It seems that many politicians, commentators and researchers like to pin the blame for nearly everything that ails this country on single parent families. Somehow single mothers are responsible for Detroit's bankruptcy, New Jersey's dip in newspaper readership, the spread of childhood obesity, the rise in crime rates, etc. You get the picture. There is a bright spot for single parents. Today, March 21st, is National Single Parent's Day. A 24-hour period set aside to acknowledge the more than 12 million men and women who work hard every day to raise happy, healthy and well-adjusted children.
For all the single moms and dads celebrating this honorable day here are five stellar reasons why it's good to be a single parent.
1. You don't have to compromise rules.
Your house -- your rules. You get to define how and what is permissible, and not, in your home. It's wonderful if you and your former spouse can find the co-parenting middle ground. That spot where all the kid rules and regs are unilaterally enforced across both homes. But if you could do that, perhaps you'd still be married? You can't control what is happening in the other domicile. Don't try. Do what you see as right for your home. Aim for a balance of fun and discipline, then don't waiver. And enjoy the fact that you no longer have to negotiate or argue your parental prerogative.
2. You get special one-on-one time with your kids.
You get to define the special time for you and children. My former husband was not a big fan of museums when we were married. So when we separated I saw my custodial period with my daughter's as an opportunity to do the things there was no space for before. Every other month, I made a point of taking them to visit a different museum when we were together. It was special for us. Now my oldest daughter is a big fan of museums and frequently visits new exhibits and displays. It makes me feel good to know that I was able to instill, in her, a great appreciation for art.
3. You are a role model of independence.
Mom and Dad, you get to show your children how much you are capable of independent of a mate. Single moms, it's so important to show daughters that they can take care of themselves physically and financially. You also have an important role in teaching boys how they should treat women. Dads, you get to show your girls that you can do things they never imagined possible. For example, braiding their hair and shopping for a prom dress. You also get to share with your boys how to grow up to be better daddies and men.
4. You can show your kids team building skills.
Single moms are very familiar with the skill and importance of creating a village. No one can do it all alone, nor should you. Having strong family support and good friends is critical to raising your children, while allowing you to have balance in your own life. The extra bonus here is it allows you to guide your children on how to build a team around them. It's a skill that will come in handy in their personal and professional lives.
5. You get to instill the values important to you.
When your children are in your custody, one-on-one, you have the opportunity to instill the values that are most important to you. For me it's integrity. I got to share what it is and what it feels like to be on the giving and receiving end of keeping your word. I am proud to say that I raised two young women who mean what they say and say what they mean.
What's your favorite reason for being a single parent? I would love to hear from you. Leave me a note at Kerrizane.com or tweet me @kerrizane.
To all single parents, enjoy your special day.