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What age were your kids when you became a single parent?(36 Posts)
What age were your kids?
What was hard about their age?
What was easier about their age?
What did you personally find easier/more difficult than you had imagined being a single parent?
What tips would you give to someone who is planning their way out?
Do you wish you'd have separated sooner or later?
4 months and 5years
One was still a tiny baby needing everything done for him and one just started school which was an adjustment in itself
Financially - must easier than I thought and I'm much better off without ex husband.
Emotionally - the loneliness was and still is way harder than I thought.
Be proactive, get your finances in order, rip off the plaster and just go!
Sooner. He was a bellend.
18 months. It was easier because they didn't really understand, but that was difficult as well. Very dependent on me so had to hold it together, yet relatively easily pleased/distracted.
I personally found it easier day-to-day only having to worry about me & dc, no more tiptoeing round or people pleasing. Not having to keep quiet in the early morning or having meals at set times, the freedom if you like. Things that were harder I suppose just took some adjustment- going to the bathroom/car/shop/bin, all together as too young to leave unsupervised! You adapt though & these things change in what feels like the blink of an eye.
Tips: create/maintain a support network, and crucially, use it! Accept help. Treat yourself as you would a friend.
I wish we hadn't had to separate at all to be honest, but in terms of timing there never is a "good time". It's all just damage limitation. OP
I've been a single parent since the birth. The dad left me pregnant and alone. Never seen his child or contributed. I've got no interest in him whatsoever, don't even know where he is now.
My parents help me out during the school holidays, I work full time so financially, it hasn't been a struggle.
Its always just been me and my child and that's how I like it.
10, 1 and the other was 3 months away from being born. I left due to abuse so everything became easier as I became happier. Childbirth alone was the worst part, sleepless nights were a struggle but being alone and happy made me a better parent.
They are now 13, 5 and 2 and the hardest part is feeling lonely in the evenings.
Only advice is to try and have a good support network once separated. That's something I lost when I left him and didn't realise I would miss so much.
Oh yes and childcare can be a bit of a pain if needed! My nursery are a million times more amazing at caring for my children than their father ever was, I just wish I was able to offer flexibility to really progress my career.
3 and 5 and I was 27/28
Yes it was easier on my own really. Ex worked long hours, fell asleep every evening was crap at parenting most of the time and did nothing but complain about money
Don’t get hung up on small things or try to sort everything out in one go. It’s usually a learning curve when you going it alone and can take a while for your plans to work out
and also do not assume how the DC will feel, you don’t know and you can’t know really. DD1 found it hard for a few months DD2 didn’t seem to notice and never once brought it up!
I was a single parent from birth with dd1. I was 15 at the time.
We stayed with my parents who supported us both financially.
We moved out when I was 18, dd was 3. I worked full time doing 12hr shifts.
My parents and siblings helped with childcare.
Dd's bio dad never had a relationship with her.
5 and almost 10.
The 5 year old took it so well, she's a very positive child who can find a good spin on everything so there were no issues there. Also there had been a few family break ups among her close friends just before that happened so it kind of seemed normal to her!
My almost 10 year boy took it a bit worse, but it was a very messy break up and his dad didn't see him for around 6 months because his mental health/drinking and drug use got so bad....He was fine at first then went through a bit of an angry period...but I don't think that would have happened if his dad had been seeing him. It could have also been related to hormones as boys can get hormonal around 9 or 10!
What was easier? Life in general is so much happier/more peaceful/indescribably better when you don't have to live with someone you don't get on with!
What was difficult? Probably realising that the dad you thought would still be a good dad when you split up really wasn't that good at all....apparently it's common enough and good dads can be let downs after break ups and coming to terms with the fact that you can't force them to contribute more or take on much of the responsibility unless they want to! It's very hard not to feel hurt and offended on behalf of your children.
Tips - Try to get a good support network! Let people help if they offer you.
100% wish I had ended it sooner!!
From pregnancy, also had a 6 year old, 5 year old and 3 year old. He left me so not much choice but to get on with it.
We are divorcing now and kids are 13 and 15. I regret I didn't do it earlier but glad that I got the courage to do it now (rather than never). I tried to leave many times and the only reason I didn't do it earlier was that I was so very afraid... Separating when children are younger is harder physically and in practical terms, plus the child arrangements between parents can be hard if one of the parents is unreasonable and doesn't cooperate. However if you stay in an unhappy relationship for a long time then the damage to kids is more profound and more visible. Here's a good article about how older kids are finding it harder to adjust: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/17/revealed-best-age-get-divorced-protect-childrens-mental-health/
3 months old, but I'd been on my own really from before he was born.
Benefit of age - he was obviously too young to have any idea as to what was going on. I met DH just after DS's second birthday so it was a good age for him to come into his life - he's never known it any different.
Negative - He was so young that I obviously didn't explained to him at the time what had happened. So he reached about 9/10 and had questions that he didn't want to ask, tried to come up with his own theory etc.
So in hindsight I wish I'd sat him down and explained to him when he was younger.
I was 36, kids were 10 and 5. 10 year old grew up overnight, but it also tied in with her starting secondary school, so possibly it was going to happen anyway. The 5 year old thought he was going to die as his dad had died only a few months earlier, and he went back to his mum's, so that was the hardest thing to deal with in terms of the children
I don't regret anything as such, but I'd had a glimpse that he might not have been faithful when we were young (20) and so I regret not leaving him all those years ago. Overall though no, he was my best friend, and in some ways still is, we are both now happy with different people and co parent well. This was 7 years ago now
I was 49 (two years ago) and my dc were 12, 14 and 16.
I wish I had got divorced much sooner as I lived in an emotionally abusive and loveless marriage for many years, too scared to get divorced until it had got so bad that I saw no other way out.
I had been very scared that I would hardly see my dc as they would all decide to go and live with their Dad. However that hasn’t happened at all - long story - they do see a lot of him but mainly (pre lockdown) when he comes to my house while I am at work. In fact if they were all at his sometimes it might give me some more freedom.
I find the teen years challenging but that difficultly comes in waves. It is difficult dealing with stuff by myself sometimes but I was so lonely in my marriage that I don’t really feel a difference.
I would say that while getting divorced was hard and drawn out (difficult ex), and I had a lot of financial support from my family, being a single parent is much much better than being in a toxic marriage. The fact that I never have to walk on eggshells again or be subjected to the silent treatment is a continuous (when I stop to think about it) source of wonder to me.
So I would say - grit your teeth, you will get to the other side, and it will be much better. I have been through a long grieving period and also feel guilt about things I think I should have done differently in the marriage, but overall I am much happier. I cannot believe I let this person have so much of an effect on me and I am 100% better off away from his manipulation.
I agree that the practical arrangements are harder if the dc are younger, but also that the longer you stay in a toxic relationship, the more they are damaged. I see that with mine - they have a level of cycnicism that they wouldn’t have if they hadn’t been exposed to our shit marriage for so long. My eldest ds also sometimes mirrors his Dad’s behaviour which is sad. If I had left sooner he wouldn’t have been exposed to it in the same way, or the way I was sometimes ridiculed and dismissed.
2 and 4. Best decision I ever made.
Everything is easier, financially, emotionally and practically. If I want to take the kids for a day out, we jump on the bus and go (not now obviously!). Before, I had to pay for him, feed him, put petrol in his car, placate him when his shitty mood threatened to ruin the day. Then we always had to leave early once he started needing a spliff
Life is fucking amazing now. You can do it op
DS was 3. It was hard, but he's now nearly 8 and doesn't remember me and his Dad ever living together which makes it easier. We've been in the family home ever since as it's taken 4 years for his Dad to be reasonable about the split of equity in the house, but the house is now being sold and we will have our own little flat closer to friends and family. The kids will be fine. You will find strength you never knew you had to help them through it. I thought my life was over when he left me for another woman
girl but it was just the start of a supremely better life for me and DS.
12 and 13
It was tough, both children were deeply affected. I wish I'd left earlier but we were " trying to stay together for the sake of the children" . The worst thing I could have done .
I'm much happier being a single parent. Luckily towards the end of the marriage we were living separate lives almost anyway so I had lots of friends and hobbies to fill the social side .
I met someone else quite quickly ( totally by chance) but we have taken it slowly and now two years later we are moving in together.
Both still in nappies when my DH died suddenly.
Trying to cope with overwhelming grief at losing the love of my life, caring solo for a baby and toddler (with my nearest relative 250 miles away), and handling a stressful job as a hospital doctor in critical care, was exhausting and depressing. I had one weekend away from the DC in their entire childhood. And I still grieve my DH now, nearly 29 years later. On the plus side, I love my two wonderful adult daughters to bits, and we have a great relationship. They live and work in our nearest city, 50 miles away, and pre lockdown we saw each other frequently.
I think that being widowed is different to divorce, in that one has no choice in the matter, and no relief at being away from an abusive partner. But also no hassles dealing with an ex over child access, finance etc.
@Babdoc , that's so sad I am sorry.
I'm not a separated parent, but my parents divorced when I was 10 and my sister was 8. All I can say from my adult perspective 30 years later is that they should have ended it years sooner. We kids put up with years of watching their abusive and toxic relationship disintegrate into a burning pile of alcoholism and rage. No kid should ever have to go through that. It's emotionally scarring and can have dramatic impacts on their life ahead. Not saying this is your situation, but thought I would put it out there for anyone who might be able to relate to this type of toxic relationship.
I offered every weekend contact. I so regret this. I did all the school things but not the fun trips out.
I put her in nice clothes for her weekends and he would bring her back in old, small stained things. I wish I had put my foot down or demanded the nice clothes back.
I trusted him to pay what he said he would. Big mistake. Huge. I should not have trusted him. Should have been more business like. I just wanted things to be amicable and 'nice'.
Don't be me. Speak up. These are my regrets.
On the plus side, she has very few memories of the tension and door slamming, if any.
We still have a fabulous relationship.
We have great memories of playing, dressing up, movie night and making things.
One other thing. She does't bother very much with her dad now. She says he doesn't make any effort for her. I don't know if that is a positive or negative.
I found being a single parent so much easier than trying to be a parent in a marriage on my own.(he went out 6 nights a week etc etc)
@Endless11 thanks for writing it down in such detail, it's strikingly similar to my situation. I'm leaving now but I wish I had the strength to do it sooner.
4, I definitely wish I'd ended it sooner.
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