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My Life Mondays: Steve Harvey, Ruben Studdard and My Single Mom Meltdown at Disney Dreamers Academy

Calling all single moms,

I recently recovered from a code red, single mom down situation (Or is it code blue?) and I could use some help.

Here's what happened:

This past weekend I was invited to attend the Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence. Now in its fourth year, the program selected 100 high school students from across the country (out of thousands of applicants) to attend four days of  workshops on a variety of subjects including Walt Disney Imagineering techniques, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and culinary arts. Meanwhile, Disney experts, world renowned entrepreneurs and celebrities share their blueprints for success, all to motivate, empower and inspire young adults.

It was a phenomenal and inspiring event–designed to help teens believe and dream.  This year's lineup included Ruben Studdard (whom I spotted in our hotel lobby), Kimberly Locke, Yolanda Adams, Terrence J (who is holding his own on The Game) and many more. (Check out a few picks below and check back for more.)

Anywho, I was having a wonderful time, until my cell phone starts ringing at about 4 a.m. My girlfriend who was supposed to pick up my children (who were at home with a sitter) and keep them for the rest of my trip, had a medical emergency with her own daughter and was at the hospital.

So here I am in Orlando with a child care crisis back home in New York. With very limited options, I start working the phone at daybreak hoping someone could help take care of my children for the rest of the trip.

The saddest part is that I really didn't have many people to call.

For as long as I've been at this single mom thing, I should have built a better support system by now.  I felt really foolish. But of course, I didn't want to shuffle the kids around to friends who weren't expecting them or who weren't my first "asks" in the first place.

By 10 am, I was panicked and it was clear I would have to cut my trip short and go home.

And that's exactly what I did. (Many thanks to the Disney media folks for rearranging my travel on short notice with a smile. )

But I couldn't shake the SMH feeling that I should be in a better state by now.  I usually fly my parents up from South Carolina for my long trips but I don't have many options for weekends or short trips.

What am I doing wrong? How can I do better at building support? How are other single moms balancing work travel and childcare?? Please help.

I've got to get this together.

"Ruben Studdard with two students

 

"Kimberly Locke performs

Comments
11 Responses to “My Life Mondays: Steve Harvey, Ruben Studdard and My Single Mom Meltdown at Disney Dreamers Academy”
  1. nikki says:

    I feel you, girlie. It’s always a struggle!

  2. Wow Kim. That is a totally scary situation to be in. I felt you freaking out as I read your post. As a single mom, my solution has living in my hometown where I (THANK GOD) have the support of about 5 households of close family (including her father and his family) and one extremely close set of friends, a married couple that I can call on. There are a couple of of others, who I trust and KNOW would have my back in my city, but I have never had to call on them thank goodness.

    I am more than BLESSED with an abundance of options (and I know this is not everyone’s situation), but I still sometimes find myself not wanting to ask, for numerous reasons – overly independent, favors straining relationships, and my daughter’s stability (don’t want to have her waking up so many places so often that she has to wonder where she is when her eyes pop open).

    Everyone’s situation is different. Being a super-multi-tasking entrepreneur mom is challenging. But you kept your priorities straight and that is important. I have witnessed parents who don’t really want to parent just leaving their children with anyone – to the detriment of their well-being.

    And I always find that most parents and even many non-parents are so understanding when you have a childcare challenge. And if they aren’t that means there’s an issue with them – not with you. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Maybe join a monthly play group that you can fit in – and you might develop some relationships there. Get a referral from someone you trust about a good and reasonably priced caretaker who can step in when you need it.

    Or when all else fails, say no to the opportunities that you can arrange childcare for. You’re so talented and have so much to give that for every opportunity you have to turn down, they’ll be several more that pop up – and sometimes those are the financially rewarding kind, but the opportunities that are just as positive.

    Love you much! JD

    • Kimberly says:

      Thanks Joyce, I really appreciate your comments. You know me well, so you know how stressful this is for me. One thing is for sure, I have to do better about asking. I’m learning that I may have to get over my pride and start building it from scratch. For me, it is not built in. But you are right, I’ve definitely let some good opportunities go by when I don’t have childcare I’m comfortable with or I try to arrange things for the weekend and push for the kids to come with. Sigh…def a live and learn situation. Thanks for the love ma! I hope to see you soon.

  3. Niecy says:

    Kim,

    First, thank you for being totally honest and sharing these feelings. I’m going through a very similar situation but mine is where I feel like I am burning out my support system. I moved home to New Mexico from Baltimore after separating with my husband,just to be close to my support system, never realizing that God had me on an incredible journey and was increasing my opportunities to become an entrepreneur and travel as much as he has. Thankfully, my parents have stepped right in and are always willing to keep my little one without complaint, but I feel time after time I’m using them too much. I’ve begged my 21 year old cousin to finish her senior year of college here and be my live-in Nanny, but she’s not interested :-).

    I think everyday is a new day and we just have to keep asking God for guidance. You’re not feeling like your support system is strong enough and I feel like I’m making my strong support system weak from overuse.

    Help?

    Blessings,

    N

    • Kimberly says:

      Niecy, I feel you. But I’m sure that your parents and others are helping out of love and not feeling overused. Also, whenever I feel like I’ve asked my mom and dad to come help one time too many, I always arrange a thank you dinner or gift or bring back a small trinket from my travels–just little things to let them know they are appreciated and that I don’t take their support for granted. …..and I’ve been begging my niece to come finish college with me too!!! LOL!

  4. Cyl'Nita says:

    That is the reason I have not relocated. I was thinking about moving out of state, but if I did and something happened, I would have NO ONE that would be able to get to my daughter quickly.

  5. Although technically I am not a single Mom…I operate like one all week. Hubby travels for his job so about 75% of the time its just me and the kids. I have no family in NJ, my inlaws live an hour away and are extremely busy and my parents are in Ohio. Like you Kimberly I am embarrassed by my lack of a social network after living in Monmouth County New Jersey since 2003. Because I get called out at night on a regular basis for my job I had no choice but to hire a live in nanny. Although it requires a huge chunk of the family financial resources, the peace of mind knowing that you are “covered” by someone who truly loves your kids is invaluable. I used to be in a perpetual state of worry and at times even took my baby with me into the hospital when emergencies occurred. Also when you consider that you don’t have to pay for extra care before and after school, or hire a baby sitter for evening obligations you can actually break even or come out slightly ahead financially. Even with all the planning I do I still do have my meltdown moments. Mostly it occurs when a kid gets sick and I have no choice but to drop everything at a moments notice and rush to get them from school and to the pediatrician. Once it happened twice in the same day with the kids at different schools. (Nanny doesn’t drive). Another time I had to bring my 4 year old to the office and he walks in the room during a pelvic exam. “Talk about sex education”. I also have some really scary psycho nanny “Hand that Rocks the Cradle” type stories I could share.

    I guess all this is to say there is never a perfect solution. We just do the best we can as Mocha Moms slogging it out in the trenches and when it all falls apart we rise to the occassion and HANDLE IT! Like you Kimberly, we just do what needs to be done and nothing can keep us away when our babies are in need. You are all wonderful caring Mom’s and deserve to be Celebrated and Applauded!

  6. Tiffany Jasper says:

    That sounded like a stressful situation. A few friends and I are in the process of building a network of single parents to support each other in times like these. I have found as a mom of two and divorced with minimal to no help with the kids from their dad that I need help. We have so many women in our midst who are going through similar situations and willin gto help each other out with no strings attached….I am excited about getting things started….It may be time to gather some supportive women in your midst to help….:)

  7. Thanks for this post.

    I travel every now and then for conferences and am so blessed to have my parents and best friend who can watch my son. As someone else mentioned its definitely a reason why I have not relocated, having that support system is VERY important.

    My son is also in a home based day care that is licensed for 24 hour care. That has been a life saver when I’ve had to work late or other things have come up. One thing that I’ve learned about being a single mom is being resourceful!

  8. sean says:

    life manual

    Sounds like you may be to busy and need to figure out what is most important in your life. That’s fine you left early, what parents do is sacrifice freedom for there children. I do have a suggestion find a good man to help! 🙂 You can also make sure that the children are included into any contract business deal. I feel we tend to put the children aside when it comes to our jobs, when they are a part of the package deal. Have there accomidations included in the contract at start. Who would turn that down?

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