Single Steps Strategies Blog

The Power of Parents Who “Just Say No”

By Mary Grace Musuneggi

Having been a single mom from the time Christopher was 9 months old, I know what it means to be both mom and dad sometimes. Many times.

I needed to learn how to throw a baseball; I needed to learn how to build a swing set. No one to share the tasks. Got to be it all?

When Christopher was in middle school and began to play football, I needed to learn the game. You would have thought with being raised in Steeler Country I would know all about football. But that was not the case. I also thought it was important to attend all his games. And so, no matter what was going on, whether the game was home or away, I tried to get there.

One game day, I was in a business meeting that was going on and on. I kept looking at my watch, knowing I would be late. Although I kept jeans and a sweatshirt and tennis shoes in my car, once the meeting was over there was no time to change. I ran from the meeting, jumped in my car, and headed to the field. Business suit, high heels and all, I ran from the car, through the grass (heels sinking into dirt), and climbed the risers congratulating myself for making it there before the first quarter ended.

Once the game was over and the team came walking off the field, I walked towards Christopher to praise him on some good plays. Before I could even say “hi,” he looked at me and said in a quiet and somber voice, “Can’t you dress like the other moms? Can’t you be like the other moms?”

Oh, how I realized at that moment how important it is for kids to be the same, to not stand out, to not be “different.” And having a mom run through the field in high heels and a business suit was just way too different, way too weird.

But my answer to his question was “NO.”

Being a parent is such a joy, but it is also an awesome responsibility. I learned that day—and Christopher learned that day—that sometimes the answer is “no.” And I think whether we are a single mom, single dad, a mom and dad couple, a two-mom or two-dad couple, grandparents raising grandchildren, foster parents, adoptive parents or any combination of a family, one of the best things we can do for our kids is “just say no.” No, I couldn’t’ be like the other moms. My situation was not like a lot of the other moms. No, I couldn’t’ dress like them when I had no time to change.

Life is filled with “no’s,” and that is just fine. Think how that makes us appreciate the times we get a “yes.”

No, you can’t sleep until noon.

No, you can’t drink underage.

No, you can’t skip doing your homework.

No, you can’t go to a college we cannot afford.

No, you can’t call in sick to your job when there is nothing wrong with you.

No, you can’t do [insert here], just because your friends can do it.

No, No, No.

Being a parent is an awesome and joyful responsibility, and the no’s are how we help our children to learn responsibility themselves.

And by the way, for all the mom’s out there, remember you are not, and can’t be, like any other mom. You are you, and that is exactly the best you can be.

A Man is Not a Plan Book Earns 2020 TAZ Award

The Author's Zone logoMary Grace Musuneggi’s book A Man is Not a Plan was announced as a 2020 TAZ  Award winner. A Man is Not a Plan is one of two books receiving TAZ recognition in the Business category. The TAZ Book Awards celebrate accomplished authors in the genres of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, young readers, and drama.

“I am honored to be recognized by the TAZ Awards,” said Mary Grace Musuneggi, CLU, ChFC, CFS, RFC. “I am passionate about helping women take control of their lives and it is gratifying to have this work receive such a distinction.”

The Authors’ Zone has held the TAZ book competition since 2014. Books are awarded based 80% on content and 20% on production.

A Man is Not a Plan: Success Strategies for Independent Women helps women understand and navigate the issues that could keep them from becoming the CEO of their life. It is Mary Grace Musuneggi’s second book following Singles Steps: Strategies for Abundant Living.

Mary Grace Musuneggi helps individuals and small business owners develop comprehensive strategies for pursuing their financial goals. An award-winning entrepreneur and Chairman & CEO of The Musuneggi Financial Group, Mary Grace is also a financial educator, author and motivational speaker who frequently lectures on financial planning and lifestyle issues.

Throughout her career, Mary Grace met women who were facing challenges that dramatically influenced their lifestyles and the quality of their lives. In response to this, she founded Single Steps Strategies, a life planning resource that helps women work towards abundant, balanced and successful lives. Single Steps Strategies recently celebrated ten years of empowering women through information and education.

Click here to order A Man is Not a Plan.

About A Man is Not A Plan

At the age of 25, as a widow with a nine-month old son, Mary Grace Musuneggi became keenly aware that Cinderella was a fairy tale and that her salary as a parochial school teacher would never be enough to realize her goal of owning a home. Mary Grace decided to take charge of her own situation and carve out the abundant life she wanted for herself and her son. The story of her journey to become the first female agent in an insurance firm, to that firm’s first female financial planner, to Chairman and CEO of her own successful firm is filled with anecdotes, humor, and practical advice. In her role as a financial planner, Mary Grace meets women of all ages who rely on a man as a financial plan with disastrous results. But you won’t find detailed instructions about how to make a budget here because this book is about more than money. It is about finding the courage to be CEO of your own life, whether a man is in your life or not. This book will inspire you to examine your own dreams and goals and to get on the path of achieving them one step at a time. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and start reading. This book will change the way you think and the way you live.

Mary Grace Book Event

On Sunday, March 8, Mary Grace Musuneggi joined other “Inspiring Women Authors” for a celebration of Women’s History Month. 

The event included reading of excerpts from A Man is Not a Plan as well as questions from women in attendance. 

The event was sponsored by Passages & Prose and held at the Barnes & Noble at Settlers Ridge. 

Get your own copy of A Man is Not a Plan here and learn how to make your own history happen!