I am a huge fan of yours. I have a daughter who is 5 next month, and I am a single parent. We have a very strong bond and we just adore each other, and do all sorts of exciting and enjoyable things together, such as going to the theatre, and going on holiday.  The trouble is I spend a lot of the time worrying about her, especially now she has started school. My family have commented that I over compensate for her father’s lack of involvement.  I try to be a mixture of different roles, a mother, a father, a playmate.  I feel guilty if I am not full filling those roles.  We have a great social life with lots of friends who also have children, and live in a close knit community, so she isn’t short of play mates, but I would like her to be a bit more independent in her play sometimes, to ease the intensity of our relationship.  Selfish though it may seem, I need a bit of me time, and to catch up with things as I work as well! Sounds awful, but I would like a happy medium.
CG: Dear Kathryn, I speak from my heart (and experience) when I say single parents often over-compensate. We try to make up for the absence of the other parent, and feel guilty for being unable to provide a two parent family. We feel that whatever we do is not good enough and beat ourselves up if we fall short of our targets and playing all roles. Don’t. It is clear from your letter that you are doing a fantastic job in parenting your daughter. She will grow up into a lovely young lady; someone you can be proud of, and it’s thanks to you. Allow yourself some ‘me time’. You need and deserve it. It is great that you have a supportive family and community. I think now your daughter has started going to school she will gain more independence and autonomy as her world widens. I cover this in my book Happy Kids. Her new found independence will not detract from the strong relationship you have with her but will be another step towards her growing maturity. Your dedication to your daughter during those important early years has set her well up for the future. Now you can start to concentrate a bit more on you. Cathy x