Balancing finances is only one of the challenges that single moms face during separation and divorce. It can be scary, overwhelming and keep you up nights wondering how in the world you can pay your credit card bills and if you can make the rent next month. What if the car breaks down? Will the kids get presents at Christmas this year?
It’s a balancing act that’s easier when you’re married and so much more challenging when you’re alone. It’s possible that after just a couple months your ex may begin to resent the money he’s sending for child support. Of course this isn’t true of all ex-husbands.
In most states your ex will be making child support and spousal support payments through a state agency. However, there are extra expenses that may have been covered in the divorce agreement, but which require he make the payments to you personally. Some dads are better at this than others.
But, here’s the hard truth about financial difficulties and being a single mother. The reality is that we can have a reasonable expectation that the support check will be in our account each month when the state agency removes it from our ex-spouses’ work check, when he’s working. That’s it. That’s what we can rely on.
The great thing is that today you can have a future that YOU define and that isn’t defined for you. Is that future nerve wracking? HECK YES! But, it is also full of more potential and greater success than you could have otherwise imagined.
Why is that?
Because pressure changes everything. Pressure in our lives changes the way we do things. Without being pressured to get out of our comfort zone, we might never change. We might never consider the opportunities that lie before us. But, with pressure to move beyond what we find comfortable, we’re more likely to make choices and decisions that result in greater success.
Of course adding to your bottom line and improving the overall outlook of your budget has benefits that don’t need explanation. You can pay the bills on time, not stress at the grocery store and stop worrying about how close to the limit you are on the credit cards.
But there are even more important benefits to your home and your children, because these benefits demonstrate your ability to face challenges in life and find creative solutions. This benefit alone is a gift of a future.
At a time in the growth of my own business, when I wasn’t sure how things would come together each month, I published my first book on Amazon. I used Create Space to produce the hard copy of the book and ordered a proof to be sure that it was formatted correctly.
When that book came in the mail I could not have been more excited to hold it in my hands. I was literally vibrating with excitement and joy. This had been a dream of mine since I was 14 – to write and publish. And suddenly, I knew that if I gave myself the grace and patience needed to grow, I could accomplish what I wanted.
That book in my hands showed me that dreams do come true when you work at what you want, practice consistency and persistence and, as Winston Churchill once elaborated to a group of graduating college students,
“Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Too often we fall short of the goal because we stop trying before arriving.
It is NOT smart to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. But, it is smart to try, fail, get up and try again – learning from the mistakes that were made. Only this way will you be able to hold that dream in your hands and fairly tremble with unabashed joy.
For these reasons, and so many more, it’s your turn to make the choice to expand your freedom. There are so many reasons to consider starting a small business at home. It can be in your spare time, after work, in the evening or on the weekends. You can start something yourself or work with another person or company who is already established. The true goal is growth – personal, financial, relational and parental.
- Tax write offs are the primary reason that people list for starting a home based business. This is a benefit that helps at tax time. But, before writing off your entire apartment, the electric bill and the Internet bill, you must talk with your tax preparer. There are specific rules to the amount of space you can deduct, gas, clothing, utilities, insurance, Internet access and other expenses. If you go outside the parameters and deduct something you shouldn’t, you will experience more pain than gain. Uncle Sam doesn’t give gifts. Live within the rules and established boundaries and you will reap certain reward.
- Demonstrates to the children that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. This is priceless. You show your children your strength, courage and creativity in a way that they couldn’t experience any other way. Do not leave it to their imagination to figure it out. Sit down and talk with them about the business, what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, the challenges and how you’re meeting them. You can explain all this to children from five to twenty-five at their own developmental level. You might be surprised by the ideas you get from small children who think well outside the box that we’ve put ourselves in as adults.
- Adds more income to your household budget. Yay! Even a little more each month can help pay the utility bill, or make paying the grocery bill less painful. Engage your children as much as possible in what you’re doing so you aren’t taking time away from them to meet your budget, but instead are involving them in something you can all grow together.
- Increases your own self esteem. Your first check or Paypal payment will be amazing. It’s an incredible feeling to open your Paypal account and see there’s money you earned from selling crafts, writing, information or other people’s products. Suddenly you’ll feel great and more in control of your future. Remember that succeeding checks don’t come without the effort, work, marketing and work. Yes, work was mentioned twice for a good reason.
- Creates an outlet for a side of yourself you are probably ignoring right now. Let’s face it, most of your time is taken up with work, keeping your home together, parenting and being the chief-cook-and-bottle-washer. In other words, you’re doing everything for everyone except yourself. Your small business is a great way to express your creative side and do it in a way that you feel is productive and brings something of value to your family. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also find balance in your life by taking breaks, having some fun and enjoying the life you’ve been given. But, using creative juices to increase your bottom line and motivate your children feeds your own self-esteem in way that can’t be fed any other way.