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What are challenges as a single parent?

In recognizing the diversity of urbanMamas, we know that we are not all partnered parents.  There are distinct challenges - emotionally, financially, logistically - to solo parenting.  We recently received an email from a mama wanting to discuss more and connect with other single parents:

I am looking to meet other progressive mamas who are parenting without partners at least part time. I'm going through a separation and feel like a sudden outsider in my mostly nuclear, hetero, married world. I would love to meet other mamas, gay, straight, or otherwise, who want to connect around the challenges of parenting solo.  What are the challenges you face? I find, for example, that it's hard to overcome the collective inertia to get out and do things when it's just myself and my child. Families don't seem to invite us out as much. I'm also feeling guilty about the pleasures of having some actual--gasp--time to myself each week. I'd love to hear what you have done to honor your needs and feel good as a mom who is not with-child-every-minute.

Are you interested in getting together sometime to discuss these issues of single parenting?

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My daughter will be two this June. Her father left in Sept and has since not been in the picture at all. It's taken me a long time to reconcile the chasm between being the mother I want to be and still being myself as well.
For me, where we are in our life (struggling but getting by and being happy) wouldn't have been possible without the support I've had. You have to find it. Be it in a friend, a parent, state-aid, or websites like these.
Urbanmamas has gone a long way to keep me grounded in the parenting world. I get to see and hear from other parents out there about issues that I can relate to or, better yet, be prepared for before they even come up with my daughter.

I would loooove to get together with other single mamas in the PDX area. My best friend is my greatest support system (my daughter basically has two parents thanks to her). However, its still ME that is the single mom and I would love to have more women in my life who are empathetic to my situation.

I've found that actually setting up a working single moms group THAT ACTUALLY MEETS is the trickiest group to get started. As single parents our schedules, collectively, are less flexible and its easy to get discouraged. Maybe we can change that.
If anyone is up for getting together in the next week or two, lets see what we can do!

I am a single mama who also works full time as a journalist. I write a lot about single parenting and the challenges i face trying to raise my child up right -
you can check out my blog at www.nicolevulcan.blogspot.com.
Some of the stuff is about politics and stuff but there are lots of posts about "mama-ing"...
Let me know if you are getting together... the more support we have, the better!

I'd meet, too! Single mama here as well. I agree about the scheduling issue, but we can try!

I would be up for a coffee gathering. There are definitely different challenges being a single mama vs. a married/partnered mama. Some of it is parenting and some is not- for instance managing a home by yourself or being the sole breadwinner (and managing childcare and that pesky home). And the social aspects too. Lots o challenges. I would love to connect with others.

Saturdays and Sundays are best for me.

Maybe a 10ish weekend am at Urband Grind? I would be interested in a monthly gathering if it seemed that it clicked in terms of a group gathering.

Any takers?

I have raised my son by myself from day one- so the only parenting I know if how to do it on my own. This is not to say that I don't experience my share of challenges as a single parent, as I do. Everything from dreaming of a new car that I will most likely never have, to being viewed down upon from those not in my situation, to trying to find and retain some piece of my self outside of being "on" 24/7 as the only parent.

I would love to meet up with some other single parents; weekends work best for me.

For those of you who have done it on your own from the beginning, we have already formed a group of single moms by choice in Portland and we meet the 3rd Saturday of every month at 10am at local coffee shops. We welcome all sorts of single moms, but the main focus is the 24/7/365 mom who does not have child support or visitation, or any input from the father/donor. For more information about this group, please email me at mousecat86@aol.com. I will invite you to join our yahoo group so you can hear about the get-togethers.

Weekends work for me too but I know that that's not the case for everyone. To all of you who previously posted about wanting to get together, do weekends work best?
There is a great kid friendly coffee house down in NW on 16th and Thurman, in addition to UGrind.
Does a Saturday or Sunday morning sound best or is there anyone out there who needs a weekday time in order to make it?
Let's def. make a plan and get together!

Second posting -- just wanted to add that weekends are best for me as well. Not too sound crazy-eager, but maybe we could do something next weekend? I feel like if we don't jump on it, then the thread will die and we will just say, "That would have been cool..."

So Sunday 10:00 works perfect for me. Kid-friendly place in NW or UGrind sound fine. I have to bring the little dude, of course.

I am interested too! Weekends work for me as well. Either location works, but the NW one is closest.
I have a 3-year old daughter and have been single since she was five months old. Aside from the financial side, socializing has been one of the most difficult aspects of being single.

I put up this posting a few days ago and I'm thrilled to see all the responses.

Since it seems that most of us can meet on weekend mornings, why don't we try to meet at Urban Grind Sat May 10th at 9 am. From there, we can plot, scheme, meet, and support.

Please post a yes if you know you can make it so we get a sense of how many there will be. I would love to learn from moms who are single by choice or from the start as well as moms, like myself, who are new to single or part-time parenting.

Hope to meet you soon.

I can do urban grind Sat. I have an 11 am downtown but defintely can be there from 9:30-10:30. Looking forward to meeting some folks. I will be kid-free.

Urban Grind in NE?

Thanks for the post. I am definitely interested and next Sat. should work for us. So, is it going to be at Urban Grind in NE?

For future reference: I set up a get toghey ether for another group for today at Urban Grind and they have changed their hours. They are no longer open on Sundays, and Saturdays is now their free coffee and pastry day (like they used to do on Sundays). I don't know when this occurred, but all I can say is: :(

Sorry: not sure how the word "together" came out at "toghey ether!"

Ok, third post here. (I made the original response and brought up the question of meeting on the weekend).
Saturday works well for Reli and I.
If you ladies want to RSVP best hours for your fam (it sounds like 10ish works for a lot of folks) and then I'll send out a mass email in a few days with a specific time and place?
I def. agree that we should jump on this now and not let the thread die!
My email is meliahm@gmail.com.
Hope to hear from lots of you!

My ex is now back in the pic with visitation, but when it was just me and my son, I actually had to get out alot. I was emotionally overwhelmed and doing activities really helped. I forked over money for a CM membership and we'd go there for an hour after school, or on saturday afternoons. He'd be so busy there it was a break for me. I started going to church and that was also a great break for me.

Now I have me-time while my son is with my Dad, and because of the previous time, I appreciate it. The friend thing is hard-- but its kinda like losing your work friends when you change jobs. Some friends you meet causeo f you kids, it changes when you change schools, become single etc. That transitioning has been difficult but I had some friends stick by me and watch out for me which has been great.

Ok, so it sounds like Saturday, the 10th is working out pretty well. If you are interested in meeting other single mamas and having some joe (or tea or what-have-you), we'll be gathering around 9 AM on Saturday May 10th at Sydney's; 1800 NW 16th. Its on the juncture at NW 16th and Lovejoy.
Some mamas and babes might have to leave early or come late and that's fine. Reli and I will be there from about 9-11. Let's get together and see what transpires!
Have a great week ladies!

Oops! Sorry! Sydney's is at 16th and THURMAN! (I used to live at 16th and Lovejoy- oops. I guess "Lovejoy" will always follow "16th" for me when talking or typing.)

So, Sydney's, at 1800 NW 16th, at the juncture of 16th AND THURMAN, Saturday the 10th between 9(ish) and 11(ish).

Hope to see all of you ladies who posted over the past couple of days there! Nico is right, the more support we have, the better! We are only limited by our own resourcefulness- lets get together and see what new resources (and avenues of venting :-)) we might find in a new group.

I love being a single mom 75% of the time actually. Maybe it's the control freak in me, but I like doing it all on my own. I love the intense bond with my daughter, knowing that just us two make up our little family. Now that I'm divorced (and the ex lives 2000 miles away), my joke when I get the pity look is, "NO, it's actually easier taking care of one child rather than two, haha." I'm lucky in that I receive child support, my daughter is 4 and getting to be pretty independent, and I have a good support network of friends and neighbors (but no family in the area, sadly.) The 25% of times when this single parenting thing sucks normally coincide with my daughter being sick, me being sick, or just wanting to have another parental unit around to bounce ideas off of. I'll keep my eye out for future single mom meeting dates - Sat a.m. conflicts with another engagement for us...

Yeah - I was looking at this site specifically for a single moms group so great timing! I have a 3 mo old daughter and am trying to figure out how to do ALL of this. Look forward to meeting other single moms for connection, support & words of wisdom!
Leslie & Leaha

Yeah - I was looking at this site specifically for a single moms group so great timing! I have a 3 mo old daughter and am trying to figure out how to do ALL of this. Look forward to meeting other single moms for connection, support & words of wisdom!
Leslie & Leaha

I am going to try very, very hard to be there. It might be a tough weekend for it in the end, but we'll see what happens...

I will try to be there with my 14 month old son. I look forward to meeting other single parents.

Ladies,
So sorry! I realize that there are several mamas who are meeting up at the UGrind in NE. However, Reli and I made morning plans before I realized that SO, we will still be at Sydney's between 9 and 9:30 in the morning! We'd love to see you there if you are near the NW neighborhood!
Sorry about all the confusion!
Meliah
PS- I'd love to hear how it goes up in NE so if anyone wants to shoot me an email afterward, feel free! Thanks!

my daughter (21 mos.) and i can be in nw tomorrow morning. i'm so glad someone is doing something early.

Hey thanks to Meliah for jump starting the get together.Saturday was fun and several mamas showed up. Sounds like we might try for a monthly get together the first Saturday of the month, starting in June on Sat June 7th 9-11 at Sydneys in NW ( same location).

It was great to connect with a bunch of single mamas and I am looking forward to seeing if a monthly coffee hour could work.

What a wonderful response to the single mamas gathering last weekend! Next single mamas get-together is scheduled for Saturday June 7, 9-11am, at Sydneys. Here's a report on last weekend's gathering from Meliah:

"I just wanted to let everyone know that a great gathering of single mamas happened this past Saturday in NW. Over the course of about three hours, eight different mamas and their babes convened at Sydney's. There was lots of talk and chatter among the mamas, snack sharing among the small 'uns and plans made to make this a regular, once-a-month shin dig. As far as we can tell, for the mamas that made it yesterday, the first Saturday of the month works pretty well for everyone. So that's the plan as of now; Saturday, June 7th single mamas will be meeting again at Sydney's on NW Thurman and 16th. Feel free to arrive anytime between 9 and 11. Bring the babe or come alone, there'll be plenty of company there.
Thanks for all of the mamas who repsonded so earnestly to the orginal post. I think one thing we all found immediately was the common desire to connect with women who are in our shoes. And now that that's established (thanks in part to urbanMamas!!!!), who knows what else we'll find? I'd love to hear how the NE Urban Grind meeting went that morning! Thanks again everyone! -- Meliah and Reli"

I am just checking to see if the plan for this Saturday (6/7--Sydney's) is still on. I am planning to attend with my son (2 1/2). I am particularly interested in finding other single moms/parents to ride bikes with on the weekends. it's the safety in numbers thing...

I showed but a bit too late (10:30) and was bummed that I seemed ot have missed everyone.

Did anyone attend? Any thoughts on a July gathering- and is that 4th of july weekend maybe we want to gather after the long weekend?

Love to hear from folks.
Elizabeth

BTW Sherri I did bike from east side and am trying to bike and not drive on the weekends. I would be interested in connecting or biking together to the next gathering.

I'll show at Urban Grind NE or Sydney's THIS Saturday (6/21), if anyone is interested. say, 9:30? I am also up for a bike ride Sunday (6/22). Sunday is Portland Parkways, but maybe too far for a toddler in a bike trailer from SE (where I live), http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=46103. thoughts? Elizabeth? I can check this post later in the week to see (and confirm myself). I was too tired to make it 6/7 after all. sorry about that.

sherri and other mamas:

I am cool with either urban grind or sydneys this saturday. I wont have my son with me- he is with his dad this weekend. I was planning on doing the sunday parkways- should be fun!

Urban grind is closer to my house (and to SE) but i am cool with either venue. 9;30 sounds great!

elizabeth

let's do the Urban Grind NE location this Saturday (6/21) starting at 9:30. I'm sure we'll be there a while. my son loves the place. we can then talk about biking possibilities for Sunday Parkways or in the future. I could use help my first few times with trailer this season. my son is a different kid than last summer (in weight and temperament). see you soon!

cool sherri (and any other single mamas that want to join us) Urban Grind Sat 6/21 at 9:30. I will be there at 9:30 this time :) I will be sans child but hopefully not too hard to miss (flowery bike helmet?)

I know I want to do the Parkways in some capacity so it will be fun to talk.

i came to sydney's on 6/7 - i didn't see anyone there. i tried to talk to one mom w/daughter, but was too embarassed to ask "hey, are you single?" i can show at sydney's this saturday, but we like to go to tiny tots at the central library - which starts at 10:15.

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