There is one point when I am not entirely rational. I call it the Mock-Single-Mom. When a happily married, healthy relationship having (usually a SAHM) woman has husband or other significant other that is for whatever reason not home for more than a few nights. Sometimes it's a week or two. And then the comments start. "So done being a single-mom" or "God I hate doing the single-mom thing". It sends me into a rage. It's not rational. I get it. I totally understand 100% what is being said and the message that is trying to be conveyed. I do. Doing shit on your own when you normally have a loving, helpful, understanding partner in your life that is suddenly not there to do the shit that you need them to do for days on end blows. What do you mean I have to take out the garbage? ALL THE WAY TO THE CURB?!?! But that's his job. Insert feet stomping and pouting. Explaining to a toddler why Daddy can't give kisses because he's in Cleavland on business is hard (and almost overwhelmingly heartbreaking). When there's no way to tap-out of the monumental fit that's being thrown or the referee to come in when you're trying to decide if you can lock them in the dog kennel without the neighbors noticing for like 20 minutes, life does kind of suck. It's hard. Parenting is a two person gig. It really is. That's why it takes two people to make babies. You need two people for the whole process. And having that person you've come to depend on suddenly not be there when you really need them to be sucks. Especially on those days when he walks through the door and you yell 1-2-3 NOT IT! And run to grab a
But they're not. Shit.
I guess my problem is that I take this comment personally. And I don't usually take shit personally; but this gets me every time. I've been a single mom. Being a single mom sucks rancid monkey balls. Especially in the first year (I wasn't really single much longer than that so that's what I know. I'm pretty sure it goes on no matter how long you're single). There is no one else. Even if you do have awesome family (I didn't) and even more awesome friends (I did) it's still all on you. ALL OF IT. All of the time. And no matter the custody situation, when it's your turn you're on your own. All of that worrying you do late at night, whispering your fears and insecurities to your husband in the dark? That's all on you. There's no one to whisper back that you're really doing OK and you're not fucking up your kids so bad they'll never forgive you. You fall asleep most nights exhausted trying to figure out how to make it all work out. There are good an happy times, because you have to make sure that there are. But for you, these times are peppered with guilt and frustration and regret that you couldn't make it better because it's just you. Every parenting insecurity you ever had is hovering just outside your peripheral. All. The. Time. The times when you think you're going to do it are there; when you're confident and think everything might just be OK after all. And then someone has a meltdown, or throws up at school, or, or, or, or, or... and there's no back up. You realize just what the "single" part of single-parent means on a visceral level.
I think I take this so personally is because, for me, my divorce and decision to become a single-mom was the biggest failure of my life. I don't for one moment regret my decision. I don't think that there was anything that I could have done that would have saved my first marriage. However, I know in my heart that I did not do everything in my power to try to make it better. I could have fought harder. I could have tried 100 different things, but I didn't. I see it as a personal failure. It was my marriage and it failed. Therefore, I failed. My ex-husband was an asshole of galactic proportions. He'll admit to that. When we failed, I failed. There is no one on this earth that will ever convince me differently.
This is my personal demon and it's hard to hear someone be flip about something that caused me so much pain. I know there is no malice in the hearts of my friends when they use this. It's a simple turn-of-phrase. These women are my friends! These are the women I turn to when I need to bitch about Doug not taking out the garbage - again. Or the size of my ass, or the gray hair I pulled out of my head, or any of another million little (and big) things I love my friends for.
I said I know this isn't rational. This is my issue. This is my crazy. So ladies, if I bite your head off, or leave a snippy comment, or don't guffaw at something obviously hilarious it's OK. We all have our shit, and this is just some of mine.
When your husband comes home, love him. Hug him. Put a little extra effort into whatever may need it so that you never have to stop bitching about being a single-mom because you're too busy actually being one.
With all my love,