It's Not Easy

June 2024

Being a single parent isn't something that I planned and it's not an easy role to take on. There are days when I'm at the end of my tether and then there are days when I'm feeling positive and great about the present and future. To say it's a rollercoaster ride is an understatement. And I know that every single parent out there has different circumstances and I haven't really been one to be openly public about how it is for me.
That's partly been because I was in a legal battle for years over the custody of my kids so I couldn't say much. Whilst that's over and I can say that I'm over the moon that it's just me and my kids now, the day to day workings aren't always rosey. I'm not talking about the parenting and discipline side of being a single parent, because that's always been okay as all of us get along really well and we openly talk about all topics. I am talking about the mental and physical drain that you can get from being the only parent, trying to fulfill the roles of the mother and the father; Trying to ensure that you're always enough for them and that they always have enough.
Are there are upsides to doing the parenting all alone? Yes: It's just my decisions and I don't have to discuss anything with a partner. That means that decisions can be awfully quick, there's always consistency, and there's a lot of room for spontaneity. On the downside though, it is all on my shoulders. The decisions, the consequences, the role modelling, and the finances. And before you say anything about child support payments, let me say that the system there, is anything but fair.
Sure, there are single parents I know that are getting a more than fair amount of support payments from their ex. Sometimes the payments are ridiculous amounts and I've spoken to men who are not fairing well (financially) because of the payments they need to make and they know that their ex isn't spending the money on the children. Extreme? Yes, but I know it's happening. Then there's the other side of the scale: The ex's who claim to not be working or are doing things all in cash or on-the-side, so that they don't have to make any payments. The little payments that are received don't cover even two tenths of a week's worth of groceries (and I'm not even talking about the ridiculous rise in the cost of living lately). Unfortunately, I sit in that group. The financial support received is laughable. And no, there are no government benefits or help received. So it's all on my shoulders to make enough money, to support myself and my three kids. The pressure is real and it can be incredibly overwhelming.
Which leads me to my other point: Working remotely and the insistence that I continually hear of employers insisting that their employees are in the office, despite roles / tasks and the ability to work more efficiently outside of the office, not to mention anything else that they might be juggling.
Put simply, it's not fair. (The cost and time spent commuting alone is a massive factor against going into an office every weekday.) And whilst I can see both sides of the argument, surely there can be a common ground.
Or are employers okay with the poor mental wellbeing of their employees? Or perhaps they're okay with people leaving to find jobs that are more flexible for their needs and also with the others who don't leave but just do the absolute bare minimum. At this point, I really don't know, except for the fact that many employers likely have trust issues!
I guess my point here is that there are so many things that just aren't fair and that everyone does what they see as their best, in their circumstances, to do the "right" thing and live a good life. So many people are doing what they need to just get by, and as a collective, we need to understand that.
We do not need to judge others so harshly or quickly. You have no idea what they're going through. I'm not saying that it's an excuse for bad behaviour by anyone - I'm certainly not condoning rudeness.
I'm simply saying that I think we all need to take a step back and show a bit more compassion to each other. Life and circumstances can be shitty, but the sun will always shine brighter with a little bit of kindness.

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I let go of worryI am thankful every dayI release attachment to outcomesI see lessons everywhereI take time to understand my thoughts and feelingsI value down time for myself