no your husband working long hours is not like you being a single mother-vent - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 66 Old 10-17-2008, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just need to say I cannot stand it when my mama friends compare themselves to being single parents because their partners work long hours or go away on business trips.
It is not even remotely comparable.
I feel myself get really upset when people make comments like this.
I am a single/solo parent.
There is no dad in dd's life. no potential for help, not extended family, no nothing. Not that families are always involved but i hope you know what I mean. it's just me, and there is no foreseeable break. ever.
So no you cannot compare your husbands long hours to my raising my child single handedly. You share your home with anther adult, so if you die in your sleep your baby will not starve to death her cries going unanswered.
It is possible to conceive your partner could help out if you ever really needed it.
When your baby is asleep if you wanted to run out to the store you could, if you were quick. You could do this on a whim and not have to hire a sitter, which i dont use anyways because really it's not my thing while shes this young.(6 months)
While not every partner comes with built in family a lot of the ones I see my friends have do, and they are seemingly nice involved familes, again not something a lot of us single moms have depending on our situations.

I just needed to vent this.
I'm totally happy being a single mother but it IS hard sometimes, and I really hate when people undermine that. I don't ask for praise but please do not draw comparisons, what it is psychologically to be a single parent is much more demanding then the actual physical aspect of it a lot of times.

: feminist mama to DD 04/08
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#2 of 66 Old 10-17-2008, 09:21 PM
 
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I agree! I was a single mama for several years, and at times during our marriage, my DP has traveled a lot, and there's no comparison!

I had someone once compared parenting to being a pet owner. Sometimes people are pretty clueless.

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#3 of 66 Old 10-17-2008, 09:25 PM
 
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I totally agree with you. I have done my fair share of listining to the ones that say its just like being single. BLAH!!!!!!

~Carla~ LOVING~ LIFE~
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#4 of 66 Old 10-17-2008, 09:26 PM
 
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I don't know -- I was one of those married women who often thought my life probably wasn't all that different than that of a single mom. I've been a single mom for a few months now, and while I know that isn't long enough to totally say I know what it is all about, I can say that my day to day life, as far as my childcare responsibilities and help from their dad hasn't really changed.

Actually it has. I got a whole day to myself last weekend, when he took all four kids for the day.

I know it can be annoying to hear, but some peoples marriages really are that bad, and some partners really aren't any use at all, not even the 'plunked in front of the tv with a beer so I can run to the store while the kids are asleep' kind of useful.

Hang in there mama! You are doing a great job with your dd.
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#5 of 66 Old 10-17-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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in those cases gus'smama, i think they frequently have it worse than single mamas. i wouldn't consider it the equivalent really.

the comparisons bothers me mostly in an economic/emotional support context.

i get excellent cs and ss and their dad sees them every weekend so i get plenty of breaks. but my financial situation is drastically different that when partnered and i don't have someone to discuss parenting--share all the little things with.

someone whose spouse is gone traveling or some such still has the financial support in one household, can probably talk on phone or email for parenting support and hasn't had to deal with the GRIEF and emotional roller coaster of divorce and visitation or lack of visitation. for single mamas that had children while partnered the emotional process is huge--can't speak for those that were not partnered.

anyway, i try to never compare myself to something i am not. i can suppose how it feels but you don't know until you go through it.
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#6 of 66 Old 10-17-2008, 10:34 PM
 
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My firend calls herself a "single mom with financial backing"

My mom says i'm lucky because she never got a break when we were little.

It's NOT the same. Somewhere in those scenarios, there was a loving partner working his rear end off to support his family. They do get to spend time together @ some point.

I would love to SAH. I would love a companion. I have neither. That's the reality of single parenting for me. For now anyway.
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#7 of 66 Old 10-17-2008, 10:35 PM
 
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I'm not that annoyed by this comparison, partially because I'm really happy with my life and I realize that there are many many married moms who can't say that.

I have, however, been known to say:

"I find it funny when people say they understand my experience, or admire me more because their DP is on a business trip. When your partner or spouse is on a business the trip the hard parts are dealing with children who are cranky or demanding because their routines are disrupted, and problem solving how to do things that they usually do with the support of another parent. As a single parent, I don't have those problems -- my son doesn't miss someone he never met, and our routines are well established. Similarly, the hard parts of being a single parent, at least for me, are knowing that I'm the sole source of financial support for DS, and not having someone to share the worries and the tragedies that everyone faces. As a happily married parent, you don't have those problems."

If I'm dealing with someone like a poster described who has a non-supportive spouse then I just say "Your situation sounds a lot more challenging than mine. I'm so sorry you're dealing with that.
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#8 of 66 Old 10-17-2008, 10:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2xshy View Post
I am a single/solo parent.
There is no dad in dd's life. no potential for help, not extended family, no nothing. Not that families are always involved but i hope you know what I mean. it's just me, and there is no foreseeable break. ever.
So no you cannot compare your husbands long hours to my raising my child single handedly. You share your home with anther adult, so if you die in your sleep your baby will not starve to death her cries going unanswered.
It is possible to conceive your partner could help out if you ever really needed it.
When your baby is asleep if you wanted to run out to the store you could, if you were quick. You could do this on a whim and not have to hire a sitter.
: I totally agree.
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#9 of 66 Old 10-17-2008, 11:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BugMacGee View Post
It's NOT the same. Somewhere in those scenarios, there was a loving partner working his rear end off to support his family. They do get to spend time together @ some point.

I would love to SAH. I would love a companion. I have neither. That's the reality of single parenting for me. For now anyway.

I totally agree with this and wanted to share some mama love.

~Carla~ LOVING~ LIFE~
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#10 of 66 Old 10-18-2008, 01:22 AM
 
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Mama, I get you.



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Originally Posted by 2xshy View Post
You share your home with anther adult, so if you die in your sleep your baby will not starve to death her cries going unanswered.

Oh, honey, I remember thinking of this so often back in the early days. I know just how heavy the weight of that fear can feel on a mama. Please be very kind to yourself through this time. I am nearly 14 years into what you describe and I can say that, now, my precious baby girl is an amazing, beautiful, powerful member of my family. I have another child too, a son, and we three just rock together. They grow up to be that family that you can depend on. And they're so much more trustworthy than anyone else I've ever known. I love that I literally created my family.



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#11 of 66 Old 10-18-2008, 02:59 AM
 
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O, I can so relate!

I am a single/solo parent. My sister once told me that she had "walked in my shoes" because her husband never got up with their baby in the night.

Uh yeah, that's exactly what it's like. Whatevs!

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#12 of 66 Old 10-18-2008, 10:49 AM
 
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I was one of those moms. Now I really am a single mom.

Those comments do sting now. I had a friend do that recently, and yeowch! But it's better now ibeing single in some ways. It is scary, and tough, but I no longer have that resentment about him not helping, not caring, not being available to help. I no longer wake up each day hoping he will finally be the helpful loving husband I craved. I no longer deal with that daily resentment.

As hard as it is, I relate to those moms because I was one and I see now that his lack of engagement in his family was one of the main causes of our marriage ending.

Now I resent other things, like losing the dream of what married life could have been, or him not valuing the kids as much as I would like when he is bringing the kids home early from his infrequent visits because he's bored

But I NEVER said I felt like a single mom TO a single mom. I can see that would HURT!!!! (I may have said it to a married mom once or twice though!)

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#13 of 66 Old 10-18-2008, 12:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Momily View Post
I'm not that annoyed by this comparison, partially because I'm really happy with my life and I realize that there are many many married moms who can't say that.

I have, however, been known to say:

"I find it funny when people say they understand my experience, or admire me more because their DP is on a business trip. When your partner or spouse is on a business the trip the hard parts are dealing with children who are cranky or demanding because their routines are disrupted, and problem solving how to do things that they usually do with the support of another parent. As a single parent, I don't have those problems -- my son doesn't miss someone he never met, and our routines are well established. Similarly, the hard parts of being a single parent, at least for me, are knowing that I'm the sole source of financial support for DS, and not having someone to share the worries and the tragedies that everyone faces. As a happily married parent, you don't have those problems."

If I'm dealing with someone like a poster described who has a non-supportive spouse then I just say "Your situation sounds a lot more challenging than mine. I'm so sorry you're dealing with that.
That is well said.

I try not to take it too personally. Mostly when people say stuff like that to me, they're not being literal, they're just trying to say they sympathize, or identify. It's natural for people to do that. You know, like if you walk around with a cast on your arm, you're going to hear a lot of stories from people about their past injuries. And then sometimes it really is cluelessness, but whaddaya gonna do?

I do think my situation is easier than that of many partnered people. I'm glad I don't have to negotiate a dysfunctional relationship with an adult...I can focus on my relationship with my kid.

I know for a fact that my situation is easier than that of many other single parents, too. A male co-worker used to tell me stories about his adventures as a single parent of 4 kids...he broke his leg once when they were still small, lived in a walk-up apartment, etc. Really put things in perspective for me.
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#14 of 66 Old 10-18-2008, 03:28 PM
 
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yup there are layers to single parents too.

but really i feel society feels the optimum best family is a two parent family.

and i'd like to put my hand up and say for me - two separate coparents are the ideal.

yes its tough but on the other side i get a whole couple of evenings and nights off. maybe even 3 nights. i get enough me time where i can do a lot instead of just a little window here and there.

because for me its soooo important having time to myself. it is absolutely necessary to be a good anyone else.

so yeah i struggle, yeah i have tonnes of financial issues and i am about to sign up for welfare, with just one child AND a coparent so i can get time off - i think i am leading a great life. sometimes a parent, sometimes not.

so the shoe can be on the other foot too.

when a single mom tells a married mom how easy they have it because they have a partner (when truly the marriage is on the rocks, and he does nothing to help but instead might even be having an affair) - it could easily get the mom mad too.

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#15 of 66 Old 10-18-2008, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it is definitely one of those things that really depends on the situation.
Perhaps I am even more so aggravated because I am a single parent but also a solo parent. Again I'm sure many moms who co parent would find it easier if they solo parented and vice versa.
The girl who has made comments like this to me has a husband and he helps out as much as he can (she says) and they are happy (from what she says) but she keeps trying to tell me her job is as tough as mine because by the time he comes home from work her dd is asleep. There is so much more to parenting then the waking hours and physical demands though. I find comparisons like that imply that our jobs as mothers are mostly physical and for myself the hardest part of being a single parent is having no one to share dd's life and to share my life with in the down time.
I know it can be very different from family to family... my vent was more about a certain situation with that girl. And also my mom telling me she was "like" a single mother too, which is total BS.
I totally don't mean to imply single moms all have it harder then coupled families, or any such thing. We all have our own challenges unique to our situations.
I was just annoyed.

: feminist mama to DD 04/08
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#16 of 66 Old 10-18-2008, 05:12 PM
 
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I was on my own MORE before the split. STBX was at work or out doing his own thing a lot of the time. He sees the kids more now. I made all the household decisions. The financial situation was a little better, but that's it. My life is actually easier now. I definitely knew what it was like to be single parent while my marriage was still intact.

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#17 of 66 Old 10-18-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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Actually, one of the big reasons I left my ex is because I figured I was a single parent anyway, I might as well make it official. At least I could stop supporting his alcoholism that way.

No, not every marriage/couple situation is better than every single parent situation. I know that first hand.

I think the people you're venting about are, mostly, in a partnership. There are responsibilities shared by both parents. One works, one stays home and so forth. So though they may feel like single parents at times, they do have the love and support of another person, at other times. Which, in my book, makes it totally different.
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#18 of 66 Old 10-18-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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I agree. Those "I'm having a single parent weekend" complaints just sound so stupid to me. They act as if doing *everything* for a weekend may kill them. The main part of this that irritates me is that they have no inkling of the long term strategies that I've had to put in place to make it all happen and work for more than 2 days in a row. Try 5 years in a row with no backup.

Yes, I know some women are in bad marriages and some do everything plus take care of a husband who acts like a child. But even so, don't compare a bad marriage to single parenthood. Just don't go there. They're apples & oranges. For one thing, I'm much happier now than when I was in a bad marriage. Comparing a sucky marriage to single parenthood just pulls down the single parenting image and makes it sound worse than it is.
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#19 of 66 Old 10-18-2008, 08:46 PM
 
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Everyone has their own cross to bear, and people tend to get in funks where their situation seems overwhelming. I try not to let this kind of stuff bother me, I just listen or don't.

I'm one of those moms who is relieved to be a single parent. And though my DCs' Dad "exists" and sees them some, there is no co-parenting, no help (other than what is legally required) and he's not a reliable backup - never has been, never will be. I would LOVE to count on some time to myself. I would LOVE to be able to "share" my DCs accomplishments, milestones, & challenges w/a partner. But he's so exquisitely selfish that he literally never asks how they are - how school, health, friends, etc. are.

But, I have to say, I'm thrilled to be out of a emotionally and financially abusive marriage where I walked on eggshells constantly.

OP - perhaps you can just say to this friend, "I'd rather not discuss this. I'm just enjoying my DD, let's not get into single status, etc." I can see how this could be irksome.
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#20 of 66 Old 10-19-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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Hmm, I'm enjoying reading all these responses. I think it is another facet of the mommy wars, really.

I mean there are great and really crappy scenarios in which to be a partnered parent, and there are great and really crappy scenarios in which to be a single parent, and there are all the shades of grey in between.

And sometimes, some people, say stupid things, and engage in the "my life is harder than yours one-upmanship". And those people suck.

We are all doing our very best as parents, in the situations we are in, and sometimes, somedays, we *all* feel like nothing coulder be harder than what we're doing. And we're all right, and we're all wrong.
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#21 of 66 Old 10-19-2008, 09:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Momtwice View Post
I was one of those moms. Now I really am a single mom.

Those comments do sting now. I had a friend do that recently, and yeowch! But it's better now ibeing single in some ways. It is scary, and tough, but I no longer have that resentment about him not helping, not caring, not being available to help. I no longer wake up each day hoping he will finally be the helpful loving husband I craved. I no longer deal with that daily resentment.

As hard as it is, I relate to those moms because I was one and I see now that his lack of engagement in his family was one of the main causes of our marriage ending.

Now I resent other things, like losing the dream of what married life could have been, or him not valuing the kids as much as I would like when he is bringing the kids home early from his infrequent visits because he's bored

But I NEVER said I felt like a single mom TO a single mom. I can see that would HURT!!!! (I may have said it to a married mom once or twice though!)
Oh wow -- you said it for me. I am so glad not to live with the daily resentment. I still resent mine for the financial morass he is sending us all into, but at least he is mostly out of my face.

M
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#22 of 66 Old 10-21-2008, 05:14 AM
 
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When I was married, I used to say that I felt like "a well-funded single mom". I don't think I ever said that to a single mom, but still, I hope I didn't offend anyone because it certainly wouldn't have been intended that way. That was just my way of expressing how frustrated I was for being single-handedly responsible for every aspect of the children's lives and the household, etc.

I'm one of those women who couldn't ask her DH to keep an ear out for the kids while I ran an errand while they were sleeping. When the girls and I were extremely ill with a whole-body virus and wicked pink-eye, my plea to DH for help was met with him yelling at me that we are only sick because I am a bad mother and don't put them to bed on time, followed by him locking himself in the bedroom to watch TV for 2 days while I had to struggle on alone and take the girls to the hospital three times solo. Then, when he did emerge from his bedroom he took my car keys and I had to use another hospital ER trip for our infant as an excuse to get them back so I could get us to the women's shelter.

I've only been seperated a month, but it's actually been easier, in my case. I know every single mother's situation is different and financial hardships will probably take their toll on me eventually but my parental/household workload has actually lessened now that I am taking care of one less person and don't have to deal with that person's emotional abuse. I'm not in a co-parent situation (DH hasn't wanted to see the girls yet) but if that ever happens, I will have a break that I could never have hoped for as a married woman.

But, back on topic, OP - I'm sorry if that other mother offended you. That probably wasn't her intent. She was probably either trying to relate to you or just feels unhappy in her situation.
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#23 of 66 Old 10-21-2008, 08:35 AM
 
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wow krysta i am so glad you had the courage to get out.

but yes i was in a similar situation to yours without the abuse or heartlessness. so yes i agree for me it was less work too. i only had to clean my dd's and my mess. not my exs. or carry the resentment of picking up after him. and he was never around to take me or my dd to the ER when we needed to go.

once we emotionally separated which was two years before we physically separated he became both a financial and a physical burden to me. he totally felt like an albatross around my neck. so it was sooooo much a relief after he agreed to move out. inspite of all the hardship i had (the first 3 years with and without living with him i was the solo parent - no coparenting) i would much rather carry this cross than stay married to him.

aaaaah KRISTIANA - i get it now. the annoyance factor. and yes i do agree i miss not having someone to cry or celebrate with what is going on with my dd's life. my ex and i have totally different focus of what is important about our dd to us. while i tell him everything he tells me v. v. v. little. though that might be a man thing.

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#24 of 66 Old 10-21-2008, 08:43 AM
 
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wow krysta i am so glad you had the courage to get out.

but yes i was in a similar situation to yours without the abuse or heartlessness. so yes i agree for me it was less work too. i only had to clean my dd's and my mess. not my exs. or carry the resentment of picking up after him. and he was never around to take me or my dd to the ER when we needed to go. even at 2 am i had to get a neighbour get medicine for our dd since i couldnt reach ex.

once we emotionally separated which was two years before we physically separated he became both a financial and a physical burden to me. he totally felt like an albatross around my neck. so it was sooooo much a relief after he agreed to move out. and financially a bonus too coz he started paying CS. inspite of all the hardship i had (the first 3 years with and without living with him i was the solo parent - no coparenting) i would much rather carry this cross than stay married to him. what i remember most after he left was finally having the freedom to really enjoy my dd and so till he started taking her more (so he could stop CS) i never felt i needed time away from her.

aaaaah KRISTIANA - i get it now. the annoyance factor. and yes i do agree i miss not having someone to cry or celebrate with what is going on with my dd's life. my ex and i have totally different focus of what is important about our dd to us. while i tell him everything he tells me v. v. v. little. though that might be a man thing.

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#25 of 66 Old 10-21-2008, 04:30 PM
 
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I am a single/solo parent.
There is no dad in dd's life. no potential for help, not extended family, no nothing. Not that families are always involved but i hope you know what I mean. it's just me, and there is no foreseeable break. ever.
As a single/solo mom in the same position, AAAAAAAAAAMEN!! I feel the exact same way!

Single WAHM to 5yo DD, 2yo DS, and forever 7 week old angel DD.
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#26 of 66 Old 10-25-2008, 11:12 PM
 
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I'm one of those moms :

I have never said that to a single mom, though, knowing full well that just because my partner is uninvolved doesn't mean that he doesn't exist.

I am moving out in a couple weeks (he doesn't know this) and filing for separation, so then I really will be a single mom.
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#27 of 66 Old 10-28-2008, 08:49 AM
 
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I just need to say I cannot stand it when my mama friends compare themselves to being single parents because their partners work long hours or go away on business trips.
It is not even remotely comparable.
I feel myself get really upset when people make comments like this.
I am a single/solo parent.
There is no dad in dd's life. no potential for help, not extended family, no nothing. Not that families are always involved but i hope you know what I mean. it's just me, and there is no foreseeable break. ever.
So no you cannot compare your husbands long hours to my raising my child single handedly. You share your home with anther adult, so if you die in your sleep your baby will not starve to death her cries going unanswered.
It is possible to conceive your partner could help out if you ever really needed it.
When your baby is asleep if you wanted to run out to the store you could, if you were quick. You could do this on a whim and not have to hire a sitter, which i dont use anyways because really it's not my thing while shes this young.(6 months)
While not every partner comes with built in family a lot of the ones I see my friends have do, and they are seemingly nice involved familes, again not something a lot of us single moms have depending on our situations.

I just needed to vent this.
I'm totally happy being a single mother but it IS hard sometimes, and I really hate when people undermine that. I don't ask for praise but please do not draw comparisons, what it is psychologically to be a single parent is much more demanding then the actual physical aspect of it a lot of times.


Being a single parent is hard.
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#28 of 66 Old 10-28-2008, 08:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by gus'smama View Post
I don't know -- I was one of those married women who often thought my life probably wasn't all that different than that of a single mom. I've been a single mom for a few months now, and while I know that isn't long enough to totally say I know what it is all about, I can say that my day to day life, as far as my childcare responsibilities and help from their dad hasn't really changed.

Actually it has. I got a whole day to myself last weekend, when he took all four kids for the day.

I know it can be annoying to hear, but some peoples marriages really are that bad, and some partners really aren't any use at all, not even the 'plunked in front of the tv with a beer so I can run to the store while the kids are asleep' kind of useful.

:

Yes, it's highly situational.

Some ex-spouses are better than others. Obviously, if you are a single parent, but share joint custody, and have a present, capable, good other parent involved it is much different than having a non-involved parent.

And if you get child support that is very different than if you don't get child support.

And if you are married, and it's a good marriage, but your husband works a lot and/or travels, that is very different than if it's a bad marriage and your husband works a lot and travels.

So, it's highly situational.

Single parenting is hard. Very, very hard. I do feel that some married parents who have emotionally and physically absent spouses are much like single parents, except they still put up with the BS of the emotionally and physically absent spouse.

It's best to have two parents committed to the child(ren), even if the parents aren't committed to themselves or married.
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#29 of 66 Old 10-28-2008, 01:49 PM
 
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I so hear you. My sister made a comment like this a week ago when her dh was out of town for 4 days for a business trip. I jsut wanted to smack her, when he is home he does all the night time baby care so she always gets a full night's sleep, as a single mom I have been sleep deprived for 10 years. She still has 6 figure salary coming in when he is not home, I have had months where I struggled to pull $5 together for a jug of milk, mainly in the years my ex did not pay child support. My kids have zero contact with their father, my nephew has every evening save a few business trips with his dad, so my sister can go out with the girls, go to the gym, etc without a care in the world. I have to struggle to find care and be given a guilt trip for doing so, just to go to bible study once a week.

Being in a marriage isn't perfect, I left my marriage 7.5 years ago because it was not a healthy relationship (holy understatement). But to claim that your life is just like mine because your 100% devoted husband went away for 4 days is a slap in the face, and totally discounting the struggles I face daily with my kids as a single mom.

Brandy Single momma to A(11), C(10), H(6) and I(2)
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#30 of 66 Old 10-28-2008, 10:27 PM
 
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i think it depends. My life is not a lot different than when I was married. but at least now people feel bad for me and are willing to help. xDh actually helps out more now than he did when we were married. I was literally alone all the time but I had to put up with all his crap too.

the truth of the matter is that single motherhood is different for all of us. its not a contest to see who's life sucks the worst. am I disqualified because I get decent support, their dad is involved more so than he ever has been and his parents help out? on the other hand I am constantly worried about his judgment, trying to take the kids, going behind my back, undermining my parenting, hate being financially dependent on him and dread the day the other woman becomes the other mommy.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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