I have been a single mum for about 7 years now. My children are 19 and nearly 18. I regularly have conversations with my married friends about whether being a single mum is harder or easier. If you are early on in your journey, you are probably finding it all really tough. There will be other emotional aspects at play. This blog about my experiences of being a single parent will hopefully give you some hope for what happens when life settles down.
I thought I would start with the bad news. There are times when you have to be the bad guy, the disciplinarian, the rule enforcer. It is really hard to do that without someone to talk to about it. You are also the one setting the rules and working out where the boundaries should lie. These change almost annually as your children get older. It is important to remember that children need boundaries. They need to have someone enforcing them as well. Whilst it might not feel like it at the time, they will appreciate that it is because you care. A lack of boundaries can make children feel insecure. After a divorce, your children need to feel secure so sticking to your rules is important. I’m not saying that they won’t try to push against them, they will.
Sometimes being the only decision maker is a whole lot easier! My kids and their friends regularly hang out at my house. I do often think that it is actually the local community centre. However, I don’t have to think about how them taking over the lounge and kitchen will affect anyone else in my house. I also don’t have to worry about someone else’s diary when I arrange a holiday or weekend away for the three of us. When you are married or part of a couple, you are unlikely to get time ever week to yourself to do whatever you choose. On the days that my children are with their dad, I can choose what I do with that time and I don’t need to be responsible for anyone else. I might go to the local running club or arrange to work away when I don’t need to make other arrangements or have a night out, have friends over. The important thing is that this is you time. You need this time to recharge your batteries to enable you to be the best parent you can be the rest of the time.
Time away from the children
Don’t get me wrong, it is difficult to be away from your children. The house feels quiet when you’re there on your own. You miss them. I’m sure that you would rather they were with you all the time. However, try to see the positives and use this time for yourself. You will feel much better for doing so.