In light of Mother’s Day being right around the corner I thought I would share my answer to a question I was recently asked on Quora, “What was/is the hardest part of being a single mom?”
Wow! That’s a great question, one I was discussing just a few days ago. I shake my head when I listen to some women complain about how tough it is to be a single mom.
I can tell you how difficult it was for me but the experiences of another single mom could and most likely will be totally different than mine.
So many factors play into it.
1. How involved is the father?
2. Does she get consistent and adequate child support payments?
3. Does she work?
4. How many kids and what ages are they?
5. Do any of the children have special needs?
6. Does the woman have a strong support network of family and friends?
I was a working single mom for most of my son’s life. I won’t lie, it was hard, but better than staying with my ex and ultimately being a parent is a thankless job, but the most rewarding thing a person will ever do.
My son’s father was not in his life in any meaningful way, truth be told, my son would have probably been better off if his dad had just stayed away totally because he was forever cancelling on my son and criticizing him. He paid very little child support and I made too much money to qualify for legal aide to fight for more. I just got a paper route on top of my full time job when I needed extra money for a new car.
I had an excellent job with benefits, great hours (8-4:30 Mon to Fri), 5 family days off a year, and 6 weeks holidays a year. All of which helped immensely!! I feel sorry for mom’s who work shift work and weekends. I was able to attend sports days, Christmas concerts etc.
The worst part of being a single mom was never having someone to discuss issues with, share disciplining with a father, it was all up to me and that gets tiring. Sometimes it would have been nice to have the option of saying , “Wait until your father gets home” or have a partner I could say, “I had a tough day. Can you deal with him tonight, give him a bath or whatever”.
But it was me and only me, when he misbehaved, when he was sick, when he threw a temper tantrum, when he took his first steps, the first day of school, taught him to drive, dried his tears when his dad let him down, when he had a raging fever and had to be put in a tub of cool water to bring his temp down.
When my son was bullied and I called his dad for help he said, “You wanted him. You got him. Deal with it.”
Do I have any regrets? Not on your life! My son is 34 now and the most amazing insiteful, productive member of society and a father beyond compare. I could not be a prouder mom.
He is now a non custodial father but he does everything in his power to be there for his daughter. He had a one month relationship with the mother (don’t even go there, he knew better than to not use protection. All not relevant now)
But from the moment he found out he was going to be a father he has stepped up to the plate. From prenatal classes to being there for the birth. The mom took a job in a town 5 hours from him and he has gotten up in the middle of the night and driven to be there for his daughter because the mom was having a melt down. He voluntarily pays double the agreed upon child support because his job changed and he makes more.
He will go for a week to care for his daughter if the mom is going away. He is there for recitals, sports days etc even though it is a 5 hour drive.
He encourages his daughter to be all she can be and he treats her mother with respect and never criticizes the mom in front of his daughter.
He is amazing!!!
He called me the other day because he wanted my opinion on something and we talked 2 hours.
He still needs his momma once in a while. ☺
I screwed up at times and yeah it was tough at times but I loved being his momma and always will.
If I had any advice to pass along to other single mom’s it would be to cherish the time you have while they are young because they grow up so fast and some day you will wish you could get one more bedtime snuggle on the couch.
When you feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of keeping the house clean, doing laundry, cooking supper and the kid/kids are whining, it’s raining outside for the 5th day in a row; throw gum boots on and take the kids puddle jumping. Hang balloons, make a fort in the living room and have a rainy day party. The housework isn’t going any where but the memories you make will be invaluable and stay with you forever; and with them.