An old saying goes: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. And the idea is indeed quite understandable; it does take a lot of people to make sure that the child grows up to be a complete human being. However, this is largely a thing of the past, back when the child was raised with the help of the other, the father, the immediate family, and several members of the extended family. As civilization has progressed, however, the family size has become smaller and smaller, and it continues to shrink.
In the previous century, we swathe emergence if the nuclear family; today, we see a considerable number of people living by themselves. These people also raise children on their own, either because they never married, lost or were separated from a spouse, or had a spouse deployed elsewhere on work. In either case, single parenthood is becoming commoner, and it comes with its own set of ups and downs.
Positive aspects of single parenthood 👍
Let us start with the good side of single parenthood.
You make all decisions
To begin with, of course, there is the fact that there is no one to contend with while making the parenting decisions. You are free to make the choices, and take your time over them. There is no one imposing their opinions on you, or forcing you to take steps you feel are not really right for your baby. It can be slightly overwhelming in the beginning, certainly, but as you get into the groove, it will become easy for you to see how great it is that you and take all the important decisions on your own, from the food your child eats to the school they attend. You can inculcate in your child the values you hold dear, and not have to worry about them picking bad habits from your other half.
You own all the money
You will be in charge of all the money that you earn, and decide how and how much you will spend on your child and yourself. You will be in complete control of how to plan your finances, so that you know when you can spend a little more and when you need to tighten the purse strings. You will have to make all the big choices, such as saving for a college fund and moving into a bigger house when the current one becomes too small for the both of you.
At the end of the day, it is exhilarating to be in complete control, and teaches you a lot of responsibility. Besides, it is also a great way of monitoring your child; with you as the only source of money, you know your child will never have more than their allowance, and will learn to be responsible about money.
You share a great bond
Your bond with your child will of course be great. You will be the only parent, so you need to play the roles of both parents. You will be able to bestow your undivided attention to your child, which will ensure that the child will not feel left out at any time. You will both learn quickly enough that you need each other to make it in the world, and that will make you thick as thieves. You will be each other’s friend, guide, and partner in crime.
Disadvantages of single parenthood 👎
However, being a single parent is easier than said, and there are ample challenges that you will face along the way.
There’s too much work
You will have to be more responsible than you ever imagined. Everything will be your responsibility, from managing money, disciplining your child, putting food on the table, and reading bedtime stories. You alone will be responsible for everything that the child does and learns, and will always run short of time. You can practically kiss all alone time goodbye, because every minute will be demanded either by the child or the household.
You face uncomfortable questions
You will have to answer a lot of questions, and some of them will be really difficult. When you child goes to school, they will hear about the ‘other’ parent they never knew, and you will have to explain how things are different with you both. It can be a difficult conversation to have with a child who will probably crave for the attention of the missing parent.
Also read: Positive and negative effects of marriage
There is no one way to describe the experience of being a single parent. You will be overwhelmed at the responsibility most of the time. There will be times when you can barely take it anymore, and you will be left doubting your own ability and judgment. Other times, you will feel awesome about the experiences that you share, and will rejoice in your decision to raise your child single handed. There will be problems along the way, of course, and some of them will be really difficult, but none of them holds a candle to the wonderful relationship that you will have with your child.