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The Case For Single Parenting

The Case For Single Parenting

Halley Dean
The Caser For Single Parenting, Raise Magazine

If you are someone out there who wants to be a mother, but don’t, at this very moment, have the partner that you want, I would emphatically say, Don’t let it stop you!

If you judge someone by the company they keep, I’m pretty fantastic. I’m surrounded by female friends who have spent the last 20 years pursuing their passions with great success. Recently, the topic of becoming a single parent has come up amongst these friends, most of whom are in their late 30’s and early 40’s and would like to have children but haven’t yet. For some, Prince (or Princess) Charming still hasn’t shown up. Others have found themselves single after years of partnership, marriage, or simply “living in sin,” as my grandmother would have called it.

My oldest son Lucas was a surprise, and I became a mom at a much younger age than I originally planned. I’m very lucky that I had a wonderful village and was able to finish my bachelor’s degree and masters, which allowed me to provide for the two of us financially. Honestly, I had more disposable income in my single parent days than I do currently in my married-with-two-kids-in-daycare-and-a-mortgage phase.

If you are someone out there who wants to be a mother, but don’t, at this very moment, have the partner that you want, I would emphatically say, Don’t let it stop you! When people tell me that they don’t see children in their life, and then immediately ask that I not be offended, I always respond that I could never be offended. Parenting is really hard, and it’s not something you should do unless you absolutely want to do it. On the flip side, if it is something you want to do, there’s no time like the present. I would hate to see anyone miss out on the opportunity because they’re waiting around for another person to show up.

There has never been a shortage of love in Lucas’ life, nor a shortage of male figures available to him.  He had his two grandpas, my brother, my brother in law, and a few of my close male friends who were all active participants in his early years.

Becoming a single parent by choice in your 30’s and 40’s has it’s perks. For many, it means having already garnered a certain amount of professional success. Kids are expensive, and they bring home all kinds of crazy germs from school that require doctors visits. Those bills go down a lot easier with insurance.

To some, the prospect of raising a child “alone” can be daunting, but when you stop to look around, you’ll realize that you’re really not alone after all. I had my parents, my ex’s parents, and a great group of friend who were ready to be my backup if Lucas and I needed them. Having support and love in your child’s life doesn’t always mean a spouse. There has never been a shortage of love in Lucas’ life, nor a shortage of male figures available to him. He had his two grandpas, my brother, my brother in law, and a few of my close male friends who were all active participants in his early years.

I have friends who have voiced concern that moving forward with solo parenthood, whether through pregnancy or adoption, will make it harder to be in a successful romantic relationship down the line. It’s true, when you have a child, you and that child are a package deal. And with a busy career, lots of women don’t want to take time away from their child for dating. These are valid concerns, but I don’t think they should stop anyone from pursuing parenthood.

My husband is the love of my life, and I’m thankful for him daily, but single parenting had its benefits- and I don’t just mean sole possession of the remote control.

The fact is, if someone in their 30’s or 40’s doesn’t want to date someone with children, their dating pool is going to be more like a puddle. I can also say, with assurance, that if and when the right person comes along, they won’t be daunted. The right situation is always going to be the right situation.  My husband is an incredible father to Lucas, a child that he doesn’t share genetics with, and didn’t meet until Lucas was six years old.

In my case, dating with a child helped me weed out some of the bad choices that I would have otherwise made — men who weren’t mature enough, or focused enough. There were times when, if I was on my own, I might have gotten too caught up in a pretty face, but my time with Lucas was precious, so to be away from him, it had to be for someone really special.

My husband is the love of my life, and I’m thankful for him daily, but single parenting had its benefits — and I don’t just mean sole possession of the remote control. I raised Lucas how I saw fit without input from another person. I got to instill the beliefs and values (and collegiate alliances- go Jayhawks!) that I wanted for him without input from someone else. And agreeing on a name for a baby with another person is maybe harder than climbing Everest. Solo naming rights would have been a sweet deal.

I will treasure the memories of all the adventures that Lucas and I had when it was just the two of us for all of my days.  We spent weekends exploring, took vacations, stayed up too late watching TV. Even now that he is a teenager, we still have an almost telepathic connection. I worried at the onset of my divorce that special moments would be lessened without a partner to share them with, but that wasn’t so. I still rejoiced in all of Lucas’ milestones – I rejoiced with Lucas and with our village. I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.

Being a single parent by choice isn’t a second tier option. When you meet your child, whether that be in the delivery room, an adoption agency, or anywhere else, the love will hit you like a freight train, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. It’s valid to mourn the life you thought you would have, but don’t let it stop you from having the life you could have. Becoming a parent to the child that was always meant for you is a love than can never be put into words.

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