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.
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.
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.
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