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Do the Math

I am not one to invest much energy on the negatives of single parenting.

Be it a single mother or single father, each has issues, struggles, obstacles and stress.

I always say more likely than not single parenting was not a conscious choice, it was a hiccup on a road that two people started on.
Today we have more single parent households than there were in the past, certainly more than our grandparents or even our parents.
Many people still show distaste and disrespect to a single parent without even considering a day in the life of a good perhaps even great single parent.

If you are a single person or are married and have a single parent friend, I would like to bring you into their life. I would like to try to paint a picture that can shed some light.

Several friends get together for dinner after work. Among those is a single parent, the gender is irrelevant.

Single friend begins to talk about vacation plans, "Oh I just got my ticket to Miami, can't wait to start packing." Another friend, "Oh yes I have to start looking around, not sure where I want to head to this time around."
Married friend chimes in, "We are taking the kids to Jamaica this summer, staying at the Atlantis Resort."
Single parent then says, "Oh that sounds awesome, we well be doing mini getaways or local activities this summer. Staying on a budget."
Single friend then comments, "I don't get it, you have great apartment, nice car, look great, been at that job forever and you never get away like we do. You always stay focused on your budget. You say you make good money, so where the heck does your money go?"
"You don't even get together with us as much as you use to."
Single parent gathers their thoughts and says "Ok guys I am going to break down for you my finances, give you an estimate of my life. Yes I live well, I am blessed but I am going to show you what I work with so you can see that your lifestyle and mine can not be equal, not right now."

Single parent proceeds to take out a sheet of paper and *do the math.
Annual salary $60,000
after Uncle Sam est..$40,000 plus (maybe)
Rent/Mtge est...$16,000
College Tuition...$8,200 (on a low scale)
Adjustable house needs...$4,500 (groceries, car gas, entertainment etc...)
Emergency savings...$1200
Kids school needs savings...$1200
Retire fund...$1200
Misc est...$2400 (kids activities, sports gears, transportation, school lunch etc...)

*these numbers are from my own conversations with other single parents and my own experiences give or take. Something we can actually see and get better sense of reality.

As you can see the math adds up to a -negative, something many parents deal with not just single parents in general.

When single parent is finished, the remaining friends eyes are in awe. "Wow, how do you do that and still seem so happy and stress free all the time?" "I have help and I still have difficulty managing stuff" says married friend.
"Geez, I would walk around pist all the time if I had to deal with that" said the single friend.

The single parent says, " I learned to work with what I have, not to envy someone else's back yard and not to live my life to impress another but to impress myself. Every day my child smiles, gets great grades, says I love you and sits with me is my reward. Every day I go home and have peace, I am rewarded. When I pay my bills on time, when I sit and watch a movie in my comfy couch, when I visit my doctor and get clean bill of health...I am rewarded."

Single parents, today I celebrate you. What you may or may not sacrifice. How you may or may not deal with pressure. When you do and when you don't let moments get the best of you.
Concentrate on putting your best foot forward, always. Measure success by the happiness in your children's eyes not by the quantity of things you have acquired.

Your neighbor may have the title of Mrs or your friend down the block may have just gotten in from a long night of partying, but it doesn't mean they are happy, they have stability, they have peace.
It just means they have things.

Perspective has become an amazing friend to me. Respecting that I love all those I invest my time with and hoping that we can all have empathy for one another.
Next time your out with friends use less judgment and more compassion. You never know what others are dealing with.

Start a conversation. Have you ever wondered how your single parent friends do it all? Do you think it is easier to be a single mother or a single father? What did you feel while reading this post?
Remember, always stress free xoxo

These got me...

Stuffed Baked Potatoes