Single Mom Slice Of Life:
My 5 Key Parenting Victories


Despite the fact that I cannot keep a plastic plant alive, and I think the guinea pig is plotting a coup, I have somehow managed to raise children to the ripe old ages of 18 and 13.  (I’m sooooo tired!)

Not unlike the guinea pig, as my oldest plots and plans his escape from the house, I can’t help but look back and replay his childhood.  I’ve never been described as normal, so really, my kids never stood a chance.  So, minus the cartoony, wavy lines, here’s a look back at just a few things I did to help the boys as well as myself survive this crazy thing called parenthood:



Creative Commons: Gramody

I am a mom.  I have sons.  Therefore, I’m missing just a few essential parts to help me fully understand – well – anything about them.  Potty training was a particular hurdle.  My solution?  Cheerios.  I don’t know that General Mills will appreciate this as much as I did, but a handful of targets in the toilet bowl not only kept them focused, but helped their aim… and let’s face it… really that was a win-win for both of us.

Read more: Ask Rene: My Son Won’t Use The Toilet! (VIDEO)



Creative Commons: Aukland Museum

I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve never had either the money or the patience to cook multiple meals.  So, the boys have always had a hand in the grocery shopping and meal planning in the house.  I’ll admit, it’s lead to a few questionable combinations and more than a few nights of the same dinner, but everyone has eaten the same dinner, and everyone has helped make dinner since, if you want it, you have to help cook it.  Macaroni dyed green, lasagna made with spaghetti noodles… we’ve had some weird dinners, indeed.  At least I know they’ll never starve.

Read more: Our Story Begins: Daddy Style: 5 Easy Dinners You Can Make At Home (VIDEO)



Creative Commons: ksukat

Justin was born with an inner ear issue.  For the longest time he couldn’t hear the way we hear, therefore both his speech and his reading took a hit for it.  So, once we had the hearing issue worked out, we had to figure out how to boost his reading speed.  The answer?  Television.  Well, in reality, it was closed captioning.  If he wanted to watch TV he had to read it.  Granted, this muted TV rule was only enforced on repeats, but with closed captioning, he had to keep up with the screen if he wanted to keep up with the show.  Within a year, he was back up to grade level.

Read more: Ask Rene: How Can We Get Our Daughter Back?



My kids talk back. They argue. They speak their minds. The rule has always been, you can say whatever you want to say, as long as you can explain your feelings behind it.  I won’t lie, this wasn’t always the best plan or policy as it has lead to a great many heated discussions and more than a few hurt feelings, but with the misunderstandings come the forgiveness and a better understanding about how we work as a family.  “Why” is a question asked by all three of us, and not always easy to answer, but it is always answered.

Read more: My Solution To Father-Son Conflict? Work It Out… ALONE!


Creative Commons: Rainflies

Creative Commons: Rainflies

Or a Dork or an Oddball or Weird0-head.. but whatever it is.. just be YOU!

You can fit in, or you can be happy.  We’re more often than not, happy.  We’ve gone entire days speaking in (truly bad) British accents.  We’ve made up entire stories about people sitting in front of us in the movie theater.  We have countless inside jokes, oddball traditions, strange habits, and a multitude of idiosyncrasies that will make people question our sanity, but we laugh, joke, and smile more in a day than most people do in a week… and that makes it all worth it.

Read more: Single Mom Slice Of Life: Why Weird Is The New Normal


What about you?  Are there any special, if not off the beaten-path of parenting tricks that have helped you along the way?

More from GEM:

Bringing Up Baby: The 5 Things You REALLY Need To Bring Home That Bundle Of Joy

Our Story Begins: Expecting Respect: Mad Men, Marilyn, And Making Chivalry Matter

10 From GEM: 10 Ways To Bring Out Your Creativity


Wendy Syler Woodward has been a single parent since 2002, with two boys ages 13 and 18. Originally from southern California, Wendy moved her family to Phoenix where she manages a law firm for work, writes for fun, and has returned to college for her B.A. Follow her on Twitter @WendySyler.