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Single Mothers: does it ever get any easier in the absence of your child's father?

Tagged as: Breaking up, Family, Friends, Health, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 July 2015) 4 Answers - (Newest, 30 July 2015)
A female age 30-35, anonymous writes:

This is a question for any single mothers out there: does it ever get easier without your children's father? My problem isn't regarding financial support, but the emotional side of the situation. My son's father has been absent since his birth. For a while, he kept in touch but he hasn't been in contact for two months now. My son's grandmother (father's mother) is in contact, but his father and paternal grandfather are not. They've never even met him. I see so many situations where father's are fighting for their children, but my son's father has basically disappeared. I just don't know how to feel. On one hand, I feel blessed. I have a beautiful son and he loves me. I'd do anything to make sure he has the life he deserves. On the other hand, I'm saddened that his father can't feel the same love for him. My son deserves a better father. I can only hope that eventually his father will come around. Please, any advice will do.

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A female reader, Abella United States +, writes (30 July 2015):

Abella agony auntThe hurt that the father is cutting himself off in this way is a cruel rejection of his son.

Stay in contact with your child's paternal grandmother, share some nice photos of your child, with her, and maybe with time the family resemblance will prick his resistance.

It is sad that even the paternal grandfather has distanced himself.

Are there other male role models for your son? Uncles, good men who are honorable and who's actions represent a good role model? Because I think boys need to see and experience this.

Boys love their sport and sometimes a male figure to talk things over.

Your child will one day ask questions about their father. Try to think of positive things to say to your child (however small) about the child's father. One day your child may seek to have some sort of connection with the errant absent father.

Keep a private journal of key events in the life of your child to remind you of all that you do do and do achieve and do experience with your child. Such a journal is also good for later - just in case a teen starts to underestimate the enormity of the challenges you have faced alone.

What you are doing is huge and a mighty achievement. Sometimes it's good to reflect on how much has changed and the challenges you've faced and overcome when caring for your child.

I always kept in very close contact with my parents in law. Though in my case my first husband died. I wanted them to enjoy the joy of their grandchild even in the face of the loss of their son.

What I can say about being a single parent is that the first two years were very tough. That remark may resonate with you. But I hope it is not too tough.

It is always good to encourage your child to have friends over - one or two friends of your child can be made welcome and your child can enjoy some friendship time and when the parents arrive to collect their child it's a good opportunity to get to know the parent too.

Even better when they live even closer and your child and the other child can walk to their home or back to the home where you live. Children need that sort of social interaction.

I did find it hurtful that some invitations dried up - as I was no longer part of a couple. Though in some instances I would not have been able to afford to attend or participate.

Money was too tight to do some things.

At first I focused solely on my child and i don't think that was good. It took my mother in law to remind me to do some nice things for me on a regular basis and not just do everything for my child.

Things that did help me were going back to study - led to a better career path to allow me to better support myself and my child.

Develop some very low cost hobbies.

Do activities that were very low cost. I would put together a lunch. Pack that. Then with good walking shoes we would

Take long walks and talk about all manner of things on the way. Sometimes we would take a bus to a further away area, then do the walk around that different area and then finally get the last bus back that day.

Also I volunteered on a community project where my child was welcome and that volunteering also went on my CV as it had relevance to the work I was seeking.

Joined the library and also took my child to the Saturday children's sessions where characters (dressed up like something from a book) would read to the children leaving them enthralled.

And my child and I would visit historic buildings open to the public where I would treat it as a learning exercise to explain things about the building.

We also did activities at home as learning exercises like our worm farm, learning how to make soap, making things for Christmas Decorations.

In the local neighborhood some mothers started a babysitting club and we kept it small and we knew each other. That worked out well as it gave my child an introduction to meeting more children and playing with them. I used the babysitting when i had important assignments to do or exams to study for.

When I babysat I invariably went to other people's homes and was permitted to bring my child as our small home was too small for an influx of three or four children. It certainly helped to introduce us to the neighborhood.

I did not date until more than 2 years after my first husband's passing away. When I did date I took it very slowly and chose to not introduce my child into the picture until I was utterly certain that this was the ''one''.

I also maintained friendships with all my long term girlfriends. We would meet - they came to my home or I went to their home and occasionally we would have lunch together.

Fortunately I don't have jealousy nor envy within me. For that I thank my lucky stars as my close friends all remained happily married and did go on to have very comfortable lives.

Things improved for me after I remarried but that was some time after so there was an extended period as a single parent.

The most important aspect was tight budgeting. The family income dropped by more than 50 percent on the death of my first husband. And being a young family our savings were low. That meant a whole rethink of the budget.

From then on I changed how I dealt with things. Instead of not having to think about where to find the money as each payment was required I did need to budget carefully.

So I started paying everything by the fortnight and I wrote to utilities people and explained why I wanted to start paying things per fortnight. I also started setting aside an amount every fortnight for education for my child in the future even though my child was not even enrolled in school at the time.

And I set a budget for any birthday, christmas and other presents for the following 12 months. It sounds tough but even today I have a budget for all present buying and my aim is to come under budget, be it ever so little under budget, and never exceed the budget for presents.

When it came to birthday parties for my child our home was so tiny that instead I usually held the birthday in a local park with facilities and a bbq area and children's play equipment.

The babysitting club was free - we just kept the hours recorded so no one was ever too far in credit or too far in debit. However as a result of the babysitting club I was offered some extended paid babysitting when a couple wanted to be away for a whole weekend - so I was asked would I take care of the children in their home from Friday night until Sunday night. One time it was a whole week while the parents were away. Another time five weeks in a gorgeous home with five children plus my child. That was lots of fun.

Occasionally one does meet nastiness as a single parent. But i tried to let that not affect me. Initially in the babysitting club one woman tried to stop any single parents joining, as she thought it should remain as married couples only - she was over-ruled. Since I proved to be a successful babysitter the group eventually had several single parents join.

I always tried to be part of the community and my child and I attended events in the community, and I think that helped.

Cooking at home and teaching my child about cooking was also a very important skill I wanted to share, and still do so today with all my children.

Plus I made sure I was familiar with what was available and low cost in the community. Finding the local community swimming pool was a big plus for summer. Finding out which parks had BBQs was another bonus.

Hope something in the above helps

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 July 2015):

I'll give you the perspective of growing up as a child in a situation almost exactly like yours. My mum was 21 and told my father she was expecting. His reaction was panic and he chose his career in the fire brigade over supporting his child. My nan apparently went a bit mad and wrote to his Fire Chief about him being a spineless, pathetic excuse of a man and my paternal grandmother found out and mostly agreed with my nan! I had a codial relationship with my paternal grandmother until she passed away when I was 18-19ish. In all of my life I have NEVER met my father.

You shouldn't wish for him to come around, it's his loss and clearly he isn't up to the mark of even being a positive, strong role model so be grateful your son doesn't have to grow up with him. I have always had the support of my mum to contact my dad had I wanted to, but why would I contact such a cowardly excuse of a man - what would it add to my life? Long ago I decided it wouldn't add a thing, I just pity him. My mum was the role model in my life, and my uncles gave me any fatherly support I might have needed as a young person. My mum said it was upsetting to her because she couldn't see why he would turn his back on a child that deserved love, but she gave me all the love in the world and I've never needed him.

You'll do it, and you'll do a great job and your son will likely have a greater respect for women than he's father has ever shown because he will have seen you single handedly raise him and support him and you'll be there to show him how things should be!

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A female reader, janniepeg Canada + , writes (30 July 2015):

janniepeg agony auntDoes he doubt that the kid is his? That may be why he refuses to see him. Get him to do paternity test. Sometimes men are in great denial that they need proof to stop making excuses, and to be responsible.

It gets better if you are happy and financially doing okay. That the baby's basic needs are covered. After the dna results, you can determine if the baby father can at least child support, be there for him, or just a dead beat. Don't get a boyfriend yet, until you do the legal steps. Men who don't get about being parents would say you already had a family and he's just a child support dad.

I had been a single mom myself and had watched a lot of maury shows.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 July 2015):

Depending on the problems you experienced with your babys father, it can be an absolute blessing when they up and leave because you can finally realise your inner strength and set up the kind of life you would like your child to have.Despite what people say, one loving parent is perfectlly adequate.Many families shunt their children round from daycare or nanny to pickup or change over time when he child is tired and irritable when they drive or buggy the child home, give them a cup of milk and a bedtime story for fifteen minutes and put them to bed. The child only has a parent as a nebulous figure.The main problem with being a single parent is usually financial and others trying to interfere, assuming that youre weaker than a two parent family or in need of their unwanted support which can sometimes result in a tug of love situation which is unhealthy for the child.Worse case scenario is a warring couple,or a dysfunctional family because this steadily undermines the child sense of security.Im not a great believer in shunting the child from pillar to post in the name of betterment but parents that do this tend to try to compensate by overindulging the child materially in order to appease their guilt and this is of little value to a child who needs security, consistency, love and affection.These type of parents tend to demand that the child continues to maintain a 'top of the tree ' lifestyle but this frequently backfires when the child cannot live up to their ill thought out expectations.Also a parent that embitters the child against either the mother or father is totally unrealistic because the child has no natural knowledge of these kind of feelings so i think that there are many worse situations than being a single parent in an enviroment that is absent of conflict.

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