A man enjoying success

Single Mom Slice Of Life: The 5 Ways I Won
Some Of Parenting’s Biggest Battles!

So, 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 know, right??)

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:



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: Bringing Up Baby: A Moment In Time.. They Won’t Be Tiny Forever


Boy eating bacon sndwich at home

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.  At least I know they’ll never starve.

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


A pile of books with library on the back

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 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: Mom’s Must Read



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: Tales From A Twin Mom: 4 Things Every Twin Should Know



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: Our Story Begins: Ten Books You Should Be Reading to Your Kids!


So there you go – five ways this single mom has managed to find her way through this crazy thing called parenthood.  They’re not conventional, they’re not always mainstream, but they’re sanity savers, at least, they were for me.  What about you?  What fun and unique things make your family, well…all yours?


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.