Transitioning into Single Parenthood

No one gets married expecting a divorce. No one has a child with their partner expecting to be a single parent. Sometimes, life has other plans. For me, becoming a single parent was more difficult than becoming a parent in the first place. I suddenly found myself with half the income, half the childcare and half the support.

A defining moment early in my separation really kicked me into gear to get my stuff together. Little Man and I were sitting on the floor playing with Legos. He was about a year old. I started to cry, so I covered my face. I heard him giggle and looked up to see him covering his face saying “Peek-a-boo.” My son deserved the world and I vowed to give it to him.

Image by Linden Photography + Design

The following tips are some of the things that got me through my first year of divorce.

  • Make a budget. Half the income is a big shock. No more morning coffee, no more lunches out. Bye-bye gym membership. Take a few months to cut out all the luxuries to gauge how much is left. I am thankful for a great career that allows me to pay the mortgage and still have enough left for Little Man and I to have some fun.
  • Every separation is different, but try to maintain a positive relationship with your ex for the sake of your child. When Little Man asks for Daddy, I call him and let them talk. When Little Man is with his dad, he and I Skype before bed. My ex and I do our son’s doctor appointments together. We talk about our son’s well-being. We don’t shoot the breeze, but we are able to be there for our son. This was one of the most difficult things for me. We had a crummy marriage, but he is a good father, and I am thankful for that.

  • Never ever speak negatively about your ex to your child. Your child deserves a healthy relationship with both parents. As much as you may hate your ex, your child loves them with all their heart, let them have that love and don’t try to tarnish it for your resentment.
  • Be willing to compromise and ask for help. Daycare calls and says your little one is sick? Don’t take the brunt of it on your own. If you’re deathly ill, ask your ex to help. If my ex had to work one weekend, I give him extra time the weekend after. Even apart, you can still raise your child together.
  • Take time for you. Find that $20 for a sitter for a girl’s night. I recently rejoined a sports league with some friends. It is so refreshing to get out as ‘April,’ not as ‘Little Man’s mama.’ It’s a big change. Sitting at home wallowing only makes the process harder.

  • The dishes can wait. You get up, get Little Man ready for daycare, drop him off, work eight or nine hours, get home, make his dinner, bath time, reading time, bedtime. All of a sudden its 8 pm. You haven’t eaten. You’re tired, there is laundry to wash, floors to sweep, dishes to wash, a bathroom to clean, snow to shovel, or a lawn to mow… you get the idea. By Thursday, I am tired. I am so tired. Do what you can, but don’t burn yourself out. Sometimes that bubble bath will do more good for you than washing the dishes. It’s okay— life goes on, but it goes on much easier when you’re relaxed.
  • Make sure you heal yourself. Divorce can be heart wrenching. In my circumstance it was the best option and I am thankful I realized that. However, it was still a very difficult time. You need to be in a good place yourself before you can be a good mama. At the very beginning, there were nights I gave him a hot dog and turned on the TV… I was just drained. I needed that time for me to accept the circumstances, heal and be able to lift myself up and give my son the mama he deserves. Wallow for a bit, but do everything you can to pick yourself up. You’ll be thankful for it in the end.

Both my ex and I came from divorced homes. I always said I wanted more for my son. It was easier to mourn the loss of a spouse than it was to mourn the loss of a family for my son.

Image by Linden Photography + Design

It’s been a long year, but I have come to realize that my son still has a family. He has a mama and a daddy who love him more than anything. We may not live under the same roof, but Little Man is still more loved than he’ll ever know.

Readjusting is hard, it is so very hard. But it does get easier. I promise. 

10 Responses to Transitioning into Single Parenthood

  1. Love your strength!

  2. Great article! So much great advice here!

  3. Great advice! I have so much admiration for parents who remember to think of their child’s feelings while going through so many of their own. Keep up the great work mama!

  4. You continue to amaze me mama! <3

  5. So many great points, April! When you are traumatized by separation/divorce, you can’t always think clearly, so I believe you offer tremendous advice to those facing what you’ve already championed. The love for your son comes through in these photos, so keep loving him and life will be MORE than okay for the two of you!!

  6. I applaud you! It takes alot to really readjust life and it seems that you’ve made the most out of the situation and focused your attention on what really matters -your son.

    High five , thumps up & great job!

  7. Well said April! You are so positive and optimistic! Such an inspiration to everyone!

  8. April is not only the best mom ever, she is the best daughter any mother could hope for. I admire her strength and positive ways of thinking to always provide for her son. Not just love, but real dedication to all of his needs, emotional, and otherwise. If anyone saw how Eric gave his Thomas The Train cars to Lucy to keep her company on April’s Facebook page, you will see how thoughtful he is. That comes from a wonderful, solid mom he is lucky to have. I could not be more proud of her, and the great person she has become.

  9. Great post:) Something you can’t really understand unless you actually experience it, I’m sure!

  10. love this. I wasn’t married but I was in a 3 1/2 yr relationship with my daughters father when we got preg. almost to year 4 when we split. its been hard. I agree with u on all this stuff. now if only my family would read this lol. Ive tried taking time for myself to recover and sometimes decide the toys can be picked up tomorrow bcuz I really am exaughsted, but my fam sees it as im lazy n jus makin excuses to not do better. they don’t see im goin to school full time and takin care of business lookin for a job plus exclusive breastfeeding and attachment parenting. but my mom was a single parent and said insists I have to do it all the same as her and give up on dreams n getting myself in school to get a better job than dead end and cant parent gently like I am bcuz being a single parent doesn’t allow tht.

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