Being a single mom is challenging. It’s also the single best thing I have ever done. I feel proud of the way I raise my kids, but the most significant impact might have been on my growth and development as a human being.
Becoming a solo parent makes you take a long, hard look at yourself and your behavior. After all, your little one will copy what you do far better than they heed what you say. Single parenthood challenges you to become the higher version of yourself. Here are seven ways being a single mom made me a better person.
1. It Makes Me More Playful
When was the last time you giggled with sheer delight while playing in a sandbox? If it hasn’t happened since you were five or six, you’re missing out on one of single parenthood’s biggest joys. While the thought of grains on my white rug once filled me with screaming horrors, being a single mom helped me become more playful and spontaneous — even if it meant making more of a mess.
Some parents schedule every hour of their child’s day, but this practice harms their development. Little ones need unstructured time to set their imaginations free, employ creative problem-solving techniques and develop a sense of independence.
Remember, your kid’s playtime is also your excuse to zip down the slide or get silly on the monkey bars. What better way to reconnect with your inner child and let your playful side sparkle?
2. It Helps Me Watch My Language
I grew up in a blue-collar family — and let’s just say my father used profanity in languages that haven’t even come about yet. Throw in a couple of rough jobs when I was younger and it’s safe to say I can make a sailor blush with my potty mouth.
However, there’s nothing quite like your toddler asking you to pass the “expletive” peas, please, to make you clean up your act. True, people don’t react with as much shock when I utter, “Oh, kiss my fanny,” versus the alternative, but it has made me more welcome in polite company. It’s become such a habit that I even feel more comfortable at the office — whereas I previously remained silent too often to avoid the wrong word slipping through my lips.
3. It Inspires Me to Work Harder
Speaking of the workplace, being a single mom has made me a better person on the career front. It’s not that I lacked ambition previously, but other things like socialization demanded equal shares of my attention.
Now I want to set a positive example for my daughters, showing them that yes, you can make it through life without a man. That means dedicating myself to the career front and doing what it takes to advance in my position — even when I feel a bit lazy. I studied ways to improve my productivity and earned a promotion the boss otherwise might have passed me over for if it weren’t for the extra effort.
4. It Makes Me Want to Give Back
Single motherhood can be tough. It makes me realize how fortunate I am to have a roof over my children’s heads and food for their table. I watched in horror the past few years as some friends lost their homes thanks to insane rent increases and not enough paycheck to cover them. The lucky ones moved in with family — those without are living in campers, moving from place to place on state trust land. It isn’t an ideal environment for raising kids.
Therefore, I want to give back and impart that same sense of stewardship to my kids. While we previously volunteered once a year or so, we’re now regular faces at our local food bank, helping box donations to deliver to those living rough. I know I’m teaching my children the right values and we all enjoy the positive vibes after giving back to our community.
5. It Prompts Me to Eat Healthily
I’ll admit it — it wasn’t unusual for me to sit down with a pint of ice cream for dinner before I had kids. However, I couldn’t exactly demand my daughters eat their broccoli while I let myself eat cake.
Being a single mom has improved my diet immensely. It’s hard to say I thoroughly enjoy meal-prepping when I’m exhausted, but my kids and I appreciate the results. Investing the energy once a week means always having healthy grab-and-go microwavable meals in the freezer for those busy weeknights when I’d otherwise order delivery.
6. It Teaches Me the Value of Emotional Regulation
It’s one thing to witness a toddler throwing a tantrum. It’s quite another when the out-of-control demon is an adult.
Being a single parent means modeling the proper behavior for my kids, even when I want to scream. I’ve learned methods of emotional regulation — like putting myself on time-out — and used what I learned to help my kids appreciate quiet play time when they need to calm themselves.
7. It Keeps Me on a Better Sleep Schedule
Having infants disrupted my sleep schedule. However, I’m far more consistent now that my kids are older.
I want to be there to enjoy each waking moment with my little ones — I’m all they have. Therefore, I now turn in well before 2 a.m, even if I want to read one more chapter.
Being a Single Mom Is a Journey in Self-improvement
Being a single parent can have its challenges, but it also teaches you a lot about yourself.
There’s no doubt being a single mom made me a better person for all the reasons above. Your kids might be young but can also become your best teachers.