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It's Life It's Parenting

The transition to single motherhood

October 27, 2016

A lot of people are asking me how I am handling being a single mom now that the hubs has passed. My answer is simple. I am no stranger to single motherhood since I was raised by one. Being a single mom is no joke. My mother struggled….a lot. There were times that we didn’t have food to eat and I had to wear the same clothes over and over again. There were times when she told me no and that no was hard to swallow because I wanted to do more but she just couldn’t afford it. My mom was a product of a two parent household but my grandfather and grandmother got divorced as soon as the last child was out of the house. My mother was married when she had me but my dad ended up cheating on my mother so she put him out. Thus began the journey for single motherhood for her.

I never looked down on single mothers because I knew……but here is the question. Are you really a single mother if the child’s father takes an active role in their life? This is a question that I ask quite often. There are fathers out there who aren’t with the mother but they play a very active role in raising their child and they help 50/50 in decisions when it comes to that child. The father actually helps with the child often by picking them up, keeping them on the weekends, dropping them off to school, buying clothes, and all this without it being court ordered. Are you really a single mother? A single mother definition “A single parent is an uncoupled individual who shoulders most or all of the day-to-day responsibilities for raising a child or children” so then I ask…….if the father helps with the day to day activities is the mom really a single mother. I will give you an example I have a friend whose a guy that lives 10 minutes from the mother. He picks the boy up every afternoon from school (he works at night so he sleeps all day) and keeps the baby until he goes to work which he then takes the baby to the mothers house. He also gets the baby every other weekend for the entire weekend if he can’t then he will get the baby two weekends back to back to make up for a weekend he had to work or something came up. He buys clothes and shoes for the baby for every season and takes the baby to get his hair cut every two weeks. The mother does the rest. He also reads his baby a bedtime story on his lunch break at night every night over the phone………..is she still a single mother or is she just a mother. To me a single mother is one who has to shoulder all of the responsibility or at least 75% of it including fitting the bill for most things, picking and dropping the child off, and has to do the day to day things for that child. The father comes and gets the baby during the holidays, summer vacations and if he lives close….every other weekend.

However you define single motherhood it’s not easy being a mother period. It’s tough and sometimes I just want to cry and I do. I go to my closet and cry and then I gotta get up because in my case my kids have no father to even get them on the weekends or during the holidays I do it by myself! My transition to single motherhood has been easy since I grew up with a single mom, who by the way didn’t have any help from my dad at all but the occasional check that the court put him in jail for for not sending so I knew what it took. When my hubs died things changed for my kids. No longer can we depend on anyone but ourselves. I gave them more chores to do and we are on a tight system around here. My kids have to help out more and I feel bad for them but they have no choice. They have to fold all the clothes and put them up, they have to sweep out the garage, clean the car, vacuum and other things around the house. My son who is 10 is even responsible for making him and sister lunch every morning before school. My mother had me ironing clothes and washing dishes at 8…I even had to lawn the yard because it was just her and I….I had no choice but to to do the work because she couldn’t do it all and if I can talk back….I can work. Here are a few secrets that I want to share that may help you if you ever find yourself being a single mom….even a single mother that’s married because that happens a lot too…..you have no idea (I will save that post for another time)

Find a work schedule that suits your family – Since I work from home I try to schedule my things around when the kids aren’t here. I get my work done in the mornings for a few hours, and then late at night while they sleep. Once they get home from school it’s off to activities and homework I have no time for me or my job at all.

I hire a babysitter just for me – I don’t hire a babysitter to come just when I have an event…I actually hire one so that I can run and sit down at panera or starbucks or window-shop at target. It’s my time and I need it once a week! Even though I get me time while they are in school or at night…those times are used for working not just enjoying me.

You can’t obsess about things you can’t control – If the dishes are piled up in the sink let em sit there. No one lives in your house but you…why are you stressing about it. Focus on what you can do and be the best mom YOU can be

Always be prepared – As a single mom my mom kept extra clothes for herself and her kids in her car and she never let her gas tank get below the halfway mark. I thought it was strange but now I see you have to be prepared for anything. My daughter had to use the bathroom one time and we were stuck in traffic…she ended up peeing on herself…I was not prepared….I bet you I am now

What secrets can you give us about being a mother? Are you a single mom that’s married? Would you ever choose to be a single mom?

my tradition to single motherhood

  • Reply
    Joyce Brewer
    October 27, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    I grew up in a two parent household. But before my parents married, my Mother was a single Mom with my older siblings. She’s not very open to talk about how hard it was for her before she married my Dad. But my siblings say life was a lot easier, there was more stability and finances were no longer an issue.
    I have another GA friend who recently lost her husband suddenly. She’s making a lot of decisions now about her sons’ future and isn’t sure if she can afford to stay in her home.

  • Reply
    Coasta
    October 27, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    This is a great topic and I’m glad to know you guys are transitioning well. Being a mother/parent who is actively involved in their child(ren) life can be daunting. Personally, my childhood was very unstable. I went from house to house, grandma’s house, grandad’s house, stayed with dad and his siblings, stayed with both dad and mom, stayed with my mom and several of her boyfriends different periods… she ended up marrying one when we were with her and that lasted for a few years and then they got divorced and she was single living alone but dating still. We never had a lot no matter where we lived. So we were always struggling in some form. That life in itself grew me up quicker than the average child. When I became a teen I had to take more responsibility for my siblings and making sure they ate, went to school, had what they needed, made sure the bills were paid, I worked, I attended their school open houses, pta meetings, etc. From my experience as a child, I never wanted to be a single parent. I wanted a different life for me. I wanted to be married before having a child but that didn’t happen and his father has never been 100% active in his life and it’s been almost 11yrs!! I honestly believe that for me bc of my childhood and the fact that I started babysitting at 11yrs old to start earning money, and babysitting other people’s kids in my early adulthood… that all of those things combine helped prepared me for my journey as a Single Mom. I also took parenting classes while I was pregnant and those helped as well. My biggest struggle as a Single Mom has been financial and lack of time to attend a lot of my son’s school activities, etc. I try to go to as much as I can but I can’t go to all. He’s been very understanding over the years. One thing I have realized over the years is every body parent’s differently and when I view my son’s good behavior, good grades (all A’s and B’s), overall good health and other things… we are doing very well in comparison to some two parent households. So to GOD I am grateful bc it’s not easy but you learn what works for you and you rock with it. I will say his paternal grandma is involved in his life more so than the father… she calls often, she also started getting him for me to help me out with childcare expenses for his summer and winter breaks from school… and those are the times I have my break as a Single Mom… but keep doing what works for you guys!! <3

  • Reply
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    October 28, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I’m glad you’re doing well as a single mother. I am terribly sad at why you have to be one. Thoughts with you and your family always.

  • Reply
    Colleen Lanin
    October 28, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I can’t imagine being a single mother, especially under those circumstances. You are such a strong woman. Just the thought of something like that makes me queasy.

  • Reply
    Monica
    October 28, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    As a reader of your blog – I don’t know how I missed this important info about your life. You are doing an amazing and job. My thoughts are with you.

    • Reply
      Kita
      October 29, 2016 at 3:58 am

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Pam Wattenbarger
    October 28, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    I have several friends who are single mothers. It can be a struggle. Your tips are really helpful.

  • Reply
    Marcie W.
    October 28, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    You rock Kita! I was a single mother for a very short while before I met my husband. I was quite young and am so thankful I had a supportive family to help me through that difficult time.

  • Reply
    Debra
    October 28, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You sound like you have a plan though of not only to take care of your kids, but also yourself. Many single parents I think forget about themselves and that’s not good for anyone.

  • Reply
    Kristi
    October 29, 2016 at 1:44 am

    It’s tough when things arent as you had planned or hoped they would be. The vision might not be quite as clear but one step at a time is a step for progress and finding a path. Hugs to you on the journey.

  • Reply
    Theresa
    October 29, 2016 at 3:12 am

    My mom was a single mother to 4 of us. We definitely had to grow up pretty quick and help out around the house. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of the little ones was on us as she had to work 2 jobs to pay the bills. It was rough for her and for us and not something that I would wish on any family.

  • Reply
    Jenni
    October 29, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    As a single parent to my two kids, life is really tough. You need to be strong for your kids. There are times when I want to cry but I don’t want to show it to them. They are still too young, my eldest is 6y/o and I know that we have a long way to go. I really admire single parents out there!

  • Reply
    Seattle Travel Blogger
    October 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    I am very sorry for your loss.
    My sister is a single mom (by choice believe it or not) and she follows some of this good advice you post here.

  • Reply
    Jeanine
    October 29, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    I was in a one parent household from age 3 up. I was also a single mom for 3 years before my husband moved in with us (not my oldest dad) and I was pretty used to it all by then. So glad to hear you are doing well!

  • Reply
    Louise Bishop
    October 29, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    I definitely agree that some single mothers try to milk the single mother status. However, I believe the way you’re living right now is a true definition of it and you’re handling it like a goddess 😉

  • Reply
    Liz Mays
    October 30, 2016 at 12:50 am

    I can only imagine that it must be a struggle sometimes. It would be hard not to have that back-up support, place to vent and partner in decision-making. But people do it all the time, and they do it well. You’ve got this.

  • Reply
    Tonia @TheChattyMomma
    October 30, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    I love that you hire a babysitter just to get some time to yourself sometimes. We all need that (single and married).

  • Reply
    Reesa Lewandowski
    October 31, 2016 at 1:49 am

    I am sorry you have found yourself in this situation. Your son is lucky to have such a strong mom to be there for him! Best of luck to you both!

  • Reply
    Clare
    May 15, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss and that you have been thrust into the world of single motherhood. It’s a tough gig! I am one of the single mum’s you are referring to. My daughter is now 13 and I have raised her myself since she was 12months old. Her father is not part of her life at all and never has been. I have worked full time and raised her. In the past I have fielded the same questions. I have mothers say to me “I’m a single mother aswell, my husband works away so I do everything” …. no, not the same thing. In response to your query about real single parents, I think if you have 50/50 and you share all the parenting and are both active in your childs life, you are not really a single parent … you are just single. But, you are co-parenting. There is a very big difference between being a sole parent shouldering it all on your own and co-parenting. However, with the experience I have gained I hope to help and support other sole parents and share my life and story with my now teenage daughter through my blog justustwo.com.au

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