But at least I get to live in a fictional world for a few minutes every day," she says.
But in that moment, I was also struck with the reality of being on my own with a child to raise, bills to pay, a household to run, and only 24 hours in the day. More than four years later, I can safely say that being a single mother has at times been difficult and demanding, but it's also had great rewards.
If you're a single parent -- by circumstance or by choice -- you'll no doubt hit some bumps and turns along the way.
But while it's always easy to find something to feel guilty about, "it helps to focus on what's good and right about your family rather than on what's wrong or lacking," Mattes says.
Ask yourself, for instance, whether your children are loved and well cared for; whether their basic needs are being met in a consistent, dependable way; and whether your home is a warm and happy place to be.
Here are six strategies that can help you weather the rough times and enhance the joy of parenting."Single mothers can often feel isolated and overwhelmed, so it's important to feel that you have some sort of community behind you," says Sheila Ellison, author of The Courage to Be a Single Mother (Harper San Francisco, 2000) and founder of Single Moms Connect.org, a nonprofit organization that matches single mothers as support partners.
Carlena Seep-Gaither, a central Minnesota single mother of two, has long relied on a solid network that includes her best friend, her parents, and other parents in her community.
"I often feel guilty about a lot of things -- that my daughter's father isn't involved in her life, that I don't have the option to work at home, and that I don't always have the money or time to take her to Mommy and Me classes," she says.
"But I do take comfort in knowing that my 2-year-old daughter is happy and secure and loved by many people.
A few weeks after I adopted my 8-1/2-month-old daughter, Eleni, I was about to take her to the park when I suddenly burst into tears.