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Single Parenting Struggles

Old 07-10-2010, 05:37 AM
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Single Parenting Struggles

I was a single parent for 7 years.....and had 4 sons at that time. Survived that, now after being married for 2 years, and 2 more children....looks like I'm going there again. Remind me please....what are the biggest struggles you face as a single parent besides the obvious ones like maybe money??
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Old 07-10-2010, 05:46 AM
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Time Management

I struggle with my time between work, family and self.

My recovery tools from Alanon, wisdom from this site, the Serenity Prayer and trial/error are helping keep the balance.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:41 AM
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If you really think about the last 2 years ME, based on everything you have posted since you joined SR...you have been a single parent to your children for that entire time.

I think it is sometimes easy to equate having a spouse under the same roof, with having a partner. I don't think you will have any problem being a single parent. You already are one.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:45 AM
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I totally agree with gerry.
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Old 07-10-2010, 08:42 AM
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I struggle with money. lol.
Fixing things around the house.
Time for myself.
And my son's disappointment that his daddy isn't around.

But it's completely worth it. Living with an addict/alcoholic is worse than all the single parent struggles in the world. Exposing my child to that chaos caused by his father's addiction would have been unforgiveable.
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:14 PM
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Instead of the struggles, how about the rewards?

I love having two happy, well-adjusted children who aren't afraid to invite their friends over. I love how my children feel secure enough to tell me how they feel, even if they know I'm not gonna like it. I love that my children gladly help out around the house because they feel like we are a team. I love not being the one in the middle between and unreasonable alcoholic and innocent children.

Yeah, money's tight, but there is no amount of money I would trade for my children's emotional well-being. We still have our share of struggles, but they are the garden variety struggles all parents and children have. Not the dysfunctional crazy struggles inherent in the codependent/alcoholic dynamic. I believe my recovery has allowed them to blossom and grow into the people they were meant to be. They can work on their own lives now that they don't have a crazy, codependent mom. That's priceless. And I am forever grateful for it.

Oh yeah, and I love only being responsible for the children I gave birth to, not the overgrown king baby child I used to care for as well, lol.

L
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Pelican View Post
Time Management

I struggle with my time between work, family and self.

My recovery tools from Alanon, wisdom from this site, the Serenity Prayer and trial/error are helping keep the balance.
Agree, although I'm an empty-nester now and have no under-aged kids requiring my attention, though the emotional age of my two grown daughters does come into question at times!

I also love LTD's answer! I try to focus on the haves, and not the have nots, the positive rather than the negative.
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Old 07-11-2010, 07:08 PM
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LaTeeDa -
Thank you! You are absolutely right!! My children's emotional well being at this point is a huge concern for me.....and I want to be able to look at them and know I did what was right for them!
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
Instead of the struggles, how about the rewards?

I love having two happy, well-adjusted children who aren't afraid to invite their friends over. I love how my children feel secure enough to tell me how they feel, even if they know I'm not gonna like it. I love that my children gladly help out around the house because they feel like we are a team. I love not being the one in the middle between and unreasonable alcoholic and innocent children.

Yeah, money's tight, but there is no amount of money I would trade for my children's emotional well-being. We still have our share of struggles, but they are the garden variety struggles all parents and children have. Not the dysfunctional crazy struggles inherent in the codependent/alcoholic dynamic. I believe my recovery has allowed them to blossom and grow into the people they were meant to be. They can work on their own lives now that they don't have a crazy, codependent mom. That's priceless. And I am forever grateful for it.

Oh yeah, and I love only being responsible for the children I gave birth to, not the overgrown king baby child I used to care for as well, lol.

L
You are one of my favorite posters. I don't know your story, though. How old are your children? How did they handle the divorce when it first happened? How is exah with the kids?

I really like to hear about life after divorce. It gives me strength.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by whereisthisgoin View Post
You are one of my favorite posters. I don't know your story, though. How old are your children? How did they handle the divorce when it first happened? How is exah with the kids?

I really like to hear about life after divorce. It gives me strength.
My story, in a nutshell, is married for 18 years. The first 10-12 weren't too bad. We both drank, but as I started to outgrow it, he progressed. I kicked him out of the house in 2005, which was probably about 5 years later than I should have. He got sober about 6 months later and we tried to reconcile. My children were 13 (daughter) and 9 (son) at the time. We were all in therapy for a little over a year. It was rough for a couple of years. They still exhibit traits of children of alcoholics, but are able to recognize and work through most of the residual trauma.

Our attempt a reconciliation failed, and I am grateful that we didn't jump back in to the husband/wife roles. I knew how hard it was on my children that we separated in the first place, so we dated for a while and talked about what our relationship would look like if we decided to get back together. During that time, it became clear to me that even without the alcohol, he could not be who I wanted in a partner. He was still selfish, immature, and irresponsible, and I had changed too much to allow those things in my life.

My children are now 17 and 13. My daughter graduated high school last month. She had a B+ average throughout high school. She is happy and enthusiastic and working on starting her own business. I am very proud of her. My son, who was always a loner with very few friends now has a tight-knit group of buddies who have similar interests as him--mostly music. He's been in the band for four years and will be starting high school in the fall and will be in the marching band. He (and his friends) are all straight A students and are known as the "cool geeks." I'm very proud of him, too.

I continue to hope that I broke the cycle with them that has been handed down for many generations, both on my side of the family and their father's side. Time will tell, but for now, it's looking hopeful.

My life has never been better. I met a guy about two years after the separation and we are still seeing each other. It's been over three years. We don't live together, and see each other mostly on weekends. He's coming with us on vacation starting Friday for two weeks. We are all looking forward to it very much.

I guess that was a pretty big nutshell, lol. Best wishes to you, and to all of you who are afraid of the unknown. It can and will get better.

L
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:28 AM
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Just wanted to chime in, mentally, on the issue of single parenting.

Though I *am* struggling a bit with having time for myself while giving my DD the attention/care she needs, and with finding the career that will allow me to be a happy and fulfilled mama, at least now I have the time and mental/emotional energy needed to give these concerns some thought, whereas when I was married to XAH, all my energy was directed at managing his addiction.

I try to remind myself daily that I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to live this time, instead of still being trapped inside the madness that was my marriage to XAH.
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Old 07-12-2010, 07:47 AM
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Oh, and I forgot to mention XAH.

We did the every-other-weekend thing for a couple of years (only AFTER he got sober), and then he took a job on the north slope in Alaska where he works something like 5 weeks on and 3 weeks off. He keeps an apartment here in town so he can spend his off time with the kids. And, although sometimes he does things that make me want to wring his neck, for the most part we have an amicable relationship where we cooperate in the best interests of the children.

He is not a parent to them in the way that I am, but at least he has a relationship with them.

L
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:15 PM
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The one thing I really struggle with is time for me!
When I had just my own two kids they used to go to Dads for the weekend, every weekend. Working or not my weekends were sacred!
For two years I've had 3 kids, and I never allowed Joe to go to 'the other Aunts' every weekend, basically because she's crazy and not good for him in large doses ( but he needs to know and spend time with his mums family so he goes from time to time)
But, because he doesn't go places every week, and I guess because my kids are growing up, they don't want to go to Dads every weekend, so they sometimes stay with Mum, lol. I love it, I love that they make their own decisions and plans for the weekend, they fish a lot and play soccer and go out with friends. I just sometimes wish they'd go to dads and the other aunts and leave me for a while!

But knowing this makes me really plan my own time. They're all away for a whole week from Friday. I do not have one spare minute for anyone else that week. I'm still working and I'm going out with friends a few nights, but every minute is planned for ME.
I am so going to enjoy that week alone.
I may even unplug the phone and just keep my mobile on, only close people have that number.

(I'll miss all three of them though!)
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:29 PM
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I hear ya Lucy. I miss those every-other-weekends to myself. And, I did and still do have some resentment that my X just goes off and does whatever works for him, leaving me with all the responsibility for OUR kids.

But, I steal my alone time when I can, and take solace in the realization that it goes by so fast (their childhood). My daughter is all but grown up already, and my son is in high school now. It won't be long before my nest is empty. I secretly look forward to that, but I treasure the time with them now, knowing it won't last. *sigh*

L
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
I hear ya Lucy. I miss those every-other-weekends to myself. And, I did and still do have some resentment that my X just goes off and does whatever works for him, leaving me with all the responsibility for OUR kids.

But, I steal my alone time when I can, and take solace in the realization that it goes by so fast (their childhood). My daughter is all but grown up already, and my son is in high school now. It won't be long before my nest is empty. I secretly look forward to that, but I treasure the time with them now, knowing it won't last. *sigh*

L
mine are 13, 14 and 15 (lol, I know!)
all boys too. I just can't wait for a week where I can get in the bathroom!

Joking aside, it is hard being full time mum and dad to all three of them, and having to let them go to part timers whenever they have the time to have some fun. I do sometimes feel resentment that I do all the hard work, then dad or aunty comes along and has the time and the cash to give them a good time.
I console myself with the fact that I'm the one who taught them how to say please and thank you, and that's what gets commented on, along with what nice polite well behaved young men they all are, no one coments on what a good holiday/weekend they must have had lol
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:38 PM
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I became a single parent when my girls were 3 mos, 3 yrs, and 6 yrs old. That was 11 years ago and it feels like yesterday.

Sometimes I look back and wonder how I did it (and am still doing it!) But you know...it's amazing what you can do when you have no choice!!! I have always thought of my kids as my greatest gift and greatest responsibility, so that makes it easy in that sense.

The hard parts:

1) It used to be just getting everybody ready and out the door on time every morning!!! Now they're older and self-sufficient and I have another driver in the house.

2) Working all day and then finding enough energy to carry me through each night...cooking, cleaning, homework with the kids, bathing them, etc.

3) Getting enough sleep to get up and do it all over the next day.

3) Taking care of ALL the household responsibilites...bill paying, maintenance, shopping, yardwork, etc.

4) Being the sole: spider "squisher"; comforter during storms & after nightmares; nurse; disciplinarian; counselor; light bulb changer; etc.

5) Not having a spouse to share the girls' day-to-day successes and challenges with (family and friends were only a phone call away, however!)

6) Rare moments to myself until three years ago when I was going to move to another state to be near family...and XAH decided to step up and be a DAD!!! Now I have every other weekend to myself and 6 weeks each summer. The first weekend I had to myself, I was lost!

7) Making ends meet -- I still struggle with this one, but God always provides.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:41 PM
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Didn't mean to post that quite yet...I was going to add that I wouldn't change anything! We are a happy house of girls who love eachother in spite of family squabbles and challenges. Love my kids!
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
It won't be long before my nest is empty. I secretly look forward to that, but I treasure the time with them now, knowing it won't last. *sigh*
The stark realization came to me when my oldest went off to his 1st year of college. Once they go away to school they're gone. Oh they come back for breaks, but it changes when they're no longer at home every day.

This time is brief, it's over in a blink of an eye. But it's our job to raise healthy independent kids that grow up and move away and take charge of their own lives armed with the ALL lessons they learned from us. We should always be mindful of what we teach them.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:31 PM
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Gosh, I agree with just everyone! Jazzman, LTD, Lucy, Gerry, all of you guys! But bottom line for me was/is... I had already really been a "single" parent, and without the drunk guy in the house, it was way easier to manage. I kidded myself for those last couple years that he was an actual equal parent. He was not, and his influence brought a real negative atmosphere into the house.

Now, I think about 6-7 years after separation and ultimately divorce, I still think of him, and feel bad for him, and realize all he missed with the parenting and experiences. I (like LTD) have a man in my life who is not an "A" and is just absolutely wonderful to me. It took 5 solid years of NOT dating and just focusing on the kids and on healing myself. And I STILL wasn't prepared for this new relationship, but thank goodness my boyfriend was sweet and consistent with me!

You are going to be fine, mentallyexh (and I would consider CHANGING THAT NAME, GIRLFRIEND!) and life is going to eventually even out and feel "normal" again, don't worry. The number one thing I have to say is that my life, and that of my children, has been infinitely better than it was while living with an active alcoholic under our roof! God, I can barely remember, but when I do, I SHUDDER! Blech! and SCARY! and soooo unhappy!!!

Both of my kids (and two nephews I had living with me for a while) are all currently successful and soon-to-be self supporting. My boyfriend is almost living with me fulltime and I adore him, and I am having so much fun being a 50-something ADULT who works hard and is enjoying the results of that.

Don't be afraid, mentally Exh. Go forward with your plan. Be patient and not in a hurry. Time is a great healer, and definitely on YOUR side. Love your children, Love yourself, Love your ex even, but make the break. You deserve it and so do your children. And the ex? He hasn't gotten sober with you, right? Maybe he will without you...
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:23 PM
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My dear mentallyexh, after the sh*t times and lack of support given you by your AH, being a single mum again may be a great relief. So far your AH sounds more like a tantrum throwing, out of control teen hoon, not a husband and father and I itch to give him a boot in his rear.

You have done the job of mum to 4 kids, and ok now there are 6, but the older ones can help out a bit.......anything has to be better than being driven to mental exhaustion by a drunken bully.

Give him the boot, and get your life back.....and yes change the name when it no longer applies.

God bless
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