Parenting is hard no matter which way you look at it. Being responsible for the well-being, growth and formation of another human being, who at first is completely helpless, is a nerve wracking experience. Since they don’t come with manuals on what they need, you have to go off of what you know, books you have read, and parental instinct.
It’s exhausting, tear-inducing and nap-worthy that first year no matter what.
I do have a few things to say, and I am sure they are going to be feather ruffling.
I have been alone in my parenting since I was four months pregnant. I left Abigail’s “dad” because he was abusive and didn’t want to stop drinking. He never wanted to be a father and I was not going to raise my child with someone who felt like it was okay to hit me.
So, fair enough, I chose to be single and I don’t regret leaving EVER.
However I am still single and why I am single doesn’t change that. I have done everything by myself. I had help, I’m not saying that there weren’t people that walked with us and did what they could, but for the most part, I’ve been alone. Getting my first apartment, finding childcare, arranging childcare, our court case when I filed for custody, our court case when she was abused, and all the other tiring regular aspects of parenting I have done solo.
I’ve wanted a weekend away, a night away or even a few hours to just be alone in a heavenly environment. That’s not to say that I haven’t ever had anyone offer or that I haven’t asked for help, but it’s hard to ask for help when all of your friends are married and have their own families to work with.
I think that’s why it bothers me so much when I hear married women say that they know how I feel being a single mom when their husbands are away or are working long hours. It’s NOWHERE near the same thing.
They still have his income and emotional support to rely on. Now granted, I don’t know the large picture so I could be wrong, but if you are married you do not know what it feels like to be a single mom. It’s an insult to say that.
I have done every.single.thing by myself since Abigail was born and have not had a partner or even a co-parent to rely on for financial help or every other weekend help. It’s all me all the time.
That gets exhausting.
She looks to me for her every need, and if I can’t meet that need, I have to figure out a way.
When her school had the father-daughter dance right before Valentine’s day, I got it worked out so I could take her. I thought it would be fun and she liked the idea too. Except at the dance she got really upset because she didn’t have a daddy to dance with.
Um shit I can’t fix that.
I know that I cannot see into every situation and know the depths of it, but it hurts when I hear a married woman try to compare her mothering to mine, like she gets it.
Because she doesn’t.
My life is so very different.
If I can’t find a babysitter, I don’t go.
If I can’t find a ride somewhere for us, we don’t go.
It does get frustrating because I want so much more for us. I WANT her to have a daddy, so bad. I want to be married and have a husband, but I cannot force something that it’s not time for. I tried that and it blew up in my face.
I cringe because it’s hard to explain why I am so frustrated without hurting someone’s feelings because those are their feelings and I am sure that it is hard to be married and have your husband gone for long hours at work, or on business trips. That’s something I cannot understand just like they cannot understand my situation.
It doesn’t change the truth though. There is no way to know what it feels like to be a single mom unless you are a single mom.
I cringe every time People magazine puts another famous mom on their cover and bleeds the headline “So and So’s tough life as a single mom.” Now granted they did just get a divorce or separate so there’s that, yes, BUT they have millions of dollars, and nannies and cooks and the ability to give their children the life that I can’t give Abigail.
Shit I don’t even know how I am going to pay April’s rent, and my truck blew up so we don’t have a vehicle, and I cannot even make it to the grocery store.
There is a big difference between a low-income single mom and a Hollywood single mom.
When I hear you complain about what your husband does and doesn’t do around the house, I want to scream, because I would love help around my apartment instead of having to clean when I have one of my massive headaches.
I think about how nice it would be to have someone here to be with Abigail when I am sick or have a headache flare. Someone who could take her somewhere while I recover; instead she gets bored while I sleep on the couch. Or she takes the basket full of nail polish and decorates her pony castle; or she pulls the motherboard out of my laptop.
No, I cannot nap when she’s home because I don’t know what she’s going to get into, but please don’t complain (in front of me) because your husband won’t empty the damn dishwasher.
I know this might sound laced with jealousy and anger, and maybe it is, but I think there is also an amount of common courtesy and seeing things through other people’s eyes before we speak.