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Parents

21 Things No One Tells You About Being A Single Parent

Nobody signs up for this life but there are many truths you unearth along the way.

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1. Sleep is never the same.

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You just won't do it the same — even though the kids are out like lights, you remain alert. Now, those "did you hear that?" moments are solely up to you to explore... without a sidekick! Weapon of choice: football helmet.

2. Privacy is a blissful memory.

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Might as well get used to taking your ones and twos with the door open because your kids will swing through without knocking to talk about Lego, lunchroom drama, sandbox gossip, what they want for Christmas (it's May) and what's for dinner.

3. Dating is a chore.

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Netflix is the best date ever and always on time! Seriously, after having done the school and work routine since an undesireable a.m. hour, who wants to fancy up enough to give the illusion that you're not tired? And here's the kicker — you have to hire a sitter! That cash could just as well be used to order takeout! Dim sum?

4. What sick days?

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Sick days – what are thoooooose? When you're feeling sick you still have to perform the daily tasks necessary to make sure the kids are squared away, and these tasks seem endless when you feel like death warmed over!

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5. Your kids love your bed.

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Some of us tend to sleep on one side of the bed and, of course, to the kids this is an invitation to join you, especially on the nights when you're dumbing up on your guilty pleasure – reality TV. "No, honey this isn't how real housewives behave" and "Nooo, you can't be on The Bachelor."

6. Your family will spoil your kid rotten.

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You will stress that your kid doesn't need another toy, Lego set or nerf gun when you send them to spend the afternoon with your poor listening parents and siblings — but then they come home with Toys-R-Us bags, the huge ones!

7. On nights out, you're being stalked.

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You know that one night of long overdue freedom you've been looking forward to for weeks? This will also be the night your kid blows up your phone wanting to know how long it'll be before you send the babysitter packing. You'll get calls, texts, emails and FaceTime requests demanding an ETA!

8. Must. Stay. Strong.

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When all you've got is each other, the kids are in tune with you to a fault and are very aware of your energy output. No matter how hard you smile and how skilled you've become at the art of tear choking, they still know when something's not right with you.

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9. Part-time parent resentment.

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It's a hard pill to swallow when you're the daily overseer and take on the task of maintaining the kids' busy schedules and the non-custodial parent gets the holidays and weekends to do all the fun stuff! The struggle to not resent their "free time" is real. And what do you mean you're gonna be late? Nonsense.

10. Gotta play nice.

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Co-parenting is damn hard and your kids are paying very close attention to the both of you. Regardless of how upset you are with each other, you must always behave in front of the kids! Even when being a jackass seems like the totally appropriate thing to do at the time.

11. Your time alone is null and void.

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Sometimes we have those days when we just want to be left alone and the kids are old enough to entertain themselves for a little while but there's no one but you to break up the inevitable fight that ensues. To hell with your alone time because the tussle over the last mini bag of Doritos must be mediated!

12. What "Honey Do" list?

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Honey, who? Yep, that list is pretty much all yours. There is no "Honey" to do anything on the list but you! This is when time management becomes an essential talent to master because most days that list is long enough to rocket launch your anxiety ... that laundry though!

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13. You're the good cop ... and the bad cop.

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Single parents have to be the good cop and the bad cop which can get a little tricky. Long gone are the days of "You're not in trouble with me but your Mom's gonna flip" or "Well, you have to explain that to your father when he gets home." It takes delicate balance and buckets of patience to get this right.

15. The Talk: Boy's Edition.

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When you're the Mom and your son is approaching puberty, the "talk" might start and end like this: "What happened, now? You have what ... where? Um, I'm not really sure how to answer that. Should we call your Dad?"

16. The Talk: Girl's Edition.

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When you're the Dad and your daughter is displaying signs of puberty, the "talk" might start and end this this: "What's just happened? What did I do? Are you mad at me? Who are you? Let's get your Mom on the phone!"

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17. Wanna see crazy? Mess with my kid.

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This typically goes for all parents but single parents especially can and will become murderously enraged with anybody who messes with the kid(s) — this includes school faculty, family members, the co-parent, step parents, bees, wasps, mosquitos and the goldfish in the living room. Anybody can get it.

18. When they're gone, you're lost without them.

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Some of us have the summers and holidays setup where the kid(s) go away with the non-custodial parent and you say you cannot wait until the banshees leave! Those first two weeks? Awesome. The rest of the summer? Lonely.

19. To them, you're a superhero.

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You are a superhero — in your child's eyes you are the one-stop shop to fix all things. You are the chef, the medic, the personal stylist, the bearer of PG-rated truths, the boo-boo kisser, the tailor, the money vine and, of course, the chauffeur! All those kids know is that you make it happen — all of it!

20. You're patronized by the happy couples who got it right.

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The "bless your heart, it must be so hard" assumption — ugh, please! Because it's so hard to love and take care of your kids every day? And I don't remember complaining! But check this out — it may be safe to say you probably spend the same amount of time with your kids despite having a husband. Is it hard? You tell me.

21. The love is a special kind.

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It's worth it in the end when your kids mature into kind, considerate and selfless beings. Sure, they took a few hard knocks early but they quickly learned how to get up, dust themselves off and start anew without fear because you showed them how. And THIS is love.