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Single Moms with no support network...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
If so how do you do it? I mean physically, mentally, money wise etc. I am asking because my STBX is not that helpful, is currently unemployed (so no Child support) and doesn't want to see the kids much. I do have family but they can be very toxic and I don't feel like they are healthy for me. I am currently living with my family but am considering going to a shelter (am trying to get in right now but there has been a waiting list). I am very mentally and physically exhausted right now. It is crucial that I keep doing well in school (am going to school full time online) and I am having a hard time already even though my family does help me some. If I go to the shelter I will have very limited contact with my family. I am just scared. I am scared I won't be able to hack it as a single Mom with little to no support network. I have a long time left to go with my education. I am however already on FS and Medicaid and waiting to see if I qualify for daycare help which would really lighten my load.

I just need to hear from Single Mamas that do it all alone. I need to hear that it can be done and that I can do this. I want to be strong for my kids and I really am trying but I feel so overwhelmed with everything right now.
post #2 of 26

It is hard to not have a support network. I've been trying to create one for the past few months, but not having much success. Much of that is my own personal hangups.... but it doesn't make it any easier.

I don't get CS, and DD is with me 24/7. Just in the past 6 weeks did I finally get a babysitter who comes in 2 hours a week so that I can go to group therapy. My DD is 2yo, btw. How I do it? It took some serious adjustment. In some ways it didn't because I was kinda already doing most everything even when DD's father was still living with us. What helped for me was to reach out to any organization that I thought I might possibly get help from. Then I could talk to someone at least. I struggled with the impossible moments, the moments of rage and parenting in ways completely contrary to my personal beliefs. I cried alone, I cried with DD. I frequently felt hopeless and out of control. I couldn't see how we would ever live a comfortable life, outside of shelter and in a self-sufficient manner. Truly, in the beginning it was extreme survival mode of operations. I just pushed through and kept doing it day after day because there really wasn't a choice. You can do this. You will be overwhelmed. But it's better than the situation you left behind. And the potential for things to keep improving is there too.

In my moments of deep despair I would just keep pushing through. I knew that somehow, someway, it wouldn't always be so overwhelming. Somehow the help I needed would come, somehow DD and I would get to the other side of something very worthwhile. So I just stayed focused on that and it has happened, and is continuing to evolve.

I don't know if any of this is helpful. It's just how I got through it. With time and continued therapy including meds and counseling, it has gotten easier. I'm still the 24/7 parent aside from those 2 hours a week. My world is quite small in the sense of the people and places I go to every week. I work on expanding it in spurts.... I'll get there, and the good weather seasons coming up will help me a lot I think.

Hang in there. You are strong and you can do this. You and your DD's are worth the work it will take to push through to get to the other side.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much. Your posts always really help. It is just good to hear I am not alone and that other women are going through the same thing and are surviving. I def. still feel like I am in survival mode and that prob. won't change for awhile. Like you said I just keep thinking that someway, somehow things will get better. I guess they can't get any worse right?! I just feel bad because there have been two times lately (including this morning) when I lashed out at my kids in a severe way (both times told them they were ruining my life and felt like just giving up sometimes and said it while hysterically crying) and I just feel like the worlds worst Mom. I love my kids so so much and feel like I don't deserve them and that they deserve a better Mom. I want so badly to be loving, tender and patient with them, and a lot of the time I am but I have my moments when it is all just too much. I hope they know how much I love them though and that I really want to make a better life for us and be the gentle and loving Mother that I know I can be.
post #4 of 26
I've felt that too. But I will say that I feel those unworthy moments less. And while your DD's may not understand all that is going on, I imagine that when they are older they will. I worry about how I will explain things to DD. Is she going to think I pushed her father out of her life? I try not to think or worry about that often though.

In the moments that I slip up and act in ways that DD doesn't deserve, I will later apologize and cuddle and talk to her about what happened. She's only 2 so I don't know how much of an impact the words have, but I do feel that she gets the feeling of things and understands in her way.

I know you are in a tough situation right now, and it seems really dark and hopeless at times. You just can't even imagine the light at the end of the tunnel let alone see a glimmer. But you have to trust it is there. Reach out for help anywhere you might find it. Keep pushing through, remained focused on your end goal. The present can really suck sometimes and it helped me to know that those painful moments would pass.

You are a great Mom, I am sure. And you DD's are fortunate to have someone so strong to be their mother.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much Theia. You are always such a help and support to me.

I do think my DD's understand to some extent why I left their Father. My oldest tells people that I left him because he was mean to me. She was the one that would wipe my tears and console me when he abused me and I think although she is sad and confused she is also proud of me for leaving. I have been a SAHM for 6 years and am very close to my girls. I guess it is hard for them to see me in such pain lately because I am usually pretty calm and patient with them and they are not sure how to handle my stress and emotions. They are still young and I want them to have a fun and healthy childhood and that is the reason I left STBX and the reason I won't go back. I will just keep remembering why I left and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
post #6 of 26
I also don't have a support network. When my separation-divorce started I had to go to the only place I could go = the women's shelter. I moved to this state for school and have no family around. Most of my friends are college students like myself and are unattached and without kids. Only a handful remain as friends since I became a single Mom.
Going to the shelter opened up a lot of doors for me. They had a lot of resources that I didn't even know existed. Depending on your state, you can get child care help, supplemental income, bus vouchers, subsidized rent, etc. I didn't qualify for that, but you might. The shelter had therapists, workshops, and so much personal support and encouragement. I went in extremely overwhelmed and left feeling like things were under control and my little one and I would make it alright. They helped me make a list with all the goals I had (big and small). Then I prioritized that list, and tackled each thing 1 by 1, with their help and resources. That helped me focus on what I needed to do "right now" instead of drowning in despair.

Today, 6 months since my daughter and I left her dad, we have our own place, a peaceful life, I'm doing well in school, she's doing great in daycare, and we are just healthier individuals now that we are away from the toxic person (ex). We see the world as the beautiful and exciting place that it is. You will be surprised how quickly things start to fall into place and you start getting used to your new "normal." Of course there are still times when ex is especially hurtful/evil/fill in the blank and I wish so badly that I had a support network or even just a shoulder to cry on. Most of my family is very toxic, and the only person I can count on (my Mom) lives in Europe, so it's difficult. But completely do-able, in my opinion. I think for me, it's just accepting the reality of things instead of trying to fight it. I have my goal as an image in my head. And when I fall and have to dust myself off and get back up by myself, I turn my vision to that image.

I'm sure you can make it Mama!! Take it 1 step at a time. It's difficult enough to have to go through this, and it's even more so when we know we are all alone. Still, no one is truly alone. You have us, your virtual Mama friends. I will repeat this over and over again. In my earlier days when I came here looking for hope/advice/anything, Mamas always told me to trust that it would get easier. As cliché and fake as it sounded, it couldn't have been more true. It does get easier, and you will make it!
post #7 of 26
you take a step back and see what you HAVE to do.

you take a look at your life and decide what are your priorities right now.

i have discovered most of the big stress we create ourselves - add it to our lives.

for instance i could NOT go to school. i just couldnt do it. so i didnt till dd was older. that was because i couldnt imagine time away from dd that student life does. my dd couldnt do it and so i put that on the backburner.

i also sat and thought about teh life i wanted right then. at that time i didnt care what or where i lived - all i wanted was time with my dd. it was what i wante dand what she wanted too. so i gave up everything else. lived simply, cheaply and did the best i could.

i am stressed right now becuase i have taken on too much. this semester i KNOW i am not going to get good grades AND do other things. so i have chosen to get mediocre grades and do the things i want to do.

i tried doing it all and discovered i myself was stressing myself out. because i couldnt live the life i wanted to live. mind you you already dont have a lot of choices.

so how i did it was assess my priorities.

it was really, really hard not to have a support network when dd was a toddler. none whatsoever. no family or real friends. however i did have people to vent to over the phone.

today 5 years later i do. i still dont have family but i have framily who have helped me out in many different ways just like families would - financial, housing, advice, etc. i have free baby sitters galore who love spending time with dd. friends who borrow my dd to go do something together. so over time you will find your support.
post #8 of 26
I am a solo mom and have been since my ds was 2 months. Apart from the 2 years we lived with my family while I was in grad school, it has always been just me and ds.

It is hard... VERY hard, especially when they are younger. Honestly, those earlier years are a bit of a blur for me.

Your education and your dc getting older are the two main keys that will make your life significantly easier in time.

Hang in there! You can and WILL do it!!! Remind yourself: this too shall pass. NOTHING stays the same, everything changes. It will get easier!

Can you adjust the amount of your financial aid to help you with living expenses?
post #9 of 26
I'm a single mama who gets child support, and my kids have visitation with their dad, but I just wanted to add that my mom raised four of us ALL by herself- no family, no friends who were there for practical support. She went to grad school, and supported us all those years after that. She was grouchy and impatient sometimes, but I think some of that might have been the parenting philosophy of the times- remember when kids were afraid to displease their parents? Anyway, even though she lost it sometimes, we ALWAYS knew she loved us- I never doubted once that she would always be my rock. And we are all so proud of her- if no-one on the outside can see the mountain single parents are climbing, their kids do.
post #10 of 26
I cannot stress the importance of friendship enough. I was completely without support of any kind when I left, and had to cut relationship with my toxic family, who supported my abusive ex over me. I literally knew no one in this town except for my boss. I started looking for ways to meet people and develop friendships. Two years later I'm so grateful that I have friends who have shared holidays with me, taken me and my son into their own families, and have just generally been there and loved me through all of it.

I fought really hard for that, because it's the emotional burden that is so taxing, I think. They help me with that quite a lot.
post #11 of 26
Another single mama here who had no support for the longest time too. I cut off contact with my mother 20 years ago, and only had minimal phone contact with my brother when DS was born. My father and stepmother are toxic, and I had extremely minimal contact with them up until last June when I cut them out completely. No financial support from them, mostly just them telling me what a crappy mother I was and how I was hurting DS. No contact with DS's father, and no child support. I had no friends with kids when I had DS, and my childless friends dropped away pretty quickly once they realized I had to attend to DS instead of dropping everything to go shopping or out somewhere all the time.

It is hard. It sucks a lot of the time. You hate your life, you end up feeling resentful toward so many people. You cry, you do whatever it is that comforts you, and then you cry some more. Then you get up each morning, snuggle your little person and go out and ask for help. I joined a Unitarian church, called the Visiting Nurse Association, called a child abuse prevention hotline, a single mother's residence program, and many more. I asked them all the same thing. "What can you offer me in the way of help? I am a single mother with no community resources, no family, and no child support or contact with my child's father and am feeling like I am drowning. Please help." They all offered either help, or gave me names and numbers that I could call.

It does get easier, and when you are in the middle of the hardest, darkest days, it seems like life will never get easier, but it does. You make friends, you find other single mamas, and you hang onto them for dear life.

Just an example: Tonight I had a potluck at my house for DS's and my birthdays (we have the same b-day) and I had two single mama friends and their DS's and another mama and her partner and her DD who was a single mama when I met her. Three of the most supportive, stong women I have ever met in my entire life and their kids. I felt so rich, and surrounded by love. I felt like I had the strongest community and a huge family tonight. It honestly feels like some sort of magic when it all comes together. It can happen, but you have to ask for help.

Hang in there mama. You can do it, and your little ones will someday see how very strong you were and are and you will find your tribe.
post #12 of 26
It can be done... I haven't read the other posts so excuse me if I'm repeating similar advice you've already been given. Take it one day at a time--that's what I've been doing for 12 years. Some weeks I don't know how I'm going to get through but somehow I'm doing it.

If your family is not having a negative influence on your kids, stay with them as long as you can. I know how hard it is--I lived with my toxic mom for the first three years of my dd's life. It got to the point that I was afraid I was going to hurt my mother. She was sooo controlling. She was good with dd, however, so I usually kept me mouth shut. Being with your family is probably better than being in a shelter.

Keep concentrating on school...it's the only way you're going to get a decent job.

Focus on the day you can find your own place. Are your kids young? I'm assuming they are. Be really careful when you choose a town to live in. Find the best housing for you--not necessarily the nicest place and not necessarily the cheapest. Look for housing with a neighborhood-type atmosphere. Public housing is cheap but usually not the best place to raise kids. Look carefully at the school systems before you move. Find out which district has before/after school care that you can afford. Think about school vacation care, too. If I'd have done that I'd be living in a different town with better programs. If you choose the right town you won't have to keep moving your kids around.

Look for hand-me-down clothes/toys as much as you can. I didn't spend any money on clothes until dd was about 7 and she got kind of picky. Even then I bought from clearance racks only. All parents have out-grown clothes to get rid of...don't be too proud to casually ask friends to keep you in mind when they're cleaning out closets.

Focus on being a good mom. Some days, when I'm at my wit's end, and I don't know what to do or where to turn, I ask myself what is best for my dd. Some people will tell you that you have to put yourself first to be a good mom. I don't think that's true. I'm all my dd has. There is no dad to help me make decisions. She needs me to make her my priority.

Look for free outings whenever you can. Every elementary school has a nice playground. When your kids are young they think a new playground is as much fun as an amusement park. PB&J sandwiches, a playground and a blanket is all you need for an exciting afternoon--and it will get you out of the house and away from your family for a few hours.

Look for a support group where you can meet other moms in similar situations. Check out Parents Without Partners meetings near you. Do you belong to a church? That can be a great source of support--if you're not religious look for a Unitarian Universalist church where athiests and agnostics are welcome.

I KNOW you're stronger than you think you are! You can do this--your kids are depending on you.
post #13 of 26

my god, can't believe you need a pasword to write on this sight, im a single mum, no support and no help at all from his father, his not even paying the minny 2dollars a day he is meant to and owes over 7hundred... im sick currently and been finding it extreemly difficult, im run down and the doctor said i need sleep yet thats impossable with a 2year old demanding attention off me at 6am everyday.. my son goes to creach and thats the only break i get, it's sometimes harder to try and look after myself then it is him and i struggle daily finantually, mentaly and physically.. the only thing i can do is lock him in his room when im fustrated to extreems where i worry myself i may hurt him, i put him in his room and take some time out to myself.... it often seems i am doing the impossable.. im a super woman and its very clear to me parenting is not meant to be done alone yet im forced to be doing it alone... it is all about taking every hour a min by min and the way i get by is by avoiding the thought that this is way too hard as it does not help in any way.

post #14 of 26
Edited by kristandthekids - 1/16/13 at 4:41pm
post #15 of 26

I haven't read any of the replies.


It's hard. I won't lie to you, but I take it one day at a time. I have no family here, I get no child support and stbx doesn't bother calling or picking up the children, but every blue moon.


I get partial assistance and I tutor and my mom helps A LOT. She can't really afford to help, but she does what she can. And LOTS of prayer!


I also apply for programs that offer tuition assistance so that my children have a creative outlet. 


Other than that I really can't tell you how we make it. We just do. I'm always amazed that we got through another hurdle. I know I won't be in this situation forever so I am constantly trying to find better ways to support my family.




You can do it. You just have to summon the strength within and do it. Best wishes!

post #16 of 26

My overwhelmed desperation brought me looking online tonight. I've been 24/7 single parent 2 kids for 5 years. I'm past that survival mode phase, but shouldn't that mean I'm in the getting my act together phase? I've been trying to build a support network/frinds for the last 3 years. I've tried everything! No luck. My family is not interested in helping out. gloomy.gif I feel very sad about the lack of friends for myself, and it worries me that maybe I'm modeling bad social skills to my kids. If I can't make friends, How can I teach them to? I'm trying to get an education for myself so one day I have a chance of earning some money. But every semester I feel like I've taken on too much, with the kids schoolwork they need help with, my own schoolwork, kids sports & activities. cooking, cleaning, groceries, driving, Somewhere in there I should sleep, I guess.  I don't get my taxes done on time, I don't clean, purge or organize like I need to - just don't have the mental energy for it! , our house is a Holy mess all the time, which drives me bananas~! When people tell me "I don't know how you do it " I don't know what to say because in my mind I'm thinking "I'm drowning and dropping the ball on so many things, I'm a basket case ...what's there to be amazed at?" The kids are happy and doing well because my failings are concentrated on myself and the household needs. confused.gif What else can I do? Sometimes I feel positive and energetic, other times I feel like this mountain of issues is falling right down onto me. The other posts say things will get better. The light at the end of my tunnel must be out of order! I used to think if I just keep going on this path I believe is best for us, that things will improve. But they've just stayed the same with small fluxuations into slightly better for a while then worse for awhile. Every other place I go for advice says to reach out for help. I have done that in so many ways with so many people, but most of the time I still don't get the help I need. I'm all ears to any advice/input?

post #17 of 26

Oh, det2888w, big hug!  hug2.gifI am glad you reached out here...I don't have any easy answers except keep going, and see if you can find some support here over time!  I bet things feel much worse to you than the are, and that the kids are in much better shape than you know.  It helps me to talk out loud in a positive way to myself each day...and accept that later, when the kids are grown, is when my floors will be clean and my surfaces decluttered smile.gif.

post #18 of 26

OMG... I just found my lost post!  Sorry, posted in the wrong thread.  blush.gif   

Edited by Holland73 - 11/22/11 at 9:17am
post #19 of 26


OMG!!! I can't believe how much my life has changed in just the past 18mos! I'm still a 24/7 solo mom, and DD's father has been officially out of her life for 3 years. But I have a life, friends and even a wonderful boyfriend now. It's so strange, and yet neat to suddenly bump into a blast from the past like this. Anyone in this situation, hang in there. I can testify is does get better, much better! Woohoo!


post #20 of 26

Sigh... Good to read all your posts. I'm in the same boat... single mom 24/7 for 11mnths of my 1 year old, on CS, father is a self pitious fool who isn't in the picture at all (which really I am greatful for), his mother is an extremely annoying presences (who lives out of town, thank god), and have parents who are surprisingly worse grandparents then they were parents. Lonely, exhausting, mindbending. I've no help except a sister who visits every 2 wks for 4 hrs, I'm thankful but in the long run it's nothing (her effort is everything... but you know). Just finding the time to write this (nap time) is difficult let alone finding a live support network that is like minded. I'm feeling so isolated (and in a major city too) and surprised that my parenting style is turing out to be radical as I'm constantly receiving raised eyebrows frm our doctor and other mums at the park... I'm a BF, co-sleep, anti vac, baby carrier, basicly an AP... etc.-ect, which can make this experience scary never mind lonely. I know it'll get better... not easier. But god! I'm burnt out!!!

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