I’m a single mom to a 3 year old and a 6 year old. They are the reason I get out of bed in the morning and the reason I feel like yanking my hair out at night. I love them more than I ever thought possible, but when I started this parenting journey I never imagined doing it alone. I never expected to be a single parent (or in my case an only parent) and there are a few things that stick out as being particularly hard.
1. When I Worry Alone
I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced a feeling as lonely as worrying about my children alone. When I’m up all night worrying over a high fever or when I’m struggling to know if I’ve made the right parenting decision, it can feel very overwhelming and lonely. I don’t miss my ex, but I miss the role he was supposed to play. The burden of knowing that I am the only person invested in my children’s future is a hard one to bear.
2. When I Celebrate Alone
The lifetimes of our children are heavily marked with milestones of achievement and moments that make memories. While I look forward to them just as much as any other parent, I hate that every celebration is also met with the sting of celebrating alone. Being the single voice cheering my son on as he took his first steps and being the single set of hands clapping at my daughter’s kindergarten graduation, is a subtle and painful reminder of the person who is missing out on everything my children are accomplishing.
3. When I Cry Alone
Single moms, you know what I’m talking about here; that moment when you finally break down and let the tears flow. Our lives are hard and we need a good cry every once in a while, but when I cry alone it just seems to magnify the fact that there is no one here to help me. I realize that it’s up to me and only me to pull myself back together and that I have no choice but to do so. There is no one there to give me a hug.
4. When I Have To Ask For Help
I don’t like asking for help. As a single mother, my biggest fear is that I won’t be enough for my children. Because of that, I desperately try to manage everything, and balance everything, because if I can pull it all off, I am able to convince myself that I really can do this. As much as I want to be enough though, sometimes I simply can’t be and when those moments arise I have no choice but to ask for help. While people are willing and eager to help me, setting aside my pride and admitting that I can’t do it all can be a tough pill to swallow, no matter how much it is a lesson that I need to learn.
5. When I Disappoint My Child
There isn’t a parent on the face of the planet that will go through their child’s life without ever disappointing them, but for single parents those disappointing moments can hit harder than they do for coupled parents. Whether it’s because of time constraints, finances, or the fact that I simply cannot always play the role of two parents, there is nothing that feels worse than seeing my children's sad faces and knowing that I can’t give them what they want. Sure there is usually a life lesson wrapped up in there, but sometimes I just wish they didn’t have to learn anything that I wasn’t ready to teach them. Sometimes I wish I could just give them what they want, because as a parent, sometimes I simply just want to see them happy.
#6 When I Have To Explain To My Child Where Their Other Parent Is
For me this is the single hardest part of being a single mother -- having to explain a situation to my child that I don’t even understand. Why did dad choose to leave? I don’t know. Does my dad still love me? I hope so. Is my dad ever coming back? I don’t think so. Watching my child struggle to understand the absence of their father never gets any easier and I’m pretty sure it never will.
I love my kids and I love my life. If given the choice between being a single mother and not being a mother at all, there’s no hesitation that I would choose being a single mother. But as any parent can attest, there some parts of parenthood that are nothing but rough. Unfortunately for single mothers we have to go through those moments alone.
Luckily, my children are worth it.