Parenting, Ranting, relationships, Uncategorized

FYI: You’re Not A Single Mom If You’re Married

I read yet another blog piece about how difficult it is to be a “married-but-single-mom”.

You know the ones.

The ones crying about how difficult their life is because they signed up to be a stay at home mom and now their husband’s work 60 hours a week…so they can be a stay at home mom… and the husbands don’t feel like changing diapers, or they don’t clean up their own dirty underwear, or perhaps the husbands literally don’t lift a finger in the house. The moms that complain that their lives are so painfully lonely because they got everything they ever wanted and now realize how hard it is to be a mom and a caregiver to all of the humans in the house and they think they’re living the same life as a single mom…

Listen. Just stop with this.

Ladies, (and yes, I’m singling out the moms here since that’s who I see debating this subject time and again), if you are married you cannot be a single mom. It is virtually impossible.

Simply put, “single” and “married” are antonyms. They have opposite meanings. You cannot be married and single at the same time.

When can you call yourself a single-mom? When you’re single and unmarried, raising children. Full stop.

Husband gone 5 out of 7 nights a week for work? Not a single mom.
Husband works nights and you work days? Not a single mom.
Husband doesn’t lift a finger around the house to cook, clean, or care for the kids? Not a single mom.
Husband is included in any of your vernacular when describing your relationship status? Not.a.single.mom.

I understand that your husband might put in long work weeks and expect dinner on the table and the laundry to be done and that yes, you are the primary caregiver for everyone in your household. I get that. I get that is nothing short of the most incredibly difficult job on the face of the planet. Because it is. Parenthood is hard. And yes, husbands are like having an additional child. Absolutely.

But you know what you have that single-moms don’t, in case it isn’t obvious? A partner. Of some sort.

If you’re a stay at home mom, you have a person providing financial means. Emotional support. An adult human that lives with you at least some of the time, even if he works long hours or even if he travels for work. Someone to talk to about something other than MineCraft and 3rd grade math. You have a person.

And I’m not willing to give those a pass, who do not actually know this struggle, to share a title with any single mom. Just…no.

Call me an asshole. Call me bitter, (because a divorce that I didn’t want has made me both of those things), but that title isn’t suited for you as a stay at home mom who has a partner. Sorry.

I’m not saying your situation isn’t difficult. I’m sure that when you’re comparing yourselves to other married moms whose husbands come home at 5pm and immediately chip in with the kids, help with dinner, bathe the kids or whatever, I’m certain you have it more difficult. But you’re still married. Maybe it looks different than the fantasy you created in your mind about how it would be, but you’re married.

When I was married, I worked a typical 8-4 job and my husband worked nights as a restaurant manager. When my daughter was a baby and a toddler, six nights a week after 4pm- the caregiving and on weekends? All me. And I do remember making comments to friends like, “Man, sometimes I feel like a single parent!”, because I had no clue what that actually meant.

Now I do.

I am divorced. I have my daughter 5 nights every week, including every weekend. I run two businesses, so I put in about 50-55 hours of work a week, and I provide about 90% of my child’s financial well being.

I certainly could have it more difficult. Obviously, there are moms (and dads) who have their children 100% of the time without any help, some working more than one job. The real single parents. The toughest of the tough shit. I’m sure some reading might be in this category and believe that even I shouldn’t be using the term single mom, and I can respect that to some degree. I will happily accept an alternative title of “bitter asshole, divorced mom”.

But what we both don’t have is a person.

That person that promised me for better or for worse, the one that said “I do” in that thing called marriage? He’s no longer here with me because life had other plans. No more confidant, no more equal contributor to finances, no one to fight over the remote with, no more 30 minute timeouts so I can walk the dogs if I’ve had enough of being a mom in a given moment on a weekend. Because I am single. And a mom. And I’m on my own.

I know we all live in our reality. And all of our realities are hard. That’s the truth. I don’t think any of us as parents believe our lives to be easy. We can all find solidarity in the struggles of raising small humans. This shit is difficult no matter how perfect it looks on paper. All of it is hard. Marriage certainly isn’t a romance novel and raising children isn’t puppies and rainbows like we dreamed these things to be before we had them.

We know mom life is hard. We know.

But, please. Please reserve the title of “Single Mom” to those who actually live it.

Parenting

My Secret Celebration On My Daughter’s Birthday

Ever since I became a mom 7 years ago, when my daughter’s birthday rolls around every May, I celebrate. It’s a given that I celebrate her, with her, for her. But I also secretly celebrate me and the trials and tribulations of motherhood. Every mom’s journey is so beautiful and unique in their own right and I just can’t help but feel that a child’s birthday is really about the mom. I mean, childbirth is no joke and motherhood is even more difficult so why not take some time to mentally celebrate these triumphs?

On the eve of her birthday every year, around 7pm, I reminisce about where I was in the birthing process.  I had to be induced due to medical issues so I take myself through the process. The anxiety of being admitted to the hospital, the pitocin, the failed epidural, watching HGTV to try to pass the {painful} time, watching her dad sleep and remember wanting to stab him. I think about the demeanor of the room, the preparation, the nurses, the doctor arriving, the look on my mom’s face when my daughter arrived. My first words of, “what do I do with you now, little one?”, as she wailed in my arms. Just…everything.

Every year, as the hours of her birthday pass, I just remember. I remember when she was a baby, depending on me for everything. I remember how hard it was for me in those early months and the frustration I felt. I remember the laughter of the toddler phase and all the blunders I’ve made as a mom. I secretly pat myself on the back for making it through another year with a child that I am beyond proud of. I’ve kept her alive, happy, and healthy so I must be doing something right.

This morning, on her 7th birthday, I woke up at 4:43am, two minutes before I actually had her in 2009. I was so thankful that I woke up at this ugly hour of the morning to really reflect all by myself. To celebrate motherhood for a few quiet minutes, all by myself.  I laid there thinking about the past seven years and what they’ve looked like, how they’ve evolved, how I’ve grown as a mom. I thought of everything she’s been through in her young life and I wonder if I’ve always done the right thing for her in tough situations.

I know that moms have their own holiday of Mother’s Day, but that’s not the day I choose to celebrate my accomplishments as a mom. I choose to celebrate my own mom on that day for all she’s done for me. Now that I’m a mom, I feel like my mom should actually be crowned queen but I digress.

It should go without saying that I do stay in the moment and never lose sight that it’s her day and that she’s to be celebrated but I love my own, separate celebration is happening in my mind, too. As moms, we’re always told to take a backseat, to give up everything for our kids, to never be first in our own lives…and we do all of these things and we do it graciously for these amazing creatures that we birthed. That’s what being a mom is all about but I simultaneously choose to acknowledge myself and what it takes to be that person to sacrifice everything. I celebrate it. On her day. In my own mind. Call me selfish. I’m ok with that.

Happy mom anniversary to me. I’m rocking this shit so far.