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Being a single mother in Egypt has almost become a very normal phenomenon. Divorce rates are soaring every year. With every divorce, a single mother is put under pressure and faces so many struggles that she sometimes doesn’t speak about. After speaking to a few single mothers, we gathered some of the issues they face. In order to help you understand how to overcome these struggles, senior clinical psychologist and family and marriage therapist, Yasmine Magdy, shared with us her insight on how to deal with some of these obstacles.
Mixed methods of parenting
There is a sort of a tug-of-war situation. Sometimes, fathers try to pull their kids on their sides and allow them to do things the mother doesn’t allow. For example, allowing sweets or chocolates before bedtime. This causes a battle for the mother because the child gets mixed signals. Dad allows things that mom doesn’t. So who do I listen to?
Magdy explains that ideally what they do when they face a similar situation is ask the parents not to show that they have different parenting methods. They have to agree on what they will say to their kids even if they both don’t agree on the same method. The mother should never bash the father in front of the child. The mother should try to convince her children with her perspective through love and through a debate with the child. The mother should explain to her children why she has these rules and why they should follow them.
Depression and anxiety
Of course, every single mother goes through ups and downs as she is on her own. Sometimes they feel totally in control and there are days when they feel like this may be too much to handle, which is quite normal.
Magdy advises women to develop a support network for themselves whether through family, friends, or support groups which will help them become introduced to other single mothers. Also knowing your rights as a single mother by law is very important, some single mothers don’t know their financial rights which leaves them anxious. They worry that their child’s father won’t pay money for their kids, which will cause a financial burden on the mother.
Single mothers have a lot of rights as per law and they have to understand this. Of course, Magdy stressed on the importance of going to a psychotherapist to get a psychologist’s support to help overcome anxiety or depression.
Child asking about their father
This is definitely a difficult problem. When the child asks for their father they expect an answer from their mother and the answer has to be convincing to them. It is vital for both parents to put the mental well-being of their children as their number one priority.
Magdy’s advice regarding this issue is that it is extremely vital to sit with the children before the divorce and explain the situation to them depending on their age. You can sit them down with a professional or with the parentsr in the comfort of their home. The parents should emphasize the fact that they love their child/children and each other but mom and dad will each live in a different house because they love their kids. They should tell the kids that their parents will be friends no matter what and that they will be there for their kids no matter what.
This, of course, depends on the age group of the kids. In all cases, you should prepare your children for the new lifestyle they will be living and break the news properly to them. Never involve your children in any turmoil between the child and the father. Sugarcoat the story for them until they become a bit older and understand the situation better
Limited time for moms
Being a single mother is very time-consuming. Single mothers always feel like they have zero time for themselves. They are committed to their children 24/7, which makes it difficult for them to have their “me-time.” Getting help whether from family members, friends, or even hiring someone can definitely make things easier for them.
According to Magdy, this also comes back to the point of seeking support, it is important to find people with the same living circumstances as you. This will help in overcoming any feelings of loneliness.
Dealing with the ex
Let’s face it, just because the parents got a divorce, it doesn’t mean they will no longer be dealing with each other. There is a child that will connect them forever, which means that there will definitely be times when they have to meet. For example, school events, birthday parties, etc.
Magdy stressed out that it is important for both parents to be on good terms in front of the child for the benefit of their children. Even if the parents are on very bad terms, the ideal thing to do is to act like they are friends and that there are no issues between them.