5 Reasons I Am Thankful for Being a Single Mom
Much has been written about the downside of single motherhood - and yes, some of that writing has been done by yours truly. Alas, I am not here to tell you that the inability to shower without an audience, or make dinner without a tiny human attached to your leg is no longer grating. Yes, I would give anything to have someone do the dishes after dinner while I get Ellie ready for bed. And yes, I would also love for my daughter to have the picture perfect family, along with a black Lab (that someone else walks) and a white picket fence.
But the reality is, that is not the case.
And I am the first to admit that I am very blessed and that there are actually some benefits to my situation, and for that I am very thankful.
1. She doesn't have to share me (and I don't have to figure out how to be shared).
At the end of the day I have one priority and one focus and that is my daughter – and being single means no one competes with that. So many married women have told me that between work and being a mom, maintaining a significant relationship with another adult is extremely difficult. And many men I have spoken to explain that once a baby enters the picture, they are left making do with the scraps of remaining time and energy mom has left. I, on the other hand, am not obligated by law and love to tend to someone else’s needs, or to give them my attention.
Also, if I go anywhere other than work, she comes along – which means she knows how to behave appropriately with adults and with kids, and she gets to see firsthand how many people love her.
2. I Can't Second Guess Myself.
I have NO time for anything other than the necessities of running my life, which means I certainly don't have the option get lost in self-doubt, trying to decide if this is a better plan or if that is a better plan. If I really need a second opinion, I turn to one of the four best parents I know (my mom, my dad, my sister or my brother-in-law) and I ask them for their advice, and they give it to me. And the best part is, they only do so when I explicitly ask them to.
3. I can't sweat the small stuff.
Being single and pregnant, and later single and a new mom, has a way of putting things into perspective. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, to about the time my daughter turned 18-months-old, I was in survival mode. Between managing the logistics of being a single parent in New York City, while working full-time, and jugging the breastfeeding, the pumping scheduled around meetings, the constant fear I’d forget to buy diapers, the 3am feedings when I had to be up for work at 5am, coming to terms with having someone else spend more time with my child because I have no choice but to work, the vaccination schedule, the 104 fevers, and double ear infections and trips to the emergency room because of an 8 day marathon of vomiting, little time is left for crying over spilled milk. Literally.
And ya know what? I think we are all better for it.
4. Failure is not an option.
Being a single parent has taught me a number of excellent life lessons but none more important that the fact that failure is simply not an option. I must succeed in giving my daughter the best life possible, and I must be the role model I want her to follow. Once you take failing off the list of possibilities, it leaves a ton of space for succeeding.
5. I get to do it my way.
I have been privy to many conversations between married couples, where they debate which pajamas the baby likes better, or how best to hold him while burping him, and frankly, it is exhausting. One of the great benefits of being a solo parent, is that I get to do things the way I see fit. And perhaps Frank Sinatra said it best:
“Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way”
(I’ve always loved that song anyway)