Being a single mum isn’t always a bed of roses

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Recently, a married friend of mine confided in me that she was envious of my single parent lifestyle.

I was surprised, yet when I thought about it I could see how from the outside, the freedom of being out of a relationship and going it alone could seem appealing.

Yet from the inside, being a single parent can often be lonely and hard work.

From morning until night, you are solely responsible for your little people.

When things get tough you can’t step out for 10 minutes to clear your head, safe in the knowledge that your partner will hold the fort.

If you happen to wake up with the flu one morning then you’re on your own.

You’re dealing with that nappy change whether you feel up to it or not and when the tantrums are coming thick and fast, it’s a one-on-one battle of wills.

I feel lucky in that my son’s father is still a great support and part of his life.

We are able to discuss and work together in our son’s upbringing and he is always at the end of the phone to give comfort or a stern word when needed.

Yet I know many situations where this isn’t the case and mums (and the occasional dad) are left entirely on their own.

There is no-one to fall back on – that in itself can be a scary thought.

There are the financial implications too.

Trying to find a job that fits around a child’s timetable is hard enough anyway, but when you’re alone it becomes a near impossible task.

Even if you’re lucky enough to find a job, it’s unlikely you could earn enough to cover the cost of supporting a family.

Short of a lottery win, most single parents will be reliant on some form of benefits.

Of course, if you don’t have that team when it comes to discipline, you also don’t have any conflict on how to discipline.

You are the main, if not the only influence, and with that comes a huge sense of control.

Your day-to-day life isn’t a compromise and isn’t complicated by any relationship troubles you may be having with your partner.

There are no adult tantrums to deal with alongside the children’s.

Life is run on your schedule and while being alone can be scary, it can also feel extremely empowering.

It’s you and your children against the world, an unshakable bond – a love that is stable, unconditional, forever-lasting.

Plus, there’s nobody hogging the remote and keeping you up all night snoring.

Society is constantly changing, so it’s not unreasonable to think that the way we conduct our lives and relationships will change with it.

Keeping a family together is worth fighting for, but sometimes the fighting is the only aspect of the relationship left and it just doesn’t work any more.

We’re told that happy parents breed happy children and if that means living apart, then so be it.

The fact is, sometimes there are patches of greener grass on the other side but it’s certainly not always a bed of roses.