Dear single parents ,
I bet you’ve heard this one before.
I bet you’ve heard it from happily marrieds , not so happily marrieds, new couples , long-term partners etc, whenever their fella has buggered off for a bit.
"Ooh I’m solo parenting! Like you!"Ryan went away last weekend, and when he’s been gone before, I've been tempted to call the sitch ‘solo parenting’. Doing it alone, just me, and Lily. Independent woman.
Want to join the family? Sign up to our Kidspot newsletter for more stories like this. Gylisa and her daughter, Lily. Image: Instagram/rocknrollmother_
Only, it’s not though is it?I mean yeah, having been Lily’s primary caregiver for the last four years, there have been loads of times that I've felt ‘on my own’, because motherhood is f*ckin lonely... and hard. And scary.
But there’s always been someone to rely on, even if he’s not around 24/7. (Because he's working his lil butt off for us)Without him, I wouldn’t have been able to be Lily’s primary caregiver at all. I’d have had to share the load with someone else who I don’t happen to love the f*ck out of, and pay em a shit load of money... that I don’t have!
Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why.
For every lonely, scary moment (i.e. breastfeeding in public for the first time, and by that I mean, fret over it for 20 minutes, fumble about with my titty, get all sweaty and red, only for baby to decide what everyone else is doing is more interesting and well, world? Meet my nipple.)
For every night feed I dragged myself back from the ether for, I had to do, so that my partner in this could work and keep the roof over our heads and food in our bellies.
Read about how this mum thinks life as a single parent is easier and how these single mums are splitting the cost of raising kids . If you're newly single and navigating life as a single parent, here are some words of advice for how to survive the first few months.
Maybe part of me that feels the need to justify my parenting choices, maybe it’s incredibly biased but I can’t help believe that modelling the importance of being there, of helping and hovering and showing the significance of support means that I have given the world a concierge, a person who wants to help without reward or recognition – but just because he’s an awesome human being.
Gylisa always knew she had her partner there. Image: instagram/rocknrollmother_
I can’t imagine doing it alone. Really being a solo parent
While Ryan was gone do you know how small my world became? I don’t drive, and so the only days out I could think of became reeeeal expensive, and long. And tiring...
All the loads, but stretched across one person, all the worries, all the f*ckin laundry!
The bills, the dinners, the clothes, the school stuff. The evenings with no one to offload to - I mean really - call your kid 'a dick’ without judgement to...
Alone. Solo. By yourself. Single handedly. It’s f*ckin scary, and I couldn’t be half the woman I am without my team mate.
Don't try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child's minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.
But there are women (and men) out there being DOUBLE the person I am, and they are doing it alone! And getting judged the f*ck as well?
So, listen, becoming a ‘single’ parent can mean something sad has happened, a bereavement, or betrayal, or as simple as ‘wont put up with no f*ckin bullsh*t’ and frankly, thriving independently is the best lesson a kid can learn right?
"Thriving independently is the best lesson a kid can learn." Image: instagram/rocknrollmother_
So f*ck yeah, I think single parents are amazing
It really is doing it all. Wearing every hat, spinning every plate and keeping it spinning. Double the stress, the worry, double every load but double the love and all for one person. Solo f*ckin parenting the shit out of life.
Single parents don’t ever, EVER get enough credit in my eyes.So wait. Before you gloat about your solo parenting while Mr-Pays-the-Bills is off doing whatever/working some more...
No you ain’t. You’re primary parenting. And only for a little bit.
Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.
Try doing it all for once, then you can start bragging. (Unless you’d be too tired ?)
My eyes are opened, let’s open some more.This piece originally appeared on Gylisa Jane's Facebook page and is republished here with permission. Her book, 'Ever the optimist' is available on Amazon.
"I really can't imagine doing it alone." Image: instagram/rocknrollmother_