When I first became a single parent, I was scared and anxious. Life seemed to be a scary journey filled with thorns and monsters. Raising three teenagers on my own, fulfilling their financial, mental and psychological needs didn't seem like an easy task. Yes it was a choice I had made on my own but it was the scariest decision ever. So I took one day at a time and moved ahead very, very slowly. There were days when my feet felt heavier than a bag of bricks, putting them ahead of each other to walk was a tiring exercise. The pain in my soul had become a physical pain. The burden of what I had taken on was tremendous, yet I started to slowly notice the sweetness in that burden. That's when I realized how fortunate I was to be able to raise my kids on my own.
With this article I am not trying to show any disrespect to the institution of marriage. Of course its great to share your life with someone and raise your children with a partner, however for me when I became a single parent, I felt liberated and free.
1. Your Kids, Your Values
This might seem weird, but it's true. Your opinion of raising a good child might be different from your spouse. For example for me it has always been about being a kind compassionate person and helping others. It was more important for my kids to try their best instead of pressurizing them into getting an A+. Hell yes I was strict when it came to behavior and manners, but I was also my kids best friend. However for my ex, it was more about following a religion and dressing nicely. Getting good grades meant everything and were the most important thing in life. And so becoming a single enabled me to raise my kids with my own values and what I felt was important for kids to know and become. I could take them to volunteer at different places and show them the importance of empathy.
2. Financial Independence
I know many of you will think this doesn't sound right, how can a person become financially independent when going from a two person salary to one salary? What I mean by financial independence is that you can spend it whatever way you want. If you want to go out bowling or ice skating or put the extra money in a college fund for your kids -- go right ahead. For me it was spending on going out to the movies, eating at hole in the wall places and exploring swap meets. Together my children and I, make memories join together in laughs and become closer. We do so many random weird things but isn't that what life is about? My ex never enjoyed these little things, for him it was about saving, for me it's about save a little and make memories.
3. Pursue Your Dreams
Once I left my marriage, I decided to pursue my own dreams. These dreams had been pushed somewhere in the dark corners of my brain. I always wanted to write books and inspire people through my words. These little dreams started to pop up and annoy the hell out of me once I was on my own. But how was I supposed to do that, while working two jobs, getting a Master's degree and raising three teenagers? I just decided to sit down and write, I wrote anything that came to my mind. And I ended up writing and publishing two books four years after I became a single parent. But the most interesting thing happened -- when my children saw me pursing my dream, something changed in them. My oldest started to pursue his dream of doing research in gravitational Physics and the younger ones started to talk about their dreams and aspirations.
I am not saying that you can't do these or feel liberated while raising kids with a partner, however my whole life changed for the better the day I became a single parent.