Seven Advantages of being a single mom

Being a single mom may not seem ideal to some, but the advantages are numerous!

For over a year, I have been a single mom of three little girls, ages 7 and under. I have to say that the transition from married mother to single mother has been especially easy. I think single motherhood suits my personality better, and it certainly seems to have benefited the children. We have a solid routine that is only interrupted by weekends at Dad’s, and our bond with each other is stronger than ever.

Despite my insistence that I am happy and fulfilled without a man in the house, I still get the line, “One day, you will meet someone,” not to mention, “I don’t know how you do it.” I am not looking, and the thought of blending someone else into our tight, little family unit is unappealing to me.

I think single moms have a lot of advantages. Though I have a strong belief in happy, healthy family units that include both parents and the kids all working together to have the best life possible, sometimes, it just does not work out that way.

Being a single parent is not something that people should feel is a disadvantage or a pray-that-you-find-someone lifestyle. There are a lot of wonderful things that single parents can take advantage of and that dual parents cannot. Here are some of them that I have discovered!

1 My bed is my own

Granted, single parents have a lot less sex than married parents do, especially if they are not dating anyone. But I also go to sleep and have the entire bed to stretch out and relax in. No sharing covers, no partner to wake me at night with a kick and no snoring co-sleeper to keep me up (unless you count my beagle). When I do share my bed, it is with my kids, and there is nothing more precious to me than my little ones curling up next to me with room to spare. I control the temperature, my bedtime, the time I keep the light on and so on. I sleep longer and better, and I wake up refreshed more than I ever did when I was married.

2 When the kids are asleep, it is truly me time

It used to be that bedtime was husband time. Truth be told, sometimes I felt like he was more work than the kids were. If I get the kids to bed on time, I have all those hours before I go to sleep to fold laundry, do chores or even curl up with a good book. I cherish that time, and I can even be found watching my kids sleeping and snapping photos of their sweetness.

3 No more negotiation

This is probably my favorite advantage to date. My ex and I did not agree on parenting styles. Negotiating with him to come up with a suitable solution to behavioral issues was a task in its own right. But now, Mommy makes the rules, and the kids follow them or suffer the consequences. There are no gray areas and no ways for Daddy to come in and let it slide. I find that my kids are happier with the routine, and their behavior has vastly improved.

4 I got my friends back

Now that I have a few weekends a month when I get to be with just me, I find that my friendships have become more of a center point in my life. During my marriage, it was hard to carve out time to go to dinners and movies with my friends and go on trips with them. But now, I make it a point to be there for them as they have always been there for me. My friendships have strengthened, and I could not be more thrilled!

5 I take care of me

A recent study showed that married women tend to gain more weight and take worse care of themselves than do single women. This was definitely the case for me. I gained 60 pounds during my six-year marriage and lost 40 of them within the first six months of the separation. I have some to go, but I look and feel amazing. I wear makeup, care how I dress and have so much confidence that it is sometimes hard to be around me. This feeling of true happiness cannot be marred now because I have learned what I am capable of. Taking care of me is now a priority for me. It replaces taking care of him!

6 I am more motivated and more successful

Since my separation and divorce, I am the sole breadwinner. While it scared me in the beginning, it is now a motivating factor to make smarter decisions and execute on things that I might have shied away from in the beginning due to apprehension. Yes, if something falls through, I get scared. But because I now earn all my money and totally control my spending, I am building back the nest egg that was so easily lost in the marriage.

7 And as for the lighter side of things. I don’t have to shave every day!

OK, so this is a silly one. But it is oh-so true. While grooming and primping are important not only to married women but to singles, too, I get to make the decision on when I do it. The same goes for when I go to the store, when I wash my car and when I make dinner. All of the decisions for my kids and me are back in my court. Just like the no-negotiation advantage, the freedom to choose when, where and how without consulting someone else is actually quite freeing!

As I have stated before, if I could provide my children with a healthy, happy married family for them to grow up in, that would be my ultimate. But their dad and I could not make it work. So this life provides me with more happiness, more stability and more success than the prior one did. Being a single mom is not something people should see as a “woe is me” situation. It should be a “look at me” celebration!

Why It Hurts When You’re Having Sex

Hurts so good? Not so much. Lovemaking is supposed to be more pleasurable than painful. So if you’re feeling discomfort on a regular basis, it’s time to get a tune-up and see just what’s going on down there.

The medical term for pain during sex is dyspareunia, and a number of factors can contribute to the ache. When moaning turns to groaning, it’s time to get to the root of the problem.

The underlying issues may be physical, structural or psychological in nature. It’s important to address the issue because avoiding the topic and neglecting your symptoms could cause problems in your sexual relationship, as well as your emotional health.

Below we discuss some of the most common causes of dyspareunia, the general symptoms of each and what you can do to ease the pain.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus – the endometrium – grows outside of the uterus. It often affects other structures in the pelvic region. Unfortunately, these growths can cause intense pain during intercourse.

According to Everyday Health, more than half the women afflicted with endometriosis experience significant discomfort. Talk to your doctor about possible medical treatments, which may include hormone therapy to reduce the growths, and in some cases, surgery.

Vaginusmus

Another cause of pain during sex is vaginusmus, an odd-sounding medical term that simply means involuntary spasms or contractions of the vaginal muscles. Women frequently describe the sensation as burning, tearing or having “hit a wall,” explains The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. The tightening itself doesn’t hurt; it’s only with penetration when pain occurs.

For those with vaginusmus, pain can occur during:

  • sex;
  • medical exams; or
  • tampon insertion.

The reflex may be the result of fear of pain from a previous trauma. There are certain exercises that can help patients overcome the condition. Discuss the issue with your doctor.

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are benign growths than many women develop but do not know they have.

There are a number of symptoms that indicate the presence of uterine fibroids, including:

  • back pain;
  • heavy menstrual bleeding;
  • pelvic pain; and
  • bladder problems.

Fibroids can make sex very uncomfortable or painful. It may worsen during certain parts of the menstrual cycle. If fibroids develop on the cervix near the cervical opening, this intensifies the pain. Fibroids also may begin to affect the libido because they can throw the hormones out of whack.

Generally, fibroids are a non-life-threatening condition. If fibroids cause uncomfortable symptoms, speak to your doctor about treatment options.

Emotional Issues

Sometimes pain during sex can be attributed to emotional or psychological issues. Negative emotions often cause an array of problems in terms of intimacy and sex. For instance, fears, memories or angst can prevent a person from relaxing. Guilt factors or a history of sexual abuse may stifle a woman’s ability to enjoy intercourse.

Emotional disturbances can prevent a woman from becoming aroused and creating natural lubrication, which inevitably leads to pain during sex, explains the Rubino OB/GYN Group in New Jersey. If you suspect that pain during sex is psychological in nature, consider therapy with a qualified sex therapist. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists is a good starting point for referrals, Rubino notes.

Inadequate Lubrication

You may be hurting during sex because of a lubrication issue. Lack of adequate natural lubrication and vaginal dryness can be very painful during intercourse. There are a number of possible causes of inadequate lubrication, including hormonal imbalances (childbirth and menopause) and certain health conditions.

Also, there are a number of commonly used medications that may reduce lubrication, according to the Mayo Clinic, including:

  • antidepressants;
  • high blood pressure medications;
  • sedatives;
  • antihistamines; and
  • certain birth control pills.

In most cases, a simple, over-the-counter water-based lubricant does the job.

Other Reasons for Pain during Sex

WebMD cites several other possibilities for pain during intercourse, including:

  • vaginal infections;
  • issues with the cervix;
  • ovarian cysts;
  • inflammatory diseases;
  • ectopic pregnancy;
  • sexually transmitted diseases; and
  • injury to the vagina, such as tearing during childbirth.

Ways to Treat the Pain

Treatment options depend on the condition causing the pain. For example, menopause-induced lubrication issues may be remedied with hormone replacement or artificial lubricants. More serious conditions, such as severe endometriosis, may require surgery.

According to Everyday Health, John C. Petrozza, MD, board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist at Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center offers these tips for easing the pain during sex. Although they are geared toward endometriosis-related pain, they also may relieve symptoms in other situations:

  • try side-to-side or “doggy style” positions in lieu of missionary, which is the most uncomfortable position because of the tilt of the pelvis;
  • pick the least painful times of your menstrual cycle to have sex. Most women experience more endometrial pain mid-cycle, so you might want to forgo sex during those few days;
  • talk to your partner about the pain to keep communication open. Having him or her involved in what you’re going through can make you feel understood and avoid misconstruing your physical pain as a relationship issue; and
  • consider kissing, fondling and massage as alternatives when there’s discomfort.

When It’s Time to See the Doctor

If sex is becoming a pain, your best bet is to visit a doctor and determine the root cause. It the problem persists, it could be something more serious. Your physician will examine your medical history, perform an exam, and may or may not order additional tests.

The Cleveland Clinic makes it clear when to see a physician: “Contact your doctor if there are symptoms such as bleeding, genital lesions, irregular periods, vaginal discharge, or involuntary vaginal muscle contractions.” It also recommends seeing a certified sex counselor if you experience pain that has no underlying medical explanation.

Remaining mum on intimacy issues won’t help resolve the issue. It’s important to be proactive and take the necessary steps to get to the bottom of your issues. The health of your relationship may depend on it.