Finding success as a single parent
You know that person that usually trips on a flat surface, fails at cooking, DIY projects and any crafty thing? Well that would be me. I am awesome at failure and it makes me happy! WHAT? How in the world can that be a happy thing? Well glad you asked. Through failure I have learned to not let it bring me down and because of it, I have learned to laugh (many times at myself). I have become a happy and strong person. Awe! The beauty of success though failure.
Believe it or not, the one question I get asked the most is, “How do you do it?” (in regards to single parenting) Yes, I successfully failed at 2 marriages. But like I wrote in my about page, at least I’m not at 7 divorces. YAY for me! Anyhow, for my safety, when I was 2 months pregnant with my oldest daughter, I left my 1st husband after only 10 months of getting married. For my daughter’s safety, when she was about 6 years old, I got sole custody with no visitation rights for him, which was the best thing to happen for her well-being. That poor girl went through more hell in her 1st six years of life than any adult will ever go through in their lifetime. (She will be 21 in a week). Single parents out there (moms & dads) if you keep your kids from seeing the other parent just out of spite… STOP IT! It’s selfish and your kids will resent you for it. But then again, if your kids don’t want to go to the other parents home, also don’t force them because they too will resent you and shut down. However, if you are keeping your kids from seeing the other parent, to protect your children from harm, that’s a whole different story. I have done that with my first child and from past experience, even if your child is getting abused, make sure to get an emergency court order to withhold visitation otherwise IT WILL COME BACK AND BITE YOU IN THE BUTT.
I remarried after being a single parent for 10 years. Sometimes even when you’re married, you tend to do a lot of things alone and feel like a single parent. I remember I often used to tell my ex-husband, “I didn’t get married to be a single parent”. And since I’m a successful failure, I left my 2nd husband after 9 years of marriage for the well-being of my youngest daughter as well as for my own sanity. hahaha I guess that’s not actually funny because it was a sad and unfortunate situation that affected many lives, but for some warped reason, thinking of my sanity made me chuckle because I’m far from being sane.
Anyhow, I never would have imagined that I would be a single parent TWICE. At least the 2nd time around I was already a pro at it. haha. I didn’t want this to happen but sadly due to his poor decisions that was the curve ball that was thrown at me and I quickly realized that sometimes not so great things happen to good people. So, back to the question… How have I survived single parenting? I never allowed the single mom stereotypes to get to me like, “You must sleep around”, “You won’t succeed” “Your kids will be trouble makers or do poorly with their education” “You’ll need government assistance” “Your daughter will become a teen pregnancy statistic” “You must be a gold digger” “You have kids to live off of child support” Yes, these are actual things that have been said about me, although not all were said to be malicious, but nonetheless, they were said.
I can proudly say that I didn’t sleep around. I AM successful with a career I enjoy. My daughters (21 & 9) have never been trouble makers & have done very well in school (grade school & college). I didn’t use government assistance. Although it was tough at times, I managed and my children NEVER went a day without food or shelter. My oldest was not a teenage pregnancy statistic but is a happily married woman to an outstanding, successful man. Me a gold digger?… ha… I am the thrift store, coupon saving, frugal type of gal. Child Support? What’s that? Yeah.. What a joke!
I feel as of right now I can proudly, with my head held high, say that I have succeeded as a single mom. (knock on wood) I’ve learned to have thick skin and not let things bring me down for my daughter’s sake. For any single parents out there that feel overwhelmed… DON’T get discouraged especially when things seem to be at their worst. I don’t say single moms, because there are also single dads out there that also have to be the mom and need encouragement and moral support as well. I once heard someone say that one fantastic parent is a whole lot better than two average parents. I will say that one of the many positive things about being single parenting (at least for me) is not having to make parenting decisions with someone else. It makes it SO much easier to do it alone. I have seen so many parents argue about decisions that one parent my not agree with. Can you imagine how silly I would look arguing with myself for not agreeing to a parenting decision. HA. Yeah, I am grateful for being a single parent.
I can’t stress enough the need to stay strong. The need to find the positive in all things. The need for laughter. And the need to do what you can for your children even if giving them the minimum is ALL you can do. They will turn out to be amazing kids and who knows, possibly even better than you had expected. I know my oldest did! I can’t even explain how rewarding and joyful it is when your adult child tells you “THANK YOU for raising me well”
Useful advice that helped me become a happy & successful single parent…
- YOU must NEVER keep your children from the other parent just out of spite. But if it’s for their safety, then that’s a whole different story)
- YOU must not use your child against the other parent.
- YOU must constantly uplift your children.
- YOU as a single parent must be the advocate for your children.
- YOU are the one that must constantly tell them how wonderful and amazing they are.
- YOU must tell them they can do anything, and I guarantee that it will ingrain in their head and they will start to believe it.
- YOU must also remember to tell yourself the same darn thing so you don’t become depressed. Your kids need YOU
- YOU do NOT have kids from a broken home because you CAN make a positive & stable home environment.
- YOU will benefit from a good support group (friends & familia).
- YOU must model for your children resilience, self-respect & self-esteem skills.
- YOU must teach your children that no matter how little you have, it does NOT define who they are.
- YOU must laugh often because life is better when you’re laughing! I’m living proof of that!
Aug 05, 2014 @ 03:06:51
Great advice, Edna! You rock! Love the photos.
Aug 05, 2014 @ 07:20:36
Thank you Veronica!
Ashley @ Cute as a Fox
Aug 05, 2014 @ 06:25:47
You make it look so easy. I know that is isn’t easy at all, though. It’s all thanks to your positive and uplifting attitude. Being good at failure is one of the most difficult life skills a person can learn. Some people never learn it at all. As for the child support, well maybe one day!! Keep your fingers crossed.
Aug 05, 2014 @ 07:24:06
Ashley, I guarantee it’s not easy. That’s why I became a teacher, so I could learn how to act. hahaha… however, you learn to cope with things and like any two parent home, some things become a routine which makes things seem easier. Very true, I know people that no matter how hard they fall, do not learn from their mistakes. It’s super sad to see them struggle and at times you just want to yell telling them to snap out of it and grow up. I won’t hold my breath on child support. ha
Aug 05, 2014 @ 06:49:18
You are amazing!
Aug 05, 2014 @ 07:24:48
April, Thanks… but far from it!
Aug 05, 2014 @ 07:26:15
Why yes you do have great children! Great job! Love ya!
Aug 05, 2014 @ 17:26:57
Thank you Cindy! You were a great moral support during both divorces. THANK YOU!!!!!
Aug 05, 2014 @ 08:01:19
Thank you so much for posting this. I am a single parent also and I struggle with my ex because he doesn’t follow through an it hurst my kids. They hate going with him. Anytime I file for child support he will quit his job. I’m having a hard time staying financially afloat and sometimes we don’t have enough money for necessities. It makes me sad when my kids want pizza or to do an extra curricular activity that I can’t pay for. I suffer from depression because of it. How did you not suffer from depression?
Aug 05, 2014 @ 18:11:13
Stephanie, I am sorry you are going through that. I know the feeling of the ex not following through. It used to upset me SO much and I would get ridiculously furious over it because it messed with my plans and the worst was *is* when it upsets my daughter. Luckily my oldest daughter has a good head on her shoulder and she made me realize that I was giving him control of my feelings/emotions. I no longer allow him to have that affect on me. Yes it still irritates me, but at least now I know it doesn’t affect me. Thanks to my oldest daughters advice, I have it ingrained in my head that he will either not follow through or always be late for visitation. Staying financially afloat is absolutely difficult and does cause heartache when you can’t give your kids what you want them to have especially when he doesn’t help financial knowing that he’s capable. BELIEVE ME… I am in the same boat as you. Just keep telling yourself that you ARE capable of raising your children and you WILL be successful at it. STAY POSITIVE! You CAN do it! Stephanie, if you need government assistance, don’t be afraid to file for it. That’s what it’s there for. I am not a doctor so I can’t tell you that this will help with depression, but because I am already expecting him not to follow through or to be financially responsible for his child, it no longer affects me because it’s now expected and it doesn’t even phase me anymore Gosh, hope that made sense. ha. Just keep reminding your kid(s) that you love them and that you will always be there for them. Your kids will also soon see (if they haven’t already) how irresponsible the absent parent is. Also, as difficult as it is, do not speak negative of him in front of your children. They are smart and they will figure it out. If you truly are suffering from depression, please get help. During my first divorce, I was deep in depression but that was mainly due to the abuse my daughter was dealing with. I got help and yes even got on meds. I hated that the medication controlled my feelings and from that time I decided that I was not going to allow depression to take over my life. YOU CAN GET PAST THIS. Dealing with depression is something I have dealt with. It does NOT make you a crazy or bad person. I really do know what you are going through and I am sorry because I do understand everything you are dealing with. I have been there. Stay strong and if you’re a religious person, pray always and allow the Lord to guide. Sending you a hug from one single parent to another.
Aug 05, 2014 @ 10:27:55
I am a single dad and it is difficult to raise 3 kids but doable. Their mother is an addict that unfortunately chose her addiction above her kids. Some parents don’t realize the damage they cause their children or maybe they do realize it but they don’t care. Thanks for the tips. Many parents need to be more like you. Are you dating anyone because I’m single? lol #singledad #lookingforlove
Aug 05, 2014 @ 18:18:42
Hello Scott. Thank you for sharing and awesome that you have taken the role of both parents! It scores brownie points. 😉 And no, *blush* I’m not dating anyone because I Iost my mojo. haha http://goo.gl/LDtT0e
Aug 05, 2014 @ 15:13:36
Edna you are a ROCKSTAR! Thanks for your good example. Your girls are awesome!!
Aug 05, 2014 @ 18:12:34
Thank you Cassie. It’s a difficult but possible road.
Aug 05, 2014 @ 19:50:41
Edna as I read your comments you were never a failure. Your last two husband’s were and still are. You are a strong woman that’s been through a lot but never a failure. I admire the strength you have and the courage to go out and and get your education and raise two beautiful girls. Youre a successful woman. We love you very much!
Aug 05, 2014 @ 21:35:01
Thanks Joyce! You and Ken helped me SO much. I remember when Ande was little we would show up at your house at dinner time on purpose because I knew you always had food. hahahahaha… Thank you for helping me through both of my trials. There were of course many other things that made certain times, like holidays, easier because of you. I love you and Ken SO much!!!!!!
Aug 05, 2014 @ 20:52:22
Thanks for all you do for the granddaughters. We appreciate you more than can imagine.
Aug 05, 2014 @ 21:36:45
🙂 THANKS! It’s good to hear even coming from the father-out-law! It’s my job as a parent to do what is best for my children. And I love every moment of it!
Aug 20, 2014 @ 04:46:25
Great tips Edna. I turned teary reading the line “you raised me well.” I’m happy for you. God bless.
Aug 20, 2014 @ 06:58:29
Awe! Thanks Flora!! I got teary as well when she told me that.
Oct 16, 2014 @ 15:23:44
You are an inspiration for us single parents. I would like to see you write more about single parenting and the struggles or success you go through. Sometimes I feel like I am alone but I know there are so many others in my same boat. Thank you for showing me how to look at things in a positive manner.
Aug 28, 2015 @ 11:30:16
You are an inspiration
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