Sunday, April 27, 2014

Single Parenthood; Friend or Foe?

This is my new journey in blogging.  As is already obvious in the title, I am a single mother of two of the most fabulous children that I know (and I don't say that because they are mine), they truly are great kids.  I not only love my children, I actually LIKE the people that they are.  I know that we all love our children deeply and those are the rules of the universe, but do we LIKE them?
I started my journey into single motherhood about seven years ago.  It seems that I stumbled into the journey while blaming the seven year itch of my lovely ex husband....but now...now it seems that I am stumbling into a seven year itch myself.  Not the typical seven year itch where you look for attention from others, but the kind where you almost want to run from it.  I used to be the most social of creatures, but in recent months, I seem to want to be a recluse.  It's safer in that environment.
My daughter is now 13, yes...stumbling into womanhood the same way that we all had to, "blood", sweat and many tears.  I just want to crawl into her life at times and fix the hardships and also warn her of hardships that are coming, to put out those fires that I know will burn.  In trying to make an example for her as living a life full of independence and acting out  the "women can do anything" routine, I have seemingly come across to the men in my life as a, and I don't say this lightly, hardass.  Now what have I done?  Am I accidentally leading her into a life like mine?  My life is pretty great, don't get me wrong.  I have a prosperous career, a home and too many other blessings to mention, but when the kids are gone for one of their numerous visits with their father, I find myself alone.  Will my daughter now follow my example of "you don't need a man to do anything for you"?
Break down that sentence.  Is it true?  Do we not need a significant other?  Does love have not a place in our life?  Do we replace that with pride instead?  I know, deep down, that I have gone wrong somewhere.  Am I teaching my own daughter to be so independent that she, too, will dismiss many great loves because she will push them all away?  Or will she know, that deep down, her mother was alone, not because of her father, but because of her unwillingness to let someone into her life? Independent women all over the world need to take a second look at this. 
I also have a 9 year old son.  He's the light of my life and he has already surpassed most of the grown men that I know in the "gentleman" department.  What impact does my behavior have on him?  Will he never appreciate a woman unless she push mows the yard while dinner is cooking and laundry is going?  With me being the primary influence in his life, I worry.  He has never had an example of how a man should treat a woman.  Is it my job to try to find that for him?  Do I jump back in the dating world, like it or not, and try to find a father figure for my son? 
Friend of foe?  Are we confident in our parenting or are we our own worst enemy?

76 comments:

  1. Welcome to the blog world my wonderful sister! This is an amazing first post. I have such respect for you as a single mother and the amazing way that you raise your two children. Every time I am around my niece and nephew I realize how lucky they are to have a mother like you. I do not believe you should jump into the dating world solely to provide a father figure for your children. I honestly do not think that would be the right reason. I say that because if you're doing it for that reason alone, that relationship would never be a strong one to begin with and your children would pick up on that. You should only enter it when it is right for you. Your son is the most compassionate child I have ever seen so I have no doubt that he will treat the women in his life like a queen. And your daughter is unbelievably mature for her age and that is a testament to your parenting skills. I look forward to reading all your future posts :)

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    1. You don't know what this means to me...thank you and I love you!

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  2. Hey Kristen! Welcome to blogging.
    I can't imagine being a single parent. (I can't even imagine being a parent for that matter.)
    If you're looking for role models for your kids, look no farther than your own family. Your brother Keith can be the example of a real man for them. There are probably others, blood relatives, friends, even church family, that can be an example.
    Hope you find all the answers you seek. Welcome again and new follower.

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  3. Visiting you from Keith's blog. A very nice first post. I know that you will do well with it. Best of luck to you and your children. God Bless! I am your second follower!
    Beth

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  4. Any sister of Keith's is assisted of mine

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    1. That should read a " sister of mine"

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  5. hello Kristen. Welcome to blog sphere. I came over from Keith's site too. Your children sound lovely and you are obviously doing a great job of raising them. I am follower number 5

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  6. Also visiting from your brothers blog. A great first post. Your kids do sound amazing and let me see here...You're their mother and you've molded them into great kids.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

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  7. Looks like I've been pipped to the post by our lovely friend John - so I'm number 6 :)

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  8. Welcome to the blogging world, Kristen. So good to see you here :)
    I have only met you once so far (wish we wouldn't live so far apart) but during that one hour I was honestly deeply impressed by your parenting skills! And from everything that Keith tells me I just know that you are an amazing mother. I can imagine those thoughts going through your mind a lot. But I agree with Keith - you should let love in your life when it's the right time for you. You love them both so much and you're teaching them all the important values in life, I'm sure that those things are more important for a healthy relationship later than only our parents being an example.
    Looking forward to your posts. Have a wonderful Sunday! :)

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  9. Welcome to 'blogger' world Kristen...and for God's sake do NOT marry simply to provide a role model for your son...bad idea...really bad idea. You are setting a fine example all by yourself.

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  10. Thanks everyone so very much for the words of validation and encouragement!!! :) Looking very forward to writing much much more and reading all of your blogs!

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  11. welcome to blogland, keith's sis! may you find a warm and wonderful community, here. each blogging style is different. each blog is different. may you find your 'neighborhood' and they you!

    (i'm not a parent - except to animals - so i can only give a salute to you.)

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  12. Hello Keith's sister and welcome to blog land here's hoping your experience is pleasure able - I enjoyed your post

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  13. Hi Kristen! Welcome to the blogging community!
    I really don't think having a significant other or a father figure in a child's life just for the sake of having another person there is really a great idea. Kids are just fine when raised by single parents and even though I raised my daughter to think for herself and not to rely on another person to take care of her, she went and found someone when she was 18 anyway. I think kids take parts of what we teach them and listen but don't always do what we want or think they should do because they have minds of their own and are going to do what they want no matter what we do. All we as parents can do is try to guide them in the right direction and it sounds like you are.

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  14. Hi Kristen :)
    Welcome to the blogosphere !

    Read your first post and what I would like to say is that you are a good parent and that is what is most important.

    Visiting your blog from Keith's blog post. Added you to my blog follow and subscribed to your posts via email too :)
    Best of luck and happy blogging !

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  15. Welcome to blogging :) I am loving this post! I was a single Mama for 8 years before I met my now hubby ... looking forward to relating to a lot of things you write :)

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  16. Pleased to meet you, over from Keith's blog. You sound like a great mom, and don't we moms worry too much?

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  17. Welcome to the blogging world! :)

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  18. Over from Keith's blogging world to yours...welcome!

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  19. I think a parent needs to be a friendly foe. Sounds like your two are going to be just fine.

    Enjoy blogging, lots of good folks out here.

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  20. Hello Kristen

    A warm welcome to the world of blogging. I like your style of writing. Looking forward to future posts.

    Have a wonderful week

    Helen

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  21. Welcome Kristen. You sound like a great mum to your two. I'm not a parent myself but it seems to me if you do the best you can, that's all anyone ever expects of their loved ones. I'm sure from your post, you do that. Best wishes, Tania

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  22. Welcome to blogging,Kristen! I hope that you find it a rewarding place for self-expression and connecting with others!

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  23. Hi Kristen. Welcome to the blogging world! I found your blog through Keith's. :) Your thoughts about watching your daughter grow up and wanting to step in to help her resonated with me. I don't have any children of my own, but I do have a niece who I'm really close to. She's entering the age group that was hardest for me when I grew up and when I think about that I want to protect her from it, but I know that all I can do is let her know that I'm here for her if she needs someone to talk to. You sound like an amazing mom who really wants to do what's best for your children. :) I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog!

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  24. Hello! You raise important parenting questions. I still ask them. I now ask grandparenting questions too. Best wishes on your new blog --following.

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  25. Hello Kristen. My kids are in their 40's now but I was a single mom. I would not advise looking for a father figure for your lovely children. Sounds like they have a relationship with their Dad. My kids found mentoring adults in their activities, an art teacher, a coach, their uncle, and so on. I'd go for a relationship only if that's what you want, as a plus for your own life. I think if you find someone who cares for you as you are that would be great. Just my thoughts. Just a FYI, both my boys were a little challenging at 13, and I see my granddaughters are too, but they grow out of it or maybe into their selves, kind of like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

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  26. Welcome to blogging by the way. I enjoyed you writing.

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  27. I left the world of single parenthood and relationship dramas behind me a long, long time ago - but reading your post brought back a lot of memories and, feelings. Your journey will be challenging, but also joyful.
    Welcome to the world of blogging. You will form close relationships with many like-minded people and I wish you well from the bottom of my heart.
    Rose (came over from Keith)

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  28. My mother has remained single since the death of my father (when I was 7), but has dated a few people never lasting terribly long. I sure didn't want a step-father, even though I'm sure it would have led to a "better" life as two people with jobs can hold a household better than one.

    I grew up mostly without a father-figure. I don't believe people truly need the stereotypical "figures" in life anyway. All a person needs is loving friends and family.

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  29. Welcome, Kristen! I came over from Keith's amazing blog. I enjoyed your first post very much ~ thoughtful questions ~ must run in the family! I think you have to do what is right for you. I think kids know the difference! We have to be whole people ourselves first in or out of a relationship. My grandmother MacDonald always said that "Independence is a wonderful thing." I don't think I could ever leave a great love for independence, but he wouldn't be a great love if he didn't allow me to be me and soar. Your kids have that amazing uncle to look to. Girls need male role models too! You can't escape hardships, and they make you stronger; but it sure is hard to watch kiddos go through them. Have a happy week!

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  30. Good start. Brief, REGULAR posting, and commenting at blogs you discover and like are what its all about. The friends you make will amaze you. Come visit your comentors here to start :-)

    Good luck, Aloha

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  31. hi ... welcome to the blogging world ... just don't ... uhm ... i mean ... be careful, eh? Love, cat.

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  32. I came to visit on recommendation of your brother. Wecome to the boggie world. I definitey believe a stable home with both parents makes for stable kids. But there are 2-parent households that exercise bad-parenting and the kids suffer for that. So who's to say; I do think a boy must have the stabiity of a father more so than a girl. I would dare guess that ANY man you brought into your life at this point, would be rejected by your kids. (No matter how great he really is) Why do I say these things? That proof that is supposed to be in the pudding was in mine a long, long time ago and the pudding's been eaten and the dishes washed and put away. My kids are in their 50's and 60's.
    In the end it all works out.

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    1. I am absolutely loving this comment...made me smile :) thank you!

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  33. Welcome to Blogland! I too came by from your brother's blog :) You sound like you have a great relationship with your kids -- your loving presence is the most important thing in their lives. I guess we all question our parenting skills sometimes -- well.. we do the best we can y'know? I keep questioning and striving and pressing on. Following you :)

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  34. Your blogland name is easier to say than Keith's lol

    Having such a relationship with your kids is all you need, they'll make their own choices when it comes right down to it. Getting into a relationship for a father figure or because society says you can't be single and must have a man/woman will end in doom and gloom, so if you want one, get one for you and nothing or no one else, the rest will follow.

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  35. Hello Kristen, it's very nice to meet Keith's sister. I agree with Cloudia. That's the way to having blogging be such a wonderful part of your life.

    As for the emotional health of children, if you provide them with a stable, loving home, your children will be happy people. I know Keith would be a happy role model also.

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  36. Welcome to Blogland. Keith sent me over to your blog to welcome you....

    I hate to give you advice as I never been in your position but treating your kids like you would like to be treated makes sense to me. Unconditional love, communication and acceptance of their uniqueness might be what I would aim for. Kids need roots and allowing them to be with family on their dad's side if they choose would be good. Teaching them to respect themselves and others will go a long way in their development.

    Kids need to feel good about themselves and should never be compared to anybody else. Help them find their special unique gifts to develop.
    I better stop here.
    Good luck.
    JB

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  37. Never pause to give advice :) I welcome any and all advice and constructive criticism as well!! Your advice sounds very smart and intelligent....much to ponder.

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  38. Hi! Dropped by because Keith mentioned you had a blog! I commend you on single parent hood! I work with many girls who are single parents (some by choice) and I know for a fact, I could not do it with any grace or skill. My daughter knows she has an army of people who love her dearly and would do anything she asked. I have learned to parent by what I see around me in the world. I see so many monster kids and children behaving badly and the parents don't do a thing. So I do the opposite with my daughter. She's 3 and I have been complimented already on how well behaved she is and how good her manners are. I know we are just winging it, but she is loved and that is all that matters.

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  39. Welcome to the blogging world. I wish you much success and satisfaction in this venture. Your first post asks some important questions.

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  40. Hey Kristen! Welcome to blogging. :) This is a tuff topic! I can totally see how you would worry about how some of your own personal behaviors could influence your children. Honestly though, if you are saying they are already great kids, you must be doing something right. :) I think as long as you shower them with love and teach them good values, that's the best thing you can do. I'm in my thirties now and there are so many things that make me completely different from my own parents. Don't over think it too much. Just be an awesome mom!!

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  41. Hi Kristen! The questions you've asked are ones that I asked myself hundreds of times, raising my daughter as a single mom. She's 21 now, and perfectly perfect (I'm not biased at all)!

    I would say, with Keith being your brother, your kids have at least one adult male role model to look up to! But really, all they need is you. The only person it's hard on is you, and believe me, I understand. It's so hard bearing the brunt of the responsibility, and the fears that sometimes you've done the right or wrong thing, all by yourself, in what's meant to be a two-person job. But trust me, the kids will be fine. When they grow up, they'll just remember that they had an awesome mother. You don't need to find someone to fill a gap because there is no gap, do you see? And trust me, no father is preferable to a bad father.

    If you do meet someone, in i's own time, I hope it happens naturally, and that person falls in love with you and your kids; it's what happened to me. After years of trying to force it, I just stopped and there he was, the best man ever.

    It's so nice to meet you, and welcome to blogging!

    -Michelle

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    1. Thank you so very much, Michelle :) that post touched me, truly. It's a hard, guilt stricken job sometimes.

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  42. We are both. Depends on the day, on the hour. In the meantime, the best relationship to develop is with God. In all that happens, God will surround you and shelter you.

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  43. Hi Kristen, and welcome to the blogging world. Your brother directed his followers here, so here I am :) You will meet - and connect with - some extraordinary people in this amazing thing we call the blogosphere, and you will create friendships that you never imagined possible.

    This is a great first post, and I can honestly say that I completely understand what you are going through, and what you are feeling, because I spent years being a single mom to two very young children. When their father and I separated, one daughter was 5 1/2 and the other was only six months old. It was a very difficult time, but also an amazing time. I discovered - and became comfortable with - who I am, and enjoyed walking the path alone for awhile. I really needed that time to myself. It was a tremendous and spectacular growing period for me in every which way (emotionally, mentally and spiritually), and years later, I met the man who would become my second husband after two years of dating. And it was magical. It will happen for you, too, when the time is right. And you'll know it's the right connection because he will accept every part of you - even the 'hardass' part. In fact, it may even be a part of you that he will find very endearing.

    In the meantime, your children do not need for you to hook up with a significant other for them to develop into well-balanced individuals. Love will do that. And a stable home. If they have that foundation, you are already a step ahead. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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  44. Welcome to blogging. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Paula from south Texas

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  45. Hi, Kristen! So glad to connect with you through Keith's blog. I have a stepdaughter, but she was grown when I married her father, so I don't have experience raising children. But my hat off to you for caring about the influence you are having on your children. It sounds like you are doing a great job!

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  46. I am so glad I persevered in trying to find you. Stunning first post - with some huge questions.
    I don't think that you do need a partner for their development. When and if you find someone that YOU are prepared to welcome into your life, the well being of your children will have a part to play in your decision. But only a part.
    And your love for them, and pride in them is not dependent on anyone else.

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  47. Big Step to take, blogging lol. I know the questions you ask yourself I was a single mom, had a great career, no house though, the thing is sometimes love comes in very unexpected ways, and sometimes it doesn't last... I'm a loner at heart and now that my baby is 26, married, trying to have children, now, now I want to be alone....but I've learned one thing, the only constant, is change..you might meet someone that will be so perfect for you, or you may decide something altogether different but it is your life, to do what you want to do with it, respecting who you are and what you need...So A big welcome to blogger world, I promise you'll make more friends than you can imagine, take care, good luck....

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  48. Welcome to the world of blogging! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Your brother is the best - always full of the most encouraging words of wisdom.

    First you must take care of you. Once you are 100% happy with yourself, your kids will know and feel that. They will learn their mom is happy and fulfilled. It won't matter if you're single, dating or married. You'll be a true and whole person. Kids are smart and perceptive.

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  49. Hi Kristen, coming over from your brother's blog and now following you. I can't imagine being a single mom. Kudos to you! It sounds like you are doing a good job with your kiddos I have a 18 yr old stepdaughter yes 18 and stepdaughter I repeat, a 12 yr old girl and I do too want her to have a smooth ride into womanhood, I also have a 7 yr old that still "loves" mom and hugs her in public...I don't want him to grow up :(

    Welcome to blogger!

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  50. I just popped over from Keith's blog. Good luck with your writing.

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  51. Hi Kristen, welcome to the world of blogging...I wish you every success.
    I think you are doing a fabulous job with your children, and with Keith for an Uncle, I'm sure they have a great male influence in their lives.

    Very best of luck with your new venture x

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  52. Hi , nice to meet you, I am one of your brother's bloggers friends. Welcome to the blogging world :)

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  53. Good morning, I am visiting from Keith's pages-welcome to blogging-I know you will enjoy the experience-

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  54. Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging. A world that is full of instant gratification and heartfelt kudos. Those who don't like you just go away. With Keith in your son's life, he has a splendid role model. Just do what you are doing, seems just fine to me.

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  55. I add my welcome to blogging too and I'm over from Keith's blog.
    I'm sure you will enjoy blogging. : )

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  56. I can identify with many of these questions as a solo parent too. Good luck with your blogging journey. I hope it brings much joy, reflection and answers as you make new friends.

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  57. Welcome to this world of blogging! I am so glad you are sharing your sentiments. Your brother is a great blogger and reading your first blog I see the same honesty and straightforwardness in you. My mom wanted us to grow independent putting education above all because my father, her husband, died when she was quite young and unready to handle the responsibilities, Certainly her way of raising us affected us, perhaps sometimes for the worse but if I had to sum it up, I would say for the best. Becoming your own person is a very important thing. Look forward to visiting you...Have a great day!

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  58. I think your kids will just see that your marriage split and you did the best you could and they'll admire it. That's a good thing. :)

    Visiting from Keith's, and I'm your latest follower.

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  59. I've been where you are, and it's not an easy road. The one thing I was always grateful for was how my kids always rose to the occasion. The were my ever-present cheerleaders, and always made me feel important and special, even at my lowest points. They have a way of figuring things out. They will admire you for persevering, for making them your priorities, and for doing your best. It's okay if "your best" is sometimes a little spotty - did I mention they are forgiving little creatures too? Most of all, they're amazing, and my heroes ALWAYS. Best of luck in all you do!

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  60. swinging over from keith's....i have great respect for single parents...my partner at school is a single mom...its hard work...and you def have the burden of raising children and helping them to understand as well the relationship you have with your ex...i think it gives you an interesting perspective to share with them as they are old enough to explore their own...

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  61. Stopping by via your bro's blog. He is awesome btw. And keep on doing what you do. I believe your daughter and son will respect your choices, bottom line. Just be you. And don't worry about it.
    Cortne @cocoinmagnolia

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  62. I am visiting from your fabulous brother's blog. Just the fact that you are so sincere in wishing to be the best influence on your children makes me believe you are doing everything right. Your children are lucky to have you as their mother - you are sensitive and insightful and concerned. And with an uncle like Keith, how could they go wrong? Karen, mother of 4 grown children.

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  63. Love your brother....look forward to YOU!

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  64. Welcome to the world of blogging! Visiting from your brother's place. Great first post!

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  65. Welcome to blogger! Sent here by your brother who is amazing. Looking forward to reading more from you both!

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  66. such a tough situation - but you sound logical and positive that you want what's best, so you will undoubtedly make the most of the situation you are in. just don't forget that you deserve happiness too, whatever that may be.

    NTMY - and look at all the comments! thanks to Keith =) lucky! i didnt get any followers or comments for months when i started blogging!

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  67. Hi Kristen - good luck with the kids ... they'll so appreciate you later on in life ... and sadly life is tough, but you sound resilient ... and I certainly hope you meet many friends through the blogging community .. and isn't it wonderful about Keith and Beate ..

    Cheers and all the very best -Hilary

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  68. Some very thought provoking questions there! Good luck with the adventures of parenting and blogging!

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  69. Hi Kristen! I like the ????s your blog raises. You deserve lots of love: self love, romantic love and unconditional love. You are love. Thank you for being here.

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  70. I think it helps to have a male and female both as role models. That doesn't mean that Grandpas, Uncles and other males can't be role models. What kids need the most is love, discipline and time. If you can give them those things, then you are doing great!

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  71. Hubby and I told our 3 kids that not a one of them arrived with a set of instructions in their chubby little hands. We did the best we could, with what we knew THEN. Would we change anything? Of course...if we had a "do over." We don't get those. Do the best you can with what you know now, and let your heart (and common sense) be your guide. Love those young'uns, because they will be grown and gone before you know it!

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