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.
to DD 1 & DD 2 & engaged to DF
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.
to DD 1 & DD 2 & engaged to DF
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.
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.
to DD 1 & DD 2 & engaged to DF
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!
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.
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?
Step mom to Malakie, Cameron , and Aurelia
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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. 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. 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?
Oh, det2888w, big hug! I 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 .
Mom to two terrific kiddos, affirming every day that the Universe is unfolding as it should and all is well...
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!
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!!!
I'm so happy I found this thread. I am finally away from my ex and the only options I had were a shelter or to stay at my parents. Despite the issues I have with my parents I thought it would be better for my kids since my dd and I have visited them a few years ago. Now I'm not to sure. They live in a very rural area ten miles from the nearest town where there is no bus, so I can't get a job or go back to school until I get a car to drive. I'm not even sure if I will be able to make it to the tanf appointment I have in a couple of weeks! All I want to do is get a job to get my own home and pay off the debt my STBX accrued in my name and start a RN program in a year when I'm a resident again. Plus my ex knows where my parents live and in the back of my mind I'm afraid of him traveling over a thousand miles without a drivers liscence and warrants to get some type of revenge on us. I have had no friends for nearly five years since he would scare off any friends of mine from school. I feel like I am starting from scratch plus two kids!
be good family...
Going back to school can be a great option and schools will give you amazing financial aid - but you have to do your research and strongly advocate for yourself. Lots of info to follow and I tried to be brief so I hope it doesn't sound blunt lol! Just went thru hell in the last yr or so - but learned a LOT in the process that might be helpful to others.... I just wrote up the info/ideas as if they were brief bullet points. Hope it is helpful!!
Several helpful things to know: grad plus loans (not sure what the undergrad equivelant is) have no limit. They go to the limit of "cost of attendance". Costs of attendance are the school's tuition costs PLUS costs of living expenses which are based on national averages. If you can show that your expenses are more than national averages of students' living expenses (for example, I live in a 2 BR apartment w my daughter whereas many students live 4 people to a 2 BR apartment) then the school can give you more money to attend. You can also get extra money for childcare and for one time expenses such as a laptop computer.
If you are an undergrad, then research grants. If you are poor, there are state and I think federal ones. Grants do not have to be paid back, ever!
All financial aid is based on previous years income. If your ex had a good income (and even if not) you can get a letter from your atty to submit with your financial aid, showing that you are completely separate from that income and now have absolutely no income and are living with family (or whatever the case may be).
If you cant' afford an atty, call legal aid. They will provide you with a free one.
Research "income based payback" of loans and look at your projected income with your degree and what you will have to pay monthly with the income based payback plan. There are online calculators for loan payback and national averages for careers. (Estimate low on income and then take out 30% for taxes and insurance to find your net. Then make a projected budget for that income incl the loan payback. You don't want to spend years in school and end up with a job that doesn't make ends meet!) With the income based payback, you will pay back the same amount monthly if you owe 20k as if you owe 200k . The amt you pay is based on INCOME not on what you owe. If you pay consistently for 20 yrs all debt is cancelled. This is only true of federal loans though!!!!!!!
Read about financial aid at www.fafsa.edu.gov and call them if you have questions. They are pretty helpful! I found out all of the above info by researching on this sight.
Attending school online is a GREAT option, espec if you don't have transportation at first. My state has a state university online option. There are tons of online colleges. Just make sure it is regionally accredited or your degree will be relatively worthless, not to mention you won't be eligible for federal financial aid.
I would imagine many college's counseling centers would discuss/do testing to help you decide on a career path.
NEVER EVER depend on what financial aid folks say until you have it in writing (don't ask how I've learned that one!) espec when it comes to the day you will get your check lol.
When you are paid by the semester for school, pay your rent for the entire semester at once (if you aren't planning to move). Your landlord will love you and it will help to build a good recommendation if you ever need it. In my case, I've found it makes them super quick about repairs too lol.
Barter for babysitting. Trade kids one day per wk and use that as a homework day! Or do hw on the day your ex has them. Be vigilant with managing your time and make self care a HUGE PRIORITY! Take a bath, do yoga, meditate, go on hikes, have too many mochas - whatever it takes to get through.
I was not sure how I was going to keep a roof over our head at first! Thought I would end up in a shelter. Family was not willing to help. We had roomates for a while til I got into school. I feel so grateful for what I have now, but it has been a long, hard path. I am currently working on a doctorate in psychology, partly online and with monthly weekend residencies and two wks per year residencies. I homeschool my daughter and I do most of my hw on the two days per wk she is with her father. I have the max I can get in loans. After a 5 yr doctorate program, I will owe way more than I will pay back in 20 yrs on an income based payback! But, my income and job prospects are good enough that I feel ok having to pay for 20 yrs based on my income. Plus, this allows me to be home w my daughter for the next 4 yrs at least. My dream is to find a small fixer upper in the country and homestead parttime and then have a part time private practice - and still be home part time for my daughter as she gets older. She is 6 now.
Hi I have been separated for 6 years now and I feel exactly as you describe. I make good money and stuff but I have no support network at all, no one trustworthy to talk to. I think a lot of us single mamas are left alone like that. At least glad to see I am not the only overwhelmed one ;-)
I am a single mom who has two kids- 6 and 8 and have no family support.
they all live 6 hours away.... I do get a decent amount of support so I can work part time- but am still very poor... school is not an option for me.
It is hard. Hard. Hard.
I did not plan for this.
I have twin boys, three years old.
Mom cannot be bothered with us.
I get no help from family and no financial support.
I have a decent job, but childcare with my work hours is nearly impossible to find.
The stress is unreal and I am always exhausted.
I make it hour by hour, but somehow, have kept it together.
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Happy to be a mommy and teacher to D , born 1-17-06 via and A , born 10-6-08 with a