A while ago a member of Single Mom Society on Facebook said: “I'm a new mom, expecting in a few months. What POSITIVES can you tell me about single motherhood?” I responded with a few points, and invited other members to share. Here is what we said:
From me why being a single mom is awesome:
- You can do what you want. Especially if you are a solo parent, you don't have to negotiation about much at all.
- You can date!
- Sex is better after motherhood. New relationship with your body + not giving a shit any more = AWESOME SEX.
- You can have a great perception of life that you will model for your child. You've gone through it. You know that all those ‘perfect' families are secretly quirky at best, probably disintegrating, and your friends all confide in you their messed-up marriages, dysfunctional sex lives and all the other perfectly normally messy human foibles.
From other mamas why being a single mom is awesome:
- You can live…. Bloom and grow any way that you want to. There's freedom, beauty, bravery, strength and grace.
- The wonderful bond you & your child will have!!!! My relationship with my daughter is AWESOME & we are extremely close. & I know single parenting is to “blame.”
- You get to see just how strong and smart you were all along! You will appreciate the good stuff more and forget about the distractions. You will find many people who will love and look out for you:)
- I love that I don't have to share her! I'm already so proud of my little nugget. She has a great personality, and I'm so excited for what comes next! I can't wait to see what kind of person she becomes. I'm happy too that single motherhood I think has given me the kick in the butt I needed to really go for it. It's not just my life that my laziness affects now. I want to stand on my own two feet, and provide an awesome life for her!
- You get to see how your family and friends will rally around to support you and your little one!
- You don't have the expectation of how the other person will act/behave so don't have to face the disappointment when it doesn't look/feel like you thought it would. I don't say that to be cynical, I appreciate that I already know that I have to do it all and can prepare accordingly. Expectations of others can be a real bitch.
- You will fall in love with your village and yourself. It might not happen right away, but when you look back a month, 6 months, a year out…you start to say to yourself, “Hey! I can do this!” You will learn that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but instead a sign of strength and in the asking you will learn how loved you are. I became a single mom without planning to do so and have been on my own from day 1. It was tough. There were a lot of tears and a lot self-doubt…but I have to say, once I let go of the life I thought I SHOULD have, I was able to start to fall in love with the one I never imagined.
- You learn to talk to yourself, question yourself, your motives, your joys, what makes you happy, what makes you sad, you learn what works, what doesn't – you know you need to make it work for you and your little one and in that process you go way out your comfort zone and you learn so much about yourself.You know your weak spots and how to handle them and you really get to know your strengths and how to handle them. For me its just like a big network of super exciting tunnels of depth and you learn every minute. Damn, you feel alive!
- My relationship with my kids is very personal since I became a single mom. In the years since the divorce, I feel like my kids know “me” beyond just who I am to them as a parent. When I was married, I was part of mom and dad. Now, they see me independently. We talk about my job, my goals, even my date prospects (my 8 yo daughter likes to scrolling through e-dating prospects with me, identifying guys she think would be a good match.) Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed with the work of single parenting. But when I don't, I feel a stronger connection to my kids than I ever did before.
- You can pick the name, the school, the clothes. If my kid wants to play wearing my bra and a sparkly hat (which he has done) he gets to play wearing my bra and a sparkly hat. I have the most INCREDIBLE bond with my son. We are a team. We have a wonderful village (many members of which we didn't meet until after he was born, fyi, in case you are worried about your current village or lack thereof.) But we went through a lot in the beginning (prematurity, adoption complications, etc) and we are stronger for it. Also it's just FUN. Singe mom often carries the image of a downtrodden woman struggling to make ends meet. And while there are certainly shades of that sometimes, it is FUN. I didn't have to make dinner for anyone when he was a baby so I could sit on the couch or the floor and play with him and make faces to get him to laugh for HOURS if I wanted. Now that he's older, we can take off when we want and go to the zoo, the children's museum. We aren't accountable to anyone but us. Becoming a solo parent was THE BEST thing I could have done with my life.
- And although there have been times where I've felt overwhelmed, he is so wonderfully awesome that he reminds me every day of my very important job as his mama. I have a tattoo with an anchor and his name. He's the thing that has always motivated me to stay grounded, make the hard choices, and even if i slip up, knowing he needs me brings me back to reality to keep pushing on. He's the best thing that ever happened to me.
- You certainly become a master at time management and this skill migrates to all areas of life. The motivation to work effectively skyrockets. And my self esteem went up. Not immediately, but really soon :) .
- You “know” more about relationships once you've been on both sides of love.
Knowing more + integrating the good of what you've learned = wisdom.
- When your little one is sleeping you can do what you want, watch what you want on TV (Bravo is my lame addiction that no straight man would understand), eat what you want, not shave your legs, burp, fart, etc. You decide how to parent- no arguments on religion, diet, schools, daycare, health, etc. YOU will be an excellent role model for your child – I love the idea of a 2-parent household – but it's not always ideal – you can show your child how one person CAN do it all. Even in great relationships the person can still die – and leave you alone – so proving to your child that you can is amazing. No other person to clean up after.
- You don't have to share the closet or the bed.
- I became a single mom when my oldest was 17 months and I was 5 months preggo with my second. There are struggles, to be sure, but there are so many positives too! I make the decisions and that means I get to take 100% credit for how wonderful my boys are. Proud mom here! Also, learning how to juggle, strategize, multi-task, and problem-solve makes me super confident and has extended into my work / career as well.
- Travel is so much easier! Sure it's a lot to juggle, but everyone goes out of their way to help you when traveling. Also, the two of you can conquer anything, that's very empowering.
- No Matter what, you are always stronger than you think you are. You will be amazed at what you can do.
- If you move to a town where you thought your dreams would come true… and they don't… you can pick up and try somewhere else!! heart emoticonThere are so many positive things about being a single momma! I simply enjoy the small things, the times we share just her and I… each night after dinner when we cuddle on the couch together and talk about life… or the giggles when we're sleepy right before she falls asleep… The bond we have is so strong, it is truly like no other. And to watch her grow and thrive! She is so full of love, so happy. My heart overflows with love watching her!
- I am more confident than ever before. I now know that I can accomplish anything. I can fix a leaky sink, change a car tire, but together a bike and run my own business that I never ever thought would be possible. I love that I am showing my girls that they can do anything with confidence and grace. You will be amazing and cherish every moment. Even the 3am moments as they will just be a blip in time.
- One of my married best friends said she was jealous that when I had to breastfeed in the middle of the night I could turn on the lights and watch Netflix while she would carry the baby down the hallway and feed her in the dark and quiet so she wouldn't wake her husband up. A little thing but a perk! I also think as a single mom my friends and family really rally to make a community for my son when friends or family may not become as involved as much with married parents to avoid intruding or stepping on toes. I also think being a single mom gives me the incentive to make plans and do lots of activities with other people whereas my 4 married siblings seem to stay home with the kids and spouse. I feel like it has made my son really outgoing and open to new experiences and people.
- I never have to explain or justify my parenting decisions. I get to show the kids what I think love is without it being tempered by someone else.
- You get to create your own special traditions that are YOURS and yours alone with your child. You will come to find that you are surrounded by so much love and support, more than you ever thought was possible. It takes a village to raise a child and you will find your village. When you do, your heart will be so full and your child will be loved and cared for by so many. As your child gets older they will articulate their love for you and something in you will feel like bursting…with pride, inexplicable happiness, love…or as my 5 year old said to me, “Mama, I love you more than I can feel.” That right there makes all the challenging days worth it. The bond you will create with your child and have created while they have been in the womb will be one that no one can ever replicate. It is beyond special and your child feels it…each and every day!
- People tell me all the time what a great little girl she is and guess what?! Here's the best part of parenting alone……I did that. No one but me gets the credit for raising a kickass little person.
- When you aren't distracted by a relationship, it is SO much easier to understand what you need to do and devise a plan to do it. I found being single to be extremely motivating, and that I could realize my goals so much more easily. Logistics can still be hard, but when a relationship isn't healthy, or is just distracting, it can be even harder. Also, I found that in a relationship, because of the patriarchal society we live in, I could feel a palpable pressure to be more focused on my boyfriend's success, and that it was more important than my own. No more of that now!
- You and others will be awe-struck by your strength and perseverance.
- I wish I had known about all of this when I found out I was pregnant 13 years ago. I was so scared! No one had much positive to say to support me at all. Listen to the advice of these ladies! It may seem overwhelming, but you seriously can do this! You will have such a special bond with your child, that no one else will have or can replace! You get to what you want, how you want, when you want! You get to make the best choices for your child!!! All you need is some family and great girl friends to stand beside you, and you have all that you need!!!
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.