My 4 year old keeps me up to 9 or 10 with her "spirited" behavior and my almost 2 year old is waking me at 4am (sometimes wakes in the night but not long, 4am is a long waking and I can't get back to sleep afterwards). So, obviously sleep deprivation is one issue.
Another is lack of support. I have no family here or really friends. Two acquaintances that have been very kind is all. So, I'm doing everything and trying to find childcare has been challenging to say the least. I was initially advised to stay close to daddy, but I'm rethinking that one... and just applied for a position closer to my mom, but even she can't really help. The only one that could help is my sister who lives out-of-state and I don't know if I could live where she does... feeling like I may have to go that way, but I don't know. I feel lost.
I know I may have taken on too much with an online course I'm teaching... not considering it a job because it actually COSTING me money to do when I factor in the gas and childcare costs... I'm dropping DD off at school, then driving to the other side of town for an hourly drop in center for DS and working at Starbucks. Then, try to get DS, go home and he naps, then drive again to pick up DD at 2pm and then take DD again across town to swim lessons (given as a birthday present by her aunt so have to use it up).
Then, I'm trying to get my kids in at the local child guidance clinic since DD is so hard for me to handle these days.... and I swear I never, ever, wanted to spank and here I am all of a sudden not able to handle her anymore without spanking or offering it as a consequence because I'm too tired and too uncreative now to think of any other consequences. It just goes against my soul to spank and I can't stand seeing my kids hitting and knowing it's because I've taught them to (well, maybe daddy was first at this and then DD and then I gave in and did it too). What's worse is I'm in the mental health field and filled with shame because I could teach a parenting class and can't stand what I'm doing with my own children!!!
If anyone is out there and relates at all, please let me know! Thank you!
The transition to single Mom-hood can be a tricky one at times, for sure. I wish I had more advice, but I'm in the very new transition period myself.
What I can say is... be gentle with yourself. All of your worlds just got turned upside down. It sounds like you are a very loving Mother and you are trying to do the best you can.
When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed... take a step back. There is absolutely nothing (besides immediate danger type things) that need to be taken care of right at this moment, that can't wait for you to take a step into the bathroom, or wherever, and take some deep breaths and count to 10.
Tackle one thing at a time... if you feel too overwhelmed by doing anything that day... give yourself a "day off" as much as you can. Do simple foods that don't require cooking, or even order in if at all possible. I know it's not for everyone... but on days where you really need to recharge your brain, maybe a little extra TV time will be okay so Mama can stay sane.
Give yourself space to be the loving Mom you want to be. If some things need to slide a little in this time for that to happen... it's okay if the dishes sit an extra day in the sink... it's okay if your kiddos are snuggling with you on the couch watching TV instead of running all around that day... and it's even okay if the meals that day are all PB&J.
Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula
Student, Aspiring CNM
DD ~ 1/7/09 DS ~ 9/22/10
Former wearing, ing, pole dancing, pushing, survivor & single mama extraordinaire to .
Now that's a mouthful!!!
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The logistics of your situation sound really tough, too. It would be good to prioritize your activities and make the assumption that you won't have any extra mental space for a while. Only working for profit sounds like an important step- if you can afford to lose money, spend the time restoring yourself! I don't know what your area is like, but there are lots of single moms around- maybe you could find someone to do a weekly trade with for some down time and socializing. The other thing you might look into is subsidized child care- in my state, if you're low income and working, the state will pay most/all of your child care while you work.
If you agreed to stay close to your ex, is he having his residential time with the kids? That is what has saved me in the three years I've been a single mom.
Step mom to Malakie, Cameron , and Aurelia
I can really relate to your post. I am feeling overwhelmed, as well. I have a 6 yr old and a almost 2 yr old. Today I spanked my son for hitting his sister,and I feel like a horrible, rotten mamma for it. I have always been very against hitting children, even arguing with people about it, and here I am doing it. This is not the mom I want to be, but I am pushed to my limits daily. I don't have any advice, but I hope other single mammas here do.
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