I often spout about a major benefit of not having partner is that I get to make all the decisions. I get to choose what to watch on netflix. I choose dinner. I choose things to do. I decide if we need showers today or not. But this seemingly utopian state of being is as dystopian as it is utopian.
And no more apparent is this glitch in the matrix as when faced with a parental crux moment. Like when a child injures themselves. Do we go to the hospital? Do I play it down? Bandaid? Stitches? Cuddle? What is the right thing to do? Fuck, these are your bonefide parental relationship defining moments. Yet said definition is absent in the void of solo parenting.
As a solo parent; there is nothing. No help. No sounding board. No confirmation. No vindication, (even in victory). These are the moments that drive home the cold, unrelenting steel that solo parenting reality can be.
This has been a lesson hard won for me. I am one of those annoying people with the rare fortune of being a able to do literally anything thrown at me. Acedmia, creativity, language, sport, social engagement, life. It’s all been natural and easy. I have never had to worry about my abilities in any aspect of life. (application of said abilities is another article altogether – ask my parents and teachers 🤣).
But I don’t pen this to brag. No, I mention this to highlight how devastating and levelling becoming a solo parent has been.
I now know I know nothing. I have experienced nothing. I don’t know, and will never find, answers for any of this. I am humbled.
I now understand that life, particularly as a solo parent, is about adaptability, comprise and fluidity. It’s about learning,. really learning, not from some expert online or an Oprah spruiked best-selling child whisperer, but from your own experience, your own trials and tribulations. From your own life.
But by far the biggest lesson I’ve learnt in this journey so far; is to back myself. To truly believe that my decisions were the right ones in the moment. That my intuition is rarely wrong. That just because others may be knowledgeable, experienced or intellectual, does not make them right. That I know myself, my children and our lives far better than anyone on this planet.
So yes, this solo parenting gig can sometimes be gilded with minor benefits, just as it can be tarnished with the detrimental. But in the end, my fellow Solos, I can assure you, we shall be all the more resolute, stronger, self aware and compassionate beings because of it.
And tomorrow is always, always, another day. ✌️
I was a solo parent until my daughter died from cancer when she was sixteen. I have no answers.
I was a solo parent until my only daughter died of cancer when she was sixteen. I have no answers. <3
I was always in awe of how confident my wife was with her parenting skills. Everything just seemed to come naturally to her, with cooking, cleaning, shopping, everything! I’d go to work, work hard, come home dirty and tired, and she’d be so organised, and under control….well, most nights anyway. I’d be like, “how did you get all that done”? She was amazing. (P.S, kids are adults now, and more often than not, cooking meals for me now👍🏼)