Child and parent holding hands

Sarah on The Challenges of Single Parenting

As part of Child Contact Centre Awareness Week (22-26 April), Guest bloggerSarah from Glasgow Mummy shares her moving experience as a single parent.
Child and parent holding hands

Image by stephanski from Flickr Creative Commons

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had never imagined that I’d be in my current situation… separated with a two year old boy & bouncing baby girl at the age of 30. I didn’t have children to only see them half of the year, but under the circumstances this is the way it has to be.

I’ve been reading a few other single parent blogs and have realised I’m lucky that the children’s father does want to be actively involved in their upbringing. I actually can’t imagine being a parent and not wanting to see your children grow up.

The first year of the separation was very difficult for me. My husband moved into his parents house and lived there for 6 months, but this meant it was difficult for him to have the kids overnight and as such he only took them every Sunday evening. He did come to the house frequently for the bedtime routine but I found it tough having to see him so often and I reckon it confused the children who then asked his whereabouts each morning after he’d been over the previous night.

Fast forward 16 months and we’re in a bit of a better routine. The children are with their daddy from Sun lunchtime and I then collect them on a Wed from their nursery. I work part-time Mon-Wed, so it means the days I have the children I’m a full-time mummy to them.

I do occasionally feel pressured into doing exciting (expensive) things with them especially when their dad tells me about trips to safari parks, sea life centres, boat trips etc. However, what they do get from me is my time and I’m so grateful that I’m able to work part-time hours to allow me to spend these precious early years with them.

We make sticky pictures, we bake cupcakes, we draw, paint & crayon, we bake bread, we go to the local playgroup, we have friends over for coffee, we read books, we play at other friends houses, we make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, we build tents & have pretend picnics, we watch Disney movies, we do gardening, we go to the park, we dance & jump and most importantly we laugh…a lot.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work & after a long night with toddlers that still don’t sleep through, the daily battles over getting dressed & the constant not listening (tips anyone?) I find myself exhausted & worn out by their bedtime.

And then Sunday comes around (far too quickly) and I feel empty & sad when they’re not around.

One thing we’re still to master is visits, video calls & phone calls from daddy when the kids are with me. When he has the children I rarely contact him/them unless I have to as it usually ends in tears. Whereas on the other hand their dad will pop in, ask to video call etc which I allow but then I have to deal with the fallout when he leaves or the call ends. It’s getting easier as they get older thankfully.

Their dad is also of the opinion that regardless of our relationship, we should spend time as a family with the children doing activities together. I feel like this just confuses the situation as the children are too young to appreciate the situation.

I don’t know what the right answer is, but hopefully we can continue to be civil and keep the children’s best interests as our focus.

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