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to think that single parents are a race from another planet?

(146 Posts)
wokeupwithasmile Mon 16-Sep-13 08:23:32

I am with my newborn all day and at 6pm (some most days even earlier) I start counting down the minutes until dh comes home. As soon as he is there I give him ds and take a break run and hide.

At weekends I let dh kill his back carrying the baby around and entertaining him. Not that I go to the hairdresser. In the meantime I clean, cook, do the laundry, buy whatever we need, and so on and so on.

Last night I had food poisoning. I was vomiting in the bathroom when ds woke up and dh went to cuddle him. I was shaking, vomiting, unable to stand, etc. It would have taken super powers for me to go and cuddle him then.

I LOVE my baby, but it is fricking hard and I need another person to help me do it! ...and I am not hoping that it gets better in a year or two...

I am in awe at single parents who do it all by themselves, it must be the hardest thing ever, no?

Llareggub Mon 16-Sep-13 09:34:47

I'm a lone parent. It is hard at times but you just get on with it. My exH is an alcoholic and I can tell you that my life now is a lot easier than it was when we lived with him.

I feel sorry for people who have never had anything bad happen to them, as those I have met seem to spend their lives fearing what might happen. I've had a pretty tough time over the last few years but having been tested I know I am strong and can cope with anything.

Rooners Mon 16-Sep-13 09:39:16

Being a single parent is ace in some ways and really shit in others.

I think if you are used to having someone to help then you feel like you would and could never cope, partly your expectations are higher, because there is someone else there, and partly you cope better usually as there are two of you.

I constantly feel my children have got the raw deal as I'm single. It's not fun, it's not pretty and I don't always cope.

I'm not from another planet. I'm just in a different situation, and at times, it is truly rubbish.

The title made me think it was going to be something bad about single parents.

My ex will have our son twice a week maybe. 6pm til 12pm following day which is when I collect him from nursery.

My social life revolves around the ex as he is the only person I have to look after my son. Its horrible tbh and means my social life is non existent really.

Sometimes he cant have him due to work so I cant plan anything in advance at all. I think even my house is fed up of seeing me grin

McNewPants2013 Mon 16-Sep-13 09:40:55

It is down to the family unit and the support you have.

My friend is a single parent, but her ex has the DC every other weekend (Friday after school till Sunday teatime)and also a few day in the week. She gets a lot of free time.

My other friend also a single parent, ex walked away. SO she has very little free time.

SleepyFish Mon 16-Sep-13 09:41:14

I'll take your pat on the back OP, it is bloody hard, especially when you have a terrible sleeper, add in a vomiting bug and you're pretty much in hell. But yes as others said you just get on with it because there is no other option. No one knows what they're capable of until they're thrown that curveball and i for one am grateful for all that being a single parent has taught me about myself, once you get past the torture that is sleep deprivation it's actually quite enjoyable.
I have a lot of family help and the parents that i really admire are those who cope without any help, that must be incredibly hard.

AllDirections Mon 16-Sep-13 09:41:20

I feel like I'm from a different planet, I certainly haven't felt human for a long, long time sad

Larrygogan Mon 16-Sep-13 09:41:36

I expressed my baffled admiration to two single mother friends when my baby was newborn, and I was struggling. The friend who adopted from abroad in her fifties said she had never known anything other than solo parenting, and had never felt hard done by, having gone into it with her eyes open. The other friend, whose son was conceived via contraceptive failure in a distant country on the eve of her departure in a short term relationship, shuddered, and said she literally could not bear to think of the first several years of his life, they had been so appalling.

mcmooncup Mon 16-Sep-13 09:42:02

Did I just get a pat on the head?

Go me.

HitTheNorth Mon 16-Sep-13 09:43:00

It is hard, but less hard than living with a total dickhead of a man and looking after him too. The thing I find most hard is not being able to nip out to the shop on my own etc, but obviously there will come a point when I'm able to leave the dc at home alone when a bit older. I can't imagine sharing my house or day to day parenting decisions with anyone anymore <control freak>.
I'm very lucky to have family and friends close by, and also exp sees ds regularly. Tbh, I tend to feel a bit sorry for people in relationships, and wonder how they cope with having to discuss everything, seeing the same face all the time, domestic drudgery etc, but then I accept that I do have a very jaded view of long-term relationaships now. I'm happy though smile.

BeCool Mon 16-Sep-13 09:48:12

It's the mess that gets to me at the moment - I have a 2yo & 5yo.
It just seems to be a never ending stream of fucking mess. Toys, pens, toys, shoes, clothes, food, on and on and on - it's relentless.

I spent all weekend (when we were at home - which I try to avoid) preparing food they didn't eat and cleaning up endless groundhog day, relentless mess.

And this morning the place is still a tip. At least I'm at work and don't have to look at it.

I find it quite depressing (housework never my strong point).

Apart from that being a SP is great!

BopsX3 Mon 16-Sep-13 09:48:52

I became a single mum again 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd shock

Now that was tough, especially seeing as I was really ill through pregnancy. I was supposed to be in hospital a few times but couldn't go as I had no one to look after my 2 older children. I was in a town where I had no family and friends. Nightmare!!!

Now though luckily, I've moved towns so I have all my family and old school friends around me and the support I have is overwhelming smile I love it! Still don't get much child free time as my family all work full time. DS1 & 2 are in school full time (ds2s first full day today) so I get a break from them. But I still have ds3.

DS1 has ADHD aswell so he can be a handful, and family don't exactly jump up to offer to take him for an hour either hmm.

But, having said that, I didnt think I'd cope being a single mum with 3 children but I have/am. You tend to rely on your DP/H simply because they are there. If they werent there you'd just get on with it smile

wokeupwithasmile Mon 16-Sep-13 09:50:08

This is interesting, I would have never thought that my compliment/awe at those who have it harder than me could be understood as distancing/patronising. I would never tell a person without a leg 'Oh it must be very difficult'/ 'I am in awe that you are actually having a life', but I would certainly tell a person with 5 kids 'Oh you must be knackered all the time!'/'I do not think I could do that!', and I put single parents in the second category, not the first. (Obviously there are individual circumstances etc, but I am generalising) Why? I do not know, perhaps later on I will have an answer smile

Burberryqueen yes I will. Two pigeons with one stone. My son gets a fun night at home with another child and my friend gets a night off. Simple!

Pagwatch Mon 16-Sep-13 09:50:34

I hope I didn't sound like I was being harsh.
That was not what I intended.
It's a discussion board. I have just listened to these comments for 15 years and I have always accepted them graciously.i understand they are meant well and I would never offend anyone.

But I thought on here , anonymously, was the place to express why it is not always the best way to express admiration.

'you have a lot to deal with. I think you are doing a brilliant job (and can I help at all)' is fab

'you are great. I couldn't do what you do. You are just awesome' tends to be from the people who then walk briskly in the other direction, comfortable in the knowledge that I am a 'special mum' so it was my destiny.

It just one of those ones which, once you have heard it for the 200th time makes you feel more different. I am ordinary. Really ordinary. Shit just happens and you deal with it because you have no choice.

wokeupwithasmile Mon 16-Sep-13 09:54:00

Yes, sometimes DP is more of a problem than a help, and I am sure I am the same for him! grin

wokeupwithasmile Mon 16-Sep-13 09:56:28

Pagwatch no, this is really actually helpful, if I can use different words and be as supportive/complimenting as I wish to be that's something good I learned!

Off to take care of ds who has been left alone for too long grin see you all later smile

FitzgeraldProtagonist Mon 16-Sep-13 09:57:24

You just have to get on with it, I don't necessarily think I am any stronger. I still hurt. Just as much. just have to shoulder it on my own, which in turn makes me weaker and less able to look after DC. I am tired and short tempered and when friends hurt me it is a thousand times worse as there is no one to fall back on. My mum had children overnights sometimes but has her own probs ATM. Illness is the worst, but I know this sunds mad, I don't let myself get ill and ignore it if I do.

SilverApples Mon 16-Sep-13 10:00:34

'I don't think I could do that' implies that the person had a choice and made it. Rather than dealing with a situation they had no control over.
People used to say that as I dealt with my violent child with SN, and I'd think 'What's the alternative, have him PTS? Run away and change my name after leaving him on the doorstep of the NAS?'

Dahlen Mon 16-Sep-13 10:03:00

I'm a single parent. I didn't find the OP patronising, though I can see why others might. I thought it was quite sweet.

The main thing to remember OP is that single parents are not a homogenous mass. There may be more variation between the circumstances of two single parents than there is between a single parent and a more traditional family. A single parent in a good job with excellent family support, for example, is a million miles away from one completely on her own and dependent on benefits.

I'm afraid to say that in my observations, there are quite a few coupled mums out there who have less support than a single parent with a good family network because their 'D'H/Ps are a complete deadweight. They're the ones I feel sorry for.

stubbornstains Mon 16-Sep-13 10:10:28

I know what you mean FP, both DS and I are very rarely ill, and sometimes I think it's because I won't let us be ill. (I have no breaks whatsoever by the way- DS's father has chosen not to see him).

It might be tough being a LP, but it can't be half as tough as dealing with the simmering resentment of having a DP who takes you for granted and doesn't do his share. Honestly, when I see what some of my friends' DPs get away with, I just think, "God, if we were together I would have torn you a new arsehole by now".

So, all these folk who are standing stunned in admiration of lone parents, why not do something nice? Find your nearest single mum, and say "How do you fancy going out next week? I'll babysit for you on Friday- no, I insist". That would be awesome.

LurcioLovesFrankie Mon 16-Sep-13 10:17:46

Actually, OP, I am (unzips humanoid skin costume to reveal lizard alien body underneath). grin Actually, like others have said, you just get on with it. And my life is a hundred times easier than that of someone in a bad marriage, or with a seriously ill spouse, or a partner who works away from home a lot of the time.

Love subbornstains' suggestion - in fact, if you're in the S. Devon area, throw that offer of baby-sitting my way. (Or, because actually I hate being beholden to people - think of ways it could be done in a reciprocal way - instead of straight babysitting swaps, which of course single parents can't do until the children are old enough for sleep overs - how about a "you help me with school pickups, and I'll give you the odd night off" swap, or whatever fits round your lifestyles?)

RandallPinkFloyd Mon 16-Sep-13 10:32:27

I understood what you meant OP, no offence taken at all. Especially since you seem to genuinely understand why it could be taken wrongly and to want to listen iyswim. (That makes me sound like a patronising twat but I know what I mean!)

I've been on my own since DS was 4mo. It was either go it alone or stay with a man who had cheated on me. No 'good' option there unfortunately.

I have no support at all. My parents are a nightmare (long story) and although I have wonderful friends none of them have kids so are no help whatsoever.

Luckily XDH and I managed to stay friends and he is great with DS but he's my only support. He's living with his parents so can't have DS there overnight (another long story) and works pretty much every Friday & Saturday night. That curtails my social life rather severely I can't lie! He will happily babysit when he can but his job is very unsociable hours and he's self-employed so it's just the way it is. It was his job when I married him, no point complaining about it now.

I also can't really stay anywhere else overnight even if I could take DS with me as I have no one who will look after my dog. In 2 years I've spent 2 nights away from DS and only once have I gone 24hrs without him. In all honesty though it's not something I think about. It's just how it is. Except for on very rare occasions I just take DS everywhere with me. If he can't go neither can I.

It's not something that's worthy of anyone's admiration, it's just life. Yes I wish it could be different but when you don't have a choice you just do what you have to do.

Fakebook Mon 16-Sep-13 10:34:40

You sound really patronising. Your title is incorrect on earth can they be a different race? They're all races and human ffs....confused.

RandallPinkFloyd Mon 16-Sep-13 10:34:42

(Contradicted myself there. I meant to say I have no support at all ^other than XDH^)

rainbowfeet Mon 16-Sep-13 10:46:36

I am a lone parent to a 10 yr old, she does have contact with her dad but ds is 18 months & his dad chose to not be a part of his life! (Add expletive here)!!wink

It is hard work but the rewards do outweigh the work, ds is a great sleeper night time & 2 naps a day. This is my savior I think. He actually asks to go to bed at 7.30pm & I am so ready for that I don't mind saying!! confused

I was dreading the 1st time I was poorly & how would I cope, have only had one bout of a tummy bug since he was born (touch wood) that was a weekend & my dd helped me til I felt better later that evening. The one hangover I've had since he was born did teach me to avoid them in the future because that day was a huge struggle!

SlobAtHome Mon 16-Sep-13 10:48:08

Och Thanks grin

Baby stage as a single parent was the easiest. The nagging, CONSTANT attention wanting older toddler bit was the hardest. Never a seconds peace ever.

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