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this past year, reflecting on being a single parent

Old 05-30-2011, 04:51 PM
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this past year, reflecting on being a single parent

Lately I have been going about my business preparing myself to be a single mom. I sometimes feel really down and start to post here but stop myself because deep down I know I need to move on and even though I am letting go of the dream I had for our marriage I am not yet ready to face a divorce. We are separated and pretty much living as if we are divorced anyway.

I still reach out to my AH expecting the bread and getting the hardware.

My 14 and 17 yo DDs have pretty much accepted that we are living without AH and they take care of the little they need/get from him for the most part on their own.

There are times when my heart breaks for my 10 yo DS as he is determined that we will all be living together again and doing things together again. I find myself every once in a while pointing out to DS how I am taking care of myself and him and his sisters and AH needs to take care of himself and there are many happy times that DS has with each of us and it doesn't have to be with us together. I try to focus him on enjoying these times and enjoy being a 10 year old.

Sometimes I think I am talking to myself more that to DS, saying goodbye to any possibility of true recovery for my AH or maybe I am seeing that true recovery for me is very difficult with contact with AH.

AH knows I do not want active alcoholism in my life and he has chosen to be out of my life. All the work of a divorce is on my shoulders and I want to minimize the impact it will have on me and my kids future. I am taking it one step at a time.

I was looking at my DD sociology book and under the section of divorce there was section on one-parent families where it states "single parents are subject to a special set of stresses and strains." It goes on to list "responsibility overload" - responsibility for making plans and decsions, ensuring care and well-being of families alone, "task overload" - single handling of all the tasks usually distributed between two people - maintain home, care for children and perform satisfactorily in their jobs, spend so much time on a daily basis, no time for themselves, and "emotional overload" -coping with their children's emotional needs in addition to other stuff which means emotional needs and wants of single parents go unfulfilled. And of course being at a financial disadvantage adds a lot of stress.

Reading this helps me face the reality that I am already living this life. It also helps me to have a little compassion for myself and give myself a break for whatever might go wrong.

Formalizing this with a divorce may help me move forward and focus better. I am fortunate right now to have a decent job and AH is providing income.

Although no alcohol in my FOO there was divorce when I was 17. This and all the lying and emotional manipulation with my AH has really taken away my trust which I am working on with my counselor. I feel so lonely sometimes, although I have been reaching out more to some friends and finding I can enjoy being with others and let some of my worries and stress go.

I suppose I keep feeling I don't want to be responsible for breaking our family apart and letting go of any chance for both AH and I to recover and be together.

Some days have really bright moments in them that I haven't had in so many years but some days have really down moments where I feel so sad to not have the AH that I married to share my life with.

Thanks for "listening" to my post. It is helpful for me to get these thoughts down. Any ESH of your own is appreciated. I know many of you are going or have gone through so much.
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Old 05-30-2011, 05:07 PM
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Dancingnow,

I'm glad you came here to write about your situation; I think it helps to get stuff out and expressed, and moreso when others who understand can comment and appreciate your reality.

I hope you will be encouraged to join us often.



CLMI
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dancingnow View Post
I was looking at my DD sociology book and under the section of divorce there was section on one-parent families where it states "single parents are subject to a special set of stresses and strains." It goes on to list "responsibility overload" - responsibility for making plans and decsions, ensuring care and well-being of families alone, "task overload" - single handling of all the tasks usually distributed between two people - maintain home, care for children and perform satisfactorily in their jobs, spend so much time on a daily basis, no time for themselves, and "emotional overload" -coping with their children's emotional needs in addition to other stuff which means emotional needs and wants of single parents go unfulfilled. And of course being at a financial disadvantage adds a lot of stress.

Reading this helps me face the reality that I am already living this life. .
Yes, Yes, Yes!

Your eyes are open to the truth.

The three stages of recovery (three A's)
Awareness
Acceptance
Action

You are aware of the reality of your role in a marriage to an active alcoholic (you are the sole responsible adult)
You are accepting this reality
You are setting your mind to take actions

Bravo to you! You are doing an amazing job as a Mom and as a wise woman facing her responsibilities.

I especially like that last line in your above quote: "It also helps me to have a little compassion for myself and give myself a break for whatever might go wrong."

I needed that reminder today, thank you! I need to remember progress, not always perfection as I continue to walk and grow in recovery. I will make mistakes along the way, and I will forgive myself. I will also try to remember to set the same example for my children.

I am sending you support and encouragement!
(((hugs))) too!

You are not alone, we are here to support you as you travel a new path!
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:36 PM
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wow, I feel better after reading that! I have been down and feeling overwhelmed lately with the responsibility of it all.......everything you mentioned. Seeing it validated on paper makes me feel (a little bit) better....knowing I can give myself a break now and then!
Thank you for this post!
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:15 PM
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Thanks for this post.

I'm a single mom too.
It's not easy.
Some days its so freakin' hard!!

But...I've been doing it for years.

I was a single parent even when my exah was here. I assumed all the responsibilities, made all the decisions, and did most of the heavy parental lifting.
Once in a while, exah would 'help out' but the help he offered didn't make up for the stress and chaos his addiction brought into our home.

I was listening to a radio show the other day and there was an expert talking about this very subject...about the stress and strain of being a single parent...and how we worry so much that we aren't enough. And a guest on the radio show (a counselor) said he had one message that he wanted to send to us single parents and it was simply this: "YOU ARE ENOUGH". That simple phrase brought tears to my eyes because so many days (and nights) I worry if I'm enough...if I can possibly give my son what he needs.

I hope I'm enough.
I'm gonna have to be enough 'cuz I'm really all he's got.

Hang tough...we're all in this boat together!!

Mary
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:30 PM
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Reading this helps me face the reality that I am already living this life.
Yes!!! But you know what? When you are divorced, when you are no longer having to deal with the expectations you may or may not have that the A is actually going to contribute, it gets easier.

I used to hate cleaning the house because my AH would be sitting in the den drinking and watching football. Now, I love cleaning the house because... it's my house and my responsibility and there's nobody there to remind me that I could have a functioning partnership but I don't.

Just a thought to encourage you.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:36 PM
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I wanted to reinforce that being a single parent and parenting with an A are very similiar "job descriptions". The main difference is that without the A in your daily lives you have less stress.

There is no doubt that being a single parent is stressful but the stressors are different and you can control most of the factors yourself. I found that my kids responded quite nicely to our "threesome" relationship positively. And at some point I did get time to myself - altho it depends on whether you are a morning person or night person - you can get the time alone by staying up or getting up early.

The financial stress - it is a trade off - think of it as "buying" less stress and more "normal" life. I found that I made it through the bills much easier on my terms as I had more control over where the money went. In fact, my creditors thought I had come into money to do such a fine job of paying bills on time and my kids commented that while we had so much less money it seemed that we actually had more by the way we lived. It was true! I had one third of our original income but spent it well. You can do this!
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:40 AM
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I'll chime in and join those saying single parenting being 1000 time less stressful then living with and parenting with an A.

Financilly I have more security now even though I'm not getting child support right now (xah not working). I moved to an area I could afford, which was hard to do but had to be done. I have huge daycare expeneses but that won't be a forever cost.

I am currently feeling very overwhelmed with the logistics. I'm definitely on overload. Something will have to give soon but I have some things going on that have increased my load lately, which is just life. It happens.

Not that it matters but just to give a reference point - May is the end of the fiscal year for me at work so it is very busy and stressful. My dad is in the hospital and will be moving to a nursing home and I am the one to take care of all those logistics etc. The thing is I was on similar overload two years ago (only it was MIL), and I was still married at that point. It was way worse and played a big hand in bringing me to my bottom and getting out of the marriage later that year. Not only was it way worse for me mentally and emotionally it was worse for the kids. I was not handling it as well (so was not handling them as well), I was consumed with frustration, anger; and resentment at xah, and because of our chaotic lifestyle my boys did not have the resources (parental or financial) to be involved in anything - so they sat in that miserable home all day.

Today I feel overloaded but I have the emotional/mental/physical space and capacity to deal with it much better, so while not perfect, I am a better mother. The wheels are not falling off my bus like they were a year ago. My children have activities and friends so there world is bigger then just the walls of their house.

It is hard but still better. I've been avoiding this thread because I've felt so overloaded and didn't want to be a negative nelly when you need support. After thinking it through and typing it out I'm so grateful that I did because right now I am feeling so much better. I have much to be thankful for and after mapping it out like this I can really see how I am reaching my goals of having a better life for me and my kids. I feel much more centered then I did last night. Thank you!
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:27 AM
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I too am doing this on my own. And I know how you were feeling when you said you are accepting the demise of your marraige, slowly letting it sink in. It's definitely a process. I had to mourn the "dream" that we would be happily ever after. It would have been really nice if it worked out but once I firmly believed that living in the stressful situation I was in was not conducive to a healthy lifestyle for me or my kids, the acceptance came.

Once acceptance sank in, I was still afraid to take the action but I figured it had to be better than the life I was living and I needed to trust in my HP that he would guide us and help me find a way to get through it. And so far he has. I'm not going to pretend that it isn't stressful. I sometimes get overwhelmed and angry knowing I did NOT sign up for single parenting. And in some ways it was easier when I had a partner to help me with everyday things and take some of the load off. But when I think about it, it was much harder on me emotionally everyday, never knowing who would walk in that door, Jekyll or Hyde. And it didn't get better after his sobriety.

I will never forget the feeling of freedom, glorious freedom, when I walked in the front door of our new apartment. The feeling that I could make it. I knew it would be so much more for me to do and I still don't like the daily stress of keeping a tight schedule and trying to remember the one million things to do and accomplish in a week. I am too hard on myself when something falls through the cracks. I want to stop sticking myself with pins and needles everytime I don't do it perfectly. I try to use "How Important Is It?" to help me. If no one was left behind somewhere, if no one is bleeding or on fire and I still have a roof over our heads, food on our table and lots of love to give, it can't be that bad. All the other stuff is fluff and right now we don't have any. My kids will be okay, better off than going on vacation with an erratic person who makes us miserable the entire time. I guess when I weighed the pros/cons of stay/go, the go/pros won.

I like being the boss of me. I like making decisions and not worrying what shrapnel will fall upon me and/or my kids. I like that I can choose to listen to music or watch my favorite show when I want without someone telling me I'm selfish or rude. I like that I don't have to go to bed or sleep on the couch to avoid an unhappy person or listen to that person put me down and tell me I'm not good enough or that I can't do anything right or that I don't dress right or that my morals aren't good. And the list goes on and on. Today, I'm just grateful for the peace and I'll take whatever comes along with it.

Peace,
Jen
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:34 PM
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I was a single parent even when my exah was here.
Yup, that. I've been doing the single parent thing for over a year, and in the past 5 months I've done it 100%. Going from about 90% to 100% was a bigger leap than I understood at the time (my XAH fell apart and couldn't spent any time with the kids since Christmas, although that's starting to get better). But I've felt like, and in many ways been, a single parent since the day our daughter was born 5.5 years ago.

It's hard, but find support and find the strength in yourself. You have it. You've had it all along.
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:48 PM
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I have been through so much bad with my AH that I am actually excited about my divorce and single parenting! My kids are wonderful people. As many of you have said, I have been doing it all on my own for so long it's not that big of a deal. It will just be nice to not have the daily sick feeling of having to deal with alcoholism. It is not the life I envisioned either but I am coming to the conclusion that we all have challenges we need to go through in life and this is mine! We will all make it.
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