My best friend and fellow single mom, Abby, is still reeling from her break up. And so is her 5 year old daughter, Penny. She’s a beautiful, happy little girl who also fell in love with mommy’s boyfriend. How couldn’t she? He was over at their house at least three to four nights a week. They’d been together for nearly one year and had been talking about moving in together, starting a family – the whole kit and caboodle. And now – poof – he’s gone and Penny is broken hearted. If you’ve never seen a 5 year old with a little broken heart – lucky you – because I saw my first one tonight and it was unbearable.
Abby and I were sipping wine in the kitchen when Penny walked up with tears in her eyes.
“What’s wrong sweetie, are you feeling sick?” Abby asked.
“No, I’m sad…about John. I love him, he’s my friend and I’ll never get to see him again.”
Abby and I looked at each other. The two single moms who always have the answers. And there was nothing. Neither of us knew what to say. What could we say? How can you explain a break up to a 5 year old?
My son is just a few months shy of two. This is something I’ve never faced. I would imagine that for a five year old something like this is extremely heavy and intense. Something that could have a lasting impact. And what Abby is going through right now is without a doubt, my worst fear and is why us single moms can get a little “crazy” when it comes to relationships and dating. This is it. This is what we all want to avoid.
But we also want to meet someone, be with someone and find out if they are a fit for our family. I call it the single mom dating conundrum. How do we do it without hurting our kids? The answers aren’t clear and they never will be, but there must be some child psychology experts out there who would know what we should say. How we should say it.
Abby would have read up had she known John was going to walk in – break up with her and then leave without so much as a good bye to Penny.
So what should she do? Any advice? Please, please pass on some insights if you have them. I tried to do a Google search for “single mom break up how do you tell the kids” and there was nothing useful.
(Photo source – http://www.irishhealth.com)