The smartest thing a single mother can learn is that life is unpredictable for everyone - no one is immune from life-changing events whether tragic or blessed. She's wise enough to know that marital status has little to do with snow days, car accidents, job layoffs, feverish children or winning the lottery. But she also knows that when these things threaten a single parent family, advance planning is important.
Wisdom is not so much knowing everything there is to know about custody to co-parenting, or childrearing to childcare but knowing when you have choices and when you don't. Sure, collecting advice about parenting solo is necessary. But so is accepting that your child's father may remain uninvolved despite all your efforts, and choosing to thrive regardless of his input.
Another really attractive trait that I've found in those who cope remarkably well is a sense of humor. And let's face it - study after study has proven the power of laughter is a healing aid to all sorts of ills - from cancer to grief. In fact, researchers say that because of all the facial muscles pulled into place when you muster a smile, physiological changes occur that provide a sense of well being. When your brain is happy, so are you.
When I first learned that I was going to be pregnant without a partner, it was easy to fall into a depression. But I remember adopting a humorous attitude helped me more than anything. Once, when a client came into the agency where I served as art director for seven years and saw my ninth-month "spread," I was worried what to say when he commented, "Congratulations! I didn't even know you were married."