Single Mum to 2 under 2 – looking for advice and encouragement
17 February 2018 at 5:24 pm #7731
I’ve been a single parent to my little girl since she was 5 months old. Her Dad has been in and out of her life for various reasons due to drug abuse, alcohol and depression…The extent of which has only really come to light in the last few months. In a moment of weakness and pure stupidity on my part we spent the night together last year and I conceived a baby boy who I gave birth to only 12 days ago… My ex had some kind of mental break down at the end of last year, including, it seems, some psychotic episodes, which he remembers little to nothing of… He left town to go to his parent’s over 200 miles away, they had him arrested due to his behaviour, kicked him out, he broke down on the way home and was stranded at the roadside for 5 days with no money and no help until his Mum finally relented and sent him some money. But not before he took an overdose and was sectioned briefly. He returned to his parent’s house after I begged his mum to help him out, only to leave a few days later. This time he was involved in a car crash and his car was totalled. He was stranded again, with his family refusing to help him, until he used his Dad’s card details to get a train ticket back to his flat. He relied on me heavily for emotional support during this time. At 6 months pregnant and completely broken by the strains of our “relationship”, I just wasn’t able to do this. I related all of this to my midwife, who freaked out and did a MARAC referral. Since then social services have been involved and IDVA and I have done my best to try and distance myself from him emotionally as I realised it was affecting my mental health.
He recently agreed to be assessed by social services and contact with the children is in the process of being arranged through them. This is a relief to me as it has been taken the responsibility out of my hands – I was struggling to come up with suitable, neutral places for contact to take place without my family there to supervise (as I had been advised to do), which he refused as it made him feel uncomfortable. I am however devastated that it has come to this. We were together for 9 years before we had our daughter. We went through some tough times and both made mistakes but I never imagined I would be raising his children by myself, let alone 2 so young. When I discovered I was pregnant with our son it was a complete shock and I feel like now he’s been born the reality of it is only just setting in. My little girl has discovered she can run rings around me and I’m really beginning to feel the effects of frequent night waking. I think today was my first, ‘what the hell have I done?’ moment. As for support, I have my Mum and sister locally. But my sister is a single parent to two small children of her own and my mum suffers from fibromyalgia and arthritis and really struggles with the day to day of running her own house and keeping working so I feel quite guilty to ask for help unless it is offered or it’s an emergency.
I guess what I’m really looking for is advice from anyone who has been in a similar situation, or just some encouragement to say, “you can do this!” … Because, I’ll be honest, I cried today at the fact I had to make dinner, I haven’t been out of the house and my 21 month old daughter is running into closed doors for entertainment… I’ve also really struggled to come to terms with the end of the relationship and I don’t have a clue how to move on. I saw him briefly, for the first time in over 6 weeks, when he met his son and I was so upset when he left. I just kept thinking, it wasn’t supposed to be like this… And I feel bad for him missing out on this time with his son, despite everything…
Thanks for reading this far… Please forgive any incoherence. I’m writing this on my phone in the dark whilst trying to stop my daughter from completely wrecking the house! 😌18 February 2018 at 12:52 pm #7748
You’re too nice for your own good, your ex partner isn’t your responsibility, bringing up kids alone is tough, having someone throwing ridiculous problems at you is the last thing you need. 5 days at a roadside waiting for someone to help him is just stupidity. If he can’t cope with without having the responsibility of having kids to look after, he wouldn’t be any help with them.
its over 2 years since my ex visited the kids, I can honestly say staying away is the only good thing she has ever done for the kids.18 February 2018 at 2:37 pm #7752
Thanks for your replies.
I imagine my hormones are playing a large part in how I’m feeling Anonymous, you’re right. Thank you for the advice. I think an afternoon nap in my room would go down well with my eldest. She rarely naps in the day at all any more, even though I think she still needs it. I think she’d be more likely to try if I was resting with her.
Tonys25, you’re right, I have been too nice. I guess I still love part of him I haven’t seen in a long time. I suspect he’s actually mentally unwell and I find it hard to feel anything but empathy for him despite what he’s put me through in the last couple of years. But someone has suggested to me that he’s just playing on this for sympathy… I am working on detaching myself from his drama as I realised I was still unhealthily involved in his life. I’ve often thought it would be easier if he just stayed away, like your ex has, but I know for a fact he is desperate to be part of the children’s lives. The social worker said he was prepared to do anything for regular contact. I suppose that isn’t a bad thing as long as he sorts himself out and keeps up with visits instead of disappearing every few weeks.19 February 2018 at 11:03 am #7803
You seem like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. You will be fine.
I went through a similar situation when my kids were younger. My second child was the result of a celebration drink after I court case over custody of the older one. Kids mum has mental health problems that just seemed to keep getting worse. I tried to help , I tried to make things as easy as possible, everyone I know called me mad for keep giving her chances with the kids and bending over backwards to accommodate her seeing them, her parents included. I had a soft spot for her and she took advantage of that.
It took a good few years to get to the nice stable situation I’m in now, but if I can handle it I’m sure you can.20 February 2018 at 8:26 am #7879
Honestly, there’ll be times that your so exhausted that you can barely find the energy to put one foot forward … but you will do it, because those babies need you to do just that and so what if discipline isn’t upper most in your mind – do what you can, with what you have ….
It is really difficult to escape from someone that lives for the drama and chaos that they bring to others and whether your ex partner has cleaned up his act or not – your first duty is self-preservation. I remember blaming myself for not being enough, I now see, that this was all apart of the “game!” I know it sounds crazy but the best thing you can do is get out – go to mum and tots groups, get together with other parents – you’ll find ways to get creative with your toddler – also look into free nursery hours too for some breathing space. It may seem bleak at times, but you have the power to transform and turn it around to making it the best it can be.
Alison x21 February 2018 at 9:56 pm #7967
Thank you Alison.
It’s been over 8 weeks since I heard from him at all (except for him visiting our son for the first time). It’s a relief to have a break from the drama and the “game” as you say. Maybe he realised, I’m not playing any more? But I guess I’m finding it quite unnerving as it’s the longest we’ve gone without speaking since we first got together. In a way, it’s like breaking up all over again as we never did “no contact” before. I just feel empty. Yet I know it should be a positive thing…
I’ve already looked up some toddler groups so I plan to go to them when I can manage it and I will ask about free nursery hours, thank you. I met with my gran for lunch today – Gosh, it’s hard to leave the house on time with two, but we made it!