Being a single parent can be difficult. However, there are a lot of lifestyles that involve hard work, struggle, challenges and both wins and losses in facing those challenges. For some reason it seems that a "stigma" has grown up around being a single parent that causes some people to
think your life is incomplete or somehow "sad" simply because you are raising a family without a spouse. To think that about every single parent situation as "sad" is another form of that dreaded word, "profiling".
This is not to say that as a single parent, we don't often times feel put upon, sad or confused about the lot in life we have been given. One of the big goals of adjusting to the life of being a single mom or dad is to come to a state of acceptance and peace about your lifestyle. Yes, you may at some point make the decision to live in union with another person whether that is through marriage or another living circumstance. But for the health of your kids, for a strong and vibrant home life and for your own mental well being, we have to find the good in the life of single parenting and learn to be grateful for the good that comes our way.
There is an old song that advises us to count our blessings and name them one by one. That may be corny but it is actually a very good idea for the health of your mind and your family. The problem of wallowing in self pity and thinking of the bad in life is not one that only single parents go through. Anyone can fall into the habit of dwelling on the negative. Self pity, however, only feels like it is accomplishing something when in fact it is hurting you. If we can learn to look for the good in our lives, we will pour energies, our creativity and our affections into the good that is there to make that part of our lives grow stronger. By not giving the negative side of things a lot of your mental energies, the negativity which brings with it depression and hopelessness, won't be able to get a foothold in your life and do any damage.
If you are going to make a list of your blessings as a single parent, its easy to reserve that number one spot. That one is for your kids. One byproduct of being a single mom and dad is that you will become much more of a "friend" to your child. When its up to you to do all of the jobs of
parenthood, children often become partners in running the house more so than when there are two parents on the scene. Amazingly, when children are called upon to carry adult level responsibilities, they don't shrink from the challenge, they thrive on it. They love to feel needed and when they have actual important jobs to do, they will grow up and learn about responsibility and what it means to "work" at a much younger age than many of their friends do.
This kind of shared lifestyle is very healthy for the kids and for you. Many times parents "hide" their vulnerable sides so as not to worry the kids. As a single mom or dad, you don't have that luxury. So your kids will get to see your human side. That kind of vulnerability sends them the message that you are human too and they can open up to you when they are sad, hurting or confused as well as in their joys and victories in life. The result is a much richer family life than might not have been possible if you had not raised them as a single parent.
Depending on what the circumstances that lead to you being a single parent, sometimes it is just a lot simpler to live alone with your kids. Sometimes part of counting your blessings is counting what bad things are not in your life. If the time you had with the mom or dad of your kids was difficult or full of problems, even with the trials of being alone, you might be better off. That is worth reflecting on when you feel isolated and that the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Its brutal to say it out loud but if your former spouse was more of a burden to you than the kids are now, then when it comes down to it, you are probably living a more peaceful life now than before you became single again.
One benefit of being a single parent that is generally not afforded to married couples may have escaped you. But think about it. You get to date! In a way you get the best of both worlds. You get to have the deeper joy of having a full family life with your children. While we too often only focus on the stresses of child rearing, there is something deeply satisfying about being with them every day, waking up and they are there and putting them to bed at night. It fulfills you.
But on along with the joy of family life, you also get the fun of being "out there" on the singles scene. Now, dating as a single parent comes with new issues and pressures that you must face to enjoy a full
social life and not neglect your home responsibilities. But you can work that out with some practice. And when you do work it out, you can enjoy a rich and exciting romantic life outside the home. You don't have to get tied down to one romantic partner unless you want to. But as your dating life matures, you may find a wonderful sweetheart that will enrich your dating life and even your home life in ways that would not have been possible had you not found yourself single again.
Its good to step back and see the great things that are yours not in spite of but BECAUSE you are a single parent. Once you really get a good list of blessings that you have counted, you may actually be able to say to yourself, "Thank God I AM a single parent." You have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, you have every reason to be proud of the job you are doing raising those kids and handling all the diverse issues of life by yourself So walk tall and when people ask, say it loud. You're a single parent and you can be proud!
About The Author
David Ash Burroughs
A freelance writer and business consultant for five years. An accomplished author of ebooks, web content, articles and other web related composition.
Submitted by: David Ash Burroughs *
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