If the answer to this question is an astounding “YES!” then keep reading! Did you know being a single parent has tripled since the early 1960s? Single parenting seems to have an influence of failure and hardship. Furthermore, a married mother can earn more than double than that of her single counterpart. How is that possible? It’s simple: A married mother doesn’t face the same challenges as that of a single parent such as:
- Financial challenges to fund an education
- Being the sole supporter of the family unit
- Childcare issues
- No partner to support her emotionally
- Lack of time for homework in addition to working and taking care of a family
Emotional Toll Of Single Parenting
Single mothers are often depressed, twisted, anxious, worn down and feel like throwing in the towel. We are judged, criticized and treated rudely, not only by outsiders, but our own children as well. Feeling like this for years and looking back, I now realize there were many times I felt like giving in, giving up and letting him go live elsewhere for his own good and mine. (These are normal feelings!)
Raising children and creating a family unit alone is hard work. The struggles and challenges exasperated my own anxieties and depression. In the years following my husband’s passing, I would be riddled with feelings of anxiety, depression, PSTD, guilt and trouble coping.
Feeling As If I Were Failing At Single Parenting
Acting as if I were alright to everyone on the outside, including therapists, left me feeling that I couldn’t open up on how I was feeling. Getting my son the help he needed in order to process his grief after his father’s death was my top priority. Taking care of my needs would come later when I had the time.
As time went on and the challenges surmounted, I was feeling:
- Like a huge failure as a parent
- Found it hard to live up to what my spouse would have wanted.
- The pressure of outside judgement of others and hating their opinions I didn’t ask for
- Mad at myself for becoming the parent I had judged BC – Before Children
- Resentful for the situation I had been thrust into
Having grown up with a mentally ill mother, it made me stronger. I realized what I didn’t want in life. Not wanting my child to visit me in mental hospitals. A child should not hear their mother getting shock treatments down the hall. Children should not be treated different and hated “just because”. This became my saving grace and made me realize I had to make some changes and turn things around for the both of us.
How I Learned To Untwist The Knot
After watching others’ lives unfold around me – I realized something astounding. I was doing a better job parenting than of those who had so wrongly judged me. After coming to this realization, I made the following changes:
- People I thought were my friends weren’t – and I quietly let them go
- Stayed away from negativity
- Avoided drama
- I learned to love being alone
- Came to appreciate myself and gave myself credit
- Learned to LET SOME THINGS GO!
- Learned to pay attention to my gut instinct
Overcoming Challenges of Single Parenting
Gradually, over time (at a snail’s pace) things did get better. After an extensive search, I found a good therapist that my son responded to. Changes needed to be made in the way I parented. Learning how to trust myself in the decisions I made was a must. Faith and hope had to be brought back into my life. Getting help for myself and seeing a therapist was long overdue. Spending time with myself and recharging my batteries became crucial to my success.
Over time, things get better. Bonds began to get stronger – even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Do what is best for you and your family. Making the realization that you don’t have to explain anything to anyone else is LIFE CHANGING! Be forewarned – most likely when you start make changes, you are going to have some resistance. And if you do, let them go – quietly, and you travel on your own journey.
What single parenting challenges have you faced and how have you coped? Please share your story with me and connect with others.
Deb is a mother to a 21 -year- old ADHD son and have ADHD herself. She is the creator of https://www.mytenaciouslife.com It has become her life’s passion to encourage women to become tenacious in whatever challenge they are facing. Her favorite mantra that resonates with her is that of Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” She has had to repeat this daily, hourly, minute by minute.
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