A few days ago, I was having lunch with a few friends, and the topic of being a single mom came up. My friend, Jenna, says to me, “I don’t know how you did it! That must have been soooo hard.” I react to that with probably a bit too much angst, “No! It wasn’t. I mean, yes, I guess it was. But I also look back at that time with incredible fondness. Yes, I was in the trenches, figuring it out. But my daughter and I had quite an adventure together.” The truth is that yes, of course, it was challenging. But there are many spiritual advantages I gained from being a single mom, too.
I’ve listed some of them here:
1. “You get a chance to discover more about who you are.”
These words were the VERY LAST thing I wanted to hear when I stumbled into my therapist’s office 17 years ago in the aftermath of a horrific divorce. I was like, “WHAT? I don’t want to discover this. All I want is to have a normal life and raise my daughter in a normal home. I don’t want to go down this divorced, single mom path. UGH!”
But, you know what? She was right. There was so much I didn’t know about myself. I didn’t know how capable I could be at balancing so many things all at the same time. I didn’t know that I would want to have a practice of my own one day – which I would never have had in that marriage. Also, I realized that I wanted to raise my child in a major city, also something I would never have had the chance to do.
I didn’t know at the time that I would discover how strong I was. And what an incredible adventure our lives would be. I didn’t know any of that back then.
2. There is a major interruption in the plan – and a higher plan is unfolding.
For me, becoming a single mom at age 30 wasn’t planned. Instead, becoming a single mom was an interruption. It’s as if the universe throws a sign up along your path, and it says, “STOP! Wrong direction! This loving universe has something much, much greater in store for you.”
At first, if your path is anything like mine, instead you question, “Why is this happening to me? What’s wrong with me?” On and on.
But then, one day, it hits you. It may come on as a glimmer of hope or a random, very happy feeling. Either way, you realize, “Thank you, God! This experience is a blessing and a miracle. I’m so grateful that I won’t be spending my entire life in the wrong relationship. I’ve been blessed and given another chance to start over and make different choices. Choices that are better for me, and for my child.”
3. You get the chance to reevaluate and clarify what you want – a significant advantage of being a single mom.
Think of it as a blessing to be able to hit the reset button. You were on the wrong path. If you believe in the benevolence of this universe, you can choose to allow and accept this truth.
In taking a break you can stop and take another look at what you want. Not just how you want to raise your child, but how you want your life to feel. Do you want to be able to take a train into the city with your kids on weekends? Do you want to live near parks that you can enjoy as a family?
Have you dreamed of having the Ally McBeal life? What do you want? It’s all up to you. You don’t have to compromise in the same way. You get to choose. Having this time to reframe is an exciting advantage of being a single mom.
4. The partner you wanted before kids might be very different than who you want after.
Wow, is this the truth! It’s a blessing to choose a partner at age 24 that you will align with for the long term, having the same views of how to raise kids, the kind of neighborhood you’ll live in, and the kind of life you envision long after the kids have flown away from the nest.
The saying “You attract who you are, not what you want,” comes to mind.
How can you attract who you are – if you aren’t sure? It’s a gamble we’re willing to take when we’re young. But, when you’ve had time to experience life in your way, learning and growing from mistakes along the way, you become a more honest, truer version of yourself. And that version is going to attract someone very different than the younger version did.
5. You get the chance to experience more directly the love and support of the universe – an unexpected blessing of being a single mom.
When you’re out there figuring it out, you get to feel the support of the universe. You have the chance to discover that you’re never really alone. The universe is always co-conspiring with you.
When you’re married, and your life seems pretty mapped out for you, it’s harder to feel that gentle guidance of the universe.
When you have a wide-open blank canvas, you can give more latitude to the universe to swoop in and show you what you may want to see and discover. You’re more open – because there’s an opening in your life.
Experiencing life in this way is exciting.
6. You get important one-on-one time with your child.
I’m sure like many other women, the most challenging part of accepting my new path as a single mom was the sadness I felt over not offering my child the two-parent home she deserved. It was very painful and difficult for me to accept.
But what I got in return was precious time. My daughter and I were (and still are) a team. We had so many movie nights, weekend travels, and countless adventures together. The years fly by. Just this weekend, my husband and I were talking about how fast it all goes. When you think about it – you have your kids at home for 18 years. But let’s be honest – it’s actually much, much shorter.
By the time they’re 14 or 15, they’re out and about, spending time with their peers. The time flies by!
So the time you have, just the two of you, is precious. This is a big advantage of having time as a single mom.
Many of my friends, male and female, raised by a single parent, have a uniquely close relationship with that parent.
7. You get to show your child what resilience looks like – an underappreciated advantage of being a single mom.
One thing we always know for sure is that life will throw you curveballs. So, being a single mom exposes your child to a strong, brave side of you. You get the chance to show them resilience.
Resilience is a weapon! How can you thrive when you’ve never seen it first hand? It’s impossible to imagine.
Your kids also learn how to work hard and to do chores at home. You can’t do it all alone and need them to chip in. Growing up this way gives your kids a sense of responsibility and skills to use throughout life.
8. With more experience and self-awareness, you’re able to create and build the life that you desire.
Being a single parent offers an opportunity to cultivate and experience self-compassion. This is a time to choose a path of self-discovery. It’s like the universe opened up and offered you have the chance to build a life that’s right for you – and your family. You have the opportunity to redefine your story.
Be vulnerable and real. Love yourself. Honor the path that you’re on. Trust that it’s precisely the right one for you.
Know that you’re exactly where you belong. Know that are amazing things ahead for you. You are being guided. There is a greater plan.
If you find yourself unexpectedly in the position of being a single mom, try to embrace the larger, positive direction your life is going in. Try not to label this time with all of the sad stories you may have heard. Being a single mom is mighty! And there are many advantages you will gain from this time if you view it in a hopeful, optimistic way.