In Money

The times I considered becoming a single mother…

There are a couple major times in my life that I ever considered being a single mother.

I do not ever want to become one if possible, because it is DAMN HARD to raise a child with two people, let alone with just one person alone, plus with a fractured relationship with a significant other whom you are tied to for life?

No thank you.

If I can avoid it I will, but I am also not a sucker.

The first was when I was pregnant with Baby Bun and the second was when I actually had Baby Bun around 7 – 18 months…

PREGNANT WITH BABY BUN IN THE OVEN

When I was pregnant with Baby Bun, my partner went into insane, overprotective father mode.

Like.. deranged but also not deranged.

You know how some mothers turn into Helicopter Mothers even before the baby is born and they just want to control and do everything then burst into tears from all the hormones coursing through their veins all the time?

Yeah.

That was my partner, but father-style. He wanted to control everything I ate, how much I ate, making sure I took in a LOT of calcium for the baby, I didn’t eat anything that could possible harm the fetus, to yell at me at 5 months because the doctor weighed me again and said that the baby was very underweight inside, and I was doing too much which was the reason why the baby wasn’t growing.


He did it of course, all out of a fear that it would harm the baby if I did this or if I did that.

It was such a stressful, screaming, yelling, painful time for me because I really felt caged in, and imprisoned by my own body, with all of these food and lifestyle rules, that I really was quite unhappy for a good part of my pregnancy..

I wouldn’t say TERRIBLY unhappy but enough to make me (with my swirling hormones), declare that I would be totally 1000% percent prepared to raise this baby completely alone so that I could breathe again, because if this was going to be any sort of indication that my life was going to be no longer mine, and I would have to live by some seriously ridiculous (to me) rules, I was not going to have it.

The straw that broke the camel’s back on this, and relieved all of the pressure was one night when in a fit of frustration and rage, he screamed something along the lines of how one day he would just walk out and never come back if I wasn’t going to take this seriously.

I burst into tears of course, and then I sobbed as I went up the stairs that this for me was forever, and I was serious — I did not see us ever breaking up and it was FOREVER. I remember screaming back at him:

I am with you for life, it is done.

There is no one else for me.

He stopped, and I think what I said back to him must have really hit him in the core because from that day on, he realized that it was true — I was tied to him for life not just with the baby, but inside my heart I was also committed forever.

I did not see separation as even an option, it was just not possible in my head for our relationship.

We managed to repair the relationship to the point where he backed off a little (it helped that he was working a lot out of town, and my parents, though mostly my mom, was feeding me whatever I was craving without his explicit knowledge), and things got much better when he wasn’t watching my every bite to make sure I wasn’t effing up the child.

WHEN I WENT BACK TO WORK

The second painful time when I did consider being a single mother AGAIN, was when I went back to work and my partner stayed at home for the first time with our baby, but also in general with a child to take care of 24/7.

For the most part, it was fine, but as the months dragged on and he didn’t find a job, he became quite irritable and grumpy to the point where he would scream at me for not getting home on time when I leave so early.

For some context: I would leave the home at around 6 a.m., sneaking out so that Baby Bun would not cry when he saw his Mommy Bun leave (I thought that was best..), and I would go into work super early, and then leave as early as I could, around 3:30 at the latest, sneaking out guiltily, even though I was there RIDICULOUSLY EARLY.

The only problem is that the traffic was horrific.

If you know anything about highways and the bridges we have here, it is ridiculous how a simple 10 minute drive can turn into an hour with our #*$@’d up turnoffs, and people swerving left and right trying to make their turnoffs that are way on the other damn side of the highway.. a complete clusterf*ck really…

Anyway, I would leave early, but if I got caught in a snarl of traffic I would not be home on time at 4. I’d arrive home maybe at 4:30 or 5.. and that is how one day, I scraped my car extremely badly on the side because I had rushed home, and in a fit of fatigue (I wasn’t sleeping at night either, Baby Bun was waking up crying every 3 hours for Mommy and/or milk), and I just went SCCCRRRRRRRRCCCCHHHH on the car, and screwed up the side.

I walked into the apartment, and burst into tears. I was so stressed trying to rush and kill myself to make it home for 4 to “relieve” him of his baby duties that he had been taking care of Baby Bun all day, that I screwed up the car, felt like a failure, and was so incredibly stressed that I wasn’t doing anything right.

All I wanted when I got home, was to just hang out as a family, eat dinner, talk, but to make matters worse, the MINUTE I walked into the door, he would go into the bedroom after a “Hello” and lie down on his side and watch documentaries until he fell asleep.

WTF, you must be thinking..

Exactly.

WTF.

I was then, alone with Baby Bun, feeling like a single mother.

I don’t even know if I can express all the stress I felt in working full-time, being sleep-deprived, rushing home to make it home early so I could take over as the second shift.

To make matters worse, I didn’t even get time to myself on the weekends like I do now.

I also stayed home with Baby Bun 24/7 on weekends, feeling completely guilty about missing him during work and then having to get all this other stuff done.

I had zero, ZERO time to myself, I didn’t take care of myself, and I felt completely alone and distressed.

I felt like I was raising this child with a stranger. We never saw each other, really talked to each other, or did family things together. It was all so separate.

Very alone, lost, and it was when I started considering being a single mother. It had to be better than whatever this was, at least I’d be able to hire help to watch him and not feel guilty about being home on time, and I could just raise him alone with less stress…

It wasn’t until we had a major blowout over him screaming that I had to be home by 4, or was it that I did something like wipe his face again with a dirty cloth I had JUST used to wipe his face…?

I have no idea, but he was extremely sleep-deprived, stressed because he wasn’t working, and he was f*#$&%ing miserable to live with.

He was so miserable that we had an epic blowout and I screamed: If you go out that door, don’t even BOTHER TO COME THE #*%#( BACK.

He came back, and we worked it out through more screaming until we were both exhausted.

Healthy, right?

It wasn’t though, until he got a job, that he finally calmed the eff down. I realized in that moment that my partner is a guy that needs to work and make money, like me, to feel valued and useful.

He wants to retire early, and he is stressed when he doesn’t reach that goal, AND he had such perfectionist tendencies that he expected the same of me, but I had nothing left to give of my soul and energy because I was already working full-time, taking care of Baby Bun the entire rest of the time, and trying to just survive, let alone care about being perfect.

Things finally calmed down as Baby Bun grew older and into a Little Bun, and we settled into a routine where he has learned to be more tolerant, less perfectionist (and to turn a blind eye to crumbs on the counter, and dust balls in the corner), and I try to give him his own time, by asking him to go take a bike ride alone in the summer (his favourite activity), or to go out and do things alone with his friends.

In the end, if I can pass on anything to anyone who cares about any of this, it is:


1. Having a child doesn’t bring people together, it tests how strong you are as a couple..

If your relationship is already rocky and as brittle as glass, it will surely shatter your relationship.

Children DO NOT strengthen anything. They TEST YOU until you are on the brink of a nervous breakdown, and then on top of that, you have to deal with your relationship crumbling.

2. Partners need to let up on each other

Give each other a break.

We each need our own alone time. We also need to step in when we see the other person stressed to their limits and swoop in to take over.

We need to back each other, and when you don’t get that support, write an email rather than screaming it out 6 months later in a fit of bottled up rage.

Writing an email is a better call, it lets you calmly say:

Please, let’s work on NOT screaming at Little Bun together. It makes him stressed but us as well. I will try my best to lower my voice and not yell at him, but you have to try too, we have time to change this behaviour so that we don’t ruin him and shape his attitude towards fear and fighting forever…

…instead of screaming out at him 2 months later when he starts screaming at him, and you’re screaming back and it turns everyone into a puddle of tears.

3. Everyone needs their own alone time and space.

His comes when I am at home. Little Bun sticks to me like glue. He is my baby shadow and that is how Daddy gets a break.

Mommy gets a break, when she physically parts herself from Little Bun.

This is why I leave every weekend for at least 5 hours to recharge my batteries. I go out, I run errands, I go to a cafe, I read a book, I chill. I listen to music, watch videos, blog, do my budget.. you know, stuff I CANNOT get done when I am at home with Little Bun because he is always on me like white on rice, asking me to play with him or whining when I talk to Daddy or work.

Alone Time is a REQUIREMENT.

Give it to them. They will come back a happier person and more productive.

Even if it is just one hour a week, they need to be alone.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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25 Comments

  1. SarahN

    Ah, no one said abuse, and yet you write another huge post… Just let it wash over you

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Sarah, why would I ever write something about a comment that never existed? I read it and it stuck with me.

      You probably did a search on “abuse” and got nothing on the post, but she wrote “abusive”, thank you very much.

      Reply
  2. cantaloupe

    I have no children, but I’m watching my best friend go through her first, and her husband does about a million things that we (her friends) judge him for. And like you, she confessed that divorce is something she has seriously considered more than once. From what I gather, they’re back on track now, but babies are clearly hard on relationships! It petrifies me because their relationship seemed all cutesy and lovey and whatever and then it was like… she described it as “ships passing in the night.” And that’s frightening.

    Thanks for sharing. It’s fascinating to hear another person’s struggles and triumph with baby difficulties.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That’s exactly it. If you don’t have kids, you can’t know the emotions of what will happen and what will change as you prepare for (excitedly) but while also being very scared for what is to come.

      You change so much as a parent. You’re now responsible for a small little helpless baby. You want everything for them. Everything has to be perfect, and you feel like a failure when it isn’t because you love them so much.

      Reply
  3. Clara

    It sounds to me like a lot of the responsibility on if your relationship works or not is on you. You have to adapt and think about how to react to your partners needs and wishes. Where does he make sacrifices to meet your needs? Where does he do more – even if it’s difficult and an not super fulfilling – to spend time with Lb?

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      So this is where I am writing a response on Monday. Stay tuned!

      Reply
  4. Minh Thuy

    This is interesting to me because I’m always reminding my male friends to do what they can to support, relieve and help their wives/partners when they welcome a baby into the family. I also make a point to remind my partner as well that if he wants to start having kids, I will be expecting him to be a parent and not just earn income and ‘babysit’ his own child. We’re still 5 years away from starting any sort of family, so I have a amount of time to get my partner used to the idea of what will be required of him.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      So this is where I am writing a response on Monday. Stay tuned!

      You can say everything and promise things like we did, but when push comes to shove, and you’re both super tired, it can be easy for either parent to disconnect and to just let the other one take the workload because you want a break.

      It is particularly hard on us being alone without any family as well. That I think is a key to happier young family lives.

      Reply
  5. Alexis

    Am I the only one that remembers your partner cooks and cleans?

    Anyways, thank you for making me feel less alone. I have certainly had some tough times in my relationship since beautiful baby was born. I’ve never sworn so much or talked about divorce so much! HA! It happens and nobody talks about it publicly. Parenthood is such a new journey and nobody expects it to be half as hard as it actually is. You just couldn’t possibly know into you’re in it.

    My husband was unemployed when we had our baby. It was really hard on all of us. Hugs.

    Reply
    1. LX

      I don’t really get the “cooking” when Sherry makes her own breakfast and lunch the majority of the time and dinner is usually an egg and avocado salad or cheese and a baguette.

      I feel like I definitely pampered my husband when we got married because I packed his lunch every day for work, cooked all of the meals and did all of the household chores except for the dishes and we have a dishwasher. But since our first kid was born we had a frank talk about shifting his expectations and now he’s the one that packs my lunch every day and cooks 75% of our meals and does a lot of the chores. And we both work full time. This is the only reason I’m pregnant with our 3rd kid and we’ll have 3 under 4. I feel like big part of partnership is being gracious and understanding when the other is failing at their role from physical or emotional exhaustion and carrying each other’s load and shifting roles based on life stages. Yes we’ve had plenty of tears and accusations of keeping score to get to this point but we always came back to what we wanted our marriage to look like from the beginning, a gritty in the trenches partnership and friendship. We still struggle to communicate but at least now we trust that we have each other’s backs and the breakdown is in communication not in our relationship.

      It must have taken a lot of courage to write this post. Huge props to you and best wishes going forward.

      Reply
      1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

        For the cooking bit, I do breakfast at work, but he makes the lunches for me on Sunday ahead of time 🙂 So that is not entirely accurate.

        Dinner is pretty simple yes, but he is also tired from working a full day like I am, so things are pretty simple which I don’t mind.

        I think we have something similar — we now have reached a point where we have each others’ backs and we WORK on talking to each other without getting angry or emotional, so that we can work on building a better relationship.

        Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I do make my own breakfasts, but lunches are his domain and dinners are 50/50.. but he does all the big events.

      So this is where I am writing a response on Monday. Stay tuned!

      Thank you. I can definitely say my swear words have now increased in both languages and I have never screamed myself so hoarse in my life.

      Reply
  6. Jessica

    Truthfully I agree with Eva – I get the sense from your writing (what you choose to share, which of course is not the whole story) that things are unbalanced in your household. Maybe your partner would disagree if he was writing from his POV. I mean, your first story sounds abusive to me. Even your recaps of your alone time involve an awful lot of running errands for him.

    When have I considered becoming a single mother? Anytime I’ve been in a so-called partnership and I realized that I was doing everything by myself anyway, and so being single would actually lighten my load because I’d be doing everything for one less person.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      So this is where I am writing a response on Monday. Stay tuned!

      Reply
  7. Jamie

    Wow, this was a very real and raw post, it must have been hard to write this. I also have to admit there were a couple of times that I was finding it impossible to deal with my husband and wanted to leave. He was pretty good during my pregnancy but I was also being really good too, I was walking more, eating healthy (especially when I got gestational diabetes, which forced me to eat better), and didn’t really do anything that caused concern. It was when I was on mat leave that we had some troubles. He thought since I was home all day that the house would be clean and dinner would be ready when he got home. Meanwhile, the baby would NOT sleep unless on me and when he was awake, would scream if we weren’t in the same room (even if we could see each other) and he didn’t like being in his bouncer, exersaucer, or etc for more than a few minutes at a time. So, like you, I was exhausted, wasn’t eating well because I couldn’t find time to make something to eat and was getting yelled at the moment my husband got home because it looked like I didn’t do anything all day. Oh, and when my son was bottle feeding he would take 30-45 minutes at least to eat one bottle, so there also goes a big portion of the day. I remember one day he was yelling at me and I just went upstairs and laid down to sleep, I had zero energy from not sleeping or eating properly, so no energy to yell either. He was left with the baby, and got to see how difficult it could be to care for him and try to do something around the house!

    To be honest, since going back to work, he’s been much better at equalling out the home life. In fact, now I would say that our son probably prefers my husband to me since hubby takes our son out to the playground, playplaces, etc to let me get something done or to relax but generally if we are together, we’re at home. So, hubby is the “fun” one. Oh well, it might change again.

    I’ve thought a few times that I would have a hard time getting along with your partner but he’s still LB’s father and its obvious he loves him, he’s just unsure what to do, and we all are sometimes. I agree with a comment above, they need to spend more time together, preferably doing something your partner enjoys doing, but he also has to learn to let go and not be a perfectionist, you really can’t expect that from a child. Are there any simple cooking tasks LB could participate in? Cleaning vegetables, stirring, etc? Getting him more involved would be good for everyone. I don’t think 4 is too young. Anyways, good luck and keep getting your alone time, you need and deserve it!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      So this is where I am writing a response on Monday. Stay tuned!

      Thank you very much for your perspective. I don’t feel as alone either. I am definitely pushing lately that he has to take initiative with Little Bun, and he has made an effort lately that I can see. Every night and morning, is Little Bun / Daddy time these days.

      Reply
  8. Domonique of She's The IT Guy

    Sherry,

    This was my life for six years and now I’m alone with my three boys (I fought for sole custody and won) and their dad is off to the next one (she was in the picture for a year and used drugs around my children and I had no idea). I was so busy trying to do everything myself, working full-time, consulting, college full-time, and raising our boys that I just didn’t make time for my relationship and he didn’t seem to care anymore or want to help care for them anymore.

    Glad you guys were able to work through it. It’s hard, but I think it is so worth it if you can make it work.

    Thank you for sharing <3

    – Domonique

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      xoxo 🙂 You are a far stronger woman than I.. Single with THREE KIDS? OMG. Props.

      Reply
  9. Eva

    Frankly from your writing I feel like you do much more than your partner, but if it’s worth it to you, than ok. I don’t understand it but that’s not relevant here.

    I do believe that you would all benefit from sucking it up and “forcing” your son (and his father) to be more in the care of his father, even when you are home. It sucks but is ultimately better for all the family- personal insight.

    Totally understand your considering doing it all by your self- il vaut mieux être seule que mal accompagnée

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      So this is where I am writing a response on Monday. Stay tuned!

      (C’est vrai..)

      Reply
  10. Sense

    Oh good lord I would rent a hotel room every weekend just to get some sleep! You do so much, kick ass mom and professional! I am glad you all have a good preschool so that you can get a break once in a while now–maybe more time if you decide to take a break from work?

    This all just convinces me that we need to go back to the old model of village/commune life where things like child rearing are a group effort. I honestly do not think I could handle it if it were like you describe above.

    Quite personal stories. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I WOULD KILL FOR A COMMUNAL VILLAGE… What a dream. I’d love that.

      If we had family, this would be it.

      Reply
  11. Financial Orchid

    Wow – where was the nanny in all of this stress?

    Reply
    1. Anon

      Thanks for sharing. Nice to know I’m not alone.

      Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Sorry, I am not following. Nanny??

      Reply

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