#15: Be firm when needed, but not harsh.
As many single mothers will tell you, one of the hardest parts of single motherhood is having to play the roles of both mom and dad. I think traditionally in our society, moms are the "softies" and dads are the "discipliners". Throughout my son's life, I have struggled with this.
I have had trouble finding this balance between wanting to be a loving mother and the discipliner. It took me quite a few years to realize I could be both.
In order to have somewhat of a sane household, there must be consequences for your child's negative behavior. This usually took precedence over my chance to be the softie. Many times I watched my son run to another family member for comfort when I was forced to be the "mean" mom and dad.
It's a challenge to not let your own hurt feelings get in the way of firm parenting.
Now that I am married and my son has a step-father, we have entered a whole new realm of parenting. My son is used to taking direction from me and has had a hard time viewing my husband as an equal parent who can discipline. We are slowly making progress on this.
I think one of the differences in being firm vs. harsh lies in the way your child will look back on how you parented. When your child is grown up, will they want to parent their children as you did? Will they admire your parenting? Or will they view you as someone they never want to be like?
For me, I hope my son will always believe I am a good parent, especially when he has children of his own.
Here's a picture of my little guy from Kindergarten :)