A single parent is, first and foremost, a parent. We have all the responsibilities any other parent faces, all the anxiety any other parent faces and all the joy any other parent gets from seeing our children growing up into the people we hoped they would be.
Though I don't want this forum to become a place where we bemoan our terrible fate, there are a few differences between single parents and other types of parents. This means that having an Internet community for single parents will make a very real difference in our lives.
And this is why:
I spoke of responsibility, anxiety, and joy.
A single parent has all the usual parental responsibilities, but typically carries them alone. We have all the usual moments of anxiety, with hardly anyone to support us. Even the joy and pride we occasionally take in these wonderful kids needs to be shared, and there isn't always someone near enough who has the time to listen to us go on about the latest achievement and respond with all the enthusiasm this deserves.
A community of parents who face the challenge single-handedly (with the other tied behind their backs while trying to hold down a real job and keep the laundry basket from overflowing and the yard clean) would mean having other peoples' experience at our fingertips. It would mean having the chance to sound off at whatever it is that happened, without thinking 75 times, "Should I be saying this?" "Will it damage the kids' relationship with their Dad to hear how upset I am with him?" "Does she really want to hear me go through all this again?"
It would mean understanding that I'm at the very least in good company, if not perfectly normal, because so many others here experience similar feelings at some point. And some in the community even have real lessons they learned as a result and can share them with me to help me find my mental balance again.
The lessons of experience are more valuable at times than your everyday, garden-variety common sense, because the emotional pull on a single parent is so very intense.
Even if You're Not Single...
Working moms in stable, loving relationships will also find intriguing items here, since the constant lack of time and the eternal question of how to most profitably use what's left of it are problems they share with single parents.
I see my friends around me -- for the most part working moms -- and in many cases they function as single parents from the moment school's out until suppertime every day. The difference is that they do have someone to share it with once the angels are asleep... but that doesn't mean that the struggle is any easier at the time it happens. So here's a place for all moms.
* Write to us about what single parenting means to you, whether you're already in it, or maybe afraid of having it happen to you.
* What do you do to make it easier, from timesaving tips to great places to take the kids that give reductions on entrance fees?
* How do you help your kids deal with various situations? How do they help you in return?