Friday, January 06, 2006

Where do you get your support?

ONE of the hardest things about being a single parent is the fact that you have no one to turn to for support.

Yes single parents have family and friends and oh god yes without them things at times would be completely and utterly grim and black, but I mean the support of a partner.

And the need for this intensifies over time.

I remember just after the Young Wan’s father and I split up someone said to me about how hard it would be not having her father about to share stuff, like her first steps and all those important milestones.

They were making the point that other people couldn’t share in their joy that parents would have.

Now I disagree with that purely concerning I suppose the positive aspects of parenting.

When the Young Wan reached those milestones those who were around me and who I lived with loved them and felt those huge moments.

But as they get older, particularly the teenage years, the milestones turn more negative, sometimes and for some parents or maybe some parents some of the time.

Then something happens, some new aspect of behaviour and occasionally as a parent you feel like your life is falling apart at the seams and there is no one to really turn to.

And again friends are worth their weight in gold but sometimes despite advice or a listening ear or just sounds of comfort while important do not take away that feeling of ‘what is happening here?’.

Most of my friends have young babies and are what I am sure feels like a lifetime away from teenage monster stage I am at so while the phrases ‘it’s only a phase’ or ‘what were you doing at that age’ or ‘ach don’t worry’ strike a chord they do not ease me at all.

Besides don't they have their own worries without me offloading everytime I need to.

Maybe it’s a recent groundless belief of mine that having a partner means you can share your worries with the person who maybe could make it easier.

I just feel that coming home to someone and saying ‘can you believe what they have been up to’.

They can say ‘ach sure...’ discuss it with you calmly, you can both give out yards to the offending teen, dish out a punishment and then you could both have a laugh over a cuddle later in bed, having tackled it together.

So after years of not agreeing with the commentator about not having the Young Wan’s father about to share things with, I am not maybe feeling the implications of it now like never before.

And maybe being a mummy I am just a worry-monster. I was already a worrier before I had the Young Wan and now well I could win Olympic medals for worrying.

Maybe I am just idealising it all, but for many couples this support is a given. And that’s one major set back against single parents.

I can even wonder if the thought of life with a teen who is not yours is too much hard work, stress, worry or conflict for a potential partner.

The lovely man is wonderful, calm and supportive, his calmness is quite the polar opposite to me, and at times I think what on earth does he make of this?

He thinks she is just the business, an absolute star whatever has been going on which is very much how it should be, but at times the things that have been going on must have made him want to run for the hills. For f*cks sake I have wanted to run for the hills but being the responsible adult running is not an option.

All this has inspired by events tonight which right now I would care to forget, maybe soon I can laugh about it and post it here. Right now that’s just not an option not with my worrying mind.

But I suppose the bottom line is I am sitting here mangled in my own thoughts and worrying for Ireland. If gold is the highest Olympic medal I am going for platinum.

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Boliath said...

Hey I'm guilty of asking you "what were you doing at that age?" sorry! There is a fantastic support with a partner, you're right in many ways but there is also a lot of hassle too, you don't get to do everything your way you have to take their bloody feelings and opinions into account, sometimes I think it would be a lot less hassle to raise the little man myself! But I know it wouldn't be and single parents have my utmost respect, especially those, like you, who have not just done it but done it well, very very well. The Young Wan is a credit to you and even though she does your head in at times, she is a beautiful child and will be an incredible woman just like her Ma!

Boliath said...

Here fellow RedMum readers, I've just nominated our fav Mammy for an Irish blog award

Get on over there and vote for her too.

But hey don't let on okay, we'll make it a surprise for her.

Emma in Canada said...

Your lovely man sounds as though he is just that (hence the reason you describe him as such I suppose!) My fella parents my 2 oldest as though they are his own and I appreciate it greatly. Although we certainly don't agree on all aspects of parenting, not even close actually, my children haven't suffered at all for having him. It is much harder as a single parent, and kudos to you because I was a mess when it was just me and them.

KT said...

Having not had a partner or 'lovely man' since my daughter was born really, it sounds like your guy is a good one. Alot of family and a few friends is better than being absolutely alone, but I'm often struck by the reality that "it's down to me" in whatever happens with my child. It's 100% on me when it comes right down to it, there is no 50/50 split of responsibility or parental concern ( or even 70/30 for those who'd argue). On the up-side I am pretty certain my daughter has gotten a sense of her mother's ability to earn a living, pursue goals and still love and parent her child (perhaps even detrimentally so to the exclusion of other relationships-that might have to change soon!). For whatever it's worth, I would like to also be able to show her that a loving, workable relationship is possible. I'd like her to learn that. I'd like to learn that too.

cc said...

Not knowing the background to what has you in such despondant mood I can't really offer advice or support. What I do know is that the young wan is indeed a credit to you, and she's that way because she has a great mum. Teenagers push the boundaries, that's their job...we did it too. But the young wan'll be grand because she has someone who worries about her and cares about the things she does. You've built a good foundation there and that's the key to weathering a few storms. Happy New Year to you, the young wan, nanny, the lovely man and the wee doggie!

claire said...

Well, I know that asking a Mum not to worry is like spitting into the wind so I'll just grab a cushion, make myself comfortable and do my own Mammy worrying right here beside you. Hey, at least we'll have company! ;)

@ Boliath: already done :)

Red Mum said...

Firstly that wasn't a criticism of the wonderful support I get from people at all.

I'd just had a sh*t day and was sitting thinking I needed a shoulder, and Claire I laughed out loud at your comment. Sometimes the best thing a friend can do is be quiet, listen, take no offence at being shouted at, and hand you a glass of wine...

Boliath I need to be reminded I was her age, it doesnt make it any less scary or difficult, oh and I can't wait to see you. (he he)

Emma I am delighted you have support, your partner sounds like a wonderful man, but of course he has a great partner.

KT I know exactly what you mean about showing them healthy and happy and loving relationships, it is tough. And it is something I *ALSO* worry about.

CC you were with me when I was a teenager so you can go and shite - He he Happy New Year

And then a Irish Blogs award nomination as well as all these wonderful messages, Ah Jaysus I'm wordless...

Thanks everyone.

Fi said...

Hope you feel a bit better today with a bit of distance between you and the event. We all have bad days and isn't it great to be able to vent about them so well?! I get the sense from you that you're a great mum and while everyone regardless of their circumstances feels a little alone, we all know that we're not really, when the push comes to shove.