What I Learned From Growing Up With A Single Parent

What I Learned From Growing Up With A Single Parent

Thank you for being not only the greatest mother, but my best friend of all time.

Single parents have to take on the role of both the mother and the father for their kids. I have learned and matured so much from growing up with a single parent, more than I could with two parents. My mother, though she may not have realized it, taught me so many valuable lessons throughout my childhood. There are so many of these valuable and incredible life lessons from my amazing mother that I feel are necessary to share. Here are some things I learned from growing up with a single parent.

Single parents prove that you can be a real life superhero.

When there were spiders to kill my mom was the one to swat first. She was fearless with every little problem we encountered. While juggling college tuition, our extracurricular activities, our day-to-day dramas, not to mention starting a new career that would support us throughout our lives, she never gave up. She taught me that it’s possible to do it all when it comes to the people you love.

She rescued us when we were in trouble. She dropped everything and anything to run over to us when something was wrong. She would stay up late with us when we cried over heartbreaks, even though she had to get up at six a.m. the next morning. She has not only been our mother but has been our personal chauffeur, therapist, handyman, chef, bank, cheerleader, and lastly our best friend for our entire lives. She has worked so hard to give me and my siblings the best life we could possibly ever have, even better than if we had had two parents. For that, I can officially say superheroes are real. Instead of wearing a cape, she wears an apron and waitresses to continue to give us everything we need.

I’ve learned so much from her and she’s left huge shoes for me to fill when I become a mother someday. She taught me so much about independence, feminism, and motherhood that I feel equipped to one day raise children that hopefully if I'm lucky, will admire me in the way I admire her.

I learned to be independent and fearless.

I watched my mother support us on her own from the age of eleven. She taught me how to be independent and never rely on anyone for my success. She taught me that I can survive on my own and I thank her every day for that. Constantly I see people so desperate for happiness and love that they allow themselves to be around destructive people because they just can't be alone. Being alone has taught me so much and has been a true blessing when it comes to figuring out who I am and has shocked me when I see what I'm capable of.

Sure being alone is scary and we always strive to be in relationships both platonic and romantic. But it is important to never ever rely on someone for your own happiness. The only person who can truly make you happy is yourself. You can still be independent and in relationships, there is no question there. However, you need to know that you are capable of being alone and can do great things without having to rely on others for constant approval and without seeking gratification. I know now that I have never relied on anyone but myself for my happiness because of my superhero of a mom. She taught me that I can do anything and be anyone I want to as long as I work hard for it. She's inspired me to be fearlessly independent every day for the rest of my life.

I learned that gender doesn't dictate your parental role.

As I've grown up, I've thanked God every day for giving me the best mother alive. My mom just so happens to be the best mother and father all in one. She was strong like a father should be. She was nurturing and caring like a mother should be. She is the perfect combination wrapped up into one.

Being raised by a single parent showed me that the word "gender" doesn't define or dictate your parental role. My mom did everything from killing spiders to cooking a homemade meal every night, to driving us to countless soccer, dance, and basketball practices, yet managing to have time to take us to all of our appointments, and she supported us with every achievement along the way. She did it all and never complained once about it. Growing up, I started to understand that women and men have an equal amount of nurturing and love for their children.

I learned to love myself and to love life endlessly.

My mom has taught me many things, but if there's one that has stuck with me most
it's this lesson. She taught me never to compare myself to someone else and to love my imperfections. I'm not going to lie, gaining a bit of confidence in our society might be the hardest task of all. What is the point of life if you can't live it to the fullest and love every minute you're alive? Saying life is hard is an understatement. But every time we fall we must fight to get back up and continue to try again. My mom taught me to never be defeated even when life throws us the toughest challenges. So yes, life is hard and makes us be hard on ourselves in response. But loving myself and loving life has turned everything around for me, and I can only thank my single parent for teaching me these important values to live by.

I learned that my parent is everything I aspire to be and more.

Saying, my mom is the coolest person alive is an understatement. Excuse my language but she is a badass in everything that she does. To me, my mom is everything I aspire to be and more. I hope to be not only a mom like her but the amazing person she is as well. To be that giving, independent and fearless is incredible, and I can only hope to be half the person she is.

There's a million and one things that I can say about my superhero of a mom. She's done everything and continues to do whatever it takes to make us happy.

She always told us "You can only be as happy as your saddest child".

She's the reason I'm still standing here today. She's the reason I'm as strong as I am now. Without her, I don't know where I would be, and I'm thankful that I don't have to find out what that life would've been.

So yes, I am a child of a single parent. No, I am not damaged. I am strong, and stronger than I would've been with two parents. For that, I'm eternally grateful for being blessed with having someone so special in my life. Thank you mom for everything. I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Katherine Campbell

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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My Mom Is My Biggest Weakness In The Best Way Possible

Although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend.


My parents are everything to me. They raised me to be independent, strong, smart, and hard working. They made sure to keep me in line, to ensure that I would be respectful and responsible. They raised me to be prepared for the world before I graduated high school. For everything they've done, I'm very grateful.

Focusing on my mom more specifically, she is my weakness. By that I mean, I can go to her with anything and I know she's willing to listen, to be open, and she won't impart judgment.

My mom always knows how to calm me down, but she is the one person who can also make me cry harder. I don't mean this in a bad way. It's just that whenever I've had a tough day or my anxiety has been heightened by some ordeal, I know that if I see my mom or if I even call her over the phone, the waterworks come flooding. I don't know what it is about my mom that makes me feel so emotional, so vulnerable. Each time I go to her, it's almost as if I'm a kid again, crawling into her mother's arms, seeking a nurturing soul to tell me that everything will be okay.

Sometimes I even avoid calling my mom when I'm in a rut because I refuse to cry or feel weak. For instance, if I had a problem, I'd avoid talking to her about it. If a week goes by, I'll update her on my problems, and begin crying about it (even though I was already over it beforehand). My mom can bring out anything from me. She laughs when I tell her this because she knows that no matter how old her baby girl gets, she'll always need her mama.

I think as I've gotten older, I've realized how much more my parents mean to me. As a kid, I always felt like they were against me. I felt as if they didn't want me to do anything and didn't want me to grow. As an adult, I realize it's the exact opposite. My parents have always wanted what's best for me, and because I've grown to understand this, I feel so much closer to them.

I feel as though now, although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend. She's someone I can go to when I feel down, someone I can go to for a good laugh. She's so much better than me in so many ways. She's outgoing, loud, obnoxious, smart, and is always seeing the good in situations. When I talk about my mom to other people, they're always so interested in meeting with her or talking with her. When they finally get the chance to, they're instantly drawn to her character. They're drawn to her laughter. I kid you not, my mom can light up a room in seconds. She is always the life of the party. It sometimes makes me jealous when people find out how amazing my mother is because I swear they'd rather be friends with her than me.

What people don't see is her struggles. They don't see the pain she goes through with her ongoing injury. They don't see that not only does it take a physical toll, but also an emotional toll. She hides it really well because that's what parents are "supposed to do." My mom is the strongest person I know and to see the two contrasts of her is astonishing. To think that someone so full of life can also battle personal struggles, it's hard to see, especially because she's my mom and all I want is the best for her. One part of my mom struggles while the other part of her is so vibrant, so full of life, so sassy.

I don't know how she's put up with all of the hardships in her life. I've never seen someone work so hard and refuse to fail. She refuses to be taken advantage of. I've never seen someone as amazing as my mother. She can do anything.

I think my mom looks down on herself sometimes. I think, like any woman, she sees imperfections. What I don't think she sees, that I wish she would, is the tenacity she has. I want her to see herself the way I do: beautiful, strong, courageous, sassy, outgoing. I could go on and on about how much my mom inspires me and how she's made me appreciate her in more ways than one.

Mom, thank you for all that you do and all that you are. I hope you know how much Rachel, Vanessa and I all love you. I hope you know that no matter what struggles we go through, you are our rock. You hold the fort down and you're always there to make sure we're good, even when you aren't yourself. Thank you for always thinking of us, for believing in us, and for never turning your back. I love you more than you know.

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