Maybe you’re new to this single parenting game, maybe you’re a seasoned pro, or maybe you’re just curious about the life of a single parent. Either way, I hope to overturn some common misconceptions about single parenting. Without further ado, this is Single Parenting: Expectation Vs. Reality.
Single Parenting Expectation: People Will Look Down On You
Every single parent I know has gone through the downward spiral that is self-doubt. We also have a tendency to project those negative emotions on to the people around us, assuming they think the worst about our parenting situation. Television and the Internet have not helped in shaking this stereotype, and it can certainly make a single parent self-conscious.
Reality: You have an amazing support network.
In my experience at least, I have had more support than I could imagine. Sometimes even more than I’m comfortable with. I’ve yet to receive a negative comment on my parenting abilities, but I do have a ton of people who want to help. Friends, family, teachers, and even kind strangers have helped me through more than one sticky situation – no judgment in tow.
Just yesterday, I was at Target and my son was having a meltdown of epic proportions about not getting a toy. I was determined not to give in – But as he wailed in the checkout line, my embarrassment grew. I was nearly ready to leave the cart and walk when the stranger in line behind me tapped on my shoulder. She told me I was doing a good job, and that it was going to be okay – she sometimes has the same problem with her grandsons, and she knows how hard it can be. A woman I’d never met before gave me the confidence to stay solid and finish my shopping trip. If that’s not support, I don’t know what is.
Expectation: You’re Doing the Work of 2 People
You are a Mom and a Dad. Playing baseball, and braiding hair. You need double the income from one job, maybe you’re even working more than one job. You do the housework and the yard work. All those tasks that would be split between two people, you’re doing them you’re self, and you’re making it work.
Reality: You’re Doing the Work of 20 People
It true that it takes a village to raise a child, and you are that village. You are a maid, a chef, a landscaper, a football coach, a barber/beautician, a life coach, and the primary breadwinner. Juggling tasks, and trying to keep it together have become second nature. You’re stressed out, but you get things done.
Single Parenting Expectation: You Can do it All by Yourself
You are Wonder Woman and Super Man. Swinging the Lasso of Truth, and leaping tall buildings in a single bound. You can work full time, parent full time, cook, clean, teach, discipline and get to bed on time. Let’s not forget about having friends, setting up play dates, and interacting with other parents.
Reality: Parenting is Stressful and You Need Help Sometimes
We let ourselves think we can do it all alone, or that we have to do it all alone. But the truth is, parenting is hard, and two-parent homes don’t do it all alone either. So when Grandma asks to take the kiddos for the weekend, let her and don’t feel bad about it. It is more than okay to get a sitter so that you can have a night to yourself. It’s okay to ask your friends to come over and help you clean the house. You are doing enough on your own, and it is okay to ask for help. Even superheroes have to team up sometimes.
Single Parenting Expectation: You’re Somehow Different or Less Equipped than other Parents
There is a stigma that comes with becoming a single parent that can make us feel so different from other parents. Sometimes we feel like we aren’t enough.
Reality: Every Parent Struggles – And You are Enough!
Every parent and every child is different. And your struggles as a single parent, are not that different from the struggles every parent faces. Every parent has trouble with bedtime, meal times (we’re all tired of chicken nuggets), and finding those damn shoes. So just remember Mama or Daddy, you are enough. You’re doing a good job. And everything is gonna be okay.
Are there any parenting expectations you struggle with? Let me know in the comments. And if you’re interested in my parenting journey, check out my post on working full time as a single parent.