Who's a Single Parent 'Round These Parts?

I’ve seen threads re: poor parenting skills (mostly in the Pit), & threads on how to date single parents, & threads discussing how you effectively move your of-age children out of the house, etc, but this is just a quick tally, and something I got to thinking about as I viewed the photos of fellow Dopers on the recent Official Picture Thread of The Straight Dope (tho most of you look like children yourselves, in the very flush & vigor of youth!): who are the single parents around here, and out of curiosity, how many children are you raising? Even if you are no longer a single parent (new partnerships, etc), but were one once, I’d be interested in hearing from you. Anything else you care to mention is welcome as well (your successes, rewards, trials). I myself am a single mom with 2 sons, one pretty much “raised” at 18, and the other a young giant of 15.

And YES, I could examine more closely the thread on getting the 18-year-old out of the house! He’s attending a technical college here in town this fall, and I do fear he will live at home until he’s, oh, say, 30 or 35.

Single parents, please speak up!


While I am no longer technically a single parent, I function as one. My first husband left when my first son was 18 mos. When that child was 3 y/o I got pregnant but was not really “single” because although we weren’t married, we lived together. My husband is an OTR truck driver and is gone for weeks at a time so I am alone with a now 5 y/o and an 18 m/o most of the time. I like it this way. I don’t have to compromise what I want to do and how I want to do it.

It can get very frustrating sometimes. For example, last Tuesday night I was trying desparately to get the 18 m/o to go to sleep so I could take a bath in peace and my phone started ringing off the hook because my friends were out drinking and couldn’t remember the name of a particular porn star.

Stuff like that really makes me feel isolated sometimes - that I can’t say “honey, I’m working late/going out with the guys from work/whatever” and I can never stay after work for a beer or pop over to my neighbor’s house and hang out. I also think it has held me back at work some because I can never stay late. I do enjoy the freedom of decision making, though.

I’m a single parent to a fifteen year old daughter. I’ve had two serious relationships since she was born, but I’ve always chosen not to live with anyone, because I love the dynamic my daughter and I have, and because I’m not really interested in co-parenting. I’ve got this one, thanks!

I’ve been extremely lucky in that single parenting isn’t an undue financial hardship, and that my father and my daughter are very close and spend alternate weekends together (along with my sister, who’s the same age as my daughter), so she does have a “father figure” in a lot of ways, and I have free time on alternate weekends!

Like **ShelliBean ** said, it certainly is hard on your social life and your career. People say to me all the time “Well, she’s fifteen now, you don’t have to worry about leaving her alone!” Clearly these people neither have teenagers nor remember being teenagers. All that means is that I now have a different set of reasons for not leaving her alone too much!

Also, for all my lack of interest in co-parenting, sometimes it really is hard to not have backup. I NEVER get to be good cop.

I’ve been a divorced parent since 1994. The kids are adults now, but for all their teenage years I was doing it pretty much alone. Their dad lived a few blocks away, but I think in nearly ten years they spent maybe a total of 72 hours in his presence without me. I never got a break, and they were not good teenagers…we had the cops and the school family counselor on speed-dial. Both my children are very close to me, and still have little to do with their dad…in my daughter’s case, none at all.

I wish I could have found someone to help share the load…a good and thoughtful step-father would have been very good for them. My son especially feels the loss of his father’s attention, and I know that most of his problems stem from that rejection, and the lack of any sustantive male figure in his life. My brother was too busy raising his family to be much help. Every single day I see the damage that not having a good man in their lives has done. It’s subtle in some cases, and not the end of the world, but it’s definitely there.

I’ve nothing to add. I only wanna berate miss DiMwitter because of her lack of pics in the thread she referenced.

…um…I’m waiting, missy.

Single dad to a 16-year old here. I’ve tried to work bits of information into the general conversation that they don’t cover in hip-hop songs: such as the Cowpers drop, and how Georgia allows pharmacists to refuse to dispense morning-after pills*, etc. We’ve got a truckload of stuff in the bathroom closet, so a box of condoms aren’t too conspicuous back in there. She thinks she’s not going to have sex, and if that’s her choice that’s fine, but its better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.

Single parenting is a lot like the Straight Dope: there’s a lot of ignorance to be fought.

*pharmacists anywhere can refuse to dispense it, since to be qualified to do so requires that he or she take an online 45-minute course. Pharmacists with qualms simply don’t take the course and thus have an excuse to opt out. It’s just that here they can be proud of it.