You just found out you’re pregnant or when you did, your relationship with your child’s father is less than ideal. This can lead to lots of feelings, few of which may be positive. However, being prepared can change this situation from a scary situation to one that not only you’re confident in handling but one were you are excited about.
Finding a support system
A support system is one that can support you financially, emotionally, and socially. People, no matter the age have needs. As mothers, we will put the needs of our children first often neglecting ourselves. Don’t do that. Not only do you deserve to feel supported but it allows you
to better care for your child as well. Financially, parenting can quickly become overwhelming. Not knowing how to handle certain expenses quickly leads to stress which can lower your patience when parenting. Each parent should be contributing to the success of their child. This may be shown through various ways and one of them is through financial support. Depending on how the child is supported and by which parent, financial support doesn’t have to be 50/50 it can be split various ways. Other times, single mothers will find there is no support from the child’s father. Although this may feel like a huge hurdle it is still just a hurdle. There are ways to get past this even without the support of a father.
Look to your own family. Parents, grandparents, or even aunts and uncles may be a good option as far as a place to live until you’re able to support yourself financially. As long as you are
helping to provide a safe, secure, and loving place for your child there is no shame in leaning on others. If this is not an option, finding a trusted friend to split rent or a housing payment may also work. However, as a mother ensuring that your child is safe from harm and there are rules and boundaries no matter where you live is important for their well-being.
There are also housing options and most often you are able to find these options by searching online or through a local library. Pregnancy Resource Centers can also lead you in the right
direction even if they do not have the resources available themselves. Although finances are important emotional and social support are a huge part of your support system. To be supported emotionally and socially means connecting with others that may be in similar situations as yourself or those who have gone through something similar. When I was a single parent I often met up with my friend who also had a child the same age as mine. It was refreshing to connect and reflect on our journeys together. Play groups at local libraries or churches are great ways to connect with mothers if you do not currently have mom friends. I also leaned on the wisdom of my grandmother. Having raised children herself, she was a great reminder that some days are harder than others but there is truly joy that lasts a lifetime by being a mother.
Dating can be difficult when you’re a mother. As a single parent, your home is likely a child-centric home meaning the most important relationship is that with you and
your child. This is great but when dating you will need to also balance a relationship that can fit into this mold. In a traditional family, both parents love and cherish their
child but also their relationship. Both relationships are important for a healthy family life. Introducing a new relationship seems tricky but when approached in a gentle
manner it can be easily achieved.
Do not immediately introduce your child to a new relationship Why hold off introductions? There are a few reasons. Dating is much like trial and error. You may believe a relationship is going well only to find out he displays a nonnegotiable trait or value that will not result in a fulfilling or perhaps even healthy relationship. Introducing your child to someone, potentially getting them attached to this new person and then breaking things off can be confusing to them.
The next reason is if you do not know this person well enough then it could be a potentially dangerous situation for your child. Again, your romantic relationship could be one that lasts a lifetime and it is very important to cherish that. However, while dating your relationship with your child is most important in that moment as they rely on you for their well-being.
The last reason to hold off introductions is so that this person gets to know you first. Yes, your child is very much a part of you but you are also a separate person. Children although they are a huge part of our lives, normally do not live with us forever. A spouse on the other hand, if it is a relationship that lasts is someone we will spend most of our time with while sharing intimate details of our lives reserved for no one else but them. Therefore, ensuring this person is a right match is vital to your future and also your family’s future. It’s okay to be picky and it’s okay to be direct while dating.
One of the worst pieces of dating advice I hear is “you’re being too picky and you need to lower your standards”. Single parent dating is more than just finding a match between you and a potential someone, it is finding a step-parent as well. Considering this it is okay to be direct while dating. If something could cause an issue for your child or yourself, you can let the other person know why it bothers you as long as you’re respectful when doing so. If he responds in a way that is alarming then you’ve cut to the chase in figuring out that perhaps this isn’t a relationship that should continue. The best advice I have heard when dating as a single parent is this a relationship you would want your son or daughter to be in? If the answer is no, then it is perhaps time to reevaluate the relationship. You deserve a respectful, loving relationship and your child also deserves to have one modeled for them as well. The biggest teacher for children for relationships is the one that their parents model for them. If a mother is in a relationship that is abusive, it can be seen as something considered acceptable in the eyes of their child.
Finding a support system in single parenting is the first step in being prepared in your journey. If you are pregnant and unsure what to do because you feel unsupported please reach out to us by calling the helpline or chatting at the bottom of the screen. We are here to help you.