What It’s Really Like to Be A Single Mom (at least in my experience)

It’s like…

  • Living on a cocktail of sugar and caffeine…and worrying it may kill you one day
  • Always feeling guilty about something or another
  • Trying to balance your need for adult interactions with your utter exhaustion at the end of a long work week
  • Feeding your kid fast food out of desperation, and feeling incredibly guilty for it
  • Hearing your friends complain about how awful it was when their husband was singleout of town for a week and they had to deal with the kids all on their own (um, hello, this is my everyday life. Try doing that without the financial support of a spouse).
  • Hearing tons of stories about how ex-wives took their ex-husbands for a ride and got all their money, houses, etc, and wondering why you couldn’t figure out how to even get a reasonable amount of child support from yours for your kid’s basic subsistence
  • Having to constantly feel bad that your kid feels bad that all of their friends have the “right” clothes, the “right” shoes, the “right” bag, and knowing that the only way that will happen is thrift stores if you are super lucky
  • not having bought yourself a new bra in years, and taping down the broken wires in yours with duct tape and hoping it won’t stab you at an inopportune time
  • understanding how the temporary satisfaction of being a gold-digger is appealing to some, but knowing that you could never for a minute choose someone based on their income potential, even if it would in theory make your life easier
  • being the literal only parent solo at school plays, concerts, graduations, etc for years on end
  • not feeling like you fit in anywhere
  • holding your kid while they cry about how they want their dad to be around like all of their friends
  • feeling guilty for not checking your kids social media and going through their phone as much as you should due to utter exhaustion and lack of time
  • not enough sleep….ever
  • feeling guilty that your house isn’t as decorated, clean, organized as some…intellectually knowing that this standard is set by friends who can afford a decorator, housecleaner, professional organizer, but holding self to that standard nonetheless
  • having to worry that men who try to date you could be pedophiles targeting you to get to your daughters
  • knowing that the example you set in your dating life, is the role model your daughters will emulate when they start dating…no pressure
  • valuing how your boyfriend interacts with your kids more than how the two of you get along…but knowing that isn’t right
  • having to deal with your ex helping with kids’ activities based on what his current girlfriend thinks he should help with
  • knowing that your ex has every new techie gadget known to man, but can’t provide his kid with a laptop that she desperately needs for school
  • having to deal with bribes by the ex of puppies if your kid goes to live with him
  • feeling the satisfaction that if your kid is a kind and amiable person, that it had mostly to do with something you are doing right
  • feeling proud when your kid says thank you to other parents, especially when you realize how many of their friends always neglect to say it to you
  • wishing other moms would invite you to moms’ gatherings, but understanding that most of their friend network is other couples
  • trying to constantly volunteer to host sleepovers, in the hopes that other parents will reciprocate and give you a much needed night off where you aren’t rushing to get home early
  • feeling guilty on dates because you have your phone out and on to respond to your kids text messages
  • feeling guilty on dates because you should be home with your kid
  • feeling guilty on dates because you probably talk about your kid too much
  • feeling guilty on dates because once you know there is no future, you just want to get home to your kid and not linger over the evening
  • when your kid has a sleepover and you have a much needed night off, being too exhausted to want to do anything, and then missing the kid..
  • when your kid is visiting their other parent, looking forward to that break forever, then once it’s happening, feeling at loose ends without your kid
  • wandering into your kids room when they are gone and feeling sad and missing them
  • looking at pictures of your kids when you were still an intact family, and feeling guilty that that happiness was ripped from them
  • intellectually knowing that divorce was the right thing in your situation, but still feeling tremendous sadness and guilt that it happened to your kids
  • wondering why some couples get to be so happy and in such healthy relationships
  • hoping that your kids will have healthy relationships more than anything, when they grow up
  • always feeling judged by everyone
  • feeling misunderstood
  • still trying to volunteer and serve as much as you did when a stay at home married parent (at kids school, as girl scout leader, at church), even though you know you don’t have time and it’s too much stress added to your stress cocktail
  • feeling frustrated in your volunteer positions that you struggle to get help from other people who are stay at home parents, don’t work, and don’t really have much else going on
  • trying to still be the cool mom who takes your kid and their friends to all kinds of events and activities that you really can’t afford to, because back when you were married, you USED to be able to pay for all that stuff, no problem
  • not being able to buy groceries for the rest of that month that you splurge on movies or manicures, or whatever, and then feeling like you should have known better
  • the realization that each time you do a mini splurge like starbucks, by the end of that month you will have to be selling stuff from your house to be able to make ends meet
  • only being able to take your kids on a once every 5 years vacation if you stay with friends for cheap and use your entire tax refund for plane tickets
  • always managing to make it through each month somehow, but living beyond the definition of paycheck to paycheck
  • watching your friends go to nonstop concerts, charity balls, fundraisers and traveling, and not being able to even consider any of that unless your friend covers your ticket or you get asked on a date to one of those things
  • becoming mega depressed scrolling through social media, where it seems no one struggles financially, has fights with their teenagers, or is left out of anything
  • having many friends more than a decade younger than you because they are fun and go out, but them not being able to relate to almost any aspect of your life
  • having your friends your age all have their kids and get married a decade after you did, so they are financially secure, just having babies now, and pretty much can’t relate to you at all
  • having people come to you thinking you are the poster child for divorce, when in actuality you are dead against it unless in the case of abuse…and having them and you feel misunderstood when you try to discuss..
  • having your friends think that you will be sympathetic if they divorce their husband for reasons such as being “bored”, “not feeling like he gets me”, or “he doesn’t help enough around the house.” I’m not.
  • Being over hearing the sound of your own voice talking about your dating and relationship misadventures…but talking about them nonetheless because everyone seems to like your stories…
  • Having everyone assume that you are done having kids because you have teenagers, and not understanding how you could possibly want more
  • Feeling like a woman with a scarlet D on her chest at church…
  • Always feeling like you have to apologize for something
  • Feeling grateful when people invite you or include you in any way…feeling kind of like a lost puppy getting adopted
  • Never-endingly worrying about finances and money
  • Struggling to keep the faith each time life knocks you down, but always trying
  • Feeling simultaneously proud of being a “superwoman”…and guilt over what this is probably costing you and your family
  • Not having patience when people complain about their issues, because you are always thinking to yourself that yours are worse
  • Feeling guilty for your lack of patience in general
  • Not having tolerance for grown men you date who act like babies and whine about not having your full attention enough
  • Being more impressed by a date who worries about what your kid is eating for dinner than what the two of you are
  • Constantly dealing with unexpected expenses (school pictures, brakes for the car, fees for youth group retreats, emergency room co-pays, cheerleading shoes)
  • Feeling like a date to the grocery store is at times way more intimate than a fancy dinner
  • Appreciating friends who give your kid babysitting or easy cleaning jobs so that she can have some spending money that doesn’t come from you
  • Wanting to be a minimalist, because you just can’t handle dealing with all your stuff anymore
  • At times feeling like a crazy person alternating between bouts of hysterical crying and being productive
  • Letting things build up until you just have to resign your volunteer positions
  • Wondering when it will ever get easier
  • Wondering what is the point of it all
  • Being up at night with anxiety over things you can’t control
  • Always having to be the watchdog, staying up all night when you feel like there could be a threat
  • Making sure your kid gets braces, wears sunscreen, doesn’t talk to strange people online, and eats fruit and veggies
  • Feeling bad when your kid tells you they wish you were still a stay at home mom
  • Hoping that struggling through your degrees after your divorce shows your daughters that education is super important, and best when done pre-family
  • Being a PhD dropout because it was too hard on your family, and trying not to feel like a failure because of it
  • Having to give yourself a reality check when comparing yourself to others at work- are any of them single parents dealing with a fraction of what you are dealing with?
  • Eating WAY too many of your meals standing up at the counter
  • Eating cereal for far too many meals when your kiddo isn’t with you
  • Knowing that you would die for those little people, and anything that you can do for them you are going to happily do.
  • That you were put on this planet to be their mother.

Bottom line…it’s not easy.  Hugs to all my other single parent lovelies.  You are amazing!