Single Parenting: Expectations Vs. Reality

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Miss Misanthrope

28 thoughts on “Single Parenting: Expectations Vs. Reality

  1. I became a SAHD dad 2 years ago (our 1st baby had some problems and needed the benefits from my wife’s job). We know have a 2-month-old and a 2 1/2 year old and, some days are easier than others, but I gotta say, I have the highest respect for single parents. I have no idea how they do it! Highest respects for all the single parents out there!

  2. I would agree with most of this except the first one. I get all kinds of shade thrown at me from other moms but I’m sure it’s because we live in the Bible Belt and how dare you be a single mother? And also, I have zero help of any kind available to me as a single parent. But kudos to you if you have a support system, that’s super important.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear this. I live in the Bible Belt too actually, but I guess I’ve just been lucky. Ignore those haters though mama. Your doing great 🙂 I’m not sure where you live, but If you ever need anything (or just someone to talk with), I’ll be here for ya!

  3. I don’t have any kids, but I know what people’s opinions are of single parents, especially ones who have never been married. I have no issue with it. In my opinion, as long as the child is happy and healthy, it’s all that matters, but to others, they can give nothing but criticism.

    I have nothing but respect for single parents! It must be so difficult to look after kids without the help of an SO.

  4. Thank you for the encouragement. While I’m not a single mom, my mom was for a majority of my childhood. I admire single moms who are able to put their children first.

  5. I have always feared this for any child, I know it isn’t right to be feared, but I personally feel it to be really emotionally tough job to be accepted.

  6. This is an excellent post! I’m not a single parent but your post helps me to look around me for those who are and offer support and encouragement.

  7. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to raise a child on your own, having to deal not only with the stress of the other parent not getting involved, but also with the responsibility of a new life. I agree that single parents are supported by the community and not looked down at.

  8. Though I am not a single parent, but this article has helped me see the reality rather than what I perceive to be true. Thanks for sharing

  9. I think it’s so difficult to be a single parent. Hopefully, even if the other parent isn’t there, one can count on family members and friends to help every now. It takes a village (those 20 people 😛 ), and doing everything alone will be overwhelming.

    1. So true. Having a support system makes things so much easier. Parenting is tough no matter who you are, I know I take all the help I can get.

  10. I think it is so silly that people judge single parents, there are so many reasons they could be raising a child on their own and none of them are anyone’s business aside from the parent them self. I think single parents are amazing because you are right they are doing the work of two people!

  11. I have a friend who is a single mom and I witnessed how difficult it is raising her little girl and balancing work at the same time. And you’re right, they’re never alone in this journey. We, her family and her girl-squad support her in anyway we could. I sometimes take her daughter with me on Thursdays (since Thursday is my day-off).

    1. I bet she really appreciates the extra help, a support network is so important! I bet her little one loves hanging out with you and the girl-squad as well 🙂

  12. I have friends who are single parents and i know its not easy but they still manage to do a great job in rearing their children. My greatest salute to all single parents out there!

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