Okay, so I’ve never done a “list” blog before, but I have come to realize in the last few days, I have a few things to “list” about … haha, that was slightly punny.
I have a few single friends, and I have a lot of married friends. There have been times, though, as a single mom, when I sit back and think, “Really? THAT is what you’re choosing to complain about? To me. … Seriously?”
Still, like any good problem-solver, who gives more advice than might be warranted, I generally spout out, “Maybe you two can sit down and talk about it, so he can understand your point of view.”
What I’ve come to realize by saying this is that I don’t understand this mom’s side. Not at all. But, if two married people can be placed in a room together, the problem can–most likely–be figured out. Haha, and in saying that, I’m still not understanding, because my ex and I rarely saw eye to eye on any subject. Marriage and children were two such subjects.
Anyway, I found ten examples in which a married mother might not receive empathy from a single mother. She might gain sympathy, but it is hard for the single mom to relate, to understand … or sometimes even to care.
1) “My husband decided to go camping this weekend and leave me alone with the kids.”
Sounds like fun! No man to clean up after, no cups laying around, loads of puzzles, outdoor play, and activities. Oh, wait … that was supposed to be a *bad* thing. Umm, uhhh, yeah. I got nothing.
Yes, life will be a little bit more difficult. But, all that is really happening is the removal of one larger human from the fray. Dinner can still be made, the house can still be cleaned, the dog will still pee on the rug at the most inopportune time.
So, when I hear that statement, all I think is, “Man, I want to go on a mini vacation.”
… Which is probably what the married mom is trying to relate. So, take a weekend spa day, saddle the tiny humans with their dad. Turnabout is fair play.
2) “I had to work late tonight, and then got home and my husband hadn’t even made dinner.”
So? I get off on a late night, have to drive to pick up my child from my parents, or his dad–whomever was amazing enough to have spare time to give me a hand–and then either make dinner, or give my child a bath, or get us ready for bed, or all of the above. Or, I get everything done for my child, get him into bed and settled, and then start making dinner … only it’s 9:30 at night, and I haven’t eaten since 10 in the morning.
I mean, I get it … but both of you knew you would be working late … or did neither of you pick up a phone? There may be a bigger problem beyond making dinner. Like, lack of proper communication.
3) “My husband has gotten really lazy about taking out the trash. I had to do it last night!”
Whoop-dee-doo. I have to take out the trash every time. I do all the chores; they all suck. But, they have to get done. I’m not complaining, why are you?
4) “It’s so hard to take the kids to the grocery store. I always wait until my husband is home, so he can watch them while I shop.”
I’m drawing a blank. Literally. I literally cannot relate to this, even a bit. When I was married, Tiny Tot was an infant. I said, “Hey! Let’s all go to the grocery store.”
He said, “I’ll stay here with the baby.”
Every five minutes I received a call of sheer panic, gave up, and came home without groceries.
So, … no relation. Here’s what I do know, from Single Mom Perspective: grocery shopping is like a game. There are rules.
No, you cannot touch that. No, you cannot lay on the ground and kick your feet. No, you cannot have candy, period. No, we are not buying a toy. No, I don’t care that Daddy buys you a toy every time you walk inside a Wal-Mart. Mommy hates Wal-Mart, stop talking about Wal-Mart.
Yes, you can hold onto the buggy. Yes, I will also hold onto the buggy. Yes, you can put groceries into the cart. Yes, you can help put the groceries on the belt. Yes, if you touch that toy, I will take it from you, and pop you on the butt.
No, you cannot cry if that happens.
See? It’s a game.
5) “My husband is doing this huge home improvement project/working on his vehicle, and it is taking so much time away away from the kids.”
Sorry, what I just heard is you have an awesome husband who can swing a hammer, and likes to fix things around the house.
In my house, I’m that man.
6) “My husband didn’t get that big raise I had banked on, so we can’t go on this huge, expensive trip I had planned.”
Really? You just said that to a single mom whose ex hasn’t worked in two years, and has no plans to stop living on government assistance and grants for the next three, but did manage to get child support lowered so much that making ends meet is a daily struggle. Look, there’s a wealthy married mom over there; she’ll understand.
7) “I can’t believe it! He’s leaving me alone in the house overnight. By myself! What if someone tries to break in?”
One night? You can’t sleep alone in a house for one night? I sleep alone in my house every night. Yes, sometimes it does suck. Sometimes I do get scared. There are days when the reason I’m sleep-deprived and sucking down coffee is because I had a bad dream, heard a noise, and stayed up from 3-5 am, listening for an intruder.
So, I can sympathize about being scared, but I’m alone with Tiny Tot every night. My fear is never about me, it’s about how I’m going to be a Super Hero, and get the dog, the tiny human, and myself out of the house in some amazing way, while dialing 911.
Because, if an intruder breaks in, you always dial 911.
8) “He gets home from work, and I expect him to take over with the kids. Instead, he sits down. He says he needs time to ‘decompress.’ He sits in an office all day. I’m running the household and kids! I need to decompress, too!”
Okay, again, speaking to both mom and dad. Both jobs are equally tiring. I have a job in which I sit down a lot. When I’m home with Tiny Tot on days I don’t work, I still have time to sit down. Usually that’s called “play time.”
Both parents have equally demanding jobs, and I can say that because I am both parents, and both jobs suck energy out of me. I move from son up to son down, and then have to somehow take care of myself, too.
9) “Some days I get so overwhelmed.”
Preaching to the choir. This I get!! But, maybe you shouldn’t say that, and then tell me about how you get your nails done every week, and also get a massage twice a month. That’s when my ears shut down.
10) “There are days when I feel like I never get any help.”
This one is self-explanatory. I usually have to suck in my, “Did you really just say that to me?” face. I’m the cook, the cleaner, the tool man, the laundry person, the trash taker-outer, the home repair technician, the chauffeur, the party planner, the baker, the activity planner, the car maintenance guy, the gardener, the last-minute dash to the store person.
I am the single mom.
Again, there might be some flack for this, so I’ll reiterate: it’s hard to be empathic, but there will always be sympathy. Some of us single moms were married, and through a myriad of ways we found ourselves in the single mom status.
Me, I signed up for it. I was more single than I was married when I was married, so when he left the house, my life didn’t change much. I just had one less person to wait on and clean up after.
Now that my “listing” is underway, stay tuned for Ways to Determine Divorced Dad Syndrome!