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24/7 Parenting. Is being a single parent as easy as some make out?

Being a single parent for me is far from easy. It's probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life, but when push comes to shove, as a single parent you must persevere to give your children the best. There is no point in dwelling on past issues or crying about things, because no matter how much you cry the end result will be that you’re still doing the job alone. The only thing you can do to make life less complicated, is find some support in family members and friends who actually care about you and the well-being of your children. You may be doing a very good job, but everyone needs help and support, otherwise you’ll find yourself completely emotional and mentally drained. You cannot fight the battle alone.

As much as single parenting is hard work and draining, it is also very rewarding. There is nothing more fulfilling than looking into the eyes of your children who love you back conditionally and knowing that everything you do from the day they were born is remotely for them. Just to see them healthy, happy and smiling is enough.

No one sets out to be left on their own with the 24 hour job of parenting, but if a relationship has failed due to no fault of your own, or unforeseen circumstances you have no choice. That is the reality of it.

There are some people who have made the choice to be single parents because it is the better option. If they measure up the pros and cons and look at their situations logically, it is more than likely inappropriate to have the other parent in their child’s life, especially if they are not stable. The job of a parent is to keep your children safe from harm, or any emotional upset.

There are also those who have become single parents because they may have been irresponsible and had unprotected sex with someone who was not even worthy of becoming a parent, or in fact becoming a loving partner. But the reality of it is that they made that choice and they were forced to deal with the consequences.

There are some of us who made wrong choices in the past regarding the people we chose to create life with, even though at the time we thought we were in loving relationships with people we imagined we would share our whole life with. But with life hitting us back hard, and finding out that it was all an allusion, we had to analyse whether or not, we were prepared to face that journey with their minimal support, the constant fighting over the children that could in fact be detrimental to the child, or just living life as single parents doing it alone.

No matter how a child is brought into this world, they should always be a blessing and even if you are faced with raising them on your own, no child should ever feel at any point that they are not wanted as much as the job of raising them is a full time job in itself. Our children don't stay young for long, so we should cherish every moment with them, no matter the hardship. It's the amazing things you do for them now that they'll remember when they get older.

After having experienced the struggling of being a single mother for the last 10 years, there is nothing harder than maintaining your parental responsibility, running a home, keeping it clean, being the sole provider who has to work, but who also has deal with every day issues and still try to survive without the struggle being noticed by the child. The fact that you have to sacrifice your social life is not easy, because you find that the majority of the time revolves around caring for your children or in fact funding their social and sports activities, which in the long run will keep them active, occupied and give them something good to look forward to.

As a single parent, there is nothing better than having time out for you. You need time to recover and meditate. What is important is that you use this time wisely to re-focus your thoughts and prioritise what is actually important to you. The only way to continue your journey is if you take care of yourself. If you run yourself down to the ground, who else is there to take care of your children? Your child/children only rely on you.

I have read a few articles which stereotype single mothers who have raised children on their own. Not all children who have single parents turn out badly behaved. In fact there are a vast amount of children who become successful adults. It's down to the individual child and the structure of parenting that counts. You can have two parents and still have a badly behaved child and if you have parents who don't give a damn, then the child will have the same attitude.

In the past I felt that the only way to ignore the pains of being a single parent was to keep myself busy so that I didn’t notice how lonely I had become. Then when I was alone, I feared being on my own because for me, it was not for me. Rather than loving the free time I had to love myself, I became vulnerable to the point my vulnerability was noticed by the opposite sex, which meant that as a single mother I was targeted by men who saw I was very needy.

In the last few years, I have used my experience as being a single mother to create a positive life for both my sons which is only filled with pure positivity. Having a positive parent influences and creates positive children. Whatever I have, I give them. I try not to spoil them, because spoiling them only stops them from appreciating things and what you will find is that they will never want to work for anything. Yes my boys can be hard work, the constant arguing, fighting over toys as children do. But you have to try to be patient. I know at times I raise my voice or feel like I am losing my temper if they don't listen, but I'm only human. Boys will be boys and no matter how much they argue, the love they have for each other as brothers is a bond no one can ever break. I aim to teach my boys to have respect for women, a respect which will one day help them to build their own relationships. By encouraging them to study hard with my guidance and my achievements, I want them to see that anything is possible. I want them to have goals and to strive for whatever it is they want from life. Whenever they are naughty, I discipline them by taking away the things they love. I want them to understand the consequences of wrongdoing and that includes having children they cannot provide for. I want them to learn that success means making sacrifices. I cannot force them to go down the right path, because as they get older they must make their own decisions. I just hope that through seeing the hardship I had to go through as a single mum and not having their fathers around makes them more determined to give what they didn’t have back to their own children. I just give thanks to the Lord above for giving me the chance to be a mother. I know there have been times when I have sat at home after my children have gone to bed and I have felt lost or needed adult company, but it is so nice to be in my own environment doing what I want to do without having anyone else to answer to.

I am in no hurry to find a father figure for my children, although it would be lovely to share my life with someone. Someone who is stable, supportive and worthy of being around my boys. But as a mother I cannot replace the fathers of my children. All I can do is my damn best to make sure that my children do not go without because of their absence. Bringing them around positive male models in my family is my other option.

Many people have said, that I work too hard and yes, as a mother of two young children I am surprised how well I am juggling it all. I have a part time job, I write, I organise seminars to help other women realise their worth, I take part in fund raising events, go to the gym, socialise with friends, but I balance my lifestyle which allows me to always be there for my children as well as do the things I enjoy. Yes, I may be extremely busy to the point I barely sit down or have time to catch up with friends, but at least when I do, I appreciate that time.. My children WILL not suffer because of my bad choices, nor will I continue to blame their fathers. A child deserves to be wanted by both parents; not rejected by the father, or hated by the mother because he or she is a constant reminder of their father. I will not force my children on anyone and if any father does not want to be in his child’s life. It’s his lost. The door will always remain open, but within a given time period. I will not beg anyone to share my joy, because my joy lives with me every day of my life.

A common mistake I have regularly heard about and I can even admit doing also, is single parents going back to an ex for comfort and sexual satisfaction. Yes, it’s easier to go back to an ex-partner who may be the father, or mother of your children because you know him/her. But why go there again if you know they are not good for you or your children, especially when you know that that they have moved on and have a new family? If you do not want to be left feeling used, then this is not the way forward in life. If there are any confrontations or arguments, the child or children will be caught up in the backlash. Unless you are actually trying to recommit to each other and make another go of things to raise the child/children together, there is no point in playing with the children’s emotions and making them more confused than they were before. It’s not what is best for you, it’s what’s best for your children that matters. Some women may feel they are always doing things for their children and not enough for themselves, but it doesn’t mean they are losing out on being happy, they are just simply putting their children first. Isn’t it a priority for your children to be happy rather than you trying to fulfil your sexual needs? You have one chance in life to do good for your child until they reach adulthood, but there are many years over which you can get some fulfilment from a man who is happy to help you to do good for your children.

Having a baby and just handing it over to Tom, Dick and Harry just so that you can party, or meet a new man is not parenting. It’s being selfish. No one is saying that you cannot have time out, but when I hear young girls say, being a mum is fun, it’s so easy. I wonder why? Maybe they are out far too much having fun, than actually taking on the responsibility of parenting to be a responsible parent. Being a mother is no joke. It is not just about carrying a child for nine months and giving birth to it. It’s about nurturing, teaching and caring for and if some of these single young girls out there found the time and effort that they put into raving into their children, then I am sure they will realise the full extent of what it takes to be a great mum.

Never look on being single as an issue. It’s a meantime thing, whilst you sort out your life and make a stable and comforting environment for your children. There is nothing to say that you cannot enjoy your life at the same time. Single parenting should not be a burden. Take it on board as a learning experience.

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