If you’re juggling family, work, friends, and all the challenges of daily life, Heather Buen has some great advice on how to simplify your life. With her honest, to-the-point words of wisdom, Buen’s blog, DallasSingleMom.com, has brought together legions of fans who want to cut out the noise, focus on family, and save some money while doing it. Find out how to make your life easier by reading this CouponPal interview.
You’ve done a great job earning an audience since launching your blog in 2010. How has the growth of your site changed your life?
The growth of Dallas Single Mom initially started as an outlet and now it is a way of life. It has helped me to reexamine my priorities. There have been many times when I have wanted to toss the whole blog adventure away, but it’s the fans and the readers. There is a need and a desire and my heart’s priority is to serve that higher purpose.
You help give single mothers a voice and person with whom to identify and look to for advice. What are some of the challenges that moms raising children on their own face that others might not realize?
There are many challenges that single parents face and a few that I have encountered with many readers are:
1. Asking for help and accepting help: Many times single mothers are reluctant to ask for help. They don’t know how to emotionally handle it. They spend much of the time being the provider and caring for everyone else that accepting help or asking for it can be a very foreign concept to them. At times they do not want to appear weak.
2. Allowing themselves to realize they are women first: It is the natural inclination that mothers are human first. This doesn’t downgrade or downplay the role of mom at all. Many want to totally immerse themselves in single motherhood and caring for others but end up severely neglecting themselves as women and as human beings that have their own needs. It’s the whole concept, ‘Put on your oxygen mask prior to helping others put on theirs.’ Failure to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally every once in a while has drastic effects on those you are trying to take care of.
3. Communication and Co-parenting: When single mothers have not adequately dealt with their past relationships (ie: ex-spouses), communication and co-parenting are limited and that is detrimental to children. My own ex-spouse has zero to very limited communication with me, and it’s something I have learned to expect. Harboring past resentment is common, but it breaks down the ability to co-parent. If you can let go of past relationship resentment, it will make co-parenting a lot easier. Holding on to that resentment only makes co-parenting difficult as the years go by. In the cases where communication is impossible, respect the other person’s decision to communicate that way and manage the best you can.
4. Time: Time with children is limited. Get your priorities straight, and make the time necessary for your children. It’s more than just material possessions and vacations. Time and being able to lead by example are powerful teaching tools for kids. I have decided to make it a main goal of mine to teach the kids to have an appreciation for their belongings and themselves. This means I have to have an appreciation for myself and my belongings as well. It’s not about accumulating things, it’s about appreciating what we have and sharing that appreciation with each other as a family.
If you could send one message to the other single mothers out there, what would it be?
Do not be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to accept it in your heart. Take heed of those that help, and don’t shut them out.
Single or not, raising kids and balancing your life, budget, work, and family is a challenge. How do you do it?
I have a lot of help. I have also learned to work very hard to afford that help. I don’t beat myself up anymore when things are not perfect, and I don’t try to impress anyone or compete.
I have a new process of creating priorities from the heart instead of the head. These are bigger life goals and God expectations when my life was created. The logical part of myself then initiates the necessary actions to achieve those things.
You really share your life with your readers – writing about raising a family, divorce, romance, the products you use, coupons, and saving money. Whew – that’s a lot! What topics have been the most popular with your readers?
Readers seem to really love the daily message. The place where women can find their voice and get some daily inspiration. These get the most engagement and discussion. Also, ways to budget and save money, along with coupons, are also very popular.
You can’t talk about coupons without bringing up saving money. In addition to using coupon codes, what’s one expert technique you use to get a great deal while shopping online?
When shopping online, always clear your cookies. Online stores are pretty savvy at trying to figure out what you may be interested in and changing prices quickly. I have had the pleasure of also working seasonal in a retail store, and people will come in showing prices from a deal aggregator and then when they go to the store it’s a different price. Clear your cookies and you may see a different and oftentimes lower price.
I love your dedication to being eco-friendly. We often hear that going green costs people big bucks. Do you think that an environmentally friendly lifestyle has to cost more than normal?
Absolutely not. It goes back to my mantra to appreciate what you have and your life. We are all interconnected and our commitment to the environment is just one of those things. When we try to make being environmentally friendly easy is when the costs can skyrocket. It’s a lifestyle that needs to be integrated in your life and it takes baby steps to be successful.
What about environmentally friendly products? Do you have any favorite online stores for green shopping?
I am a personal advocate for green cosmetics and beauty products such as Juice Beauty and Jane Iredale. I particularly am a big advocate for eBay Green. eBay has been a great and easy way for people to sell off old things they don’t need, even broken phones. They are the first when it comes to easy recycling, and their section and devotion to going green makes them one of my favorite places to go green shopping.
Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with CouponPal’s fans. Do you have any final tips or thoughts you would like to share?
Think with your heart and feel with your mind.
Like this interview? Check out the rest of our Interview with a Savings Expert series. Have a question for an expert or someone you want to see interviewed? Tweet your suggestions with #SavingsExperts to @CouponPal!