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Parenting Alone: How I'm Giving My Children A Normal Life as a Single Mom
Giving my children a normal life isn’t always easy
As a single mother, I’m forced to do things alone and make choices that don’t always make for happy children (such as going to Wal-Mart after a long day of school because we are out of milk and bread). However, most of the time, my children understand how upside down and fast paced our lives sometimes have to be. It's no secret that being a single parent has it’s ups and downs, but I learn something new everyday from my son and daughter that somehow teaches me how to be the parent l want to and need to be. While it’s easy for us all to get frustrated with each other, somehow, we compliment each others faults and find ways to laugh at our mistakes and goof ups. We are all extremely close and I hope my relationship with them always stays this way. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, but my son and daughter are my greatest life accomplishments. How lucky I am to have been given these perfect miracles.
I worry that my children will be different from others in the sense that they will never know what it is like to have a two parent household
In fact, my children have never really known this luxury because I’ve been a single parent since they were each very young. Their father was a drinker and drove me to the point of insanity...where being frightened and angry every day was a usual way of life. I did not want my children to think that alcohol was the answer to all problems so I left their father. My biggest reminders of the fact that I was doing the right thing were that I did not want my son to think he should treat women badly...and I did not want my daughter to believe a man should ever treat her that way. I wanted to give them a sense of normalcy. How odd to think you’d leave a spouse to become a single mother and think that this is giving your children a normal life. But over living in a world of alcoholic demise, I’d pick single parenting any day.
My children seem to be a well-rounded individuals
Both are incredibly intelligent and very tuned in to people’s emotions. They are both confident and loving. They know right from wrong and although this sometimes gets thrown out the window, they mostly behave very well based on what they have learned. They are also polite and honest. So, I shouldn’t really worry as much as I do that my son and daughter are missing something in life by not having two parents together to guide them in the same household. Yet every night, I spend pretty much sleepless, anxious about the decisions I’ve made for my sweetpeas. They are the most amazing children ever...truly. I only want them to have the best of everything...as I’m sure all parents do.
Giving my children everything, as a single parent, is not an easy task
While I realize I cannot literally possibly give them EVERYTHING, I do try to fulfill their needs and wants to the best of my ability. I’ve gone without many times just to make my son and daughter happy and healthy. As a parent, there isn’t anything you wouldn’t do for your children. If it’s within my means, my son and daughter will have it. On that note, because I am a single mother with a guilty conscience, I worry about overly spoiling my children. Many single parents tend to try to make up for their children not having a two parent household by giving them everything they want. Many parents believe this brings their children happiness. But this kind of happiness is only temporary.
While I do give my children toys and games on a more consistent basis than I should, they only receives these gifts with a meaning
Every fun item given to them is positive reinforcement. They are rewarded gifts for good behaviors at school, good grades, getting ready quickly in the morning, playing nice with others...,etc. Yes, I do agree that children should not be given gifts for every little behavior they do. But, as a single parent, the guilt of breaking up your children’s family just eats at you and there isn’t anything you won’t do to try and make it better. So, the way I justify giving my son and daughter what they want (and helping me to feel better about ruining their lives) is to let them know each time that they are getting a gift for good reason. And honestly, their good behaviors have far outweighed the bad.
I also try to give my children a normal life by simply spending time with them
I’ve realized how precious time is as a single parent and how tough it can be to spread this time out evenly. But, no one deserves more of my time than my son and daughter. In order to help them live in normalcy, we all do things together as often as possible. This sometimes means leaving laundry unfinished, dishes in the sink, and the toilet a little dingy. And, with my obsessive compulsive behavior, it can be quite a challenge leaving chores undone. But if I’m able to give my children a more normal life by spending one on one time with them, I’d leave every chore everyday just to make their lives amazing. Even spending an hour together in between household routines makes a difference to them. Whether we play video games, a board game, or simply read a book together every night before bed, I know that I’ve touched their lives in a way that helps them to forget, at least temporarily, that they are living in a single parent household.