I Was Raised By A Single Mom, And I Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way

I was raised by my mom only, so my family is super small. I have one cousin, one uncle, one aunt, and my mom. That’s it. I’ve never met my dad and I never will. Were there times growing up that this bothered me? Of course, but I’m at the point in my life now where I can take a step back and admit that being raised by a single mom might be the best thing that ever happened to me.

  1. I have the ability to be alone. My mom instilled in me at a very young age that you need to be comfortable spending time with yourself. Being home alone shouldn’t be a source of anxiety. On the contrary, it should be enjoyable. I can always pick up a book or write and be completely content. Silence doesn’t bother me at all. My mom and I both love to spend time with friends and family, but we don’t always have to be with someone to be happy.
  2. Families come in all shapes and sizes. I remember the first time it really hit me how different my home life was compared to most of my peers. I was at a friend’s house in 8th grade and ended up staying for dinner. Her mom cooked a big meal and then her sister and father joined us at the table. It was the first time I experienced a “typical” family dinner. It was so bizarre because dinners at my house were always just my mom and me. Because of my upbringing, families that most consider atypical have always seemed more normal to me. I learned that families don’t have to look like those portrayed on TV.
  3. There’s nothing wrong with breaking the mold. When my mom had me, it wasn’t as common to have a child on your own. I was a choice, not a mistake. My mom hadn’t found someone and wasn’t willing to settle. She knew she wanted to have a baby, and she made it happen. You don’t have to do what society tells you to do. You have to do what is right for you, and sometimes that involves taking chances and going against the grain.
  4. I’m capable of solving my own problems. My mom has bought houses, cars, insurance, and killed many a spider on her own. She basically navigated life independently. She once came home to find a strange man on her back porch. She looked at him, and simply said, “What are you doing here?” At which point, he luckily ran away. Basically, my mom is a badass.
  5. It’s okay to ask for help sometimes. My mom might be able to fix a sink on her own, but she also recognizes that sometimes you have to call in reinforcements. If the AC stops working or the car is making a wonky sound, go get someone to help. Call someone to fix it. You can’t ignore problems, and sometimes it’s better to have a professional take a look.
  6. I was never tethered to home. My mom always encouraged me to go wherever I wanted after high school. She didn’t guilt trip me into attending a college close to home. She told me to apply anywhere I wanted and to make my decision based on which school I thought was best. The location was a non-issue. I have so many friends who made college choices and even career choices so that they could be close to home. There obviously isn’t a problem with this, but I personally know that some of my friends only did so because they were getting guilt tripped by their parents. My mom was the complete opposite.
  7. Education came first. My mom taught me to be self-sufficient. At the forefront of this was getting a good education. School was considered “my job.” In order to support myself down the road and have greater opportunities, she made sure I took school seriously. I actually didn’t find out college wasn’t mandatory until I was six years old! She had always phrased sentences with, “When you go to college…” One day I asked her where my uncle went to college and she told me that he hadn’t gone. My mind was blown.
  8. Be careful with money. Since my mom’s income was what we lived off of, she was always extremely conscientious about money. She’s a saver. A trait I try hard to emulate. She always said that you never know what to expect. Roofs start to leak, cars die, dishwashers need to be replaced, etc. You should always have a sizable emergency fund to cover these sudden costs!
  9. Value travel and pay for it yourself. When my mom was in her late 20s she went to Greece for a month. After that, she took several trips to Europe and even drove a huge RV with her friend on an American road trip. She’d always tell me stories of her travels growing up, and I was SO jealous. She’d bring me to see her friends in New Jersey every summer, but that was it. I’d always complain about it, but she told me that she had paid for her travels and that one day I would too. I’ve now been to London, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, and Lisbon, just to name a few. I paid for all of these trips, and she was right. I think I enjoyed it more because I had saved for them.
  10. There’s no rush to get married or have kids. I should probably mention that my mom didn’t have me until she was 40. She had a full life before me where she built her career, traveled, and became financially independent. I probably won’t wait that long, but personally, I don’t want kids until I’m at least 30. She taught me to take the time to get to know yourself first and enjoy a little freedom!
  11. I’m slowly becoming her, and I couldn’t be happier about it. As much as we may try to fight it, I think that most of us do become our parents. In my case, my mom’s influence shaped every part of my life. She was the adult I spent every day with, and only her. As I get older, I’m finding that I am more and more like her. Instead of scaring me, I’m embracing it. I was lucky to have such a good mom, and if I become a 10th of the person she is, then I’ll have succeeded.
Victoria Hill is a freelance writer in Boston. Originally from Florida, she is slowly becoming accustomed to Boston winters. She loves writing, coffee, and actually experiencing seasons!