Why am I doing all the parenting? Why isn’t my ex doing more?
Good questions, but you may not find satisfactory answers. Here’s the fact: We wound up as the responsible parent — for whatever reason. Now it’s up to us to make the best of the situation.
It’s OK to complain occasionally. But most of our time should be spent focusing on our child’s wellbeing, not bemoaning our plight.
Sometimes when we least expect it, rewards come. Our child may give us an unexpected compliment. A friend may commend us on our parenting. We may observe good behavior in our kid and feel a sense of satisfaction.
Our greatest reward, however, will come when our kids are grown. It will be in the form of the gratitude they express.
Count on it. If you’re done a good job as a parent — if you’ve poured your soul into raising your children, if you’ve sacrificed your interests for theirs — they will notice. And they will say thanks in ways that touch your heart.
I saw a great article recently on Huffington Post. The author profiled 11 young adults who were raised by a single parent. The men and women expressed the gratitude they had for their mom or dad. Their comments offered me comfort and strength as the single parent of a teenager. I hope you’ll have the same reaction.
Here are some snippets from the article:
- A man thanked his mom for “systematically planting the seed that I could do better. Better than she had done for herself. And she always, always popped in with the right advice at the right time.”
- A woman said her dad “worked 17 hours a day but still spent a ton of time with us. He read to us. He did homework with us. And until I had children, I did not realize how hard he must have struggled. … He was and is my hero.”
- A woman praised her mother, who endured the deaths of two husbands. “My mother never once asked, ‘Why me?'” the daughter said. “And because of that, neither have I. … Widowed again, she modeled how to grieve, pick herself up and live on. What more can a child ask for of a parent than this?”
- Another woman recalled her mother’s long commute to a job that allowed her to afford private school tuition for her daughter. “She made innumerable sacrifices for me,” the daughter said. “I’d like my mom to know how grateful I am to her for her sacrifices that were an investment in my future. Without a doubt, I could not be where I am today without her in my life.”
Crying yet? I wouldn’t be surprised.
Parenting — especially single-parenting — is a high calling. The sacrifices are many. The rewards can seem few.
But hang in there — your kids will someday express the gratitude they feel in their hearts.