Single Parenting: 7 Expectations vs. Reality

When you first become a single parent, your expectations might not match the reality of the situation.

You’ll create & stick to a routine or schedule

This expectation is actually pretty easy to understand. As one-half of a parenting team and a married couple, we typically were able to create and stick to routines and schedules. We had a partner to help us with getting dinner on the table when we were running late from soccer practice or to take one kid to ballet while we took the other to karate.

You’ll set reasonable rules & enforce them consistently & fairly

After a split, one thing you might look forward to is getting to make all the rules in your house again. You can finally get rid of that weird rule your ex had that drove you crazy! And you’ll only set reasonable rules so your kids don’t feel controlled or restricted. You’ll be fair and consistent in enforcing those rules too.

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

You won’t spoil your child out of guilt

We all, once we realize we’re about to become a single parent, are determine that we won’t spoil our kids out of guilt. We’ll continue to be the same kind of parent we’ve always been. We won’t let the kids have or do things that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

You’ll always give your kids age-appropriate responsibilities

You’re determined to raise good little humans and teach them responsibility. That means assigning chores, making sure homework gets done, and accepting the consequences of their actions. And you’ll always make sure to do those things in an age-appropriate way.

Other people will be supportive

I’m not sure expectation is quite the right word for this one. Hope might be a better fit. But it’s something we think will happen for sure. We think those around us will be supportive. Whether that support comes in the form of praise, offers to help, encouraging words, or something else, we expect/hope to see this support from our friends, family, kids’ teachers, and others we see and interact with on a semi-regular basis.

You’ll be confident all the time

When you were with your ex, it was easier to ignore any doubts you had. You were part of a parenting team which meant whether you were confident or not, you had to consult with your partner. So when you’re first stepping into the world of single parenting, you might expect to be confident all the time. You might think since you’re making the decisions alone now, you’ll make them quickly and confidently and not even think twice.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

You & your ex will get along and communicate beautifully

This might be more fantasy than expectation but I think we’ve all had it. We think now that we’ve split up, we’ll be able to get along with our ex. All communication will be smooth, clear, and easy. You’ll always do what’s best for the kids and always agree on what that is. You’ll even be best friends!

Time will help

The good thing about all of these expectations is that time will help with all of them. As you settle into your new life as a single parent, you’ll begin to find the realities. Sometimes they’ll gently ease into your life and other times they’ll smack you hard in the face.

Single Mom Coach | Meditation Teacher | Relationship Writer | | Newsletter:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store