Every single mother story is remarkable in its own way. Some single mums boldly tell their stories as they lobby for understanding and change.
Sometimes though, the single mums who contact us wish to stay anonymous. They might be fearful of their safety, they may be concerned about consequences of speaking out, or they might just want to protect the privacy of themselves and their children.
In this special edition of My Single Mother story, we’ve collected some of these anonymous stories. Their names have been changed and identifying information removed, but their single mother voices will be heard.
It has officially been 3 years since I have been solo parenting, although throughout the marriage my ex was never really involved in parenting. I was married for a long time, have two wonderful kids, but my ex-husband was not so wonderful.
Every time he was abusive either mentally or physically, I thought that his ‘sorry’ was the one that would lead to the change I wished to see in him.
I love being a mum. It is rewarding and fills me with gratitude irrespective of my marriage breakdown.
I wanted to have an amicable co-parenting arrangement post separation, but this has not been the case.
I try to keep things civil for the children and to nurture their relationship with him, but I do feel fear that at any moment, he will just become that volatile person I have seen so many times in the past.
To this day, he is so disrespectful that he will only communicate via text. If the text is not in his favour, he does not shy away from abusing me. He has no boundaries even after I ask for him to stop and just be civilised.
As I reflect on the years that passed, it is hard to accept that I was in a relationship that made me live in fear, with worry, with the notion that I was not good enough. I was told this many times by him in different ways that had to do with my cultural background, values, and beliefs.
I pretended everything was ok to others. This was not ok but this was how I coped at the time. I was walking on eggshells and didn’t know it. I had not been open about my struggles, but my family knew and felt helpless.
I can recall the day I decided that this cannot go on like a movie scene. I reached that point of ‘ I cannot tolerate this for another year, another day or even another nano second’.
Separation is a trying process, I am not going to lie. But living in fear for what may happen next is the price I would rather not pay.
I am still after three years, trying to get my ex to sign the divorce papers that he has agreed to sign time and time again, but never does. This leaves me no choice but to have the papers served by completing it as a solo application, which is a more expensive and longwinded process.
The kids are with me 100 per cent of the time and I am happy that he has not contested this to date. The co – parenting agreement requested that he is sober and not high when he sees them, something he has not been able to commit to. Their safety will never be compromised, and he knows this of me.
I also financially take care of the kids 100 per cent. I know that I should look into things to get this changed, but I would rather not have the extended heart ache and stress from him. It feels so draining at times that things are not so straight forward because he makes it difficult.
I hope sharing this story helps someone else out there get the confidence to make that change and walk away. You may be waiting for the right time – the right time is now.
If you are facing domestic violence, don’t wait for it to get worse before you walk away. No one deserves to be mistreated. You deserve love, happiness, joy, safety, security and peace as a bare minimum. We all do.
Most women do not choose to become single mother’s, I say most because I know and commend women who chose this life from conception.
For me it was a choice made for survival. I met my oldest child’s father in high school. Blinded by the arrogance of youth I did not see the pattern of domestic violence emerging until I was already pregnant. My friends and family could see it and tried to help me for years. I only pushed them away.
Unfortunately, there was a housing crisis at the time and in order for me to secure housing I had to share. I made terrible concessions and allowed drug users to live in my home. I handed my daughter over to her grandmother the day I walked into my lounge and my child was sitting in a cloud of (drug) smoke. I had failed my daughter and the best thing I could do for her was get her to someone who could keep her safe.
After that I went on a path of destruction. I lost my home and ended up homeless in a very dangerous area at only 22 years old. I was assaulted the first four nights, after which I bought myself a small knife from a camping store. I was not assaulted again after that.
The man who would become my younger daughter’s father offered me a place to stay. The very next day introducing me to everyone as his girlfriend. We hadn’t discussed anything about it. Having just escaped one very controlling relationship this terrified me, and I tried to run away. He and his friends drove around the area I would frequent. Looking for me. Knocking on doors.
I didn’t find out I was pregnant again until my second trimester. My family was furious: how dare I have another child when I don’t even have care of my first? It was a wake-up call for me too. I had six months to get myself together – for both my children. And that is exactly what I did.
I enrolled in every program I was offered, accepted any help from any service that could fit me in. By the time my youngest was six months old I had a house, fully furnished, my licence, and a car. Support workers are incredible people. They couldn’t do the work for me, but they could help me take every individual step as I climbed out of the hole I’d fallen into.
I feel my children are the blessings I received for all the pain I have experienced and like the other women whose stories I have read, my experience drove me to university where I endeavour to become a social psychologist so that I may tell the stories of the women and children whose voices aren’t being heard.
I have also obtained University education in aspects of child development so that I can minimise the impact of what my children have been exposed to.
My message to any woman who relates to my story is this: You are stronger than you know. You have the love and support of billions of women and children before you. That’s powerful stuff. Believe it, feel it in your heart and your stomach. That’s why strength is called “guts”.
If I can do this, you can too.
I have been married since 2010 and am currently separated. I have two daughters, my eldest is 11 and my youngest is almost eight. I home-school them due to my eldest having anxiety. I have depression, anxiety and OCD. I have very little help or support. We have been on our own since early 2019 and had to move to the next town just to find a house.
My ex is very selfish, angry, immature and irresponsible. We never had much money while we were with him because he wasted it all on alcohol and smokes. He rarely sees the kids and is usually not interested in doing much with them, all the time being grumpy and mean.
I rarely get a break from my kids because of my eldest’s anxiety. She has always been super clingy and also has anger issues. We are both booked in to see a psychologist which will hopefully help.
A lot of the time, I feel as though I’m only just barely coping and holding onto the edge of my sanity. I hope that I can eventually meet someone kind and caring one day and the kids and I can be treated the way we deserve to and finally have the happy family we have always wanted.
I’m a fulltime working single mum who no longer receives child support because my child is 18 and is now at university fulltime.
I don’t receive government assistance and never have. In the last few years as my income has been classed as too high, even though it’s much less than the average combined income. Add a mortgage, raising two kids and school fees, and I’m lucky to have $20 in the bank at end of week.
I’m now left to pay all the bills for an 18-year-old university student including running and repairs for a car, phone, study, food clothing, and shelter. To add to this, my 18-year-old is not able to get youth allowance as it too is based on my income, which is apparently too high!
So hang on: she’s 18 so child support is not applicable as she’s not dependent, yet then she is classed as dependent when it comes to applying for youth allowance. How is this fair?
And yes, she does work parttime to help pay for petrol and other expenses, but hardly earns enough to support the household bills.
If child support stops at 18 for children of single parents who are in fulltime study, they should be granted the full amount of youth study regardless of the single parent’s income.
I was 39 years old and dating someone I had known for over 20 overs and by surprise I fell pregnant. It three my life into a spin. Sadly, he chose not to be part of my child’s life and this has continued until now (my daughter is now 6).
I had just started work with a great employer, had my own property and was financially stable, which helped but had lost my parents a few years earlier and had limited family support.
But I made it work! A day after my 40th birthday, I became a mum.
During the past six years, my career has progressed, I studied a graduate certificate at university and have found a new love in my six-year-old.
It hasn’t been easy but I am glad things have turned out the way they have. I never knew what I was missing, before being a parent and every day is a blessing (and sometimes a nightmare!).