Single parenting is a bit like learning to ride a unicycle: trickier than riding a two-wheeler, but with practice it gets easier, and staying upright and moving forward can be very rewarding.
I've had plenty of time to practise, and I'm definitely not an expert, but sometime between today and the end of this month I'll have been a single parent for 12 years. I can't remember the exact date, although I could check the journal I kept at the time if I wanted to, but a rough estimate is enough for me.
Considering I was only married for 7 years, this anniversary seems significant somehow. Not sure why, but just humour me.
In January 2003, when my single parenting experience began, my girls were just 3 and 6. Tall Daughter was so young she can't remember her dad living with us, and The Teenager only has vague recollections, although she remembers the separation quite clearly.
They're now 15 and 18, and as you'd expect a hell of a lot has happened in between times. We've had plenty of good and bad times along the way and there are loads of things I'd have done differently in retrospect, but we're still here and doing okay. More than okay, actually, but y'know, touch wood and all that.
I've written about the pros and cons of single parenting before, but this time 'round I thought I'd ask some fellow lone parents for their thoughts.
I asked them all the same question:
What's the best and worst thing about being a single parent?
This is what they had to say.
For me, the best thing is the sense of achievement from raising my girls on my own, and the worst thing is the loneliness. I didn't expect to be on my own for so long, but I still am, so there we are. It would be nice to be a new relationship, especially as my ex-husband has moved on (and on, and on...) but it just hasn't happened for me.
So there you have it, 12 different opinions on the highs and lows of riding a unicycle. Thank you to everyone who offered their help with this blog post, I really do appreciate it.
If you've ever been a single parent, what would your best and worst be?
Image from Unsplash