Parenting is an adventure, it is the only thing I know where we don’t get to try and, try again if things don’t turn out so well. There aren’t any do-overs in parenting. It’s a long term experiment with so many variables that make it difficult to truly learn from other’s examples.
We can glean a little from here and a little there, however, the temperament of each of our children creates a wonderful environment where we know the same thing doesn’t work for everyone.
Some of the things on this list can be true even in a two parent home. Some of them are easier to accomplish in a single parent home. Hopefully you can add to this list and share in the comments why you love being a single parent.
1. We have created a happy home. We have our moments when someone melts down, fits are thrown, chores don’t get completed and feelings get hurt. We play monopoly, eat brownie waffles, tease one another, the boys have their gross conversations and sister and I beg them to stop while they laugh until they cry. Those daily, silly, boring details make our house a home.
2. Every day is a new day. No matter how difficult things are today I know I can go to sleep tonight and wake up with a new perspective tomorrow. Sometimes you need to give yourself permission to have a moment; I remind my kids that it is ok to be upset, to express their emotions both positive and negative.
3. Money is tight in our home. Four kids, three of them teenagers, two with significant medical bills and a third one being tested for a hereditary health issue that is going to increase our medical expenses even more, sometimes I wonder how we will make it through the month. Yet we always do. It doesn’t take a lot of money to be happy and we have learned to be content. Contentment is priceless.
4. It’s ok to have brownie waffles for dinner every once in a while. I’m a healthy eater; my kids’ appetites do not match mine. Sometimes though it’s best to throw all my fresh vegetables, grains, and Fage to the wind and sit down for a silly, yummy dinner as a family. A reminder not to take things too seriously.
5. Single parenting is difficult however my ex and I have very different parenting styles so I am grateful I can parent as I see fit. I coach and negotiate with our children whereas he runs a dictatorship. The freedom to coach and negotiate results in much more open and honest relationships with our teenagers. I love this aspect of being a single mom.
6. Holidays are stressful, however I can choose to stay home and not make a trip to see family. When I was married we argued, fussed and fought about how to divide our holiday time as a family. Since our married home was a dictatorship it meant we rarely spent time with my family. Since I am sole custodian, it makes things much simpler. He can go wherever he wants during his scheduled visitation; if he wants to take our kids out of state we negotiate the time frame. Simpler holidays are a blessing.
7. Our home is a democracy. In the last 7 years there have been a few situations where I needed to lay down the law, other than those few exceptions our house talks things out, we consider one another’s view points and then vote. What has surprised me is after discussion the votes are normally unanimous. Watching my children grow, learn to negotiate, learn to express their feelings (without drama) and consider each other and the impact of our decision on one another has been priceless. I believe this technique will serve them well as they grow into adults and venture into the professional world.