I am confident that all of us parents can agree that being a mother and father is the hardest yet most rewarding job there is on the planet. Regardless if you are a single parent or not! I believe being a parent is a privilege, a gift and a lifetime commitment. It doesn’t end when our children turn 18. Take it from me, I am 34 years old and my Dad still insists on asking me if I had my oil changed yet.
However only someone who is, or has been a single parent understands the extra pressure and emotional load it has on oneself. I know because I was a single mother for 8 years to my twin sons.
I am a firm believer that parents should not stay together strictly for the children. With that being said, if they have tried everything there is under the sun to resolve their differences & the love is gone, then I believe its better for everyone if they live seperately but hopefully can continue to parent together. This is my opinion only because I grew up in a loveless relationship. You know what it taught me? To settle. To stick and stay regardless of my feelings. Bottom line, children see, hear and internalize everything! I don’t believe they can learn about a healthy relationship while watching two parents live like roommates, or worse, fight constantly. Trust me, I am speaking from experience.
I felt like a failure when I became a single mother. I was 25 years old with 2 year old twins. What the hell happened to my life? It would take me 5 more years after that to realize my part in it. I rushed in too quick, i ignored my instincts and I settled. But there is not one day that I regretted any of that because I truly believe with every fiber of my being that I was meant to be my sons mother.
Being a single parent is beyond hard. There is not one word that can describe it. There is no partner there to reassure you that you are doing a good job. No one there to take over and let you sleep an extra hour when you’ve been up all night with sick children. The finances are all on you, and let me tell you that can be a hard one to learn if you aren’t careful. Going to the park and seeing moms and dads together can be really hard and depressing, at least it was for me. Dating takes a back seat and can be quite difficult to find someone who understands your lifestyle. Bedtime is 9pm, not 2am. You watch more kid shows than you like to admit, your house is never as clean as you want it to be, and your kids receive your attention before anyone else. You’re the only one who has to take a sick day and lose pay if your child cant go to school. You try your very hardest to be mom and dad, but second question yourself and wonder if you are even doing a good job. Christmas morning can be shared with the other parent, so some years you wake up alone. New Years eve can be fun if you spend it with other friends and their children, or unfortunately you might end up on the couch watching Dateline at 10pm when the kids crash.
However as I look back on my experience, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. God wouldn’t have handed me something that I couldn’t handle. I learned that I could parent on my own and I was doing a good job all by myself. I learned that I was stronger than I had ever gave myself credit for. I learned to fix things around the house, kill the spiders, manage finances, chase bad dreams away, wipe tears & clean up vomit all by myself. I learned not to settle for just any person who comes along. I embraced my early bedtime, after all sleeping is healthier than partying! I realized my house will never be as clean as I could like it to be and that’s okay because it means that its lived in. So what if I lose money for taking a sick day, it meant extra cuddles with my sons. I learned how to reach out to friends and family and ask for help instead of drowning in overwhelming fear. I created a bond with my sons so special that nothing, or no one can ever break it. They will be grown men one day, looking back on all the years that it was just the 3 of us. The funny puppet shows that I put on for them, the cuddles on the couch to movies & the daily walks to the park looking for bugs. All of it was me for 8 years. We are closer than words can describe.
In my eyes, being a single mother was better than the alternative. It was worth all the tears and emotions. The glimpse into my future if I hadn’t left was grim, unhappy and isolating. My sons would have been affected because I wouldn’t have been the best version of myself.
I made mistakes, and I still do. There are no perfect parents in this world and if they claim to be, they probably have the most to hide! Alcohol was my solution for many years. I used it to cope with my feelings. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, lonely, happy, irritated, discontent. Unfortunately my sons started to see that I had a problem. I’m extremely blessed and thankful that my family gave me an ultimatum and I sobered up when my sons were 7 years old, in 2014.
So you see, single parenting is hard, but it can be done, and it can be done happily and successfully. Do not settle for just any person who comes along. Your happiness, health and well being comes first or you cannot be the best parent that you can be. When you make mistakes, learn from them and move on. Forgive yourself. Take time for yourself because you deserve it. When you announce that you are a single parent, keep your head held high. You are not a failure, you are a warrior!
When that special person comes along and you become a family, your heart will just know that its right. However, just because there will be another parent in the house it doesn’t mean life will be perfect. You’ll have arguments, parenting struggles and days where you want to hide in the closet. Shit happens! Its called LIFE. But I promise you, you will be so very thankful for all those years you did it alone. It makes you that much more grateful to have a partner in your life to help you and you created ever lasting memories that your children will take with them for the rest of their lives.
That my dear, is worth it all.