The joy of being a single parent

I can finally feel the joy of being a single parent.

Becoming a single parent when my son was five months old felt like trekking off alone into the dark wilderness where the wind was biting and howling and I had this precious little baby to protect and to shelter. 

I didn’t know whether I could do it. 

None of my friends were single parents.  Not all of them were married but all were happily coupled.  On my single parent journey I had no map and the path felt totally untrodden.  It has taken me a while to realise how awesome being a single mum can be and to really appreciate the joy of being a single parent. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are downsides, but there are wondrous and wonderful moments too.  This blog post is a glass half full post.  At times being a single parent really is a great thing and I am very lucky. 

joy of being a single parent

When we first moved into our flat two and half years ago, it felt like peace had finally descended.  The anger and the bitterness between me and my ex was still there, but because we were no longer living together it was no longer in our faces.  Far from being a ‘broken-home’, mine and Cygnet’s home is a happy and calm home (except when he is having a threenager tantrum, but that’s another story). 

During the day there is no one I have to explain my decisions to or consult on any matter.  There is just me.  I am the line of authority.  I give Cygnet a range of options that suit me and he chooses between them. Things are simple and easy. 

Of course, as a single mother in a co-parenting relationship I have to consult Cygnet’s father on the big things.  School choices for instance will be an important discussion. Christmas and birthdays and our schedule for co-parenting Cygnet are significant talking points.  But the smaller day-to-day things like what to have for dinner, or going to the cinema, or what to wear, or whether or not to go to the park don’t require discussion or consultation.   After a period when the slightest and smallest decision could turn into a great conflict, the freedom to decide on the small stuff is incredibly liberating.

I have no man to cook for or look after.  I can cook what Cygnet and I like to eat and don’t have to keep up with my ex’s latest food fad. 

The mental load is less because I only have to worry about us.  I just do the stuff myself, or I decide that it is not important enough to be done. Living like this is so less stressful.  There is no frustration or lingering disappointment that you get with a partner who comes in, sinks into the sofa for the evening and expects to be fed, gets frustrated when dinner isn’t quite ready yet, has to eat a chocolate bar because dinner is late and “his blood sugar is low” and gets chocolate all over the sofa.  I had a full time job too!    

Mine and Cygnet’s time is special.  It is just us and we can indulge in each others’ company.  We can read stories, we can role down the slope at the local park, we can go to the theatre.  We can sing songs and act out stories from his Cbeebies magazine.

Once you get over the fear of the dark wilderness of single parenthood, the cold air is bracing and invigorating and the wind no longer howls – it sings a tuneful and joyous melody. 

The joy of being a single parent is real. 

My Random Musings
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55 Comments

  1. November 20, 2017 / 9:55 am

    This is such a wonderful post, and one you should re-visit if you’re ever struggling. My husband and I are currently in the thick of parenting two children under 2.5-years-old and it’s so damn hard. I often ask myself, is it meant to be this hard? There are days I want to hide, and days we have blow outs over the most minute of things, essentially all you have mentioned. But, underneath it all, I love him, I love the life we have created together and we have our moments of togetherness, they’re not as numerous as they once were, but they’re there. Life, what a mad journey it is. #AnythingGoes

    • thesingleswan
      November 20, 2017 / 10:43 pm

      Hi Kirsty, You love your husband/partner – I didn’t and he certainly didn’t love me. Love makes it worth it. Without love, it definitely isn’t worth it. Pen x

  2. November 20, 2017 / 11:33 am

    Such an upbeat post – I can see how being a single parent can have its advantages. #mg

    • thesingleswan
      November 20, 2017 / 10:42 pm

      Thanks Corinne

  3. November 20, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Love this Pen. There have been many times that I’ve thanked my lucky stars that I’m a single parent because yes, life is simpler. I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to do whatever I want, or whatever I want for my daughter. While that can also make life tougher at times, I think most of the time the good outweighs the bad. I’m in no hurry to find a relationship, put it that way!
    Emma recently posted…Thinking about becoming a single mother by choice? 6 places to find information & support…My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 20, 2017 / 10:41 pm

      Thank you Emma. I absolutely agree with you. Life is so much easier and simpler as a single parent than it would have been had I stayed with my ex. It sounds like we are glorifying single parenthood – I don’t think we are. I think the message is that sometimes doing things on your own is sooo much easier than sticking in a dis-functional and unhappy relationship. pen x

  4. November 20, 2017 / 4:21 pm

    I am so on board with this! My kids are the biggest reason why I choose to stay single. I don’t want someone else coming in trying to act like a parent to my kids or try to tell me how to parent. The reality is when in a relationship there are constant compromises and arguments about the littlest and stupidest things. I love my life with my boys and I love our routine. I even love my co-parenting routine with my ex. When people start to give me crap about dating again, I just say to them that for now and probably for the next several years, my children are the loves of my life. Such a great Post Pen! You said everything I’ve been trying to tell people for a long time:) #anythinggoes
    Michelle Kellogg recently posted…100 Truths Blogger TagMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 20, 2017 / 10:39 pm

      Thanks Michelle, it sounds like we are both on exactly the same page. Life is soooo much easier as a single parent sometimes. I dread meeting someone that will turn my life upside down and where I might have to compromise on my parenting style and decisions. That’s not to say my parenting style is the right one – far from it – it is just easier sometimes. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      November 20, 2017 / 10:36 pm

      Hi Katrina,

      Thanks for your comment. to be honest, by the time I get Cygnet into bed and asleep, I am just desperate for my glass of wine and a bath. Pen x

  5. November 21, 2017 / 7:47 am

    It’s nice to see the perks of being a single parent, it sure beats living with someone you loathe. #AnythingGoes

    • thesingleswan
      November 21, 2017 / 9:57 pm

      It most definitely beats living with someone you loathe. Thanks for your comment. Pen x

  6. November 23, 2017 / 5:08 pm

    A really strong and empowering post for others in a similar situation. I love your point about being the sole authority on the day-to-day things. Thanks for linking up to #thesatsesh

    • thesingleswan
      November 23, 2017 / 9:20 pm

      Thank you Hayley, Pen x

  7. November 23, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    What a lovely post. I think there are def ups and downs on both single and coupled parenting. I have a friend very angry with her partner because they’ve had very different parenting ideas, and another angry she is always the bad guy and he’s the good guy. You might have a lot in common and love each other but suddenly discover you play the parenting game very differently. Good post. #Stayclassymama
    Lydia C. Lee recently posted…Share the Dignity – It’s in the Bag #ChristmasLinkUpMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 23, 2017 / 9:20 pm

      Thank you Lydia. Yes, you are right, there are definitely ups and downs for both aspects of parenting. Thanks for your comment. Pen x

  8. Lucie
    November 24, 2017 / 12:22 pm

    I have been a single parent since my son was 3 years old – with a break of 6 years where I misguidedly lived with a partner.

    You think co-parenting with the actual father of your child is bad, try living with a partner who is not that that childs bio dad. It was hell on earth. My partner had no kids and just DID NOT GET that kids are noisy and messy. I left him when my son was 13, as he was making both us miserable. My son is now 21, I have remained single, and I absolutely LOVE IT.

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:20 pm

      Hi Lucie,

      Thank you for sharing your story. There is certainly a lot that we can learn from your story. Pen x

  9. November 24, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    Such an important post to write and to share, it really shows how you can get out of bad relationships and yes it is hard in so many ways to go it alone, but it is far better than staying in a bad, or dangerous relationship that may hurt you emotionally or physically. Well written and truly inspirational! Thank you for sharing this with #ablogginggoodtime
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…a blogging good timeMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:20 pm

      Thank you Mac, as always, for your lovely comments on my blog. Pen x

  10. November 24, 2017 / 1:44 pm

    Amazing! – I know being a single parent must definitely be tough but I always envisioned there must be an upside too which is THIS! Such a fab post and one which I’m off to shout loud about thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xoxo

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:19 pm

      Thank you Talya. Pen x

  11. November 24, 2017 / 4:09 pm

    What a little felt read #blogcrush

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:18 pm

      Thanks Berni.

  12. November 24, 2017 / 11:22 pm

    My fave blog post in ages!!! I used to feel so guilty for being a single mum but of late ,when I stop and think , actually we have a lovely life all of us . Calm and drama free and I get to be on the front line with these amazing people everyday #thesatsesh
    daydreams of a mum recently posted…Being more kind….My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:17 pm

      Yes, you are exactly right. I used to feel tremendously guilty for not giving Cygnet the happy upbringing in a nuclear family that I had. I am getting over my guilt though, we have a lovely life together – much better than we ever would have had had I stayed with my ex. Pen xx

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:15 pm

      thanks Cassie. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:15 pm

      Thank you Lisa. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:15 pm

      Oh goodness, that sounds tough. I hope you’re okay. Pen x

  13. November 26, 2017 / 10:32 am

    Truly inspirational and so refreshing to read about the positives. Thanks for joining in at #TriumphantTales 🙂

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:14 pm

      Thank you Jaki. Pen x

  14. The Mummy Bubble
    November 26, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    I’m so glad you’ve found yourself in a happy place. Its such a daunting concept to me, I’m not sure how I would cope, but it sounds like you’re doing brilliantly xx #kcacols

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:13 pm

      Thank you. And trust me – you would cope. Pen x

  15. November 26, 2017 / 7:38 pm

    I’m glad you’re enjoying. One of my friends recently became a single parent after the breakdown of a marriage that just wasn’t right for her. She was so scared and sad in the beginning, but going through it myself, I was assuring her it was about to get good. I remember finally feeling stable and free, it’s the best feeling in the world!

    Thank you for linking up to #RVHT, I hope you can join again!
    Jenny (Accidental Hipster Mum) recently posted…Kalme Chameleon Concealer – The Best Concealer for Rosacea?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:13 pm

      Hi Jenny, I hope your friend is okay. It is really tough to begin with, but I think we both know that it does get a hell of a lot better. Loads of love. Pen xx

  16. November 26, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    I love this post! You have embraced single parenthood and shown what a joy it can be. I was a single parent for a few years and it’s hard, but like you say, so lovely too.
    #KCACOLS
    Ali Duke recently posted…Heck’s Meat & Two Veg Recipe ProjectMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 26, 2017 / 10:12 pm

      thank you Ali. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      November 27, 2017 / 10:51 pm

      Thanks Lisa

  17. November 27, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    This is a lovely post, I’m pleased to hear you’re enjoying it now. It must be hard doing the day to day parenting on your own, but I can also see many advantages! Thanks for linking up to #KCACOLS, hope to see you again next week.
    Sarah | Digital Motherhood recently posted…Numbugz – A Fun Way To Practice MathsMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 27, 2017 / 10:47 pm

      Thank you Sarah. Pen x

  18. November 29, 2017 / 4:13 pm

    Lovely to read such a positive post from you. I may even send it to a friend who is recently separated with a 3yo #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      November 29, 2017 / 10:02 pm

      Thank you. If your friend wants to get in contact then feel free to give her my email at Pen@thesingleswan.com. The early days of separation with a child are tough, monumentally tough! Pen x

  19. December 6, 2017 / 11:53 am

    I’m glad you found your feet as a single parent. It sounds like it was for the best and cygnet is very lucky to have a mummy like you providing a happy and calm home 🙂 Thank you for sharing with #StayClassymama

    • thesingleswan
      December 6, 2017 / 10:07 pm

      Thank you Pat. Pen x

  20. December 6, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    I’m glad there is joy. My sister is a single mum (though she currently has a boyfriend) for most of the kids’ lives and I know it was hard but I know she is happy too. Dydd Santes Dwynwen

    • thesingleswan
      December 6, 2017 / 10:07 pm

      thank you. Pen x

  21. December 7, 2017 / 9:07 pm

    This is a lovely refreshing post! It must be so hard being s single parent but I’m so pleased to hear there are many advantages too! #KCACOLS
    Maria recently posted…Gift Ideas for the Men in your lifeMy Profile

  22. December 7, 2017 / 10:13 pm

    This is such a beautiful post. I have a three year old and sometimes it’s so hard, but I have my husband for supportive. I have nothing my admiration for single parents. Thank you so much for linking up with #KCACOLS and we hope to see you next time.
    Kelly-Anne recently posted…Gift Guide: Personal TouchMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      December 11, 2017 / 10:22 pm

      Thank you Kelly-Anne. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      December 11, 2017 / 10:19 pm

      Thank you. Pen x

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