One of the more challenging aspects of single parenting is figuring out how to balance life as a single woman with life as a single mama. It's tricky.
It is important to me to have an adult life outside of the life I have with my twelve-year-old daughter, Sarah. I want to set that example for her. I want her to know when she is my age, and has her own children, she can also have friends and interests outside of them. And in my case, in addition to friends and interests, there are love interests. In the 10 years I have been single there have been a couple of serious boyfriends, and she has met them when I felt the time was right. But mostly? I've just been single. With many guy friends, and plenty of dates, but as I've explained to my daughter, and as she sees every day, I am very happy and content single, so until and unless the right man comes along, I will stay happy and content single. I don't think my daughter has ever heard me say anything like, "I wish I had a boyfriend."
The other day in the car Sarah says to me, "I don't really want a boyfriend. I have too much fun just flirting." And I thought I was going to wreck the car. What in the world have I done? Because that is basically how I feel about relationships. I think that idea had to come from my life. My life that she sees every day.
She, like me, enjoys the attention from boys, but is very happy just on her own without a boyfriend. She doesn't need one. But I've been wondering. Am I doing too good of a job of teaching her that she does not need a man in her life to be happy? Have I gone too far with that idea? [Sidebar: I do realize she is only twelve. But I also realize these are very formative years!]
Because I do believe we are designed for companionship. We are meant to have a partner in this life. I don't, and I've created a nice world for myself without that, but do I want my daughter growing up with the idea that a partner is unnecessary? I don't want her miss out on the rush that the beginnings of love can be, or discount the strength that real love can give. Yes, I am perhaps somewhat cynical about love, but I don't want my daughter to be.
Fortunately, my daughter has many examples of good marriages in her life. My parents, her dad and stepmother. Other friends and family. Here's hoping that with those happy couples and her happy single mom, she will somehow end up okay.
So Shine readers, chime in! How can a single mom embrace life as a single but still teach a child the value of having a partner?
Clare Yeakel, a single working mom and MBA, is a Shine Parenting Guru and a Shine Get It Guide Guru. Irreverent, funny and up for anything, Clare lives life with passion. She loves deeply, laughs often, and is a devoted single mama to her beautiful daughter. She blogs regularly on parenting and dating on Shine. You can find her at Life on the C Train. lifeonthectrain.blogspot.com.