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Please talk to me about being a lone parent with one DS.

(44 Posts)
verygentlydoesit Thu 18-Apr-13 22:12:02

I've teetered on the brink of splitting up with my partner of 9 years so many times. I've never been brave enough to do it. We've had brief splits but I miss him and most of all I miss being a 'family' with our 6yo DS.

I think it's this fear of not being able to make a happy family unit for DS that means I can't face going it alone. I'm unable to have any more DC, and I feel terribly guilty about it. I am never happier than when the 3 of us are together, DP somehow livens everything up and things feel 'right'.

He's not abusive, but at his core he is a very selfish man, and it often makes me very unhappy.

He has left briefly a couple of times. Each time I felt terrible guilt, wanted him back, and felt that the joy I witness in DS at the good times together are well worth putting up with DP's selfish behaviour.

I think that if I had more confidence that DS would be ok and that I could make a happy family for him without DP I might be less afraid. The problem is that every instinct I have is that we would be sad, boring and lonely without him.

donnasummer Thu 18-Apr-13 22:18:24

I'm a lone parent with two dc, if that helps - ds and dd. We're a really tight happy family unit (well, when they don't hate each other). We're certainly not sad, boring or lonely, in fact being on my own has galvanised me to make more of an effort to nurture friendships and embark on adventures.

TravelinColour Thu 18-Apr-13 22:20:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

donnasummer Thu 18-Apr-13 22:21:47

yup my ex is the same, travelin

verygentlydoesit Thu 18-Apr-13 22:25:27

That's lovely to hear donna.

I have this idea in my head that because DS is an only child it will be harder for him to be happy, and easier for him to be lonely.

A lot of this is probably tied up in my guilt at not bring able to give him a sibling. He's a sunny lovely boy, doesn't seem bothered about being an only, and isn't lonely ATM.

We have lots of adventures together, which I love but always feel they would be better adventures with DP or another child.

I am used to managing without DP, he contributes little in terms of income or practical support so day to day would not be an issue. I'm think I'm even almost ok about being lonely myself, it's just DS I'm afraid for.

verygentlydoesit Thu 18-Apr-13 22:29:25

That's great travelin. You sound so relaxed about it, I'm full of admiration for you.

I hope no lone parents with only DC are offended by my thoughts of it potentially being really difficult. It's a hard thing to admit, as outwardly I fiercely defend the fact that it is ok to be an only, it's only to myself and on MN that I'm brave enough to look at the elephant in the room (or in my head).

CalmingLava Thu 18-Apr-13 22:30:59

I'm also a single parent with a 3yo, and we make a great team smile

I make a big effort to make sure that we have lots of friends around us and we're always busy, which helps a lot!

I do sometimes feel guilty that DS has noone to play with, but I think parents are always going to feel guilty about something, whether your a LP or not!

I hope things work put for you x

TravelinColour Thu 18-Apr-13 22:37:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

donnasummer Thu 18-Apr-13 22:38:24

I sometimes feel it would be easier to have a great time with one, though! grin they both like different things and both need one to one time with me - I'm spread very thin
I think you could make it work well, if that's what you decide

oopsadaisymaisy Thu 18-Apr-13 22:38:44

I'm on my own with my DS. It's hard work but I wouldn't have it any other way. He's fab and I thinks his life is better for not having his dad in it. I've been on my own since I split from his dad and never ever have I regretted it. I would rather be on mt own than with a man who makes me unhappy.

donnasummer Thu 18-Apr-13 22:40:03

travelin I didn't have dc at all til I was 35! I loved my thirties

verygentlydoesit Thu 18-Apr-13 22:47:31

Thanks for the vote of confidence daisy, it means a lot.

Thanks oops, I know in my head it is better to be single than with a man who makes you unhappy. It's just hard to go through with it, knowing the turmoil it will create for DS.

My own step-family caused much unhappiness as a child, I didn't want that for DS. If I do split with DP, I'm absolutely not interested in another man, I've had enough man-crap for a lifetime!

bountyicecream Thu 18-Apr-13 22:48:17

gently I'm watching with interest and know exactly where you're coming from. I'm on the brink of leaving my EA husband and whilst I know that this is the right thing to do I can't help but worry that I won't be enough for her. Especially as most of my friends are typical 2 parent families.

I'm also filled with regret that she will be an only child (physically I can have more but like others am mid 30's so can't realistically see myself meeting someone else, trusting them and going on to have other children). One of the hardest things has been coming to terms with only have one child.

Sorry for the hijack (and stealing your advice!)

verygentlydoesit Thu 18-Apr-13 22:57:22

Hi Bounty, hijack away and consider your hand well and truly held (if that's not too fluffy for you).

lowercase Thu 18-Apr-13 23:02:24

I think you may be a bit low because of the relationship.
If you break, give it 12 months to really adjust, im not a gambling woman but id bet you will find skills you never knew you had, and uncover a new relationship with ds, you can do fun, adventurous stuff without dp!
You have your own unique things to bring to ds, different from his father but equally as important.

Mine live getting the play dough out ( at 10!! ) or skating or board games.
Go to theme parks, adventure holidays, cycling, find your mojo with it.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Thu 18-Apr-13 23:17:38

OP, I'm an LP with a 6yo DS. I've been on my own since I was pregnant, and DS's father chose not to be involved with him so it's just me and DS plus our fat old cat. I'm 40 and single so 99.9% certain I won't have any more DC. All my friends are married, most with two DC, so I'm the only LP. That said, there isn't one of my friends' marriages that I'd want to be in. Not one.

Me and DS are a family. We're very close and do lots of things together - we go on day trips, go out to eat, have been abroad, went to London 2012 - a partner isn't needed to do those things, nor is a partner or multiple children needed to be a family.

Personally I'd rather be on my own than in a bad relationship. Only you can decide whether your relationship is bad enough to warrant leaving, but the fact that you say you're often very unhappy would be reason enough to end it as far as I'm concerned. I would not want to spend the bulk of my life feeling very unhappy.

hypedup Thu 18-Apr-13 23:18:13

I was a lone parent with one DS for 13 years, I had been on my own since pg so it was the normal thing for me to handle everything by myself. We have a very strong bond and I loved being able to focus entirely on his needs, I often used to go out with friends/my sisters with their families and feel relieved that I could make all the decisions! So much simpler.

After about eight years of enjoying the single life, I met a new partner and we married when DS was 13. Statistically you're very likely to meet someone new - I read some stats saying that most single mums only stay single for a couple of years, and all my single mum friends have found new partners. I was quite unusual in staying single for so long (my choice, I refused to settle and preferred to stay single unless I met a man who was just right grin).

EvenBetter Thu 18-Apr-13 23:43:14

I don't have children OP but I had a perfect childhood as an only child to a single mother. She suffered all sorts of horrors that make people pity us but she is an amazing woman and a perfect mother. As an only child I had undivided attention, my thoughts and space and belongings were respected, I was listened to and felt secure and very safe and loved.
I knew how hard things were for my mother and appreciated everything she did for me. She saved hard and took me on some holidays but other fun times included things like walking home after a gravy chip and getting a video out, Lying in the garden talking or looking at the clouds, Making tiny snowmen dressed in dolls clothes, Rollerblading round to the library etc.
I never wanted to be around other children or missed having a father. Getting a rescue dog was epic and I adore her.

You'll be fine. It will be hard at times but you'll be your boy's confidante (sp?), his biggest fan, his home, his Mother and he'll think you're absolutely amazing.

verygentlydoesit Thu 18-Apr-13 23:49:34

Thank you do much for sharing your experiences with me, it has really really helped. I'm shattered and feeling really sad . Hoping to get some sleep, after which I will reply properly.

verygentlydoesit Fri 19-Apr-13 08:06:26

This morning DP called me unstable because I've recently been upset about something that he thinks is ridiculous, then he bought up the fact that I saw a counsellor a few years ago- implying I'm unstable and overreacting and need to sort my head out.

I felt the counselling was to help me see the wood for the trees in our relationship.

He said I shouldn't be sure that if we split he wouldn't try to become DS's main carer. It feels far fetched- he has no money, I own our home, and I do the vast majority of childcare but it has scared me that he would try this. I would never try to stop DS seeing his daddy (who he adores), but hadn't considered the possibility of him taking DS.

SummersComing1111 Fri 19-Apr-13 08:17:24

Im 22 and been on my own with DS since 6 weeks after his birth, i love it , we do everything together as its just him and me and he gets my full attention its not spent trying to keep a grumpy man happy to, hes a very loved lil boy he has play dates with his cousins and friends and goes to a toddler group so hes always in the mix of things, we have a very close bond, i say the only down side to me os not having anyone to share the joy with like cutting a new tooth or opening xmas presents but thats my own feelings hes happy anyway.

ChooChooLaverne Fri 19-Apr-13 09:28:52

gently sounds like he's trawling out all the same old abusive tactics threatened many times over by many abusive men. I would disagree with your statement that he's not abusive as he sounds it to me.

Try not to take any notice of what he's saying as he's just trying to scare you.

If it went to court (which it probably won't) do you think he would be offered the majority of care? The courts still act in the best interests of the child which is usually to stick with the status quo as much as possible, so if you are the main carer now it would be in the best interests of your DS for you to remain so.

Also, no one would view going to see a counsellor as a bad thing so he really is sinking low to try and guilt you into staying.

My ex said he wanted 50:50 care when we split. He didn't at all as he is far too selfish and lazy to actually want to put in the work, he just wanted to frighten me. I didn't react and just told him I'd think about it so he got bored of that tactic quite quickly and never mentioned it again.

I am on my own with my 5 year old DS and we are both much happier than when I was with his dad. His dad has made an effort and sees him every other weekend and has to actually be a dad to him which he wasn't when we were together.

Have a look at Gingerbread and you may find a local group in your area - they arrange get togethers at weekends and it's a great way of meeting other people in the same situation and gives your DS a chance to play with other children when your other friends may be busy with their families.

I have also recently started dating and it's been a revelation that there are actually really lovely single men out there who wouldn't be put off by the fact that a woman has a child/children.

Wallison Fri 19-Apr-13 09:49:13

It sounds like he is trying to threaten you through your DS in order to control your decision, which is not the action of a reasonable man. Given this, I wouldn't attach much credence to what he is saying and try to find your own way through this. As ChooChoo says, courts are very unlikely to award majority care to a parent who has hitherto done little in the way of parenting.

I don't know what your life would be like with just you and DS, because everyone is different, but I have been on my own with my DS since I was pregnant and I love the way our life is. Sure, we don't look like a conventional family, but he is very close to our extended family and also has a lot of friends. We have lots of laughs, go to loads of places including holidays abroad (cheap as we only need the one room), share in-jokes and rituals the same as any other family unit and friends often comment on how close we are, which makes me burst with smile.

Isetan Fri 19-Apr-13 09:49:24

I was effectively a LP in a failing relationship that ended violently. When we were together EX was good with DD (playful). However, she spent more time (7.5 hrs a week) in daycare than she did with him and he never prioritised time with her, I remember him deliberately catching an early flight overseas (he hadn't been in Estonia for a week and missed it apparently) rather than spend time with DD.

Official lone parenthood has been no picnic especially as I have NO support but DD is amazing and I get more validation of my parenting skills (teachers, ballet teacher, random people in the supermarket) then when I was with my Ex. Any deficiencies I have in not being the "fun" parent I more than make up for in other areas.

DD is and will remain a full blood only cild and I do feel guilty sometimes because she is such an incredibly social and inclusive child that she would have been an outstanding sibling. Resource wise I would have be a lesser parent to two or more children, DD goes to theatre class and ballet we regularly go away on short trips which would be financially impossible with more children.

Quite frankly the idea of ever having to share parenting with another fills me with dread, DD and I are a team of two and I can't imagine it any other way.

Lemonylemon Fri 19-Apr-13 09:55:13

I'm a lone parent of a DS who's now 15. We left his Dad when DS was 2.5 (his Dad ended up dying when DS was 6) and were on our own (pretty much) until I met DD's Dad. DD is now 5 and DD's Dad died before she was born.

I think that the parenting is more intense when you're a lone parent, but we do things like go out on adventures; go for days out; have carpet picnics; pizza nights; cinema nights etc. We're off on holiday later this year.

It's harder work, but worth it.

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