Things I've Learned From Being Raised By A Single Mother

My mum probably deserves a medal, like all single mothers, she did her best. Raising twins all by herself (with the help of my nana and grandad too) can't have been easy. Me and my sister didn't know any different, all we knew was just our mum, nana and grandad - that was our family. Our father figure was our grandad and it couldn't have been anyone better.

Being raised my a single parent teaches you a lot. It makes you want to be better, live up to high expectations and push yourself a little more. 
Mothers help you shape yourself into the person that you want to be. They forgive you for your past and your mistakes because chances are, they have done the same things. It's true what they say: the apple never falls far from the tree. I'm probably more like my mum more than I'd like to admit of course. Strong minded, passionate, loving and sensitive.

My mum took on the role of mum and dad for the majority of my life. She had to deal with working, raising two kids (twin girls I might add, which is probably more chaotic than most people admit) and living her own life all on her own. She didn’t have any support behind her except for my nana, grandad and uncle, yet she still somehow kicked butt at parenting. My mum is the strongest person I know, and I don't think I tell her that enough. I'm a little difficult, I know and my mum just keeps on loving, supporting and guiding me every step of the way and standing by me during my mental health journey, one i couldn't do without her by my side, coming with me to every doctors appointments.


How to be a good mother. You’ve been raised by a mum who showed you how to truly take care of a family, what it takes to be a good parent, someone who showed you that hard work pays off, who showed you that you can love someone unconditionally. She showed me how to be protective, loving, kind, compassionate, strong and resilient. She was leading by example, and whether you know it or not, you are following in her footsteps one step at a time. And if i have children some point down the line, i hope i'm a fab mother like my own. Raising kids alone is the hardest job in the world. And nobody is perfect. I learned about sadness and frustration from her. But I also learned about joy, determination, passion, gratitude and love.

They are proof you can be a real life superhero. She has not only been our mother but has been our personal chauffeur, therapist, handyman, chef, bank, cheerleader, and lastly our best friend for our entire lives. She has worked so hard to give me and my sister the best life we could possibly have, even better than if we had had two parents. For that, I can officially say superheroes are real, we just don't see them. She taught us independence, feminism, and motherhood that I feel equipped to one day raise children that hopefully if I'm lucky, will admire me in the way I admire her. 

 The importance of patience and faith. You learn that those who love you are looking out for you and your struggles, that everything will be OK in the end. Storms will pass and tomorrow is a new day. You learn to be patient with life, patient with timing, patient with success and patient with problems. You learn that patience is strength.

Gender doesn't dictate your parental role. As I've grown up, i'm thankful to have a mother like mine. My mum just so happens to be the best mother and father all in one. She was strong like a father should be. She was nurturing and caring like a mother should be. She is the perfect combination wrapped up into one.

Being raised by a single parent showed me that the word "gender" doesn't define or dictate your parental role. My mum did everything from killing spiders to cooking a homemade meal every night, to driving us to school, yet managing to have time to take us to all of our appointments, and she supported us with every achievement along the way. While working a 9 to 5 job and studying Open University. She did it all and never complained once about it. Growing up, I started to understand that women and men have an equal amount of nurturing and love for their children. My mum taught me to see people as equal no matter what gender or ethnicity they are. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

You can be both strong and soft. Strong mothers are usually very sensitive but they just hide it better. You saw your mum silently cry over your pain or stay up all night taking care of you when you were sick or the nights she couldn’t sleep because something was troubling you. The way she hugs you when you are down shows unmatched compassion and tenderness. Sometimes, in a quiet corner, you see her shed a few tears. She's shown me you don't have to be strong all the time and that it's ok to slip and fall, it's ok to cry, there's nothing wrong with being sensitive and strong.

 How to create your own happiness. You can find happiness in a difficult life, in the darkest of times. You can still be happy even if  you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. My mom taught me that I can always find something to smile about all I have to do is look closer and in a positive light. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Work hard, love harder. 

How to love yourself. You learn how to walk away from the things that are not meant for you, you learn how to keep going even when the whole world is against you, and you learn how to believe in yourself when everyone is doubting you. You learn that bad grades, heart breaks and failures don’t define you; what defines you is how you bounce back from all the setbacks and how hard you fight for the life you want. She also taught me to have my own mind, be accepting, trust myself and be open minded.

She taught me how to think not what to think. You don’t just memorize what you read about, instead she taught you to question it and form your own opinions. You learn to gather information from as many sources as you can and evaluate your own conclusion. She taught you to always be willing to learn and change your mind, you also learn it’s okay to be wrong sometimes and even to fail. It’s how you learn.

The value of independence. You don’t need a man to save you or anyone to take care of you, you learn by example that you are capable of living a full and happy life without having to share it with someone else. You learn that you can build a home, raise kids, cook, and do the dishes all while having a thriving career. You pretty much learn how to be super woman and survive on your own.

You learn to love your own company. She has shown me that I do not need anyone else but myself to be happy and successful. I have learned that the true definition of independent means that I do not need to rely on anyone else for my well-being. I have learned how to make something out of myself and strive for greatness. I learned how to create something bigger without anyone's help. You are your own best friend. Respect yourself, your mental health, and be proud of your accomplishments.

The importance of being realistic. This may be a little difficult to explain, but I feel that reality becomes a bit clearer when you have a single parent. My mum never sugar coated anything in my life. For the most part, I was aware when money was tight, when she was stressed, and when life was throwing our family curve balls. She was always fully honest with me, making my sister and I understand that we were all a team and when things weren’t easy, we all had to be aware. Don’t get me wrong, I have been given a very comfortable life from my mum, but I have always had to be mindful of when things were tough. This sense of reality made me prepared for my own adult life, while also showing me how lucky I really am.

It’s okay to ask for help. I have watched my mum as she raise me and my sister with little support, sometimes struggling. At moments, she has had to ask for help. Through her example, I have learned it’s okay to admit you can’t do it all on your own. My mum taught me to set aside my pride, no matter how difficult it may be. Asking for guidance does not make you inadequate; it makes you stronger. Because we all need a little help along the way and there's nothing wrong with asking for a helping hand, we're all human.

Try your absolute hardest. Games, school subjects you aren’t too fond of, relationships, friendships, and everything in between. Give it your all, or nothing. There is no point in doing ANYTHING half assed, it all takes work. Things aren’t always going to be peachy and rainbows and butterflies. But giving up immediately is not an option whatsoever. It is okay to walk away. It is perfectly acceptable to say no or leave or do whatever you have to do. Doing my best is all i can do, i am capable of whatever i put my mind to and that something i should give myself credit for.

Some lessons you just have to learn yourself. By loving, respecting, encouraging and understanding me, she has taught me to love, respect, encourage and understand myself. By not being hard on me, she has taught me to not be hard on myself. Most of all, she has supported me through choosing paths different than her own — she understands that the life she has chosen is not necessarily the life I will, or should, choose for myself. She's taught me that i'm valued, that i'm always learning and what i do matters including standing up for myself. There are things that only i can figure out for myself.

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She's the reason I'm still standing here today alongside my twin sister. She's the reason I'm as strong as I am now along with my trials and tribulations. Without her, I don't know where I would be, and I'm thankful that I don't have to find out what that life would've been. My mother is my mentor, my best friend, and my therapist. Not only her teachings, but also her life has taught me to be strong during hard times, and to be grateful with all the bounties that life provides you. 

So yes, I am a child of a single parent. No, I am not damaged. I am strong, and stronger than I would've been with two parents. For that, I'm eternally grateful for being blessed with having someone so special in my life. Thank you mum for everything. I love you. I have the best mother I could ask for. You are and have always been the most influential role model in my life, and I sincerely hope that I will grow up to be half the woman you are some day. You inspire me to be better, thank you. I know i don't always tell you how much i love you or give as many hugs as you'd like due to being uncomfortable with physical contact (that's my issue) and i will get better at that, i promise. Again, i love you.


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