I’m no longer a single mom. It’s only been a nanosecond in the timeline of life, but still. My fiancé and I shacked up in May in preparation for our August wedding. We’ve been so busy with the move, wedding, work, life, kids, travels that I’ve barely had a moment to contemplate that this exciting new beginning also marks an end of an era.
First off, I should clearly state that I’m not sad to lose the status. I’m gaining more than I ever dreamed I’d have with an incredible partner, a wonderful step-son and two more crazy cats. The word happiness has a whole new meaning for me now. But in five years of parenting my daughter on my own, I learned that I really liked parts of it.
Here are the top three things that I miss:
1. The respect: When I would tell another parent that I’m a single mom, they either looked at me with pity or with great respect. The pity ticked me off, so I won’t miss that. But I will miss the respect. I’ve had so many people say to me: “I don’t know how you do it. I could never be a single parent.” The truth is I used to think the same thing. But when my husband walked out, he didn’t leave me much choice. I was determined to make something beautiful out of his rubble and that I would come out a better person on the other side. The fact that people respected this hard work really helped lighten the load.
2. Parenting solo: Sure, no one else was around to pay the bills, clean the mess, make the decisions or look after my daughter when I was puking from the stomach flu. On the flip side, I didn’t have to negotiate or consult with anyone on how to parent. I also didn’t have anyone else to blame when things went wrong. I had to own up to and learn from my mistakes. Sometimes this meant taking a hard look at myself in the mirror rather than blowing everything off as “all your fault!” I think this made me a more honest mom and a better person.
3. Beating the stereotype: I really love knocking down negative stereotypes. Not that long ago, people shared the general perception that “single moms” let their kids run wild while they spend their welfare checks on beer and cigarettes. While we have yet to see if my daughter ends up a juvenile delinquent, I certainly don’t fit the stereotype. This pleases me. Our society has a growing number of single parent households. Our jobs are hard enough without having to defend ourselves.
What do you think of single parenting?