Deandra C. describes the life of a single mom as one consumed with trying to keep a roof over your children's heads while also worrying that you'll be alone forever. "There are more times than I care to admit when I get sad and lonely, especially since none of my friends are single moms. It's scary and I fear being like this forever."
Discussions on Circle of Moms reveal that these feelings are far from unusual among single moms and moms considering separation or divorce. Here, members who have wrestled with four of the most common fears single moms face offer advice on how to overcome them.
Fear #1: I'll Be Lonely Forever
Many single moms believe that not having a partner translates, by necessity, into a consuming loneliness, but Deandra C. has learned that this doesn't have to be the case. Single moms can alleviate many of their fears of loneliness by being proactive, she says.
"I've had to make it a point to have some sort of adult conversation every day," she shares. "I call my parents a lot. Because I have no spouse, they're the ones I share all of his milestones, jokes, and accomplishments with. I am also making a conscious effort to join some single parent groups for socialization."
Feeling like you're all alone is one of the most crippling parts of being a single mom, agrees Miain V, who has been parenting solo for almost six years. She finally stopped worrying so much about raising her eight year-old son alone when she started attending a solo parents forum with people who were emotionally supportive of each other. She descibed it as "[a] group of solo parents that shares best practices on how to run things alone. . . .a group that [doesn't] make you feel bad, but proud [to be] solo."
Miain V. found that over time, the group helped her be alone without being lonely. "It might be lonely for single moms when you're in bed and there's no one to cuddle with, but I just thought that I don't want to cuddle with the wrong person again. There's fear and loneliness, but try to dwell on what you have instead of what you don't," she offers.
Fear #2: I'll Lose Custody of My Kids
If your situation devolves into a custody battle, a member named Tabetha points out that usually the courts will keep the children with their mom: "Judges don't usually just take a child from the mother, so just make sure that until it's over that you don't give him anything to use against you."
In a case where it's the child who wants to live with your ex instead of you, resistance is futile, says Rhona C. — but the change can turn out to be a healthy new beginning for both of you: "We have to remember we are still their mother and continue to mother a child who leaves. If you support [your child's] decision instead of making her feel guilty about it, she'll be open to compromises to make this work. Keep the communication lines open between you."
Fear #3: I'll Go Broke
Some newly single moms find themselves facing an abrupt re-entry into the workforce. Whether they spent their days caring for their kids or volunteering, it's not easy to face the fears that crop up over finances.
Holly F., a single mom of two, ages two and six, stress that creating a solid financial foundation for yourself helps to ease much of the anxiety and stress. "It's been very difficult, especially since I work two jobs and don't receive child support," she shares. "However, I have managed to trim a little off the top with a few simple things. For one, I buy groceries based on a meal. I don't just by food that we like; I figure out what I can add to the food to make an entire meal. Also, we rarely eat out. We find cheap fun when the trips aren't available. I've found that I enjoy going to the playground as much as they do."
A member named Renee found her way out of an even scarier situation: she was two months pregnant with no job and no marketable skills when her husband left. For moms in similar straits, she recommends a vocational program where you can become a cosmetologist or a medical or dental assistant in about ten months. Renee shares that she was able to get financial help from her state government to cover tuition and daycare while she trained and got back on her feet.
Fear #4: My Kids Will Blame Me for the Divorce
Laura D. left her daughter's father over two months ago, and feels that "although I know it was the best decision I could make for myself," she is "filled with all these fears of [my daughter] being angry with me about it."
Leah H. reassures that kids will eventually see the truth and moms just need to be patient. "The feeling and fears are normal. My ex will try to trash talk me and make me out to be the bad person, but I'm not going to let it get to me. My son is growing up knowing that his mother will always be there for him. Eventually, they'll know their mother made the best decision."
How do you handle your worst single mom fears?
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