Single mom needs advice!

My exhusband dropped a bomb on me this weekend and I am struggling to find a way to deal with it. He informed me that he is joining the army. Not reserves, but active duty. That he has already gone through MEPS and is just waiting for his background check to clear so he can go.

He has played a very active role in our 6 year old daughter’s life and means the world to her. He is her hero. As of right now he is expecting to be gone for nearly a year for basic and job training and doesn’t seem to care that he won’t see her. He also expects to be stationed out of state.

Apparently he decided to do this so that he could receive training in a new field. He says that he cannot afford to go to college because of his child support payments. (he pays $450/month).

He expects me not only to raise her on my own but also to be the one to break the news to her. She has already been through so much coming from a broken home. I have no idea where to even begin to deal with it. It is hard enough being a single mom with him playing an active role and I just am not sure how to handle being mom and dad all in one.

Please anyone who can offer some advice feel free. This has literally consumed me since he told me. To the point that I cannot even sleep and I have to fight back tears everytime I look at her. Thanks for listening.

You guys (and girls) know how to make a grown man tear up. First, he should not expect you to tell her by yourself. You guys should sit down with her and explain the situation and make sure she knows daddy is not leaving her for long and will be back soon. She may not fully understand at first but kids are very resilient and will bounce back.
Not to bash your ex but he needs to step up to the plate and be a part of the explanation.
PM me if you want and we can chat about this some more.


Don’t beat yourself up for the decisions someone else make about thier life. You are now your daughter’s world and she will depend on you. I am sure you will rise to the occassion.

Good Luck. This is not a battle you can lose or give up on. The stakes are too high.



As weak or different as this sounds - how is your relationship with his parents? Get them invovled to at least realize that by his action, his and your daughter will be affected. You are strong and can be the sole hero to her, and may meet a better companion for yourself, but your daughter will need the support. Your ex does not sound like a man, an immature person perhaps - he should talk to her (your daughter) and you should talk to a lawyer to see if he can move out of state and to get an increase in your child support. Be strong and my prayers and thoughts are with you. Things happen for a reason and just be there for your daughter as best as you can - get family involved.

I echo a lot of what dkalman said. My wife’s ex-husband returned to the military a couple of years ago (basically because he is too lazy to do anything else), and left his 6 year old daugther behind. He ended up in Germany, and with the time difference they rarely even talked on the phone. We were lucky that at least his parents were in town and that helped her feel like she was keeping some connection to him.

I know this is going to be hard for you, but you have to think of your daughter first. I think the best way to explain it to her is that her dad is leaving to serve his country in a time of need. He isn’t abandoning her, he is helping make the world safe for her. You know it’s bullshit, but don’t poison her against him. She’ll come to her own conclusions eventually. My daughter is now 9, and she’s starting to understand that her father is a dumbass and it’s hard for her, but she’s accepting it. Good luck.

If he has been a big part of her life for six years I doubt that he does not care. This may have been a very difficult decision for him. There are many children in this country right now sacrificing because their mothers or fathers are serving in the armed forces. I can relate to his situation with child support, it can put limits on a non custodial parent to make a better life for themselves and for their children ( if he does not have enough to save, he will not be able to set up a college fund, etc). He may be trying to make a better life for himself and to better provide for his daughter, and I do not agree with the post that said he is not a man, whatever his reasons, he will be serving our country. Regardless, this is a difficult situation for all parties involved, and I wish both you and your daughter well, but it does not sound like he is permanently leaving his daughters life, only doing what he thinks is best at this time.

Be careful what you wish for. You are much more capable of raising your children then he would ever be! You are most likely doing a GREAT job. So what if he is gone? You will have the joys of your life with you. It will be tough, but tough it out. I have been on the receiving side of a similar scenaro, and it has been one hell of a ride for me this past year.
Enjoy what you have! It could always be worse.

I agree, he should be part of telling her.That’s very important.If he has been a big part of her life,it can continue thru mail and phone and probably when he comes home on leave.Being former military I know he will look forward to "Mail Call"and her letters will be important to him and should make him want to write back so that the letters continue to come.Also, I think the advice regarding his parents is excellent if you are fortunate enough to have a good realationship with them.You and she are going to be just fine.

Be certain the military knows of his child support obligations as they can be withheld from his pay. You would not be the first single mom to learn the hard way that you should have done it.

I echo some of the same sentiments that have already been posted. He should definitely have a part in telling her that he’s going away. You, also, want to make sure the military knows about the child support (as S-Lifter stated). Kids seem to understand a lot more that we give them credit for. They also tend to move forward better that most adults. You may gat the occasional question of “Where’s Daddy?” but she will be more and more consumed with the immediate things in her life as time goes on. Just make sure that you stay strong for your own sake as well as her’s.
Best of luck yo you and your daughter,

Thanks guys for all of the advice and support. I would love to be able to sit down together with our daughter to explain the situation, but he does not have the maturity to do that. I have already suggested it to him and he refuses.
As for his parents, I have a great relationship with them and will definately continue to encourage them to spend time with her. They still won’t replace her daddy. As it stands he sees her every other weekend and she only speaks to him when she calls him. Unfortunately he has not been the one to keep the contact up in between visits.
I also am already receiving my child support through the DAs office, less of an arguement this way. So, hopefully they will continue to collect it.
I guess that I just already feel like I am being pulled in a thousand directions between working a full time job and being a mom and I am questioning myself.


Let the DA know of your ex’s new status. This is very, very important.

I’ll be her daddy.

A third for Doug Kalman’s advice. Whatever his reasoning, hopefully his parents can help him see the folly of leaving his little girl. I’ve met plenty of women with Daddy issues in my time, and you don’t want that for your daughter. As great a mom as I’m sure you are, being abandoned by a parent like that is truly devastating to the psyche and the emotional devleopment.

Also a second for keeping the DA informed of his whereabouts.

He has courage to do something as noble as joining the army, especially at a time like this. Hopefully he decides to sack up and do the right thing by breaking the news himself. You could try to talk to him and to explain that she will respect him much more in the future if he tells her. It’s not like he’s moving away to be with another woman or to do something totally selfish. He can still be her hero if he deals with this the right way.

No matter what, she will be affected by not having a father figure in her life. How much depends on how the two of you handle it. Just remember to put her first at all times. You’ll have to swallow your pride and put up with things you don’t want to, but trust me, using a child as leverage against each other will destroy her. I can speak on this from experience. I was lucky enough to have a somewhat stable home life until I was 17 when my dad left.

I hope your ex does the right thing by keeping in contact as much as possible and by spending time with her whenever he can. You two can make the best of the situation by putting your child’s welfare ahead of your own. You can only do your part, which is to be a loving and supportive mother, and to fight the urge to speak negatively about her father in front of her. Even if you think he’s being a coward, or if you resent him, don’t let your feelings get the best of you when she’s around. It will only hurt her in the end.

Nate dogg,I think that’s great.Ericka, count me in also.

My Ex-hubby is active duty in the Navy and stationed in VA, I am in PA. Deployment time can be very difficult due to limited contact. Email will become crucial. Since your daughter is learning to read, you can print out all of them and keep them in a folder/binder for her to read when she wants. We have a “scrap book” for Daddy stuff.
The Army can set up a Direct Deposit for your child support. DO NOT allow him to just mail in the checks to the DA. Insist on the direct deposit. They will pull half on the 1st and half on the 15th from his pay and you will get the full payment on the first of every month. I can not stress to you enough to have this done. Easier on all parties involved.

Not having him around will put a huge damper on your free time. Hopefully his parents will be willing to step up to the plate and help you out. It gets to be very daunting at times when you have no free time at all…and none in site. I swap babysitting services with a girlfriend. Find something that works. Not that you don’t love your little princess with all of your heart…but a mini mental break is always nice.
I did find that my daughter missed the male contact and validation that her daddy provided. This is hard to replace. All little girls need that unconditional love from their dad. Hopefully Grandpa and any Uncles can help that out.
As was already mentioned. You do your part in keeping Daddy the Hero in her eyes…as she matures she will figure things out on her own.
I explained to my children that their Dad was keeping us safe and free and trying to do the same for other countries. Explained that not all Dads are able to do this kind of work. That it hurts them to be away from their families, but they have to do it. I told them that the bravest of the brave are in our military and that they should be proud.

You are strong enough to make it through this. Heck, you are able to hang out here aren’t ya?? The one benefit of telling her this yourself is you can handle her questions the way you feel is right.

Feel free to PM me anytime. You are not alone!

Great advice Iron Maiden. I couldn’t have said it better.

I agree! Thank you so much Iron Maiden. It helps to know that there is someone out there who understands! I will definately pm you if I have any questions or need some advice, which I’m sure I will.

Obviously, all the advice already given has been excellent. I really regret having to say this, but are you sure he’s going into the military? Have you seen the paper work and everything?

I mean, leaving your child because you gotta do what you gotta do is one thing, but he can’t even be the one to tell her? That’s low; I mean it’s beyond immature. How the hell is a guy going to have the courage to go into the military if he can’t even have the courage to be a decent father? Maybe I’m underestimating the guy, but me thinks I smell a rat.

I’ve seen your picture, and I’m sure she’s a beautiful little girl. She deserves a man for a father.

Either way though, I can tell by your posts that you’re an intelligent, caring woman, and as others have said, you’ll be alright.

I’ll be her daddy too,