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I'm struggling to be a Single Parent - does it get easier?

(24 Posts)
talie Wed 01-Jun-05 16:03:13

DH left me before Xmas, we got back together (his choice) - coincidentally when I told him I was moving up north! He has been messing around hiding his phones and admitted to having kept in touch with his ex-girlfriend for past 8 yrs (says they are only friends!), I couldn't handle the dishonesty/secrecy with the phone etc. so told him to leave and he's quite happy to do so - said he wasn't happy being back anyway and that there's something missing from the relationship! Think he planned it this way to ease his guilty conscience about leaving the first time - at least he can tell the dd's I kicked HIM out this time!

Getting to the point though, I just HATE being a single parent and I need some advice - does it get any easier?

I'm tearful and snappy all the time and I hate myself. I don't let my poor dd hardly do anything! I just snap at her and tell her to be quiet, behave and continuously say NO to her! etc. etc. My youngest dd is hard work and screams most of the time and I end up screaming back and telling her to shut up. Please don't get me wrong it's not 24/7 but I just hate myself when I do this to them! I tell myself to stop being horrible, am nice for a while and then just snap again. I think I'm ruining their early years - my dd is slamming doors and shouting at me back (copying me) and I hate that too. What can I do to stop myself?

I resent having the children at times (even though I love them to bits) and just feel like dumping them on him and disappearing out of their lives! I would NEVER have had the dd's if I knew I was going to end up bringing them up on my own! I just feel like a crap mum for thinking all these horrible things.

Sometimes, when they are jumping all over me and wont leave me alone I just scream at them and don't want them in my personal space and then I cry my eyes out because they obviously sense my pain and just want to be near me for some love and attention. My eldest dd quite often asks me why I'm sad and puts her arms around me and I burst into tears, and again I hate myself for showing her all these negative emotions and letting her learn and copy my crap behaviour!! Will this stick with her and make her be like this later in her life? Or is it too early to make such a big impact on her life?

Some days I don't even like walking round the shops or being out on our own because I just feel so lonely and I have no enthusiasm to be a parent on my own.

HELP - will I snap out of this? Will I enjoy my life again - do I have a life? Will I turn into the nice mum that my dd's deserve?

Caligula Wed 01-Jun-05 16:48:50

Oh Talie, you have only just split up with your ex and you're going through the perfectly normal process of grieving. It is totally normal to resent the fact that you are having to bring your kids up alone - that wasn't the deal when you had them, and you feel you've been cheated. Quite understandably. Have you thought of phoning homestart? (homestart ) Maybe they could help you with some extra support. Also the one parent family helpline one parent families might be able to help you find some advice about how to enjoy your life and your children again.

motherinferior Wed 01-Jun-05 16:55:03

Talie, I read your post earlier and I have been thinking about it. I am not a single parent; but I do know what it's like to be single when you didn't want to be. I don't know, and I can't imagine, what it's like to go through that when you have children as well. But I do know that life gets better. I do know - not least because of the single parents I know online and in real life - that it becomes possible to give children more of the time and attention and demonstrations of love that they deserve.

I hope this makes sense. You sound a bit like me after I had my second baby. I wasn't very patient with my first daughter. And it really doesn't matter now.

Hang on in there, honey.

feelingold Wed 01-Jun-05 17:21:54

When my ex-h left me I was devastated and some of the time I felt and acted in a very similar way to you. But you will learn to cope on your own, honestly. I wouldn't say it gets easier,(cos being a single parent is very hard physically as well as emotionally), but you do learn to deal with things better cos you have to. You will have to give it time (i know everyone says this)but honestly as time goes by it will get better and you may even begin to enjoy being on your own, I did.
Can't your ex take the kids out for the day or even overnight so that you can get some time to yourself to relax a little and have time to yourself. Also I found my friends very supportive and we used to meet up for coffee, but the subject of my ex was banned from the conversation and we used to have a laugh about other things.
I am a homestart volunteer and if you have pre-school age kids they can help, even if it is only to watch your kids while you soak in the bath, or help with your shopping or just someone to have a cuppa with and get everything off your chest, give them a ring they are there to help.
Good luck and you will get through this, but there is no shame in asking for help.

foxd Wed 01-Jun-05 17:42:41

Talie don't be so harsh on yourself. You've been through something life changing and heartbreaking at the same time.
Give yourself time to adjust and time to heal from what you've been through.
Your bound to have days that are up and down ask for help when you need it maybe with looking after you little ones for few hours or overnight when you need that space.

Hermione1 Wed 01-Jun-05 17:47:17

Don't have any advice, as i am not a single parent, but feel like it most of the time, you're stronger than you realise, and i am sure things will get better. Be strong"!!

talie Wed 01-Jun-05 19:19:59

Thanks for all your comments.

He's just been round to see the dd's and it just breaks my heart knowing he can just come and go as he pleases and not seem phased by it all! He is very over the top when he sees them and it really winds me up as he gives them more attention now than he did before!

I try to have the upperhand but he always shoots me down and takes back the control - eg I told him when he could see the dd's next, but he turned round and said he was away so could he see them on another day to suit him! How can I get the control back that I so desperately need to get me through this?

I also have a dilemma - we were supposed to be having two holidays that have been booked and paid for. I told him tickets had arrived for our first trip and did he want to come or should I take someone else - he said he would be happy if I wanted to take someone else but he would like to come, so I said okay he could come. He then added that it would be very awkward for us though with it just being friends! I told him it would only be awkward if we made it awkward and was he going to make it that way? He replied 'well, I'm not!' He then proceeded to tell me he thought it was best I didn't go on the second holiday with him and he would make it up to me and the dd's by paying for a holiday anywhere by ourselves!!

I was furious! I don't know whether to tell him to stick his first holiday as well or to go and endure it, hoping things wont be too awkward or maybe even make him realise he is missing out on something and come back? I just don't know if I could be false and hide the fact that I'm hurting so badly though? Any advice?

I don't have any friends/family in this area and am waiting to move closer to my family when I sell the house as I'm sure things can only get better when I'm far away from him! But until that time he is just destroying me. I just don't want him anywhere near me and the dd's (but like everyone keeps telling me the dd's need to have a relationship with him) - but to me he lost that right when he chose to walk away! Maybe I'll calm down when I get away and start my new life???????

talie Wed 01-Jun-05 20:36:42

Sorry, just wanted to ask some more advice - I'm sat here crying my eyes out and I just want to get away from it all - I want to just leave the house and move up to my family ASAP. Will I lose any of my rights if I do this? Can I lock up and just leave the house in the hands of the Estate Agent?

Am I entitled to go on benefits, get accommodation somewhere etc. etc if I just up and leave? Can anyone help? Where do I start looking for help?

I am due my share of the monies but I just want to get out of here - can't stand a moment longer in this house, I need to be where my family are and have their support desperately before I totally crack up! I suppose I wont be entitled to benefits etc. though if I receive some monies from the house sale??? and wont be entitled to accommodation if I willing leave the home????

Does anyone know? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?????

giraffeski Wed 01-Jun-05 20:40:02

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Aimsmum Wed 01-Jun-05 20:50:23

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Caligula Wed 01-Jun-05 21:05:14

talie I think you need to accept that you are in a situation over which you have limited control.
This is extremely hard. You can't control your ex's behaviour. But you can control your own and for the sake of your own self-respect and mental health (as well as for that of your children) you need to. The Alcoholics Anonymous "prayer" springs to mind, I think it's good advice for any situation for anyone in a crisis, not just for alcoholics.

Give me:
- the strength to change the things I can change
- the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
- the wisdom to know the difference

Focus on that, and stop trying to have "the upper hand". You never will have, because what's important to you, isn't necessarily what's important to your ex. And it sounds to me like you're being driven by the rage and grief and sense of betrayal which someone whose been in love and had it so utterly destroyed goes through. But that rage can be so destructive to you and your children if you don't channel it constructively and searching for empty victories over your ex is fundamentally destructive and time-wasting for you. Your instinct to get out of the place where you are experiencing so much pain is probably a better guide, but please speak to a helpline about the legalities first.

And if I were you, I'd try and avoid going on holiday with him, it sounds like you need to keep away from him. He just hurts you and you don't need any more hurt, you need to look after yourself.

karenanne Wed 01-Jun-05 21:08:00

hi talie dont know if youy remeber me but i was going through the same thing as you the last single still and can tell you things do get way better than they seem does still hurt at times and its incredibly demanding being on your own but both me and my kids are starting to enjoy it.
you need the support of your family ,theyve got me through all this,speak to housing people where you want to move to and get their advice before just upping and leaving.lone parent advisers at the job centre are great too.

as for the holidays ,thats tricky,ive actually just come back from a hol where ex and i took the kids away together but we are still good friends so it was easy.we still get on well and i think that has helped our kids through.i know many families cant say the same actual fact the holiday helped me greatly lol,i still fancied my ex but after spending the week with him thats gone and now i can truthfully say i wouldnt have him back.hes too selfish and ive become too
only you can decide whether you can spend time with him again ona family holiday,most of my friends and exes girlfriend cant understand how or why we get on so well ,but we do thats all it is to it.perhaps it may be a good idea for you to take someone else on one holiday and he take someone on the other.thats a tricky one.

i hope my post has helped abit ,in a while you will look back and have a huge sense of achievement and self worth that you and your kids have got through this,and youll realise life can be good again and probably will be even better,as i have done.

hugs and take care....

Lasvegas Thu 02-Jun-05 14:26:36

I had exactly those thoughts of unfairness. X husb left few days after birth of DD and have not seen him since that ws 2.5 yrs ago). I was so angry that I had to be responsible financially & emotionaly for DD without any support for myself at a phsically exhausting time. I was on mat leave so I spent large amounts of time with my mum - without who I could not have coped. I was angry until DD was easier to look after -18 months old. However, I made a decission from day 1 that my DD was not going to suffer as a result of only having 1 parent and I became a better mum, more patient and calm than I would have been if he was still there. It was a challenge basically to bring up a happy child in face of adversity and one I rose to. There have been v difficult times though and I am amazed that I coped but was lucky that DD slept tho from 6 weeks and has always been healthy & happy.

Bugsy2 Thu 02-Jun-05 14:50:27

talie, this part of a break-up is so hard. I was you this time two years ago.
It will get easier but you have to help yourself as much as you can.
Does you ex-H take the children overnight at all? Try and get into a pattern of times when he visits or has the children. They prefer the routing (the children) and it enables you to have some planned time for yourself.
Don't do anything rash about moving out of the family home. You are always in a better position if you stay where you are.
If you have no family & friends locally, think about finding some kind of help. Could you get some help for a couple of hours a week. Are there any teenage girls who could just come to your house & play with your daughters for a coupld of hours (while you are there to supervise) just to take the pressure off you. They'd probably be happy to do it for £4 per hour & if even if you only did it once a week for 2 hours it would help.
There is no doubt in my mind, having been a single parent for 2 yrs now, that it is bloody hard work - but it can be done & it does get easier.
Big hugs to you. You will get lots of support & ideas on here - I know I did.

Bugsy2 Thu 02-Jun-05 14:52:12

Sorry, can't spell - routine - not routing!!
Also, if relations between you & your ex are strained, I'm not sure its a good idea to go on holiday with him. Take a friend so that you can relax a bit & not feel on eggshells with him.

tammybear Thu 02-Jun-05 15:09:52

hi talie, ive just scanned quickly through this thread so sorry if i repeat what some of the others have said. you're bound to be upset since you've just come out of a relationship whether you ended it or not. i found i snapped at dd a lot and got upset in front of her when i broke up with xdp which i hated about myself. i found when i was on the verge of shouting, i would just walk out of the room, maybe go into the garden or shut myself in the bathroom til i cool down. I dont think it would be such a good idea going on holiday with him. Either see if you can go without him, or if you can get your money back from him if possible. Probably easier said than done, but it's probably too soon for you to do this.

You can try and make him only see your children at certain times/days, perhaps going through a solicitor so you have it in writing if you think it'll make it easier for you? You may be able to get some benefits, it depends on how much savings you have depending on the sell of the house etc. Maybe go to your CAB to find out.

It will get easier, you're just still feeling the pain. I love being a single mum now, as it's just me and dd, and exp comes and sees dd every so often. xxx

talie Thu 02-Jun-05 21:21:17

Thanks for all your comments and support.

I'm sat here wishing the days away regarding selling the house. I just need to be as far away as possible from him because it is 'too easy' for him to walk all over me being this close! When I move, he has to make all the effort to see the dd's and I have more control over my life as it will be MY world then and not 'Ours/his' for him to come and go as he pleases! He wont be able to see them in the week because of the distance and therefore, will have to FINALLY compromise on doing everything HE WANTS to do to make room to see the dd's at the weekend. Like this weekend he's away playing sport! and feels that is more important than seeing the dd's because he knows he can see them any time in the week. It makes me so angry.

I agree that the dd's need some sort of routine as they are going through such a hard time of this as well and I have brought them up on routine, so it makes sense to have set days/times for his visits to try and get them more stable/settled.

As for the holiday, I think you're all right - I need to take someone else instead of him, although he will now see it as spite and be funny with me! He'll think I'm only doing it because he said I couldn't go on the second holiday with him!! Oh well! Do I really care what he thinks?

How can such a lovely man that I married (although he was still fairly selfish back then!) turn into the BIGGEST SELFISH B'STARD on this planet?

Need to get over him and the situation - sounds like he wont be coming back from everyone elses comments!

Wish the sadness would soon turn to happiness! I just want to run before I can walk - I'm so desperate to start having a life - the process for moving on seems to be taking much longer than I'm prepared to wait for!

??? ???

Aimsmum Thu 02-Jun-05 21:29:49

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Aimsmum Thu 02-Jun-05 21:31:26

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talie Sat 04-Jun-05 07:21:21

Went away yesterday, had a nice time - took my mind off things. It's always just a temporary fix isn't it - I go away, have a good time then come back and sink really low.

Today I'm a disaster! I just want to DIE! This is the worst day since he's been gone. I hate all this mixed emotion. I just want to up and leave but know I can't!

Today I want to give him the children and disappear from this world! I HATE my life and I can see no end to this.

What am I going to do? - he's just reduced me to being a weak pathetic woman!

I don't deserve to be a mum - I can't handle my own emotions at the minute let alone look after the dd's properly!

What is it about the weekends? I just go to pot!


Earlybird Sat 04-Jun-05 08:11:31

Sorry you're feeling so down. Have you got any plans for the weekend?

As I said earlier in the thread, it always helps me get things in perspective if I get out of the house with dd. It's too easy to get depressed, upset and impatient if you stay inside doing not much. Also helps the time to pass much faster if you go out. Give it a try, and I bet you'll feel a bit better. Good luck.

debs26 Sat 04-Jun-05 08:35:51

it does get better talie, i split with x a few weeks after ds2 was born and although it was hard at first life actually got easier than it had been when we were together because i could make up my own routine.

i got out of the house and joined loads of toddler groups, saw friends, started college - and was so knackered at the end of the day that i was glad of the rest when i was home alone in the evenings!

then i met dp and although i dont want to let him go i do find juggling thinkgs harder with him around because i have to think of someone else and that takes a lot of getting used to when you have learned to be selfish!

have you posted on a meet up thread? there may be someone on herre looking to find a friend near you

dont know where you are but if you are feeling low can you take the kids out for a run around a park or a forest? that way you dont have to see much of them if you feel snappy and they will run off enough energy to knock them out for the night

Caligula Sat 04-Jun-05 09:12:13

talie, do you know if you've got a local Gingerbread group near you? It's a good place to get out and about and meet other people who understand what you're going through and will support you - also great for the kids.

Bugsy2 Sun 05-Jun-05 20:12:29

I think weekends can be a really tough time because you know that your married/partnered friends are spending time together.
I found it really helped to have a structured plan for the weekend, with specific activities arranged so that I wouldn't be feeling sorry for myself.
Given that you haven't many friends & family locally I think trying to find a Gingerbread group locally sounds like a good idea.
Bigs hugs about the ex. I still can't understand why mine turned into such a pig.
You are doing a great job - holding everything together & looking after your children. Don't put yourself down - be proud of the fact you are coping at all.

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