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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay I have been struggling with this in my mind. What defines a single parent? Is it just someone who has kids and is not in a relationship, a person who has kids is in a relationship but not married, or both?
 

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I am a single parent. Right now, I have a good relationship with their father. I did, however, have a restaining order out on him for about 8 months last year and did things all alone. But, no, NOT all alone, I had the help of some friends, I came here to read and sometimes post, I had some counselling...
I don't know. People don't generally fit into neat little categories.
I am the sole gaurdian, I have custody. All important decisions are made by me (with some discussion with their dad occasionally). I am alone here while the kids sleep and I'm on the computer and their dad is who-knows-or-cares-where, I have no expectations of him but I have major expectations of myself. I do not rely on him and am fully prepared to pull the plug if need be if he gets violent or abusive again.
Everyone has a unique story. It is all relative.
 

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I agree that there is a wide variety of "singlehood". I figured out my own personal "definition" when I started seriously dating an ex-bf of mine (again). He was very involved with dd and hated it that I still considered myself a single parent. I told him that as long as I'm the one that makes the decisions on what's best for dd's life, as long as I'm the one that responsibility truly falls back on, as long as I'm the one who gets the honor of carrying both burden and joy, then I'm a single parent.

My dd was born with a birth defect, and no matter how affected and caring and concerned my bf was, she is still my daughter. I will consider myself no longer a single parent when I am in a relationship that has progressed to the point where I consider my dd "our" dd.
 

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Ok I have really thought about this too and I have come to think about this is in different ways.
I got this friend and she is married and her husband is over sea and she thinks of her self as being a single parent because he is not in the picture righ now. She is doing everything herself. She is getting no help from on one.
I am a single parent my dd dad left me after five years, because Iwas going to have his baby. I am doing everything my self. I get no help.
I look at it this way, You can be married and be a single parent. Heck the man can be in the house and you stilll be a single parent. You are the only one doing the parenting then you are a single parent.
BUt if you are married and the husband does nothing to help with the kid(s), I would be telling him to get up from the football game and play the part that he wanted.
I hope that this helped. :ribbonyel
Happy New Year
 

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I tend to think of single parenting mainly in terms of finances, but that's probably because it's the way my situation is defined.

I'm still technically married (for a few more months), we've been separated for 1-1/2 years now. I will probably technically have sole custody, based on hours, but ds spends a fair amount of time with his dad and sees his almost every day. I receive no financial support, save a very meager amount for child support. I'm very much a single parent.

Married people who have no emotional support from their partners are maybe parenting solo, but they usually still have a paycheck coming in, so I don't think the situation is necessarily the same. But, then, we all have our own stories, so who am I to judge?
 

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Quote:
Married people who have no emotional support from their partners are maybe parenting solo, but they usually still have a paycheck coming in, so I don't think the situation is necessarily the same.
Well put, Dragonfly.

I admit I get very testy when partenered mamas -- partnered with a man who fathered their kids, or has legally or practically adopted them, and usually living all in the same home -- call themselves "almost single mamas" when they feel (as perhaps all partnered mamas feel at times) their partners aren't carrying a full load. I feel these partnered mamas *aren't* single mamas because they don't have the same worries I do:

-sole breadwinning responsibility: if I don't earn, we don't have a home
-sole parenting responsibility: if I don't change her diaper, nobody does
-sole decision-making responsibility: if I don't take her to the pediatrician, or decide whether to discipline, nobody does
-sole homemaking responsibility: if I don't wash the dishes or clothes, we don't have them to use; if I don't cook, we don't eat
-sole "what if I'm gone temporarily" responsibility: if I get the flu, I still have to parent, alone
-sole "what if I'm gone for good" responsibility: if I die, my child is alone

Yes, those other, partnered mamas may have troubles. But I call those "marriage woes," not "being almost a single mom"!

As for single mamas in relationships (usually with a man other than kids' dad, or in a joint custody situation), I call those "partnered single mamas." Unless and until the partner chooses, and the mama agrees, to parent as a team with the mama (even if the result isn't completely 50/50, as it rarely is), then the mama is still a single mama (albeit with some help ocassionally).

In short: if you FEEL alone in parenting (sometimes), you're human. If you ARE alone in parenting (all the time), you're a single parent.

But that's just my opinion...
 

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I see your point Seasons, and I mostly agree. I get annoyed when married mamas say they might as well be a single parent too.

BUT BUT BUT, I was one of them. :LOL And really, besides his paycheck (which IMO did make a HUGE difference) if I didn't take care of Alex, no one would have. I had all the responsibility (no joke, he never changed a diaper, EVER) except for sole breadwinning, although I did work as well.

Ok, now I'm in a funk thinking about what an awful husband I had. :LOL
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Seasons

In short: if you FEEL alone in parenting (sometimes), you're human. If you ARE alone in parenting (all the time), you're a single parent.

But that's just my opinion...
Does this meam moms who have help from the ex aren't truly single?
DD #1 goes to her father's twice a week. I realize my situation is a lot nicer than most, but 5 days a week for nearly 4 years I've been shopping, cooking, cleaning, snuggling, bathing, playing, running errands, working from home, paying the bills and keeping the world from flying apart in a million pieces by myself, 5 days a week with my daughter in tow and 2 days a week by myself.
 

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Quote:
Does this meam moms who have help from the ex aren't truly single?
Much as I'd love to be the arbiter of all, man, that job doesn't PAY, so I'll decline.


But seriously, LongLiveLife, most of the single mamas here -- and in the country -- have some help/contact from the ex. I'd still call you all single moms. Those 5 days a week when you have ZERO help? You sure aren't partnered. And even on those two days that your kids are with their dad, you are still completely responsible for your breadwinning, housecleaning, retirement planning, etc -- you still aren't PARTNERED, just getting, pardon me, some baby-sitting. You and you ex are HARDLY team-parenting! (And perhaps this is a sliding slope, but I still say that you and all other divorced/separated moms are in a different class, the class of "single moms," than moms whose partner lives with them and provides SOME income/parenting/housework/support but perhaps not as much as the moms want. But hey, dead horse, anyone?)

I'd call me and the others with zero help, "solo parents," a subset of "single parents," but it's not a competition, just nomenclature. (I recently posted a getting-a-passport thread detailing a particular difficulty that *solo* parents have but single parents might not; on the other hand, single parents have getting-along-with-the-ex difficulties that solo parents don't have.)

But again, as our kids might say, I'm not the boss of you (or them).
It's JMHO.
 

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Solo parenting is a great way to put it.

There are so many different situations among all of us "single" mamas. Some have more help than others, but in the end, we are all 100% responsible for our own households which does make a big difference.

I know in my case, my x comes up here maybe one day a week, during daytime hours to "babysit" (ie visit) Alex for me. We tried one overnight and I doubt that will happen again just because it was too much work for him.
But he does pay childsupport and that alone, IMO, keeps me from being a solo parent.

More than anything, I have my family ... my Mom watches Alex while I work in the morning, and if I want to go out at night, I can put him to bed at her house and then go out. My family, more than my x, makes me feel less "single", if you know what I mean.

I have the upmost respect for mamas like you who are doing EVERYTHING on their own. I know I have days where the responsibility gets to me, and I have more help than most. I think you are right ... it's a very hard thing to totally understand unless you've walked in the shoes.
 

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"we are all 100% responsible for our own households which does make a big difference."

YES!!!! We *all* have that in common!

And it is so, so reassuring to come here -- I pop in this forum almost everyday -- to "talk" with other moms in the same boat, to celebrate our families (instead of thinking they are "broken" or that there's something/someone missing), to vent our frustrations, and to share our pride!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all of the responses. I see how diverse "single parenting" really is. Now for my next question to you all. Am I (or am I going to be), a single parent. Okay here is my background info; I am a young college student, who is 8 months pregnant. I am also still with the father of my son, and we happen to be engaged to be married. I am, and will be the go to person when it comes to making any decisions for and about my son, with some input from his daddy. I also don't live with my fiance, and eventhough we are getting married this summer, I don't plan on living with him until I have graduated from school ( about a year and a half from now). During that time I will of course have financial, and emotional support, but I will still in someway be alone. As for how my sons time is to be spent, well since I am going to school two days a week this upcoming semester, my baby will spend those two days all day with his daddy, and the rest of the week his time will be a mix of him and I alone, or him, his father, and I together. So with all of that said am I (or will I), a single parent by any strech? Really?
 

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I'm with Holland...why the need for the label? I think that if you are in a loving, supportive relaitonship with your baby's father, then no, you are not a single parent. Legally, however, you will be. so there you go. There's no one answer to your question. How would you label yourself?
 

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I was hesitant to post on this because I didn't know where the OP was going with it.
What makes a person a single parent? Seasons answered extremely well about the emotional side of it. Here's my thoughts form a legal standpoint... IMO, if you are married, you are not a single parent. (My ex did not so much as change a diaper, and, even though I felt like a single parent, unfortunately I was not. Now that we are divorced, yes, I am a single parent. He pays support and takes Little Miss eowe, but I am still a single parent.)
Even if you are living in separate households, you can't legally file taxes as a single, and you can't file for support as a single.
Is that the way you were trying to go with your question?
But again, being Nosy Nelly, why do you want (or not want) the title "Single Parent?"
(Sorry of this sounds snarky. I don't mean for it to, I'm just really really curious about the need for a label.)
 
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