This is an edited version of a post originally published on Respectfully Connected.
I’m a sole parent. I differentiate between sole parent and single parent because my son simply does not have another parent in his life. A lot of people think that fact makes our lives difficult, but it really doesn’t.
We’re actually incredibly fortunate. We’re fortunate because I don’t have to negotiate my parenting style with another person. Two parent families involve two adults who may hold different views, shaped by different experiences, and those views may influence their parenting decisions. We’re fortunate because it’s just the two of us. That has enabled us to find our rhythm without having that process complicated by the presence of additional people.
Ironically, that process was initially made difficult because I am a sole parent. I can’t speak for two parent families because I’ve never experienced that. But, from what I have heard, two parent families aren’t given parenting advice to the same extent as sole parents appear to be. Everyone (health professionals, friends, and strangers) seems to want to offer me parenting advice because I’m a sole parent. Overwhelmingly, that advice contradicts my own instincts. Often, the advice received from two different people is contradictory.
It took me a while to stop listening to everyone else, and start listening to the two people who matter most in the relationship between me and my son: myself and him. Listening to my own instincts and listening to what my son wants from me as his parent has finally enabled us to find our rhythm.
I know that our rhythm is unique. Our rhythm probably won’t work for anyone else, which is why I haven’t gone into the details of what our rhythm entails. Our rhythm allows us to balance our individual needs in our own unique way.
We may march to the beat of a different drummer – but we’re still marching.