Single motherhood can be the toughest most rewarding role I have had to tackle in my life. At times the responsibilities of being a mom in general can be overwhelming. When speaking to other single moms, and even the ones that are married, I often hear the common tone of pure love for their children mixed with self doubt resentment and even anxiety. I think that for me, because people see me handling things, an assumption is normally made that Im built to withstand anything. My oldest is only 11 years old, and throughout my time as a mom, I have identified my own challenges of being a single mom and have come up with some solutions that may help you get through those challenging times.
Single mom challenge 1: being the only one to show up.
Whether your child has a doctors appointment, field trip, or an award ceremony, it can be challenging having to be the only one to show up. Plus these events tend to be during the time in which you have to work. But being the mom you are, you make it work.
If there is one thing that I have learned during my motherhood journey it is that all that you can do is all that you can do. At the end of the day, person that matters is the child. If you do not make an issue about who is or who is not there, trust me, the child will not focus on that either. Instead the child, would be happy that someone was able to be there on their behalf. You only have control over what you can do. Don’t waste time on who is present and who is absent.enjoy the accomplishments and the accolades that you get to be apart of.
Single mom challenge 2: overcompensating.
This is a big one. Most people that overcompensate may not even realize that this is what they are doing just off of the strength they have convinced themselves that they are being a provider.
Growing up in a single parent household I never recall going without. But what I do recall is moments in which I was the only child at school whose parent was not able to come have lunch with me. At a young age, kids do not care about material things. They care about our time and attention. You will never be able to replace a void in a child’s life by an absent parent whether you can get them designer things or not so don’t put that pressure on yourself. Know that you are not alone and you and you and your child(ren) will get through it.
Having no one to chime in.
When your kids get in trouble in school or are being the victim of bullying, it is hard to keep that information to yourself. You may feel like no one cares or understands.
Speak up! Talk to your child about what your expectations are for them. Make it clear that his or her actions are not acceptable. Always come from a place of love. So that your child feels comfortable coming to you if they are having a problem with something.
If they are being bullied at school let his or her school know you want a meeting. You at the end of the day you are an advocate for your child. If you notice change in behavior in your child, do not be afraid to seek help professionally from someone. Notice I said professionally. Once you start going to family and friends, you risk being even more overwhelmed. People parent differently and although there is no handbook to say what is right or wrong know that you have the power to do what is best for your family. If there is one thing I have learned, is that some people will talk to you, to talk about you.
I remember going through some issues with my oldest. I felt like OMG, it is something going on everyday. When I went to her dad to express my concerns, he would always think it was something or someone else’s was doing. This made my daughter feel like she was right in her wrong behaviors.
I then remember talking to a teacher who said to me, I know this may seem like a lot but we are not going to call you about other children. Meaning that In the grand schemes of things, no one is perfect. As long as I was hearing about my child, I would naturally think it was only my child. But i wouldn’t want the teacher to discuss my child with other parents therefore, I wouldn’t know what was going on outside of my child. It is the teachers job to bring it to my attention when she notices my child having an off day and I was not the only parent that she has these talks with it’s just that she is not obligated to give me a report on the whole class.
This was a sigh of relief because it was true. All kids go through phases. Remember you were a kid once. Buckle your seatbelt but just know this too shall pass.
Missing your child when they are with the other parent.
Myself and all the single moms I know have been there done that. But, again this too shall pass.
This truly comes with growth. Keep in mind, people that may not have made good partners can still be good parents. Unless you fear for the safely of your child while they are with that otter parent, let them kids go with their dad!
If you have reason to be concern go to court. My solution to missing your kids when they are gone is to create things for you to do. Go to the spa, have girls night, read. I did not care what I did as long as I was able to get things done that I normally would not be able to do as a result of being a single mom.
Thus far, I hope that any single parent can pull strength from those that have done it before. Know that you will not be the first and you will not be the last to go through what you are going through. Join a motherhood group. Cry when you need to but just know you are capable of doing the best that you can with the cards you have been dealt. Each day is a new day.
This post is one of many that I plan on writing about being as though I can relate to a lot of things being a single mom. During a time or another, I went through these situations. You will get through them too.