Thankfully Single Parenting? 10 Lessons Learnt!

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As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I am thankfully single parenting? Huh?? Really!!!  Being a single parent is one of the most challenging jobs you will ever undertake in the world. No exaggeration! It is really hard to see your children dealing with issues that as a single parent it seems like you have to solve or at least try to. There is no other parent to consult with. It’s just you!  

So here are ten lessons I have learnt about being a single parenting.

Lesson one – It’s hard!

It’s tough being a single parent. I grew up in a two parent household and was clueless to the challenges that I would face as a single parent. All the decisions are mine. The problems in the household are mine to solve including childhood and teen outbursts and frustrations. There are no other words to describe it. It is just tough!

Lesson two – You constantly question yourself

Single parenting makes you doubtful. What if you made the wrong decision in becoming a single parent? What if my kids end up all mixed up? What was I thinking? I could never parent on my own! Some of us are single parenting by choice and others by circumstances. Whatever your situation, I think all parents, not just single parents, question their parenting skills at times.

Lesson three – Problems are everywhere

Not all problems will be solved today or ever for that matter! I think this applies to everyone! Some problems can be dealt with today and others cannot. Some problems will last a lifetime. Others can be addressed gradually over time and that’s okay. You will live to fight another day.  As a single parent you may feel that you are somehow inadequate because you were not able to solve today’s problems.

Lesson four – Kids are resilient

Children are stronger than we think. We often neglect the fact that children are usually more open minded and are able to rebound much faster than adults. Although it doesn’t seem so at first, but with time, children adjust to the changes that emanated from divorce and separation much faster than adults do. I do suggest that you constantly communicate with and spend time with your kids. Eventually your kids will share how they really feel.

Lesson five – Kids feel pain 

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Children feel pain. How does a two year old express the pain or loss of a parent? I don’t know. I do know that one day post separation my daughter cried and screamed for almost an entire day for apparently no reason to me. She was not hungry, she was clean, she was clothed. I felt so frustrated, sad, angry, depressed. I was just about ready to give up that day. The timely intervention and kindness of a neighbor (who later became my friend) saved the day.

Lesson six –Single parents need support

Single parents need a strong support system. It is important to have a really good support system.  Maybe other single parents or families can babysit for you or you can swap babysitting services, especially if the other parent is not actively involved in your child’s life.  Many days and nights are spent just figuring out who is going to help you take care of your children when you are at work, or if there is an emergency.

Lesson seven – Yes you can have a social life!

Single parent, social life, huh? I write of my own experience…going on dates is tricky. As a single parent you have to decide if you want a social life, to date etc. And then once you make that decision, how much of your social life or dating life do you really want to share with your children? It all depends on your own personal preferences. I did not want to have too many persons coming in and out of my daughter’s life, so I was always very very careful about my choice of friends, social networks and dates.

Lesson eight – Prayer is life changing

God is able even when I am not.  I am not almost all the time!  Most times I feel like I am making the wrong decision. So I have to pray and ask God to help me make the right decision not sometimes but all the times.  Every day, taking time to pray, read and meditate is a game and life changer!

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Lesson nine –Humility is a must

Being a parent is a humbling experience. I was in awe the first time I saw my daughter as a baby and have been ever since. She has taught me so many lessons that I could have never learned on my own. I have learnt that her needs supercede mine, she depends on me.

Lesson ten – It is rewarding!

Being a single parent is super rewarding! It is an awesome responsibility and privilege being a parent. There is something even more rewarding knowing that parenting can be completed just as ably by one parent as by two! 

Honestly, I would have never learnt or even known those lessons if I hadn’t become a single parent myself. I am grateful and thankful for my daughter and the awesome single parent I have become! Even if I do say so myself!

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