Achieving a healthy romantic partnership one day is the goal for many single parents. Someone to make dinners with, plan vacations alongside and of course, enjoy your child almost as much as you do. But let’s face it, happy relationships don’t come packaged for sale at the local grocers. You have to be patient, work on yourself, cultivate at least a moderate capacity for (Oh, the drudgery of it all!) dating, and try and enjoy the present as much as possible. The following is a list of things about single parenting that make it a little easier along the way:
-You never have to stock the fridge full of anything other than healthy kid food and whatever it is you feel like eating (toasted cheese baguettes with tomato is a perfectly viable alternative for dinner)
-If you choose to hang out in your PJs for the day, watching Disney movies and eating popcorn, you get the double benefit of a day of rest and having quality time with your child
-You get to wear polka-dot nail polish with your ten year-old and be “expressive” and cool at the same time
-You are the master of your own domain: your own checkbook, your own kitchen, your own backyard, your own remote control. If watching the full season of "Survivor" is your idea of a good time, have at it!
-Whenever those “I suck at relationships and will be alone forever” days come along, all you have to do is spend a little time with your child. If they are under the age of 13, they want nothing more than to have fun hanging out with you. There’s a fan-club of at least one very-important-person at your beck and call any hour of the day. You suck at nothing.
-You can invent your own exercise routine and never leave your living room: 1) Ten minutes of yoga in the morning while drinking coffee, 2) 20 minutes of sweat-inducing free dance after dinner (all you need is Michael Jackson, and a commitment to move. By the third song, a body that felt like sludge a few minutes earlier will begin to feel like quicksilver, and you’re still having fun with your kid), 3) Tummy crunches, leg lifts, and butt-squeezing floor work while managing a conference call, writing a shopping list or doing a puzzle with your child. If that feels like too much multi-tasking, take a moment to think about the rest of your daily routine. All of these fitness possibilities can be done in less time than it takes to drive to the gym, put on a cute workout ensemble and wait for the next sweaty machine.
-Let’s be honest: the excuse “I have no child care”, in response to a less-than-desirable social or community invite is sometimes very relieving.
-When your child is home sick, you have no choice but to stay home too. A day of rejuvenation is what you probably need all of the time, but can’t give yourself. So when your child is sick, you can take control of your own wellness needs and log in some relaxation hours without guilt.
-You are training your young one to be resourceful. They know that you’re managing more than their friends’ parents who are married and can spell each other in a crunch. They also know that they can contribute. As they get older, there’s a team approach that gives them a sense of pride in helping Mom or Dad manage the challenges of life.
-If you think about it, you have never been more aware of your life-skills than you are right now as a single parent. You may be tired, stressed-out, and overwhelmed, but you are mighty and will not let yourself down. Remember this fact when you find that happy relationship.