The Truth About Being A Single Mom

I must start with a disclaimer.  First,  although I split with my now ex-fiancé in mid-February we only moved out of our jointly owned house at the end of June.  Some would argue therefore that I have only really been a single mom for a month.  Secondly, and probably most importantly, all single mums are different. Experiences of single moms can vary massively depending on how involved the father is with the child(ren), circumstances of the separation, parental help, finances and possibly most importantly, the age of the child(ren) involved.  This is my experience of being a single mom (over the last month) rather than the truth about all single moms.  There is no single truth about single moms.

My first month as a single mom has been liberating.  I feel as though a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  Looking back over the past few months, I really don’t know how I survived. Now that we are no longer living together I feel as though I can breathe again.   I no longer listen for the front door dreading his arrival home from work.  I no longer have to lie in bed late at night after he has had a rant and listen to him outside my door because he has ‘just one more thing to say…’

I still dread the conversations that we have to have to make arrangements for our son.  I dread checking my email or reading my text messages.  Often his messages are polite and charming. They are fine. But sometimes they are angry, curt, demanding and domineering.  I can’t predict when I am going to receive the charm offensive or the verbally offensive. 

Having said all of this, I do feel that I am getting stronger.  I feel more able to tell him how I feel.  I told him about what I feel about our current arrangements for contact time with our son for example.  It took about a week and a lot of family support to psyche myself up to say it.  But I did and it was a step in the right direction. 

My automatic reaction is still ‘I’m sorry’ whenever he criticises or says that he is unhappy with something, but I am training myself not to just say ‘I’m sorry’.  When I stop to think about what he is saying I can see more clearly that he is being unreasonable and selfish.  Today for example, after he had changed the time that he wanted to collect our son, he said that I was being unfair for not walking to meet him half way to hand our son over.  When I stopped to think about it I could see that he was being unreasonable.  He has just been on holiday for a week, he didn’t have his family round for the day (as I did), he has a car and could drive round to mine in 10 minutes, whereas for me it is a 30 minute walk.  When I think of all of these things I shouldn’t be saying sorry.  One day ‘sorry’ will stop being an automatic reaction.

Things haven’t been as logistically challenging as they could have been.  I was already doing all of the morning and evening routines anyway and was used to dashing home from work to get to nursery or to relieve my Mum by 6pm.  My ex has found it much more challenging (not that he’d ever admit it) because he wasn’t used to either leaving work at 5pm one day a week or getting up early the next day to take our son to nursery before getting on the train to work.  My superhero parents have also been massively supportive.  I know that if the trains play up and I cannot get back in time, they will be my back up.  I am really lucky to have them.

The next couple of months will continue to be challenging.  Life hasn’t settled into a new routine yet, and still feel that things are off balance (I am a Libran, balance is important to me).  I have my first session with the family mediator on Friday.  We then have sessions together.  I have no doubt that the mediation process will be stressful and emotionally challenging.  I hope, however, that mediation will help us come to some agreements that we can stick to and that we both agree are reasonable even if they do not marry up with each of our ideals. 

Life is good though.  In the evenings I sit down with a glass of wine and I get working on my blog, or I get reading some of the wonderfully interesting and inspirational blog posts to be found out there. 

Although things are still a bit tough now, they are a lot less tough than they were three months ago.  I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that I have made the right decision both for me and for our son and that confidence is really empowering.

Twinkly Tuesday
And then the fun began...

39 Comments

  1. August 4, 2015 / 8:12 am

    You’ve made a brave decision and it’s great that you’re speaking out about it on behalf of all single mums out there hon. More power to you! x #thetruthabout

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2015 / 9:08 pm

      Thanks Talya. I hope you are well.

  2. August 4, 2015 / 8:20 am

    Go you!! Very brave and honest. Glad to hear things are on the up! #twinklytuesday xx

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2015 / 9:07 pm

      Thanks Rachel. Much appreciated.

  3. August 4, 2015 / 8:49 am

    It sounds like he mentally abused you a bit for your automatic reaction to be sorry all the time. I think your much better off with out him! I am not a single parent, I am luck enough to still have my partner. But I still find your posts inspirational and I can’t wait to read about the rest of your journey.

    L x
    Lisa recently posted…DIY Phone CaseMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2015 / 9:07 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      That’s a really nice comment thank you. I am glad you like my posts. You are right, I am much better off without him. He validates my decision every time i see and have contact with him…

      See you on here again soon. xx

  4. August 4, 2015 / 12:44 pm

    A very brave and honest post – thanks for linking up with #ShowcaseTuesday. Well done on empowering yourself.

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2015 / 9:05 pm

      Thank you for your comment and thank you for hosting #ShowcaseTuesday.

  5. August 4, 2015 / 6:22 pm

    I wish you all the best for the future. This cannot be an easy situation but I am glad it seems to be going as well as can be expected so far. Hope you don’t find yourself saying sorry too often. #Thetruthabout
    John Adams recently posted…How a military family copes with active serviceMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2015 / 9:04 pm

      Thank you. It will get better, gradually, I am confident of that. I’ll let you know.

      thanks for your comment.

  6. August 4, 2015 / 7:02 pm

    I’m sorry to bring this up, but…
    Nah, just joking. I’m not sorry.
    I’m so proud of you for banning the “s” word.
    For years, I had that horrid habit, and I said it all. the. time. about. everything. And then my husband (bless his feminist heart) pointed out that I do it to make myself seem less threatening, more subservient, and more likable. As he said, if people are threatened by me, that’s their problem. I don’t need to be subservient to anyone, unless, you know, the President knocks on my door. And I’m already likable as hell.
    Obviously, some situations call for an apology: “I really am sorry I said that hurtful thing. I am so sorry I accidentally knocked over your great-great-grandmother’s vase. I am so sorry that I hit your car.”
    But the rest of time, it seems that people (women especially) apologize to seem less than they are. And we’re more than enough.
    Hearts and hugs to you, Pen!
    Helleanor Rigby recently posted…Here’s Bookin’ At You, Kid 4: A Bi-Weekly Bibliophile BonanzaMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2015 / 9:02 pm

      Helleanor,

      Your husband sounds great. Can we share him? Only joking. Some life coaching could be useful though! Thanks for your comment. xx

  7. August 4, 2015 / 8:23 pm

    I agree we say sorry too much but your ex sounds very domineering and you have stood up to him in the ultimate way – by breaking off the relationship – the marriage! So there is no need to apologise to him anymore. I think you didn’t need to mention the fact that you are a Libran (don’t apologise though 😉 ) because its true – everyone needs balance in their lives no matter what their star sign. I think little by little you will get there and in the meantime I kind of envy that relaxing glass of wine and blog time to yourself – there is precious little of that around here! Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout Xx
    thenthefunbegan recently posted…The Truth about… #37My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2015 / 8:59 pm

      Hi,

      Thanks for your comment and thanks again for hosting #thetruthabout. I think I’ve said it before but it is such an easy theme to write to. Yes, the wine and blogging is great. I really enjoy these relaxing evenings now. I sit in my flat and it is all mine. I don’t have to be on edge, or to hide away in a room. I feel free again (despite not being able to go out very much, if at all, but that’s fine).

      See you again soon. xx

  8. August 4, 2015 / 8:38 pm

    This is the first time that I have read your blog. What a wonderfully brave, honest woman you are. You are a huge blessing to your son and an incredible inspiration to so many woman, who I am sure, may be in similar situations.
    I am a military housewife which occasionally puts me in the single mother role and it’s tough being the default parent, but my goodness, I wouldn’t change it.
    Well done you fabulous woman x
    Jade Munro recently posted…From Civilian Life to Military Wife – A List.My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 4, 2015 / 8:53 pm

      Hi Jade,

      That is such a lovely comment. Thank you. I really appreciate it.

      Having a husband away in the military must be really difficult for all of you. You must be incredibly brave and strong yourself to be able to cope with that, but also to carry your kids through the difficult times when their Dad is away, or just about to go away. You have my utmost respect.

      Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here soon. x

  9. August 4, 2015 / 9:24 pm

    I am so glad that everything has worked out well so far. I don’t know how youmanaged to live for all that time with him as your ex but I’m happy you are out and able to get on with everything the way you want to. It sounds like you’ve got it all worked out. Hope the mediation goes well. Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • thesingleswan
      August 6, 2015 / 10:20 pm

      Hi Lisa, Thanks for your comment. My first mediation session is tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes. #TwinklyTuesday

  10. August 4, 2015 / 9:29 pm

    Me and my husband hadnt talk in a while. While meaning months and months and I think this is where we are heading. Like what you have said every story is different but I think the only time that I will have peace is when we are separated. #twinklytuesday
    Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) recently posted…Beachlawns EventMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 6, 2015 / 10:19 pm

      Oh Merlinda, this is so tough. I really hope that things will work out whatever happens. Stay strong. What will be will be and you need to have confidence that it will be for the best. Take care and do get in contact if you want a friendly ear. Twitter DM is probably best @thesingleswan. xx

  11. August 5, 2015 / 1:59 am

    I love how strong you are – I think you are an inspiration to any woman who is stuck in an unhealthy relationship and isn’t sure she should leave. Unless it is something really important regarding your son, I would delete any angry or abusive messages without replying and only reply to the nice ones – he’ll soon get the hint! #ShowcaseTuesday
    Debbie
    http://www.myrandommusings.blogspot.com
    Random Musings recently posted…So You Want To Start A Blog – My Top Ten Tips!My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 6, 2015 / 10:18 pm

      Hi Debbie,

      Good advice. Delete, delete, delete! I have delayed my responses so I have time to properly think about them in a calm and measured way. No response is a good option though. Maybe then he’ll learn that he’ll only get a response if he is polite. I feel there are parallels between educating my ex and educating a small child in manners…

  12. August 5, 2015 / 7:54 pm

    I’ve just found your blog recently and have read a few posts and can relate to so much of what you say. Actually sometimes you sound exactly like me! I’m recently separated with a two year old (I wrote about it on my blog last month). I’m a Libran too! I’m glad you are in a happy place and enjoying your new time alone. I’m finding life a bit up and down at the moment but will hopefully get there at some point xx
    Polly @ Our Seaside Baby recently posted…The Speed of Light: My August Photo #5My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 6, 2015 / 10:13 pm

      Hi Polly, Yes, our situations are remarkably similar. We need to keep comparing notes (and birthday wishes it would seem). I hope you are able to manage the ups and downs. Ups and downs and inevitable and natural and part of life really, but us Librans find them quite unsettling, constantly being in search of balance and all that. Speak soon xx

  13. August 5, 2015 / 8:51 pm

    Great post. Having been a single mother for a number of years (although I have now remarried) I know how tough it can be. For a long time I still felt responsible for his feelings, his reactions. I still accepted the guilt he forced upon me. It takes time to rebuild self worth, self confidence and realise that actually he is responsible for his own feelings and actions not you. I found the first year of being a single mother quite an empowering experience. I learned, grew and developed so much as an individual as well as a mother. It makes you stronger, more determined , you eventually see so clearly – you are most definitely without doubt better off.

    • thesingleswan
      August 6, 2015 / 10:09 pm

      Charlotte, thank you, these are really nice supportive words and I really appreciate you taking the time to say them. I can gradually feel myself getting stronger. In a year’s time the world will be a very different place. Every conversation I have with my Mum won’t have to be about my ex (she is proving to be a great counsellor) and every time I check my phone I won’t be nervous about his emails/texts. That is my aim anyway. I am confident it is achievable. x

  14. August 6, 2015 / 4:17 am

    I grew up in a single parent family and I remember the tension that was around when mum was still in a relationship. You have made good choices for you and your son and now it is time to transition. Well done and I am so glad you feel you can breathe again. Go gently and take care. Mel xx #ShowcaseTuesday
    Melanie Greenhalgh recently posted…Ruining my RearMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 6, 2015 / 10:07 pm

      Thanks Melanie for taking the time to comment and for your support and reassurance that I have made the right choices not just for me but for my son. I will keep you updated. xx

  15. August 8, 2015 / 4:11 am

    You are doing so well to be assertive for what you want and what you deserve. Great news that you are not saying I’m sorry ever again…this must be driving him crazy as he just might be a kind of control freak. I am so happy for you that this heavy weight has been lifted and you have a compassionate family who will stand by you. My heartfelt wishes to you and your child and your newfound glorious freedom!! xo

    Kisses,

    (=’.’=)
    -Lauren
    adorn la femme

    • thesingleswan
      August 10, 2015 / 10:03 pm

      Hi Lauren,

      I am not being that assertive yet. I am working on it, but I need to be doing a lot better for my son’s sake. Thanks for your comment and for your encouragement. I appreciate it. x

  16. August 10, 2015 / 9:25 pm

    Oh gosh…Pen. One of my closest friends continues to have immense problems with her ex even though she and he are now both remarried to other people!

    What a heart-tugging post. So glad you’re enjoying your glass of wine in the evening. Sounds bloody well deserved! Day by day eh? Lots of luck my dear.
    #thetruthabout

    • thesingleswan
      August 10, 2015 / 9:57 pm

      Hi, thank you. Yes, it is tough but we’ll get there…one day. Each day gets easier and I love my wine in the evening. Thanks for your comment and for your support. x

  17. August 14, 2015 / 12:48 pm

    Being a single parent can be tough, especially when it comes to organising childcare/seeing the child arrangements. Like you said, thank God for super grandparents! Great post 🙂

    • thesingleswan
      August 16, 2015 / 7:24 pm

      Thanks Jade. I appreciate your comment. x

  18. August 18, 2015 / 7:47 pm

    Well done again on leaving. I’m a single mother by choice so my circumstances are very different to yours and a lot easier without an ex-partner around to deal with, but I think there are many advantages to being a single parent, as I am sure you are discovering. For me a lot of that is because all the decisions are mine and mine alone, but there are also practical advantages. For example my son and I co-sleep and I never have to worry about anyone else in the bed!
    I also agree with a few of the other commenters on here that as women we all say sorry far too much. It sounds like you are getting stronger day by day. Look forward to reading some more of your posts!
    Min recently posted…How I Am Now Piglet’s DaddaMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 18, 2015 / 9:17 pm

      Hi again Min,

      You are right, I am able to make more decisions about my son’s upbringing although only smaller issues like teaching him manners (not that this is small to be fair) or what to feed him. We both share parental responsibility so big decisions like religion, eduction, health still have to be joint. I hope though, that these are such big issues that we will be able to agree on what is in the best interests of our son. Quite often I do wish my ex would just emigrate to Australia or something (sorry and watch out any Australian readers – I promise to warn you!) because it would be so much easier.

      Anyway, thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment.

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