Solo single mothering and Jealousy (of other non-single or co-parenting single mamas)? - Mothering Forums
Single Parenting > Solo single mothering and Jealousy (of other non-single or co-parenting single mamas)?
Aura_Kitten's Avatar Aura_Kitten 12:34 AM 03-25-2008
I find myself getting extremely jealous ~ I mean to the point of RAGE ~ over my neighbors, some of whom are single mothers, and all of whom have other people who take their kids for at least some of the days out of the week ... like a few days ago, I see my neighbor furiously cleaning her mini-van... how does she get the time to keep her home and van spotless? She passes off her 3 kids to their father for a few days every week. My other neighbor frequently drops her ds off for days and days at a time with his grandparents, so she can go to parties, get her hair done, etc. And all my other neighbors have partners that SAH.

I have a bf, who lives over a hundred miles away. We are very close but I only see him once every couple of months, and lately when he's come to visit his time is spent between me, his parents, and his other friends.

NOBODY can understand why I get so stressed out to the point where I'm just bawling, but I'm at that point and have nobody to vent to.

Do any of you relate??

I'm just so mad and so jealous right now, times are extremely rough (see my other posts, I'm not going into it in this one) and I want to be able to get a BREAK now and then and I have NOBODY that can take my kids for me while I go out. Compounding this is that I have no car, so whereever I go it has to either be on foot, with someone, or on the transit.



Someone console me, I'm falling apart.

prairieo's Avatar prairieo 01:12 AM 03-25-2008
I totally get you. I have BEEN THERE. I guess that's why I am freaking out about somebody taking my 2 HOURS. (I see your post on my recent thread...sorry for breaking in) I work really hard, I can never catch up with what I need to do, and I know lots of people who have lots more options than I do to get sanity breaks, or WHATEVER.

OK, this is only partially true. See it's not so much for me that way anymore. But it had been for YEARS. Even when I was married, I never got a break, and I didn't get help with anything either.

I got so sick of being so sick of not having a life...that I put my foot down and said..that's it! I'm taking care of my needs. And I started, and somehow, things have opened up so much for me that I am able to do things that really make me feel good, and if I need a break I have a support network that will allow for it.

I don't know how it works really. But it seems like when I finally decided that I had enough, then I was done with it.

You deserve everything that you want, and it is possible. I know it probably sounds stupid, but I really believe this.

good luck!
Shiloh's Avatar Shiloh 01:19 AM 03-25-2008
yes there is a discrepancy between single mama and solo parenting...I've done it all. I know I am lucky I have the stbx around sometimes, that I have a support system. Isolated and being overwhelmed is difficult. Especially when you have people who are 'just like you' when in reality their situations are not just like yours. any chance of trading off a few hours here and there? My friend and I did that this summer I'd watch her kids for a few hours and get to do stuff and so did she it really helped when I was solo parenting for 6 months with no contact from stbx at all.
AmamaAgain's Avatar AmamaAgain 09:19 AM 03-25-2008
Well, I can definitely relate. I have been a single mother for 7 years now and a Solo mother for 5. YES, 5. I live no where close to family or friends and my pretty much X-boyfriend is not into watching other peoples kid's or me going out to meet new people. SO, with that said- the best that I have gotten is my sons dad coming to take him a one weekend each June. YaY for me.

It's really hard because people really don't realize the emotional toll that this can have on a woman. A mother needs some time to herself. Her are a few things that I try to live by.

1) Get my son into free activities. (He goes to the Boys and Girls Club in our area for 3 hours a day. He LOVES it and it's $25 to attend for the entire year). Let me know if you need help finding one nearby, I work as a program coordinator for one.

2) I MUST have at least 30 minutes to myself everyday with a book or something. My son has to adjust to spending that time away from me without interuptions (I don't think that my incoming newborn will be immediately receptive to that one).

3) Try REALLY hard to find someone that you can trade time or services for. Someone that you find trustworthy. You fold their laundry or something, they watch your kids for an hour a week.
Plenty of babysitters will do stuff like that, check on Craigslist. Also! Call local guidance offices at schools and youth employment. Teenagers will babysit for very cheap just to give you a break.

4) Remember that EVERYTHING is only temporary. Your situation in its current state, is temporary. Sit down, write out, and think about how you want to see things change. This is only temporary.


Hugs to You. I think so many of us are going through a terrible time now, as am I. Pregnant, solo mom, and once again left alone by my X. Let me know if you ever want to talk.
firstwomantomars's Avatar firstwomantomars 10:18 AM 03-25-2008
Hi!

It's really hard never to have a break, a REAL break, uninterrupted time for yourself!

It just seems so unfair and unsurmountable!

Here are a few things that have helped me find that time:

-it has taken several months but the kids now know (most of the time) that I am not available to them when I am in my "office" space. I just repeat it several times, say I'm working, bring them back to the living room calmy but firmly, and never allow toys or their things in that space anymore. I can usually get some time to myself that way about thirty minutes in the morning and after lunch

-before that my special time was during my coffee in the morning after breakfast - noone could interrupt me during those 10-15 minutes. It took a while but they learned not to "bug" me then.

-I have a list of four 12 and 13 year-old girls who took their babysitting course and come here every once in a while for a few hours after school. Where I live they only ask for $3 an hour, but I usually give more. I don't even leave the house. But they play VERY actively with the kids (something I don't really do or enjoy much) and it gives me some time. The kids usually look forward to that now. And I have learned a lot about preteens too!

-I swap babysitting with other moms, even moms who have three or more kids. It's crazy for whichever one of us is babysitting (with six or more kids!) but it works out somehow!

I am on a very tight budget but my top priority is having some time to myself, even if that means cutting down on my grocery budget. That may sound drastic but it makes my life much more manageable and I just REALLY NEED THAT TIME TO MYSELF to be a good mom too. When I am really down, I know that I will have time to myself in the next few days and that helps.

I also feel that it's wonderful for my kids to see me take the time for myself, so that they will do the same and know how important it is, something that's taken me 30 years to learn!!!

I wish I had someone to take over at night though!

Take care and good luck in finding some relief and space to yourself!
BunnySlippers's Avatar BunnySlippers 10:42 AM 03-25-2008
How about joining the kids up for some sort of class or playgroup where you don't have to go. Or if you have the funds, join a gym that offers care. Then you can have some time for yourself and they are nearby. The YMCA offers subsidy

I am single and have no one to take the kids too- ok not true, I could ask my mom if I really needed to. I also watch other peoples children, so I know what it can be like to not have a free moment during the day.
I do my stuff early in the morning before dd is awake and the majority of the kids come, or in the evening when it is usually just dd and I. It takes alot of motivation though to clean in the spare moments I have.
I also do a quick pick-up when they are eating or having quiet time.

As for cleaning the car- well most kids LOVE to clean the car. I take my truck to a self-serve place and dd helps me pick out the garbage, vacuum and then sits inside and plays while I scrub the outside.
Shiloh's Avatar Shiloh 11:30 AM 03-25-2008
yes getting kids involved with chores...why do we think we should do it all.
I tell my kids all the time if you lived in _____ and you weren't wealthy you'd have a full time job doing stuff like cleaning your room for other kids....

there is also respite available through social services sometimes, I knew a single mama in university who got a worker one weekend a month to take the kids off her hands...

I have also had exchange students and aupairs its usually food plus pocket money but it can be a sanity saver. My single mama support group was nice in getting mamas just to hang out at my house for company and if I needed to do something I could (like pee alone what a luxury)
ButterflyStarburst's Avatar ButterflyStarburst 12:35 PM 03-25-2008
On Thursday evening i practically begged my Mum to keep DS at their house for 2 hours (it turned out to be 1 3/4 hours) so that i could attend an Easter service. I was so excited about it, they were doing a tablea. You know, the actors all in costume hold a pose. The lights come up and there they are in pose, and there's narration and, well, anyway i was excited!

And as i drove to the service i had conflicting thought. I realized i hadn't been able to get anything for DS for Easter. Because he's always with me. I thought about the playroom, and how i really want to go through those toys before he gets Easter stuff, and how much easier that is to do if he's not there to stop me from throwing a broken toy out! : I thought about the laundry, the dishes, the idea of an uninterrupted shower, or at least one without the door open, that only takes 4.5 minutes. I was torn.

I then realized i could not remember the last time i had free time without DS. I didn't notice it, mostly because that's just our life. DS and i. You know? But then i started to feel guilty for going to the service and not doing the other myriad things i could be doing without a tiny one pulling at my leg.

And the friends i have who are single parents complain about not having free time, except their X's have the kids every weekend, or 50/50. And sometimes i think, do you have any idea what i could accomplish in that time!?

i know it's important to have time for myself, and it's a great thing that i was able to get my parents/ brothers to hang out with him while i went to the service. But that doesn't happen very often. And it sucks.

DS's father is over a thousand miles away in another country, and is much more preoccupied with his new family, and has never really cared that much about DS. He's visited him 3 times. DS is 40 months old.

I know what it's like not to have even the tiniest of breaks (and being at work doesn't count! : ) and yeah, i get jealous often. The worst i think is when my married friends whine if their husbands are gone on a business trip for a week or two. They get to be SAHM's, still have husbands who love them, support them, care for them and parent/partner with them, and share their life with. Boohoo he's not around for a little bit. suck it up! :

But it's jealousy. I *do* wish i had that. As much as i'll honestly tell you i have no interest in men at this point in my life, it doesn't mean i don't feel frustrated that my H chose to shatter all our dreams. I followed all the rules. Wait 'till you're married. Be married a while before you have kids, take your time and choose the right guy etc etc etc. I felt like i had it all, and it came crashing down around me. And here i am, in this place i never could have dreamed i'd be.



Blah blah blah. not to make this all completely and totally about me. I'm sorry! I'm very chatty today. It's just, i get being jealous and angry at others who have a different support set than we do. Sometimes i'm so grateful that i don't have to deal with the X stuff, and letting DS spend time with H, the confusion and upset all of that causes. So maybe that's a plus, and maybe other single mothers are jealous of me, because i don't have all that custody stuff to worry about!

Jealous or not, i know i'm good. I am taking care of DS all by myself, and doing a damn good job at it, too. I adore him, and am so glad he's in my life. So, i guess everyone has stuff that sucks about their life. I'll just choose to focus on the positive.


stirringleaf's Avatar stirringleaf 01:25 AM 03-26-2008
i wanted to post, cuz i read it all..

i have been in your shoes. no support, no car. no money.

i agree with others that you should really focus slowly on building some swap time with people. i have 3 families that i regularly trade child care with. two of them are also single parent households.

this took a while to establish, and because relationships change, i am always looking for more people to trade babysitting with. besides, i love having kids over to play with my ds. It makes our quiet 2 person home feel more homey. AND he is busy with the other kid, which leaves me with moments here and there to just stare at a wall. When i had DS 6 days a week, was working and in school, this was really helpful.

However, for the last 10 months or so, my EX decided to do 50/50 with me, so now i am in the other camp. I have to say that sometimes i feel really terribly lonely, and that 3 nights feel so long to me. too long. I fill up those nights with activities, but mostly because i hate the feeling of my empty house! I secretly wish it were up to ME when i needed time off, instead of having to give ds up on especially cozy, bonding kinds of weeks. it feels disruptive to our relationship, or it messes with my mommy instincts, or something.

sometimes, like when i am PMSing, the 3 nights are GREAT. but honestly i think i would do better with one night off a week and doingn babysitting swaps as needed.

so that said, i think thats one reason you could see your situation as an opportunity rather than a limitation. It might take you a few months to find other parent/kid combos you would like to swap childcare with, but it will happen. Do you have good relationships with those other single mamas? get some play dates going on, and soon you will find chances to be alone. as your son gets older, it gets easier and easier. kids love going to each others houses to play. so its true its temporary. and , some of us 50/50 mamas envy you for having the complete control over when and how the alone time might be.

sorry this was so long. i just could really relate to what you are talking about. and wanted to provide the other perspective.
stirringleaf's Avatar stirringleaf 01:28 AM 03-26-2008
i want to clarify though.. i just re-read the beginning of my post, and it makes it sound like i have ds be babysat all the time. the opposite is actually true, i babysit for others, and then "cash in" when ds has a day off of school and i have to work, or things like that. i actually rarely need a sitter because he is gone so much that i schedule all my adult activities for the nights he is away, and if something comes up other nights, i usually dont go, or bring him ( i have meetings and i am in small theater things)
Aura_Kitten's Avatar Aura_Kitten 02:36 AM 03-26-2008
You know the thing about trading care is that... I mean it's good in theory but I really don't like kids. :

So while I'd love to have time to myself the cost would be that I'd have to be MORE stressed out caring for other kids...


Ornery's Avatar Ornery 03:08 AM 03-26-2008


I saw your post and although I'm not single now, I was a solo parent for the first 6 years of my son's life. Completely alone. No support. It was extremely difficult and I only had one. I found myself in rages when others would complain about having to share their children with their ex every other weekend. Not that I really wanted the bio father involved but some kind of a break sounded so incredible. At times, to not have complete and total responsibility for an hour sounded amazing.

I don't really have any advice. I had no money and no car at the time so hiring a babysitter was not a reality. I too didn't really like other people's children and was pretty distrustful about babysitting swapping. I don't know what I did, honestly. Just made it through a day at a time. And worked really hard to not ever take it out on my boy.

It is hard and our society typically does not recognize or have any support for solo parenting. In fact, I found I was usually discriminated against for it.....

Again, hugs.
angelcat's Avatar angelcat 03:13 AM 03-26-2008
I'm a solo parent.

I get VERY frustrated. My mom hleps, but is't able to do alot. She usually babysits while I work, but that isn't really giving me a break.
griffin2004's Avatar griffin2004 03:31 AM 03-26-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aura_Kitten View Post
You know the thing about trading care is that... I mean it's good in theory but I really don't like kids. :

So while I'd love to have time to myself the cost would be that I'd have to be MORE stressed out caring for other kids...

Exactly!! Thank you!! What I'm looking for is some tiny regular bit of personal time without having to swap sitting to get it. Plus I don't know anyone to trade with even if I wanted to do it.

What I would give for someone else to do DD's dinner/bath/bed routine with her every now and then!! It doesn't hurt to dream, I guess...
Spring Sun's Avatar Spring Sun 02:13 PM 03-26-2008
I am the mom with the minivan. Well,not literally her, but I have a lot of help. For the first three months after dh left I lived with my parents, and then moved to Boulder and did the solo thing for just a few months before ex stepped up to the job. So I know how hard it is.

The best thing to do is build a community. That was my strongest intention when I was a solomom, and now that I am not I still have that support, so life is good.

I still have all the solomom friends I had back then, and I see how hard it is for them. The biggest thing I have found is that I offer to help and am not often taken up on my offers, I think bc they think they are too much of a burden.

When I was a solomom, I allowed ds to watch movies. We actually were not allowed to come back to his waldorf preschool until we talked about the tv issue. How crazy is that? I was sick,running a business by myself, my husband had just left me, and so I let my son watch a little tv each day. I felt so guilty about it then, and I know it is not very "mothering," but if it gives you an 1 1/2 every day then so be it. It is more important for you to have down time so that you can be a good mother.

There are also ways to get free/very cheap childcare, have you looked into that?
Aura_Kitten's Avatar Aura_Kitten 11:09 PM 03-26-2008
As far as free or cheap childcare ~ to qualify here you MUST be approved by HRC and be working a minimum of 35 hours a week with an income requirement... and right now I'm not working because I'm home taking care of my dd who has been ill, and also waiting to have surgery.
shadeshaman's Avatar shadeshaman 02:35 AM 03-27-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by griffin2004 View Post
Exactly!! Thank you!! What I'm looking for is some tiny regular bit of personal time without having to swap sitting to get it. Plus I don't know anyone to trade with even if I wanted to do it.

What I would give for someone else to do DD's dinner/bath/bed routine with her every now and then!! It doesn't hurt to dream, I guess...
I feel ya!
I've been a solo single mom for, uh, ever, I can't remember. No family, no baby-daddy. I get so effing sick of having to SWAP all the time, or beg, or, whatever. Like my kids are baggage that I ask other people to hold. Golly, what is wrong with our society that people can't just spend time with kids, like they spend time with grown-ups, because it's hella fun? And why do I have to bargain to get a little time off? Because *I* made a choice to have kids? Like, on a grand scale, not having kids is a choice? Puhleeze! I should be getting a reward for the hard work I do. My ex gets ALL the time off (he's a deadbeat, don't get me started).

So, the one thing that seems to work is this little phrase that I say to my kids:
"I'm off duty."
It buys me a little time, but, day-in, day-out, it just pretty much sucks.
Waaaaaaaaaaaa!
CherylE's Avatar CherylE 04:42 AM 03-27-2008
Yes - I totally get you - in fact I'll be really honest that I'm feeling that TOWARDS you a tiny bit just b/c you only have 2 children and I've got five and no local family, sole custody, very rarely does the kids father take them (just as well b/c he was very abusive to me) and no local close friends/support system. He cut that off years ago and with FIVE kids, no one will invite me over or trade babysitting with me. Having only my twins while my older three in school "just" having two kids - that IS my break.

It's not like if you have only a couple kids - where you can feasibly trade babysitting. My stbx when we were together was not that much help but when I just had a couple children - I had a few frineds back then where we would trade even jsut for DR appoitments or to run to the store. But past 3 children - NO ONE will trade babysitting. I'm going to have to wait until my oldest is old enough to babysit for a few hours b/c the trading thing is a no/go with five kids. I can barely find people to pay to babysit my kids. Even when my twins were born (both preemie, both high needs and with colic) and my stbx or his family would take my older 2 and leave me with 2 high needs infants and a high needs two year old and THAT was my "break". Even after we separated - he would take one or two of the kids and my having "only" 2 or 3 children instead of five was supposed to be my break (granted 2 or 3 children is way massively easier than all five....but a break from solo parenting it is not).

Even when I've tried hard to invite people over, people just figure it would be too much to even bring their kids to my house b/c I have so many kids already - it would be just too crazy. But I do really understand - it's really, really, really hard to do parenting completely without support. I'm trying to my stbx think that I don't WANT him to see the kids b/c then he'll take them sometimes - but he's flat out said that he will NOT watch them ever to help me out - even in a medical emergency and he HAS held to that.

I feel like such a horrid mom right now because I can't wait for school to start b/c then I have 6 hours a day with just twin preschoolers and that's so, so much easier than all five home all day. I don't know how I'm going to live through summer and I feel awful saying that.

I do tend to stay up way too late after my kids go to bed trying to get some alone time from them....

Other people above gave good suggestions on stuff - it just takes a lot of time to get support in place....it's hard - it's really hard...
Spring Sun's Avatar Spring Sun 01:43 PM 03-27-2008
Wow Cheryl, that is soooo hard, I can not imagine. At all.

I think it is all relative. I have it hard in some ways, you have it much harder,but it is is all relative, and I think the key is to just take a different perspective. Yes, there are women in Africa with 6 kids and aids and no food and her children are dying. It is all relative, but does not diminish what any of us are going through (I am not saying you were saying that, I just wanted to get that out).

In general, we just do not live in a society that supports families. We should have extended families-cousins, grandmothers, sisters, mothers, to help us. And we don't. This is very unnatural, the way our society is set up, we have very little community, and that is what we need, esp single moms.
Aura_Kitten's Avatar Aura_Kitten 08:55 PM 03-27-2008
s Cheryl.


That is why I got my tubes tied. :

I'm so sorry things are rough for you too.


GODS I hate this country's lack of social support. If this was Sweden it wouldn't be a problem, we could stick them in respite care or something and you and me, we could go out for iced lattes and stop going insane. you know?
Aura_Kitten's Avatar Aura_Kitten 08:55 PM 03-27-2008
... I don't even know if they have iced lattes in Sweden.......
CherylE's Avatar CherylE 12:23 AM 03-28-2008
Oh - I know knowing that others have it worse off - like starving babies in africa example - doesn't make what each of us is going through any EASIER. In fact - as of today I feel a little bad for going off....because I don't want Aura to feel bad at all (thank for the hug btw!) that wasn't my point.

I just - well - do relate to the feeling all too well. We all get what we get and have to make do the best we can - just sometimes it is really hard. My ex was going in for a vasectomy when we found out I was pg with twins. My 3rd was concieved exlusively bf-ing/co-sleeping with my 2nd AND with me on the pill and he was 5 months, my twins I was also on the pill and still bf-ing my 3rd....I'm way too fertile. Scary actually b/c ex got the vasectomy and my tubes haven't been tied - I'm only 32 so could have more kids theoretically....

eeekkkk! (o.k. not dating or anything...but more kids is a scary thought right now)
shadeshaman's Avatar shadeshaman 01:54 AM 03-31-2008
I've been really sick for the past three+ weeks (my kids got sick, too, but not to the extent that I did), and I realized how and when being a solo parent is hardest. When I'm so sick that I can't work (and I'm self-employed), when I'm so sick that I'm delirious, when my throat is so sore I can't talk, when my throat is so swollen that I'm afraid that I won't be able to breathe--and I have no-one to sit on the side of my bed and feel my forehead and ask me if I need to go to the doctor--and to offer to take me, and to insist that I go. And to buy me popsicles and chicken soup, and to make the chicken soup for me, and bring it to me.
And then, when I'm well enough to lurch down the hall, I have to work, and even working a little and dying a little, knowing that I won't make rent on time, and I have absolutely no one to turn to for help. I am it. All the money, all the childcare, all the medical care, all the driving, all the decisions, all the grocery shopping, all of it flows through me. And I am finite.
I don't even want the time to clean out my car. I don't want time for a pedicure. I want to know that if I were to die, my kids would be cared for, but I don't have that security.
That's what makes me jealous about people who have ANY help, ANYONE to rely on, ANYONE to turn to.
LankyLizards's Avatar LankyLizards 07:03 PM 03-31-2008
Wow. In the past year, I feel that I have seen both sides of this, having no help and, now, having quite a bit. I am getting aggravated lately, because I have to make sooo many sacrifices in how I want dd raised in order to co-parent at all with her father, but it is sooooo worth it. I feel so much empathy for you mamas who are doing it with no help at all. You are amazing (though I'm sure you rarely feel that you are).
Chantelle691's Avatar Chantelle691 02:04 PM 04-01-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadeshaman View Post
I've been really sick for the past three+ weeks (my kids got sick, too, but not to the extent that I did), and I realized how and when being a solo parent is hardest. When I'm so sick that I can't work (and I'm self-employed), when I'm so sick that I'm delirious, when my throat is so sore I can't talk, when my throat is so swollen that I'm afraid that I won't be able to breathe--and I have no-one to sit on the side of my bed and feel my forehead and ask me if I need to go to the doctor--and to offer to take me, and to insist that I go. And to buy me popsicles and chicken soup, and to make the chicken soup for me, and bring it to me.
And then, when I'm well enough to lurch down the hall, I have to work, and even working a little and dying a little, knowing that I won't make rent on time, and I have absolutely no one to turn to for help. I am it. All the money, all the childcare, all the medical care, all the driving, all the decisions, all the grocery shopping, all of it flows through me. And I am finite.
I don't even want the time to clean out my car. I don't want time for a pedicure. I want to know that if I were to die, my kids would be cared for, but I don't have that security.
That's what makes me jealous about people who have ANY help, ANYONE to rely on, ANYONE to turn to.

Just wanted to send you a hug. It must be really scary to not know what's going to happen to your kids after you die. I'm sorry.
stirringleaf's Avatar stirringleaf 09:11 PM 04-01-2008
i feel for you , too, i am sorry.


this makes me want to start a foundation or something!

i highly recommend listening to Dave Ramsey, he has one of those money-help shows, and its been helping me finally understand how to plan for the future and stuff.

i wish i had some other kinds of ideas for you..i think there must be some answers out there to help ease your mind as far as some of that goes. what if MDC mamas could help research these things for you----would this be something you would want? seems to me that there must be a way to create a will and other parenting plan sorts of things to provide security for you and your kids.

if not, i feel like MDC mamas might be interested in helping come up wth ideas and answers. am i wrong? if i am being naive, i apologize. im gonna keep my eyes and brain peeled though. i can totally understand the crushing pressure, and i just feel compelled..
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