I love being a single mother. I love being single in general, but I like being on my own parenting. For the most part.
Things I love about being a single mother:
-I get to do what I want without anyone hassling me.
I read stories about women who’s husbands are against breastfeeding or against child-led weaning. Husbands who are strict disciplinarians, who insist upon spanking. Men who are dead-set, 100% against homeschooling, not to mention unschooling. Some take it as their mission to “toughen up” their sons by basically being mean to them. When you get married, you may not even think about your partner’s parenting style. And when you have kids, your ideas about everything change, especially as a mother.
I’m glad that I never had to fight with anyone (except myself, daily) to be the kind of mother that I wanted to be. I’m very thankful that I had my son before I got married, because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have married the kind of person that I would like to be married to now.
Even aside from that, I can decide to do “crazy” things like live in a van or move hundreds of miles away to get a cheap house. I can dig up most of my lawn for a garden. I can take off at a moment’s notice for anywhere that I can afford to go, and stay for months at a time if I have a mind to.
-I have a very tight relationship with my son.
I’m sure I would still have a close relationship with my son, but when it’s just the two of you, I think there is a little something extra.
-I enjoy being alone, so that works out well with being single.
-Doing it all (at least all that I do), makes me feel self-sufficient and independent. And I like feeling like that.
I like that I am forced out of my comfort zone. I tackle plumbing and carpentry and yard work, all jobs that are typically delegated to “Dad.” Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind delegating them, but doing them makes me more confident in myself and my abilities. It’s also nice to have no one else to blame if something doesn’t get done. I always here women saying that they’ve been after their husband to tackle such-and-such a job forever, and he just won’t get to it. I know that I can do it myself, so I do.
-Having to do it all yourself (yeah this was on the pro list too)
I’d really love sometimes to be able to say to someone, “the hose pipe is broken, can you fix that today so I don’t have to fill up the watering can in the kitchen to water the garden?”
I’d love to go running while my husband made dinner or read Caleb a story or played with legos with him.
It would be so nice to have a day out alone.
-The social status and loneliness
It’s going to be hard to explain this one. There isn’t much stigma about being a single mother these days, but still, you have a different social status. People don’t shun you or anything, but it’s more that you don’t fit in. Like some woman wouldn’t not be friends with you, because you were single, but you would be hard pressed to become a family friend. People don’t invite you to dinner like they would if you were a couple with a family. You get invited over for the kids to play or for lunch, but dinners are reserved for couples-respectable families.
Due to my parenting choices, I tend to find myself in groups of stay-at-home mothers. La Leche League, homeschooling groups, play groups, these things attract mothers that have time to breastfeed, homeschool, and take their kids places during the day. Now that Caleb is older, we do a lot of things with groups of other homeschoolers. Single parents DO homeschool, but I haven’t met any yet. Especially around here, homeschoolers tend to have stay-at-home mothers. Not only do they stay home, in these parts, they are also devout Catholics or Evangelicals.
So not only am I the odd man out by being single, I’m also the unwed mother (not necessarily a distinguished persona among religious conservatives, despite all their pro-life agenda-ing). Questions that take for granted my marital status… “So what does your husband do?” … “Where is your husband from?” … “What does your husband think of that?” … bring out the “I’m single” reply, and a momentary awkward silence while they categorize you in their mind (and remind themselves never to invite your family to dinner).
Of all varieties. Though I suppose this is more a problem with singleness in general, and doesn’t have much to do with being a single mother, though being a single mother makes it very difficult to date and become un-single.
-Lack of time
Since you are doing it all, there isn’t much time to do more.
I love being a mother. It’s the most wonderful thing in my life. I feel as though I am well-suited to being a single mother of a boy. And doing it alone has stretched me and challenged me like nothing else, but for all that, I’ve enjoyed it, and I will continue to enjoy it until I find just the right person to share it with.
Craft Show in Pittsburgh tomorrow for those of you in the area. We’ll be at the Rivers of Steel Pump House from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.