16 August, 2012

Feelings on Single Parenting

I read a blog today that listed 8 reasons why being a single parent blows. It's not a blog I normally read, but it got me thinking. There are plenty of things I dislike about single parenting. But there are also tons of things that make up for those other things. 

Things I dislike:

1. Not having a real night "off" in 3 months. Now, my parents take Little I every Wednesday from 5-5:30pm to about 7:30 or 8pm. While they have him, I either a) clean the house, b) take a shower/bath, or c) catch up on school work or other things I have let slide.  Usually more than one of that list. 

2. Not having someone to back me up in my parenting choices. The rest of my family doesn't necessarily share my view on some things (cloth diapers, discipline, etc.) It would be really nice to have someone there to back me up, or, if need be, calmly talk to me about those choices. 

3. Cleaning all the time. Little I does help out a bit now that he's getting older. He picks up his toys, puts his dishes in the sink and trash in the trash can. But there are things that he can't do yet, and so all of that is on me. I specifically hate cleaning up pee from everywhere. I know he's only been potty trained for 7 months, but having to clean up pee off the floor, carpet, bed, toilet seat, walls, and clothes alone just drives me berserk.

4. Sleep. We started co-sleeping in the very beginning because it was so much easier to just whip out a boob to nurse as apposed to actually fully waking up and going into another room to nurse at night. I definitely got more sleep in the beginning because of this. I really feel the need to keep him in my room/bed with me because we don't live in the best neighborhood, but he is such an active sleeper that it's ridiculous. I think if I had a partner, we either wouldn't live around here or I would at least feel more secure and could sleep without him.

5. I haven't gone on a date in ages, and the last guy I dated didn't even make it long enough to meet Little I (my rule is 6 months, or we're getting "serious"). Also, you know the other thing adults like to do in bed? I really miss that too. I guess that's partially my fault, since my belief is that if I'm not ready for him to meet Little I, why would I chance making another child with him?

6. With it being only us, I've gotten into a routine of just fixing what he likes to eat. It has gotten really bad though. His proteins consist of any nut butter and chicken (breaded and baked). He will rarely touch vegetables unless they're in a juice or smoothie. Luckily he will eat just about any fruit, bread, or dairy.

Now for the things that make up for it. Some of these are just about being a mom, one or two focus on single parenting:

1. Cuddles. Did you know that one little cuddle or hug or kiss can make all your worries disappear for a while? 

2. Not having to let someone else dictate how I raise my child. Really, that's one of the very few positives of Little I's dad not being involved. And when I think back to how it was when he was here, let's just say controlling isn't the word for it. 

3. Seeing old cartoons that I loved and having him love them too. Who knew Gumby would be popular with him. Now I just have to find a video of Eureka's Castle to show him.

4. Seeing the world through his eyes. Everything looks much brighter and happy. 

5. Unconditional love that goes both ways. No matter what I do or how bad of a mood I'm in, he still loves me, and conversely, I'll always love him and show him that no matter what his behavior is like or what he says. 

6. Beginning to understand my parents better. Now that I am a parent, I feel so much more grateful to them for everything they've done for me (and are continuing to do). I am much more willing to do things around their house now that I'm not living there and know some of what they went through while raising us 3 girls. 

7. Freedom to choose what religion I want to bring Little I up in. We go to a Christian and Missionary Alliance church. It's the type of church my grandpa pastored and where I grew up. I like the values of the church and the other area C&MA churches. Little I's dad didn't feel the same way. He didn't want to go to church there and didn't want me to take part in a dedication ceremony for Little I. (which I did shortly after we broke up)

8. Being able to stay in one place if I want to. I live in Northeast Ohio. Not a lot of people my age like Ohio. Personally, I could do with a bit of steady weather--the joke here is if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes--but really Ohio, specifically around Akron, is the only place I see myself raising a family right now. It's also where  my mom's side of the family is. Most of us live within 20-30 minutes of each other.

There are so many more things that I just can't put into words right now, but all of these things add up to one thing: us. I wouldn't change anything for the world because it all factors into how we are as a family and individuals. And while we are not perfect and have many "bad" days, all that matters is that we love each other and we are happy in the end. 

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