Solo parenting takes balls.

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, we've been up to all sorts- which I'll be sure to blog about soon :)

Anyway, if you follow me on social media, you might have seen that I recently submitted a post about dining out alone with my two year old child.

For those of you who didn't get the chance to read it, I've posted a link below:

This post received rather a lot of attention and I had messages from fellow single parents absolutely flooding my inbox shortly after it was published online.

Single parents who know me only from the internet, were congratulating me on my bravery that night. Friends who have known me my entire lifetime were telling me how proud they are.
A single father reached out to me and shared his spin on single parenting and the stigma some fathers unfairly receive.

I spoke to a lot of people that night about the realities of single parenting and the courage it often demands from us. And all the people I conversed with that evening, strongly agreed on one thing: Solo parenting takes balls!

It takes huge amounts of bravery that we might not even know we have inside of us. It demands a "can do" attitude because...well, if we don't do it, who else is going to?

This attitude was what marched me out of my front door and into Pizza Express that evening. Because if I don't take my son out for dinner, then we simply won't dine out. Nobody else is going to take us.

I could sit around wallowing over the fact that our family seems somewhat "half finished", worrying that we'd look odd at a half empty table, and, if I allowed those thoughts to consume me, I'd never enjoy a meal out with my son.

So, instead of dwelling on it, I got my little boy dressed into his smart shirt and jeans, slapped some makeup on myself and ventured out for a table for two...or one and a half...

You can see for yourselves just how excited he was (but please excuse the terrible quality of this video..)

As hard as it is, there's something quite motivational and liberating about having to get things done yourself without the help of another.

For the women out there; think of the very moment you became a mum; think of childbirth. Think of the excruciating pain and the sudden realisation that nobody else can take over for you; nobody else can be passed the responsibility of birthing this child; its down to you and only you. And as terrifying as that is, it somehow drives you to get the job done. It sparks ambition within you; it feeds a determination within you to reach the finish line.

In many ways, single parenting brings those same feelings of determination and motivation; you know you're solely responsible and that it's your job and nobody else's. And it makes you want to succeed. It makes you want to prove people wrong; to beat the stereotypes and to show that absent parent that you are capable, even without them.

And that's exactly why I make sure my son and I do all the things we want to do. I refuse to allow single parenting to rule our lives. I will not allow an absent parent to alter our life experiences. I refuse to shy away from situations and experiences because I want us to be the same as everybody else.

And so should you.

It might be something as little as a meal out, or it could be an all-inclusive holiday abroad for ten days. No matter what it is, the fact is, as much as you might not like the idea of going "alone", you're not alone. You have your child. Your children. Your babies.

Our little people depend on us and learn from us. Their early life experiences are shaped by us. Their attitudes influenced by ours.

I know just how daunting it can be. I'm guilty of chickening out of certain events for the pure fact that I felt anxious about going "alone" with my child. I've declined invitations due to knowing I'd be the only single parent to attend. I've dodged "family fun days" at my sons nursery because I was worried I'd be stood there like a lemon.

So, I get it.

I get that it can be pretty terrifying and anxiety inducing to dive into new depths as a single parent. I remember the first time I took my baby for a long drive by myself. It was all kinds of scary and I'd probably imagined every negative outcome of the journey before we'd even left the house. What if we get lost? What if I break down? What if he chokes on something in the back of the car whilst I'm doing 70 on the motorway?

It's hard without a second person to lend a hand. It's lonely without adult conversation. It's daunting to step outside of your comfort zone when you're fully responsible for a little person and there's nobody else for back-up.

But, for me, it's a damn sight harder to sit back and allow my situation as a lone parent to define our experiences as a family. Because the reality is: this is our family. And why should we miss out on the things that every other family gets to do?

Although my son doesn't really know it yet, he's already suffered a loss in his life. He's nearly 3 and for 3 years he's been without his father. That's a big enough loss for anyone to deal with and I refuse to allow our situation to bring further loss and let down into his little life. He might not have a dad, he might be missing two grand-parents and an uncle, but he does have a family. His family is me. And mine is him.

I'll do everything I possibly can to ensure that we do family things and go on family holidays, even if it is just the two of us. Even when I feel out of my depth or afraid of sticking out like a sore thumb.

Table for one and a half, please......