One thing I had to learn to keep in my mind and in my heart is that no one can tell me how to do this job, and no one can tell me my choices are wrong or right when it comes to a solo act like mine. I have to weigh up the pros and cons of everything. Suing his father for maintenance or not; buying a house or renting for a few more years so I can afford private school; buying a new car or buying a second hand car; moving away from family to have a better job or staying close to my back-up… it happens all day everyday.
Going without so that I can provide for my son- I don’t think it ever stops… but that’s not what it’s about. My boy is a brilliant, intelligent, creative, well adjusted, sociable, likeable kid who is adored by friends and family alike.
It’s a lot of stress and we are after all, only human. I try never to let anyone tell me I made the wrong choice. As long as my baby is happy and healthy my choices and decisions can’t be all bad. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, its people jumping to conclusions when they learn what our little family set-up is. Like those people who assume someone who is blind must also be deaf and yell when they speak to them. And people who assume that my son was diagnosed with ADHD and is being treated with Ritalin because I couldn’t cope.
And there really are people like that!
Anyway, without my family I wouldn’t cope. They regularly tell me I have done well and they are proud of me and I try to remind myself of that every now and then.
Something I had to learn to do was plan ahead, as far ahead as possible. I started putting away money, as much as I could spare every month, and when I can, I increase it a little bit. I don’t ever decrease the amount I put away. It’s not only for Damien’s higher education but for me too, for emergencies or simply for a weekend away when I feel like I‘ve really had enough!
I know, I sound like I’m bragging, but sometimes I have to for ME. There are so many single moms out there and I wish I could tell them all that it CAN work.
In my case, my son’s father and his family consciously decided they didn’t want to deal with the scandal of an illegitimate child and a teenage pregnancy and such. I also felt that if I sued my son’s father for maintenance I would spend every other month in court trying to get the money owed to us simply because that’s the kind of man I think he was. I didn’t and don’t have the money for lawyers and legal fees to spend on trying to get a couple of hundred bux a month… which doesn’t even cover groceries or school fees. My family and I decided to go it alone with absolutely no contact from my son’s father at all- no money, no gifts, no visits, nothing. He agreed and that’s how it stayed. I am grateful to him for keeping his end of our bargain, but I still have nightmares about my son’s father arriving on my doorstep and demanding to see him. Since it’s been so long he doesn’t have a leg to stand on legally and I have less stress about that now than I did when my son was a baby. I have also never hidden from my son what happened. Obviously I tell him only what he can handle for his age and understanding. But he knows that his father and I were in love when he was conceived; that he looks like his father (a spitting image); what his fathers name is and that when he turns 21- if he wants to- I will help him track the man down (as much as I dread the idea, I am going to have to deal with it eventually).
I must be honest, what I battle with is “spoiling” my son- purely out of guilt of course I know- but I do tend to spoil him. I try hard to limit it to birthdays and Christmas, but I really have a hard time saying no to THINGS, like toys & take out (especially since I like them too). But discipline is a whole ‘nother area… I am very strict on things like age restrictions, caffeine, bedtime, good manners, tidying up after ones self, finishing homework and such like.
There is nothing tougher than raising a child – alone or in a regular family with two parents – and I wouldn’t recommend single parenthood to anyone- not even celebrities with lots of money.
That’s what’s on my mind today.
There Is Never An Excuse
One in three is not a statistic - one in three is a crying shame.