In Honour of Single Parent Families

I asked a friend of mine, a long-time single mom, to answer what I thought was a relatively simple question that would reap an equally simple answer. I was wrong (as is often the case). She graciously gave me poetic licence (a scary thought – LOL!) to share her thoughts my way. Here’s how it went…

“I’m writing a blog about single parent families. You’re an expert on this topic – what, in a nutshell, are your thoughts on single parent families?” Well, that nutshell turned out to house a nut darn near the size of Texas. I asked her to finish this sentence (and she sure did):

In my years leading a single-parent family, I’ve seen…

• Grief at the loss of the partner/friend I once loved and the family unit we had built.
• Worry about the impacts of the marital break-up on my kids.
• Guilt that I couldn’t hold the family together for my kids’ sake.
• Loneliness when my kids are away from me – even for one night.
• Judgment (perceived and real) from friends and family about anything and everything.
• Loss of long-term friendships and support systems.
STRESS about co-parenting, custody, ex-in-laws, doing the right thing for my kids and just about every other topic you can think of.
• Financial strain like I never thought I’d face as a well-educated professional.

Overwhelmed (and saddened) by her answers, I asked her another question: “Okay – perhaps you missed the part where I said I’m celebrating single parent families? You always appear to have it all together and seem so happy and positive. What’s up with that?” Here’s a summary of what she said:

When you see me, I’m always with my kids. To you, that’s the context I exist in. It’s in those times that I feel the most joyful and complete; when I am at my best. My kids and I are a family. We do things our way, knowing that our way will be judged and scrutinized. We make the most of our time together and enjoy each other and that’s all that actually matters. We’re no less a family than any 2-parent family –
we just do things a little differently.

So being the (pain in the you-know-what) good friend that I am (tee hee) I gave her another chance to answer the initial question, this time envisioning her kids sitting around her as she spoke. Of course, she obliged:

In my years leading a single-parent family, I’ve seen…

• Joy like I never knew possible; simply at the sight of a little girl climbing into my car after a night apart.
• Pride at the amazing resilience of my kids in the face of struggles and challenges that not all kids face.
• Peace in the knowledge that my kids are in their warm beds, in my house (at least for tonight).
• Love like I never imagined I could feel for another human being; a love that grows stronger by the minute – whether we’re together or apart.
• Trust in myself that I am doing my very best for my kids.
• Hope that my kids will grow up knowing that their parents love them above all else and would sacrifice anything for them.
• Wisdom about what really matters in this life and a true appreciation for every moment spent with my kids.


Are you celebrating a single parent family?  Tell us about it!

  • Leave us a comment below
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  • Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About this blogger:

Paula D’Orazio RN is a public health nurse with the Early Years Health Program at the Halton Region Health Department. Wanna know more about her?  Read her blogs! She’ll tell ya! (She kinda likes to talk.)

This entry was posted in Babies, Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Parenting, Parenting Your Baby, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Parenting Your Toddler & Preschooler, Teens, Toddlers & Preschoolers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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