What's it like being a lone parent??

(11 Posts)
HairyPorter Sun 08-Sep-13 10:53:11

Am thinking about my relationship.. Stuck in a loveless marriage and we've been together 5years (married for 3). He's short tempered and grouchy a lot of the time and loses his cool if the kids aren't on their best behaviour (they're 2.5 and 1 so there's often years for one reason or another). I think he has anger management issues but he doesn't accept this and wont seek help. I'm scared of parenting alone (but to be fair I probably do 90% already anyway) and its financial implications (I'm sahm and when I go back to work next year my salary is about a third of dh's) as well as how tough its going to be in terms of practicalities. Please tell me the good and bad bits about being a lone parent?

farrowandbawl Sun 08-Sep-13 16:35:20

It's hard work but no where near as hard as being in a bad relationship.

Agree with farrow - its stressful and tiring but only about practical issues grin

Sasquatch75 Sun 08-Sep-13 21:00:33

I've only been a lp for 5 weeks now, and although it's hard in terms of facing my ex (he was the one who left) and really missing the kids when he has them, there are lots of benefits too that I'm now realising. I can do what I want when I want and have no one to answer to! I'm actually getting things done now that ex kept saying he'd do (DIY) but didn't. I have lots of supportive friends and family there for me too.

I was like you, doing about 90% of everything anyway, so it wasn't much of a change lol!

Yes, financially it's going to be hard, but if you're really unhappy in your marriage and feel you've tried hard to make it work, then being on your own will be better for everyone.

farrowandbawl Mon 09-Sep-13 14:04:05

I agree with it not being much of a change..day to day it's a lot easier than you think it would be.

It's when you are ill or the kids are ill is when it will get to you - even long evenings can be filled with a new hobby or a few good boxsets.

Financially can be hard, but it is worth it. You will get really good at discount shopping and your mental arithmetic will improve no end. You will sleep better because you are so bloody tired and you will become fussy about who you go out with. There is nothing worse than forking out cash for a baby sitter for what may be a crap date/shag/night out.

Oh, you will loose friends. Some don't like it when you are on your own - in that way, your new situation is a great filter.

Beware of the blokes they prey after single parents, they think we are all desperate. Your wanker radar needs to be in full wokring order before you even think about dating again.

ct81 Wed 11-Sep-13 00:24:19

My ex was like this with our kids , I thought I couldn't cope without him, he walked away 8 months ago when dd was 3 weeks away from 1st bday and ds was 3 and a half as he couldn't cope with the demands of my pnd and its the best thing the b*****d has ever done for us! Don't get me wrong, I wanted him back for months, I probably still cry most days but I really doubt I would take him back now . We are managing financially ok. But the kids are much happier , they've only got one parent laying down the ground rules and I pick my battles, they're not having to put up with his grumpiness and unreasonable demands of their behaviour etc, they are much happier, my ds is much more confident , their behaviour is great and they are in a fab routine. It's done wonders for my confidence as a parent coz I can see I've got them there without him. I'm the same as you, much lower sal than him but with tax credits, some maintence from him , my salary and housing benefit ( we've always rented) we are coping. TBH I'm coping better financially than we were together as I'm solely in charge of the finances now and not got him frittering money away behind my back x

Simbolic Wed 18-Sep-13 17:52:47

The bad:

You have all the responsibility, all of the time.
Need a pint of milk because you forgot to buy some earlier from the corner shop at 8pm?
Get the kids up & dressed then, because there is nobody there to watch them while you pop out for 5 minutes, or go without until you can get some in the morning.
There is never anyone to give you those 5 minutes, whatever you need them for because the only time anyone else is in the house they are visiting.
They may help a bit for a while after you become a single parent but it won't last until your kids are grown.
Sometimes, you really need 5 minutes.
I have some neighbours who are seperated & she has to put up with screaming matches on the doorstep with him about once a week.
You may have that kind of embarrassment to deal with.

Sooner or later you'll have to face up to the fact that you are alone & that it is different from being alone without kids.
You can't go out without difficulty, if you get drunk there is nobody else who will watch the kids if they need you, if you are sick you'll have to deal.
Even if you are glad you've separated, you'll still feel sad about it sometimes.

Awkward relationships with joint friends, some married ones may now assume you want their man (even if he's as undesirable as can be) or no longer include you in things you did as a couple.
See something beautiful, funny, or got some great news?
There is nobody to tell who is special to you.
Christmas presents... your pile will look small to nonexistant, same goes for mothers day, birthday etc.. as there is nobody to help the kids get you a card.
Finding a babysitter (unless you already have one)
Finances maybe - turns out my ex was spending 90 percent of our income so I am actually better off.
You'll have to deal with your own DIY or other jobs he currently does.

You'll also be the one to deal with the 'where's daddy?'/'why doesn't he live here?' etc.. fallout as well as the 'I miss daddy' stuff.
You may have to see your ex with another woman & when your money is tight you may find it hard to remember he's spending his money on her - it's not yours because you are not a couple anymore.

You'll have to deal with how he reacts too..
He may be a great single dad & have them at his house, be civil etc..., or he may disappear & never be heard from again, or anything in between.
Even if he's great, you're likely to be their primary carer so you'll have to be super careful not to blame him for stuff.
Making your kids dislike him might seem fine when you've had a bad day, but it will come back to bite you when they are older so don't do it.

You will also have to deal with the fallout as regards grandparents etc.. if they are part of your kids lives.
His parents will almost certainly see you as the bad guy, but it's important for your kids to have relationships with both sides of their family if possible & you'll almost certainly have to sort that.

He might be better without you.
You'll have to deal with that, someone will be horrible enough to point it out.


But the good:

You have all of the responsibility, all of the time.
The money you have is in your control.
There may be less of it, but you can make a plan then stick to it as there is nobody else to mess it up.
Never sit in the front room pretending you enjoy Top Gear again, or miss the best bit of the film because he talks over it/asks you what's happening etc...
Control of the remote is yours!
That friend of yours he doesn't like? You can invite them round whenever you want.
Feel like spending the evening on the phone to your sister/friend/whoever? Go ahead, you get to decide & there's nobody to stop you.
Wear what you want/do your hair how you want/try out new makeup.
He won't be there to disapprove, tell you that style doesn't suit you etc..
Feel free to run round your home with your knickers on your head if you want, it's your home.
All the wardrobe space is yours.
Move the house round as you please or put up a fireman calendar in the kitchen - you now have total control & don't need to refer to anyone else.
The toilet seat stays where you put it as long as you teach your kids to put it back that way.
You'll spend a lot less on food- you may have to learn to buy less because you'll have a habit of making meals that include feeding your ex.
Sleep better because you aren't back to back with someone you have just been arguing with, breathing in that ill will as you drift off.

If one of your kids is crying their eyes out, you'll be dealing with them, not worrying about his reaction if they don't stop.
Happier kids if the atmosphere is better.

There may be kids in it now, but you have your life back under your control and once you get used to it, you may never want to be part of a couple again in case you lose it.

Google places to go, check local papers, the tourist centre, council, ask mums at the school etc.. to find cheap places to take your kids.
Some places offer discounts for local people or single parents if they go on certain days. Others may be free for under 2s/3s/5s or even adults.
I spent £10 (the cost of a day ticket) and got a years free admission to my local aquarium for me & my son. We can go everyday if we want & they have a play area with a great big indoor climbing frame/ball pit beside their cafe which is free to use
My local zoo has cheap rates for single parents on Tuesdays.
Find out if they are places you can take a picnic, then you can set your budget accordingly.

You can plan these things & carry them out, because it's just you.

It's hard, especially at times like 00.01 Jan 1st when you can hear what seems like the rest of the world out celebrating a new year while you are home alone with the kids, but if being a single parent is what has to be, it can also be wonderful.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 18-Sep-13 22:31:51

it is a much easier parenting as a single parent than with someone with anger issues. nd as child of grouchy paent, it will be much esier for them too.

HairyPorter Thu 19-Sep-13 06:01:21

Thank you so much for all your honest and candid responses. flowers things get easier durin the week when he works longs hours, and at the weekends when he's around and loses his cool with us I remember what a dick he can be!

comingintomyown Thu 19-Sep-13 18:50:45

Life for me, four years in, is far happier and peaceful.

I havent really found many of simbolics cons to be true but then my DC were 10 and 13 when we split

eyebrowsfurrowed Thu 19-Sep-13 20:09:52

what a blinding response there from Simbolic. It's very new to me but I no longer feel depressed.

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