How do single parents deal with the guilt of being a single parent?
Hello, I’ve been a single parent for three years and I keep wondering what my kid feels like when he sees his friends’ moms coming to pick them up from school. For the three years that I’ve been divorced, my kid often sees his mom, but she doesn’t live with us and I always feel bad that he has to grow up in a home without his mom. Being a single parent has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. However, it is also fraught with guilt. I wonder if the guilt will ever go away. I feel guilty for not being able to provide my boy with a two-parent home, for not being able to spend as much time with him as I would like, and for putting him in daycare. I also feel guilty about dating again. So help me out; how do you handle the frequent feeling of guilt that comes with being a single parent?
I personally feel guilty for not being able to afford the extras for my kids, one way I crush this guilt is that I assure myself that I can be a great parent without any extras. It is also an avenue to help my children be contented with what they have which will help them in the future. I also feel guilty that I can't match the pace of two parent families, I can't do the lawn and clean the house on a Saturday so one gives. One thing I do is to consciously change my internal dialogue. Instead of saying because I’m a single parent I can’t —-” I’m learning to say, “Since I’m a single parent I will —-” This has helped me a lot.
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One of the things I think can help is to try and remember that life is neither perfect nor fair. Most times things don't work out the way we want them to. That doesn't mean we are not on the right path or didn't do well. I believe that there is really no right way to do things. Most of the time, parents put much emphasis on doing everything the ‘right way'. Nobody is perfect and putting that standard is like setting oneself for failure. However, one can try to do things the best possible way that will bring joy for you and your child. One last thing, try to remember that the reason you feel guilty is because you care which is the most important thing and sometimes that is enough.