Mothering Forum banner

Am I a Single Parent?

1102 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  mamademaya
Hi! I am the mother to an eight month old little girl. Her Dad and I got pregnant by surprise soon after we got together and when she was about five months old he moved out. The thing is, he is over every day and REALLY loves her and tries to spend time with her. When I move 500 miles away next summer, he is moving too to be with her. I am really glad she has a wonderful father!

The thing is, I don't know where I stand. Although we are not together, we still have a "more then friends, but not as far as sex" relationship. Since he is over so much and does have so much to do with her, I don't feel like I can call myself a single parent. DD's dad gets kind of upset when I refer to myself as one. He says it makes him feel bad. But since I do so much parenting alone, does that make me one? What do you gals think?
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
imo, no your not becasue he is so involved. To me a single parent is its one parent all the time. The other parent may visit for a couple hours here or there but its not a shared responsibility like it appears you have. Consider yourself lucky
See less See more

It just sucks that I feel so alone like in the mornings when there is only me to get her ready for daycare and I'm running late for one reason or another or when I'm trying to put her to sleep, knowing all the thing I have to do before I can go to bed. Her dad is there for the good stuff like playing and having fun, but not for the bad stuff, and then everyone gives him so much credit for being around all the time.

Then I feel bad when I complain about it, 'cause it could be worse.

BTW, thanks for reading, I think I just needed to vent a bit.
See less See more
If it makes you feel any better the married women say the same thing, there DH gets ready for work and its out the door while they still gotta get ready for work and get the kids off to work/daycare.
Personally, I think single is a state of mind just as much as it is a set of circumstances. No, you may not fit into some perfect mold of what the stereotypical "single" parent is, but there are variations within every type. It sounds like you have parenting support, but don't necessarily have all of the emotional support that comes with long-term partnership - the comfort of knowing that someone is always there for you to lean on, that elevated degree of intimacy, and those other elements that can feel so important for nourishing the soul.

FWIW, I have a very similar situation. My husband and I are still living together, even, while he tries to find a place to live. We do switch-shifts for taking care of our son so I can go to school in the evenings. We facilitate one another having a life (which, for him, means socialization - for me, means more work... but so be it at this point in time). We are friendly when we are home - are even pretty good friends now. We are partners in parenting... but he is not my emotional partner. That is what would keep me from feeling single. I am very much single.

IMO, single is like so many other things: If you're feeling it, you probaby are.
See less See more
Thank you!!! Its nice to know that there are other people in similar situations out there.
See less See more
I have two (actually more) friends that call themselves "single mothers". One is a mother to a child who has absolutely no support from the father and the other is a divorced mother who has full child care, alimony and an involved father for her child. They both call themselves single mothers but they mean different things. One means "single" as in raising a child with no father and the other means "single" as in not married.
I think it doesn't really matter what language you use as long as your meaning is clear but I think your meaning should be very clear.
I can see why the father would take offence if he thinks you are implying that he isn't involved though.
It's too bad that with as many different circumstances of being a single parent that there aren't more words for the varying situations. It seems to me that the child having a father or mother in their lives is an important distinction when one says they're a "single parent", kwim?
See less See more

Good point, I had not thought about the emotional aspects. I guess i've been doing this alone for so long its not something I even think about anymore.
Originally posted by HannahSims
I think it doesn't really matter what language you use as long as your meaning is clear but I think your meaning should be very clear.
While I respect your opinion, I can't think why it would be really important to make that distinction. Really, it's a distinction to be made to outsiders - and, personally, I don't feel the need to explain my circumstances to other people.
See less See more
Yes, I think you are a single mom. And he is a single dad. You two are not married, nor living together - and definitely not a couple. You are both single, but also parents with all the lifelong responsibilities that go with that. As simple as that.

It sounds like he is a good dad, which is great. Not all single mom situations have to suck.
I am a single mom....

for this year I get alimony, then just child support, he comes over a few times a week, when he gets his own place and baby is older he will have overnights.....

why am i a single mom?

*I am there to feed them breakfast every morning
*I am the one who puts them into bed every night - except one when he is off work (the first times I had to "tell him" to do it, now he just does it before leaving)
*I am the one not sleeping when they are sick (my 2 yr old had very high fevers 104's last week and I called him like 6 times to tell him I could NOT do it alone and until I said "you will come now" he tried to get out of it saying I would be fine and to call him if it got worse - hello - 104!)
*I am the one that knows that he does not like his tyedye shirt anymore but his giants jersey and has to tell him not to even try putting it on him
*I am the one that tells him those sneakers don't fit him anymore, the new ones are the blue ones
*I am the one to tell him not to bother making hotdogs his all time favorite but that he is on a ravioli kick this week

so even tho he is very involved when he is with them and really tries...16 hrs a week is not enough to be considered a full time parent or even co-parenting. The fact is...he is leaving at night and washing the responsibility off his hands.
See less See more
I would definitely say that you are a single mom. You may want to start telling people either that you are an unmarried mom, or that you are single mom who is very fortunate to have your child's wonderful father very involved in her life. That way you are stating the truth, and he can't possibly be offended.
I so appreciate Dragonfly's eloquent reply, which put into words the gaping deficits in my heart and soul.

I am married, and staying married, but to the wrong person and going throug life without a happy marriage is despairing.

I think that these boards are incredibly helpful. Once we are married and have families, the number of friends with whom we share this information and these feelings can dwindle to non-existent. I stopped feeding this stuff to my mom and to my therapist who cannot change the bottom line of a loveless marriage.

It is so good to have the support of other women in similar situations to buoy ourselves, as we struggle to do the best we can.
I don't think the "tag" really matters. You have an unusual but wonderful relatioship with the dad of your baby! That's really cool. Call yourself a "coolparent".
See less See more
Originally posted by Dragonfly
While I respect your opinion, I can't think why it would be really important to make that distinction. Really, it's a distinction to be made to outsiders - and, personally, I don't feel the need to explain my circumstances to other people.

Yea, I understand why a person wouldn't want to explain their circumstances to other people but when you say that you are a single parent you begin to "explain your circumstances".

Personally, I think that the child having the other parent involved is a BIG huge distinction.
See less See more
Dragonfly and Gabrielle (and anyone else):
Please see the post/poll I put up today (11/17). Tho my husband (we have decided to split) is awful as a husband, he's not bad as a friend/housemate/co-parent. In terms of emotional support for me, and help with the really hard stuff ( getting up with dd at nite), I have been a single mom since my babe was born. However, having dad in the house makes life a lot easier in some ways, and I think much nice for my dd than us living apart would. Especially since she loves hanging out with dad, as long as I'm nearby. She is 18 mos. old, and has major separation anxiety, even when she's with her papa, so having to leave me to be with him (our plan is/was 3 eves, 4-8/wk., half the weekend with him, the rest of the time with me - he works days, I stay home with her).

It's interesting to note, Dragonfly, that, yes, you can be a "single mom" or feel like one, when you're married, living with your partner. It's hard not to envy my friends who have loving, supportive husbands who not only give them love and caring, but also share a lot of the really hard parts of parenting.

I know that there is a huge weight off my shoulder since we admitted we cannot be together, and since I started telling people. I never spoke openly about how bad it was, cuz I knew people would think I was crazy for staying, but I knew I wasn't ready to leave yet. So I hid the bad and highlighted the good, and now people (even those closest to me) are surprised to hear what it was really like. And it's a relief to be able to tell the truth. I just felt so ashamed before, being the kind of person that would stay in a bad marriage, and let myself be treated so poorly. I knew that if I was honest about how bad it really was, people who love me would tell me I had to get out, and I couldn't fathom having them know the truth but see that I wasn't getting out.

My husband is not abusive (tho his witholding all intimacy and complete non-communicativeness and ignoring me feels emotionally abusive) and he works very hard doing construction to turn over every penny to us, just to barely make ends meet, so that I can stay home with dd (tho I can make more money than him at an easier job). He loves our baby and tho he isn't as involved as I would like him to be, he spends a lot of time with her and genuinely adores her. He wouldn't be a bad person to live with, if you weren't married to him.
I'm wondering that if we can continue an amicable relationship, would it be better for all involved if we stayed living together, as housemates and co-parents? Can you really make an emotional break from your X if you do that, really be available for eventually getting involved with someone else?
See less See more
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.