When people discover I’m a single mom, many times they react with various expressions of sympathy or even judgment. The truth is, I’m proud to be a single mom, I’m happy I’ve never married, and I think our two-person family is perfect just as it is.
When I became a parent, I went into it knowing fully that I was going to be parenting alone, I thought a lot about the pros and cons, and what type of parent I wanted to be. I knew that I was going to have to pull double duty, so it was imperative to me that my son know how much he is loved, and that his and my health & happiness are the most important things in my life. I never wanted him to wonder where he fell in my list of priorities, not to spoil him, but to make sure he felt loved and secure. So, for the last 7 years, I’ve been single and happily so. I don’t date, I don’t long for a romantic interest, and honestly, I can’t even imagine my life with a partner at this point. My son is my partner. We’re walking through this life together. He is the nucleus of my universe and I’m happy that he is. Sure, it can get lonely sometimes and mommin’ by yourself is extremely challenging – but I don’t know that I’d want it any other way.
Now, in no way am I saying that I’m against marriage or dating, nor am I intending to disparage anyone’s choice to be in a romantic relationship. I know couples who adore each other and their lives are much better together. I also know couples who merely tolerate each other because they’re bound financially, morally, or by children, or they’re just afraid of change. Personally, I happen to be glad that, thus far in my life, I’ve never taken that fateful trip down the aisle and I’m not sure I ever will.
That said, I should probably provide some background info on myself. My parents divorced when I was 4 years old, so I don’t really remember a time when they were together. My dad remarried quickly and my mom usually had some type of boyfriend or love interest. From my point of view, my parents’ relationships made my childhood complicated. I often felt I had to earn their attention or affection, and I frequently felt slighted or less than. I now realize that I might not have had the healthiest relationships modeled for me, and as a result, I didn’t have many (if any) healthy relationships during my dating career. Thus, I vowed not to make the same mistakes when I became a parent, and that has largely led to my single status preference.
However, I really do believe that I’m generally happier on my own. I get all the hugs, kisses, and cuddles, and my son gets all of my attention and affection. I don’t have to share my son with anyone, as selfish as that might sound. He and I do what we want without having to consider anyone else. Our memories and adventures are ours alone. My money is mine to spend or save as I see fit. I get to make all the decisions. And my son has never been witness to any awkward arguments or bickering between adults. Plus, during times like these, when we’re all getting a lot of extra quality time with family, I’m glad that I don’t have to factor in a marriage to balance and nurture during this already difficult time.
Sure, sometimes it’s lonely. There are times when I wish there was someone to share the weight of the big decisions or financial responsibilities. And I am fully aware that one day, my son will be grown and off living his own life, and my priorities will have to shift. But the biggest challenge of not having a partner is not having anyone who shares the same love and pride that I have for my son. Sure, my family and friends love him, but a parent’s love is different. So maybe one day we’ll add another parent to our family, never say never. But if we do, it would have to be someone spectacular, who enhances life for both myself and my son, and loves us as a packaged deal. And if not, that’s okay too – our family is perfect the way it is.