If there was a club for lone parents and I was a member of that club, this post would have the chairperson asking me to return my membership card and unceremoniously kicking my ass to the curb outside the clubhouse.
Thankfully, there is no such club and, therefore, I am not a member, so what I’m about to say will not result in a bruised derriere.
I’ve been parenting alone for about 8 years. My eldest was born in India and I stayed there with her until she was 9 months old, while the ex was in Singapore. We lived together as a family only for 3 months or so. When my (then) husband was around, he was not particularly interested in the child. So, in reality, I was a lone parent with my eldest daughter. I was on my own with my second daughter from the day after I found out I was pregnant with her.
So, for six years now I have been on my own with two daughters. I have made all the decisions. Everything – from what country we will live in, to what they will wear, to what they will have for dinner – is my decision. Choosing schools, houses, cars and holidays all comes down to me. Making decisions regarding medical care and vaccinations is my duty and mine alone. Some people would balk at this responsibility. I revel in it. There are no arguments with anyone else about my decisions. Things are the way I say they are. Yes, the buck stops with me – but I have never shied away from responsibility.
I enjoy my autonomy. I am the sheriff and there is no deputy. I am quite convinced that the fact that I am a lone parent has been responsible for honing my children’s negotiation skills. If I refuse a request, for example, they need to live with it, convince me otherwise or broker a workable compromise. They can’t go running to Daddy and try to play us off one against the other.
At the drop of a hat, I can decide that my children and I are going off for the day – or the week, or the summer. There are no lengthy discussions with ‘the other half’. It’s just done.
I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like a partner – but I’ve already been married twice and I know that’s not all it’s cracked up to be, either. Being in a relationship doesn’t automatically mean that there is someone around to share the chores with; it doesn’t mean that you have regular sex; it doesn’t guarantee adult conversation and it doesn’t mean you’ll have someone around to offer to make the dinner or a cup of tea.
Being on your own means you know where you stand. In order to give that up, I’d be looking – not for a partner, but the right partner. In the absence of that elusive male, I’d rather be on my own with my children.