I’m a Single Mom of 3 — & I’m Staying Single for My Kids

Breaking Good: A Modern Guide to Divorce

My three kids have been through a lot these past few years. Their father moved out of our family home, and they had to get used to going back and forth between two houses.  There were plenty of tears and a lot of combined stress. We let go of some old traditions, tried to incorporate new ones, and I constantly felt like I was failing my children — and wondering if I gave up on my marriage too soon. Divorce changes you; it’s inevitable. It has changed me, it has changed my ex-husband, it has changed my kids. It takes time to get used to your new normal, and it’s not always pretty.  But I’m glad to be a single mom now — and I plan to stay single, for my kids. Here’s why.

Shortly after my kids’ father moved out and we decided we would divorce, he met and fell in love with a (fantastic) woman. It wasn’t long before my kids met her and her daughter; now, they live together. While my kids like their father’s new girlfriend — she treats them wonderfully and everyone gets along (seriously, I couldn’t have asked for a better woman for my ex-husband to be with) — it was yet another change in a seemingly endless string of changes that my kids were forced to adjust to. They went from having a few nights a week with just their dad to having to share him with another woman and her daughter.  This, like so many of the changes in recent years, was not something my kids ever asked for.

So I’ve made a decision: My three kids have been through enough. I don’t need to add another upheaval to their list. Their dad may be happily reinstalled in a relationship, but I’m going to stay single — for my kids’ sake (and, honestly, for my sake too). 

My kids’ primary residence is with me. It’s where they grew up; they all have their own rooms, and they feel safe here. And what’s more, the four of us have created a new — dare I say stronger? — bond after going through all of this together. I’m not interested in having someone come live with us and change that dynamic. My urge to create normalcy for my kids trumps any excitement towards having a new lover. Yes, I know that kids can thrive on instability and change, but not all at once, okay? I’m not going to ask my kids to add a second blended family to their already complicated lives.

Katie Smith kids
Image: Courtesy of Katie Smith.

I know my kids don’t expect me to stay single for the rest of my life; I don’t want me to stay single for the rest of my life either. But my kids are all teenagers, and these years are going to fly by, and I will never get that time with my kids back. When they’re all grown and gone and I’m an empty nester? Then there will be plenty of time for me to meet someone and get serious — if that’s what happens. There will be plenty of time for romance, crazy sex, and learning to live with another adult again after my kids are gone. I don’t need it to happen now.

Why? Because I already feel complete; our family is complete. 

Do I want a “happily ever after”? Yes, I do. I believe I deserve it. But my “happily ever after” doesn’t have to include a man at this point in my life. It has to include me: being happy with myself and doing what I believe is right for my family. And right now, that looks like being a single mother to three kids. 

I’m certainly not saying this is the path every divorcée or every single mom should choose. Everyone has a different situation and story and should do what feels genuine to them. I’m simply saying this is the right path for me. 

Besides, I really enjoy sleeping diagonal and having full control of the thermostat. 

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