Single Parent Series: There Is Light at the End of the Tunnel
This is our fifth story from the Single Parent Series. This single mother talks about the sacrifices of not seeing her children while she was in school, and traversing a long-term relationship after her divorce.
1. How old are you?
2. How long have you been out of your relationship?
3. Were you dating or married?
Married (culturally not legally)
4. How long have you been a single parent?
10 years but I've always joked that I've been a single parent for much longer. Even when I was married, I've always been a single parent doing everything on my own. I worked, cared for the kids, cleaned the home, and did everything else the kids needed (school activities, sports, etc.). He merely provided for us financially.
5. How many kids do you have? How old are they? Does their age make it easier or harder?
8 (6 from previous marriage, 2 with current partner but 1 deceased).
23, 19, 18, 14, 12, 10, 3 months old (deceased child would have been 2).
It depends on what this question is referencing, but in terms of care, I'd say easier.
6. Do you live close to family? Does that help?
Not currently but I did right after the split. It doesn't really help because I'm not one to depend on others for help with childcare.
7. Who helps you watch your kids if you're working?
After the split, I didn't work. I went back to school full-time and the kids were either in the child care center at the college I went to or went to a childcare provider. I did not feel comfortable asking for help from my family members. I don't want to owe anyone anything. Nor do I want to take away their freedom by having to help me.
8. What type of schedule do you have for your kids so you don't go crazy?
When I was in school, the kids were in school too. Some semesters we'd have opposite schedules where they'd be in school during the day and I wouldn't have classes until evenings. I have my little breaks during that time.
They were really good kids who did things to help me get through the days. I should also mention that I only had the three younger kids with me. The oldest being 12 at the time. Those were some of the hardest days I went through as a single parent but they really helped take care of each other. Although they went to an in-home provider while I was in class, some nights I would not get out until 10. I'd tell the provider to drop the boys off at home with my parents around 8:30pm so they can get ready for bed. The boys would be in bed by the time I get home, and if they needed me to do anything for them, they'd leave me notes on my desk. I was really blessed to have such good and responsible kids.
9. What are some things you would do if you did not have to worry about being a single parent?
I don't know. I'm always with kids. I don't know what I would do. I'd be bored without them, that's for sure.
10. What are some struggles you have gone through being a single parent?
Financial struggles. Help with disciplining (not that they needed any) but as a father figure would when needed. Brief little breaks.
11. Any tips you can offer to other single parents?
It's hard but when there's a will, there's a way. If you need help, don't be afraid to ask.
12. How do you feel about making a commitment to someone who does not have children? Why?
I made that commitment and I'm glad I did. I was not too keen on the idea of getting involved with someone who already has kids because I didn't want any extra responsibilities. Fortunately, my partner had no kids and treats my kids well. Currently, my partner and I have two kids (1 deceased and a 3-month old).
13. Are you currently dating? What is it like to date as a single parent?
I've been in a long-term relationship.
It's hard dating as a single parent. You don't feel like you're good enough to be with someone who has never been married or that the new person isn't willing to accept your kids.
14. What did your parent think when you became a single parent?
15. What's the best part of being a single parent?
The freedom to do as I like without having someone else telling me to keep the house clean, waiting on me for dinner, attending to the kids and not letting them cry for a minute longer than he thinks they should cry for. The freedom of just waking up when I want to, being lazy just because...not having anyone to answer to.
16. What's the worst part of being a single parent?
Others judging you and looking down on your innocent kids like we're the plague.
17. What do you want people to know and understand about what it's like to be a single parent?
It's very hard. There will be times you just want to give up but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Don't lose sight of it. You'll come out stronger and braver.
To read the additional stories in this Series, click on the links below:
If you are a single parent and would like to share your story, please email us at kaolee @ thestoryclothshop.com or reach out to us on Facebook.
- The Story Cloth Shop Team