Single Parenting: The ups and downs of being a single mom

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Single Parenting: Read this mom's story on single parenting and how she conquered the fear of raising a child alone.

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When being a single mom…

Single Parenting: The ups and downs of being a single mom

The best part of being a single parent is the amount of time I get to spend with my baby. When he was a newborn, he turned to me for everything, be it waking up in the middle of the night for a feed, or a change or just to be cuddled and kept warm. Of course at the time we were co-sleeping and I was nursing him, so it was really easy to create a bond, but the hard part of having such a strong bond, was when it was time to move him to the big boy’s bed!

I was living with my parents when Henry was first born and we were lucky to have them. In fact my mother was so grateful to have so much time with her first grandbaby. I think once that generation has spent so much time away from babies, they are more than willing to help lend their hands and their opinions to raising a child.

As I was nervous about being an unwed mother, I went to the priest for advice. He was awesome, and wisely advised me to try not to subconsciously make my parents my baby’s parents. He pointed out that grandparents are just that, the grandparents. Their role is just as important as Mom, Dad, teacher, and caregiver. However, the role of parenting my child, was mine alone. I’m the momma; I make the decisions on what he wears, what he eats, when he eats, and when he goes to sleep. Being a single parent is a sensitive subject, but it doesn’t mean you can’t speak up. Although someone is helping you, you still have limits and can say “no”. I needed constant reminders of that and luckily I had found a confidant in my big sister, and she stuck up for me.

Other Fish in the Sea

Once Henry was about three months old, I went out for a couple hours a week with a friend to have dinner and drinks. This is a must for a single parent. It is important to get out of the house and get away from your baby. Your bundle of joy is just that, but distance makes the heart grow fonder.

While a large part of going out, was to get some breathing space, I was also hoping to meet someone. A bar in general is a bad place to meet a mate, but after having a kid I looked at all potential mates as potential fathers.

Soon enough, I realised that the web was the way to go. I could write when the baby was asleep. I didn’t have to worry about a guy not knowing I had a kid until after a certain point, it was all out in the open.

After a week of online dating, I met my wonderful, smart, and funny, mister right. I’m sure it doesn’t happen that fast for everyone, but Jake and I hit it off famously. When we first started talking, I went on and on about Henry. He didn’t seem to mind. He actually looked forward to meeting him and becoming a part of a family. What more could I ask for?

Some things didn’t come so easily. When you are just starting an intimate relationship, a baby in between isn’t exactly romantic. As I was nursing, I had little Henry sleeping with me at night. After about a year, I decided to stop nursing, but getting him off the boob and into his own bed took some sleepless nights. I am glad Jake was so tolerant, but if you have the option, I recommend trying to wean before starting a relationship.

Crunching Numbers

Since Jake and I have been together, I have also been humbled into looking at my finances. Money is important when you have children. You have to suddenly start thinking about What college, a car, a bicycle for that matter? Having a savings account helps to ensure that he doesn’t miss out on those things.

A couple things other mothers don’t tell you…

1. Car Seat: The car seat is one of the most important parenting tools you’re going to have.

Call up the traffic police or automobile association of Singapore if you need guidance in putting in the seat. They are always willing to spend a half hour or so helping you learn how to put in and take out your car seat.

2. Support Group: If you don’t have a bunch of friends or a huge family, try the Family Service Centre at MCYS. Friends make you happy and a happy parent has a happy child.

3. Child Care: Look into it far in advance. I was fuming when I found out I couldn’t just drop my kid off the week I found a new job. Lucky for me, my mom was willing to take him during the day until I found a place, but some people don’t have that option. My advice to you is research, research, research. Our quick links has a listing of childcare centers or you can try the MOE website.

4. Dance: Okay, maybe not every parent likes to dance, but whatever it is that you love, try to incorporate that into your parenting. Don’t exclude your child from the things that make you happy. For Henry and I, it is music. Embracing your individuality is a great lesson for your child. I like making a fool of myself in front of him so he’ll never be afraid to be himself.

The fact remains, that single or not, parenting is hard, but keeping your head up and taking some time to breathe will make you a better parent. To quote Bob Marley, “don’t worry everything is gonna be alright…”

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