{YML Voices} Single Mom Making It On Her Own – Any Advice?


by Sarah 

Single motherhood has taken a whole new meaning for me as of late. After hours spent on the phone with friends and family and banging my head on the wall after I put the kids to sleep, I’ve come to a life changing decision: it’s time to start doing this on my own…for real.

For the last two years I’ve been a co-parenting mom, having the children ninety percent of the time while the kids visit their dad on the weekends. My free time was limited and when it did creep up on me I usually spent it running (my stress reliever!) or grocery shopping or sneaking a movie in with my boyfriend. But according to my ex, I shouldn’t have any free time and he reminds me of it on a regular basis.

I’m a hard worker; I work full time while trying to keep my apartment somewhat liveable (laundry, dishes, toliet cleaning, you name it). I’m dealing with the terrible fours AND terrible twos at the same time while trying to keep up with doctors and speech therapy appointments. Some days I feel like I’m juggling the world and begin anticipating how much time I have left until I hit rock bottom. But I haven’t yet.

I’ve decided it’s time to put an end to the verbal abuse and cut the kids off from their father until he gets his life together. Yes, it’d be nice to get a child support payment every so often, but it’s more about stability and povidability for my kids, which he cannot offer.

This was a hard decision because I am all for father’s rights. After two years, unfortunately, it’s time to cut these ties and move on. It’s always been a scary thought because it means I’ll need to rely on family and friends to pitch in with babysitting when I work on the weekend or shovel out a few extra bucks for a babysitter when nobody else is available. I’ll have no free time which means I’ll need to work harder at my relationship. Life will get ten times more difficult but my kids and I deserve to be happy and abuse-free.

Any single moms out there who have tips and tricks to share on this new transition in my life, please share!



  1. Positive Innergy says:

    Dear Sarah,

    Some days I feel like I’m juggling the world and begin anticipating how much time I have left until I hit rock bottom. But I haven’t yet. :

    Slow down and take things one day at a time — live in the present. That’s what I have to tell myself daily or else I get overwhelmed, stressed, and a snowball of other negative emotions creep up that keep me from focusing on the action I need to take in that very moment. So, I will repeat it to you as I repeat it to myself – Slow down and take things minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day…

    This does not mean that you cannot plan for the future — But, how much control do you have over things that come up unexpectedly?? Just get your insurance plan ready…

    Okay now let’s take some actions, together:

    Get your army of people together that are both trusting and reliable. Set up a time to have this Important Conversation with them. Explain your situation to them and ask if in the future, if they are willing and available, can they 100% have your back in a time of need. Have the list ready with numbers posted on the fridge/mirror so you can look at it each day and know Who Has Your Back. This may take some time to create and you may add and delete people over time. Get an idea of their schedules, if they need some type of compensation, etc. If people cannot help, that’s okay. Move on to the next person. During this process, be okay with both yes and no answers. Your list needs solid leads. Set a goal for the number of people you feel comfortable with having your back. 3, 5, 10?

    Not sure about the nature of your workplace — but, if you can talk confidentially to whomever it may concern — let them know you have assembled a list of back up childcare providers but in the event that you cannot come into work because of this — have them assure you that this will not count against any promotion, etc if other areas of your performance are at peak. There is no way you can leave you children without adequate childcare and this should not be counted against you! Get this meeting documented in some way. Also, post a copy of this on your fridge/mirror!

    Anticipate but, don’t stress — have disaster like insurance for yourself so you can have peace of mind. For example, if you know that a certain back up child care provider that you really like requires a certain fee, put your insurance money aside every month for this so you know it’s there if you need it. You know what I’m going to say next. Post this on your fridge/mirror too.

    The point of posting all these vital documents is to make sure you remind yourself each day that you’ve done all you can that’s in your control — and, now you can take the actions you need to take for the remainder of the day. The reason most CEOs, etc are successful is because they have a team of reliable people around them. You are not just a single mother, you are the Founder/CEO of your family. Yes you may have to work around the clock but, do so in the present moment. When you are cleaning the toilet, clean the toilet — When you are with the kids, be with the kids. At work same thing. Relaxing = Relaxing.

    In terms of daddy — You don’t have spare time to debate nonsense or go around in circles — via email not text — Politely state what you think are reasonable request/timelines and compromise where there is room. Let him gradually earn the trust of you and the children back. Maybe some type of supervised visits need to be implemented. If you can find someone to mediate these visits this arrangement could work out great. They can be for a couple of hours until things are back on track. Maybe a condition you set is him seeking therapy or counseling. If he does not want to compromise — let it go and move on..CEOs don’t waste time on nonsense they cut to the chase professionally and move quickly from dead ends that are not profitable, in this case your time.

    Hope that helps Sarah :-)

  2. Sarah,
    First thing that I would say is trust that you will be fine. Yes, you will have to depend on your family just as Positive Innergy said. She brings about a good point of having reliable people that you can count on.
    I’m not to sure about the second part though. I have been in management for over 15 years and I can tell you, at least in my experience, as a single mom and in management, they can not ensure that you not coming to work because of childcare will not count against you. It wouldn’t be fair to anyone else in the work place and legally, they can not do that.
    As someone who has been doing it from day 1 while working 60+ hours a week with 2 different sitters, one before & after school and one for nights & weekends and paying $700 a month it is not always easy. You will have times when all of your “reliable” people will flake on you and you will have to call of work. It is what it is. If you can find a good licensed childcare provider, you are probably better off.
    What it all boils down to is making the best decisions for yourself and your children. As for the man that you are dating, yes, it will get very tough because you will be juggling 50 balls and trying your best to keep any of them from falling. I am sure that you have discussed what the situation is and I hope that he understands and is willing to be supportive of your situation.
    Just breathe! You will make it and you will be fine.