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Any advice for a newly single mother please?

(39 Posts)
HotSweetTea Sat 25-Apr-15 09:54:09

Hi everyone

I split from my 2.5 year old son's father about 2 months ago.

He is going through his own rubbish at the moment, finding it hard to accept the relationship is over. Consequently he is seeing his son sporadically. I want to set up regular contact so our son has stability and knows what will be coming up in his life. I think this is so important. Ex doesn't seem to think so and is being difficult.

Anyway, I just want to do right by my son. He seems a happy little boy. I am trying not to spoil him or over compensate for the lack of daddy time but I think sometimes I should calm down on that and cut him some slack. I don't want to spoil him but in the same token I don't want him to feel unloved.

For example bedtimes. He used to love bedtimes, never a problem. But since he went to stay with his dad last week he's gotten difficult. I've been quite strict so far but I wonder if I'm too hard on him. Maybe due to the circumstances I should be more lenient? I don't know.

Also everything we read or watch seem to have the two parent characters, and he notices. Can anyone recommend a book or film for toddlers which has a single parent theme or am I being silly?

I don't know what I'm posting about really. I just feel I need to do something to make sure he grows up stable and happy...

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HotSweetTea Sat 25-Apr-15 10:35:07

Hopeful bump

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HotSweetTea Sat 25-Apr-15 11:52:08

Anyone? sad

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BlackeyedSusan Sat 25-Apr-15 14:36:36

1st bit of advice... can be a bit slow round here.. grin

just going back to read your op now...

BlackeyedSusan Sat 25-Apr-15 14:42:24

ds would not sleep on his own for several months just after I split up with his dad. he needed to have someone in the room, in the end we co-sleeping for a bit as he woke with night terrors and it was better to sleep with him in bed, and half wake me a couple of times than jolt me awake with blood curdling screams, and then cling on, on top of me for the rest of the night, significantly reducing the amount of sleep.

you need to find the balance between him needing extra help, and spoiling him.

you also need to find the right balance for you. you are going to be your child's stability. you need to stay relatively fit and healthy emotionally for that by cutting yourself a bit of slack.

HotSweetTea Sat 25-Apr-15 14:55:12

Hi Susan
thanks for replying. I ended up posting on chat too.

I think I do need to cut him a bit of slack regarding sleep. I do give him extra stories and songs but it's taking an hour where it used to take 10min or less. But I refuse to bring him downstairs, as he would want.

also for the first time ever, he came into my bed the other morning (5am). I'm fine with this too. It was lovely to be next to him while he slept. I wouldn't want to get into too much of a habit though as I imagine I would get very little sleep. I don't function well on broken sleep and I need to be at my best if I'm doing everything on my own.

I think I'll be less impatient at bedtimes and accept he will need extra help at this time. I just need to make sure I don't give in to every single demand...

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Ilikesponge123 Mon 27-Apr-15 09:51:50

Hi ladies can I join?
My DD is 10 months I'm married and leaving my husband at the end of the month. Abusive marriage. Verbal and physical in the past. I work full time and moved 86 miles from my family who live in Birmingham. How will I cope?

BlackeyedSusan Mon 27-Apr-15 11:22:35

I like, you will cope, it may not feel like it but you will. It is so much better than being with an abuser.

do you work?

ps it is probably better if you start your own thread, then your replies do not get lost.. smile

op, just do what you need to do to get sleep. this will be different for all and you will have to find what suits you best. bed time is not really the best time to inforce too strict a regime when they have undergone a trauma, though I don't think I would have the patience for that many stories. I would prefer to read quietly my self while they fell asleep. sort of compromise.

Ilikesponge123 Mon 27-Apr-15 21:12:44

Yes Susan I do work full time until last week I now work 24 hours a week.
I'm new to mumsnet and don't know how to start a thread of my own?
I feel so worthless and pathetic. Surely at the age of 21 with a beautiful DD I shouldn't feel like thisxx

WishIwasanastronaut Mon 27-Apr-15 21:20:01

Hello ladies,

Just wanted to say I have been separated from my husband for nearly 4 months now and it is a lot easier than I thought it would be!! Yes, adjusting to a new routine was a bit of a challenge but we are so much more relaxed now than when dp was around (also verbal, emotional and very occasional physical abuse). You will probably find this too, once the dust settles smile

HotSweetTea Mon 27-Apr-15 21:22:29

Sponge you are more than welcome to stay here and post on this thread! We're in similar positions (although I'm an ancient 34 years old compared to your youthful 21) and so any replies would surely help both of us.

I will reply properly tomorrow, I'm too shattered to think straight right now. Xx

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Twistedheartache Mon 27-Apr-15 21:36:30

Hi
Completely empathise with you
My ex left just under 2 months ago now. My DD1 is just 4 but like your son has been v unsettled after facetime/visits. I'm trying to balance maintaining boundaries vs cutting her slack because her daddy's not around anymore.
She sleeps with me at the weekend & on special days. Her inventiveness at what constitutes a special day is quite entertaining! On the otherhand I have had to physically pick her up, take her to bathroom & brush her teeth. She needs a bit of babying I guess but some of that is having a 6 month old sister.
Honestly I'm much less patient & grumpier then I want to be & than I used to be before he left but can be a means to an end since getting cross with her works when she's pushing it.
I'm definitely embracing the good enough school of parenting & cuddles whenever she want. It's hard and exhausting.
Trust your gut - if you think you've been too strict go & say sorry & cuddl.
Good Luck!

Ilikesponge123 Tue 28-Apr-15 09:46:25

Hot sweet tea I'm so glad we're in the same position (not to be taken badly)
I thought I was alone. You're not acient!
I hope your okay and looking after yourself. Had a docs appointment yday and she put me on anti depressants. She said for me to go back next week and she'd give me a sick note off work.

iwishiwasanastronaut how is it now? Do you feel happier alone? And is it hard to have contact with your LO's dad? I love my husband but I can't stand bieng treated like this. He has no respect for me at all x
Thank you all ladies xx

OllyBJolly Tue 28-Apr-15 10:11:20

Being a single parent can be very positive. I was on my own with two DDs from when they were 2yrs and 5 months until they were mid teens. We did way more than other families seemed to, had lots of fun and really could suit ourselves in lots of ways because there wasn't another adult to consider. I never turned down invites because "hubby might be out" because I never had to rely on anyone else! My kids DF would take them to 5 star hotels where they had their own pool and butler; they would say they had far more fun with me at Haven in Scarborough! We would have picnics in the park, or on the living room floor when it suited. We had lots of sleepovers with their friends. We could suddenly decide to go visit my parents or friends on the other side of the country. I had almost complete control over how we lived.

I'm not pretending for a minute it's not hard work; it bloody is. But so is living in a bad relationship.

I think you can indulge children without spoiling them. To suddenly not have a parent in your life is traumatic, so I'm not surprised your DS is playing up at bedtime. Be careful not to blame too much on the other parent; spending a first overnight away will be disruptive no matter where it was. And it will be very difficult for him coming to terms with two homes. You just have to find a pattern that works for you.

I'm wary of giving advice as I made so many mistakes. However, one definite must is that you have to look after yourself. Spoil yourself, plan treats, and work at making friends and building a support network. Accept all the help you can.

Best of luck! x

HotSweetTea Tue 28-Apr-15 11:08:59

I agree very much with Olly - there are many, many positives to single motherhood. The main reason being that the house is so much more calm and happy now. I don't feel like I am walking on eggshells. I don't feel resentful of doing all the work. I felt like a single mum while he was here, except back then I was looking after an extra child grin - not any more! I get into bed every night feeling at peace. I no longer need to lie there feeling anxious, wondering what he would do this night to disturb my sleep.

I have been making the most of the time DS is with his dad. Last week, I went for a pedicure and massage. I have joined the gym and intend to use it for "me time" when DS is with his dad. I am catching up with all my friends. Its bloody great, I love it.

I just worry about my son, and how it will effect him. I KNOW our split is for his good, that he is much better off with the way things are now...however I still wonder how his little mind works, and if it is upsetting for him. I don't think it is...I think he's too young. But I still worry!! I worry about whether his father will be able to step up and actually plan a future in which he can see his son in a regular scheduled routine HA! yeah right

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Ilikesponge123 Tue 28-Apr-15 19:39:47

That sounds great. Are you working olly? And what about you hottea? I work full time and plan to move back home to my parents(parent- mum died when I was small so only have dad) I have 4 brothers and a twin brother who lives in the next street but that's all. I lost all my friends when I changed my religion because they thought it was too 'extreme'

If any mums here are on benefits is the money enough? I have savings but dont want to use them as for LO. I can't transfer in my job as far as I know I work for my council. I love my job and bieng financially independent but my LO comes first now I guess xxxxxx

OllyBJolly Tue 28-Apr-15 20:00:06

I was a SAHM when ex left but had to get a job pdq. Because we lived semi rural I had to work full time to make commuting worthwhile. I also had to earn a decent enough salary to cover childcare. No family within 200 miles.

I would say think very carefully about giving up work, especially a public sector job if it comes with good Ts & Cs. A private sector employer is likely to be less obliging when it comes to time off for sick kids, carol concerts, dentists etc. Also, now my kids are independent, I've got a great career and financially stable. Many of my clever, talented friends found it very difficult to get back into the jobs market after taking significant time out, and the jobs they could get were not ones they would have chosen. Being a working single parent is especially hard, but I think it was good for my DDs to see that I worked for what we had. Once I'd paid the bills and the childcare and the commuting then it's quite possible I was better off on benefits but that's not the environment I wanted for my children.

Not sure how benefits work, but I think you only get them for a limited time now. I'd hate to be chasing minimum wage jobs when my kids are 7 (?). Keep your service, and you might find it much easier to negotiate flexible hours or whatever should you want to.

HotSweetTea Wed 29-Apr-15 08:59:38

Morning smile

I work PT, and I love my job. It keeps me sane, on an even keel, and it means DS and I miss each other, we get on better, he has a life outside home.

When I was still with my ex, money was always so tight. But since I officially became a lone parent, I am doing OK financially. Of course the childcare costs are abominable but he is nearly 3 now so it will be reducing soon.

I would also urge you not to leave work, sponge - if you possibly can. For all the reasons Olly points out.

I dropped DS off with ex just now, they are spending the day together while I work. Of course ex chanced his arm by asking me to stay for dinner after work as the rush hour tube would be manic.

He is right, it will be manic. But I'd rather take my chances, thanks!

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Ilikesponge123 Thu 30-Apr-15 19:20:46

Hotsweettea and olly thanks for reasurance smile
I'm suffering with depression atm docs put me on medication and councilling. I have such a happy baby though and I'm so lucky. She hates to cry. Has got 4 teeth now and teething like crazy. I'm trying to ween her off baby food but how do I know if she's eaten enough when she never stops? Shes just eating abit of everything envy xxxx

Ilikesponge123 Thu 30-Apr-15 19:21:45

I work 24 hours a week. I'm a dementia nurse smile 21

306235388 Thu 30-Apr-15 19:42:23

This is a minor thing but I think in Toy Story Andy's mum is a single mum.

HotSweetTea Fri 01-May-15 12:29:30

Sponge - ah bless your daughter. I remember my LO was a rubbish eater and it would stress me out. Let her eat to her hearts content! smile

Sorry to hear you are suffering with depression. I know only too well what that is like. But I have come through it, and so can you too. Have you stared your counselling yet? Have you started your meds?

I got a call off the doctor today - they have put me down for counselling sessions - waiting list 4 weeks. My depression and anxiety has virtually disappeared since I broke up with ex, however I want to work on why I allowed myself to be treated the way he treated me for so long. I need to discover and work upon those issues (my father was abusive) to ensure I do not fall into the trap again. I need to learn how to deal with my ex and his manipulative ways. So that is the plan anyway.

I have told ex to stop messing me about. He was supposed to have DS this weekend but stalled for so long, and faffed about and wouldn't give me an answer by the deadline, so I have DS this weekend. I think ex did this on purpose. Either he already has plans (which would be fine, had he JUST LET ME KNOW), or wanted to scupper my own plans, or just to keep some sense of control. Whatever the reason, it pushed me over the edge and I have told him that if we can't get a schedule together in 10 days - I would be in touch with my solicitor. And I mean it too.

He is still coming back with replies such as "why won't you help me" "I am suffering" "you are projecting your childhood onto me" "you are listening to internet trolls (mumsnet)" "you arent putting DS first" etc etc. Yet nothing about when he wants to actually SEE his DS.

Anyway, I am doing really well. I feel happy and contented. His emails don't bother me anymore. My pity reserves have been used up and I don't even feel sorry for him anymore. So that is a start!

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Ilikesponge123 Fri 01-May-15 13:01:31

Hotsweettea thank yousmile I've only just realised she's 1 next month smilegrin
Yes I'm on meds and councilling booked for May 12th. We are still living together and married I've not told him I'm leaving as it would cause hell but he knows I've been pushed over the edge. He's actually acting very nice, it won't last tho. So I have to put up with sly comments about my parenthood and then his loveydovey stages. I think he needs some help also. He suffered from an abusive father who passed away 1 month before he met me.

I'm glad I have realised what I'm going though isn't normal. My anxiety is very bad though at the momment. He knows how to push my buttons. I'm ignoring it tbh. The thing I hate about all this is that I love his mum like my own because I've never had a mum. Shes giving birth in a week or so, so I feel like I should put it off. Don't think it's a good idea though because I'll get used to it again.

My DD I've been giving her finger food and fruits and she loves to try and pick every small minute thing off the floor and eat it :||
Dont let him bother you. You've made the first step. Your a fab mum and will make someone very happy smile x

HotSweetTea Fri 01-May-15 13:24:10

You sound like a very emotionally intelligent woman. The fact you have realised that things are not right is such a massive step...a step in the right direction to your freedom and happiness. It took me a long time to admit to myself how bad it was, and that it wasn't normal.

After I told him it was over, he stayed in the house for a week. It was an awful few days. My anxiety was through the roof, I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating. I lost 8lb in a week - every cloud smile)

But as soon as he was out of the house and the locks changed...my anxiety levels dropped dramatically.

I am glad to hear you are working on yourself (meds / counselling) but I would urge you to put his mental health out of your mind. Its not your problem / fault. I made the mistake (and sometimes still do - hence booking counselling for myself) of taking on board the responsibility of how he was feeling, and feeling bad that I couldn't help him. It was just another thing that tied me to him, emotionally. I am trying my hardest to break this chain.

Its good that you recognise also that he is trying to hoover you back in. Read that link, it has really helped me in the past when I was having a wobble because he was being nice.

Did you say your MIL is having a baby??

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Ilikesponge123 Fri 01-May-15 20:18:41

I find myself still struggling to believe it sometimes but I know its a vicious cycle and I can't keep lying to myself think it will work somehow.
It's selfish on our DD.
Did your ex try to persuade you? Was he nasty or did he act all nice like he was in denial? The way you're describing your anxiety is exactly like mine. When me and my husband have argued in the past he thretens to leave and I do my best to try and persuade him but the past few times he's walked out I have actually felt relieved.
You sound like you have come such a long way already! Wow I can't believe you can be happy after this. My confidence is so low.
And how is your DS?
And YES I did say my MIL is having a baby next week she's 43 lol (don't even ask)
Will look at it now, I enjoy seeing your reply tbhsmile

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