Friday, 13 March 2015

How I cope as a single parent


Like most people in my situation, I never planned to be a single mum. As a child I never wanted to get married and start a family but I said if I ever did find the right person, it would be forever. However, life never works out the way you planned it. I had my children before I got married and with someone who I didn't get on with. Yes, I feel like I let my parents down and I feel judged for the mistakes I made but I love my children and I certainly don't regret having them. They are a very special gift especially as I have endometriosis which causes infertility. I surprise myself every day with how well I am doing raising two hyperactive boys by myself but there is those days where I feel like I am not enough for them. 

The boys were one and two when I split with their father. We were fighting too much and it was not a happy environment for the children to grow up in. We tried the whole 'stay together for the kids' thing but it just didn't work out. I guess it was a good thing that me and their father spilt while they where so young because they had no clue what was going on, so they were mentally unaffected. At first I panicked at the thought of raising two babies, keeping bills paid, and holding down my military career all by myself. Luckily, I am blessed with two very well behaved children who hardly ever cried and would happily play by themselves while I got the housework done. I also had great support from family and friends who would come to help out when they could. I am so much stronger now and love being a  family of three. 

single parent, parenting, blog, blogger, single, mom

Here are some of my coping methods:

Don't be afraid to ask for help
I have always been a very independent person to the point that whenever I had a problem, I just got on with it. I hated asking for help as I believed I would just be a burden on people. When I became a single mum, I realised that I am not super woman so I was going to have to put my pride to one side and ask for help now and again. There wasn't many people I could trust to help me but there was a few  special friends that I could call on when it all got too much. I wasn't going to be a good mother to the boys if I was stressed all the time.

Image: weheartit


Don't feel selfish for taking some time out for yourself.
Like I just said above, I won't be the best mother I can be if I'm stressed all the time. Setting aside time to focus on myself helps me to appreciate the time with my boys more. Being a single mum of two school aged boys and with a job to hold down on top, there isn't a lot of time to take care of myself. People say to me, 'put them in bed early so you have a full evening relaxing on the sofa'. That sounds great but who is going to do the housework and that horrible ironing pile stacked up in the corner? I have learnt that certain things can wait till the next day if I am really exhausted. Time to myself is really important mentally and physically. The big one though is nights out. People, especially my son's father, are quick to judge when I call on a babysitter to head out on a date or dinner with friends for some much needed adult socialising. Is this selfish to have a night out once a month? No! Again, it really isn't good for you to lock yourself away without any adult conversations. You need a bit of fun now and again especially if you are a stay at home mum, never feel guilty. You could become depressed and unmotivated if you never have any time with your friends.

image:wehearit


Stay positive, not angry
It is easy to be angry at the fact that you are struggling with raising your children alone while the ex seems to be out having the time of their lives with no stresses. Feeling angry at the fact you're the one left holding the baby is unproductive and not good mentally for both you and your children. Focus more on how lucky you are to raise and watch your beautiful children grow, which is something your ex is missing out on.

image:wehearit


Look after your money
Now there is only one wage coming into the house, its up to you to stay organised. I find writing down all my outgoings and incomings really helps to keep within budget. Also keeping a little savings account is really important for when it comes to unexpected costs such as the washing machine breaking down or the children needing new school shoes. Also as a single parent, you are entitled to certain benefits so check you have claimed for the right ones such as tax credits, working tax or income support.  You may also be eligible for a council tax discount and free school meals if you are a single parent.

Image: @thinkstock

Finally, just believe in yourself. Being a single parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world. I want to stay strong for my boys, not to crawl under my duvet when things get too hard like I have done in the past. My children depend on me to keep them safe and comforted so I have no choice but to pull myself together and keep going. This last few years of being single parent has been a roller coaster but I know there are yet more twists and turns to come. I am prepared though and as long as my children know that they are loved, we will be OK. There are those times when I feel like I am a complete failure of a mother for the way our family is but in these modern times we are not the only ones in this situation. It's more common than you think. When things get hard don't be afraid to seek out support, take time out for yourself, go out for dinner with your friends, and stay positive. You are doing a great job, don't let anyone tell you different! 

Gem x    

Mums' Days
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9 comments

  1. Motherhood can be hard no matter the situation however I always have huge respect for single parents and interested in how they survive so thanks for sharing! #thelist

    https://motherhoodtherealdeal.wordpress.com/

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  2. Really isn't easy bringing up kids on your own. Some great tips here

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  3. I love your positive attitude and your advice. I think most of it can be applied to life as well.
    You sound like really well rounded person. Well done. #weekendbloghop

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  4. What fantastic advice!! I was a single mother for a while when my eldest was 3 and it was so hard....

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  5. Excellent post - your family look so happy so you are doing an excellent job! I have always wondered how single parents deal when I think it mega hard with 2 of us. Respect sister!! I very much doubt id cope x

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  6. I think believing in myself is one I'm yet to master 100% of the time.
    xxxxx

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  7. Lovely post and fab advice. I could have written the first paragraph...I felt exactly the same. I left my husband when my son was 15 months old and I'll always be grateful for the fact that he's never known us together and so it hasn't really affected him. We're now back with my family and my boy is so so loved!! #TheList

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  8. I'm not a single parent, but two good friends of mine are...one had her husband walk out on her & the other lost her partner when he died suddenly. The first friend often has bitterness towards her ex, he gets to live a child-free life with his new girlfriend & I think it hurts her. But, her two children are gorgeous, kind & loving...she's doing an amazing job raising them & gets to spend every day with these two wonderful boys...their Dad hardly ever sees them. It must be incredibly hard raising kids on your own, but it is so important to hang onto the positive attitude you clearly have. #MBPW

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  9. A truly wonderful post and some great advice - i'm going to share it on my FB page xx I totally love that quote - 'too blessed to be stressed' - I could do with remembering that too xx

    Thanks for linking xx #Thelist

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