Nita's been a single Mum since 2010. She feels incredibly blessed to have her amazing daughter in her life.
You often hear how difficult single parenting is, but there's a sunnier, often overlooked, side to raising children alone, too. Although every family is different—equally true whether parenting alone or not—and there are obvious benefits to raising children with a partner, I wanted to shine the light on some of the positives that may apply specifically to lone parenting.
1. Growing in Confidence
I've often heard other parents say that they raise their hats to all the single parents because they simply can't understand how anyone could manage to raise their children alone. But somehow you are managing, you are out there doing 'the impossible'. True, it can be exhausting, challenging, and push you to your limits, but this is also demonstrating how resilient and capable you are. Realising this can be very empowering, and a reason to celebrate your contributions as a parent. Not to mention that running your household without the help of another adult often forces you to learn to do things that you might otherwise not need to—and mastering new skills is never a bad thing!
2. Doing It Your Way
Depending on whether the other parent is still involved in your children's lives or not, you may be in charge of all the decisions, or at the very least the everyday choices regarding their upbringing. These may include the food you nourish them with, the activities they engage in, the way you support their health, who looks after them when you're working, and so on. Making choices according to your beliefs without the need to compromise over them with someone with potentially different views, can be very liberating. Not to mention you'll never need to get into an argument over family finances with a significant other!
3. Creating Connections
Though from the outside single parenting may seem like a lonely business, the reality can be different. Single parents often end up creating strong support networks with family and friends. Whereas some parents might mainly rely on their partner for support, many times the single parents reach out further. Mutual support from other lone parents may be especially beneficial, and can extend to reciprocal childcare arrangements. Such connections can also significantly enrich your children's lives, exposing them to a wider circle of people. Single parents may also find that their friends and family more readily offer their support, while the parent with a partner is more often expected to need no help. Sometimes you also qualify for extra help from organizations – for example free child care or courses – simply for being a lone parent.
4. Weeding Out Unsuitable Partners
If you do want to find a new life partner, being a single parent can, in fact, be a blessing in disguise. It certainly weeds out fast most of the potential partners who are not serious, responsible or interested in having a family. And you can quickly learn a lot about the ones who do stick around from the way they interact with your child(ren). Are they respectful and patient and happy to spend time around your kid(s)? Does this person come across as someone whom you could happily co-parent with? A person may have many winning qualities yet no be the right person for us. As single parents we're in a unique position to suss out someone's potential pretty quickly!
5. Being in Good Company
Finally, as a single parent, you're in good company. Numerous individuals have proven that you can be a good parent as well as achieve success while raising children alone. J. K. Rowling wrote the first four of her Harry Potter books while raising her daughter alone and has said that she feels especially proud of her years as a single mother. Marianne Williamson, the well-known spiritual teacher and the author of six New York Times Best Sellers, has also raised her daughter on her own. Another example is Lisa Nichols, who transformed her life from a struggle to a great success as a transformational speaker and an author while also raising her son alone. However you shape your life as a single parent, you are the principal role model for your children and stand in a position to truly inspire them. Not to mention that on a day-to-day basis, you're the main recipient of their love and affection, and that is a precious gift indeed.
Lisa Nichols on single parenthood and reinventing herself
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.