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Parenting Solo is Secretly Kind of Awesome

Photograph by Twenty20

Last night I slept diagonally in my bed. I closed my eyes and I didn't wake up all night long. There wasn't anyone next to me snoring, getting up to pee or accidentally elbowing me in the jaw. My sleep has changed since my separation—it is deep and hard, I don't tiptoe to the the bathroom or skip turning on the light for fear of waking someone up.

I can stay up reading leaving the light on as long as I want or eat in bed and not worry about the wrappers or my chewing being annoying while my husband is sleeping.

Maybe it sounds selfish, but I have found parenting solo to secretly be kind of awesome, which is a relief because as any single parent knows, the first thoughts you have on the subject, before you do it for real, are terrifying, What if I can't do it by myself? I am going to be completely exhausted. What if I screw up even more than I do now?

I've had all the thoughts and then some, many times over. So its been soothing and a little exciting for me to realize there are some things about delving into the world of being a single parent aren't dark and scary, and I'm not afraid to say it and talk about the things I love about it. And I know it's probably not as acceptable as it is to talk about the hard parts, but so be it.

Some days are down right awesome. While I love taking care of and nurturing a partner, it's nice to know I can throw down some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and not feel bad I didn't make a homemade dinner for my husband after he has been working hard all day.

There is ease in knowing I don't have to provide for anyone but myself for a day or two when my kids are with their dad. I can run on a different schedule and I kind of love that.

If I want to have dinner at 9 p.m. while watching "The Bachelorette," I can.

If the urge strikes me to dance around in my underwear while listening to inappropriate music on a Saturday afternoon alone, I do it. I still dance with my kids, too.

It means I don't have a choice in the matter, this is my reality, and I need to make the best of it.

Parenting solo without a break for days at a time is exhausting, I'm able to look ahead and know I'll have some free time soon and it gets me through. Honestly, I thought I was going to struggle so much more while my three kids were off with their father having fun, but to my surprise, I need this time to recharge. That doesn't mean I don't get misty every time I drop them off and count down the minutes until I can squeeze them again.

It means I don't have a choice in the matter, this is my reality, and I need to make the best of it.

Our time together feels more valuable than ever. It's true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. We've all put more energy into each other.

My children love having two places to live. We live in a small neighborhood in the woods so they can get out and explore nature and all its offerings. Their father lives in town and they can walk or bike to restaurants and stores and it has been so exciting for them.

Our family doesn't look the way I hoped it would, and that breaks my heart. I know to some I may seem self-centered and I'm okay with that. I've decided to make peace with my time alone and my time with my kids as single mom. There's good in everything and sometimes you find it in something as small as telling the kids we're gong out for ice cream for dinner, and sometimes it's found in something as big as focusing more love and attention on each other because we know in a few days we won't see one another for 48 hours.

I refuse to sulk and feel sorry for myself because I'm a single mother wading my way through life. Yes, being a solo parent has a dark side, but it also has an amazing side and my ex told me he loves it just as much as I do. My kids have said they like the way things are, too.

It doesn't mean it's always wonderful, but the same holds true for married couples—life isn't rainbows and unicorns all the time.

We 're all pretty happy, and for me, that means I'm doing my job. Dancing around in my underwear and watching inappropriate television is just the cherry on top.

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