My story sadly isn’t uncommon. I was thrown into the big wide scary world of single parenting and although it has only been a matter of months so far, here are a few things I’ve learnt about what it’s like being a single mum (and a few secret confessions)…
1- There will never be a moment where you are not slightly (or in my case overwhelmingly) petrified about the sudden realities of raising your child alone. Note – you are not alone. Accept help, you don’t get a medal for doing this alone. You will need all the support and help you can get. Drop your pride, take the help and be damn thankful.
2- In the evenings, I check on my sleeping daughter at least ten times before finally going to bed myself. Yes, I check if she is breathing much like I did when she was a new born. She is almost 5.
3- This also goes for locking up at night. Now I am the only adult in the house to check the doors/windows and I am the one who will have to kick some ass if we get broken into. I check the doors multiple times a night before going to bed. I was never good at karate kicks!
4- Over the first months I have lived mostly on carbs. I will sacrifice eating nutritious meals so my daughter can. Plus cooking for one is a bitch.
5- The worry about finances, bills, school fees etc can be consuming. Wine helps – you will also discover that $5 moscato isn’t that bad tasting after all.
6- I have learnt to appreciate the little things more, for I have learnt they can be taken away from you in a flash. Instead of getting my daughter home from school rushing to do dinner/bath/bed, sometimes we will go for an afternoon swim and gelato by the beach. I realise now just how precious these moments are.
7- Your child was is and always will be your entire world. But when you become a single parent, although you never thought they could be more important to you, suddenly they just are. In every single way.
8- Communication with my ex husband is internally absolute torture. I hate speaking to him and seeing his face. BUT each day he and my daughter FaceTime, we keep each other updated regarding her and I have to see him at least once a week when she stays with him. I’ve learnt very quickly that it’s ok to loathe him, but in my daughter’s eyes, he is her wonderful daddy. So I die quietly inside and bare it through gritted teeth but will never let her know how I truly feel towards him. She deserve an untarnished view of her dad.
9- Housework tends to wait a little longer than before. Before my husband left, every night he would arrive home to an immaculate home, candles lit, floors vacuumed, dinner cooking. Now, I do housework but don’t feel the pressure to have everything done by 6pm. It’s one of the very few perks!
10- Don’t be ashamed of your new ‘single parent status’ – there are so many of us out there, the more you talk the more you will find in the same boat.
11- Your girlfriends will be your saving grace through it all. Thank them, be there for them too. I hate to think what I would do without my ladies!
12- It will take you a little while to realise that you have an entire bed to yourself! It took me two months to realise that I no longer had a ‘side’ of the bed anymore but in fact I could lay in the middle! This is also a little perk.
13- Be kind to yourself. I am still learning the art of this. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither can your new chapter in life. Baby steps.
14- Be smart! Document everything. Conversations with your ex, agreements, split payments. Every. Single. Thing. Now is not the time to be complacent.
15- And finally. Do not- I repeat- DO NOT come under the false illusion that you are ok to watch movies such as P.S I love you, The Notebook and Love Actually. You will become a crying blubbering mess sobbing into your wine surrounded by a million snotty tissues. Take my word for it. It ain’t worth it sister.
Much love The Newbie Single Mama x
I admire your for being strong and inspirational single mom. I’m a single mom too and one of the hardest part of being a single mom is you can’t tell what happen to your ex. Why he’s dad is not with you, where is his dad.. 🙁
Bridget… Love this post! I don’t post much but this is spot on.. especially checking on them several times before going to bed yourself.
I recently learnt that its not being a single parent but being a single woman. I have a mutual respect for my ex and its for our son that we do that. We parent together, sometimes not on the same page but nevertheless we do the best we can for our little boy (mr 4yrs old)
So embrace your single woman status.. it can b quite empowering.. lonely.. fun.. exhausting and adventurous… ALL IN ONE DAY 😊
Life is tough my darling, but so are you x
All true and absolutely fabulous for you to write so honestly and with such humour.
Thank you! 🙂 x
I found myself suddenly single after 3 years of marriage preceded by 17 years together & 3 children. On anyone’s scale we had it all, or at the very least we had it pretty darn good! I was blindsided & never in a million years thought I’d ever be in this position and I’ll be honest it’s a daily struggle to get my head around the idea. (I type this reply from ‘my side’ of the bed 7 months down the suddenly single track).
Like you I search for advice, new perspectives or things to do to push me forward so I appreciate your points!
I’ve been a single mum since my daughter was 9 months old she’s now 6 & 1/2yo. The hardest thing for me has been comforting her when her dad hasn’t shown up and supporting her decision not to go there her dad has other kids now with his current girlfriend and my daughter said to me “I guess daddy has too many kids he doesn’t have time for me anymore.” So unfortunately I can’t hide my dislike for him as easily but I have told her many times that she doesn’t have to dislike him because I do but I also want her to remember how he has made her feel etc so she can protect herself a bit..