Single Mothers Are Opening Up About The Work It Takes— “I’m perpetually tired, but it’ll get better”
Updated July 21, 2021.
A 2019 survey found that nearly 14.84 million households in the United States are led by a woman with no spouse. This number has remained largely the same since the mid-2000s, close to the same time when the adage of how “half of all marriages end in divorce,” began to fall significantly. While single-parent households have become less stigmatized in years, it remains a problem that we live in an era where women find less support as single mothers than they should.
On our FIERCE Instagram page, Latinas got honest about being a single mother.
“The constant hustle of having to figure it all out is mentally draining . The adrenaline of living in survival mode isn’t healthy . In the end we just want healthy & happy kids & hope we don’t mess up too bad in the process.”- sisepuede26
“A Single mom is a woman who is living alone and taking care of her kids. Not a woman who has a live in fiance that is not her BD. Some women don’t know…” –nyccurve
“It was a constant hustle. Then there was having to dodge the barriers the father tried to put in front of me as I was getting my degree. It didn’t work. I have my Master’s now.
And my daughters were there with me all the way. They knew all about libraries and lit searches by the age of five. They know what a strong woman looks like… they look like me and they look like them.”- fananz
“There are so many types of single Moms out there. I see you and I salute you trying to do what’s best for your kids through it all. I see you single Mamas who are doing it 100% all on your own with no back up. I see you Mama’s doing it with the support of extended family (on Mom and/or Dad’s side). I see you Mama’s coparenting or doing the shared custody thing. Some situations are harder than others and the uniting factor is doing best by our children and trying to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma!”-bthehappyhiker
On Reddit, women have been speaking about their experiences as single mothers.
Check them out below!
“I feel you. The month of May my girls always get sick. Thanks to fb time hop, I got a weekly and daily glimpse into the past years of illnesses. This year, my oldest got strep. Passed it to one of the twins. Who also tested positive for mono. The other twin caught strep, and then some stomach virus. Everyone is healthy now (except Monokid, who has her days) and then it got me last week. Whoever keeps calling my ticket number can stop, pls!
My ex rarely helped, so it was always me but it wasn’t the same as being an actual single mom. It prepared me, but for the long haul it took a lot of just slogging through it and wondering if it would ever end. It does get easier, but in different ways – the only thing is that it takes time. By the time you get one thing mastered, it’s onto the next. My girls are older, I can’t imagine the energy of single momming really little kids, just do your best for each day and be kind to yourself.”- Pibil
“It’s rough. Exhausting. I’m perpetually tired, but it’ll get better soon..
Became a single mom at 18 with no high school diploma. Have been busting my butt twice as hard as ever trying to catch up to where I feel I should have been before I had my son. Attended college online as a mature student and acquired my diploma in Executive Administration with honours. Schedule was insane: single mom (full time), student (full time), retail associate (part time). Opted for a third year and applied for a government student position. School (full time), single mom (full time), and now work (almost full time). Of course, I do have a childcare subsidy that allows me to work and do my school stuff; but it’s an insane balancing act and I always feel like I’m going to fall.
Thankfully, I just today finished my last exam of full time school (switching to part time), and I will be starting a new casual position with the government (full time) in the upcoming weeks.
The only reason I’m mentioning the part and full time portions of what I’ve had to do to get us here is to show you how much time it takes to manage everything as a single parent (at least as one who had no career prospects or post secondary education).
For the record, my son’s father has had the availability to see him, but hasn’t really shown any interest until just this year (now that our son can talk). Still, it’s very sparse (he’s seen him 3 times this year, a couple hours each time).
Regardless, it’s pretty satisfying to have accomplished all of this while being a single mom. I’ve never felt such greater sense of pride. But I am exhausted. So exhausted, mentally and physically. It’s like I’ve been working around the clock nonstop for almost 4 years now. I need a vacation, aha (although that’s not in the budget until student loans are paid off 🙄).
Shout out to all the other single moms working their asses off to make a better life for your child. Keep it up.” – CanadianEhF
“I too am a single parent, with no help from the other parent. I’ve been tired and stressed since 2009. People don’t realise how much it takes if you’re trying to make a decent life for your kid and how hard it is to do it totally alone.”- Fucklefaced
“It was hard but worth it, especially because there were things I didn’t relate to as a mom of a boy. My ex rarely visited as his new family was all that mattered so we relied on grandpa for a lot of male influence and a friend’s husband taught him about football. It was irritating when the ex would show up on Christmas with super huge guilt presents but wouldn’t be around the rest of the year. One year I worked all the overtime I could get to buy a Game boy and ex shows up with an actual pinball machine. In the end, kids notice who is and is not really there for them.”- realtorlady
I don’t ever not have my kid so I don’t ever get a break. I feel bad saying that sometimes I need a break but I really do. I have a seven month old and it’s hard to keep up with him sometimes. It’s exhausting to have to always be chasing after him and making sure he doesn’t get into anything he shouldn’t and to not ever have any time for myself. I used to have a few hobbies that I enjoyed but because I don’t ever have time without him, I had to give them up because they’re not something I could do with a baby. Always having to be the one to change all the diapers and take care of all the feedings and being the only one to wake up with him in the middle of night, that kinda sucks.
Having to pay for everything yourself also sucks. Not having the other parent to help pay makes things more difficult.
Sometimes I really need a nap and if my kid isn’t taking one too, which he doesn’t seem to take many of anymore, I don’t get to take one. I’m constantly tired.
And just being a mom in general has really changed some things. Dating is pretty much impossible for me right now which is probably because I’m a young mom.
But at the end of the day, all the struggles are well worth it because I love my little boy more than anything in the world.”- practicalmailbox
“I am a single mother because the father of my child decided AFTER my daughter was born that it was too much responsibility. Unfortunately, I was youngish (19), and thought I had met the man of my dreams…however, he did eventually (kinda) man up, and he is an active part of her life now.”- Barfolomeow
“I’m a single mom because, like your friend, the guy was abusive. On top of being abusive, he decided that he did not want to work or take care of our child. He played video games all day and stopped going to whatever job he would have at the time. His mother and him would then proceed to tell me I was using him and being a bitch because I asked him to contribute/help more. I was called nasty names, abused both physically and verbally any time that I brought up money, him working, playing too many games and not helping with our child or really anything. I got tired of being treated that way, and felt it was extremely important to take myself and my child out of that kind of environment.
As for how I am making it, we are thriving and doing well on our own. I feel strongly that when you have a child, they not only become your responsibility, but also your priority. I am making it because there is no other choice. I brought a child into this world and I am damn well going to take care of my child. I will work my hardest to give her a good life, provide for her, and teach her that she has an incredible amount of worth.
Some tasks are more difficult to do on your own, and it can be tiring, but it is doable. Being a single parent is not lower than co-parenting, it is simply different.
I have seen many people start off in a great relationship and then suddenly, once they have a child, it starts to fall apart. Any relationship can fail or succeed. It’s not always a matter of being in a bad relationship and choosing to have a child anyways. People do not plan the failure of a relationship, it just unfortunately happens sometimes.
I’m not concerned about how many single parents there are. Being single and having a child does not mean the world is coming to an end. Many of us thrive, and can parent just as well as those that have a partner. It does not make us bad parents, or even mean that it will turn out terrible. The key factor in a parent and child relationship, is not the requirement of two parents. The key factors are that you are responsible, you love your child, take care of them, work as hard as you can to provide for them. All of those things are achievable for a single parent, just as I’ve seen two parent families fail at that.”- Cinnamonyn
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