Calling all single moms - no dads in the picture

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Re : Calling all single moms - no dads in the picture

Postby mnmom » Tue Aug 12, 2008 08:00 pm

Hi Denise,
I was a single mom when my girls were very young. I'm not going to lie and say it was easy. It wasn't. Their father was somewhat in the picture. But 90% of the time, they were with me. I think that was the most difficult; being "on" all of the time. You can't sleep in, you can't not clean and get the dishes and laundry done. You have to find the strength to get that forgotten homework project done after a ten hour day at work. You can't just leave when you are at the breaking point. I did end up moving very close to my parents, and that was a lifesaver. I'm not sure how I would have ever managed without them.

As far as dating, I hate to say it, but I really gave up that part of my life for a long, long time. It was just too hard, and frankly, not worth it. Breaking dates because your three year old is puking, or your ex backs out on his weekend visit, or you need to bake 24 cupcakes by tomorrow.....guys tend not to deal with that very well, despite their good intentions. That, and I was never comfortable letting a "date" meet my daughters, or in any way becoming a part of their lives unless it was the real deal. But, figuring out the real deal part was hindered by the lack of time and energy I had left.

Alas, my love life ended up not being over, and love found me despite the fact I was not looking for it. So, it can happen. Fast forward nine or ten years, and here I am, with round two in my crazy life! Wouldn't trade much of it for anything though.

And, it was definately all worth it. At my daughter's homecoming coronation the candidates had a little life profile read. One of the questions was "who is your hero". When I heard her reading that her mom is her biggest hero because she is always there for her, and supports her and encourages her in every part of her life.....Yeah, it was definately worth it. Still is.

When you figure out the sleeping thing, let me know! Mine have never been good sleepers. Until they became teenagers.

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Re : Calling all single moms - no dads in the picture

Postby browncow » Tue Aug 12, 2008 02:41 pm

Connor's Dad left when she was three months old and we haven't seen him since his sentencing for stalking and 8 violations of the injunction (almost 4 years ago). He's been a nonparticipatory, stereotypical deadbeat from the beginning.

Likewise, I had no family to help (all but an elderly aunt in another state are deceased)and the few friends I had bailed because my situation "made (them) uncomfortable."

It's been literally me and Connor against the world for the past six years and you know what? We're better for it.

Being our sole income (one which hardly breaks the bank or qualifies as independent wealth) left me no choice but to resume work six weeks earlier than recommended. Navigating the first year of weekly pediatrician/opthamologist/craniofacial team/home health nurse visits while working full time was and remains a blur; I've no concrete idea how we emerged unscathed but we did!

Despite occasional self doubt, pity, and anger at C's dad, I know now that we truly lived "God doesn't give us anything we can't handle."

I remember thinking, "Well, I'm a broke single mother, daughter has a deadbeat dad, who the heck is gonna be interested in us?" I wallowed in that for a few months then had the great epiphany (which should have been obvious all along, duh): my kid and I are just as good as anyone else and we don't have to meet someone else's standards, they should meet ours!

Sure, you can (and most likely will) resume a love life and yes, it's tricky as a single parent (Dateline will definitely put the fear of predators and pedophiles in your head) so just remember priorities and boundaries: your child is always number one, men who are jealous of the attention paid to the child can hit the highway (and not look back), and never introduce a date as "Uncle-insert name here." Kids are smarter than you think, especially if they've been raised around relatives (cousins, aunts, uncles) and hadn't previously encountered that particular "uncle."

Independence is a double edged sword: I'm proud that I can take care of us and hope that sets a great example for my daughter but it's hard for me to relinquish control or accept help.

I've dated a wonderful man for over a year and he's finally drilled it into my head that A) not everyone who offers help has an ulterior motive, and B) yep, Connor and I deserve just as much happiness as anyone else.

As Connor started kindergarten last year, a co-homeroom mom asked why I wasn't involved with the PTA. As I explained that my work schedule conflicted with PTA meeting times, she gazed at me with absolute bewilderment and asked, "You work? Work? You poor thing, why?"

"Oh, we like food, clothing, shelter; things like that," I replied.

"Oh, you poor thing, I'm so sorry," she said.

Well, not me, I'm not sorry that I've had to work so my daughter can have a better life; doing so has given me the strength and backbone I never knew I had. I love my child desperately and sometimes she makes me desperate but I wouldn't trade her for the world.

I hope this doesn't come across as arrogant, rather I'm just proud that we've come so far against odds not necessarily in our favor and I hope we can continue on this path!

Best of luck to you!

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Re : Calling all single moms - no dads in the picture

Postby melly » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:47 am

I read somewhere that once babies reach somewhere around 12-13 lbs they start sleeping better. It seems like my son who was 5 lbs at birth took much longer than my over 8 lb girl to sleep through the night. Caroline is 3 1/2 months now and has been sleeping through the night for about a month. She's really big though. At 2 months she measured 50th percentile for a 4 1/2 month old for length and weight! I have a humidifier in her room to help her stuffy nose and it has a nice white noise sound too. She likes to suck on a paci and watch her Ocean Wonders Aquarium cribtoy when she's going to sleep. I think she's teething now so it won't be long before I'm getting up at night again!

That's wonderful that you have a whole year of mat leave! You're lucky if you get 3 months paid in the US. I am a SAHM now but still rely on my mom to help with the kids when I have dr's appts and she's my main sitter. I love living close to my mom. I haven't found anyone I trust with my kids yet. Its so hard to let go. Maybe you could get together with some other mom's to rotate a night off every so often so you can get a date night or even just a girl's night out. Hope you get some rest soon!

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Re : Calling all single moms - no dads in the picture

Postby Guest » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:40 am

Hi Adgirl/Kara

Adgirl - that sounds pretty depressing as far as the dating is concerned!! BOO!! I hope that your sister-in-law is not in the vast majority. However, I know from personal experience that dating is tough and that is even WITHOUT a child. Sheesh. :-( I am hoping to hear some success stories though.

Kara - Megan usually goes down at about 10 p.m. or so. She will wake up at 3:30 or 2:30 a.m. and then again at around 6:00 a.m. Arg!! It makes it very hard on me. I just can't wait till she sleeps for 6 or 7 hours straight. Mind you, mom will take her after I breastfeed so it is not really that bad. Guess I am just venting. LOL. It must be even harder on people with NO family support. I don't see how they do it at all.

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Re : Calling all single moms - no dads in the picture

Postby kara » Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:53 am

Can't be of help on the no daddy or the dating scenario. As for the sleeping through the night....well, my 2.5 year old still doesn't. She's onloy up once a night/early am, but it's been rough on me. My friends kids all slept through the night between 3 and 6 months. Some earlier though too. How often is she waking?

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Re : Calling all single moms - no dads in the picture

Postby adgirl » Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:47 am

My sister in law is on her own with no Dad in the picture at all. She has an incredible network of friends, and lives 3 hours from her mom and dad. Truthfully, I don't know how she does it, but she's got an 8 year old little boy now - so somehow she has made it work.

As far as dating - she doesn't date much. Probably just a few dates and one very short lived relationship in the 8 years. She said when you have a child in the picture, you figure out right away which guys to throw back! Plus, there's just not a lot of time for it. I'm sure there are plenty of single moms out there who make dating work, but for her - it's just not worth the time and effort!

I'd say - yes, she definitely relies on her social group a lot - she also got her son into a big brother group so he would have some one on one male time - and every so often, she will take her son to her mom and dad's for a week or so just to get a breather.

Hope that helps!

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Calling all single moms - no dads in the picture

Postby Guest » Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:15 am

Hi there,

I am a single mom to Megan Audrey - 3 months. There is no daddy in the picture. I am blessed to be spending my mat leave with my mother who is an enormous help with Megan. I live in Canada so mat leave is 1 year which is fantastic.

However, I would like to ask all single moms a question. How do you cope?? LOL. :-) With no dad around, I am "blessed" with all of the responsibilities. Are you guys able to count on family and friends for emotional support and babysitting help??

I am wondering what I will do when the 1 year is over. I am thinking about moving closer to mom.

Also, I am wondering about dating. Is that even possible as a single mommy with no daddy around?? Is my love life over?? LOL. :-) I am also wondering about when I can expect Megan to actually sleep THROUGH the whole night??

Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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