"You can't be a single parent" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-11-2012, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking for here, but I feel a little adrift and lacking in confidence. I'm currently visiting my parents with my two little people, my marriage is pretty much over, and I'll be going "home" to sort out the rubble and figure out how to move on. My parents are fairly supportive. My family is a Christian one, and I was concerned that I was going to be turned in to the "poor parents, did you hear that their daughter got DIVORCED?! It's so shameful!" part of the family as a result of how things have worked with my marriage, but they have been supportive. Sad, but supportive.

Anyway, the other night, my mom said, "Honey, you CAN'T be a single parent. Um, I mean, I can't picture you as a single parent!". As in, she doesn't think I'm going to be able to do this on my own. I acknowledge that I'm going to need some help, or, you know, that I will certainly appreciate some help, but I HAVE been doing this mostly on my own for the past three years. My husband has definitely been the primary financial contributor since our children have been born, which I know is not a little thing, but the day to day life? That's been me. I know I can do this on my own. I'm scared to death, but I know I can do it. I'm feeling totally cut down though, at the lack of confidence coming from my parents. Why do mothers continue to have this much power even when we're grown up mothers ourselves?! How do you build yourself up again when people cut you down like this? I just feel so incredibly vulnerable and my self-confidence is in the gutter, but the one thing I have never doubted is my ability to be a great mom. Flawed, no doubt, but still, a great mom. It's a pretty big blow to hear that my own mother doesn't think I'll be good on my own. 

This is spilling over in to other things too - I have wanted to work in health care forever. I somehow studied arts instead, and even though I found midwifery in my first year, I was very much encouraged to finish what I had started with my BA and to move on to midwifery afterwards. I started, but didn't finish my midwifery degree after I got married. I ended up taking a leave of absence to deal with infertility and then officially withdrawing when I miraculously managed to have babies. My heart is still midwifery, but it is just not something I can even contemplate doing as a single parent to small children. So, I've decided to attempt to get in to a fast-track nursing (BN) program (2yrs). My parents are very against the idea. They think I should fall back on my first degree and get a real job and put the kids in full-time daycare and just move on with life. While I see where they're coming from (they don't want me to incur any more debt), I am really, really resistant to the idea. I'm having trouble feeling confident about my decision though, because I feel like I obviously am not very good at making big decisions and that my parents must be right about this too. I'm a disaster! Any ideas for looking inward for your confidence as a new to this whole adventure mama? Or, at least, advice for responding to this sort of criticism in a healthy way?

(as an aside, I have almost never even lived on the same continent as my parents over the last ten years. I don't feel that we actually really know each other beyond the people we were when I was in high school. They're great, but think attachment parenting is totally idiotic.)

For greater things are yet to come...

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#2 of 4 Old 03-11-2012, 03:25 PM
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I don't have much time to post but I've been doing this for 12 years and don't have an ounce of support from my family most days.  You need to do what is right for YOU.  You need to do what is best for YOUR KIDS.  Not what your mom wants, not what your family wants.  You know what the kids need, what you need and what your bank account needs.  


When you mom said 'I don't see you as a single parent'  Did she stop to think 'wow, I don't see her husband as a single father either'??


Just something to chew on...


As for thinking AP is silly, my family things homeschooling is hogwash and every year I hear how  kiddo needs to be in grade X and yada yada yada.


I think you just get stronger as time goes on.  You have no other option.  hug2.gif

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Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed  crochetsmilie.gif homeschool.gif  reading.gif  modifiedartist.gif

Seeking zen in 2014.  Working on journaling and finding peace this year.  Spending my free time taking J to swimteam

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#3 of 4 Old 03-11-2012, 09:33 PM
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hug.gifIt's hard not to take stuff from your family to heart when you're in such a fragile state. Just remember that, despite their best intentions, you know what is best for your family and you will be able to do this! 
My parents really thought my ex was a total jerk and pretty much hated that I had ever married him, but when I finally decided to divorce him, they encouraged me to stay (in an abusive marriage!) because they were worried about me being able to support myself and the kids. "How are you going to do it? Are you sure it's worth it to leave? I think it will be too hard!" Those are just some of the jems I heard. And while I really had no idea how I was going to manage financially, I found it completely absurd that they would question my decision to parent solo. How will I? I don't know yet, but I will because I have to.  
You'll find a way and you'll make it work. That's all there is to it, really. The confidence to do things will come slowly as you just do it. 
And I'm not sure what your parents consider a "real job" but IMO, nursing definitely falls into that category! I say follow your dreams. It's so cliche, but for a reason! You've probably already looked into this, but is there scholarships/financial aid out there in your area specifically for nursing? I know in my state there is even a loan forgiveness program for nurses who graduate and then work in the state for a certain amount of time. Would you rather be paying off your debt with a paycheck from a job you love or a job you dread going to? I've always noticed a direct correlation between my ability to be the mother my kids need and the amount of satisfaction I felt from my work/school. 
You'll be surprised at how much strength you actually have in you. You can do it!hug2.gif

Single student mama to dd 5/04 and ds 11/07.


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#4 of 4 Old 03-12-2012, 08:59 AM
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I know you're down right now and things are easier "said than done".  Please try to remember, most of what other people say to you are about them rather than you.  (Sadly, even your parents.)  So when she said she couldn't see you doing it.  What she meant was, she doesn't have the imagination to figure out how to parent without another person in the house.  Don't take her inability to figure something out for her life and transform it into weakness on your part.


We hold such high esteem for other people's opinions, that sometimes we forget they are humans with inconvenient weakness. 



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