Ever since my daughter was born I have raised her alone, as a single mother. These years have been a struggle as I was very young when I fell pregnant, but nevertheless I have managed to keep a roof over our heads and my daughter is a happy and healthy little girl. I have always been a confident person, however, this last year has proved challenging as my daughter has begun attending school and I seem to be the only single parent there.
I am extremely aware of how the other parents may view me. I try to be nice and strike up conversations with the mothers, however I do not feel welcomed or comfortable amongst them. I worry this will impact my daughter in terms of being invited to parties or play dates.
I also feel very guilty because I have now started to work full time and my daughter cries when I tell her that I have to leave for work. I have always prided myself on being a good mum and being a strong person. Recently I feel like these self-beliefs have come crashing down around me.
I feel anxious and very low in confidence at the moment. It is beginning to affect my sleep. I am mindful that this may become more serious over time. Is there any action I can take in order to handle this better?
Thank you for your time,
Being a single parent is tough. It is evident that you have had to work incredibly hard to care for your daughter and to give her the best life possible. It is important that you remind yourself everyday just how brilliantly you are doing, especially in the times in which you feel low or struck with anxiety.
Being the lone single parent in the playground is not easy and you can have feelings of being ostracized. But I say, own it. There is no shame in being a single mum. The way to turn this into a positive is to embrace this role as a mark of strength. Which in fact it is! You are handling everything by yourself with grace, dedication and love. On the playground, all you can do is your best. Be kind and patient with the other parents around. It may well be that they open up to you in time. Yet know that if they don’t, then that is okay and it is their loss. There are plenty of other social clubs or networks that you can tap in to, that are only an internet search away.
Working full time is a massive adjustment for your both and no doubt greatly impacts your routine. It is normal for your daughter to be upset during this transitional time. When your daughter grows up however, she will know of how much you sacrificed and the depth of the love you have for her. Remind her each day that you are working hard so that the two of you can be happy and safe.
Spending quality time together during a weekend is important but do not put too much pressure on yourself, for all that your daughter needs to feel is your love. She will accept in time that this new working routine is how it must be. Of course, there will be moments in which you feel guilty. Remind yourself that you have a duty to provide and that is exactly what you are doing. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Recognise the guilt you are harbouring for what it is, a pure sign of your love.
Tackling the anxiety and low confidence you are experiencing is something you can do gradually each day. Being mindful of your sleeping patterns is important, as you have a lot on your plate! Meditation may prove to be a great starting point, or even soothing music to relax and unwind your mind. Trying yoga or even gentle exercise on days off may also help to decrease the tension you are experiencing in your body. Breathing exercises can be a wonderful and pragmatic way to ease your anxiety. All of these things you can do with your daughter and she too, will greatly benefit from learning these things at a young age.
I know that it feels that you have to be superwoman all of the time, however there are going to be occasions upon which the mask will slip. Because Sharon, you are only human. Everyday say loud and clear to yourself that you are a wonderful mum, you are a lovely person and you are doing the best you can. Let that be your mantra for the time being. I suspect that your low-confidence may in part be attributable to having lost yourself in the quest to be the perfect mum. If you are finding things to be increasingly difficult, do not hesitate to seek counselling support. It will allow you the space to reflect upon your feelings and emotions, not just in terms of being a working mother, but also as to what is going on at the core of you as an individual and what you want for your life moving forwards.
Wishing you love and peace of mind,
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