A lot of us parents are quite humble and would say those things are 'just what us parents do' but this has highlighted to me that actually we need to start blowing our own trumpets as this stuff ain't as easy as it looks!
I spend way too much time focusing on what I get wrong with my parenting that I forget that I do manage to get some things right, and sadly I don't think I'm the only parent that does this.
Being a single parent immediately gives me a negative stigma which I try so hard to disprove because I think single parents are actually incredible.
Single parents have a huge list of superpowers, and I know this because I've seen so many people who parent with their partners experience a week without their partner and they're suddenly full of respect for what I do.
So single parenting is my super power.
I make all of the rules and I have to enforce them alone.
I looked after him alone when he was a baby and a toddler, meaning no breaks to even pee or shower in peace, and I am still here to tell the tale.
I had no lone time until he went to sleep, and that was spent working instead of resting. For the first three years of his life I parented him alone with no support from his father practically, emotionally or financially. In fact during the first year I managed to do it alone whilst battling depression and anxiety triggered by his father leaving to take hardcore drugs and putting us at risk in many ways.
I have managed to maintain our home, pay the mortgage, make sure he is clothed, fed and even had holidays all by myself. Strangely I've even managed to do all this at times where I've had months of not managing to find any work at all because nobody else can do it for me.
I've taught him to walk, talk, eat and toilet independently, which is amazing considering you don't get told how to do any of this when you have a child.
I was there holding him as he was put to sleep at two years old for serious heart surgery, and I was there to hold his hand when he woke up.
I have never given up on him even when times have got so tough and I've felt unable to cope. I may want to quit sometimes but I never do.
I found him a nursery and a school and tried to echo their routines and education at home.
I role model ways he should (and shouldn't) deal with situations. I've even worked hard to integrate his father back into his life and dealt with a lot of the emotional guilt and stress during times he hasn't been in his life - I owned it because I knew he wasn't stable enough to be in his life, and I put those boundaries in until he had spent enough time living independently without drugs and alcohol to show me he was ready to try parenting.
It was a risk, knowing I could be hated for that time Chunk didn't get to see his dad, but for his protection it had to be done and they have a bond like he was always there now which is all that matters.
And despite all of the stereotypes of what he could be and how he could act due to being from a 'broken home' he doesn't display any of it. He's bright, excelled all of his developmental milestones at every stage, is confident and is growing the empathy I hoped he would.
So yes, rather than be hard on myself I am going to instead celebrate what I have achieved. Yes I still have a lot to learn and I still get lots wrong, but that doesn't take away the good things I have achieved, all by myself.
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