There are some advantages of parenting alone
It’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of being a Solo Mom. After all, parenting solo is hard. We’ve all gotten the looks and the questions and comments: “How do you ever sleep?” “I’d never be able to do that all on my own,” or “Kids need both their parents.” But let’s face it, even under so-called ideal conditions, parenting can be difficult and stressful. Add to that marital problems, and suddenly you have a precarious situation that needs to be managed very carefully.
Before my husband and I divorced, it seemed like every part of our lives, from the biggest events to the most mundane details, had become a battle of wills. And those of you who think the kids aren’t affected by this kind of familial discord are fooling yourselves. When we finally made the break, it was emotionally difficult. But the freedom to parent without a partner, to be a Solo Mom, allowed me to more fully understand my strengths and weaknesses as a mother.
In reality, being a Solo Mom isn’t all that bad. It is true that all the responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders, but there are plenty of positive results that balance that out. In fact, there are some big advantages and amazing moments that only a Solo Mom will experience.
As parents, we teach our kids the importance of sharing, at least for them. But the truth is, sharing is hard. Coparenting requires compromise. We have to share in the decision making regarding everything from education to health care and even daily food choices. As a Solo Mom, you can kiss sharing goodbye. No more long, heated discussions about school, meals, discipline, and recreation. You get to make decisions based on what you feel is best for your child without intervention. And while all that control also comes with all the responsibility, there’s a freedom that only Solo Moms will experience.
Collaboration takes on a whole new meaning when it’s just you and the kids. Because you’ve taken the decision-making committee down to a single adult member, you can easily open up the discussion to include your kids. One-on-one communication with your children is invaluable, and you never have to wonder whether you’re contradicting your partner. You can bring your kids in on some of the important choices, getting their buy-in and making life a whole lot simpler and rewarding for everyone involved.
Getting the goods
When you’re parenting on your own, you are the receiver of all good things. Every school project becomes a tribute to Mom. Every sweet note, work of art, made-up song, and dramatic performance is created for you and you alone. You are the patron of the arts, the head honcho, the queen of the world!
Perhaps most important, when you’re a Solo Mom, you get to see the direct results of your time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears. When you’re coparenting, your children are going to be influenced and affected by your partner. But on your own, you get the satisfaction of seeing the results of your labor firsthand, knowing for certain that you’ve been the biggest contributor when it comes to your little person’s development. Of course, there are pitfalls. When something goes wrong, it’s easy for Solo Moms to embrace self-blame in massive proportions. But even when disaster strikes, being the solo parent provides a unique opportunity for learning and growth. Just as our children learn from their missteps, so do we. And it’s so much easier to see the impact of your actions when you’re a Solo Mom.
Amy Rivers is a writer and mother of two. She has a master’s degree with concentrations in psychology and political science, and enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction pieces about women and women’s issues. Her debut novel, Wallflower Blooming, was released in August 2016. You can follow her on Twitter at @WritingRivers and learn more about her work at her website, www.amyrivers.com.
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