Raising a child as a single parent is probably the most difficult responsibility I have ever had. When my first husband and I separated in 1990, my older two children were not living with us, but I still had a daughter age 11 to raise. (I had my third child at 41.) As I made the transition to single parenting, I did not even realize the enormity of my responsibility. So in the last few weeks, I decided to do a small survey of my single friends who raised children alone for several years. I asked them and myself, “What was the most difficult part of raising a child alone?”
Here were some of answers:
“My husband was the cook in the family, so when I became a single mom, I felt badly that I couldn’t provide better meals for him.”
“I dreaded every night’s homework, because I wasn’t ÃÂ really able to help my kids with it.”
“Not having enough money.” (I read that women take a 30% cut in income when divorced.)
“Making all the decisions without the input of another adult.”
“An empty bed every night.”
“Not being able to work part-time, so I could spend more time with my son.” (But I can’t for financial reasons.)
“Being the ‘on call’ parent 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year.”
“Having little time for oneself.”
“Having to be ‘nice’ about the ex to the kids.”
“Financing everything a traditional family has on one salary plus mediocre (or nonexistent) child support.”
“Teaching boys about sex, when you’re a girl!”
“Not having enough money and thus needing to work two jobs took me away from my responsibilities at home and to my children. This, negatively impacted our relationship during those crucial teen years.”
As you can see, money is a BIG issue, because several women had that on their list.ÃÂ I would like to hear from you, the readers. Please send in your comments about what was/is the most difficult part about being a single mom. You can comment on the site or send your responses to me at email@example.com. Many thanks!
If you live near family, then there is some relief from childcare and planning birthday parties or vacations. I was fortunate that I moved in with my friend Rhoda and her teenage son for the first two plus years. That really helped, because as I explained in an earlier posting, we could cry on each other’s shoulders at difficult times in our divorce and also have the companionship of someone else going through a similar experience.
When I asked my friend Gail to send me her thoughts, she actually sent me an essay her youngest son wrote for his advanced placement application (for high school.) These are excerpts and is one good piece of evidence that, as single moms, we are probably doing better than we even thought.
The Wonder Woman
by Ryan K. (at age 14)
“…Overall, she (his mom) ÃÂ is definitely the person that has influenced my life the most. ÃÂ …she keeps me out of trouble, she shows me how to use respect and manners, and she teaches me how to be successful and happy, which are true life long lessons….
My father left me at one year old and she has been there with me the whole time since. She says do not ever do that to any woman. She tells me to get a scholarship, to have a successful job that is fun for me, and to find a sweet woman to love and to hold onto her forever……I believe that she has taught me so many things, there is no doubt in my mind that I will be very successful.
…my mom has been the person who has influenced me the most….These are true life long lessons and I believe that without her, I wouldn’t have had a clue about how my future should turn out.”
How’s that for acknowledgment? ÃÂ ÃÂ Happy Single Moms’ Day! If no on else buys you flowers, buy a bouquet for yourself!
P.S. A couple of days ago I posted a photo of a car with the license plate, WAS HIS. My friend and classmate Paula, who reads all my postings, wrote: “I think the front should say, Now Hers.” Great comeback!!!