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Single Mom Advice: Am I doing it right?

INTRO: I am a member of an organization and people looking to become single moms write to me for advice. Below is a note I wrote to someone. Any moms have any thoughts of what should or should not be in there? The want-to-be mom indicated she was fincancially well-off enough to do it on her own.




Thanks for writing to me. I hope I can be of some help.

About me: I am a single mom via IVF. I had my daughter when I was 35. I moved from NYC when she was 6 months old. I found it very hard to raise a child with no support except paid support as in a nanny. Generally speaking though, NYC is a much different place to raise a child than FL. In FL you are not expected to sign up your kid for child care before he or she is born or not have a place. You're also not paying $3200/mo. for rent and things like that. My job at the time afforded me this, but it also expected me to work long hours, which were not possible after becoming a mom.

Good for you for getting the books on being a single mom. I didn't read one book on childcare or single mom parenting. I was " fortunate" to have friend whose husband had left her while she was preg. From birth until about age 5, I visited a few times a week and went to school functions, on weekend playdate, helped out a bit. So I got to see/experience what it was like.

I believe if you have a strong calling to be a mom, you can pursue your dreams. However, you need to 1) carefully think out how you're going to be able to be there for your child 24/7. 2) thoroughly consider how you are going to make your child happy.

Expect your friends in their 40's and 50's to be of little to no help especially if they don't understand the desire to have kids. Once you have a kid your life will not be the same. You will not be the same. My childless friends gave me adorable, expensive and useless clothes for my child, visited once or twice and then disappeared. I don't blame them. Being with a person with a kid - if you don't have a kid to play with the kid - is super boring unless the kid is asleep. I must disclose I didn't go over to my friend with child's house because I loved playing with her kid. Nope. It was boring. I liked the time after the kid went to sleep and my friend and I shared a bottle of wine and I didn't have to go home to my husband who I was having problems with. Then after the divorce I kept visiting too. Then I was 6 months preg and she disappeared from my life - another long story.

The lack of support will be an issue. You need to work, sometimes work late and, if you need sleep, you need help at night for the first year or so.

I am sure you've heard the stories of how children don't sleep for 4 months. It's true!! For three weeks after she was born my daughter would cry every time the pacifier feel out so it was 21 days or so of sleeping for the two minutes it took for her to fall asleep once I put the paci back in. Of course, once she fell asleep the paci fell out...and whaaaaaahh! Then she had her days and nights muddled so I was strolling NYC sidewalks at 3 a.m. because she had slept all day and now wanted to go out and see the middle of the night in the middle of the winter. But the baby stage passes and then you have a toddler.

A whole new bundle of energy and challenge.

One solution is to pay for someone to help. Have you considered an au pair? A day and a night nanny? I don't know how much sleep you need, but it's a challenge.

You are 33 so I am not sure of your experience around kids. You may have had a lot. You may have had none. I have some background in teaching so I've had a chance to be around many kids. If you have never been around kids for any length of time, I encourage you to do this. it will give you a chance to see what the reality is like as opposed to the idealized. All kids are different. Yours may be well-behaved or not so much so. Kids are inherently self-centered for a while. You can't expect them to understand your needs in an adult manner. Your child will need you for so many things from being lifted into high chairs to tying shoes. Mine is an energetic terrier. She will run, climb and play with wild abandon. I didn't do anything to encourage this, I am not like this at all, it's the way she is. So picture yourself with different kinds of kids. Picture yourself getting up in the middle of the night and helping them go to the bathroom or soothing a nighttime earache.

This looks like a lot to think of. I don't wish to overwhelm you. However, having a child is a decision that should be considered wisely and from all angles. I believe if you have solutions to problems, that is the best way to disprove anyone's doubts about what you can or can't do. It will also help dissipate any doubts you yourself may have.

Write back anytime.