10 Things That Completely TERRIFY Me As A Single Parent

single parenting
Family, Self

As a single parent, my most paralyzing fear is that I spend too much time being afraid.

Being a part of the single parent club is not easy. When the other parent is absent and/or you have no family around to help, it's even harder. Some days, it feels impossible to let go of the paralyzing fear that grips all single parents at one time or another.

The worry about having enough money to fill your gas tank or put food on the table, the worry that you can't be at your son's baseball game and your daughter's talent show at the same time, the worry that you'll screw up your kids more than married parents do, the worry that you'll be alone forever ... they all rob you of the joy you could experience every day.

I have to remind myself to let go of these fears almost daily ... and I admit it isn't always easy.

Here's what keeps me up at night:

1. I'm afraid there's something wrong with me.

I never thought I'd be single this long. Five years after my divorce and I'm still alone. Don't get me wrong, I didn't really think I'd have guys lined up around the corner for a chance to date a fat, old woman with 6 kids, but I figured there'd be one or two guys out there looking for a middle-aged mom who spends all her time working, driving kids to sports, cleaning up messes, and writing about the quirky things she and her family do. What? It's possible!

2. I'm afraid I'll never get my act together enough to remember everything that needs to be done on a daily basis.

I will forever forget to pay my water bill, pick my kid up from rehearsal, get my kid to baseball practice on time, meet my writing deadlines, and schedule dentist appointments every 6 months. I have a better chance of developing a teleportation device or a cloning machine than I do of getting through a single day without dropping the ball.

3. I'm afraid my kids won't remember the awesome stay-at-home or work-from-home mom I used to be.

I think they'll only remember the overworked, stressed out, crabby mom who always worries about money and never seems to have enough time for them.

4. I'm afraid I'll be alone forever.

I mean, it's okay if that's the case. I like my own company and I'm cool with living out my days by myself. I don't need a man to be complete. Besides, I have a back-up 'Cat Plan' if my knight in shining armor never shows up so it's all good. But still, it would be nice to have someone with whom to share my life.

5. I'm afraid my kids and I will end up on the streets.

I'm consistently a couple months behind paying my bills. I'm forever on the edge of losing my house at any given time. I’m pretty good at the financial balancing game required to make ends meet but I know that it could all change in an instant. It's overwhelming.

6. I'm afraid my kids will suffer long-term problems because of divorce.

My kids have always been my number one priority and I do everything I can to bridge the gap their absent father has left. I'm there for them 24/7/365. I always will be. Still, I have the fear that they'll all end up ax murderers, drug dealers, or even worse – White Sox fans because I know that no matter how hard I try, I cannot be both mom and dad to these guys.

7. I'm afraid of the ordinary stuff that every parent, single or not, fears.

I worry that my kids might be injured. Actually, scratch that. The ER staff is on a first-name basis with us now. I've accepted they'll be injured from time to time (why does my teenage son think he's Evel Knievel?) I worry about greater problems like cancer and other serious diseases. I know it's silly to worry about things over which I have no control but I do anyway.

8. I'm afraid my kids will be statistics.

The kid from the broken home. Will they drop out of school? Will they go to college, get good jobs, stay out of trouble? Will they develop healthy adult relationships despite the absence of two parents in a loving, committed relationship?

9. I'm afraid of the noises my washing machine makes

... the 'check engine light' blinking on my dashboard, the fact that I can't teach my son how to throw a curveball, the water running out of the toilet and onto the floor, and the regular notices my HOA sends me regarding my crappy job of weeding, edging, mowing, and remembering to safely hide my garbage cans back in my garage. And I'm deathly afraid that the guys at Ace Hardware have started a blog about me and my general ineptitude at fixing things.

10. Mostly, I'm afraid that I spend too much time enveloped by paralyzing fear and not enough time living, enjoying, and trusting that things will be OK.

As a Christian, I have no reason to give in to the relentless fear and I have every reason to believe that my kids and I will be taken care of. I have always been given the tools I need to get by. We single parents need to let go of the fear. Worrying never helps anything anyway. It destroys our joy and replaces it with stomachaches, sleepless nights, a host of health problems, and unhappiness with ourselves and our circumstances.

Embrace single parenthood, no matter how difficult it is.

Enjoy your children.

Let the worries go.


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