Dating a single mom problems

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When my sons, Jacob and Isaac, were just 3 and 1, my husband and I separated.

As a child of a divorce, I'd always sworn that I'd never put my kids through that -- yet as it turned out, living paycheck to paycheck and trying to do our own growing up while raising a family proved to be too great a strain on our marriage: It bent, cracked, and finally broke.

When my kids and I first moved into our own place, it soon started to resemble a really nice frat house.

We'd stay up late watching videos and fall asleep in my bed. Without another grown-up in the house, I realized that it was easier to slide down to my children's level than lift them up to mine.

It wasn't long before I realized that this was no way to live -- we needed some order in the house.

"Newly divorced and single moms and dads do have to be kind to themselves and allow for less structure, but you can't let it all go and turn into a roommate instead of a parent," says Neuman. I didn't have the time or energy to stress over some of the finer points of household management like I did when there was another adult helping out -- but at the same time, my kids needed structure and the sense of security it provides, now more than ever.

"It's crucial to explain to children that family is defined by people who love us and whom we feel really close to," says M.Try for a pleasant and courteous tone even if you don't feel that way.It's easy to fake it electronically."It's absolutely critical that you take the high road and don't bad-mouth your ex in front of the kids," says Susan Bartell, Psy D, author of Mommy or Daddy: Whose Side Am I On?Whatever his flaws, your kids love their dad with all their heart.But what about when your ex doesn't show up for visits or blows off child-support payments and actually makes your kids' life miserable?

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