanding myself area. But the fact that I’m correcting grammar makes me sexy like a schoolteacher and then … they bring friends.


I start to think that they are all sitting in a room together. Bets are on to see which approach gets the desperate middle ager in the sack. Think about it; they are the same age, live in the same area and work in the same industry. Am I wrong to think they aren’t tossing some brews back with a white board of one-liners to see which works? Who isn’t looking for trouble on a Friday night?


Then there’s the next generation – not quite the greatest generation though I think some of these dudes might be lying about their age. Let’s face it. Women live longer than men and with you already 15, 20 or 30 years my senior; we’re counting the days down to your demise.


Sorry! That’s bitchy. I know.


But really, you expect us to travel the world and enjoy life’s spoils on a moment’s notice. How’s this for a moment’s notice: on Monday at 9 pm I’ll have to get printer ink for the term paper due Tuesday at 9 am that I was just told about 17 second ago by my son. Yes, I’m living my life by the seat of my on-fire-freaking pants.


I’m really not in a position to roam the world at will. I can barely roam my bathroom without interruption from my son for something he probably didn’t really need in the first place.


And for those who don’t have pictures or say “athletic and toned” while balancing a Corona on your beer belly, I say this, “Sorry, it doesn’t work for me.” Look, I’m not perfect. I rarely wear makeup, often wear a baseball cap and dress in workout clothes 95% of the time. I’m no beauty queen.


But at least my face in on the site. You can see me and I’m trying – as embarrassing as it might be to run into someone at the grocery store. I’m trying. I’m putting myself out there and quite frankly it sucks!


But telling me how “pretty and sexy” I am and “can we chat” without letting me see your face is like going to a bar and asking a girl out while wearing a bag on your head and saying “hey baby, want to be my #1? I’m tall with blue eyes and can’t you see my athletic and toned body?” I’m sure there are places in this world where that works, but not on my laptop in my bedroom on a Friday night.


Things that come out of a box with instructions in a language I don’t speak have more personality.


Now of course, I don’t expect to be the only one taking a risk and saying the first “hello.” When your profile says “tell you later” or “blah blah blah hate talking about me, so ask” you really aren’t helping me connect. Onward I go. Trying.


I search and read profiles and do my best to take something said, or an interest and make a connection or some stupid witty intro. It’s dating so yes I know it’s not perfect or suave or even cool. Again, I’m a bit of a dork. I get it. But I am trying!


Of course, I then realize that the one thing I didn’t notice in your profile is the age range of who you’re looking for. Never fails, I’m a year older than your desired age range. Of course, every man within my age group is looking to have that younger thang to make him feel virile instead of sterile.


I do get it. I have an age range too (that doesn’t include 15 years older or younger – more like five and five).


But I have a picture rappelling down a waterfall! You like hiking and camping. Isn’t that cause for exception to your age rule by a year or two? I mean, am I really that grotesque to my own age group? Are those in the 15 years plus and minus just assuming that I’m so ugly that I am desperate?


So on I plow through the email propositions. I’ve been in long-term relationships that don’t have as much dirty talk as you get in the first five lines of an online introduction.


It occurs to me through all of this that I need to consider why am I here on a dating site on a Friday night.


The answer is simple. I am desperate!


Not desperate in the sense of needing to hook up with a dude for sex. Not desperate that I need a man to come and rescue me from some horrible life I have. Not desperate for a relationship in a needy sense.


But I am desperate.


  • Desperate to feel mutually attracted to someone and get those butterflies when I think about meeting them.


  • Desperate to be able to be sarcastic, silly and flirtatious yet be taken seriously when I switch gears.


  • Desperate for an opportunity to find someone I connect with.


  • Desperate for someone to understand why just running out and meeting isn’t an easy thing for a single mom with dinner and homework duties and evening family rituals.


  • Desperate to not be trolled by scams of men fallen under desperate times like:

“My account got hacked and the bank hasn’t fixed it, I need to get my sweet young son a gift and he loves iTunes. Buy me an iTunes card baby.”


“I lost my wife to breast cancer and my son is my life. My profile says NJ but I’m on a peace keeping mission to Pakistan. Now that you’re in my life ….” – the world really should be much safer if this is true based on sheer number of men in this EXACT situation.

But really, I reply, “Hey” and we’re walking down the aisle?


Ladies, beware!

I’m not delusional. I realize that online dating, and dating in general isn’t perfect. I’m also fully aware of the difference between someone who just wants to hookup and someone looking for a relationship.


I honestly don’t judge anyone. I’ve had guys proposition me with things that make me blush – hard to do. And it’s cool when they take the no and say, “Hey, thanks for replying. Hope you find what you’re looking for.”


That’s awesome, healthy and appreciated. I almost want to do what you propositioned just because that was so stand up! Almost.


But really – I do hope those dudes (and dudettes if we must be honest) get what they are looking for too. Don’t we all deserve that?


Whether it’s a hookup or a long-term relationship? Whether its cuddles over a sunset or naughty reenactments from Fifty Shades of Grey? Whether its Sunday church or Sunday hikes or both? We are all there hoping to find our desires.


But I know that I’m not alone in my experience and knowledge that this is a lot to ask. The reality of online dating begins with that initial surge of ego boost but is usually followed by extreme disappointment. After all, if everyone hates it but still goes online, shouldn’t that increase the odds of finding someone to fit my bill?


Instead, by the end of the night I’ve changed my profile to private and not long after is deleted. In two months, I’ll be pissed when I get lonely again because I’ll try to create a new profile and the site automatically reverts to the old one that I now see totally sucks.


And so another Friday night will begin.


No, I’m not jaded – entirely. Is online dating the answer? Dunno! I’ve seen catastrophe and I’ve seen brilliantly happy marriages. But I think all of us need to protect our families, our hearts and ourselves.


Share your back-to-dating horror stories below.



Putting My 8-Year Old In Charge of the Budget

I’m pretty lucky; I have a teenage son who not only thinks about things before he asks me for money but will walk through a grocery store and read labels and price shop.


He bought me a $235 backpack that I wanted for my birthday but only spent $109. He’s become quite the savvy shopper.


How do you instill financial awareness in kids these days?


Trust me, I had the same question years ago when my son was early in his elementary school years. Sure, my background in financial services offered some “smart insights” that I taught him about saving.


This happened out of frustration. I didn’t want to argue with my kid. I was frustrated with always feeling like the answer was, “No.” And having a sulky child in the back fo the car during my weekends with him sucked! Out of frustration one day, I handed him the money.


But the reality is those lessons are lofty ideas well above the comprehension of young minds. I did my share of barking, “that’s too expensive,” or “we can’t afford that,” or “I just bought you the other (insert one of 100 items) because you had to have it.” And I still bark, at times.


Financial discipline is hard to learn and hard to maintain.


So, I put my 8-year old in charge of the budget. And I’m really glad I did!


I know what you are thinking. Relax. He didn’t have the whole budget! I’m not as loony as some would claim!


Every Friday, we’d go over the plans for the weekend. I pulled out $40 from the bank and hand it to him. Outside of the $40, I would pay for groceries and gas. He had to pay for anything else over the weekend.


The weekend was Friday night through Sunday night. The money wasn’t an allowance or a gift. It was our recreation money for the weekend. It was his choice on how we spent the money: movies, eating out, toys or any other activity. The one rule was he had to include me in his choices, meaning he couldn’t just buy himself something to eat.


He had one extra incentive in the program. Any money left over on Sunday evening was his to put into his piggy bank.


The result?


The first couple of weekends he blew through most of the money on Happy Meals and movies by Saturday afternoon and we were at home watching tv and I was cooking for the weekend. He started to understand how quickly $40 disappears and how hard it is to remember what you spent it on. He also started to make tough decisions on the fly.


Then he started to plan. He remembered that I would go to Costco to buy movie tickets ahead of time. He realized that if we ate at home before we left, we could save $10-$15 on food on the way to something. He paused at the event vendor, saying, “$5 bucks for a hotdog is a lot of money mom.”


I would stand there and nod, “You’re right. But I’m hungry. We’ve been out all day.”


So there he stood, on a Sunday with his last $15 at the JPL Open House. We were both hungry but he really wanted to buy a keepsake. He took his time, I went and sat down on the grass and watched from the distance to see what he would do.


He came back with one hot dog and one soda, spending $7 of his last $15. I was a bit confused since the deal was he had to include me when he bought food. Yet he clearly only bought one “meal.”


Quietly, he counted his remaining money and put it in his pocket. He handed me the soda and said, I know you need caffeine, so this is for you. And the hot dog? ”We’re almost done here anyway.”

He took a big bite of the hot dog and then openly asked me for a sip of my soda, handing me the hot dog to share. I laughed as I watched him gulp down my soda as I took a huge bite of the hot dog.


He was right, this would hold us over until we got home and had dinner, though now I was forced to really make dinner. Little bugger! He worked the system- the system I established for him.


Over time, he became more aware of not just the cost of things but the difficulties in making decisions, especially when someone else was involved. There were times he would say, “Mom, why don’t you be in charge of the budget this weekend.” Other times he would jump at the opportunity to bank cash for something he was saving for.


In either case, I was fine with it because he started to ask for less things. We focused on experiences and time together rather than just buying slushies and hot wheels. And when he would ask, I was less likely to say no. But if I did, there was a new understanding as to why.


What have you done to teach your kids the value of money?