For over a year, I have been a single mom of three little girls, ages 7 and under. I have to say that the transition from married mother to single mother has been especially easy. I think single motherhood suits my personality better, and it certainly seems to have benefited the children. We have a solid routine that is only interrupted by weekends at Dad's, and our bond with each other is stronger than ever.
Despite my insistence that I am happy and fulfilled without a man in the house, I still get the line, "One day, you will meet someone," not to mention, "I don't know how you do it." I am not looking, and the thought of blending someone else into our tight, little family unit is unappealing to me.
I think single moms have a lot of advantages. Though I have a strong belief in happy, healthy family units that include both parents and the kids all working together to have the best life possible, sometimes, it just does not work out that way.
Being a single parent is not something that people should feel is a disadvantage or a pray-that-you-find-someone lifestyle. There are a lot of wonderful things that single parents can take advantage of and that dual parents cannot. Here are some of them that I have discovered!
Granted, single parents have a lot less sex than married parents do, especially if they are not dating anyone. But I also go to sleep and have the entire bed to stretch out and relax in. No sharing covers, no partner to wake me at night with a kick and no snoring co-sleeper to keep me up (unless you count my beagle). When I do share my bed, it is with my kids, and there is nothing more precious to me than my little ones curling up next to me with room to spare. I control the temperature, my bedtime, the time I keep the light on and so on. I sleep longer and better, and I wake up refreshed more than I ever did when I was married.
It used to be that bedtime was husband time. Truth be told, sometimes I felt like he was more work than the kids were. If I get the kids to bed on time, I have all those hours before I go to sleep to fold laundry, do chores or even curl up with a good book. I cherish that time, and I can even be found watching my kids sleeping and snapping photos of their sweetness.
This is probably my favorite advantage to date. My ex and I did not agree on parenting styles. Negotiating with him to come up with a suitable solution to behavioral issues was a task in its own right. But now, Mommy makes the rules, and the kids follow them or suffer the consequences. There are no gray areas and no ways for Daddy to come in and let it slide. I find that my kids are happier with the routine, and their behavior has vastly improved.
Now that I have a few weekends a month when I get to be with just me, I find that my friendships have become more of a center point in my life. During my marriage, it was hard to carve out time to go to dinners and movies with my friends and go on trips with them. But now, I make it a point to be there for them as they have always been there for me. My friendships have strengthened, and I could not be more thrilled!
A recent study showed that married women tend to gain more weight and take worse care of themselves than do single women. This was definitely the case for me. I gained 60 pounds during my six-year marriage and lost 40 of them within the first six months of the separation. I have some to go, but I look and feel amazing. I wear makeup, care how I dress and have so much confidence that it is sometimes hard to be around me. This feeling of true happiness cannot be marred now because I have learned what I am capable of. Taking care of me is now a priority for me. It replaces taking care of him!
Since my separation and divorce, I am the sole breadwinner. While it scared me in the beginning, it is now a motivating factor to make smarter decisions and execute on things that I might have shied away from in the beginning due to apprehension. Yes, if something falls through, I get scared. But because I now earn all my money and totally control my spending, I am building back the nest egg that was so easily lost in the marriage.
Singles are traveling, buying homes and doing everything they want to do. You don't have to get married anymore to live your life in style.
The motivation to make sure my kids stay in the lifestyle they were used to is intoxicating. But I have done it, and the more I succeed, the more I want to do even more!
OK, so this is a silly one. But it is oh-so true. While grooming and primping are important not only to married women but to singles, too, I get to make the decision on when I do it. The same goes for when I go to the store, when I wash my car and when I make dinner. All of the decisions for my kids and me are back in my court. Just like the no-negotiation advantage, the freedom to choose when, where and how without consulting someone else is actually quite freeing!
As I have stated before, if I could provide my children with a healthy, happy married family for them to grow up in, that would be my ultimate. But their dad and I could not make it work. So this life provides me with more happiness, more stability and more success than the prior one did. Being a single mom is not something people should see as a "woe is me" situation. It should be a "look at me" celebration!
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