by Lisa M. Henderson, B.S. Child Development
As a single mom, one of the issues that causes me concern is raising my son. There are many things that concern me. What about male role models? What if my son grows up to be a sissy? Is it harmful to have him be the only male, living with his mom and his older sister? How can I provide a solid parental background for my son, and be both mother and father to him? What will I do when he’s older (and bigger than me)?
I have found myself taking one day at a time. I try to provide positive male role models for my son. I have several very good friends who are men and although they are not around on a regular basis, my son does get to interact with positive adult males. My neighbors are also positive male role models for my son. He sees our neighbors on a daily basis and I feel very good about their influence on my son. My son’s father is very absent in my children’s lives.
I have yet to find a man that I would marry after going through my divorce. I’m not “trying” to find a father for my children, but my children are definitely a factor when I choose the man whom with I will spend my time. I don’t know if I will marry while my children are living at home. I remember how bad it was for my kids when their parents were fighting. I think I’ve come to the realization that it’s better to be a good single parent, than a bad married parent.
His being the only male in our household, I know that my son receives far more constructive criticism than he likes. I’m sure at times he feels he has two mothers, because my daughter is not afraid to “direct” my son’s behavior. She and I have had many discussions about this and I try to help her remember she’s also a child in this family. I guess all second born children have the problem of too many people trying to be too helpful and I probably shouldn’t worry that it stems from single parenting.
In the past I was concerned that my son might be a sissy as he grew older, being raised in a single mother household. But I’ve realized that sons who have good relationships with their mothers are not necessarily “sissies”. Rather, they are the ones who make good husbands. If a male respects and loves his mother, then his wife is likely to be respected and loved too. I want my son to be thoughtful and considerate of women. I don’t want him to be tough and rough; all too often those type of men become abusers.
My son is only four years old, almost five. At this point in his life, he is simply “100% boy”. He can be rough and tough, and he can be sweet and snuggly. He is very active and very outspoken. He does tend to get angry easily and that concerns me. I see some of his father’s behavior in him and I certainly don’t want that cultivated in any way. My son has been in play therapy for several years and that’s had a positive influence on him.
I work very hard at being a relaxed loving parent. It’s not always easy. My role is to be both parents. I also work full-time in my home as a daycare provider. I home school both of my own children, too. It’s also important that I have time to myself. It’s definitely not easy, but it’s rewarding and I have seen great success in both of my children’s lives. They have adjusted fairly well to our lifestyle and I pray that our lives continue forward and relationships continue to grow positively.
I guess I don’t worry any more than any other parent. I just have different worries as a single mom. And I recognize that there is no other adult here in the home to discuss the lives of the children’s day to day activities, problems, and successes. But once again, I remember that it’s better to be a happy, content, single parent than an unhappy, discontent married parent. I look at both my children with great joy and happiness and know that I must being doing something very right or they would not be so wonderful.