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Readers Respond: What Are the Biggest Challenges You Face as a Custodial Single Mom?

Responses: 29


What challenges do you face as a custodial single mom? Whether your ex takes the kids for regular visits, or you're completely on your own, let us know what your biggest challenges are, and how you handle them. You never know, your words might just be the encouragement another single mom needed to hear! Share Your Insight

Hard But Easy

I have 3 kids who's lives have not changed drastically financially because of child support and my job, which I believe all comes from God. The hardest part for me is dating, I don't know how to make myself not desire another husband. I have dated and find it very difficult. I want someone to be all that my ex husband couldn't even be, like there emotionally for me and the kids. I recently read Genesis and realized the curse God put on the woman was to desire her husband. I think I have been looking for a man to meet all my needs, like an idol and that doesn't work because nobody can fulfill us completely. Now..Just have to figure out how to stop that dang desire! Lol
—Guest Tr2

Mommy of 3

I was a single mom of 3 for over a year but decided to reconcile with my husband (father of all 3) however I know I have made a mistake. Living on my own was hard, and I lived in transitional housing that treated single moms like foolish poor people. When I moved back with my husband my oldest became ill and I found out that he was once again flirting with women (which is why we separated)...I completely lost and basically sleep all day. He is emotionally abusive and he hasn't changed. During separation he barely saw the children and didn't help with anything. He dated and did what he wanted while I took all responsibility. I have an issue with what ifs and wishing I made better decisions for me my children...However, it helped to know that I am not the only mom going through this and that our children will be forever grateful for our sacrifices.
—Guest Bren

In a Maze

I live in the inner city, i have a 1 year old. What overwhelms me the most is where to take my son to socialize with other kids his age, i have anxiety issues and need a safe place to take my son so that he will not have the same anxiety issues growing up.
—Guest tamica

Lost Single Mother of Four

I am a single mother of 4...8 year old son...6 year old daughter...and 4 year old twin girls...all by the same man who decided to up and move out of state to be with his mistress causing me to lose everything...truck...house...job... Now I live in government housing and I'm on welfare. I lost a job I had for 10 years: severely depressed! I have no friends or family to help so I can't even interview for a job because I have no sitter! I am at my wit's end... The father barely calls to talk to the kids and is planning his wedding to his mistress. I can't get over his actions and how I've lost it all. So I wake every day depressed just waiting for bedtime so I can sleep and not think....just lost!
—Guest 4kidsnlost

Taking Up The Slack

Im a single mom of 4. Two boys, two girls. I've been on my own for 7 years now. I'm a veteran and the VA is paying for my education. Finally working on my Bachelors degree. Never thought I would get this far. I've struggled with many emotions and financial troubles but here we are. My ex husband (father of all 4) was verbally abusive and would not help me with the children and ran up lots of debt. He hasn't seen the kids in 2 years and is $89,745 behind in child support. And not in jail. I'm not perfect and I don't lie to my kids. He left church and returned to being an alcoholic. But I refuse to drop the ball. I have 2 choices: be there for my children that God blessed me with or abandon them like their father has. I will never leave my kids. They are everything to me. I no longer try to date. I don't want to give my time to a man when my kids need me more and I don't want men around my children. It's not worth it at this time in my life.
—Guest Brenda

Hold On TO Hope

I have been reading your posts about the pitfalls of being a single parent... lack of money , no place to stay, no family or friends , being drained , no balance and the list goes on. Yes, I was with a man that I married and believed in "happily ever after." Fast forward 8 years, no child support and my ex serving prison sentence. Sorry we do receive $3.00 month. Yes, we all have our stories to tell. This is not an easy road to follow but you all have to find it from within. Your children should be your driving force main motivation. I am a home owner of beautiful spacious home. My son is now in 4th grade an honor roll student. What I am trying to get at is that it is going to be rough but the benefits oh the they will come. Keep your head up and keep pressing along. If your not educated get your GED or diploma. You owe it to your kids and yourself.
—Guest SRT

Overwhelmed and Sad

Sometimes it's just too much. I've raised my two children alone since they were very young. I've depended on prescriptions to cope with the sadness and loneliness. It's been a sad life...
—Guest SM12

Solo Parenting

I am a single mother of a 9 year old boy and 7 year old girl. We've lived alone for 3.5 years and it's been a journey! I'd have to agree with one of the other replies that the biggest challenge is in dealing with my ex-husband! How do you explain to your kids why their dad doesn't spend time with them or even cal them? We are really very blessed tho and in a much better place with God. Best things have been ensuring a strong, steady commitment to our church family. It has been so good for the three of us in so many ways! Also, my kids have been seeing a Clin Psych to work thru their emotions so that they are healthy and able to manage the changes, it has been so great toward building their confidence back up. And for me as their mummy, being involved in helping others and using the gifts God has entrusted to me has meant healthy distraction from thr negativity, serving creatively has aided in my healing. The most important part has been getting closer to God! Father to the fatherless
—Guest tam

Trying to Figure It Out

It is very hard to balance life. I we were so secluded in life with my ex of 20 years...now i take advantage of the community resources for my 6 kids: take them to the boys and girls club...the gym nearby...my kids need support from others and i cant spread myself enough to work 35 hrs a week and be there 24/7 for all of them. I have to trust that they are getting encouragement where i cant...i am only human. I have been single and had full custody 3 yrs now...i have alimony and child support and am contemplating short term trade school to get a better income...but i am a little overwhelmed with the thought of school too. i have a couple friends i "dump" on (who relate)...emotionally it is tough to come home from work and have a whole other job to do there too. Sometimes i go lock myself in my room just to adjust. The house is always a mess...and its ok. the clothes are clean..theres food..the kids are in a way better mood than when their dad was home. We are ok.

Single Parenting Challenges

I've been on my own for 17 months with a one-year-old and a two-year-old. No support, no visits. I have four things to say: 1. Allow yourself to grieve and adjust. Don't be ashamed that you miss your old life, or even your ex sometimes. It gets better. Talk to someone who focuses on the POSITIVE. 2. Single parenting has daily challenges that everyone hears about, but only single parents understand. Join a support group. Or MOPS. No car? Carpool. No sitter? Bring a coloring book. GO. 3. But don't join a gym & a support group & the PTA & a committee at work & try to date. You will want to escape, but you have to say no to everything & everyone else & yes to your kids. Realizing how hard it is to be a single parent is one thing, ACCEPTING it will save you. Coffee date? "No, I have to put a puzzle together." Walk to the park? "Nope, reading Cinderella today." Your kids really need you. Loneliness comes with the territory, but are not alone: your kids are with you. 4. Accept that it will never be what you thought. Let things go.
—Guest LS


The biggest challenge is how to balance responsibilities. In addition to responsibilities, a single parent must try to balance time. In addition to time, a single parent must try to balance finances. In addition to finances, a single parent must try to balance an act. The act is wearing a smile that easily and so often transforms to a frown. I had absolutely no idea that I would end up like this after divorcing a drug addict. I had no idea that this would be the single most difficult job I have ever held. I had no idea that God would keep his word and sustain me mentally, financially, emotionally and spiritually. I thank him, but I am very cognizant that it takes two. "Two are better than one."
—Guest Michelle

Single Parenting is Hard But Worth It

I am not knocking the male role model if he is accessible, but sometimes they do more bad then good and it is better off without them. Remember we have our kids here to have the stress and some times I think we lose sight of that. I pray a lot and God is good to me. Sometimes it takes a community to raise a child and maybe if you are having a lot of stress with time you should look into what kind of free programs might be available to help you or sign up for single parenting groups where you can all lean on each other like this forum. I also heard of a book called "Singled Out" by Bella Depaulo and though I haven't read it I like her statistics that she has researched on single parents and how they overcome obstacles. Good luck, ladies, and let's try to make a movement to show the strength that we have in us and how our children are the next presidents and Kevin Durants.

Single Mom of 4 Kids

I am a single mom of four kids. Yes, they all have the same dad. He is a lawyer, and nobody is making him pay child support. Maybe that is a blessing. Otherwise I wouldn't get Medicaid for the kids. He has not seen them since he left 9 years ago when the twins were 8 days old. I am lucky. My mom took us in. It is nearly impossible to work since my back surgery with 14 vertebrae fused, but I can't get disability. My mom helps some, but she hates me and the children and is very mean. My brother hates me for "taking advantage of my mom." My dad hates me because I am a Christian and he is an atheist. My husband isolated me during our 12-year marriage, and I have no friends (and I am to overwhelmed to make new ones). I just feel like I am a total failure and can't figure a way out of this.
—Guest Julia7.


I've been raising three children, ages 12, 7 & 5, for three years. Their father has them every other weekend and Wed. nights. Help or no help--I am so overwhelmed. My demanding job leaves me drained, We still have to struggle financially, and my house is a mess. My entire family is 1,200 miles away, and I am trapped by divorce laws to stay within 50 miles. My house is a mess, and my weekends without the kids are spent recuperating, trying to socialize, or just feeling depressed and lost without my kids. I often stay positive, but this life is difficult--to say the least. God is the only reason I haven't lost my mind completely.
—Guest Alicia

From a Grandmother

It is time to celebrate the strength of single mothers who so often struggle against the odds for the sake of their children. These are the parents who refused to walk away. Let's stop punishing them for being the ones who accept their responsibilities to the best of their abilities. They are heroes! It is in the country's best interests to invest in families and children. Given a chance, some children of single parents are rather successful in life (i.e., President Obama). Sometimes it helps to learn the facts, such as the fact that the former AFDC used a mere 6% of the federal budget at its highest (in the 1970s), and that a full 80% of recipients voluntarily quit welfare for work by the time their children started school. What we spent on welfare was a fraction of what we spend on handouts to corporations. Isn't it time to change our priorities, protecting families and enabling people to become as productive as they can be?
—Guest DHFabian

Share Your Insight

What Are the Biggest Challenges You Face as a Custodial Single Mom?

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