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How do you adjust to life as a lone parent?

(308 Posts)
sittingonacornflake Sat 18-Aug-18 07:25:07

So I'm a bit of an emotional wreck and relying quite heavily on my MN crutch at the moment.

DP is moving out this weekend so I will be a lone parent to our baby. I'm a FTM and although I had thought I'd be doing quite well the reality is I'm hugely anxious since having had our baby and I'm so so so so scared of being the only adult in the house and having sole responsibility for him.

Any tips on how to adjust to life from being in a relationship to suddenly being a lone parent?

How do you cope with the evenings when baby has gone to bed? I'm so scared about how lonely I'll be.

What do you do over night if baby becomes unwell or you're unsure of anything?

How do you find happiness again? sad

Weejo39 Sat 18-Aug-18 07:38:52

flowers try not to worry. I found being a lone parent much easier than having a manchild around, intersecting making me second guess any decisions. Truth of it is, he wasn't much help anyway and I thrived on the sole responsibility and my confidence grew. Evenings are tough, however after wee one was down for the night and a general tidy up I was in bed by 9pm myself most nights grin

Lorddenning1 Sat 18-Aug-18 07:59:51

I found the likes of Facebook a great thing to chat to people in the evenings, also you have Mumsnet so u can chat to us lot grin
It took me around 6 months to get used to being on my own.
Good luck OP

Bineverywhere Sat 18-Aug-18 08:06:04

What weejo said.

At first you wonder how you'll ever cope. And I spent many nights drinking wine and singing and talking to the poor dog.

A few years on and I'm so busy doing stuff I love I've barely got time to do all the stuff I'm supposed to do (housework etc... At least nobody is criticising that!).

sittingonacornflake Sat 18-Aug-18 08:23:16

Thank you all.

I'm definitely very firmly in the 'sheer panic I simply cannot cope with this stage'. I feel so so sick. I've no appetite but having to force down food as I'm breastfeeding so need to keep eating.

Rosetintedglass Sat 18-Aug-18 08:30:19

See if gingerbread the single parent charity have any groups local to you. Also there are a fair few single mum social networking groups on face book. Both have meet ups where you should be able to get some rl support from others in the same situation.

If baby is ill do what you would have done before. Call 111 for non emergency health issue in the uk.

aboutbloodytime123 Sat 18-Aug-18 08:30:34

Good luck OP, take small steps, one day at a time. You can do this! I was a mess too at first - my youngest had just turned 3 when STBXH moved out. But now I love the independence of having my own space so much, I don't know if I could ever live with anyone again. I wouldn't have believed that 2 years ago.

See if you can have friends round for a couple of hours some evenings to keep you company, get Netflix, get some good books on your Kindle, whatever it is that you enjoy and that will distract you until you go to bed yourself but that gives you a little bit of "you" time x

pallasathena Sat 18-Aug-18 08:35:45

I made a list! Yes, really. A list of all the stuff I wanted to achieve by the first anniversary of the divorce. Nothing big or expensive but I remember writing down the following very clearly: read every Charlotte Bronte novel; decorate the bathroom; buy a second hand sewing machine and make some kids clothes and a skirt for me; buy some recipe books and try a new recipe every week; give the children two jobs each to earn pocket money; sign up for a course/qualification to better my career prospects....and some other stuff to do with building confidence and assertiveness...and boundary setting.
You'll note that I didn't put relationships or making new friends on the list, because I knew that I had to become a fully functioning, independent strong, resilient person and I had to do it on my own.
It worked.
It was hard for about six months and then I started to really blossom. My skin cleared, my hair was in the best condition, I lost the baby weight that hadn't shifted for five years. And I developed an inner confidence I never knew I possessed.
The following year I made another, similar list but it took me fifteen years (and many more lists!) before I met and married my second husband.
I loved being a single parent until he came along.
People used to ask me why I was on my own with the kids when there were so many single parent dads out there. Its up to you what you want of course but for me, I never wanted my kids to be part of a step or blended family and so I waited until they'd grown and flown before entertaining the idea of another relationship.
But that's me, not you.
If you determine to be strong, you will survive and eventually, with self care, strict boundaries established and a plan for the future, you'll not just survive I promise you, you'll absolutely thrive.

sittingonacornflake Sat 18-Aug-18 14:26:13

@Rosetintedglass thank you. I've never heard of that charity or the possible Facebook groups so I will definitely look into that. It's strange adjusting to life as a parent anyway as relationships with existing friends is obviously different now.

Thank you for the other advice. I think I'm going to have to make sure I plan nice things for the evenings and look forward to them instead of coming downstairs after putting the baby to bed and thinking 'what now'.

I like the idea of a list of achievements. However I don't know what I'd put on it. Maybe that should be on the list actually - get to know myself again so I know what I want to achieve.

1 thing actually I have a massive garden and I am the least green fingered person ever. Well, that's going to have to change now and I'm going to have to learn how to garden! ASAP. In fact I can see my next thread already 'help - gardening tips for dummies.....'

TheSheepofWallSt Sat 18-Aug-18 14:32:06

Trigger warning

I had (have) postnatal anxiety, quite severely, from when DS was 6 Mo. By 9 months I was a single parent living with my mother, and when he was 15 mo, we started living alone. The PNA makes me obsess about impulse control and safety- **trigger warning* so I might obsess over the thought that I might spontaneously lose my mind and harm DS, or that he has found something toxic when I wasn’t looking and eaten it.

I’m in therapy, it goes without saying, but I thought living alone would be impossible. I never used to feel like I was “safe” alone with the baby. Oddly I’ve been fine living alone, and the intrusive thoughts are 95% gone.

It wasn’t until I saw exDP a few times, and was hit by waves of anxiety/ intrusive and obsessive thoughts in the days after, I realised he was the trigger for them.

I’m not saying you’re in the same situation, but you might find that when you’re less stressed about your adult relationship, your anxiety resolves with your baby.

Good luck x

flyingsaucersherbet Sat 18-Aug-18 14:40:20

My ex left when I was pregnant, so I was on my own from the start.

Practically, I really recommend having a well stocked cupboard - calpol, anti histimines, medicines for you etc. Keep long life milk and frozen bread. I have emergency bowl under the bed with baby wipes, change of bedding, flannel and carrier bag in for when Ds is sick in the night - means everything is easily grabbable if the shit hits the fan.

Emotionally, I’m stealing the idea of a list of achievements and am stealing that!make sure you have nice treats for you too. Good luck flowers

Vada13 Sat 18-Aug-18 14:54:22

Remember your tougher then you think @sittingonacornflake . Atm your waiting for your DP to move out so it’s fear of the unknown , but you can do this ! I’ve been a SP for 10 years it’s becomes the norm my DS and I rock our own thing his DF wants and never had wanted to anything to do with him . You will face hurdles such as what do when their ill etc but you will cope when it arises and not even realise it . We go on holidays , day trips etc on our own sometimes . You can do this xx

Babdoc Sat 18-Aug-18 15:11:51

I became a single parent to two babies suddenly and unexpectedly when my much loved DH died of a brain haemorrhage. I well remember that feeling of sick terror, of wondering how the hell one will cope, of panicking about the simplest things like how to refuel the car, or do home repairs, along with being floored by grief and having to cope with full time work again. It didn’t help that my childminder had a nervous breakdown after DH died and couldn’t work again, so I had to try and find a nanny at no notice!
Well, there isn’t a choice, OP - you just have to roll up your sleeves and get on with it, one day at a time.
At first you will feel overwhelmed, but every week that passes without ending in disaster will increase your confidence.
When you look back after the first few years, you will hardly recognise your old self. The new you will be way more practical, organised, assertive, accomplished and confident! Start gently, and don’t find sticks to beat yourself with. If the baby is loved, clean and fed, that’s all that really matters.
Take care of yourself, find some nice social contact - a hobby or sport to give you some adult contact. Cultivate possible babysitters, such as the teenage kids of friends or neighbours. Have a life - and my best wishes and prayers that it will be a happy one. God bless.

IsaidMrDarcynotArsey Sat 18-Aug-18 15:38:30

Practically what sherbert said, also put a decent basic first aid book in there. You could go on a first aid course so you have a basic idea of how to deal with things. Here’s link to help www.redcross.org.uk/first-aid##
If someone wants to buy a baby gift ask for a decent thermometer you can get a non contact one for under fifteen quid on Amazon. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the whole situation - like the rest of life it’s just a lot of little decisions to make - You have got this covered ! Don’t forget there is night owl chat on here, there is usually someone knocking about even in the wee small hours.

sittingonacornflake Sat 18-Aug-18 17:56:35

@Babdoc I am so incredibly sorry to hear of your loss. It really puts what I am going through into perspective thanks

Me and the baby are home now for our first night alone. Baby had literally just nodded off as we got here so I left him in his pram and thought 'right, no moping let's start as we mean to go on' so I did half an hour of gardening! Just picking up leaves and sweeping and picking up dead apples but I cracked on and did it and it feels like an accomplishment. It's nice as well because it's something DP kept saying he would do and didn't so at least I'm not looking out at it thinking of him - it's done and I can look out and think 'I did that'.

I've bought a nice bottle of beer to drink tonight when baby is in bed. I wondered if it might make me sad however I think if I'm going to be sad I just will be and the bottle of beer might be a nice Saturday night treat after a not particularly nice day.

I think I'm feeling as good as I can be right at this moment although I've no doubt I'll have another cry tonight. I should probably give myself a shake and stop the crying now. But equally feel I need to finish grieving before moving on.

Will be looking into those charities and possible Facebook groups tonight and also seeing if I can get a Tesco delivery slot for tomorrow. Lots of fresh fruit and veg for me and the baby (not that he really eats anything yet!) but try and start feeling better with a good diet.

Thanks again all for your replies. They have bought me such comfort I can't even tell you.

Twentyonesecondstogo Sat 18-Aug-18 18:17:14

Hi hope you are ok OP
Was left while pregnant and have small baby too. I find Friday and Saturday nights lonely.
Something that really helps is an Ocado smartpass. I got mine on a deal for a £1 a week I think and it’s great to be able to get anything & everything delivered with ease. They even do baby clothes

IsaidMrDarcynotArsey Sun 19-Aug-18 14:47:56

Just enquiring how your night went.

sittingonacornflake Mon 20-Aug-18 07:51:22

@IsaidMrDarcynotArsey thank you for asking. First night was tough, I found it particularly hard coming downstairs after putting my baby to bed and there being no one there. I definitely felt very lonely. But it got easier, I chatted to friends online and after an hour or so I did find that I was able to relax.

Last night was better again because I made sure to close the curtains and cosy the place up before I took the baby up so it was lovely to come down to. I think tonight I'm going to put the tv on before I go up too so there is some background noise when I come back down. I'll get there!

HugeAckmansWife Mon 20-Aug-18 08:00:57

In the early days for me I found it was really important to make things nice in the evening. So candles, clean and tidy living room, nice snacks / drink to look forward to, a box set or film that ex wouldn't have wanted to watch. Gradually you take ownership of that space and time and can start to be more productive with reading / hobbies etc as a pp said. I also agree that it's worth ensuring you have stuff like calpol stocked up so you dont get caught out and can't pop out to get some.

If it helps I recently returned from a holiday with two other families, both with two adults and two kids per family. I actually found it easier than they did because I wasn't having to coordinate anything, ask. 'where is, have you done x', I did it all so i knew what was what. As you get used to it you'll also come to appreciate your 'time off' when ex has the kids. It's somewhat relentless when I have them (80% of the time!), but I do get that down time too. I feel sad that my kids haven't got the family I wanted for them and remain angry at ex and ow for denying them that but I quite like my life now. Good luck.

sittingonacornflake Mon 20-Aug-18 09:55:17

Thanks @HugeAckmansWife - that's nice to hear. I'm pleased things have worked out for you.

So, I think the world senses I am on my own here with the baby and so much more vulnerable because a bloody dog just ran into my house (the back door was open) whilst I was playing with the baby on the floor shock fright of my life. Lovely dog as it turns out but don't know where it came from or how it got there. Grrrr.

Thehogfather Mon 20-Aug-18 10:11:42

I've done it since late pregnancy, so I suppose having never experienced any different it was easier mentally. i.e from my perspective it must be incredibly easy with another adult, rather than it being difficult alone. Not something I'd recommend but I also had to learn independence/ resilience from a very young age the hard way, so I had (too much) experience of only relying on myself.

Practically I also had hobbies/ interests that I could take dd along with me to, even if my participation had some significant changes.

I never really got into the routine of needing to be home at fixed times for bed/ naps/ meals etc, which again offers far more freedom. Of course there were plenty of occasions I needed to be home because I had stuff to do, but other times dd would fall asleep at a friends or while out involved in my interest, and I'd transfer her to bed when I got home. So no sitting alone 7 evenings a week.

Lorddenning1 Thu 23-Aug-18 22:55:16

How are you getting on OP, I'm about to start my journey as a single mum to two boys sad

NadiaLeon Thu 23-Aug-18 23:02:41

Make sure you meet people in real life. The internet is no substitute for real people. The internet is great, but people need face time with others.

sittingonacornflake Fri 24-Aug-18 00:07:06

@Lorddenning1 I'm really sorry to hear that. Did you want to share a little more about your situation? No pressure but I'm here if you want to chat.

I'm doing ok. I guess. Less tears as the days are going by but I am still very preoccupied by the break up and 'why' etc. But I have a busy few days planned with a few different friends to see and that helps massively. And my parents have just been absolute rocks. Which makes me feel guilty that they're having to see me go through this. It's not what they would have imagined for me sad

Lorddenning1 Fri 24-Aug-18 16:07:38

I posted this a few months back and i guess its still the same situation, so i have copied and pasted,

Ok I don't even know where to start with this,,,,, bit of background info, I was brought up in the care system, violent and abusive childhood, my OH of 9 years has also had a horrendous childhood. We met through work, he was outgoing, and down to earth and we had our childhoods in common and felt like we could relates to each other. We both had good points and bad points, we are both selfish. We had a DS together and when he was 1 and a half we split up, we were going through a bad patch and both didn't want to fix it, we got on really well, remained friends and co parented ok. I went on a few dates but didn't click with anyone. We decided to get back together after a year and half apart, we promised we wouldn't make the same mistakes twice and both decided we wanted to be a family again, and got engaged. it worked ok for around 2 years and then we had another DS, he is now 1 and a half and we are at the same point t again!!! Arguing, both miserable, snapping at each other. We haven't had sex for months, there is no affection (which I'm not too fussed about as I'm not that touchy feely anway) but I can't remember the last time we snogged.
Another important thing to mention is we are total opposites, I love socialising, days out with the kids, having a BBQ with a glass of wine etc, he on the other hand is not, he loves staying at home, doesn't like to go out, doesn't drink and likes the odd bet on the horses, I think it's also important to mention his little habit, he like to smoke weed, it's after the kids have gone to bed and away from the house, but I'm still not a fan of this, it was a compromise when we got back together. Smoking weed makes him lazy and have no get up and go which is the total opposite of me and I'm starting to resent him now, which I think is the reason for the bickering.
We have been going through a bad patch lately as I feel like I do everything with the kids, the cooking, cleaning, doctor visits etc plus I work full time. It's come to a head this weeks as he decided that we wasn't going to come to a christening where I was a god parent, it ended up me going alone with the children and lying to y he couldn't come, it was left to others to help with me the pram up the stairs etc, I'm a sick of it, I looked around at the other couples and thought how together they looked and why can't we be like this.
I got him in a terrible mood and told him how unhappy I was and he told me he was the same, he is sick of my rules and always making him do stuff he doesn't want to do and he feels trapped and has no freedom, he says I have high expectations for him and he is no good for me, he feels like he drags me down and that I would be better without him, he thinks if we didn't have children we wouldnt be together and the only reason we are still together is because of the children.
I agree with this also, he is willing to stay together for the sake of the children but I am unsure if I can?

we have now decided to part ways as we both feel like if we stayed together we would be damaging our children, he is moving out on Sunday sad

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