Being a single mum is brilliant.
I wanted to just let that sentence have its own line because usually it is caveated. ‘Being a single mum is brilliant, but…’. ‘Being a single mum isn’t all bad but it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.’ It’s not that the statement doesn’t deserve the caveats. It’s not that single mums (and dads) don’t deserve the recognition that they’re doing a bloody tough job. It’s just that I personally think that too much is made of the bad bits of single motherhood, and to erase the stigma surrounding the role, maybe the good bits need more press.
So, for starters, I thought I’d lay out a few of my favourite things about being a single mum. I will be asking other single mums to do the same so I can share their experiences here, too. And hopefully one day, a newly single mum might be able to flick through some of these posts and find hope in what’s ahead.
Good Things About Being A Single Mum:
Your Own Little Team
You get more focused one-to-one time with your child than many co-parenting teams. To put it simply (and selfishly): you get them all to yourself a lot of the time. You don’t have to split your time between your kids and your partner and the resulting closeness between you is wonderful.
You Can Enjoy Time Off
…This is one of the single parents with co-parents that their kids go to once a week or every now and again (I can’t speak for any other set up from personal experience). But as a single parent your time with your child or children is all the more intense, so as incredible as they are, you will relish the chance to have a little break from them, whether it’s a couple of hours so you can go for a run and take a bath in peace, or a whole weekend that you can go away with your best mate and live like you used to pre-kids, just for the night. If you are flying completely solo, make sure you can take a break once in a while, lean on family, friends and childcare providers to give you a little R&R time. You will appreciate this time off so much more than you ever thought possible, and make better use of your free time, too.
Just a quick aside here: A lot of my married friends often say when they see me out with friends or at a hotel ‘you’re so lucky you get time off!’. Just a reminder if any of them are reading this: You can too. There are two of you. You can LITERALLY LEAVE YOUR HOUSE WHENEVER YOU WANT and the other one of you can look after the children, no military precision planning required. (Just needed to get that off my chest.) I think what they mean is ‘you are so lucky you get GUILT-FREE time off’.
You Can Do Things Your Way
One of the drawbacks of parenting: always feeling like you’re doing everything wrong. One of the benefits of single parenting: there being nobody else there to tell you that you are. Having the freedom to make parenting decisions that you believe in, and that you know are best for your child without discussion or pushback is a glorious thing.
You Get Shit Done
I have never in my life been more productive than since I became a single mum. Time has never been more precious, and I have made more use of my personal supply of it than I did in my 29 years of childless existence. I have almost doubled my income, learnt new skills, dated (not one of the aforementioned skills I’ve mastered, sadly), travelled more and learnt how to be happy in the last three years alone. If the country was run by single mums, I truly believe it would be in better shape. BORIS.
All You Need Is Love
We’re told so often that it’s ‘not normal’ to grow up in a one parent home (despite the fact that 25% of us do). When you become a single parent, you can’t help but worry that somehow, you won’t be enough. The best thing about being a single parent? You are enough. You have enough. You give enough. The imaginary spaces in your home that you thought someone else would fill? You fill them with your love, your wisdom, your kindness, your patience. (And yes, sometimes, your iPad, so you can have just one cup of tea in peace.) Your child doesn’t have less, they have more. More of you and more of your love. It’s all for them.
Being a single mum is bloody brilliant.
Please feel free to tell me your favourite thing about being a single mum in the comments, below.