Parenting is the most difficult, yet rewarding job there is in life. And being a single parent makes it that much harder. Maybe you have no help, or maybe your ex is a decent co-parent. Maybe your kids are young, or maybe they’re teenagers. Maybe you live near family, or maybe you’re on your own. I don’t know what your situation is, but I do know that if you’re a single parent, your life isn’t easy, and there’s many aspects to your life that non-parents, or couples will not understand.
I’m a single mom. I’m divorced (which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life), and my ex has no part in my children’s lives. Not only to I have sole custody, in every sense of the word, he hasn’t contacted them or seen them in over a year. That’s both good and bad; good, because he’s an abusive drug addict, who causes a lot of interruption/stress in my kids’ lives, and bad because he IS their father, and he should care enough to see them once in a while. But I count my blessings. I have a lot of help from my parents; my mom is free to watch them, so I know they’re well taken care of when I am gone (work, school, appointments, etc), and my dad plays with them, takes them places, and helps to fulfill that male role model they need in their life.
I’ve done a lot of healing, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, even physically, in the past couple of years. And now, I believe that for the first time, in my adult life, I am finally, FINALLY at a place where I am able to live, to be who I am, and not base my happiness on anybody else, or choose things because it will/will not please anyone. I am able to excercise for me, I am able to buy clothes that I want, I am able to choose what values I will instill in my children and what things I will not allow them to see/be around (ie, violence, language, etc). It’s a very empowering thing; I am not coming back into the power that I had when I was 21, that young, adventurous, “I can do anything” vibrance. It’s a newfound maturity, and self-assurance. Which I’m sure will continue to grow as time goes on.
But, as a single parent, what about dating? Since I’ve been divorced, I still haven’t been on a “date”. I haven’t gone out with anyone, not even casually. There have been a few men whom have shown interest, and whom I’ve built friendships with, but any time it began to get more serious, I would quickly retreat. Not because I didn’t find them a suitable match, but because I wasn’t ready. Even now, I question that in myself. Am I ready to be in a relationship? Am I ready to share my life with someone? How do you know you’re ready to date, as a single parent? I try not to be too hard on myself, because I had to get through, and heal from all the abuse my ex put me through; it wouldn’t have worked if I would’ve started a relationship with anyone before that healing had taken place.
But, I struggle with considering that dating would mean time away from my kids. I know that I need time for myself, because while I am a mom, I am still a woman; a woman with her own needs, hobbies, likes, etc. It’s healthy to pursue things for yourself, and a healthy parent is a happy parent. Still, I worry because my children are young. When is the right time to introduce someone to them? How would they react to a boyfriend, if I had one? Those are serious questions. Sometimes, I think that I will probably just stay single for a while, like, quite a long while, because I want to be careful, and make sure someone is a good fit for us; let’s face it, I am a package deal, I come with kids. Recently, I really was feeling like I could start a relationship with a friend of mine. I mean, friendship is a good foundation for a relationship. But then, I found out that he was lying about certain things to me, and that was a huge no-no. I quickly put the brakes on that.
As a single parent, do you think there’s such a thing as too cautious? I have bad days, where I worry somethings that maybe I am too scarred emotionally to ever be in a relationship. Then, I have good days, where I feel confident that I will find a man who will love and respect me and love my kids, and be a good fit for us. When is the right time? How will I know? These are questions I haven’t yet answered, but I know are going to be a part of my subconscious for quite some time. For the moment, I’m happy just being me. No obligations on my time, no uncertainties, no surprises. I don’t think I have time for a relationship at the moment. And that’s ok.