Parenting by Keeping the Big Picture in Mind
Twenty years ago I was a single mother with three little children. All on my own with no friends or family to support me, I raised my children with the intention to be the best I could be for them. I wanted my children to feel loved and secure, so the decisions I made that affected them were made with the big picture in mind.
If I had to give advice to any single parent with young children, it would be to ask yourself what you are causing to appear down the road. What are you creating?
This is, in fact, a good question for all parents to ask as they raise their children.
One of the natural consequences of being single is that you can get very lonely at times (and horny). We humans are wired to want lifelong companionship and sex and there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking that out. I had my share of lovers in my single mom days and I also had my share of long lonely periods when there was nobody but me and the kids.
As I began to make new friends and change the direction of my life, I also began to meet other single mothers. It saddened me to see how many women would actually let random men sleep over or who would allow a revolving door of boyfriends to interact with their children as parents. You know, I dated a guy for a year and a half and I never let him sleep over once, and he never even met my children in the first year. When he did meet the children, his time with them was very limited. The last thing I wanted was to have my children attach themselves to a man I knew would not remain in their lives (I enjoyed his company, but I was not going to marry him).
Why would anyone subject their children to repeated rejection by a parental figure?
I realize the rejection has nothing to do with the kids, but the kids don’t know that. I find it irresponsible and selfish to allow men you have no plan to marry, to be seen as a parental figure (potential or otherwise) to your children.
Likewise, men who allow themselves to be seen as caregivers to children when they are not certain of their commitment to the mother are being unwittingly cruel.
My kids really wanted a father who would be there all the time. Their own father chose to remove himself from their lives for a few years, making it doubly difficult for them to tolerate making Father’s Day crafts at school. “Mom, please get us a father,” my son would cry. It was hard to see, but I feel like I did the right thing by not letting just anyone fill that role and I’m really glad that a series of different men didn’t appear and disappear from their lives.
I use the single mom viewpoint in this article because that was my viewpoint, but the same can be said for dads who make their causal girlfriends temporary moms to their children. Nobody should be dropping in and out of your children’s lives. Your kids should never have to wonder who is in your kitchen in the morning and what that person’s status is going to be.
I was single for five years before I met my current husband. We knew very quickly that we would end up getting married. It was never a question. We had an agreement that we would not discipline each other’s children. To this day, we don’t interfere in how we manage our own kids. They are all adults between 20 and 24 years of age, now, but when important things need to be said, we provide each other with our opinions and let the respective parent deal with the rest. My husband and I are different people and we raised our children with different values. We don’t impose our values on each other’s children. We try to be supportive of them without interfering with the role of the other parent. It’s a delicate balance and it has never been easy.
Today, our five children are best friends, just like they’ve always been. My kids have two fathers and the one they respect the most is the one I am married to. My step daughters lost their mother two years ago and most recently their maternal grandmother. I am their only mother now. It is a role I take very seriously. I give them all the love and emotional support I can, but I still don’t interfere.
I'm the photographer here, but left to right, are my daughter's boyfriend, Andrew, my daughter Celeste, our long time baby sitter Dorothy, my husband Marty, his daughters Robyn and Nicole, my sons Marcel and Maurice.
Few public relations & communications specialists have as diverse a background as Renée Cormier. Add published author, employee engagement specialist, sales and marketing strategist, entrepreneur and educator to her list of accomplishments. In her career Renée has held leadership roles in sales and marketing, developed and implemented national marketing strategies and was responsible for teams as large as 28 strong. She brings a wide range of experience and talent to her work.
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