Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who is also single but who does not have children. She shared that being single made her feel like she was “floating” and unconnected. It made me think about my own experience as a single parent and while I do occasionally long for more attachment or for another adult who actually knows and cares what I am up to, having children to care for makes me feel rather grounded and connected indeed.
I had to search way back in my memory banks to when I was first separated and divorced and remembered that there was a bit of rootlessness that I felt for a while as I struggled to find my footing and regroup as a single parent. There were days that I definitely felt like I was just going through the motions of my job, college, childcare, etc. They were very full days but I admit that I did sometimes feel like I was floating through them. That was a long time ago, however, and the more I have rebuilt my life and the more secure and solid I feel in my role as a parent and my family as it is, the more I always tend to feel as though I am at least connected to my kids and they are connected to me. In this way, I can definitely say that parenting has more of a grounding pull on me than being single does not.
I also have to admit that there are many different ways to feel connected and different “things” to feel connected to: community, job, church family, friends, extended family, pets, etc. For those of us who have been through a separation or divorce, part of rebuilding our lives is finding out those core people and things that we can commit to and that help us feel grounded and steady again. For me, parenthood and my children are definitely central to that strong connectedness.