Tired of hearing married people say they know what single parenthood is like - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 02-13-2009, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If one more married person tells me they know what it like to be a single parent, I am going to scream. Somehow I attract people who want to pass along this nugget of information. Here are the responses in my head:
1. If you have never been a single parent, you have NO IDEA what being a single parent is like. To say something so inane is like saying you know what it is like to not have legs to someone in a wheelchair.
2. Being married to someone who works long hours or travels a lot for work is still nothing like being a single parent. Before my divorce my husband traveled for his job. But he still came home at the end of the week. So if your spouse comes home at the end of the day, week, or heck, the end of the month then you know what REFLIEF feels like - not single parenthood.
3. The person I share children with is not available at the other end of the phone to share stories with, vent to, ask suggestions of or commiserate with.
4. My ex-husband can date, get a haircut, see friends, go for a long run all without needing to line up child care. I can do these things between 6:00 and 8:00 Wednesday evenings and every other Saturday from 10:00 to 12:00 or pay a babysitter $8.00 an hour to enjoy the time he enjoys for free.
5. I don't even have time to be in a bad mood because two little people much more vulnerable than I, that I love very much need dinner, noses wiped, boo-boos kissed, breastmilk, etc.
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#2 of 32 Old 02-13-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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That is the most annoying thing EVER my sister told me this one time because BIL worked from 4pm-6am four day on and four days off! she said her and her co work where talking about that and that they think that they both were like single Mama's and I unintentually went off on her because Ds did not sleep for what felt like 4 days he was teething and sick at the time he was nurseing every hour on the hour if not sooner! I said (just like you said) does he come home? if you really needed would he take Ds and let you sleep for an hour or so as soon as he got home? Ohh do you have an extra income? Ohh when you need it can you be held at night or just have someone to hug at the end of a really bad or stressful day? Can you call him when you need to to have him tell you it will be okay even if you know it wont be?do you have someone to back you up on parenting matters? Ohhh do you HAVE to pay someone to watch your children if you want to go to the grocery store ALONE?

She got he point (and yes I did say I was sorry not right aways but she is my sister and knows how I get at times)

I am sorry I know sometimes want to thenthen to some more: okay now that I reanted myself on your thread I will go and :

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#3 of 32 Old 02-13-2009, 11:33 PM
 
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Well... if I could play devils advocate a little.
I am not a single parent, but I was raised by one, and so was my DH.
I don't fully know what being a single parent is like, but I have lived through it in a sense.
I'm not trying to be a stinker, I was just thinking maybe those people that have made those comments are coming from the same place as me.
Or maybe they are totally insensitive and you should tell them to take a flying leap.

-Crissei
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#4 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 12:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by crissei View Post
Well... if I could play devils advocate a little.
I am not a single parent, but I was raised by one, and so was my DH.
I don't fully know what being a single parent is like, but I have lived through it in a sense.
I'm not trying to be a stinker, I was just thinking maybe those people that have made those comments are coming from the same place as me.
Or maybe they are totally insensitive and you should tell them to take a flying leap.

-Crissei
I see where you are coming from but my sister (the one I ranted at) her and I were raised by my Mom who did it all on her own except with a little bit of CS but not much so and from the outside it looks easier than it really is because as the Mom the amout of stress you shoe your Dc you need to times it by at least 50% for it to be the amount you really feel at times my mother and I talked about it and she thought she never showed us her stress and I know I feel I am not showing it to Ds but I am sure I am just as she did. I do not think they are saying to be insensitve I feel they were never single Mama's and they are trying to make a comparison yet do not se they are out of line

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#5 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 04:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by InstinctiveMama View Post
If one more married person tells me they know what it like to be a single parent, I am going to scream. Somehow I attract people who want to pass along this nugget of information. Here are the responses in my head:
1. If you have never been a single parent, you have NO IDEA what being a single parent is like. To say something so inane is like saying you know what it is like to not have legs to someone in a wheelchair.
2. Being married to someone who works long hours or travels a lot for work is still nothing like being a single parent. Before my divorce my husband traveled for his job. But he still came home at the end of the week. So if your spouse comes home at the end of the day, week, or heck, the end of the month then you know what REFLIEF feels like - not single parenthood.
3. The person I share children with is not available at the other end of the phone to share stories with, vent to, ask suggestions of or commiserate with.
4. My ex-husband can date, get a haircut, see friends, go for a long run all without needing to line up child care. I can do these things between 6:00 and 8:00 Wednesday evenings and every other Saturday from 10:00 to 12:00 or pay a babysitter $8.00 an hour to enjoy the time he enjoys for free.
5. I don't even have time to be in a bad mood because two little people much more vulnerable than I, that I love very much need dinner, noses wiped, boo-boos kissed, breastmilk, etc.
:

ESPECIALLY number 4

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#6 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 07:57 PM
 
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meh, I don't mind it. My life married was far more single mother than my life now. heck, their dad actually sees them now. And I can *gasp* get a break every now and then.

You can't really know what its like till you are there. really even I can't know what life is like for another single mother because everyones situations are so different. I think being a single mother is so much easier tha less stressful than being married to a guy who is never around. At least my kids know why dad is not around any more. (because he moved out) I try to hear what a person is communicating (are they being encouraging and supporting? are they trying to tell me I am doing a good job? are they saying they are drowning in life because their husband is never around to help?) rather than get all silly about weather or not I have it worse than them. Single, married, whatever, we are all in this together and I need way to much love to be alinating people because they feel unsupported in their parenting and are looking for a way to express that or perhaps saying "I know how hard things are for you right now and/but . . . " I don't always communicate as gracefully as i should so I try to cut people some slack. Also as a single mother I am way to busy to be overthinking peoples choice of words.

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#7 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 08:22 PM
 
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You know, my husband is deployed for a year and I KNOW it's nothing like being a single mom. My mom was a single mom and, while this is hard, I am nowhere near what she was. I am not working two jobs to make ends meet, etc. I still get his paycheck and his support. You're right. It's NOT the same.

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#8 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 09:49 PM
 
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"Break"? What is a "break"? Oh, you mean when I switch from parenting all evening, night and morning to my OTHER, 9-5 career? The "break" to be a breadwinner while she's in school? Snort. For a second there I thought people were talking about a "break" to see a movie (that is not G-rated) or something! BWAHAHA!

My own mother once told me that she had been a single mom "because your dad hardly helped at all." Why I am not in prison for matricide now, I'll never know.

Thanks, Lisa nc. You get the difference, EXACTLY.

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#9 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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When I read posts like this I can completely relate. And Lisa_NC hit the nail on the head.

Really, it would be very much like someone saying "I feel like my husband is deployed". I don't imagine anyone would know what that's like unless it happens to them.

And Lisa, I hope your husband comes home safe and soon!
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#10 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 10:03 PM
 
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You are completely right. I've been a single parent and am now the spouse of someone who works crazy and long hours... it's NOTHING the same. Can't even compare.

To my husband I am wife, to my kids I am mother, but for myself I am just me.
we're : with and : and
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#11 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 10:17 PM
 
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And Lisa, I hope your husband comes home safe and soon!
AWw, thanks! 5 Fridays down and, uhhhh....about 52 more to go!

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#12 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 10:46 PM
 
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AWw, thanks! 5 Fridays down and, uhhhh....about 52 more to go!
I can not imagine what you are going through I flipped out when one of my best friends was deployed you are strong Mama I : for his safe return and for your peace of mind in this stressful time

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#13 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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I know it irks a lot of people, but it doesn't generally ruffle my feathers. I figure 1. Everyone has her own cross to bear, and I think that the "my situation is worse than yours" game is counterproductive, so I try not to engage and 2. In my personal experience, my life is, overall, much less stressful, sad, and uncertain since X moved out. Even while he was physically in the house, he was never engaged with the family. At best, he was an unreliable and extremely expensive babysitter (he blew through astounding amounts of my money) and I was, in almost every regard, a solo parent.

But, I can see how it would be pretty annoying if someone went on ad nauseum about their DH's late hours and pity party.

Oh, and number 4 is very aggravating, but I just try to keep in perspective that I get to enjoy, and raise my kids even when I'm bleary eyed.
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#14 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 11:18 PM
 
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I think each of us has a different experience, though, whether we're married or single. I read people's stories here about dealing with X's or with multiple kids, or really tight financial situations, and even though I'm a single mom I can't say I "understand" or "know" what they're going through because that's not my story. On the other hand, I know that I've faced things (like being in the hospital for 2 weeks, without another adult to spell me long enough to go to the bathroom by myself, or making really tough medical decisions alone) that other single mama's haven't.

Generally I'm fine with being single, so I can't say I "understand" how other single mamas feel, but then this week has been total crap (that's the understatement of the year) and I feel like only another single mother, in an open adoptive situation, whose also a special educator, and has some very particular issues that also exist in my famiy, could possibly understand (BTW do you know anyone like that, 'cause I'd really like someone to "get it" right now).
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#15 of 32 Old 02-14-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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meh, I don't mind it. My life married was far more single mother than my life now. heck, their dad actually sees them now. And I can *gasp* get a break every now and then.

You can't really know what its like till you are there. really even I can't know what life is like for another single mother because everyones situations are so different. I think being a single mother is so much easier tha less stressful than being married to a guy who is never around. At least my kids know why dad is not around any more. (because he moved out) I try to hear what a person is communicating (are they being encouraging and supporting? are they trying to tell me I am doing a good job? are they saying they are drowning in life because their husband is never around to help?) rather than get all silly about weather or not I have it worse than them. Single, married, whatever, we are all in this together and I need way to much love to be alinating people because they feel unsupported in their parenting and are looking for a way to express that or perhaps saying "I know how hard things are for you right now and/but . . . " I don't always communicate as gracefully as i should so I try to cut people some slack. Also as a single mother I am way to busy to be overthinking peoples choice of words.
lilyka, as usual, says it best
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#16 of 32 Old 02-16-2009, 01:14 PM
 
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it's so different and really depends on the friendship level between the parents, IMO

i was a full on single mother for 4 years, with absolutely no financial or parenting assistance, ex was completely out of the picture. i look at those years as some of the best in my life -- great friends, exciting things going on, lots of self-worth when it came to mothering.

one marriage and two more kids later, i couldn't be more alone, physically, emotionally and am in dire stressful financial straits. i know my dp will be a much more focused father once we are divorced, and i can't wait to get a couple nights and mornings to myself.

i don't mean to offend ANY single mothers when i say that in my heart of hearts, i feel like a single mother. it would be offensive to ME if someone were to tell me that i don't know what i'm feeling.
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#17 of 32 Old 02-16-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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I happened in here off the first page ...

But at least in my case, I WAS a single Mama for several years and when I say I know what it's like, I mean it.

But I do get the difference you are talking about. My husband works very long hours, he's out of the house by 5am and we are lucky to see him most nights by 5-6pm. But we get a wonderful paycheck for those hard hours, AND when he gets home, ds is all over him and I get a break!! It's not anywhere near the same as being single and totally responsible. Even the little things like switching nights doing the bedtime routine for ds make a huge difference in the burden on me.

Anyway, do keep in mind some of us married Mama's *used* to be single and know just exactly how hard your life is right now.

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#18 of 32 Old 02-16-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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I happened in here off the first page ...
But we get a wonderful paycheck for those hard hours, AND when he gets home, ds is all over him and I get a break!! It's not anywhere near the same as being single and totally responsible. Even the little things like switching nights doing the bedtime routine for ds make a huge difference in the burden on me.

Anyway, do keep in mind some of us married Mama's *used* to be single and know just exactly how hard your life is right now.

But also some single moms get all that. I get a paycheck from him every month, he takes them every Thursday night and and every other weekend. I am so much less burdened than I was before. I am not saying that I would rather be a single mom but compared to what I had married to him - this is so much easier. And looking back, yup, even when I was married I knew exactly what it would be like to be a single mom. at least what it would be like for me. even now I couldn't look at any other single mom and say "I know what you are going through" because I don't.

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#19 of 32 Old 02-19-2009, 03:01 AM
 
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yeah it's frustrating to hear others people comments but i just tend to brush them off. I am comfortable being a single mom, i guess maybe because i have always felt like one in my marriage and also it's been 3 years. yikes, 3 years and i have come a long way...

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#20 of 32 Old 02-19-2009, 05:14 AM
 
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When I read posts like this I can completely relate. And Lisa_NC hit the nail on the head.

Really, it would be very much like someone saying "I feel like my husband is deployed". I don't imagine anyone would know what that's like unless it happens to them.

And Lisa, I hope your husband comes home safe and soon!
My husband was deployed or in training for 19 months. A friebds husband went on a business trip for a week and she called me saying that she knew how I felt. My head almost exploded.

I was raised by a single mom and no way I could ever know what it was like.
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#21 of 32 Old 02-19-2009, 05:44 AM
 
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Well first I think when married people throw that comment - its not to bother anyone - its at least an attempt at empathy, a way to break the ice. I dont think they have any idea, that their attempt to be understanding can be taken as - well almost an insult.

I also agree that it is a very personal experience. I am alone with 3 small children - and I have more time, energy and feel more happy now than when I was with their father. Back then I had to deal with him being sick, abusive and generally stressed out. I often compared it to being a single mom of 4 - and I still feel that way about it. Its hard taking care of children - but at least - well they are just children. Having to navigate around a hostile, depressed, abusive partner is way way worse and way more draining. Was for me anyway.

But so many things are at play here, I dont think it can really be discussed in general, as every person and every relationship is different.

All that being said I often miss having someone to take over the kids - or just the possibility of going shopping without bringing three little ones, the possibility of having a hobby or take evening classes, the possibility to just go swimming once in a while like I used to.. But well back then I knew for certain that if I ever took just a few hours off, then I would have to "pay them back" somehow. At least now I know that when they are with their dad i am FREE to do whatever i please.. and he cant just skip in the middle of it! So for me being single is - in some ways harder - but in most ways easier than to be with their father.. But then again - that wasn,t a healthy relationship in any way so..

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#22 of 32 Old 02-19-2009, 11:02 AM
 
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frustrating. defintiely frustrating. but #4 is the worst for me. I get so angry at the lack of responsibility and understanding there. Don't make a third baby if you can't handle said third baby and the other two at the same time. Be a man, cowboy up.

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#23 of 32 Old 02-19-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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But also some single moms get all that. I get a paycheck from him every month, he takes them every Thursday night and and every other weekend. I am so much less burdened than I was before. I am not saying that I would rather be a single mom but compared to what I had married to him - this is so much easier. And looking back, yup, even when I was married I knew exactly what it would be like to be a single mom. at least what it would be like for me. even now I couldn't look at any other single mom and say "I know what you are going through" because I don't.
True. For me, being a single Mom didn't change anything regarding responsibility for ds ... I already literally did everything without any help from x-dh and that was an easy transition, I was used to it! For me, it was hard financially. x-dh didn't pay any child support, left me with all of the bills and he was our main breadwinner. So I found that part very difficult. Emotionally it was actually much better without him around though.

I get what you are saying & totally agree.

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#24 of 32 Old 03-05-2009, 01:48 AM
 
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I am not a single mom, but I do get tired of people saying they know what its like. You all are very strong. :
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#25 of 32 Old 03-05-2009, 03:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by crissei View Post
Well... if I could play devils advocate a little.
I am not a single parent, but I was raised by one, and so was my DH.
I don't fully know what being a single parent is like, but I have lived through it in a sense.
I'm not trying to be a stinker, I was just thinking maybe those people that have made those comments are coming from the same place as me.
Or maybe they are totally insensitive and you should tell them to take a flying leap.

-Crissei
:

also maybe that person was a single parent before they met their husband or wife
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#26 of 32 Old 03-05-2009, 08:45 AM
 
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Well... if I could play devils advocate a little.
I am not a single parent, but I was raised by one, and so was my DH.
I don't fully know what being a single parent is like, but I have lived through it in a sense.
I'm not trying to be a stinker, I was just thinking maybe those people that have made those comments are coming from the same place as me.
Or maybe they are totally insensitive and you should tell them to take a flying leap.

-Crissei

You have no idea, not even an inkling, of what being a single parent is.

BTW, my Mother was a single parent, too.
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#27 of 32 Old 03-06-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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Reading this thread is a bit of a relief for me. It caught my eye from the main page. I am not a single parent, nor was I raised in a single parent family. One of my close mama friends is a single parent. People occasionally will say things to me like "oh, I can see why the two of you would be friends, since your dp works so much you're practically a single parent yourself". Before I knew my single mama friend I might have thought so, but a pp really got it right when she said that we mamas with dps working long hours/travelling know what RELIEF feels like. Knowing that someone who is equally responsible for these kids is coming home at SOME POINT is a huge mental difference from the lifetime marathon that is single motherhood. It is a relief to me to hear that difference articulated as my friend is so gracious when people say that to her about the two of us and it just makes my stomach hurt.
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#28 of 32 Old 03-06-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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People say this to you? Holy Cats. I would never, ever say that. Maybe because I have a couple close friends who are single moms? I dunno.

Of course partnered parents don't know what it's like to be a single parent! Sheesh.

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#29 of 32 Old 03-07-2009, 01:31 AM
 
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I totally agree about the relief thing, but what I miss is having someone to be in the midst of it with. Running errands with two adults is so much easier, and often even fun. Ditto going out to eat or traveling. My sister takes my little guy a heap, but even when she is just over visiting, I feel relief in that my son's attention is suddenly divided; there is another "go to" person and wow, I just made an entire meal AND cleaned up after myself.
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#30 of 32 Old 03-07-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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Not everyone with a husband gets relief. for some married people relief is when they are gone. Not everyone has less money when dh becomes xh.

for a thread where everyone is so irritated by woimen presuming to know what it is like to be a single mother there is a lot of presuming what it is like to be a married mother.

it is presumptuous for anyone to say they know exactly what it feels like to be in another persons shoes. I honeslty don't know what it is like to be you as a single mama or a married mama and you don't know what it is like to be me as either.

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