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16 People Tell Us What It's Really Like To Be A Single Parent

"I wanted to say something deep and admiring, but I'm tired."

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1. "The responsibility is overwhelming."

"It's loving someone more than you thought you were capable of, so much so that it terrifies you. It's literally taking two steps back in everything you want for yourself and being perfectly fine with it. It's being filled with wonder watching this little person grow and evolve and being petrified at the same time because, essentially everything you do with your life that will shape theirs. The responsibility is overwhelming, yet I wear it with pride."

– Lauren Parsons Jones, Facebook

2. "We're a team, we're happy, and we do things our way."

"I was raised by a single mum when my parents divorced early on. My siblings and I all grew up happy, well adjusted, and open-minded. Today I raise my daughter as a single mother because her father wants zero involvement in any sense. It's hard, and it's stressful, and we don't have a lot. But it's also all the two of us know. We're a team, we're happy, we do things our way, and at the end of the day I'm so proud of the strong little girl I'm raising all on my own."

– Justine Brown, Facebook

3. "There are days that I honestly question if I'm doing the right thing."

Instagram: @kmkluttz

"Being a single parent has been one of the most rewarding and difficult things in the entire world. It's difficult because my daughter only has me. When she's sick I'm the one who's up with her all night, even though I have work the next morning. And if she's so sick she can't go to school, I'm the one that has to miss work. I don't get to go out with my friends and do whatever I want whenever I want any more – those bedtime stories won't read themselves.

"But being a single parent is everything I could have asked for. I don't know what I would do without my daughter. We have a bond that is so unbreakable. She's my best friend. There are days that I honestly question if I'm doing the right thing. Some days I lose my shit, but at the end of the day, that little girl loves me and is counting on me. So no matter how many times she spills her Cheerios or colours on something she's not supposed to, she's worth it all."

– Anonymous


4. "I just miss someone sharing the workload."

"I became a single mum eight months ago when my husband died. I don't have any family close by so it is truly just me and my son. Most of the time it's OK, but some days are so hard. I'm literally held hostage in my house every night after he goes to bed. All I want to do is go shopping by myself or eat dinner in a restaurant by myself, but I have to pay a babysitter. I know he won't be little forever, but I just miss someone sharing the workload. This is the hardest thing I've done in my life, and I would never choose to be a single parent."

– Chiara Turner, Facebook

5. "There is no one perfect family scenario."

"Being a single parent feels great. You get to feel proud when they succeed and when they fail, you get to be there to pick them back up. You get to spend quality time with them, learning new things and going on adventures together. You get to teach them that families are different. There is no one perfect family scenario. There can be one mum, one dad, two mums, a mum and a dad, or two dads, and they're all perfect because they're your family. Having my son is the greatest thing that ever happened to me and I don't regret a single good or bad moment of being a single parent."

– Tris Mayes, Facebook

6. "The hardest thing is money."

"It goes without saying that I love and protect my children fiercely and wouldn't trade one day with them for anything in the world. That being said, let me be real here, the hardest thing is money. As a single parent I have to work more and harder whilst doing the majority of the childcare and household duties."

– Ann Marie, Facebook

7. "My son and I are extremely close."

"Being a single parent is hands down the hardest thing I've ever had to experience. I've learned how to treat people, how to be selfless, and how to be stronger. It's a lot of sacrifices and sometimes it's easy to get overwhelmed. However, even with the realities of losing friends, an extremely tight budget and no free time, it's all completely worth it and I wouldn't change anything. My son and I are extremely close and I just don't know if we would have the same relationship if we weren't going through this together."

– Emma Lanely, Facebook


8. "The love is all-consuming and worth every second of difficulty."

Instagram: @naalchidraws

"Looking at my child, and knowing that I am all he has, is unbelievably overwhelming. I don't have backup, I'm his entire world. I have given up on almost everything I ever wanted for my life. I no longer think about my own needs, because I just don't have time. There are days where I sit on the ground, crying hysterically, because I just wish I had help. Then, I look at my child and realise I wouldn't change anything about my life. The love is all-consuming and worth every second of difficulty."

– Anonymous

9. "I do miss my 'old' life sometimes."

"I am a single mother by choice and had my daughter through fertility treatments with a sperm donor. I have always wanted to be a mum, and always wanted to experience pregnancy. It has been the hardest, scariest, most exhausting and best thing that I have ever done. My daughter is almost a year old; I have family nearby and they have helped enormously. I worry constantly that something is always falling by the wayside. I feel guilty for not spending enough time with her, for not doing enough to keep up my house. I neglect myself a lot. It is harder than I ever thought it would be. I do not regret the choice – I love her to death and I am so happy I had her – but I do miss my 'old' life sometimes. Being able to sleep late, or go wherever I wanted without having to plan or think ahead. I love my daughter with everything and I am so blessed to have this experience, but it is so hard."

– Anonymous

10. "If I can do this then I can absolutely do anything."

"I am a single mum to a 4-year-old girl. I became a single mum at 19 when I left her dad. I go to school full-time and work as a waitress while waiting to graduate. Being a single mum is definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done. But it also reminds me that if I can do this then I can absolutely do anything. Sometimes I spend 60 hours a week away from her between work and school but I honestly wouldn't trade her for the world. My daughter assures me that I am the best mummy ever and she appreciates how hard I work."

– Anonymous

11. "She does things that remind me of her dad."

"I became a single mum when my child was 6 months old – her father passed away. For weeks after the funeral when she would start crying I just stared at her before I remembered that no one else was going to come take care of her. For almost a solid month I resented her and was mad because I did not choose this life. I think that was mostly the grief talking. But I moved out of my parents' house and into our own home. It was hard – I'm the only person who has to cuddle her late at night when teething gets bad. But then she started doing things that reminded me of her dad. I know that the hard parts never stop being hard – I'm going to lose sleep, I may get puked on or tears stain my shirt – but this kid makes it worth it. I shudder to think where I would be without her and the stability and routine she has put in my life."

– Anonymous


12. I got her first steps, I got her first words, I got all her first everything.

"It's hard but rewarding. I've raised my daughter alone since birth. I think being a single parent has made me more selfish in regards to her. I got her first steps, I got her first words, I got all her first everything. I've recently been going through a very rough time and she has helped me immensely. The other day I was trying to hide my tears and she asked if I would marry her. She is the only thing keeping me from slipping into a depression. Partially because I literally can't – who's going to take care of her? – and partially because I need to show her how to be strong."

– Anonymous

13. "The goal is to keep them smiling and offer them the best life."

Instagram: @littlest_birdie

"I'm a 22-year-old single mum to twins. I went through an emotional breakup with their dad and had to move back into my mums. I feel like a lot of my independence has been taken away and I cry myself to sleep a lot of nights, but when they run up to me and give me a hug, I know that everything will be worth it. The goal is to keep them smiling and offer them the best life that I possibly can."

– Anonymous

14. "I'm stressed, I'm exhausted, I'm overworked."

Instagram: @masalastudio

"Single parenthood is a huge experiment in balance. I'm stressed, I'm exhausted, I'm overworked, I'm in desperate need of alone time, I need an adult conversation and probably an adult beverage, but I'm no longer my top priority. I'm honestly not even sure I'm able to fit myself in the top 10 priorities. I just do the best I can, and hope that my children know how much I truly love them."

– Anonymous

15. "I wouldn't change it for the world."

"Coming from a line of strong women in my family, I knew I would be able to handle being a single parent. I get to love my children twice as much, kiss them more, and raise them as I want. It isn't easy, but having friends and family by my side has been great. Watching my sweet baby boy grow into a handsome, smart, and caring young man is one of life's greatest blessings. I wouldn't change it for the world."

– Dez Riel, Facebook


16. "I wanted to say something deep and admiring, but I'm tired."

"I wanted to say something deep and admiring about how much I love being a single parent to my beautiful daughter and how she is my everything, my definition of a blessing, my reason to wake up every morning, my inspiration. I wanted to say something about, even though I am her only parent I know she'll never be low on love and how she's changed my life for the best a million times over, but I'm really tired right now and can't think of anything."

– Safiya Elba, Facebook

Some responses have been edited for clarity. Anonymous responses were sent by email where anonymity was requested.

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