I follow Parents magazine on Twitter and they recently posted an article to Twitter entitled Your Single Parenting Dilemmas, Solved. Being a single Mom I'm always interested in how to balance and solve the many dilemmas that does come with single parenting. They highlighted these as the biggest dilemmas: Time, Money, Emotional Support, Scheduling, Doing it All, Dating, Guilt, and Coparenting.
Time and money I'm not sure why they are on a single parent list.. they should be on EVERY parents list. The write up of the dilemma is I work full time and then I come home and run my kids around.. hmm that sounds like every working mother I know married or no. And Money, Kids be expensive! Regardless of 1 parent or 2 in the house kids are expensive! I am a single parent who has never lived with the other parent, not a divorced parent who goes through the AHHHHH WTF from 2 vs kids to 1 vs kids, so it probably gives me a different perspective. I'm not sure which type of single parent is more common. From the Parents magazine list and the write ups of their dilemmas I'm going to assume that divorce is more common than never together. Money says going from a two income to a one income family is hard, which is undoubtedly true. But I still advocate that Time and Money should not be the first two single parent specific dilemma's.
As for the rest, I do think this is a good list for stressors that are more apparent in single parent life than dual parent homes. Emotional support, I have a wonderful, but slightly stressful child.. he is a little mini Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory incredibly smart but things have to be a certain way or he melts down. Having someone who lives in the house, having the same struggles would be fantastic! But that's why I have a BFF on Skype speed dial.
The hardest part of single parenting for me is what they called Doing It All. I've posted before about all the hats I have to wear. Homework, cooking, cleaning, sick/snow days etc. it all falls on me. This week, in particular, has been hard because the school district canceled school EVERY day. I have not been to work in 3 weeks (off for 2 at Christmas)! Not only is it driving me crazy, but I am falling behind on my research because I have not planted anything. Soybean takes months to grow seed to seed. A week might not seem like a big deal but it can be the difference between having seed in time for summer work or not. Being isolated several hours by car from extended family I have had no one to take King Boo while school is closed. And the crazy thing is, that is not even how Parents Magazine presented doing it all but used the example of a single mom being jealous cause her girlfriends husband will fix a leaky faucet. I'm not jealous of a man who can be handyman, I can purchase that. I'm jealous of my friends that I see who have a sick kid or a snow day from school and have that other parent who they can take turns being off work and caring for the child. Those are the curve balls that are hard to catch as a single parent. Where is your solution for that Parent's Magazine?
Since I have been home all week off work to watch King Boo, obviously I have not come up with any solution to this dilemma or I would have gone back to work already. The only future plan I can hope for is to make a good stay a home mom friend in the area who can take mine in on random school closing days. When he is sick I'm still the main person on call because no one can sub for Mommy to a sick child. He better not get sick, I cannot afford any more days off. One of my largest fears about going back for the PhD was how can I be both a good Mom and a good scientist. I had been balancing in it well, in my opinion, for the first semester but right now I feel as if I am failing miserably.
Has anyone else felt like this about single parenting? Have you found support in the community? What do you think?