The Married Single Mom
Michelle Obama had the misfortune of mistakenly referring to herself as a “married single mom.” To those of us who have been there, we get it. Believe me, we get it. But there are others who take offense and are greatly and egregiously insulted by the fact that any woman who is married would ever dare refer to herself as “single mom” married or otherwise. I should know, I got into a fairly large disagreement while I, myself, was going through a 2-year married-single stint, with another blogger on Twitter.
I was new to social media and blogging but while one day, innocuously discussing my situation with another follower, this woman chimed in. How dare I call myself a single mother? Didn’t I have a husband? It didn’t matter that he was on the east coast living for work and I was in the Midwest, alone with a toddler and a preschooler. It didn’t matter that I mothered alone 5 days a week. None of it mattered to her because she said, emotionally and financially, I was married. I had a partner.
When you are married you have a level of expectation, you expect your partner to be there to help with the children, to hand off to when you desperately need a moment of quiet, to hold you, or just listen when life becomes too overwhelming. Well, let me tell you, there are very few things that feel as depressing and isolating as knowing you have a partner somewhere in the world, yet you are completely and utterly alone.
My husband would come home every weekend, like a whirlwind. The girls would live for Friday nights, they were like Christmas and how I hated the inevitable departures on Sunday evening and I, alone, to comfort defeated children. I was left with all the responsibility and to pick up all the pieces and he would waltz in and tear it all up. That’s the nature of the beast. He began to get angry about missing firsts and I was bitter about having to do it all alone and even though I was there, I wasn’t enjoying it very much. It was too much, for too long,and I was emotionally and physically exhausted.
Eventually, all the money in the world was not worth the separation and the toll it was taking on our children and our marriage. We had to make the decision that we would rather be poor and together than financially stable and apart. We hit our breaking point at two years and that was it.
I am not unique.
There are so many amazing strong couples who endure the separation; husbands who work long hours, those who travel constantly, those who are in the military and leave behind spouses who have to carry on as normal. Each scenario requires that the spouse left behind hold it all together, do the parenting of two parents and try to maintain a relationship not tainted by the bitterness that the situation can sometimes bring. Being a married single parent sucks, in my personal opinion, I know I certainly didn’t get married and have children to do it all alone.
Have you experienced being a married-single parent? How do you make it work for your family?