Parenting is difficult. Single parenting is more difficult. But it’s the route I chose. I’ve been a single mom from Day 1.
What I’m understanding, though, is that more and more women – married women – feel as if they’re single moms. Whether it’s because their spouses are deployed, work long hours, or are just plain don’t help with the kids, or for some other reason, they feel as if they may as well be single parents. That makes me sad. I would love to be married someday, but not to one of the men as described by my girlfriends.
I actually feel as if being a single parent is easier for me than for someone who is currently married – but who feels like a single parent – or who is recently divorced or separated. It’s always been this way for me. I don’t have to adjust, or readjust, to doing this alone. I’m used to making all the parenting decisions, attending school functions alone, taking off work when the girls are sick or have appointments, and trying to find the money (alone) to pay for yearbooks and pictures and magazine orders and lost library books. I’m used to traveling alone with the girls when we go on vacation.
What I’m not used to is having my children only every other day or every other week because of a custody order, or not being with my children at every holiday, or sending my kids away every summer to spend time with their dad. From my perspective, I’d relish some additional “me” time, but that’s because I never get it – not because I’m required to have it by a judge.
The issue is that it’s not always easy, and it surely isn’t easy if you’re used to having a co-parent. And sometimes a girlfriend, a parent, a sister, or even a close friend just won’t understand what you’re going through. If you’ve tried talking to another person and just don’t feel as if you’re getting the support you need, it may be time to find a psychiatrist to talk to. An unbiased 3rd party. A professional.
In the meantime know that it’s okay to be discouraged and depressed and overwhelmed. But make sure you tell someone how you’re feeling, so that person can check up on you to make sure you’re okay. She may even offer to take the kids for a few hours or a few days to take some pressure off you. Although you might feel bad at first, this break could be just what you need to get back on track. Because the last thing you want to do is direct your frustrations on your children, the innocent party.