The Struggles and Rewards in My Life as a Single Mom

For the majority of the time before I was married, I was a single mom with two kids. This time of my life was a very difficult period, in which I went to school full time and worked 50 or more hours per week. Sleep was a luxury that I was unfamiliar with. In fact, I often found myself fighting off sleep while driving from place to place in my car. It became so bad, that even if I was well rested, I seemed to develop some sort of Pavlovian response to where I would fall asleep any time I got in to my car.

The most difficult part of being a single mother, however, is the guilt you feel for being unable to spend time with your children. I was lucky in that I had relatives who were willing to watch my children while I worked and went to school, so I didn’t have to experience the anxiety of having a “stranger” raise my child. Yet, it was still difficult to realize that someone other than myself was shaping and teaching my children.

The best way I found to get through the guilt was to “keep my eye on the prize,” to keep reminding myself that once I finished school, I would be able to spend time with my children and to provide them with the lifestyle they deserved. Working was a necessary evil to keep us afloat while I finished my education. I certainly did not want to spend the rest of my life working swing shifts as a security guard, which is what I did the majority of the time I was going to school.

Looking back, I do realize that this time was tough on my kids, as well. My six year old had severe anxiety problems, to the point that I would literally have to take him to the restroom with me to prevent him from crying non-stop. After I completed my schooling and I was able to establish a more set routine, he improved dramatically. From this lesson, I have learned that the more set routine and, therefore, stability, you can provide to your children (whether a single parent or not) the better they will be able to deal with adversity.

Luckily, I have a wonderful husband now and our family is complete. I have finished my schooling and am now a teacher, so I do not have to spend any time away from my children. I will,however, never forget the difficulty and the guilt of being a single parent.

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