Any single moms leave her child with family?

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    Hey everyone! First of all, this is quite a long post, so thank you for reading it (if you so choose ; ))! I’m a single mom with a preschooler, and I just started my second year. I go to a school that’s a 6-hour drive from my parents’ home, and she has been staying with them while I pursue my studies. She also stays with her father and his wife on the weekends – they also live in the same city as my parents’. I visit every 3-4 weeks for the weekend, and it’s all about enjoying each other during these times (I do no or very little studying, and we spend our time out and about exploring and playing). It has been extremely hard on me, and our situation hurts my heart every time I think about it. She is great and has transitioned seamlessly though, as she has she has so much fun with my family, all of whom actually have the time and energy to dedicate to her.

    Over the summer, she stayed with me while I remediated a class, but it was quite stressful balancing the full-time student / mommy thing. I was toying with the idea of having her part-time with me during second year and this was the “test,” but it was quite miserable for me. I was stressed out, not fun, and my patience / ability to keep my cool was much diminished as compared to my relaxed state when I come for visits. It was definitely not fair to her either, and I could sense her isolation since I have no other support / family in this area (I have a large extended family that she frequently visits, and she loves her weekend visits with her father, his wife, and their families). She attended a summer preschool program while I remediated my class, and she starts preschool next week near my parent’s house. Although I feel so broken being apart from her and she does get sad when we part ways, I know I am doing the right thing for her by leaving her with my parents / family, since she is so well taken care of and given the attention she deserves and needs during this time in her lif.

    I thought it would get easier for me with time, and it did last year, but things seem to be getting much worse this year. First year was tough, of course, but I somehow got through it and I think adjusted to our situation well. I even got to a point where I was able to talk about her to classmates without tearing up or being too sad, and I felt hopeful for the future. However, ever since school started a few weeks ago, I cry and become teary much easier when I think of her. When people ask about her (which is pretty much every time I see a friend / classmate), I can’t hold back my tears, which is both a bit embarrassing and uncomfortable.

    I feel like I have been in a funk since the summer, and I can’t seem to shake it. I am falling behind in my classes (but still passing), and it’s been SO hard to get out of bed each day. I’ve even missed some quizzes on the account of being unable to drag myself up to get out of the house. I was thinking that I may be having an adjustment disorder, but it’s been lasting over 2 months now, and I find myself blue even when I’m with her, since I dread being separate from her once again.

    I am just wondering if there are any other parents that have had to leave their child in pursuit of their studies, and how did you adjust to the separation? Did you feel like things eventually got better and stayed better? Or did they get worse during 2nd year, just like they are with me? And how did you cope to being separated? I have reached out to the other mothers in my class, but I feel like my situation is a bit different since I am a single parent, and they are all living with their spouse and kids. Thanks for reading and for any feedback!


    My mom was a single mom that went though medical school with no nearby family and she took me with her (I was 4 when she started). It was hard but I knew I was important to my mom and it turned out well. Like most kids, my mom was my entire world at that age. She took me to lecture first and second year and if people had a problem with that, her motto was that it was their problem. Although, I think now there are electronic capture systems so you can watch lectures at home. She said she would go to bed with me at 7pm and then she would wake up at 3am and study intensely until I woke up around 8am. Then when I would wake she wouldn’t study for the rest of the day. Rotations were more challenging, but by that point I was in school so it was more of an issue for call or evenings. She dealt with those challenges a rotation at a time – a mix of babysitters, friends and hiding me in call rooms-, but she always put me before school. One caveat – my mom was a very average student. She wasn’t trying to be AOA, she just was aiming to pass with a good margin.

    I contrast this with the other single mom in my mother’s class who left her daughter (5 y/o) with the girl’s father while she was in medical school. It seemed fine at the time, and this other mother had better grades. However, when her daughter hit her teen years she had some big questions for her mother about why she was abandoned when she needed her mom as a little girl. Her mom picked a easy lifestyle speciality to spend more time with her daughter, but the damage was done and her daughter has yet to forgive her mom. The irony is she didn’t even need the good grades for her specialty choice.

    If you think it is hard on you (and I imagine it is), it is probably only a fraction of what your daughter must be feeling. If you were closely bonded with her during those early years then there is no way that this isn’t traumatic for her. You can still decide to make the choice to leave her, but you shouldn’t kid yourself that it isn’t going to be a trauma for her. Maybe it will make her stronger and she will forgive you, but just be realistic about what is going on here. From her perspective she has lost her mommy. One day she will want to know why.

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