How do you work it?

by mssinglemama on November 7, 2009

This is Holly.

columbus manicure pedicure technician

We met one month ago when I decided to have my first manicure and pedicure in over three years… maybe four. On one of my afternoon escapades with Benjamin and just after I’d found out about my new job, I noticed a sign outside for her salon for a $20.00 manicure and a $35.00 pedicure. The sign and her low price (manicures are ridiculously expensive in Ohio for some reason) got me I made an appointment for some long overdue Me Time.

So there we were, two single moms, one in the midst of year three and beginning the best relationship she’s ever had and the other just beginning, only a single for five months with two daughters-ages 11 and 5. We spent a good amount of our time that day talking about everything from ex-management to bad boy complexes and facing your fears as a single mom.

Today during my pedicure (oh, so awesome) I pointed to a headline on one of those magazines with a quote from Kate Gosselin, “I never knew how strong I could be,” something to that effect. I read the line to Holly and then she said, “Yeah, but there are a lot of emotions along the way before you get to that point.”

I nodded and neither one of us had to say a word.

The single mama roller coaster. No matter where you are on the ride there will always be a cliff hanger, a sudden drop or maybe even a few jerks but then there is that awesome high you get when you start to free fall. But not once did a negative word escape Holly’s mouth. She is remarkable and like most of us, would rather have it this way – no matter how tough the going gets.

We also talked about work, working our asses off – to make it work. Holly recently went out on her own by opening her own boutique within the salon. I mention it only because I empathize with her bravery.

Which brings me to my question for all of you--how do you make it work? What is your solution? Or are you looking for one?

Do you work from home? Do you work part-time? Do you have a punching bag? Do you have a miracle organization system? I am sure our advice and insights for one another on managing work, life, dating and the kids will be incredible. So spill it in the comment section and feel free to leave a link to your business if you have one. Personally, I try to shop single mama whenever I can.

Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win one of five copies of Ms. Single Mama Uncensored: Dating, Sex and Love. (Still only $8.95 a copy btw).

And then I found out her little boutique within the salon is her first stab at starting her own business. Which brings me to something I want to pick your brain about… how do you make it work?

P.S.

If you live in Columbus, find Holly here.

Related posts:

  1. Dating Single Parents: Can it Work?
  2. Boyfriend + toddler + work = tired single mama

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Single Mom Book Contest
November 24, 2009 at 9:08 pm

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

JJ November 7, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I hired a live-in nanny. I work insane hours during certain times of the year and she is my means for survival. Other than that, I have learned to let things go. My house is not perfect, my bed is not always made. And everything I do revolves around my kids and what they have to do and what they need. Not much “me” time, except for when they head to dad’s. Haven’t had mani/pedi’s in a while – my must have is a massage. That seems to go me through.

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kate November 7, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I’m a fulltime working single mom, which means that i have my kids fulltime, while trying to balance a fulltime job. I think fullfilling both roles is very hard, but at the same time very rewarding. THere are days..many, where I wish i could just do one or the other (parenting would be first) but when i look at the big picture I know that what I am doing-providing for my family, and knowing that i’m doing it alone is what keeps me going. I like knowing that I am providing money to buy food, clothes and so forth for my kids, which is empowering to me. So at the end of the day, spending time with my kids and seeing them happy, is all worth it.

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shawna putnam November 7, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Like the Nike commercials says you just do it. Being a parent is the hardest job ever. There isn’t one solution there are many & everyone is different. Just because it works for one doesn’t mean it will work for you. It is great to have a sounding board bounce around ideas & do what feels right for you & yours.

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Lara November 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I too work full-time and am very fortunate to have a positive co-parenting situation with my son’s father. It doesn’t mean I don’t still have hard days, days of fear, days wondering how I am going to get through everything and wondering if I will have someone other than my son to share the journey with. So, I focus on the positive. I try to see the beauty in every day and am expanding my creative self through doing a daily photo project and more writing. While that all takes time, it feels like the quality time I should be taking. It keeps me focused and grounded and can be very comforting when the world is swirling around me.

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Zoeyjane November 7, 2009 at 4:34 pm

I spent about two years just trying to keep my head afloat, reduce the tears and ensure that bills were paid and groceries were in the cupboards. It’s only been during the past half-year or so that I’ve learned to simply let go of having to be in control of everything – every minute, penny, plan, emotion – and try to actually reap some rewards.

So how am I working it? I’m starting over again, choosing us, instead of just choosing my daughter. I’m working from home when I can afford the time/effort, I’m scheduling the non-negotiables and letting other stuff slide if it makes us happy, I’m day dreaming of potential.

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mssinglemama November 7, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Having followed your tweets and your blog for so long, very happy to read this…

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hef November 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm

When I became a single mom, I had about $300 in the bank. I took a job as a full-time nanny and was able to take my daughter along. I also took on another part-time job at a childcare center that let me bring her.

I went back to school online that year also.

And somehow, it has all worked out.

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Amyinbc November 9, 2009 at 9:51 pm

You are amazing, the effort to do all three of those things must have been exhausting.

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EB November 7, 2009 at 6:07 pm

i am living with my parents. i work part time and i’m in school so this is necessary with a two year old and ex husband no where in sight. i don’t know how women do it who do not have family near by to help. with no child support coming in, i have to change careers and thus am going back to school. if must do it by myself, i will make sacrifices now. do i miss my own space? YES. but everything is temporary. that’s life. and so true, we get stronger because of it and it’s a rollercoaster along the way.

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Danielle November 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm

This really hits home for me. I am in the same situation being a single mom, living with my parents, raising a 4 yr. old and going back to school full-time and working part-time. Not to mention beginning a new relationship and figuring out the dynamic of dating with a child. I like your statement about everything being temporary. I keep looking at the light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that one day I will be able to support myself and my daughter without having to rely on anyone but me. It makes me smile, even through the tears of frustration at times.

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meg November 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm

I go to school full time for cosmetology. Hopefully, one day I will be like your manicure friend and open up my own salon. I’m not really making it work right now but I know one day I will get to that point.

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Holly November 7, 2009 at 6:41 pm

I am working on my PhD full time and work part time while my 2 year old goes to day care. But it looks like I am going to have to pick up working full time because I just found out my (soon to be) ex-husband just quit his very well paying job to live off of unemployment to avoid helping support our daughter since I finally recieved a court order for him to start paying child support.

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Amyinbc November 9, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Real ‘nice’ on your ex’es part. The bastard.

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Laura November 10, 2009 at 12:55 am

Holly–
I am thankful that someone out there is a single mom and also a PhD candidate. I’ve only been out of the relationship I had with my son’s father for a little over a month and while I was in that relationship, any hope I had of getting a graduate education seemed impossible. I had been given a choice between two things I wanted and it was phrased as an either/or situation. I’ve learned so much since then–especially when considering situations that rarely are as simple as either and or. The right guy doesn’t say give up the chance of children or give up the dream of a PhD because the question isn’t phrased that way. The doubt and the struggle may be there, but I think that the right guy says “how to we do it, how do we make it happen?” It gives me a lot of heart to hear that you are making it happen with a child in toe. Having someone else out there helps me deflect my ex’s comments about what a bad parent I would be if I went back to school (alas, the instinct to control doesn’t always stop when you leave, does it?).

Right now, everything is so new and changed. I’m at home with my parents and I am working part time and looking ahead at school. I’m blessed to have a support system to come back to. Sometimes I just want to rush head first into a full time job with its income and security (and the privacy of my own apartment). I also know that right now I am rising from the bottom and I get to decide which direction I want to swim. So I am taking it slow and watching my world change and unfold with as much openness as I can. So I think that the thing that keeps me going right now—openness. When I lived in an abusive and controlled environment, I often felt as though everything was capped and closed and had to be just so. But things change quickly and you simply must be open to those changes. I re-evaluate that mentality everyday with my son–who is 20 months old–because everything is new to him. He has nothing but open potential and his life (like mine) is raveling out before him with infinite possibilities.

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alexus November 7, 2009 at 7:30 pm

I became a single mom when my soon to be ex husband kicked me, our daughter, and the dog out. So there I was with a baby in one hand a dog in the other and after going to the atm realized there was also no money bc he closed the account. So I sat in my car crying not knowing what the hell I was going to do and the fear of being a single mom had me wanting to drive back to the house begging my abusive husband to let me stay…but I didn’t. I was blessed to have family that let me stay with them till I got on my feet and 5 months later we went from sleeping on a couch together to our own place. I was blessed with a fulltime job that allows me to cover all of our expenses and a wonderful neighborhood grandmother who watches my 11 month old daughter while I work for just $80 a week. Plus I’m going back to school for nursing online. It hasn’t been easy but I look at my daughter’s face and know its worth it:)

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Mimi November 7, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Family, family, family. I first stayed with a cousin when my ex kicked me and the baby out. I ended up moving back to my hometown to live with my mom until I got back on my feet. Next, she provided me with hours and hours of babysitting while I took 3 years to go back to school to get a job where I would make more money but work less. Thus giving me the time I wanted to be with my daughter. It’s all about support. Friends, cousins, sisters, parents: they have all given me financial help, advice, a shoulder to cry on, a laugh when I needed it, babysitting- I just can’t imagine doing this alone!! It hasn’t been an easy journey (or a quick one!) but I just remind myself that I am happier this year than I was last year, today has been better than yesterday…

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Megan November 7, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Wow!! I am so impressed by the women here! The term “stronger sex” doesn’t even begin to explain the strength all of the people who have responded before me. I agree that family and friends are a great resource for helping everything come together here. I am running my own photography business, getting out into the world as an artist and going to school while raising my daughter – some days I feel like I am on top of the world and other days I feel like crawling under the covers and hiding. But I don’t – I think what drives us is the love we feel for our children. I have also found that giving myself that “me” time is imperative to my sanity. Whether that be a walk on the beach, or meditating in the morning, or taking a walk or even just taking a breath of fresh air, it all brings me back to being able to focus on what is most important: health, happiness, and the ability to appreciate everything around me (both the good and the bad).

and I have to say… Thank you Single Mama! I just discovered your blog and I think you are awesome!

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mssinglemama November 8, 2009 at 5:52 am

I agree Megan – stronger doesn’t even begin to touch it. These stories are amazing.

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Rachel November 8, 2009 at 12:03 am

I make it by staying–Positive. Patient. Strong. Home. At work. Dependable. Reliable. Responsible. Loving. Reasonable. Practical. Modest. Fun. Creative. Inspired. Alert. Attentive. Caring. Persistent. Thoughtful. MOM fueled by DAUGHTER

I try not to worry by taking things day by day.

I make it by ensuring the relationships we maintain are healthy for our minds, bodies, and spirits. Family and friends are the significant others in our lives; we cling to them when we have too and fly high when we can—it gets easier day by day.

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christine November 8, 2009 at 12:19 am

i moved in with my mom, another single mom. it is not my ideal solution, but the best one for now.

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jen November 8, 2009 at 3:05 am

I’m a full time single mum and work four days a week. It used to be that I’d organise a night out after I’d organised childcare but now I say that yes I’ll do that and then organise childcare. Have organised a weekend away soon with a couple of girlfriends. It’s hard to ask for help but people are usually pretty good if you ask and don’t take advantage.

Sometimes I have afternoons when I just want to lie down and rest so my son watches tv for the afternoon which kind of suits us both but that doesn’t happen very often. Because otherwise I’m mostly focused on him. It’s about trying to maintain a balance.

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Gisela November 8, 2009 at 11:07 am

Its going on 3.5 years from becoming a single mom. At first it was just pure hell just thinking/asking myself, How am I gonna do this all alone? It was hard and I literally hit rock bottom a couple of times. Time and the love of my 2 children (8 and 6) helps me get thru it all. Their father is not completely out of the picture, so he is around and does sometimes lend a helping hand. What has me motivated to be the best mom I can be despite all of the hard work is that I am not losing out on a single day of their lives. Every smile, every good morning mom, all of the new accomplishments in their lives is my reward together with every “I love you mom”. I dedicate the new me to them. I love you E & E.

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Gisela November 8, 2009 at 11:16 am

Oh, yeah, I do struggle to do it all. I work a 40 hr week, rush to afterschool to pick them up, rush home to cook, help with HW, get ready and put them to bed by 9 pm (in reality is closer to 9:30 or even 10 pm). After all this, I am extreamly tired with no time for myself and by the next morning to wake up and do it all again. I tend to slack off where things are not essential there is simply not enoughs hours in the day to do it all.

Dating – it is hard…

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Mel November 8, 2009 at 11:36 am

I have a great support system – including my mother and my ex-husband. I learn early on not to let my pride get in the way of the emotional, spiritual and financial protection of my children.

Although I’m the custodial parent, their father doesn’t get time off from being a father/daddy. I demanded it – and taught my childdren to “ask” him just as much as the “ask” me for suggestions on life lessons as well as the things they want.

If I had to do it all over I would have made sure I took him back to court for an increase every year. I was a “martyr” and I suffered financially for that decision. I learned that lesson much too late- after going into debt twice! lol…(yes I can laugh now)

I would suggest to any custodial parent makes sure to demand the legal amount of child support allowed in your state and go for your increases. Since I didn’t, I got my ex – to pay for the children’s “big ticket” items. My children are successful one is finishing up college and the twins will be attending college in the fall.

I date when I want, but I remember that the dates are for me. My children already have a father therefore I don’t need a replacement. Up until this point I was fearful of marrying again. I had to decide what I wanted out of a marriage and what was expected of me if I were to marry again.

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arscuore November 8, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I’ve learned to ask for help and also to say no. I work full time, have full physical and legal custody, and my son has autism. It’s A LOT to deal with. My son hasn’t been with my ex since June. I am much stronger now, and able to tell people who are stressing me out or asking too much of me to back off (never could say no before). Sometimes it’s a struggle to balance everything, but having friends or family to vent to and have some adult time with, and realizing how much worse it could have been, and how much happier we are keep me going.

It also helps to have an ipod full of good tunes, a good book by your bedside, and a bottle of wine in the fridge at all times.

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arscuore November 8, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Oh yeah, and a FABULOUS babysitter who has become part of our small family. I’d be insane without her.

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Jenny November 11, 2009 at 11:35 pm

I completely agree with your “must haves” – music, books, and wine are lifesavers….

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Louisa November 8, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Hi, girls. I am a recently divorced single mum from Greece. I have a full time job and my 2,5 years old daughter. At the beggining it was-and still is- hard, very hard.
My mother lives in another town and I don’t have any help from other people.
I am trying every day to think only to positive things. It’s not easy, but I am trying.
It’s a new life and I am hopping for the best. My moto is “tomorrow is another day’

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TwinCitiesLynn November 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm

My son is now grown, but I became a single mom when he was 5, and didn’t marry again until he was 18. No child support, no formal training for me at that time since I married right out of high school and was a stay at home mom. When I went out on my own with my son, I started my own cleaning service. This allowed me to clean / work only during the hours he was in school, so I didn’t have to pay daycare. It was a struggle, money was tight, but we made it. Kuddos to you and everyone else out there who are working it out too. Keep up the good job.

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em November 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm

if only describing a moment of this single mama life i would say: slowly. thats how. i slow it all down. because something about doing this alone seems to add tremendous velocity and weight to every action. so i take a deep breath. step out on the porch. check where the moon is in the sky. jump up and down. close my eyes. exhale. shake it out. dance it out. write it out. even if its only one word. lay down on the kitchen floor and laugh. sit back into my own body and nod and smile. stretch. listen. call someone. put on a movie. read stories. long long walks with her on my shoulders. sweating it out. cry. weep. heave. call friends. speak. tell the stories. tell how it really feels. how hard it is. how beautiful. ask for help. and then accept. change the rules. change them again. contradict myself. let go. surrender. giggle. cry. listen to my daughter. listen with my whole self to all of her stories. practice. stretch. breathe. gratitude.

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cibele November 8, 2009 at 8:36 pm

I am full time working single mother with no family living even in the same country. It is hard and lonely. I became a single mother when my baby was 9 months old (she is 1 1/2 now) after years dealing with infertility. My head is still spinning, my heart still aching; I did not see it coming. I make it work because that is all I’ve known. I have a great babysitter and wonderful friends that help me more than I can thank them for.

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Haley November 8, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Sigh… how do you make it work? You just do. I just think I either do it or I don’t. If I don’t, then I’m screwed. I don’t want to be screwed. I HAVE TO make it work. And there’s no other option. Yes, you have to be strong. There’s nothing else.

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Rachel November 9, 2009 at 7:08 am

Reading these stories has given me tears… so inspiring!!! I’m about to start my 5th year of Single Parenting and some days I think I’ve come so far and some days I think I have so far to go. I’ve learned so much about myself and the process never ends. Something always seems to pop up that triggers thoughts/feelings that I realize I haven’t dealt with.

I work full time, have an ex that lives 3,000 miles away (and who still tries to exert control on both of us.) I live in a town I prefer not to be in so that I’m close to my family and support system. They’re amazing and what’s gotten me this far.

But we do it.. my little girl and I are a team. We’ll fight thru whatever we face in order to get it done. We never give up.. and we fight to have fun thru the chaos and struggles.

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Katherine SOLO dot MOM November 9, 2009 at 8:18 am

Making it all work… you have to be 1. determined. 2. organized. 3. full of Faith and Hope.
You also have to accept the failures along the way remembering even though we try to be Super Single Mom – we are still human and there are still only 24 hours in a day. I work Full time, take care of kiddos that are now 10 and 14 (which as they get older it gets a little less on the constant care side), maintain a house, (plus two dogs!). When you add a new relationship into the mix…. it’s even more demanding – but you make it work. And when you feel the anxiety rising in your throat… you go for that pedicure, massage, etc….say a prayer… and then you schedule some time with your counselor/therapist! Trust me I’m there.

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T November 9, 2009 at 9:44 am

Beautiful post and inspiring comments! I love this.

And I agree with one of the commenters… you just do it! (Like Nike says)

We all make it work because we have no choice. And it turns out just fine. :)

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Hanna November 9, 2009 at 10:00 am

Ive managed to figure out the basic neccesities for my daughter and me. Food, clothes, job, daycare, rent, functioning car. Finally I have all those things. Now that i’m moving up Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, I don’t know what to do with myself. Dating, relationships, sex, emotional needs. Don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

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Jamie November 9, 2009 at 10:27 am

When I first became a single mom (I left my ex when I was 7 months pregnant), I lived with my parents for a little over a year. I was a senior in college when I found out about the pregnancy and had no real job experience aside from childcare and waiting tables. I managed to find a full time job that would enable me to pay all of my bills eventually and have been living on my own for 2 years now. I have a great babysitter who charges affordable rates and takes wonderful care of my son. It helps alleviate some of the guilt to know that he is in such good hands!

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Laura November 9, 2009 at 10:51 am

Ahhh, so many thoughts running through my mind but here are a few that popped up immediately…
surround yourself with friends and family
stay positive
live in the moment – even if you have to remind yourself of that often
imagine how you want your life to be – imagine it DAILY
let go of the things you can’t control (or don’t have the energy to control)
do something for yourself everyday – it can be small and cost nothing
laugh
and most importantly, in the words of Sir Winston Churchill…”Never give up”

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QuirkyGirlx3 November 9, 2009 at 11:20 am

I’m coming upon my ninth year as a single-parent. People say all the time, “How do you do it?” I just do. It’s my life. People don’t ask ‘normal’ families that question, even though the answer is the same. You live your life. The best way you know how and hope you don’t screw your kids up too bad in the process. I do the best I can. That’s it. The best I know how for the time being.

I raise 3 daughters: 12, 10, and 5. My greatest asset is my best friend and the girls godmother. She lets me say and feel and think whatever I need to without making me feel bad. There are periods where I feel like I’m gonna be okay. Where the theme from the old Mary Tyler Moore show runs through my head…You’re gonna make it after aaaallllll. Then there are times like this last week. Where I realize my girls have been manipulating their father and I against each other. Where the fights with my 12 year-old over her direspectful mouth leaves me exhausted. Where I get bills from the school saying the book rental is still not paid. Where I am so drained by the fact that I have to continously give constant attention and physical affection, but never have my reserves restored by having any of these things lavished on me. She lets me lament. Be weary. Say out loud that I adore my children, but somedays I don’t like them very much. Then she tells me that’s how all moms feel at some point and that I’m not a monster….I’m a NORMAL mom whether or not my circumstances are ‘normal’.

I stopped comparing myself to other “got-it-together” single mommas awhile ago. I’m never going to be June Cleaver. I’m not going to be super organized and rarely frazzled. It’s not my personality. I’m fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. Everything get done, but it’s usually a comedy of errors in the process. And that’s okay. God blessed me and my off-beat personality to raise these kids. And I may never be the mom that has perfectly made cupcakes at the school for every holiday party, but I’m the mom who teaches my daughters to walk to the beat of their own drum even if it looks a little funny. I teach them how to be a good friend and sometimes that means that we have to sort through baskets of unfolded socks for ones that match because someone was hurting and people are more important than stuff.

I try to be honest about what I feel. Lead by example. And accept myself for who I am and them for who they are. One way or another we are going to do this. Me and my girls. We’re a family. And I would rather do it on my own as to have stayed in the marriage I was in. Looking back sometimes keeps me pushing forward.

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TeacherMommy November 9, 2009 at 11:58 am

In some ways I have more “me” time than I did before I became a single mother, because I was the primary parent when we were together and now he’s sharing custody 50/50. This has allowed me to discover new friendships and interests and (unexpectedly) a new man. It helps that my (soon to be) ex and I are very amicable and keep up good communication. We’re also pretty flexible with working potential issues out before they become too big. Ironically, we’re better at communicating and resolving conflict now than we ever were together.

I also already worked full time, so the whole balancing act is nothing too new. However, when it’s just me? With no backup, even the kind that had to be demanded and came with resentment? It’s hard. I don’t think I’m a phenomenal mother–there’s a lot that doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m a good mother, though. I’m learning to cut myself some slack. I always had to be Ms. Perfect before, at least for appearance’s sake (forget about behind the scenes.) I’m learning that it’s okay to have hard times, to need to take a break, to swing through McD’s rather than have homecooked meals all the time (or even most of the time, honestly), to view cuddling on the couch watching kids’ shows as quality time rather than having to dredge up the energy to actively play. I gave up on the idea of trying to keep the house deep cleaned on my own, and we hired a maid (for a very reasonable price) to do the deep cleaning once every three weeks. That means I can just focus on clutter and daily stuff, kind of.

And then I’ve learned to ASK FOR HELP. This is something I was rarely good at before, and I’m becoming quite good at it now. This is anything from asking for a babysitter when I have something going on or really need a GNO, to asking a coworker for some lesson plans or quizzes, to just calling a friend to vent and whine. I stopped isolating myself from the world around me, and what I discovered was a wealth of love and acceptance.

I think the biggest mistake a single mother can make is thinking she’s alone. I may not have my ex any longer, but the wealth of friendship and companionship and–yes, I dare say it–love that I’ve found instead is more than enough to make up for the loss of that time and relationship. And that’s why I can forge forward into my future and not regret making the decision to file for divorce.

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Stephanie November 9, 2009 at 11:59 am

Ms. Single Mama,

As you know, when I left my husband (or rather he forced me to leave him b/c he didn’t have the balls to leave me), I didn’t have any kids. So my answer to the question is more of how did you cope with the ending of the marriage? That is I found an amazing support network, and a big sense of humor helped too. (Because when there are no more tears to cry, you might as well laugh.)

Sometimes I don’t feel adequate to comment here b/c I don’t have kids and didn’t have to face that side of divorce. But I do have so much empathy for the readers who have posted here. Their stories are inspiring. As is yours, of course.

Stephanie

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Carolyn November 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I really loved reading everyone’s comments and stories! As silly as it is, sometimes I feel like my experience is unique when there are a lot of us out there.

When I first left, I moved into an apartment that I couldn’t really afford, and ended up through various circumstances living with my folks. It’s been an okay arrangement, but not what I want for my daughter and I long term, so we’re moving again in December for the third time in 14 months.

I work full time also, and find that parenting and work is a very delicate balancing act. I break down often, but also am able to pick myself up a lot more quickly than I was at first. I explained it to a friend like this. It’s like becoming an emotional warrior. My stamina for organization, for getting things done, for tolerating (and having a sense of humour) during trying situations and ability to find creative solutions to an onslaught of challenges has increased exponentially.

I will admit, though. I haven’t been able to make the dating thing work at all. Maybe in another year or two…

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Crissi November 9, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I moved in with my parents, sharing one bedroom with my two kids for 2 and 1/2 years. Having been a stay-at-home mom, I worked in the family business until I felt I had enough skills to venture out into the real world and get a regular job. I also was not getting any support whatsoever, and because my abusive ex turned even more dangerous, we had a restraining order put in place and kept him out of our lives for several years. I eventually moved out on my own while only making about $1000 a month. We lived as meagerly as possible until several promotions landed me in a FT position with higher pay and excellent benefits. Now I am raising my kids on my own, even after my own mother told me I couldn’t do it, and proving everyone wrong. And I’ve found the love of my life who has shown me what a real man looks like. I am greatful for a family who has been there to babysit the kids after school when necessary so I can continue working. And half of my week is spent working out of the house on my writing so that I can also be here for my kids. It’s been a long journey, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and proud that my kids have an example for their own lives. Single moms know how to pull it together when life demands it. Kudos to all of you strong ladies!

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terri November 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Oh my heavens…I work full time! Somehow I was blessed with a job that pays just what I need. Nothing more, though. :)

Sharing custody with my ex, knowing that he doesn’t make a cent more than I do, we manage to split almost all child rearing costs right down the middle.

I don’t know HOW I could manage raising three children by myself…

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Leisa Hammett November 9, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Single again six years. One child. Special needs. Amicable divorce. Decided to stop trying to fight the battles that were never won when married. To put child first and concentrate on doing right by her, not bingeing on blame, hate or all the other toxic emos I could have adopted and people expect you to diet on when divorced. I took care of myself. AND that meant a men-free diet for one year. No coffee dates even. Nada. Heal thyself first. Get clear. Men do not create clarity. When healed–take a year, please–and you’ve gotten distance from the divorce, gotten back in touch with who you are, then date. If you’re ready. Getting clear gives time to learn from the past and not repeat it. Why are we so smart at work and so dumb at love? Doesn’t have to be that way.

In healing: feel the feelings. Move on through them. No stuffing allowed. Find the joy. Sometimes it seems hidden but begin to give thanks for the sunshine that awaits you on the other side of the blinds each morning. For the cup of java warming your hands. For the heat that cozies your home. Practice gratitude and I promise your heart will begin to overflow. It’s chemical. And, scientific.

See divorce as an opportunity. Create a new you. A new life. Take it easy. Get clear. Bounding into a relationship quickly will not get you there. It will only bandaid.

It’s a brave new world. Take care, mamas….Be Good to You. You deserve it.

PS: Nice post. Oh, and, also about me, I’m on my third serious relationship, countin the first post divorce relationship that I left and then went back to after a six-month break up. And, to this 2nd/3rd one, I am engaged.

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Amyinbc November 9, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Very, very great advice. We need to find out who we ARE at this stage of the game before plunging into a new relationship.

Be single for a bit before putting ourselves out there…

And awesome for Single Mama for doing so and eventually meeting her man1

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Laura November 10, 2009 at 1:03 am

I also wanted to say (and I hope that it is noted) how much this blog has meant to me over the last nine months. I spent a long time lurking and a long time trying to fight off the fear of becoming a single mother. This blog and all of its comments didn’t make it easier but it has helped me feel like there is a community that has each other’s backs and who are strong and committed and beautiful even on the darkest and bleakest days. Considering that this post is about having strength, I think that knowing there is a community out there that is actually global is strength giving and humbling at the same time. So I thank mssinglemama and to all of the people who post, from the bottom of my heart.

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Kim November 10, 2009 at 11:29 am

I do it by focusing on the goal. The goal right now is to raise a happy, healthy young boy. I work full time to pay bills. I go to school online part time to get a better education, so I can look at my son and tell him that education is important do it while you are young and before you start a family. I aslo had to come to realize that families are what you make it. A family doesn’t have to involve a mother/father, a great family has to have love. A mommy and son is a perfect family to me~!

I just try to enjoy and remember the things I can. If if forget something try not to be so hard on myself. Realize that this is only one chapter in both of our lives.

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Kathy November 10, 2009 at 11:55 am

I work at a job that I really don’t enjoy…

But, it pays me well and I only work 4 miles from my house and my son’s school. The peace-of-mind of having a stable job and close proximity is worth WAY more than me “enjoying” my job right now!

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Elise November 11, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Wow. I feel so overwhelmed after reading all of these post. It makes me feel like I am not the only one that is going through so much all at once and having to make it work somehow. My Ex and I split a year ago, it has been and still is hard taking care of my son as well as myself. There were many times I really didn’t think we were going to pull through but we did. We lived with my parents for 4 months, I didn’t have a job or any source of income and it seemed impossible to even go to job interviews. I did not have a babysitter nor the money to pay for a daycare. After 4 months I managed to find a decent full time job with benefits, it doesn’t pay all the bills but it takes care of the ones we need. Still now I do not recieve child support and even though I fight for it with my expensive lawyer, my ex seems to find ways around it. We make it through the days and I just have to remind myself each day that even though life is hard we have each other and that’s all we need to be happy most days. I’m starting now to get over the feeling of being a failure for my son and not keeping my family together. I have started dating recently and his support is very helpful, I haven’t told him much about my divorce and he still hasn’t been around my son after a few months but it’s nice having someone around.

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Stac November 11, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I recently told a new young single mom who asked how I manage: “I manage because I have to.” There is no other option. I currently get child support, but I’ve learned to never count on it. It’s all dependent on his employment status. But I always tell myself…you can’t get blood from a stone.

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AK November 20, 2009 at 9:40 am

These are an inspiration yet I”m still afraid. I work full time, have a 10 mo old son, and I’m trying to get the nerve to divorce someone who is being more erratic, stressed, and constantly threatening to take my son away from me. My mother has about 3 months to live. My father is in his own world of denial and “oh it can’t be that bad. Just tell him off.” I need some support, advice, strength. If anyone can give it, please email me. I’m scared of pulling the trigger knowing the hell this custody battle will be. But I can’t have this environment for my son. He’s my whole world.

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AK November 20, 2009 at 9:48 am

sorry I thought my email would be included
girlpleaseatgmaildotcome

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b November 28, 2009 at 9:04 pm

how do i work it?
i work my butt off at work — don’t take a lunch break so i can leave early so my kid can have a 9-hour day instead of a 10 hour day; i leave a lot of non perishable, non junk food stuff in the car so my kid can have food as soon as we see each other, because they pretty much starve them after lunch time; and the house is rarely (ever?) fully clean, i.e., we skimp on certain things to have quality time together. i make doing homework a priority and we do it in that 90 minutes we have, between the end of day care and time to get ready for bed. and there is **no help** here — the father lives 400 miles away, no family, any help is paid for (we can afford 4 hours a week). the boyfriend just up and left, too much stress, and if he is too wimpy to handle it after only a year, then he mustn’t have what it takes. And that’s what I tell myself when I’m feeling really low — I did it myself, new job, new house, made this gorgeous child, left the man, and still look good (though I am often surprised by what i see in the mirror, meaning that surviving some of the crud didn’t leave me decrepit and hobbled!). So: skimp on housework, focus on what’s important, and coach yourself when all else fails.
and yes, i string a few extra dollars here: bibbysrocket.etsy.com

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