Being a single parent, especially a single Mum, is hard. We live in grotty houses, we have no money, we are fed up of being on our own, our children are unruly and we eye up all the Dads in the school playground.
Except that it’s not.
Busting the single parent stereotype
How many general stereotypes about single parents are true? Is it all that bad?
My response would be “No. It’s not that bad”. It is hard. So bloody hard. It’s exhausting and I find it that way despite the fact that my son sees his Dad from 9am – 5pm every Sunday, so I get a break. I do have chronic health problems though, but that’s for another story!
Money is tight – of course it is! Well, I say of course, but I don’t know many people who can say that they have plenty of money and don’t need to worry in this day and age. We get by though.
My house could be tidier, but again, chronic health problems and the lack of help at the moment means I prioritise tidying over actually being present with my son and resting when needed so that I can, you know, be present.
I’m not fed up of being on my own at all. I love it. Yes, there are times when it would be lovely to share ‘moments’ with someone else and yes, some help around the house would be lovely but not enough for me to want to try and meet a guy!
My child is far from unruly (yes, he has his moments but he is generally a fabulous little boy) and I have never eyed a Dad in any school playground – not one when I was a Nanny and not as a mother.
The benefits of being a single parent
So, if it’s not all that bad, what’s good about being a single parent? Are there any good parts?
Well. #1. Hands-down, I get to be the biggest influence in my son’s life. I choose the everyday discipline. I choose the rules.
When my son was younger and wanted to paint his nails, because he liked, you know, COLOUR, his Dad was adamant that it was only for girls…. I painted his nails when he wanted me too. I taught him that there was nothing wrong with it, that boys can enjoy colour and paint their nails, but that some people have old-fashioned views. I simply removed it before he went to see his Dad!
I listen to my son and treat him with respect. His father and I parent in such different ways. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with either approach but I’m not a ‘do as I say because I said so’ Mum. I like to explain things to him so that he can understand. That would be so much harder if my ex-husband lived here!
Sometimes I wonder. If we had stayed together, might we parent differently? Might my ex have taken my lead on parenting? Who knows. But one thing I know, is that I’m glad we’re not parenting together.
Single parents share what they love about it
I asked some other single parent bloggers, What would you say are the best bits about being a single parent?”
The best bit about being a single parent is that I stand back and look at my beautiful kids and say to myself “I did that all by myself!”. I am the one that makes all of the choices for Tilly (she is the only lttle one) so I know what’s the best for her and I do it.
Vicky – www.misstillyandme.co.uk
I agree hands down with Vicky. Bear’s Dad is around and my family help me to raise him – we fully subscribe to the ‘it takes a village’ approach, but, I hope one day, I can stand back. look at Bear and think the same – ‘I did that’.
I’m particularly jealous of Mandy who told me:
I love that we can go where we want, when we want without having to ask anyone’s permission, we literally live to our own schedules although that’s partially because I home educate too.
I would love to home educate. Now that my son is at school, I love it. He’s at a tiny village school with high adult -child ratio’s but my choice would have been to home educate instead of school However, my son’s father has joint parental rights and does see our son every Sunday and it’s not what he wanted. I had to fight my ex to be able to put my first choice school down, to stop Bear from going to a huge primary school that I don’t think would have suited him.
The best quote of the article, for me anyway, goes to another Vicky. She said that the best bits about being a single parent are that:
There’s more space for toys in every room of the house. And in my bed for cuddles with my small person.
Vicky Charles – www.singlemotherahoy.com
I wholeheartedly agree. My house is a small country cottage with two bedrooms. One is HUGE and the other is tiny. Honestly, it makes no sense. Bear had the tiny room and I had the big room. Yet, the rest of the house is ‘mine’ as well. I try to keep it tidy and not full to the brim with toys but I was fighting a losing battle. So, I swopped rooms. Easy. Problem solved. It would have been harder if I had a partner at home but as it’s just me, I’m fine as long as I have room for a double bed, a wardrobe and some shelves. And I do. Bear now has a room with a double bunkbed which is great for guests, a massive lego table, a huge IKEA cube storage unit, a desk, a wardrobe, book shelves and floor space. I told you that it was huge! As he gets older and older, his room will become more and more important to him. It also means that when his friends come over, they can all go upstairs and leave me in relative peace in the living room!!
Also, the cuddles in bed. Oh, the cosy bed cuddles are the best. We love a good snuggle on a morning and there’s plenty of room for us both. Heaven.
Share your stories about being a single parent
So, I pose the question to you. Are you a single parent? What are the best bits for you?
Thanks for reading,