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Mythbuster #4 – Parenting Alone is the Hardest Gig Ever

If there was a club for lone parents and I was a member of that club, this post would have the chairperson asking me to return my membership card and unceremoniously kicking my ass to the curb outside the clubhouse.

Thankfully, there is no such club and, therefore, I am not a member, so what I’m about to say will not result in a bruised derriere.

I’ve been parenting alone for about 8 years. My eldest was born in India and I stayed there with her until she was 9 months  old, while the ex was in Singapore. We lived together as a family only for 3 months or so. When my (then) husband was around, he was not particularly interested in the child. So, in reality, I was a lone parent with my eldest daughter. I was on my own with my second daughter from the day after I found out I was pregnant with her.

So, for six years now I have been on my own with two daughters. I have made all the decisions. Everything – from what country we will live in, to what they will wear, to what they will have for dinner – is my decision. Choosing schools, houses, cars and holidays all comes down to me. Making decisions regarding medical care and vaccinations is my duty and mine alone.  Some people would balk at this responsibility. I revel in it. There are no arguments with anyone else about my decisions. Things are the way I say they are. Yes, the buck stops with me – but I have never shied away from responsibility.

I enjoy my autonomy. I am the sheriff and there is no deputy. I am quite convinced that the fact that I am a lone parent has been responsible for honing my children’s negotiation skills. If I refuse a request, for example, they need to live with it, convince me otherwise or broker a workable compromise. They can’t go running to Daddy and try to play us off one against the other.

At the drop of a hat, I can decide that my children and I are going off for the day – or the week, or the summer. There are no lengthy discussions with ‘the other half’. It’s just done.

I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like a partner – but I’ve already been married twice and I know that’s not all it’s cracked up to be, either.  Being in a relationship doesn’t automatically mean that there is someone around to share the chores with; it doesn’t mean that you have regular sex; it doesn’t guarantee adult conversation and it doesn’t mean you’ll have someone around to offer to make the dinner or a cup of tea.

Being on your own means you know where you stand. In order to give that up, I’d be looking – not for a partner, but the right partner. In the absence of that elusive male, I’d rather be on my own with my children.

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12 thoughts on “Mythbuster #4 – Parenting Alone is the Hardest Gig Ever

    • Lady Scribbles says:

      Hi Crystal ~

      Thanks for stopping by. Sometimes I think that if I had boys it would be harder. Even though I have four brothers and five nephews, I wouldn’t know what to do with a son!

      Hazel

  1. Good for you!

    I have a fabulous partner, and I know I’m very lucky. He works abroad every second week, though, so again all decisions regarding our child are made by me, because I’m the one who is there all day, every day. And that’s the way I like it, too.

    We do occasionally have to talk through important decisions such as schooling, and it’s nice to have him there for that.

    I think I might actually have that elusive balance. Now maybe I should appreciate it a bit more!

    • Lady Scribbles says:

      Ah Balance! It’s all about balance, isn’t it, Jane? I agree, it’s nice to have someone to talk the important decisions through with. I’m usually happy enough to make those decisions myself – but when I need someone to bounce things off, I have friends and family.

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoy parenting alone. We so often hear the other side of the story from others who aren’t quite as happy to be a lone parent that it’s quite refreshing to hear you speak of your experience. It’s good to hear you say that you don’t just want any partner, you want the right one. My best friend is also parenting alone and when she was with her husband, she used to feel she’d die if he ever left. Well he did and it was only then she realised how bad it had been and how much better she was knowing that nobody was coming in the door in the evening instead of fretting when he didn’t. Good on you and I hope you always remain as happy with your two girls. Maria x

    • Lady Scribbles says:

      Hi Maria!

      Thanks for taking the time to read and make a comment. I can relate to your friend’s relationship – I thought I would die if my first husband and I split up. Until I realised that I was more likely to die if I stayed with him! A lot of women stay in unhealthy relationships because they are afraid of the financial implications of being on their own – but there is so much that is more important than money! I’m very blessed and I know it. 🙂 Hx

  3. Knowing your bubbly spirit I’m certain your daughters are having a fabulous time – and must adore having you all to themselves. I often wonder if the movies that make young children out to be match makers for single parents, are fibbing? I can’t imagine a young child wanting to share their parent, including young children of parents who are still together! Believe me I’ve even experienced that in my (blessed) marriage.

    Good for you for keeping your daughters happy and with you, I know that is the most valuable kind of security. Kristi

  4. Hi Hazel:
    Great post… well written and passionate.
    I was a lone parent to my eldest daughter for 9 years and I have to say I loved most of it. It did get lonely and at times I found the responsibility daunting. But I agree with all the upsides as you outlined.

    I was lucky, I did find the right partner. A strong man and we added 2 more daughters. In lots of ways – I am still in charge of parenting. Its great cos now I can say ‘listen I have been here before, trust me’ and he does.

    So if your right partner comes along – you can have the best of both worlds! But either way – you will enjoy a close bond with your girls.

    Wishing you all the very best..
    b
    x

  5. hi hazel,
    i agree! Glad you wrote this post, i think it’s the first time i’ve ever heard anyone else voice what you’ve said here.
    I have done it both ways, ten years parenting alone and the last seven parenting with a partner. There are pros and cons to both, no one ever talks about the advantages of being the sole parent, like you said, you get to decide on everything (without consultation) and there is a great freedom and satisfaction in that responsibility. There are many supports and groups for lone parents that seem to assume that its a terrible struggle to which `back to work` courses are the answer. Thats always bothered me, the pressure, finanical and social, put on a single parent to take an underpaid job rather than spend time rearing their children, esp in a society whose consititution recognises the married woman’s right to stay at home whether they like it or not!
    I also clearly remember people i met through work or socially, assuming that because i was a lone parent that I would benefit from a second chance at eduction, an ecdl course or even counselling. “It must be hard.” Newsflash to the Irish public (and media) lone parents often have careers, degrees and are…(shock, horror!) often content!

    • Lady Scribbles says:

      Hi Niamh

      Thanks for stopping by. Your last point had me going ‘Ha!’ because you are right. To many, the thought of not being in a relationship AND bringing up children AND being happy is unfathomable. I’m living proof (and you were too, for ten years) that it is achievable.

      Hazel

  6. Really refreshing and honest post.
    I am part of a couple raising kids but totally get that it has to be with the ‘right’ partner. You are very admirable and I have seen lots of different ways to parent. The main factor has got to be what is best for the children involved and you seem to have worked your situation perfectly. I know from other people how tiring it is being on your own and so wish you lots of luck with your girls.

    • Lady Scribbles says:

      Thanks so much for getting in touch, Brigid. You are absolutely right that what is best for the child/ren has to be paramount. Too often, it’s easy to lose sight of that, or get overwhelmed by different notions of what that really is.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Hazel

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