Saturday, September 03, 2011

Single Parenting

There are many pros and cons to being a single mum (and I imagine to being a single dad as well). Sometimes as a single parent you wonder if you are doing enough or doing too much, if your child is doing ok, if they are not doing ok, the guilt that comes with single parent territory I would venture is almost double that of a two parent family.
Reprimands for inappropriate behaviour begin to eat at your conscience. Cereal for dinner begins to eat at your conscience. Doing the dishes instead of playing begins to eat at your conscience. Putting junior in front of a movie so you can have a brief moment to yourself begins to eat at your conscience. As a single parent (perhaps even in a two parent family) each decision that you make you are always asking yourself, "Is it the right thing to do?". I would contest that if it happens too often then no, it is not the right thing to do. But, if it happens only on occasion, I personally see no wrong in getting a few minutes respite or doing the dishes instead of playing when it is what needs to be done.

The daily routine, school, school lunches, work, study (mum's), playtime, meals, bathtime, bedtime, birthday parties (for the offspring), cleaning the house, socializing or adult time (is there any really?), time for self (again is there any really?), there are a lot of activities to juggle for us single parenters. But we do it and often with looks of admiration from two parent families, looks of wonderment from two parent families, and ultimately I think utter disbelief that we do as much as we do and we have kids that are well-behaved and polite.

Is it any easy job? Parenting in general is not easy, but it is a joy. Single parenting offers you so much in terms of bonding with your child, playing with your child, creating with your child and learning with your child. And selfishly knowing that at the end of the day, after school, you are the one that that huge smile is for, you are the one that the excitement is for, you are the one that they wait all day in anticipation to see and blurt out all that has happened that day. Selfishly knowing that all the stories that are invented more often than not have you in them, that you are the hero in the moment (although yes sometimes you are also the villain of the hour), that all those kisses and those enormous bear hugs are yours, that you have the absolute confidence of your little one, you are their world, you are their universe and they are yours.

Without exception. Unequivocally. You are them and they are you.

Parenting is a gift and a treasure. Single parenting is the jewel that sparkles the most in the crown.