Being a single parent is a lot of work. Anyone who says it isn’t either hasn’t experienced it first hand or is flat out lying. I could write all day about the many frustrations of playing the role of two parents every day, but there’s enough negativity on the internet already. Let’s talk about the bonuses of doing it on my own.
1) I get to make all of the decisions. Sometimes that can be daunting (vaccinations? public or private school? to spank or not to spank?) but overall, it’s actually a relief not having a marital blowup over every bullet point of raising kids my spouse and I disagree on.
2) I choose the extra-curriculars. I know plenty of dads that want their sons to play sports. My son has an incredible gift for athletics and I would also love him to play sports, but I get sole veto-ing power over the brutal ones that will mess up his adorable face (no football or rugby for my boy) or mess up my preferred wake up time (hasta la vista, hockey!)
3) My house looks the way I want it to. Maybe this isn’t a big deal for some people, but my house is my castle. I want it to look the way I want, so it doesn’t matter that my bedroom is feminine and girly because I’m the only one sleeping in it.
4) There’s no one to judge my cooking…besides my children. But they’re picky eaters, so who cares what they think about casserole anyway?
5) My evenings are mine. Once those kids are in bed and asleep, I get me-time. Yes, sometimes that is spent doing laundry or housework or other boring things, but sometimes it’s spent watching whatever I feel like on Netflix with zero argument or input from another person.
6) My kids and I have an incredible bond. Because it’s just me and the two of them, we are a very tight-knit family unit. We work as a team and my kids know that they have to step up and help out more often.
7) I am the go-to person. If there were a man in my house, my son might not talk to me as much. I am lucky to have such a close relationship with him, and I believe it will strengthen as he gets older.
8) I have a profound appreciation for extended family and child-loving friends. In a nuclear family scenario, it can be easy to function without external support. As a single parent, external support is vital.
9) There are no other adults around to talk to, so my kids and I talk alot. My kids have always had an advanced vocabulary for their age. This doesn’t surprise me, because I speak to them how I would speak to anyone. I don’t dumb things down and I don’t just talk about Bubble Guppies. We talk about God, life and death, career paths, hobbies and interests, how things work, dreams, personal strengths and weaknesses. It’s wonderful.
Single parenting is rarely anyone’s first choice, and people come into this role through all kinds of circumstances. My particular circumstance (the sudden death of a spouse) was not at all within my control, and I’ve had my fair share of moments of feeling cheated. But at the end of it all, my exhaustion and anger won’t magically make the days any easier. Counting my blessings certainly doesn’t lessen my workload, but it does make it more bearable in the long run. And I would take a glass half full any day.