Parenting is no easy matter.
According to a Pew Research Centre study, many parents, including working parents, say they feel stressed, tired, rushed and short on quality time with their children, friends, partners or hobbies. But as most parents know, you don’t really need a scientific study to tell you that.
Single parents may face an even tougher challenge. Single parenthood can bring added pressure and stress to the job of raising children. With no one to share day-to-day responsibilities or decision-making, single parents must provide greater support for their children while they themselves may feel alone.
To all single parents: While I cannot say that I completely understand the obstacles that you are going through, I would like to share with you some of the things that I am thankful for, in spite of the circumstances. I hope that this can encourage you to find thankfulness in your heart as well.
- I am thankful for having enough. I may not be able to afford that Patek Phillipe or Audemars Piquet timepiece. But with a full-time job and prudent spending habits, I am able to put food on the table and provide a cozy shelter for my family. Sometimes, we can even go for a short family vacation. And for now, I am content with that.
- I am thankful for the support I have. The capitalist marketplace out there has no mercy. You may have faced unfair criticism, rude customers or outright personal attacks, all from strangers who don’t know you, don’t know the hard work you have put in, and don’t know your personal circumstances. But that is ok. Because despite all that, I know I have a close group of family and friends who support me, who offer meaningful help, and who are always on my side. There are even kind strangers who have become repeat customers, who support and appreciate your work and passion, and who inspire you to strive for more. These are the people who matter. The world may be cruel, but many individuals are not. And I am thankful for that.
- I am thankful for my little one. Young children are a handful. It is tough making sure that they eat their greens, put on their own clothes, and spend time on activities that are beneficial to their development. You have to balance between discipline and cajoling. You have to fill up their “emotional tanks”, while your own may be near empty at times. But all of these doesn’t matter the moment you see their face light up in excitement to see you picking them up at the day care. Or when they run towards you with their hands thrown into the air, shouting “Papa!” or “Mama!”. Or when they proudly show you their drawings of just the two of you, surrounded by nature and beauty, with the squiggly words, “I love you”. I am thankful for my little one, for in her own little way, she gives me inspiration and strength.
Kids can be strong when they have a strong role model to look up to. Keep your heads high. Don’t give in to envy or bitterness or superficiality. Keep the faith, work hard, and look forward to a better future.
Happy New Year, and the best of luck to you.
The writer is a single father who incidentally also loves watches, but cannot afford to splurge on an expensive one right now. And that is okay. =)
 “Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family” (The New York Times, Nov. 4, 2015) https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/05/upshot/stressed-tired-rushed-a-portrait-of-the-modern-family.html