Not everyone grew up with both parents by their side. While most kids had a “mommy and daddy,” a few had to contend with a “mommy OR daddy”. As expected, living in a single-parent household is quite different.
#1. You grew up with another family member named ‘Budget’.
You learned pretty early that you should never ask for anything with a hefty price tag. But living with a budget during your childhood prepared you for living with one through adulthood, and in a way, the experience makes you thankful.
#2. PTA meetings had to be scheduled way, way ahead.
Your mom or dad had to ask for leave a week in advance, and ask a co-worker to cover their shifts before they could show up at any parent-teacher meeting. After all, there was no one else to ‘sub’ for them.
#3. You learned how to be independent faster than other kids.
Most of the time, you were left to your own devices. A parent wasn’t always present to take care of you, so you cooked your own meals, made your own plans, and could function by yourself well before other kids your age.
#4. Getting to spend time with them was always a treat.
It was such a rarity to have an entire day to spend with your mom or dad, that every time your worlds collided you would make it into a big thing.
#5. Hard work deserved the utmost respect in your book.
You’ve witnessed your mom juggle two jobs, or your dad being both breadwinner and cleaner in your household — all so you could have enough for your needs. You probably swore to help the minute you were old enough to hold a job.
#6. You learned how to tune out drama.
If you were the child of divorce, chances are you would have played a real-life version of tug-o-war with your parents or their families. You learned when to steer clear of the war zone, and mastered the art of ‘changing the subject’.
#7. Forgiveness was within your realm of expertise.
Promises were not always fulfilled. But one thing you eventually realized was that as disappointed as you were that they didn’t make it to your Peter Pan performance, there was no one more sorry than they were.
#8. You became more empathetic towards others.
Understanding people became one of your strong suits. Coming from a family that’s not “normal” by society’s standards, you also learned to celebrate people’s differences rather than condemn them.
#9. You learned that relationships are not all roses and butterflies.
You knew early on that relationships come with mishaps, and never had to learn this lesson firsthand like everyone else did; you were already educated and prepared going into it.
#10. Everything, however simple, deserves to be given value.
You never had the fanciest stuff growing up, but the effort your mom or dad put into giving you what you needed was worth more than all the diamonds in the world.
#11. You sought another parental role model somewhere else.
Growing up with just your mom or dad, there was no one of the opposite sex to learn from. So instead, you looked to your uncle, your grandfather, or maybe even the first lady of the US for inspiration.
#12. You became a damn good team player.
When your dad forgets to load the dishwasher, or your mom can’t drive you to school because she’s late to a meeting, you do those things yourself instead. No whining fits included.
#13. Your entire life has been an exercise in character-building.
Growing up with only one parent has had its fair share of difficulties. Because of this, you developed an inner strength from personally seeing the struggles of adults around you.
#14. To you, Superman was a real person.
Your mom or dad regularly turned into superheroes, juggling work while trying to spend as much time with you as possible. Time and time again, they proved to you that they would do literally everything they could to compensate for the lack of a second parent.
#15. No other relationship in your life can compare.
You were also your mom or dad’s best friend and confidante even before you could talk. Since single parents have no one to trade off with when they’re about to lose their marbles, you sometimes had to give them a break and be the adult in the room. In a way, you raised them, too.
#16. The word “family” developed an entirely different meaning.
Our culture paints a linear picture of what a family should be. But unlike most people, your mommy and daddy were the same person. Your childhood was far from conventional, but sometimes, one fantastic parent is better than two average ones. And your imperfect, superhuman single parent was the most fantastic of them all.