How does a single mom "effectively" deal with an absent father?

Regina - posted on 01/03/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I'm a single mom of a very handsome 11-year old boy. Although I am my son's primary caretaker, my mom and brother offer HUGE support both financially and emotionally. My mom even moved in recently and helps out a lot!! Nonetheless, from time to time, my son asks me about his father and when or if he's ever gonna see him (mind you, he's never really known his father; he left when my son was about 9 mos old). It breaks my heart and I always try to be truthful with him; I've NEVER even bad-mouthed him to my son. To top things off, I've lost contact with my son's paternal grandmother, who bought a house, moved, and left no forwarding address or number. How do I CONTINUE to remain strong about this? Also, should I continue to pray (or maybe just "fantasize") that one day, we'll become a family (for my child's sake, of course; I'VE moved on) or would that just be having "false hope" ? Any advice, suggestions, or even words of comfort would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Bradi - posted on 01/09/2010

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I hope this helps. It was submitted by MyWorkButterfly.com's resident Psychotherapist, in partnership with Circle of Moms:

Answer Submitted by Julie Potischman, Butterfly's Resident Psychotherapist:

"I have nothing but respect for single moms. The first and most important advice I would give to them is to STOP trying to do it all. The truth is, I tell most moms’ single or not, to stop trying to do it all. My goal when working with moms is to teach them to be kinder to themselves. So many moms’ struggle with trying to do the basic day to day tasks of parenthood, without even touching the surface of “doing it all.”What does “doing it all” mean anyway? So, after I ask them to stop trying, I ask them to define what doing it all looks like. Be specific, does it mean cooking dinner each night, cleaning the house, putting the kids to bed, having sex with our partners???? What does doing it all mean to YOU? Once we have that answer I encourage moms, especially single moms, to try and prioritize, to break that list of to do's into levels of importance. Don’t try to take it all on. Then, say these sentences to oneself every time you feel like you are drowning:
“I can only do so much.”
“I am doing the best I can.”
“It is OK if everything doesn’t get done today.”
“Look at all the things I did accomplish today.” (instead of the things you didn’t)
“I am so proud of myself.”

Lastly, seek out help, through family, friends, professionals, babysitters. Use all the resources available to you and don’t ever be ashamed to ask for assistance.

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Rosa - posted on 01/14/2010

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If you are a praying person then pray for the will of God in your life. Some people don't understand the dynamics of this situation. I was a "single married mother", he was absent while there. He had another family and I knew it, and I stayed and I prayed ( i wanted reconciliation) until the Lord revealed that my life was somewhere else, this is not where he wanted me. So, I left, moved 3000 miles away and forgave him and myself. I have struggled alone, it's been hard, but a blessing of wisdom and growth. I am currently engaged to a wonderful God fearing man for whom I am the sunrise and sunset. So, moving on may be what you need to do and be grateful for that support system you have in place.

Adrienne - posted on 01/09/2010

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It sounds like you are doing the best you can! I think it is important to never say anything negative. I have made the same "mistake" twice and have 3 amazing kids by 2 absent fathers. My older 2 have seen their father on and off, but he has unfortunately made a bad impression by showing his true, lazy, drug addicted colors, and part of me kicks myself for allowing him to be around. My daughters dad makes all sorts of false promises. I feel like I failed by choosing these awful, absent fathers, but the truth is, for you and I both, our kids are better off without them. You have a great support system and your son just needs to understand that his family has a different shape than some other people's families...Pray for what is right and what is best and let God decide what that is...

Crystal - posted on 01/09/2010

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I am so sorry for what you and your son are going through. My advice would be to concentrate on what you do have, your family participation. The others don't know what they are missing by not having a relationship with this beautiful child son. My daughter's father and my granddaughter's father and mother just stopped communicating. I told my daughter that it is their loss. I prayed about it and after a year or so, my daughter's father called her and my granddaughter's grandmother send a card with her new information and contact and relationships were reborn. I know it hurts you, but there isn't anything you can do to make people be involved in your son's life. Pray specifically and often. It's not a fantasy for you to want this.

Emmanuela - posted on 01/03/2010

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I totally understand what ur going thru. my oldest ones father is never there for her he left when he found out i was pregnant. she is five now and would ask about him. i simply told her that he loves her very much but is not able to be there for her until he get things straight in his life. im not sure if this helps but i just dont awant her to feel like she is to blame or feel rejected by him. now im engaged to someone else and he is an awesome father to her. i guess he feels that void for her because she quit asking about him. i hope this helps.

Sarah - posted on 01/03/2010

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I know it is hard. My children have not seen or heard from the father since my oldest was 6 and he is now 21. In the beginning they would ask about their father and I would be honest with them with always an I don;t know, Really did not know what else to tell them without telling them the truth that he no longer wantd a family (and that was his words). Eventually they quit asking. Grandfathers, brothers, Uncles are a great source of male support. To be honest if he is absent that will be much easier to handle than him popping in and out of your son's life with a bunch of empty promises. I think him asking is just a source of curiousity. Maybe showing him pictures would help. I tried with my kids and eventually they quit asking.

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