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3 Reasons Single Parenting Has Its Advantages

3 Reasons Single Parenting Has Its Advantages

It’s an incredible honor to bring a life into the world; to nurture, love and educate a child and watch them grow. It’s an inexplicable love for a little life, there’s no denying that. It’s the greatest gift and most consuming feeling of love and protection and I feel incredibly blessed to have experienced it.  Let’s not sugarcoat it though, being a parent is hard work.  Kids should come with a manual.  I’ve had job interviews that were tougher for positions which were much easier to actually do.  Parenting can be relentless, tiring, expensive and damn hard work. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but what happens when your village is just one person – you.

As a single parent I understand and live the exhaustion.  I get it.  I understand there is no break. Ever. The need to duck out for a haircut or go to the dentist becomes an orchestrated nightmare. Yes, single parenting has its drawbacks.  You become a mum and a dad instantly.  Double the work.  Double the responsibility. Double the exhaustion.  It can be quite tough.  Whilst it has its definite challenges, I’ve come to realize that it absolutely has some amazing advantages, ones that I would never have expected.

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Here’s 3 reasons why being a single parent has some advantages.

1. The buck stops with you

When you are a single parent, all the decisions lie solely with you.  This can be a double edged sword at times, especially when it comes to discipline, but most of the time it’s a blessing.  Arguments with a partner regarding how to parent your child, and things like where and how you choose to educate them for example, are not an issue.  It’s liberating. There is an enormous amount of pride associated with knowing that you have raised a child on your own and made every decision in regards to each and every aspect of their life.  It’s an incredible achievement, a big responsibility and one to be extremely proud of.

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2. You grow as a person

Partnered or otherwise, being a parent is the most difficult job you will undertake.  Children are incredibly demanding and they take an enormous amount of energy to raise.  Solo parenting kicked my butt hard.  You learn fairly fast there is no-one  to fall back on financially, emotionally or to bounce parenting ideas or achievements off, therefore your level of responsibility forces you to grow fast, find answers, solutions and be resourceful. Your level of growth is swift and steep, and you become a better person and single parent because of it.

3. You become more organized

I wasn’t prepared for the enormity of this one.  Gone are the flaky days of getting home from work and realizing you don’t have milk in the fridge for breakfast tomorrow morning.  Situations like these can and will cause me to have a minor meltdown as a single parent.  Something as simple as forgetting the milk becomes a prolonged ordeal which involves putting the children into the car, driving to the shops and dragging them through a supermarket filled with strategically placed lollies or toys where tantrums or arguments are almost certain to ensue.  Through experience your organizational skills and ability to think 10 steps ahead and juggle become so finely tuned you feel like you could run the world.

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Being a parent is hard – period, being a single one presents quite a few more challenges.  Regardless or not of whether you are doing this alone or partnered, the rewards are returned to you ten fold. I’m not going to tell you that it is easy, but what I will tell you is it’s worth it, and as a single parent, you are doing an absolutely stellar job.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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