When you become a parent everything changes. Suddenly you have to consider the wellbeing of a tiny human, alongside your own, when you make decisions about everything. This is particularly obvious when you're a single parent, because you are it. If you make the wrong choice you might not have anyone to fall back on, and it could hurt not just you but your kids, too. No pressure or anything. There are so many decisions you'll make as a single mom that are heartbreaking, scary, agonizing, frustrating, and seriously tough. Still, they're decisions that have to be made.
My life as a single mom can be best described as a series of tough decisions,r really. From the decision to become a single parent in the first place, which was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make, to the daily choices I faced about what to sacrifice to satisfy our budget, our schedule, and everyone's needs, I was constantly making necessary and not always easy choices. Something always had to give, and that something was often my needs, wants, or desires.
When I made these decisions, it often felt like I had to disappoint my kids. I hated having to miss school and preschool events because I had to work, or say "no" to things like dinners out or new toys because we just didn't have the money. Add to that the decision to begin dating again, and to later re-marry, and, well, it felt like making tough decisions was pretty much what single parents have to do.
The Decision To Become A Single Mom
Leaving my ex-husband was seriously one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. I was so terrified that I would screw up my kids or that I wouldn't cut it as a single mom. I agonized over whether or not to leave my partner for almost five years, constantly chickening out and second guessing myself.
The Decision To Skip Events
As a single mom I had to miss a ton of events, usually because I couldn't bring my younger child along or couldn't get time off work during the work day. I felt like the worst mom, ever. I know I wasn't, but it felt terrible to constantly have to disappoint my kids.
The Decision To Ask For Help
I have always been super independent and fiscally responsible, so it was humbling and more than a little humiliating to have to ask for help. I was constantly weighing whether or not I could stretch my budget or find ways to do things on my own, rather than admit that I couldn't do it alone or needed help from my parents or friends.
The Decision To File For Divorce
Leaving was hard, sure but the decision to file for divorce was tough, too. Even though I had no desire to get back together with my kids' dad, it felt so final.
The Decision To Make Certain Sacrifices
Single parenthood involved tons of sacrifice. For a while I had to give up on self care entirely. I felt like I had to choose between a clean house, a full night's sleep, or my sanity. Many times I couldn't achieve even one of those. Single parenthood is hard AF.
The Decision On Where To Live
When you are a single mom you have to weigh different needs when deciding where to live. For me this meant moving from our historical home with a yard and garden (god, I loved that house), to my parents' house (which felt humiliating), to a rented town home in the suburbs where someone else was responsible for lawn care and maintenance.
The Decision To Pursue Career Goals
When you're a single parent you can't just change jobs or go back to school without weighing 500 different factors. Your kids come first and, sometimes, that means putting your dreams on the back burner.
The Decision To Date Again
The choice to date again was seriously tough. Not only did I feel judged and often undesirable when I told dates that I had kids, but dating as a single parent is hard work. It was scary, logistically challenging, and sometimes so not worth it.
That is, until I met an awesome single dad who had to make many of the same tough choices.