4 Benefits Of Being A Single Mom
When you think of a single mom what images does your mind conjure up? Is it someone barely holding it together, stressed to the max, struggling to pay the bills and quite possibly wearing pajamas at the school drop off? When people think of single moms they usually feel one of two things, pity or respect, and maybe a little of both. The truth is that the stereotype of a stressed out single mom is there for a reason. It is, in fact, hard. It is exhausting and often lonely. Whether you are co-parenting or totally on your own, it's tough. Along with the stress, though, comes a silver lining.
1. Setting An Example
I know this may not sound like a silver lining, but I believe it is one of the best parts of being a single parent. It's in the struggles that we find what we are made of. All too often we put pressure on ourselves to be "perfect" parents and it's just not realistic. Not to mention that we all define perfection differently. If you are single parent, I'm willing to bet that being "perfect" is the least of your concerns. On a good day, my kid gets to school with breakfast in his tummy, shoes on his feet and without any morning meltdowns for either of us. There are times where I feel guilty for having to work when he's with me or having to travel to make money, but I shake that guilt off knowing that I am setting an example for him. He will know that if he wants anything in life, it is up to him to make it happen, no matter how hard. I am proud that my son will see that I struggle and that I will get to set an example for him of perseverance, working hard for what I want in life and more than anything, finding the humor and beauty in the imperfection of life.
2. Doing Things Your Way
Obviously this is different for every situation, but whether you have a co-parent or not, you have the benefit of doing things your way on a day to day basis. I remember a time when my ex and I were still together and I would make a decision that he didn't particularly agree with, maybe to give him applesauce too late in the day or to "baby" him when he was sad, an argument would ensue or at the very least a comment made and I would feel frustrated that my parenting decisions were being questioned and sometimes even feel guilty for those decisions. Parenting is hard and we are always wondering if we are making the right decisions, so there is a bonus to being able to make those decisions without someone else there to question us. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that my son has both of us, with our different parenting styles because I know he benefits from both, but there's something awesome about being able to do things my way when he's with me.
3. Organization and Time Management
I've never been good at time management and staying organized is struggle , but let me tell you that since I have become a single mom, I haven't had much choice. Between working several jobs, making sure that bills are paid on time and bringing snacks for school holiday parties, there's always something going on and no one is gonna help me keep track of it, but me. I've gone from having a planner that I barely used to color coding my planner, living by Google reminders and time blocking every week. Not only is it necessary, but it has positively affected every area of my life. I even time block personal time so that I don't feel guilty during that time thinking that I should be doing something else.
4. The Bond
There's nothing that I cherish more than the bond that I have with my son. I know that it would exist whether I were single or not, but being single has allowed me to focus solely on him and building that relationship. Whether it's movie night in mom's bed, a trip to the Target or just a lazy afternoon playing play dough, the times of "just the two of us" are the times that are the building blocks to a bond that means more to me than anything in this world. I hope that he always feels like he can tell me anything. I hope that he always wants to have movie night. Taking this time in my life to build into the bond we share has been my greatest blessing.
It can be scary and lonely as a single parent, but there are also so many blessings that come with it and there's no denying that it has made me a better person. I am lucky enough to have an amazing support system that reminds me that I'm not alone and that I'm doing awesome. Hopefully you have the same, but if you're a single parent and no one's told you lately, let me tell you. You've got this! You aren't perfect, nor should you be. Your kids are lucky to have you and if you are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, stop for a moment to think about some of the amazing things that come with being a single parent. Most of all though, remember that you aren't alone and that, even if you get your kid to school with no shoes on, what matters is that they are loved and you are doing great!