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Category: Tales of single motherhood

Ten common misconceptions about single mothers

Believe it or not, single mothers are quite often misunderstood, and judged for being the sole parents they have had no choice but to become. I would have thought we would be applauded instead.

I have had many a judgemental comment made about my apparent ‘choice‘ to go it alone. I have seen faces drop when people find out I am a single parent (especially from the older generation), comments whispered, and assumptions laid out before me. There is nothing nice about it. However, I know me, I know the debacle I was in – and I personally applaud the women all over the world who have the guts to say no to abuse, and to go it alone.

Common misconception number 1#

  • Kids need their dad’s.

What a thing to say to the single mother who just left the abusive husband/ father from hell.

Common misconception number 2#

  •  Single mothers have lots of sex with lots of different men.

Culturally, morally, religiously, and ethically we’re all different – just like married people.

Common misconception number 3#

  • We party when our children’s father has them for the weekend.

I am sure that some single mothers do like to let their hair down every now and again. Why shouldn’t they?

We have these children day in day out, night after night. We are the nurse, tutor, cook, councillor, driver, nurturer, and mother.

Once again, we’re all different. Some of us wine and dine, tour the art Galleries, theatres or the local cinema.

I personally couldn’t think of anything worse than going out to the pub to get hammered whenever the opportunity surfaces.

Common misconception number 4#

  • We left our husbands for no good reason.

Single motherhood is not a choice. I don’t know one single mother who took on board the sole parenting of her children for no reason. Seriously? Who wants to spend countless days, months and years alone, twiddling their thumbs, listening to the heightened pervasive sound of deafening inner thoughts, while their children are asleep?

A partner brings to a relationship a sense of comfort, someone to run your thoughts by, and support. I don’t know a single mother alive who would trade in a fantastic relationship to spend night after night alone, looking for things to do.

The choice, as you may call it, to become a single mother is one selfless decision, based on keeping our children safe from any further damage.

Common misconception number 5#

  • Boys need their fathers.

I have heard this statement many a time.

Do people honestly think that a single mother wants her son to grow up without his dad?

This is one narrow-minded comment.

Hello people. We are not in the 1950’s where women are obliged to stay with abusive men for the sake of our boys.

Why would we want our little boys around men who don’t respect them or us?

Common misconception number 6 #

  • Women can’t bring up boys on their own.

There are enough men in authoritarian positions who can teach our boys how to be men. Coaches, teachers, cousins, uncles, and grandfathers can all aid in making good men out of our boys.

Common misconception number 7#

  • Single mothers go from one relationship to the next.

Well, the next bloke better be fantastic.  That is all I have to say! Once bitten, twice shy.

Common misconception number 8#

  • We’re not fussy with who we have sex with.

Oh dear! It amazes me how judged and misunderstood we are. We are who we are – stemming from our values and belief systems on sex, and sexual relationships.

Common misconception number 9#

  • We keep having children in single parent circumstances just for the pension.

Really? Ummmm no. Most of us have to work to fund our expensive children, thank you very much.

Common misconception number 10#

  •  We spend the child support on ourselves.

This is a belief common to many father’s paying  child support.

Child support doesn’t even begin to cover the expenses. Calculate thoroughly before making this assumption please.

 

 

Single mothers: Have we failed? Or, have we conquered something amazing?

I am one of the many single mothers in this world that had a lapse in character judgement when choosing a father for my children. My childhood dream to marry a wonderful man, and raise our children together, didn’t go to plan.

Have I failed because I made a mistake? Or have I conquered something extraordinary?

Single mothers are often judged for leaving their children’s father to raise children on their own. For a lot of us, single mother hood was not  a choice – it was the only way out of a toxic situation. Eternal chaos is no way to bring up a child.

Gone are the days where an unmarried woman is completely shunned, and looked down upon for leaving a man who is detrimental to the mental health of herself, and her children.

Yet, unfortunately, single mothers are still judged. It was only two weeks ago that I heard a male make the comment that single mothers are easy women who only want sex.

Not only is this derogatory – but the statement implies that we are somehow lessor beings than married woman, and that we don’t value sexual intimacy, or ourselves for that matter.

Not only is this a disgusting observation, but it implies that married women are of a higher status than us, because they apparently chose the perfect father for their children. They have a family – where as we apparently only have half of a family, or a single parent family, which is somehow doomed.

We as single mothers have only done what many married women need to do – but are simply too afraid to do, for reasons of their own.

I have gone out into the world alone with my children.  I have sat in what would feel like a place of  never ending loneliness and despair. I I have been fearless, said ‘I don’t care’ to the stereotypes, and walked out. Why? So my children  wouldn’t have to endure a childhood of pure chaos and dysfunction, all because one parent refused to carry their fifty percent of the partnership.

‘We are fearless conquerers.’

Have we failed because we chose men incapable of love, incapable of fulfilling their role, and incapable of sustaining a partnership? No! Millions of married women all over the planet still reside in situations with men exactly like this.

We have succeeded! We have empowered women everywhere! We have done what many are afraid to do. We’ve made lemonade out lemons, and we’ve refused to tolerate bad behaviour.

We have left men who didn’t cut it- only to be stereotyped, judged and ridiculed for saving our children , and ourselves from a world of pain.

Single mothers that leave the family home, divide up the assets and put their children first over a relationship with a dysfunctional, problematic father figure, should be applauded. This is one selfless woman.

We haven’t failed! We have conquered something extraordinary. We have modelled to many a married woman that is too scared to leave, that it can be done. We have shown these women that single mothers can have wonderful fulfilling lives, without dysfunctional men.

We have chosen mental health over wealth!

We have left men who were unable to show our boys how to love, how to adore their future wives, and how to treat their sisters.

We have taught our little girls not to take any rubbish, and that women deserve the utmost respect.

Our children now know that it is ok to get it wrong, and to make a bad choice.  They also know that it is never ok to mistreat a woman, and it is never ok to settle for second best.

We have not adhered to prehistorical marriage values. We have said no to outdated beliefs, and dysfunctional marital situations. We have laid it all out on the pavement, and made it known to the world that we have been mistreated, and will not put up with it any longer.

We have changed history for our children

Of course we’re judged by men who don’t understand us. Of course we’re judged for being outspoken, and for refusing to hide the truth of what was once a destructive marriage.

Its unusual! Sixty years ago, holding dysfunctional men accountable for poor behaviour was unheard of. It was unacceptable to stand up for yourself, and to walk away from potentially damaging husbands.

We have empowered women all over the world! It is because of our courage that women everywhere are finally beginning to stand up for themselves.

Loneliness and single motherhood

When I climb into my heart in the darkness of the night, I finally realise how lonely I am.

Darkness seems to draw out the emptiness within. An emptiness which is usually hidden and consumed by mundane daily tasks. It is in the stillness of the night that I can no longer hide.

Within the deathly silence of the dark night, my failures, my broken dreams, and my demons swim out from the depths of myself, and up to the surface. It is during the night that I am haunted by my very own existence.

I can spend months at a time loving the single life. Any thoughts about relationships, men, and dating are automatically removed.

To prevent loneliness I have a golden rule. My mind is not under any circumstances allowed to wander into the relationship realm.

I have only ever had intimate relationships with men that have held me back, not driven me forward.

So, now I’m moving forward, carving out a pathway to a place of success. I have a career, lots of friends, and my little crew.

I have the best life!

”Well, this is what I tell myself.  Yet, somehow I’m not convinced.”

I’ve practised meditation, listened to the ‘Secret Teachings’ app, and taught myself not to think about the anxiety provoking aspects of my life.

However, every few months my mindfulness skills fly out the door, and once again I allow the darkness to get the better of me. My demons suddenly rise to the forefront of my mind, and the feminist crusader who was around hours earlier suddenly leaves the building.

It is in these moments that the truth comes out, and I come face to face with my lonely self. The one who pines for a companion, a best friend, and a man. As much as I hate to admit it, I miss male companionship.

I miss having a man to run things by. I miss having a second opinion, reassurance, and a male confidante.

It is within the darkness that I wish I had chosen more carefully before. It is within the deep dark night that my fears turn into a fretting anxiety that eats at my insides.

It is in this dark space that I assess the state of male and female relationships, weigh up relationship statistics, and over analyse the pain caused by relationships. I always  come to the same conclusion. Fifty percent of male and female relationships end in disarray.

Even though I have come to the conclusion that remaining single is a secure place to be, I still yearn for intimacy, conversations, and the partnership of partnerships.

Yes, I am self-aware enough to know what lies beneath my conclusions. Fear! Fear that I’ll make another unwise choice. Fear that I’ll disappoint my children, and fear that the relationship will end in tears. Who wants more tears?

I honestly feel twinges of guilt when I think of bringing a man into my children’s lives. Oh, the horror stories I’ve heard.

I don’t want my children to form attachments that may not last. I don’t want them to feel like somebody is stealing me away from them.

Single mother’s have a ridiculous amount of responsibility. Our children are the focal point of our family unit, and the most important asset. We have a responsibility to keep them emotionally and physically safe, as much as is in our control.

We can’t make a silly mistake, and accidentally invite an unwholesome person into our children’s lives. This will have a major impact on the family unit.

To bring a partner into your life, and the lives of your children is a hard decision to make. There are pros and cons. Single mothers have needs as well. Who knows? Mr Amazing could be just around the corner.

Mother hood is a beautiful gift. Single mother hood is too! It is fun, joyous, stressful, and filled with a ridiculous amount of responsibility.

Sometimes there are moments, days, or months where life can become dreadfully lonely, especially in the deathly silence of the night.

 

 

 

 

 

Day one of single motherhood

 

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Where do I go from here? Whats next? How do I grieve the love lost? What am I feeling? Why has this happened to me? How in the hell did I get here?

Seven months pregnant, one three and a half year old, a two and a half year old, and the loss of a life expected. I thought I’d be with my children’s father for a life time. Little did I know that the signs of a doomed relationship were there on the first date, and would only continue to glow brightly as the years went by. Five years to be exact!

Red flags were looming in the crevices of the little things being said on date one and two, and through a past which was laid out on the table before me with ease. I should have left than and there. However, empaths tend to let the big things slide easily, forgive continuously, and give the benefit of the doubt to those who don’t deserve it.

It was learned behaviour. I watched my parents give one another way too many chances, forgive things which should not under any circumstances be forgiven, and continue to be kind to people who really weren’t worth their time.

At the end of the day, I accept full responsibility for my choices. I ended up alone with three children because I built my relationship on the sand. There was no secure foundation to begin with. I chose to put my faith in someone who would ultimately let me down, and leave me terribly wounded, and sad. One more painful wound would now sit on top of all the others, sting my inner being, and eat at me for what would feel like an eternity.

On day one of being a single mother, I sat in a room with my two little ones and a big pregnant belly knowing that I would have to bring these children up all on my own. I sat in that room in a complete state of shock, too devastated to cry!

Instead, the next two years would be fraught with anxiety, self-doubt and chronic second guessing. My mind had become my own inner prison. Terrible bouts of loneliness and sadness loomed, especially in the darkness where I faced the night all alone, in-between breast-feeding a new-born, and putting little toddlers to bed, who were refusing to sleep. The night-time was the loneliest part of the day. For me, the night felt like death.

This was the first time that I had ever been alone, without adult company. I have to tell you, I went on the journey of a lifetime. I didn’t just grieve a relationship. All of a sudden, past grievances, old wounds and regrets started to be remembered, and would finally be dealt with after years of running away. It was horrific.

Sometimes I thought I would die if I had to feel another feeling, or face another regret. Everything I’d been running from before I had children came flooding back to me like a tsunami.

During the nights I would browse the internet, and go to sleep in a world of shock. I often felt sick to my stomach, and deeply depressed as I lay in bed and realised that I was all alone, running a ship with three crew members under the age of four.

The crew cried about everything. They lost it when their sandwiches were cut into triangles instead of squares, threw their dinner at the wall if the plate wasn’t the right colour, and had major melt downs over very small concerns, like being handed the pink top with the bow on it, instead of the purple top.

To top it off, my dad had died at the young age of fifty four, one month before I would become a single mother. I had itchy feet. I felt like I had ants in my pants, was exceptionally jumpy, and I cried a lot. I also spent a lot of time wanting to scream at the top of my lungs in the wilderness. I felt bitter, and really angry. My dad (the only family member that I had ever truly loved and adored before I had children) was dead, my relationship had fallen to pieces, and I had failed my children.

We were now a single parent family because of me. I was absolutely terrible at choosing quality men. I became especially angry when I suddenly made the deep realisation that I had been the creator of my misery.

I had chosen men based on the negative view I had of myself, which originally surfaced from an extremely dysfunctional, difficult upbringing. I didn’t feel loved as a child. My parents were hot and cold, love was provided conditionally, and I was an extension of my mother, not a separate entity.  Unknown to myself at the time, I was actually in search of man who would mirror my upbringing.

When kind men surrounded me, I felt too uncomfortable in their presence. However, I felt extremely comfortable around men who couldn’t, and who would never be able to love me. I was here in this situation right now because of myself. The reality was heartbreaking!

Through a chain of events beginning with unnecessary self-doubt and a potato sack full of baggage, my children now live in a single parent family.  I’ve grieved it, accepted and embraced it.

Day one of single mother hood was horrible. The lights went out for a very long time, and I felt like I was suffocating. However, in time, I found myself, on my own, out in an emotional wilderness, and I grieved everything that had been holding me back for years.

Before I had children I was a flight type personality, always running from myself in one way or another. It was because of my children that I had no choice but to stop, to sit down, and to find myself, the person who had been so lost for so many years. Eventually, I found myself hiding underneath an insurmountable amount of inner pain.

No! We’re not the perfect family. We don’t have a wonderful husband, or father figure. Honestly, the grass is always greener! Marriage comes with its own set of issues, disappointments and trivialities. We get by, and we love each other. I have the best kids in the world. Thats enough!

Single mother hood – white paint

At 7am on the rainy Saturday morning just gone, I suddenly felt a rather soft persistent tap on my shoulder, and heard the most beautiful softly spoken little voice whisper into my ear as I lay in bed snuggled up, with absolutely no intentions of getting out of bed just yet. In single mother style, I awoke ever so slightly, to instantly noticed that I could also hear my other two little children whispering quite thoughtfully to one another in what sounded like extremely concerned tones of voice, as my little girl continued to tap on my shoulder and whisper into my ear.

‘Mum, mum, mum,’ she said.

‘Yes,’ I finally whispered back in a voice which sounded more like a dry slow croak. I slowly opened up my eyes to see in front of me a very distressed little person.

‘There’s paint everywhere,’ she announced in a loud voice, as she threw her hands to her head, and looked at me completely exasperated.

‘Whatttttt,’ I nearly choked on my voice as I jumped out of bed and yelled out, ‘Harryyyyy,’ towards my dog who left the room in a hurry.

My eyes hit the floor in an instant, and stared at the carpet which was now covered in the footprints of two different kinds of animal species. I could hear my three little adventurers suddenly divulge the story of the white paint, the window which the dog flew through to steal the cats food, the white footprints all over the laundry and bathroom flooring, the half ripped curtain, which attaches to the window connecting the kitchen and the laundry, and the story of the cat’s tail which was now covered in white paint. This was just another day in my life as the owner of a persistently naughty thirteen year old border collie rescue dog who really just does not, and probably will never stop creating havoc each and every day, somehow and somewhere.

So, what did I do? I called in Peppa Pig, grabbed my son’s ninja turtle doona and collapsed in a heap on the couch with my three little treasures. I gave out very strict instructions on how my children were not to under any circumstances walk through the white paint which still covered the laundry floor. Than I lay my head on the pillow and drifted into a half sleep, until I had the courage to face the calamity in the laundry.

However, that was merely the array of events from Saturday!! As we all returned home on Sunday from a lovely day at Kids Kingdom, the local indoor play centre, we entered our home through the back door as usual, and walked through the exceptionally clean laundry, making our way to the lounge room. My son immediately turned the television on and kicked his bright blue gumboots off. They flew high into the air, and moved ever so slightly to the right, which was when I heard the sound of glass smashing and crashing together, following the sound of a small voice saying, ‘sorry mum’.

My house and windows! Let me tell you. So yes, my son smashed two small 15cm squares of glass out of the led light window which connects to the sunroom. And, to add to our new problem, I had already broken stained glass squares out of the sunroom door, (which is next to the led light window my son smashed) when I had to break into my home last year in April after I waved goodbye to the kids and their father. As I turned around and walked through the sunroom, a massive gust of wind catapulted through the  sunroom, and slammed closed the security locked lounge room door, which will in turn take one through to the rest of the house.

Why is there a lock on the door attached to the lounge room entrance? So, due to some more accidental damage to the glass, the quote I received today for 5 small pieces of glass amounted to $377.00. I was completely flabbergasted. Moral of the story? Consider residing in a home without a zillion windows.

 

An anecdote about single mother hood

Being a single mother is difficult most of the time. Yes, there are many joyous wonderful moments. However, there are also the times when you’re too sick to cook, too sick to move, and even too sick to open your mouth. There are also the times when you just need to sit down and have a good cry. Raising three children on your own is no walk in the park.

The upside though, is that yes, I do get all of the joy, all of the fun, all of the cuddles, and soft sweet phrases of love flowing at me left, right and centre from my three lovely children.
However, there are days like today and yesterday where I would just like a little bit of help. Not much, not hours, not days of help. Just one day of help. However, I must tell you and forewarn you that usually a woman does not choose to become a single mother of three beautiful children. It doesn’t just happen, and it was not a choice that I wanted to make. In the end it became the only choice available. It was a journey I had to take in order to become free.

So, today I’m lying in bed not being able to talk or move due to a blocked nose, sore throat, and an entire aching body. Next to me stands my little 4 year old who continues to tap me on the shoulder with the hope of waking me up. Once she succeeds, she continues to remind me that she has already told me ten times that I was supposed to buy her the ‘banana up and go’ from the shops yesterday, and that I better get them today because I promised.

Unfortunately for and my children and I, I was bedridden yesterday, and could only do the bare minimum. Suddenly, the seven year old throws himself onto the bed and announces that I have to take him to the movies today because I promised. Than the 6 year old runs into the room and jumps on me to give me a gigantic hug. All I can think of is that I can’t think, I can’t speak and I need some help. Yet, there is no help! There is nobody. All but me, and a friend or two who may pop into the shops for me later if they’re around. Where is their father you may ask. At work, too busy, unavailable. Its always the same old story,the usual and the reason why we single mothers choose to do this on our own.

So, I break the news to my son that we won’t be going to the movies. I inform my four year old that I can’t get the banana poppas right now, and I tell my children that I’m too sick to get out of bed and that they’ll have to sit in bed next to me and watch a dvd on the laptop. Now, not only do I feel sick, but I now feel like I have also disappointed them. One of the perils of single motherhood.

Two hours later I stumble out of bed, look into the yard, and discover that the dog has gone again. Broken the fence palings and skipped out. All week long, that naughty dog has been disappearing. Well, actually the last thirteen years with her have been a dysfunctional nightmare. So I chase her down the road, the cold wind on my face, breathless and panting into the neighbours back yard. Than I watch her weave her way between my legs and into my front yard, as I try to grab her before she escapes me and runs under the house. So, yes, thats right, there I stood outside, coughing uncontrollably in the cold, standing in the leftover snow from yesterday, hammer and nails in hand getting ready to fix the fence, wondering what that dog will get upto tomorrow.