The Joys and Challenges of Being a Single Parent

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I had a rough day on Friday.  I mean, a really rough day.  My youngest has her normal 359 pounds of things packed to go to her dad’s.  I got my older daughter to school a little late.  Then work ran long.  Like I ended up leaving an hour late to pick up my oldest.  We were then supposed to: (1) commute back an hour to the house, (2) get our bags ready to go, (3) load the dogs up in the car, (4) go to the barn to let my oldest ride her horses, (5) drop off the dogs 30 minutes away in Petsmart and finally (6) check into a hotel where we would go to bed early for our 6 am flight to Oklahoma, where my oldest girls’ dad lives.  We made it back to the house, but ended up turning back twice because we forgot the dog’s medicine, and then my camera bag.  By that time, we  were running so late that I was afraid that we wouldn’t get the dogs dropped off in time.  Basically in tears, I called my daughter’s riding instructor and told her we weren’t going to make it.  Cue the mom guilt.

While I would like to say that such a day is an isolated incident, sadly, it’s not.  As a single, working mom there are a lot of rough days.  Days when I would give practically anything just to have someone help.  Even if it meant doing a load of laundry, cook a meal, or run an errand.  But at the end of the day, if your kids go to bed fed, homework done, and not a complete mess, it’s on you.  For better or for worse.  If you’re a lucky single parent, you have a lot of resources out there to help you – relatives, friends, etc.  While I am lucky that my ex-in laws watch my youngest daughter before and after school, the rest of my support system pretty much looks back at me in the mirror.  This is the life of a single parent.  And I’m not alone.  Out of 12 million single parent families, 9.8 million households are single mother families (that’s 84%).  Nearly half of those single mother households have an annual income less than $25,000 and the annual cost of center-based infant care averages more than 40% of the state median income for a single mother.  

Bottom line – it’s not easy.  But it’s not all bad either.  I have a deep, deep relationship with my two girls.  We bond on vacation, at meals, and yes, even through dealing with struggles on a level that I know I wouldn’t otherwise if I was not a single mom.  We are a team.  A lean, mean, getting stuff done machine.  We pitch in.  We help.  My girls will be strong and independent.  My oldest is learning to cook.  Not only is it a life skill that’s important for her to have, it helps her contribute to the family because Lord knows there are 45825 things that need to get done when we get home, and her making dinner is a great way for her to learn and fill up her Instagram feed with all the yummy food she makes.  My youngest delights in cooking breakfast on the weekend.  We live, and love, and laugh.  I get stressed and yell sometimes.  They learn that it is okay to apologize, and be human.  We learn and communicate together.  We watch all girl movies, all the time.  We laugh.  We laugh so much.  And in those moments, there is such joy to parent-singlehood that I would not give up for the world.  

In recognition of National Single Parent’s Day on March 21st, Angel Soft toilet paper has launched a new video celebrating the joys and challenges and being a single parent – sharing the story of three single parents and how they have overcome incredible odds, and granting a wish to help make their lives a little easier.  Cue the tissues for me.  

So take time out over the next few days to honor and appreciate the single parents in your life!

Comments

  1. says

    Being a parent is hard, more so, being a single parent. But I agree, it’s not that bad either. I was a single parent for years after my first husband passed so I can totally relate to that. But I know your kids are proud of you.

  2. says

    I didn’t know their was a special day to celebrate single parents. I was raised by a single Mom. She raised two girls on her own. It wasn’t perfect but I had a good childhood.

  3. says

    It definitely takes a strong and determined woman to be a single mom. I was a single mom and it was tough, but it can definitely be done. It really does take a village sometimes. :)

  4. says

    I did not know today was National Single Parent’s Day! Your kids are lucky to have such an amazing mom, I know I am to have mine who raised me on her own throughout my teenage years.

  5. rika says

    Thanks for sharing this! I can’t imagine being a single parent. Must be hard! Your kids will appreciate your love!

  6. says

    I remember these days all too well. It is so hard being a single mom. I was a single mom for a long time before I got remarried. Single moms are heroes and I admire everything that you are doing for your kids.

  7. Kathy says

    I loved watching this video. I think it’s great that they gave to these people. They’ll always remember it and it’s such a great help to them!

  8. Victoria Heckstall says

    Being a parent is not always easy. Especially when you are single raising your child. Single parents are real heroes.

  9. says

    I been there and done that was a single parent of three for several years. We became a close family. Now they are grown and I wouldn’t have changed the challenges and triumphs we overcame!

  10. says

    Happy National Single Parents’ Day. I have high respects to single parents. It’s not easy being a parent, what more if you have to do it on your own.

  11. Claudia Krusch says

    I have so much respect for single parents. It is not easy to have to be both Mom and Dad. I try to help out my single parent friends whenever I can.

  12. says

    Being a parent WITH help can be tiring in itself. I can only image the struggles and challenges when you are a single parent – it must be such a rewarding and empowering feeling though!

  13. says

    I can’t imagine being a single mom! You are my hero! My husband works long hours and I feel like a single Mom a lot of the time, but I know that he will eventually come home and I will get a break! You amaze me!

  14. says

    I am so grateful that I have always had a wonderful husband to help with raising our children. I cannot even begin to imagine the trials that go along with being a single parent.

  15. says

    You are my hero!! There is SO much that needs to get done and as a single parent doing it all has to be so HARD! Keep up what you are doing! You kids love you for being their mom!

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