Kids are a lot of work. It’s a major adjustment from living your best life without major responsibilities to worry about. But, just like people who aren’t in a relationship can go through hurdles in life, so can those who aren’t with someone while they’re parenting. Here are 9 crappy things that can happen when you raise a child by yourself.
You’re an automatic turn-off in the dating world. It’s not like we’re trying to be unreliable, it’s just that much harder to date when you’re responsible for more than you. Especially if you’re a solo parent who isn’t sharing custody with someone else. Without any scheduled child-less days ahead, it’s up to you to secure a babysitter any time you have somewhere to go. That means your freedom is dependent on not only your kids having it together, but also whoever you’re enlisting or paying to cover for you.
Alternatively, you could be a relationship magnet…for the wrong reasons. Scary enough to think about, but some real predators exist. They may come off as simply enjoying the idea of securing a “ready-made family,” but deep down some darker intentions may be lurking. So not only is dating harder, but it’s also riskier business when there are children involved.
People assume the child came from an unplanned pregnancy. Even if you’re well past your high school teenage pregnancy days, if people see you raising a child by yourself, they can jump to some pretty hurtful conclusions. I was married to my children’s father and he was involved up until I was about five months preggo but completed ghosted and hasn’t returned. Since no one has ever seen him around, they don’t even think it’s a possibility that the pregnancy was completely planned and mutually agreed upon. Unfortunately, someone can change their mind about parenting at any time, including after the child is born. That doesn’t mean the child was an “oops” baby.
You feel left out even from other parent friends. When you reach a certain age, most people you know have a kid, but couples usually have their routines set. They cover for each other when one has somewhere to go. There are also two sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close friends who are basically family. I’m not saying having children itself is a burden, but when you’re signed up for the gig alone you definitely face more obstacles and restrictions than partnered families and your child-less friends.
It’s trickier to have a special someone spend the night. You’re on a hot date and it’s starting to get late. It’s been a great time so far and you don’t want it to end. You get ready to ask him if he wants to take the fun back to your place, and then you remember it’s inhabited by watching eyes, listening ears, and unfiltered mouths. Your only options are to introduce your love interest to your kids or sneak them in after bedtime and out before breakfast. Kind of a buzzkill.
The exhaustion is beyond real. Life is tiring on its own. Adulting is not easy and neither is parenting. Put those two together without an accomplice to split the load with and you can get stretched thin and burnt out quickly. There just isn’t enough time in the day to do it all for your home, your children, and yourself alone.
You feel like something is missing. Society has so heavily ingrained this image of a two-parent home that it can feel like your family isn’t “complete” if there isn’t someone else in the picture, sometimes even literally. I know comparison is a thief of joy, but I personally feel embarrassed at times when I see family photo profile pics and wonder how mine looks.
It can be really lonely. The pride you feel for your own children isn’t felt by other people in the same way. No one is going to appreciate your news feed being filled with 50 different photos of your child sleeping in one night, no matter how cute you think they look. When you have a partner to raise your children with, you have someone to share the details and updates with who cares as you do. When it’s just you, only having family and close friends to talk to about your child isn’t the same and you end up keeping some stuff to yourself.
You can be face discrimination. No matter how dysfunctional and unstable a family arrangement can be, people will still view a two-parent home as being more stable than a single parent. When there are concerns with a two-parent home, the first course of action is typically to talk to one or both parents. But there are so many stereotypes about single parents that not only are assumptions made faster, but action based on these biases is usually executed with more haste as well. Single parents can be more likely to be terminated from jobs and reported to child protective services without due cause.
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