This phrase bothered me years ago, when i wasn't even married. So, it holds special disdain for me in most cases, when i hear it.
But not only because of the base level "well you DO have that other parent, even if it's not a constant. I have nothing, at least you have something." But also because of the underlying stereotypes and assumptions it makes, lumping all 'single mothers' together.
The thing is, if it's a close friend of mine who says to me, while their husband/sig.other is away, or extra busy lately "Wow, i think i'm getting an idea of what singlemotherhood must be like for you." Then i am happy to commiserate with them, and pat them on the back. They will have their partner back soon, but it's nice to sometimes have my friends recognize how truly incredibly difficult this life is.
BUT, if i'm just hearing it said by someone else (most especially when they don't realize that i AM a single mother in the largest sense of the word possible) it makes my blood boil. It's often because they want pity. I, as a single mother, do NOT want anyone's pity! The speaker may want someone to offer their help, mostly in the 'i'll watch the kids why don't you have a spa day' variety. While this would be nice, i know it would never be offerred to me, and really the speakers DH will be back in a week!! I will never have my DH back. And finally, the speaker usually just wants to whine about how hard their life is, and isn't it horrible that they have to take care of the kids and the house alone for 2 weeks? And i'm sorry but that attitude is gonna get you nowhere when 2 weeks turns into 2 months turns into 2 years,.... this is not something any respectable single mother would do. We know that sometimes, our lives get put on hold. We know that it's tough raising children, but we also know that it's so incredibly rewarding, if you put the energy and effort into your DC.
It just makes me cringe.
I'm not saying that there aren't days when, if a close friend asks me how i'm doing, i don't admit that i'm having a rough time right then. But to proclaim that somehow your life is awful because your sig. other is gone for a little while (even though you still get their paycheck, their emotional support, etc etc etc) and woe is you for being a single mom,.. well that's just not fair.
Truly, you have no idea what it's like. And i pray you never do. Because obviously you couldn't handle it.
It just,.. offends me because really, as difficult as this is, and as lonely as i am often, and as much as i do desperately miss my DH, my house, my friends, and my life,...... i still have my DS. And he's all mine. It's rough, i can't afford to give him all the things i wish i could, but at least we have each other.
I am not a single mother by choice, but i'd like to think that i'm not just some stereotype either.