Single Parenting

Being a parent is hard.  Whether there are two parents in the picture or only one, being a parent is probably the most difficult job anyone could be asked to do.  You are responsible for molding a child into a thriving, strong, stable person.  That’s a lot of pressure to put on two parents.  It’s even more pressure to put on one parent trying to do this on their own.  Being a single parent has a lot of difficulties, but there are some things that are more difficult than others.

I’ve been a single mom twice now – once when my children were little and I am again, now that they are in their pre-teen/early teen years.  One of the hardest things I have had to deal with is that I am in this by myself.  I don’t have someone to back me up when I make a decision.  I have to make these decisions all by myself, and if I mess up, I have to get myself out of the problem.  Being a single parent can be pretty lonely because there is no partner to lean on when I’m not feeling up to par.  I feel like I have to be strong all the time because there isn’t anyone else to be strong when I feel weak.

Another difficulty is the issue of income.  I make a pretty good salary considering the economy, but things just keep getting more and more expensive, and I have to somehow be the one to pay for them all.  It means that often I do without so my children don’t have to.  I feel badly because there are so many programs that they want to be a part of that I can’t afford.  My children never really complain about it, but the pressure is there when I see other children excelling in areas that I know my children would be great at too, if only I could afford it.

A third area of difficulty that I have found in being a single parent is that I have a tendency to be over-protective.  It’s easy to do because chances are, if someone is a single parent, he or she has been hurt by someone or some event.  The impulse is to try to keep the children from having to go through anything painful, and therefore hopefully they won’t get into a similar situation or have any problems in life.  As silly as that sounds, the reality is, that I often feel like that.  Even though I know in my head that it’s silly and actually will hurt them more to be overprotective, my heart tells me to keep them close so they won’t get hurt.  I constantly have to battle the urge to keep them from situations that have the potential to cause them pain (for instance if they fail at something they want to try).

Again, being a parent is hard, even with two parents in the picture.  But being a single parent has its own set of difficulties that need to be overcome.  What a single parent needs to keep in mind is that the ultimate goal is to raise well-adjusted, productive children.   If we allow these difficulties to get in the way of that, then we risk pushing our children into the very situations we are trying to avoid.

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