We are taking a closer look at some of the big issues we all can face in our lifetime. Each topic will be featured as a blog series.
I recently interviewed Kristin of Only Parent Chronicles a single, widowed, mother of two children. Her story of how she came to be a single parent is different than many of ours and truly inspirational.
In her words Single Parent vs. Only Parent: "I have always called myself an only parent. I have friends that are single parents. To me, that term means a parent raising children in a home without an adult partner.
Most of my single parent friends have parenting schedules that allow them to be child-free every other weekend. Some also have one weekday evening and extended time in the summer and over school breaks. Kristen stated, "I have never had anything like that."
She has truly been on her own since very early in her children's lives and her outlook on finances is a reflection of her amazing strength and commitment to providing for her kids.
Like many single parents Kristin sometimes feels the need to "overcompensate" for the loss of her children's father. That, coupled with truly being the sole supporter for their family had left her with debt.
It took two years, a part-time job in addition to her full-time one and a strict budget to get out, but she did it. With the exception of her mortgage they are officially debt free and living a new lifestyle.
After digging out of debt Kristen decided she would change things for herself and her children and live life in a new way, according to her values while at the same time instilling them in her children.
Kristin didn't want her children to grow up thinking a plastic card could buy happiness, but rather spending time together and enjoying each other was what mattered most.
She gives her children a series of circumstances or choices they could make when it comes to spending the family's money. For example would you rather have dinner out twice a week or go on a family vacation once a year? Her children chose the vacation and The Big Fat Family Road Trip was born.
For the past few years vacation for Kristin and her family has been the Big Fat Family Road Trip. The goal is for them to see all 50 continental states before the kid's graduate high school.
The trip is by car for approximately 12 days. I am sure these trips have their challenges, but what a great way for them to spend time together as a family and vacation relatively inexpensively.
As an only, single parent Kristen has made many sacrifices and I am sharing her inspirational story and words of wisdom as a reminder that while it is never easy to parent on your own financially or otherwise, you can do it!
I am a single, widowed mother of two sharing my story at Only Parent Chronicles or via Twitter @Kristin_OPC.