I grew up in a very stereotypical Mexican household. My father worked long hours while my mother stayed at home to watch us. We were never allowed to make noise when my father was home. He was either sleeping or drinking. My mother paid the bills, fed the kids, cleaned the house, and still had the energy to fuck my dad. She had six kids. Don’t tell me you don’t have time for it, she certainly did. I never understood how hard it was on her until I became a mom. I’m sure, many mothers felt the same way. I wasn’t raised the way she was. She went to big mama training. She learned to cook and clean and always fed her husband and kids first.
I learned how to daydream and break hearts. I can’t do it the way she does. Women in her day were made of something stronger. I tried staying home when I lived with Shadow. I tried being a Pinterest mom. I even tried being a cool mom. I finally realized I’m not really good at being those moms. I’m good at being me. That version me can’t do it alone and I’ve really tried. So, if you’re between keeping in touch with the other parent or taking their child away here’s a few things I’ve learned. Maybe they can help you choose for the better.
There’s only two reasons you’re a single parent, either you chose to be or your partner chose for you. If you chose to be a Single Parent it’s because you have decided not to allow the kid’s father/mother into their life. If so be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. I chose to keep Yoshi from his father because he only smoked weed and was the neighborhood thief. He was inconsistent and untrustworthy. I didn’t get along with him, this is true but that was not the deciding factor. I didn’t want my son to be raised by this man. Yoshi deserves better. If your ex-partner was similar to that, then kudos to you for not wanting them in your life or your child’s.
On the other hand, if your partner chose for you and decided to leave you and the child, it is what it is. I have no comment in this case because it really depends on the person and situation. Maybe they were in a relationship. Maybe they expressed not wanting a family. Maybe they weren’t ready. Whatever the reason only you know what happened, and you are now responsible for your little monster. So, let’s get down to what you have to look forward to.
As a single parent you’ll need a couple of basic necessities:
- Support System
- This can be family and friends. A combination of the two is always best. You’ll need a group supporting you when you feel sad and supporting your kid when they feel abandoned. You know the saying, “It takes a village. . .” and um something about raising a kid.
- Mommy Friends
- You’ll need this for guidance. Not to mention they’ll understand you better than your child-free friends.
- Bonus points when it comes to setting up play dates. Be sure you pick the right type of mommy friends. (I think my previous post will make sense to you now.)
- This should be someone outside the family. Although it’s cheaper to leave the kids with Grandma, you’ll want a person that won’t be all up in your shit. My mom loves to gossip. Yours might too. Also, your mom/family isn’t a daycare. Don’t do that to them. I know it can be expensive but try to be respectful.
- You make all the rules.
- You grow stronger and independent.
- You only have yourself to blame when you go insane with all your insecurities. (haha just kidding…but not really)
- Unconditional love from your monsters
- You have a real excuse to ditch plans with people.
- You have to enforce all your rules
- You have to keep track of all special dates, practices, birthdays, friend hang outs, what they’re eating, who they’re talking to, what they’re learning in school-EVERYTHING!
- You are responsible for everything regarding the kids financially. Even if you get child support, it all comes down to you.
- You never get a break.
- You only have yourself to blame when you go insane with all you insecurities.
As a single parent you’ll also go through a lot of sad moments because of the stress of it all. More pressure is put on you and you are forced to stretch yourself to the absolute limit. You can reach out for help but each of those times will cost you. While people will admire your strength you’ll be admiring their freedom at times.
Not to say it isn’t worth it but let’s take a look at:
This is something I’m trying with Shadow. We live in different states so it’s a little harder but still much the same. He takes Maki on holidays and during the summer. He helps build Maki’s confidence and reliability on both of us. I know, Shadow was an asshole. He still can be when he tries. For the most part we’ve been able to set our shit aside for the good of our child. Which, I don’t know about you, but seems like a very fucking adult thing to do. And if you’re wondering why I would try to get assistance from my previous abuser, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Also, I have two fucking kids and I tried Single Parenting on the first kid. It’s hard. I don’t mind the help.
So, if you’re able to at least remain cordial with your ex-partner I’d say try it. With the ex-partner still in the picture you get:
- Financial assistance
- Your partner is more open to sharing expenses regarding the child.
- Time to yourself
- Those split weeks give you more ‘you’ time.
- Confident Kids
- I know some people don’t like hearing this but kids need both their parents. They need that emotional support. Plenty of studies have shown that boys and girls need their fathers. Mothers, of course, are always needed.
- Relationship Enrichment
- Not only are you helping your kids, but you’re teaching them how to build stronger relationships. You let them know they are more important than a petty fight. You don’t have to stay in a relationship for the kid but you can still stay in their lives.
- You have help with the kids.
- You have someone to help you enforce the rules.
- You can share the burden.
- Sex talks can be directed according to gender (mom gets the girls, and dad gets the boys).
- You have to compromise when it comes to the child.
- You have to communicate and be open about relationships-can’t just introduce your lover with out consulting your ex first.
- You still have to talk to your ex.
I have plenty of single mommy friends who try to co-parent with their ex-partner. There are some things I would like to point out from what I see with them. If you’re going to try co-parenting there must be consistency from both sides. Neither side can pick and choose when the other person gets to see the child or not. That means there should be a schedule or routine. There must be trust. If you can’t trust your ex around your kids then don’t leave them around your kids. Make sure that both sides fully understand the situation regarding your previous relationship. If it’s over, it’s over. It never ends well when one side still has feelings for the other. If you’re trying to fix things, great fix them. If not, make sure you make it clear. This means you can’t expect them to treat you like you’re still dating but then get mad when they expect you to be dating. It doesn’t work that way. Finally, always do what’s best for the child. You’re trying to raise a human being. They’re going to walk the Earth and represent you everywhere they go. Make sure you do it well.