Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My First Single Mom Breakdown

   So I thought that I understood that I was now a single mom.  I mean I have the paperwork that says in plain black and white that I am officially 100% divorced and my ex-husband lives 18 hours away so I see him very rarely so there is little to make me think otherwise.  So you would think that the realization that I am now almost solely responsible for the up-bringing of my son would have already sunk in, been processed, and filed away.  Not the case.  Both Little Man and I had complete and total breakdowns yesterday.  I am at my wit's end on what to do with him.  He refuses to use the potty.  He is completely addicted to his boppy (pacifier to anyone else).  And now to make matters worse he has become attached to not one stuffed animal but two and he refuses to sleep without both of them and his boppy.  I originally introduced Monkey, the first stuffed animal in an attempt to extricate the boppy but my plan failed miserably.  So the first breakdown occurred in the car on the way to daycare yesterday when Little Man proceeded to stick his bottom lip out so far a bird could perch on it and look at me with tear filled eyes as if I had just mortally wounded him as I told him he could not take Monkey, Penguin (stuffed animal number two), and boppy into the daycare but he could only take two.  He was most distraught at this pronouncement.  So after a few more tears and another twist of the knife in my heart, I left my precious baby boy at daycare with only his boppy and Monkey to comfort him. 

   The second breakdown was mine and came after speaking with his teacher.  I learned that LM is the only one in his class that still uses a pacifier, brings a stuffed animal from home, and has trouble using the potty regularly.  Also his speech is not as advanced as most of the other kids.  So obviously I felt as if I was utterly failing him as a mother.  Oh and did I forget to mention that he still sleeps in the bed with me?  Yea put another brick on the pile.  I was so afraid to think that I am raising a co-dependent child who is going to still be wearing diapers, using a pacifier, toting a stuffed animal around, and sleeping in my bed when he's 16!  It all just kind of crashed down on me that all of this training is basically up to me and I'm sucking wind bad.  That's not to say that I don't have a great support system because my parents, aunts, and cousins are awesome.  But without another parent and authority figure in the house it all basically falls on my shoulders.  Now I don't want you to think that I'm bashing his dad or saying his an absentee parent, because I'm not.  I know that LM loves his dad and his dad loves him just as much but it's kind of hard to be a disciplinarian from 18 hours away and when they only see each other for a few days every couple of weeks at best.  This is a 3 year old we are talking about.  They need constant instruction and reminders not to poop their pants or flush their army men down the toilet or color on the walls.  And lets face it, would you be chastised by someone on a screen telling you not to throw spaghetti at your mother when you know they can't physically discipline you in any way other than to hang up the phone?  Didn't think so.  Little Man is anything but stupid.  Which is both a joyous thing to be celebrated and possibly my eventual utter downfall because I already know he's going to be smarter than me one day.  I curse the day that he figures that out. 

   But until yesterday I still had it in my head for some reason that I was going to get to be the sweet loving mother who could dote on her precious first and only offspring, the fruit of my loins, the apple of my eye, etcetera, etcetera and there would still be the big bad daddy to dish out all the discipline and instruction that was needed with his hard learned military upbringing who would form our young breed into a great and respectable and honorable and shining example of the male species.  So hence the breakdown when the realization came crashing down on my shoulders like a ton of bricks that I would now also be playing the role of sole disciplinarian and trainer as well as loving, doting mother.

   The worst part is I don't know how to discipline this child.  I now know that mothers were not designed to play this role but it is a hard lesson that some have had to learn and I am now to join their ranks.  I hate to spank LM even though I mostly hit him on his diaper clad bottom with a swat that wouldn't knock a fly off course.  I'm just not that kind of person.  I have never struck another human being in my life yet it seems the only why to get this creature that I would lay my life down for to pay attention and mind is to strike him.  It breaks my heart every time because I'm always afraid I will cause real pain and not just insult his pride or hurt his feelings.  But on the other hand I don't want to coddle him to the point that he becomes self-indulgent or insolent that he thinks everything should be given to him on a silver platter (even though I would do that if I could) with no effort of his own put forth. 

   This child rearing process is much more difficult than I originally anticipated at the realization of his conception and now dealing with it on my own has thrown in a whole new slew of obstacles to overcome.  But we will prevail.  After many tears and rants yesterday I believe I have devised a game plan.  Take one day at a time.  Today we started with only have Monkey for nap at daycare and only having boppy at bed time.  I know it's not advised but I actually negotiated with my 3 year old this morning that if he could go all day without his boppy I would take him to the toy store as a reward.  It was the only way I could think of to teach him that there are rewards and consequences for our actions.  Because what do you do with a child that tells you he doesn't want to be a big boy, he wants to be a baby?  Like I said he's anything but stupid.  He knows that by being a big boy life will be exponentially harder and ultimately less satisfying.  He's learned at a very young age what most of us don't learn until we are finally on our on in the world and it's too late to enjoy the carefree life of living at home and having someone else be responsible for us.  So we'll start there and when that's mastered we'll go to the next task.  Any comments, concerns, or prayers (lots of prayers) are greatly appreciated and welcomed.  We'll make it through these misadventures together my Little Man and I, one at a time.   


  1. My heart goes out to you... I can't imagine trying to parent alone. So much has changed lately, its easy to see why he'd be looking for extra physical comforters. Whatever you decide to do, just be consistent. Children NEED rules and boundaries so they can build self confidence. I once read that spanking is an adult temper tantrum...when we don't know what else to do we physically lash out, so I learned lots of other methods from the book Family First. Study up on some different parent strategies and then be consistent with it, and once he sees your confidence in parenting, he'll start following. Oh, and remember you're raising a son of God, and He will never leave you to do His work alone. Love you girl!

    1. Thanks girl. I'll definitely look into that book because there are times I feel so hypocritical when I tell him that we don't hit as I'm spanking him. I don't want to be one of those parents that says "Do as I say, not as I do." I know that children learn best from example and not just instruction so I want to be the best example I can be for him.

  2. I'm not in your situation, but I can empathize. This age is a very tough age with two parents, let alone one. Just remember it takes time to adjust. Not just for your son but for you too! It's a huge change for you both. Remember to be kind to yourself. Take deep breaths and know lots of people are here to support you!