Raising 3 Kids Single-Handedly!
Single parenthood can be one of life’s biggest challenges. Seemingly overnight, women and men may find themselves assuming the responsibilities of raising their children on their own.
Single parenthood can be one of life’s biggest challenges. Seemingly overnight, women and men may find themselves assuming the responsibilities of raising their children on their own. Although in some ways these new parenting circumstances can be just as satisfying an experience as sharing parenting with a spouse, there are problems unique to single parenthood.
My name is Noella; I am raising my 3 wonderful kids alone. My eldest, Nella, my teenage daughter, next to her is Raymond and then the youngest is Kyle. Raising 3 different personalities with different needs and wants are quite a challenge.
Here are some of the broad issues that I've experienced ever since my divorce.
The Money Crunch
Unless you are receiving alimony or child support payments from your ex, you've gone from a dual income family to a single income family and that can create stress. As we were living on less money, the first thing we did, was some belt-tightening. Because of that, my school age kids stopped schooling for 2 years, while I tried to cope up with the mounting expenses. I started looking high and low for a job that could provide some financial security for my family. I did some freelancing and buying and selling just to have some extra money for my kids. Even getting basic food on the table was sometimes a struggle. It took me 2 years just to get back on my feet. All those time, I felt so lost and frustrated but I never showed my kids my frustration.
My responsibilities certainly do not stop the moment work ends each day. I have a full day’s worth of tasks awaiting at home - from cooking dinner, washing dishes, doing laundry, helping with the kids with homework and I also need time to talk to them. Although these same obligations are faced by working mothers who are married, a single parent has to face these responsibilities alone, without the helping hand of a husband.
Initially I used to feel chronically fatigued. I was often both physically and emotionally drained and as a result I sometimes took it out on my kids. I use to yell at them for the smallest thing. One day, I mustered up the courage to talk to them eye to eye. I realised that my behaviour was potentially damaging them, and we needed to have open communication. I told them how tired and frustrated I was and I admitted that all of it was not their fault. As time went by, my kids became my emotional support, and started to even pitch in with housework!
Reduced time and energy for Personal Pursuit
I often feel that I have no time for myself, whether having dinner with friends or even going to the gym. Even if I can find time for these pursuits, I am so tired that I don’t have any energy for it.
After my separation with my husband, my lack of energy was dramatic and I was depressed. I felt persistent sadness, irritability; had difficulty sleeping and drastic weight loss. It was only after it took a major toll on my health, that I finally mustered up enough courage to admit to myself that I was depressed. I vowed to myself that I would stand on my two feet and change little by little. I constantly reminded myself that I am the only source of strength for the kids, if I don’t change my ways then they will be depressed too.
When Children Become Burdens
Single parents sometimes begin to perceive the responsibilities of child-raising as overwhelming. Even the most routine events in my children’s life – events at school or normal oppositional behavior – became a burden for me, as I was struggling to squeeze everything into my day. I felt a great deal of tension and sometimes guilt that came with not being able to attend to all of my children’s needs or to provide all of the opportunities I wish my kids had. But of course, it’s also a matter of open communication with them.
Single parents need to make sure their children are cared for appropriately when they are at work. There are many options available. I hired a helper at home so that they were able to eat on time, watch over them when I am at work and a lot more. But of course, I had to train that helper first before I could leave the house and feel at ease that my children are well taken cared of. I also hired a school bus service to pick up my kids to and from school.
Although being a single parent was a dramatic change, it can be a workable, rewarding family situation. I felt a strong sense of satisfaction bringing home a paycheck. Now they can open up to me on all types of issues that they are going through. I too was a child once, thus I do understand what they are going through with their lives at the moment. Over the years, I've managed to gain their RESPECT. But it was a step by step solution and I knew that the first step had to come from me.