This post has been a long time coming, I’ve written, re-written and deleted numerous posts on this subject purely because I was afraid to publicise the fact that I am a single parent. But why should I be embarrassed? There are thousands of parents that single handedly raise their child/children and as much as it is still a taboo in some cultures I’ve decided that it isn’t something I’m embarrassed or ashamed about, in fact it is something I should embrace on a daily basis.To give you a bit of background my ex husband and I had been together 10 years but split 6 weeks after having our daughter. This post is by no means going to delve into personal side of the break up. The purpose of it is to document the realities of single parenting from my perspective in the hope that it may help someone in a similar situation.
My daughter is currently 21 months, so you’d think I’ve got single parenting down to a T after almost 2 Years. But in reality I face some daily struggles aside from sleep deprivation, constantly feeling exhausted and dealing with daily toddler tantrums! I’m also a working mummy so as you can imagine the Mum guilt is right up there!
I never imagined in a million years that I would be raising my daughter alone but now that I’m in this position I have to continue to be positive not only for now but for what is to come in the future. The biggest obstacle I face on a daily basis is feeling like have to over compensate for the position I am in. I often feel intimated and feel like a failure if I’m not giving my daughter what she would probably get if she was being raised by both parents under one roof.
I need to realise that I’m not being compared to married parents or those parents who do live under the same roof and I most certainly shouldn’t compare myself to them. I am a mother and to me I hold the most important job in the world and the only only opinion that would matter is that of my daughters! Also over compensating because of a divorce defeats the whole purpose of a divorce. I see divorce as an opportunity to be reborn, a chance to find myself again, become a stronger and healthier version of myself. I also know that what my daughter needs is a mother who is confident and not broken or a mother who is constantly living life as an apology to her for the situation that she’s growing up in.
As a woman I think we can be so hard on ourselves. The reality of being a single mum is having the hard fought and well earned knowledge that nothing and no one is stronger than a single mum protecting her family but equally that’s a heavy load to carry. I’d like to think that a child who is raised by one parent who is confident, loving and strong willed will grow to recognise and appreciate them as the most important influence in their lives.
There’s already so much pressure just to exist these days so I need to be aware that there is no need to put anymore pressure on myself. I love my daughter unconditionally and she is my priority. I provide her with the basic needs, spend time with her, teach her, comfort her, shape and continue to raise her to be a good person. Surely these are the components of being a good mother?
The main reason I think single parents feel it’s necessary to over compensate is because of the enormous responsibility after all we are raising the next generation of children, often with limited resources and help. What we do is beyond enough and there really is no need to feel obliged to wear the hat of both parents or feel like we should be raising the bar higher than it is already is. I didn’t set out to be a single mum, I set out to be the best mum I can be and that hasn’t changed. Being a single parent is learning about the strengths you didn’t even know you had and dealing with fears you had no idea even existed.
I hope this post has been useful to those of you who are in a similar position to me, in my eyes single parents are definitely unsung heroes and they need to know how amazing they really are.
I’m a single mum, what’s your superpower?