Single Parenting: Meeting Your ‘Ex’ in the Middle to Create Stability, (Part 3 of 3)

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The Single Parenting dilemma can be solved – with help.

So how does a Single Parent raise his or child or children? The answer is that she or he simply does it. She does the best she can. Single Parenting means recognizing that he or she is not an island. She does that by not being afraid or ashamed to ask for help. She or he does that by forming a community, calling on reliable family and friends. She or he asks questions at libraries and college career centers and becomes aware of community resources, such as the Boys & Girls Club, the YWCA and YMCA, free and low-cost programs offered by the children’s school, and worship center. Single Parenting means taking advantage of the special 2-1-1 telephone number used in Canada and in the United States that furnishes information about social services in many cities. Learning about and taking advantage of these resources takes time, dedication and hard work. It means not giving up when one person or organization says, “No,” or “We don’t do that here.” And yes, if possible, she involves the children’s father and his family. That involvement can work if the two decide to maintain a decent relationship.

Sheila is a perfect example here. She says meeting her ex-husband, Carl, in the middle was easy. “We both loved the boys. My anger about what happened in our relationship turned into sympathy [he was dying from AIDS]. The kids loved him, and I did not feel that I had the right to take that love away.” When the boys were young, she felt it best for him to visit her home, so the boys could keep their routines. As the boys got older, she allowed him to take them to his house. She adds, “I truly never believed he would hurt or do anything unhealthy to the kids. They loved having their dad around.” Sheila adds that her eldest son still carries a coin in his pocket with the verse from Matthew 17:20, wherein God reminds followers that nothing is impossible with Him.

 

Another single mother, Karina also expresses the benefits of meeting her ex-husband half-way. She states that over the past two years her daughter’s father has stepped up his game. “He’s come over to watch her when I have meetings, picked her up from school when I could not, and helped pay for school trips and clothing items.” Karina doesn’t think this would have been possible had she cursed him, treated him badly, or forbade him from seeing his child. By the way, Karina’s ex-husband even has a key to the house. She does request that he calls before he visits though.

 

And as a classic example of burying the hatchet, sometimes all three of them have dinner together. “I realize for some of you that’s going too far, but this is how my community works without involving the courts and without anger, Karina added. Karina’s behavior is reminiscent of Sheila’s relationship with her sons’ father. That forgiving spirit and understanding that children’s lives matter, are fundamental in helping to create stability. Karina acknowledges that everything is not perfect. “There are still some challenges, but we’re working at it.”

 

This pearl of wisdom comes from Sheila: “The most challenging aspect of being a single mother of two boys is making sure you expose them to positive male influences. I was a pro at showing them how to cook and do all the girly things.” But in the end, “they needed to know how to take care of themselves when they grew up.” Sheila contends that only a man could do that.

It is important to note that parenting is not always 50/50. It’s not always that way in a nuclear family, and it’s certainly not that way in a single-parent household. Sometimes you just have to accept what your ex-partner offers and take that as 100%.

 

You CAN do it!

 

Look, Single Parenting is survivable. So many have done it before. You are not an exception. Kansas City Area Psychiatrist, and single mother of two teen-aged boys, Dr. Regina Brown, recommends that “parents put their personal feelings about their ex-spouse or partner on the back burner and keep the kids first.” She iterates that kids’ needs should guide their parents’ actions. You must believe that you and your children will do more than survive. With the proper planning, support, and all the right people in your corner, you and your children can win! Working together. What a concept, and what a way to create stability!

 

Here is a question for you!

Got Single-Parenting tips? Share them, please!