Medically Falling Apart due to Stresses of Single Parenthood

Kate - posted on 01/14/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )

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So my daughter's father lives overseas and can't be here so I'm doing it on my own and have been since before she was born. It's been quite the rollercoaster and although I have a fantastic job, it is VERY demanding. I just always always always feel like I'm overextending myself... I spread myself so thin because her father isn't even here to take her one day a week or help me in any real way. He sends a little bit of money per month but it barely makes a dent. Funny thing is, I make a GREAT salary but still not quite enough it seems. Long story short, the demands of the job, parenting a rowdy toddler and thensome has made me not focus on myself as much. As a result, I got Shingles. Let me tell you, it's misery! It's been so debilitating and has effected the skin on my face making it hard for me to go to work and has now caused me severe nerve pain. This usually only effects elderly people... but can also happen with stress. It's the chicken pox virus that lays dormant in your body from the day you ended it as a kid and rears it's ugly head again as shingles later on in life is you're less than fortunate.

On top of that, I found out that I likely have skin cancer. During the appt for shingles, I showed the doctor a really suspicious thing on my back and sure enough she said "I don't like it, I really don't like it. We have to biopsy this immediately and remove it." So while I doubt it's a high stage of melanoma if it is, it's still so stressful. Every moment I have to go to the doctors costs me $$ and time from work. I'm terrified I will lose my job eventually and am just.... ready to collapse. It seems like it will never end.... I need hope. It's a vicious circle.

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Crystal - posted on 01/15/2011

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ok, 99% of this stress... you're doing yourself.



I'm not going to tell you to just "calm down" because well, that's just stupid. You need to take action, but probably not the kind you're thinking.



1. Sit down with your budget. I'm guessing most of this great money you make is probably going to meaningless fluff for your child in the hopes of making them infinitely happy. Yeah, I know, we all do it, but now is time to stop it. PBS is perfectly enough to entertain a child and its on free broadcast, cut the cable. If you're not a big internet user, downgrade. Shave the cell phone plan and force people to use email more, definitely cut off all the data crap and stop texting. If your rent is ungodly, keep a constant watch over bulletin boards and newspapers advertising cheaper avenues, the same with daycare (listen to fellow moms).



**If you are going to spend money, do it on places to makes memories together, not things to be forgotten**



2. Learn to say "NO." If this means coming off bitchy, then so be it. I have about 2 moms currently p'ed with me I'm sure because their kids are constantly wanting to "come over and spend the night." I am very quick with "nope, sorry" or "not tonight" or "not a good weekend." I do not owe them any other explanation. They already owe me, I kind of like it that way, but I'm not a doormat either. I will pull those favors when I need them, but I'm not doing extra.



3. If you don't stop trying to live up to ideal no human could possibly attain, you could kill yourself trying and where does this leave your child? Do you even have a plan laid out should that happen? You might be surprised at the relief that might give you when you do. I certainly did.



4. Is this father going to be spending any time with this child? Would you feel comfortable with your daughter visiting him and his family for a few weeks? If so, take the opportunity to attune to yourself and your own life again. Being somewhat selfish can be the deal breaker to being a better mom. If at all possible, if you have someone you could pull favors from that might be able to give you a weekend, sign up for a medical spa. It could well be the best $ you ever spent. I'm not too worried about the melanoma... it seems I am also in the generation of kids whose guardians never thought to strap us in seatbelts or slather on sunscreen.



As parents, its easy to forget we're not just taking care of them, but ourselves too.



5. Learn to be ok with being wrong, not having everything done, not being perfect. Learn to laugh at your screw-ups, so your daughter can learn to laugh at hers too.



6. Don't get the habit of manipulating your support system by crying sick. See 2., its not like they won't pull the same card when they feel used. I know its difficult to remember, but everything is temporary and it gets better based on the proactive motions you do now that pay off later.

Court - posted on 01/17/2011

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Be careful with the renting thing. I don't know where you live, but if you live in America, certain states have very pro-tenant housing laws. This might mean if things go sour with this girl and you find yourself wanting to cancel the agreement, it can be very hard to get her out (which is even more stress for you). If you haven't already draw up a lease, complete with rules that you want her to abide by (no overnight guests, loud music, whatever you want). It doesn't have to be for a long term like a year, it can even be month to month, the important part is to explicitly states the terms of your agreement.



I too am battling with stress, and I am constantly reminded by friends and family that in the end your health is all you have. Why don't you join a family friendly gym like the YMCA. That way you can put him in their daycare while you get your endorphin and energy levels up working out on the treadmill or relax a little in the pool. You can even take mommy and me water classes together.

Sarah - posted on 01/15/2011

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If your friends and family are worth their salt they will be supportive in any way they can. That does not necessarily mean asking them for money, btw. Perhaps someone would volunteer to take a babysitting shift while you take a nap or go to dinner with a friend. My other suggestion would be to get plugged into a church family, maybe even one that has a single mom's class. I found one and they have been so great because they know what it is to live daily life as a single mom. Hope that some stress can be lifted off your shoulders in the coming days.

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19 Comments

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Alisha - posted on 02/01/2011

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Don't feel bad asking for help! That's how you will get through for now, your problems will eventually go away and get better.

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i understand in so many ways how you feel. my husband passed away 6 years ago, leaving me alone with 3 children, aged 4,6 and 7 at the time. there were many, many days that i thought i had just lost my mind and was living in a nightmare. i have since learned that i have degenerative discs in my back that cause excruciating pain that makes it so that i cannot work. i have been blessed that i receive social security death benefits for my children because of his death, and it is enough that i can meet most of our bills, but i do not have any health insurance. i was told to apply for medicaid, but because of my children's social security i do not qualify (they say we have too much income, although my children are allowed to receive medicaid because their income can be counted separately, not combined). the price for my medications alone is almost $800 a month. i wish there was something i could say that was helpful, but i want you to know you are not alone in this. sometimes even that little bit can help. if possible, try looking into support groups or call your local department of social services to see if they offer respite care at all. it might give you at least a few hours to take care of yourself too, and it could lead to services that you didn't know about that can relieve the excess stress you are living with.

Julie - posted on 01/27/2011

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Contact your State's Child Support Enforcement Agency - they will take care of payments and you will get a percentage of his wages... on a regular basis
The Service is very emphatic about that -

Jaclyn - posted on 01/27/2011

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Nothing you do will help expected finding things that relieve your stress. Trust me I know. I started with Seizure's about 9 years ago and it's been so bad at time's I was having around 13 + a day. Crazy I tried every doctor and all the meds. One day 1 doctor told me they are from stress I thought really oh god what the hell does this guy even know what he is talking about. However I did end up leaving my husband of 10 years (note the time, they started only a year after I meet him). They almost went completely away NUTS my body can't handle the stress with no release. Anyway it so could be worst. I could not work because of the seizures. So when I walked out the door against his wishes along with my 2 small kids now only 7 and 3 both girls. No money No where to live No family. With that I said wait I put more on my plate and they go away. Crazy!! Point don't try to understand it just find way's to relive stress. I go to the gym, Yoga, and see a therapist. Talking it out does help just be careful Who u talk to. lol Sorry in my shoes a lot back fires on me. Feel free to friends me on facebook if you ever need to talk I understand where you are coming from.. Oh, Don't worry about what could happen only what you need to for the day!! That alone will relieve some stress.

Braeden - posted on 01/25/2011

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Have you considered a home-based business? I work from home and make an excellent income. I get to work around my daughter's schedule and I still get plenty of down-time. I would love to give you more information if this sounds like it could be a fit for you. I hope you start feeling better soon. That sounds really tough.

Treva - posted on 01/23/2011

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You poor thing! I really feel you. I've been doing it on my own from the beginning with twins. I had a great job that seemed like more than enough salary when it was just me. Then when the girls were born, I ended up having to quit my job because I couldn't quite afford the daycare for two infants so that I could go back to work. That was just the first thing that having kids has cost me. The girls are five years old now. I was also in great physical shape before I got pregnant, but never having time to take care of myself over the past few years, now my body feels like an old lady and I have arthritis at age 38.
I would say do whatever you can to get some me time. If you can, arrange with a friend or a family member to take your daughter on a regular basis. You can find a gym that has childcare. I didn't find out until the girls were four that the YMCA offers childcare everyday, and I wished I had found out sooner. When I started going there on saturdays to take a yoga class, it helped incredibly to destress.

Jessica - posted on 01/22/2011

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i feel really bad for you and your stress. i don't know how you cope! i would join the YMCA or the local parenting support group like MOPS where you meet once or twice a month and get free day care. you get to meet other mothers and chat with them for an hour, it is nice. i would ask your boss to cut back on your demands just a little bit. your daughter is only young once! you could ask for food support and not cash assistance and ask for health insurance... they can at least give you that to help you out and you can still work. the roommate sounds like a good idea to bring in more money and help out with your daughter... just make sure she is a good person first.

i have four kids. no help. no child support. no breaks except when the older two are in school. no social life unless it involves my kids and some kid activity. their dad never sees them and wants nothing to do with them ever even if i drag the kids to his house, buy the food, put some down for naps, he still won't give me a break to save my life... it gets really tough and some days i want to pull my hair out. my oldest has autism. my middle lost her twin sister so she is having problems with that. my three year old is a monkey and climbs and gets into everything and makes huge messes and my one year is a baby doing typical baby things like rearranging everything... i love my kids, my life, and i would not change it... but i am stressed and it is hard.

Holly - posted on 01/19/2011

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To help with my stress, I started seeing a counselor once a month last year. She gives me destressing ideas, breathing exercises and parenting ideas for my 4 kids that I swear gang up on me sometimes :0) I got sick of talking to my mom and getting the response of "I don't know what to tell you". Also this year, I started going to Monday night house church. It is a positive, relaxing environment where I can socialize and get to hear other people's problems, play games, do community service and learn new things which takes my mind off of my own stress. My kids get to play with other kids and they are out of my hair for almost 2 hours! I don't have family where I live. My parents live 5 hours away and they won't take all 4 kids at once anyway. I moved to where I live for a job promotion 8 years ago and left my home and family and friends so I can more comfortably support my children. I have no father involvment at this point either. My oldest 3's dad died about 10 years ago and my little one's dad is your stereo-typical dead beat dad. He has spotty visiting and has only paid 84 bucks worth of child support in 5 years. Blah! I gave up hoping on that one... So anyway! You are not alone! Try and find some sort of emotional support even if it means stepping outside of your comfort zone at first. As for your current health, shingles will go away. My oldest boy had them when he was 12 years old. I have had "suspicious" moles removed and biopsied and nothing ever came of it. I want to smack that doctor for freaking you out before you even know the results! Think positive :0)

Catherine - posted on 01/19/2011

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gal lean on jesus he will see you through what you are going through .....he is right there with you ...he is a friend a healer and most of all our decision maker and when things get tough we lean on him and let him take control...

Nikki - posted on 01/18/2011

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I am so sorry Kate , if it helps you any to know my story , I thought I would share it with you . I too , had a very demanding job and had two grown girls when I had my son at 38 years old. He was born premature , stayed in NICU for 3 months , then his father (my husband) left our baby boy and me (upon my request regarding "us" however I never anticipated he would abandon our son leaving everything on me , bills , physical care , emotional care, working full time, sleepless nights, the diaper and bottle stage etc..) so at 42 now and my son is 4 I surely KNOW what STRESS can DO!! I was hospitalized for exhaustion and dehydration twice . I worked nine to ten hour days , stayed up all night with our baby and paid all the bills , dr. bills for us both, clothes, all living expenses etc. with absolutely NO HELP from his father . It has been very trying and tiring to say the least . I have found my body at almost 43 now simply does not hold up like it use to!!! Plus our son is extremely hyper active to boot !!! ALL BOY and into everything !!! Some days I am not certain how I have made it through physically but for me I pray alot !!! That is my belief though :) I have been one hundred percent isolated as I raise my son alone and I know what you mean by saying financially it never seems to be enough and I know how tough that is too. Especially when unexpected illness comes up for you or your child. It does seem like a vicious cycle cause it is !! I wish I had "the answer" for you but unfortunately I don't . I can simply relate with you. IF your job is what is keeping you afloat then you surely need to keep it and not feel threatened in any way of losing it as that only adds to your stress. Is your employer aware of your circumstances ? Are they understanding? I know that means alot if so. AS for my son and I , we do not have any help financially or physically for me. I sometimes wish my brother would offer to let my son spend some time with him and his two children, and he never does with the exception of christmas night and my son urinated on his floor as he has never spent the night out with anyone! So I don't think he will be invited back any time soon!!! Time stopped for me for sure ! Seems every day is groundhog day ! Has your doctor given you any tips on how to handle your stress level?? I know doctors don't have all the answers but some of them are helpful :) If it helps you any I had to get to the point where I accepted one hundred percent the fact I would be doing this by myself and that things will not change until my son is in school. (He is on the waiting list now) I know it's hard to actually care for yourself when your plate is so full but I always try to keep in mind that things do change and eventually get better . We are sacrificing now but time changes everything for sure . People don't realize what it is really like when you have your child 24/7 with NO BREAK ! YES it is very very tough . Some days I hope I can keep my sanity !! I hope all will get better for you with your health . You surely need that :) You always have hope and just know there are other mothers out there in either the same circumstances, similiar or sometimes even worse. I will pray for you and GOd bless :)

Crystal - posted on 01/17/2011

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I agree with Court on being wary of the roomie. Look closely on how this is really benefiting her (because she certainly is). How young, how single, how much of her personality could be an act. You could be getting a ton more than you bargained for. I've had a whopping three roommates, two of which I had to have evicted and left owing me money. Do not hesitate to make it abundantly clear the rules... i.e. nothing loud after 8pm, no friends over while she is alone with your child, rent is due by this date or be packed ready to leave, no exceptions... etc. Make it understood there will be no negotiations on certain things and be prepared to be ugly about it if you have to. If the residence is in your name, you can evict as you please.

Lacey - posted on 01/17/2011

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Oh I know EXACTLY how you feel. Stress from doing this alone and not focusing on my health has really taken a toll on me as well. I promised myself that I would try and focus on myself more though this year. You need some attention too! Don't forget that! Do you have family to help out? I would never survive without my families support.

Kate - posted on 01/16/2011

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Thanks for the suggestions. I am trying to cut down on the extras too....have canceled a few things this month. In terms of getting help, I will soon be renting out a third bedroom to a nice young girl in exchange for sitting services so that should help with some of the costs (rent is pretty good for 3 BR!) and help with just having "me" time. But I like the idea of the spa thing.. sometimes de-stressing services like that can definitely help.

I like the idea of budgeting and really *prioritizing*. I think sometimes it can be hard to really sit down and face the facts - especially financial but it will help me make the right choices going forward. Thank you for the advice. Very helpful.

Kate - posted on 01/14/2011

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I always feel bad asking friends and family and I do sometimes but it's not always enough you know?

As for Welfare, welfare pays out an insulting amount of money that would force me to move back in with my parents and put me so far in debt, I'd never be able to get out.

I also worked very hard in school and professionally to get to where I'm at... it's a dream job for many and it is what I need to support us both. I guess I just don't have many options of not being stressed as in order to stay afloat, I must spread myself thin.

Maybe family and friends can help out more... particularly if I make the case of medical issues.

Melanie - posted on 01/14/2011

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Do you have any friends or family that could help you out? Have you considered a different job, or even welfare?

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