Being a single mum is at the best of times hard work but it is also very rewarding. Here I have talked to other single mums, as well as my own experience to find out the pros and cons of being a single mum.
Being a single mum is lonely
Cons – It’s lonely, especially if you’re not working and the kids are at school or after they have gone to bed. Not everyone has family nearby or friends who understand the situation. You may feel tied to your parenting role and restricted in what you can do. Then there is the good old saying of feeling lonely in a crowd. Whatever your situation, at some point that feeling of loneliness can hit.
Pros –Being just you also means you have your own freedom and before you shout at the screen, you’re not free you have kids to looks after – freedom comes in many forms. Though it may feel like you have no freedom, you do have other freedoms to enjoy. What you eat, when you eat, where you eat – it’s your choice. Want to paint all the walls pink with white spots – it’s your choice. Wear huge Bridget Jones knickers every day instead of sexy lace cheese wires – it’s your choice.
The bed is so empty.
Cons– That double bed can be very cold and feel very empty
Pros -all that space to stretch out and no one else pinching the duvet. Doesn’t matter if you snore nor do you have to put up with someone else’s snoring in your ear and keeping you awake?
Cons – When a child has a strong will or determination and they know how to push your buttons it can be a battle of the wills. With no one to back you in your corner, it can feel like you’re arguing with the whole world and not just one 6 years old who is adamant odd socks, that are a week old, really are cool. As one mum rightly put it -“as the primary caregiver you are your child’s world”. When they fall it is you they cry for, when they see something new it is you they are bursting to tell and Monday to Friday at least when you say no, they don’t have someone to go and play you off against.The downside of this, of course, is when you say no and a tantrum ensues, or when they are utterly refusing to go to bed, or when they want something that they simply can’t have, you are alone, totally. If it takes 4 hours and your shins being kicked to hell and the whole house being trashed it’s still all you, just you. You have no one to take over for just 5 minutes so you can go outside and scream, no one to pour you a glass of wine, or make you a cup of tea, or to take over and sit in the hallway outside their room putting them back into bed over and over and over again.
Pros – you can develop your own parenting style and not have anyone else criticise you. You decide the house rules and it is up to you how you dish those rules out.
One person to do everything.
Cons – Well no-one else is going to do it, are they?! In the past, if a light bulb needed changing I would call for the man in my life. I would even leave it unchanged all day to wait for the man to get home. Now that isn’t an option (unless I want to wait a whole week!!- sometimes longer!) If something goes wrong then it’s down to you to put it right and fix the mess. And we all know there are way too little hours in the day to successfully fit in all the people you are expected to be.
Pros – The high you get when you realise you can do it is amazing. The skills you learn along the way will not only stay with you but enable you to help others. They are also brilliant skills to pass on to your children.
Cons– Everyone’s circumstances are different, some get maintenance, some don’t, some work and some don’t. Whatever the circumstances money is bound to be tight and the cost of raising kids is still the same. Expensive! One of the mums said that all of her money, every single penny is spent on her son. On providing him with a home, on paying for his school dinners, on getting to and from work so she can buy him school dinners and provide him with a home. On buying him the clothes he needs and trying to buy him the clothes he wants. On trying to make sure he doesn’t LOOK like a child with a single mum….the list is endless.
Pros– Having a small budget makes you manage on a small budget. One good thing to come out of this for me was the realisation how much we actually waste. When you only have so much electric or water it’s amazing how you learn to cut down. Same with food shopping. I never realised how much food I threw away at the end of each week. Or how much convenience food we were actually eating.