Women UK look at the benefits of being a single parent, now before all you married women shout ‘WHAAAATTTT’, we agree that the ‘perfect’ scenario is a happy, loving two parent family unit that includes both parents and all the children working together to have the best life possible. But life isn’t always that simple or often doesn’t quite work out like that. With single parenting on the increase, we look at the now antiquated view that it is full of disadvantages, we beg to differ!
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…..
- My bed is my own, ok, so single parents have a lot less sex than the married parents , particularly if they are not on the dating scene but single parents get to stretch out, no snoring companion to wake you up in the night and if your little one does decide to join you, there’s room!
- No more negotiating! Sometimes being married needs the skills of a United Nations negotiator. Most people have slightly different parenting skills as we all grew up with different parents. Sometimes just deciding on the ‘rules’ between parents can be a mammoth task itself. In single parenting the boundaries are easier. No more fighting about who does what. Theoretically, the workload required to raise children alone should be twice as heavy as when two parents are present. But in fact, the energy it takes to argue over who does what can be far more draining than the task itself. Consider all the time and effort that goes into figuring out a system of sharing the jobs around the house, nagging your spouse to fulfill his part of the bargain, resenting him for not doing it, and then figuring out a new system that probably won’t work either.
- Weekends Off – Single parents get every other weekend off! If mothers really understood the magnitude of this benefit, even happily married women might be tempted to race to the divorce court. (joking of course) Most mothers in married life don’t get to know the sheer bliss of an uninterrupted afternoon — never mind a whole weekend . Just imagine: every other weekend on your own, in your own house. If you clean, it stays clean. Nothing moves that hasn’t been moved by you. You don’t have to cook. You don’t even have to get out of bed if you don’t want to — except, of course, to replenish that supply of wine and chocolate. You can rediscover friendships, have time to meet for dinner or trips with your girlfriends without the headache of organising childcare!
- Choices! As a single parent, you are free to indulge all those little idiosyncrasies that you try to rein in when you live with someone else. If you’re a neatnik, you can give in to your compulsions and hang things in military order by colour, size, or type of garment; if you’re not, you can wallow in disarray. You can sleep late or retire early, eat crackers in bed, watch old movies, leave all the windows open, let the dog sleep next to you. After years of tenuously maintained compromise, you get to do what you want when you want.
Singles are travelling, buying homes and doing everything they want to do. You don’t have to get married anymore to live your life in style. And there’s no question that kids miss the parent who’s not with them. If you’ve got children, being married is undoubtedly better — but not at all costs. Being a single mother is infinitely preferable to living in a bad marriage, and it even has some things worth celebrating. The children are usually all right. Contrary to the predictions of some know-it-alls, most children have made it thus far without stealing hubcaps, selling crack cocaine, or joining a cult — and there is every indication that most will reach adulthood without any such problems. They have more responsibility — for themselves, for each other, for the household. They help out with jobs and errands. They look out for each other.
So next time somebody gives you the ‘knowing’ look or tell you ‘I don’t know how you do it’ you can reply with the same right back at them! Well done all you single mothers, raising your children and working to support your families. Women UK salute you!