Parents are your first role models and your pillars of strength. What happens when you grow up with only one pillar in place of two? My dad passed away while I was quite young, and so I grew up in a single-parent household. Like every experience in life, coming from a single-parent home teaches you some valuable lessons that you might not have learnt otherwise. Here are eight lessons I learnt coming from a single parent home.
1. How to be independent.
Growing up in a single parent home, my mother meant I saw her toil and work hard to provide for me. She was strong and independent, and that prompted me to be just like her. I learnt to be happy in my own company and take care of myself. Watching my mom establish her own life and career taught me not to develop an overdependence on anyone else to keep me happy.
2. Education is important.
My father passed away when I was six months old. My mother-a doctor- always tells me that one of the main reasons she was able to survive and bring up a child, was the fact that she had her education to back her up. She was educated, so she had a job and hence wasn’t financially dependent on my father. So the lesson I learnt was that in order to be independent, education was important.
3. How to be frugal with money
My mother gave me everything I needed while I was growing up, and she does so even to this day. But it’s quite an obvious fact that money coming in from two people would be more than the money coming in from one person. I knew that my mum worked hard for the money she brought in, so I learnt not to waste it. A lesson I learned as a child in a single parent home, this still stays with me. Now as I live alone, this lesson helps as I still budget and try not to waste money unnecessarily.
4. To not take your family for granted
When you lose family members at a young age – or any age for that matter- is comes with an inexplicable fear of losing whoever you have left. I had, and continue to have that fear. This fear though it can be quite crippling sometimes, is also a boon. Your fear leads to you cherishing every moment with your family. You learn not to take them for granted.
5. Family can be your best friends
People often confide their deepest secrets with friends rather than family. They love their family, but often keep stuff from them for the fear of being misunderstood or judged. Coming from a single parent home – with a grandmother and aunt as well- I always considered my family my best friends. Every secret I had, and have, I share with my mum; who is my best friend.
6. You don’t need a man to survive
I grew up in an all-women household. As I watched my grandmother and then my mum do every household chore – even the ones that are most often termed “masculine” chores- I quickly learned that you don’t need a man to survive. From cooking to finances to changing a light bulb, you can do it all yourself.
7. Women can travel alone and be safe
My family and I have taken countless holidays. Just four women. And we’ve come back from each one, with a lot of great memories and totally unscathed. In the country I live in, men are considered an essential part of safe travel. But my vacations have taught me that women can definitely travel alone, and be safe.
8. Being fully clothed is optional
I’m quite shameless and also rather confident in my body. I attribute this to growing up around women- especially my mum -who made it the norm to walk around in your underwear and consider it perfectly okay. Growing up with my equally shameless mum, I learned the being fully clothed is totally optional. Living alone now, I fully put this lesson into practice!
From a few serious life lessons to some silly ones that no one really wanted to know about, coming from a single parent home has taught me lessons that I will never forget.