Best and worst bits of being a single parent

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  • #7878 Report


    To help those that are relatively newly separated or just struggling to adjust I think we ought to have a fun thread. So on this thread you should tell us what you most like about being a single parent and on the flip side, what you struggle with….


    #7881 Report


    Oh lordy. Nothing is the best. Even if your life was hellish when your partner was there you never stop wishing it had all worked out and been “normal” (and might be again…?).

    I spent 8 months last year looking after the children pretty much on my own 6 days a week because my wife worked. She hated working and wanted to be with the kids, so I got a job earning less than her and she quit hers almost immediately. Two weeks later she started beating me. Two weeks after that I found out accidentally she was viewing houses in secret. Then she went to visit her parents with the kids and never returned. I’ve not had any access of any kind since.

    I think she might have something akin to post partum depression. Our twins were born 1.5 years ago. We’ve both been very tired. I was nursing one of the twins who had a cold while I was trying to cook dinner about 10pm (we were eating separately by then). I fell asleep with her in my arms and the fire alarm went off and I got a beating for that. Even though by then I was working, I was the one who got up in the night to nurse the kids so that she got more sleep. She was very resistant to stopping milk feeding even though the children were fully weaned by then. That caused arguments for the first time in a 13 year relationship (and one previous kid). She left the twins’ buggy on a street outside school and drove home (I suppose we’re lucky she remembered both twins!). The school phoned first thing the next day and I was getting ready for work so checked the car and sure enough – no buggy. Two days later, I got the same call. I laughed and said their admin was out of date – Nope, she’d done it again. And many other cases like that. I think we were both very tired. Without the help of each other it can surely only get more tiring.

    Sorry, it’s all too close. There is no best bit and I haven’t yet got access to my children, so I’m a single parent who has had their children “kidnapped”. I’m not sitting here thinking about the “me” time. They consume me more than ever, fighting to see them again.

    To try and keep in spirit of this thread, I will say I had my first night out with a friend at a comedy venue three weeks ago. Which admittedly ended with me crying and drunk (which I never do) and I fell asleep on the train and missed my stop. But, hey, I got to have a night out! I realised I hadn’t seen this friend for four years. She does stand-up, hence the choice of venue. I’ve since been writing material for her which does make me feel like I’m retaining a part of the old me that used to have fun. Though, when I put in too many dark jokes about losing my children, she gives me a talking to and tells me to keep it light – she isn’t Stewart Lee!

    Hey, maybe I did find the upside stuff at the end there!!!

    And when I think of it, all those nights getting up to look after the kids wasn’t so bad. It was a privilege. And you miss it when it’s gone.

    #7886 Report


    Wow empty, I’m happy that you have that friend to help find yourself again, it’s going to be a long journey. Without the kids in the question, would you like to be in this relationship again? I’m guessing not, she’s betrayed you to the max. I do hope that youve  had some advice as to a plan to reconnect with the kids, even if it takes 12/18 months, it’s something to work towards. I won’t pretend to feel what you’re going through, as fortunately I didn’t walk that path (except for the violence) but I don’t agree that being in a hellish relationship is better than being single, not anymore. I’m not sure everyone is programmed for ‘a normal relationship’ and we aren’t responsible for their actions. Where are you at re finding the children?

    #7887 Report


    Um, if I’m honest, I’d like this relationship to continue in the family house until the children are old enough to leave home. I accept that’s a long time, and neither of us will be happy in THAT sense as we’d be more like brother and sister. But I’d prefer to protect the children and make them mentally capable and prepared for life and beggar my personal happiness, because they ARE my greatest personal happiness. And Mummy can disappear a few nights each weeks to see someone else and we’ll say she’s seeing friends. She’s bisexual and I have thought for a while that something was afoot, though maybe it was just leaving me. She’s living with all three in the spare room of her parents’ tiny house with a disabled Mum. Both of them nearly 70. But that’s her choice. I’ve asked to just come back, even for just a weekend, for the kids, to give everyone a break. All their toys and stuff are here. Even half their clothes are here. I think if she could get her head separated from her parents we could talk, but they’re being exceptionally mean and they want it to be definitely over with no access for me for the kids. They’re at the age where the children will never remember me given long enough. And I know they say terrible things. I had a ninety second chat with my four year old before she snatched the phone off him because he was repeating stuff they had obviously been saying to him. That was nearly 7 weeks ago.

    Without the kids you ask? Absolutely not. I’m only chasing her for access to the kids. She’s only preventing that because it keeps me in frustrated ignorance and concern. In a way I think she thinks it makes me care about her, which otherwise I wouldn’t. And that’s probably true.

    So, I’ve taken the week off to do my court papers and try that route. It’s kind of all I have left apart from just letting them all go. But the agencies I’ve been speaking to say the court is there to help the children and they consider children not seeing either parent has a negative effect on them psychologically, so they apparently will want it to happen, even if at first, I don’t get the same rights as her.

    Not sure how long all this takes or what will happen at the end. But if nothing happens and in 18 years or whatever, someone turns up on my door saying “why did you leave us Dad?” I can tell them I did everything, short of hiring the SAS to rescue them and fly us all to Antigua in secret. Can’t see that as a viable option right now.

    #7888 Report


    Worst parts is just the being alone, I think I’m going slightly crazy with just 2 little girls to talk to. Given up trying to keep the house tidy the little buggers can mess up far faster than I can clean, I now just keep the parts of the house people are most likely to see clean, I’d be very embarrassed if anyone saw the state of my bedroom most of the time. My 9 year old daughter started puberty very early, which give us a couple of very uncomfortable conversations and shopping trips nether one of us wanted to be a part of. My younger daughter is constantly finding new more creative ways of causing injuries to herself.


    on the positive side, I can eat cake whenever I want and always have an excuse to watch children’s films.


    #7890 Report


    But the children aren’t processions  and her parenrs have absolutely no right to dictate whether you should be in their life, do you think they base their opinions on information your ex has given them?

    I have no doubt (if all of the information above is true) that the courts will award you access, as you have an address maybe invite her to mediation (you don’t have to talk to her), if you call a mediation company they will send the invite in your behalf, if she declines then again that will support your case as clearly she’s been unreasonable and trying to keep you from accessing the children. I wish you all the best, to wait 18 years is really not an option


    lol 😂 Tony I can imagine the puberty conversation! That must have been difficult (for both of you!), is still winging my way through puberty with my son! I’m still not sure what conversations to have other than when he brought a girl home recently I made them peel the potatoes together in the kitchen just so they didn’t sneak off upstairs 🤣

    #7894 Report


    She’s being putting off mediation for weeks and mediation can go on for months. When I went separately to my MIAM mediation, I was granted it immediately as the mediator said this will do no good, it will be protracted for months, will costs thousands, and it’s clear she doesn’t really want to do it as she’s prevented even the simplest of access. So there we are, straight to court, do not pass GO yet.

    #8135 Report


    The freedom to make parenting decisions without having to consult or compromise. I love that!

    #8136 Report

    Ditto anonymommy – the freedom to make decisions without having to worry if your other half thinks it’s okay.

    The best bit for me is being able to stand on my own two feet – not to have to rely on anyone and NEVER being let down when they don’t do what they’d agreed.  It’s truly liberating.

    Worst bit is having a teenager who does what they want when they want and you have no authority over them whatsoever.  Ugh!





    #8158 Report


    Best thing I have ever done becoming a single parent. Left a controlling and abusive relationship just over a week ago and I’m 28 with two kids. Can already see a difference in my oldest son, who is really benefiting from the change. He really is a much happier little boy and is doing much better with his eating and behaviour. I am finding the old me again and being able to enjoy taking my children out to places with no stress. so for me, was the best thing I have ever done leaving an abusive marriage I have been in for five years.

    To me its a fresh start and going to enjoy it with my kids, no matter how difficult it is to start with.


    #8184 Report


    Watching the snow, having a cry. Having thoughts.

    The best thing is I have three genuinely beautiful, clever children. All parents say it can’t always be true. Well, in my case it is. So there.

    Worst thing is they may never know me.

    The first thing cancels out the second. I just wish I could be there for them. With them. Even if they knew me enough to laugh at me, or despise me, or hurt me. They’d be there.

    In the end, the snow will stop falling and melt away to nothing.

    #8199 Report


    I’m trying to imagine how I’m going to decorate the house now my partner has left and not be bothered about his opinion… That’s a positive.

    The worst part is losing the company and having nobody to talk to or just sit with on an evening 🙁 feeling really lonely right now. I feel like I should be helping my son more as he’s so sad that his dad has gone but I’m grieving too and don’ know what to say to him other than that I’m here and will never ever leave and giving him lots of much needed hugs! Xx

    #8232 Report


    Worst bit for me is not having someone to share life with, chat to, sound off to and be made to feel special. I just asked my 15 year old if the  worst bit for her is not having her dad around and she said ‘that’s the best bit’ 😆

    oh and the other worst bit is having to do ALL the crap jobs (I always think this thought when I’m putting the stupid bins out)

    Best bits for me- there’s actually loads but I’m not sure that all of them put together outweighs the loneliness if that makes sense

    1. Being proud that I provide for the children on my own

    2. Being able to choose our holidays 😆

    3. Not having to put up with negative influences

    4. No parent arguments in front of the kids

    5. Not having to ask for money

    6. Bringing up the children positively

    7. Discovering I’m strong enough to do both parents jobs

    8. Being able to decide bedtimes

    doing this has actually made me feel better! Thanks DMP!


    #8284 Report


    This post has helped me so just wanted to say thank you.

    I’ve only been a single parent for 3 months due to my husbands death and I’ve been struggling to think of good things to keep me going.

    DMP – I may end up asking you for hints and tips for teenage boys I have no clue what I’m doing there. The only rule I have set so far is if friends come over your sister can go in your room (she’s 6) – if she’s not allowed then you probably shouldn’t be doing whatever it is you want to do!

    #8287 Report


    Its been really nice to hear people’s positive experiences of single parenting, much of it I can relate to. Its a journey and we’re all travelling at different speeds needing various levels of guidance on the way. Regardless whether you’re struggling or not at this minute, we all initially came to gingerbread for the same thing.

    Anonymous, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sending valentines cards to your kids, I might have done the same 😉

    Swoodarah, I’m no pro on teenage boys! It’s my first time too, so I’ll be on here sharing my ‘parenting wobbles’ when his tactics challenge me!

    chris95, glad it was helpful, I could think of worse jobs than putting out the bins though! In any case, that’s a job that’s deligated to the kids in our home, we’re a team!

    Tee.x , I took a while but with the right support you’ll be feeling liberated I’m sure! Certainly making your home your own again is a positive and a step in the right direction, it’s a process, don’t bash yourself when you’re feeling down.

    Empty, I think about you often x I sense from your enteries that you won’t let these children, who are 50% you, escape you long. Just keep on, take the support you need from the forum and pursue the legal advice you’ve been given.

    Christinaw28, khaleesi and anonymummy, I share your enthusiasm for single parenting

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