The Single-Parent Trap

If there’s one thing I’ve never done before, it’s filing for a “missing person” case.  I feel this is something I ought to do now, because there’s this one person whom I haven’t really seen in a long time- me.

I happen to be a single mom as a result of calling it quits with my ex-husband.  Since I do most of the child-rearing solo, I have to admit that I try overly hard to make up for the absence of a father in the household.  I often stretch myself to the limit, just so I can give my daughter what she needs.  In the process, I lose myself.  There’s nothing wrong with watching Phineas and Ferb episodes over and over again, I guess, but the thing is, I no longer know what I want for myself. 

The lines of distinction between what my kid needs and wants become more and more blurred, so I tend to easily fall prey into a cycle of constantly giving in to my daughter’s every whim.  I have fallen into the single-parent trap.

Consequently, I feel that my daughter has been increasingly demanding, taking for granted the emotional and material things I continue to shower her with.  Instead of appreciating the things I do for and give her, she asks for more.  Eventually, I end up feeling frustrated.  Anger sets in, I vent- sometimes inevitably at her- and then I feel guilty. 

In such a situation, the kids then become victims of circumstance.  Moms like me feel that we have to do penance by sacrificing what we want.  We once more call off that long-overdue night out with the girls, just so we could make up for our “shortcomings” with our kids.

So, how do we get out of the trap?  It’s important that you moderate how much you give to your kids, and start giving yourself the attention you also need.  Try to carve out some time for yourself.  Go back to doing the things you used to do.  Revisit old hobbies, friends, etc.  Sometimes, maybe all you need is an hour alone at the mall.  If you must go out on a date, don’t be afraid to ask relatives or a trusted friend to look after your kid while you’re away. 

Don’t deprive yourself of the little things which you enjoy doing.  Your child will feel more self-assured knowing that his or her mom is happy and fulfilled.