31.1.18

Solo Parenting: Highs and Lows

I absolutely hate the term "single mum". I hate my marital status being linked to my role as a parent....especially as I am now not single. I much prefer the term "solo parenting".
I've been thinking a lot about the highs and lows of solo parenting recently. I almost called this "the good and the bad" but I really disliked using the word "bad" when it came to parenting. I didn't want to put that label on myself, on my relationship with my children, or on them.

Control 

[High] 

I like that I am in control of how I parent when the children are with me. I think part of what made me and their dad clash towards the end of our relationship was that we parented differently.
Being apart means we can both parent in our own ways and thankfully I never get "Well Daddy says...." or "Daddy lets us...."
I like being able to decide if they can have a late night when at my house, or how I want to do their bedtime routine (which seems to always change so routine is the wrong word to use).
I feel like, although it can be really really hard, I am a lot more relaxed because of my control.

Support

[Low]

You know those days when your children are just "on one"? When they have it set in their minds that everything they do will be exactly what you don't want them to do? When everything you ask them to do is replied with a "no" or a "buuuut"?
Those are the days when I find solo parenting tricky because I feel as though I would be stronger if I had that support behind me. Someone to come along and back me up.
I don't like being a shouty parent but it's unavoidable a lot of the time when I am at battle.
This is also very much needed when there are days you are poorly. I feel sort of lucky that my boys will be understanding sometimes when I am ill....but still like to push the buttons. I tend to find switching on the tears helps.

Support

[High]

As well as being a low support is also a high. Because when you become a solo parent you discover those around you who will help and who are there for you. People who were always there before and step up even more to be your support and hold you up. Friends who enter your life and immediately place themselves in that vacant role. 

Time

[High]

I think that maybe I am a different breed to other mothers because I enjoy my time when the boys are at their dads. Before I was in a relationship with my boyfriend I still enjoyed those days. Sometimes I miss them, sometimes I don't. But I find for me that it's good to have that time to myself. It's good for us when we are reunited on the school run or when they are dropped off or I pick them up. 
I feel like us having a break from each other really works for our relationship. I treasure my time with them a lot more because it is limited, however if I ever want them extra days or I do really have the urge to see them their dad is accommodating and we will swap days or allow the other one to have them extra. 
It is definitely good for my mental health to have time away to breathe and to just be me for a while.

Freedom

[High]

Possibly a little harsh but along the same lines with 'time' I love having my freedom. 
I think the fact I was a housewife for six and a half years and pretty much dedicated my whole life to my family has made me crave for that time to myself and for that freedom.
I look forward to my weekends without the children, to my evenings to myself and to any plans I have without them. 
I find it really important to still be 'Lauren' and these are the times I am her. When I am with the boys I am 'mum' and I definitely need that time to be me. When I have the children I won't get a babysitter if a friend wants to go out so I am dedicated and strict with those times. For example, I didn't go to my works Christmas do last year because my ex had plans and it was my weekend with the children. Despite my mum offering to babysit I didn't want her to, those days are my days and with limited weekends with them I'd rather focus on them. I actually didn't regret that decision and or feel any feelings of missing out.

Time

[Low]

I think part of me putting weight on again is due to not being able to have time to get into the same sort of fitness routine I was in before. Every night I was able to go on a 5 mile walk because I had someone to watch the boys, whereas now I don't have that. I've struggled to get into any kind of routine. 

There are obviously a few more in terms of money, and so on but ultimately...my biggest high is looking at those boys and knowing that despite everything I am doing a good job. That despite our tough days I am raising two boys who are kind, have good hearts who are loved and know how to love. 
And who are as proud of me as I am of them. 

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