Welcome to Splitsville. This weekly column will focus on parenting after a divorce, break-up or one-night stand that didn’t end like a Katherine Heigl movie.
Let’s get this out there right now: single motherhood can be a long, difficult road. Raising a child without the support of a spouse or partner is stressful. You take all the responsibility on yourself. You’re the one to wake up for every midnight feeding or bad dream. You’re the one who takes care of the bills, doctor’s appointments and school functions.
I don’t think single motherhood is easy. And I don’t think that it’s a choice that most women enter into lightly. Even with it’s growing popularity, I think most moms hope that their partners will take an active role in their children’s lives. I know very few women who choose to have a child on their own, though I don’t think it’s a problem if you’re financially able to support that decision.
Obviously, single parenthood is very different depending on what socioeconomic status you maintain. For more affluent parents, it’s a lot easier to raise a child by yourself.
So often, when I talk about single parenting, I talk about the struggles. Because there were lots of them! Suddenly I realized that single motherhood always sounds like a lesson in agony. Women who raise children alone are so desperate for a little understanding that we reiterate over and over how hard it is. We forget to talk about the joy that comes, because you’re still raising a child! You’re still a mom! And that’s a wonderful experience.
Single moms are walking a high-wire. We don’t want to be seen as victims, and yet we want people to understand the difficulties. It’s a fine line to walk. So today, I think it’s only fair to point out some of the great things about single motherhood, just to even the score a bit.
- You’re a mom. Whether there’s a partner involved or not, you still have a beautiful little child to love and adore. That’s always something to be grateful for.
- You don’t have to share your cuddle time. Hey, take the perks where you can get them! All of that competing for affection isn’t necessary if it’s just the two of you.
- You don’t have time to worry. Parents today are frequently terrified of making the wrong choice. Single moms are so busy getting food on the table, laundry in the closets and homework in bookbags, there’s just no time to worry about the effectiveness of various discipline strategies. You do what your heart says is right and hope it all works out for the best.
- You get to make all the decisions. Another double-edged sword, you have all the responsibility. Sometimes, that means wishing you had someone else to talk through your choices with. But often, that means that you can make choices without weighing a partner’s opinion. As schooling, religion and cultural issues begin to weigh more heavily on parents, you don’t have to argue with anyone but yourself.
- You make a great role model. Single working mothers show their children just how much a person can accomplish. They work hard and take care of their little ones all on their own. Growing kids can see that dedication and they respect it.