Inside: When a married mom says she feels like a single mom – for whatever reason – it doesn’t sit right with single moms. It’s impossible to know the daily burden and challenges a single mom feels. Not when a married mom’s husband is out of town or being unhelpful, or if he’s sick.
Single moms can’t stand it when married moms say they feel like a single mom too. Their husband isn’t pulling his side of the weight for two days, and suddenly this married mom knows all about the struggles of being a single parent.
If you’re married – happily or not – then you’re not a single mom. And you can’t say, “I feel like a single mom.” Because you don’t.
Not when your spouse is out of town, not when your spouse is sick, not when your spouse is being lazy and not helping with the kids or house.
What’s the Big Deal if a Married Mom Says She Feels Like a Single Mom?
It negates the difficulties single parents go through. Here are some examples.
Married moms have someone to fall back upon financially, even if their spouse doesn’t have a high-paying job.
A single mom has her income and no one else’s. This reality scares the crap out of most of us on an ongoing basis. It’s the reason so many single moms work more than one job. It’s the reason we miss our kids’ school activities, and it’s the reason we are stressed out. Who will have our back if we don’t make enough money this month for rent? NO ONE.
If a married mom suddenly became sick and couldn’t get out of bed or broke her leg going down the stairs, there’s someone else in the house to pick up the crying baby from his crib even if she isn’t speaking to her spouse right now.
Single moms have to take care of the kids even while they are throwing up sick. Never was this more painfully in our face than during the lockdown of covid. We never get to lay down for a couple of hours or days while recovering from an illness. And if you suffer from a chronic illness, it can feel impossible at times.
A married mom always has someone else to help shoulder the daily parenting tasks. Someone to take care of dinner, pick up the kids from school, or take them to a doctor’s visit. A married mom doesn’t just have her husband do this but often an extended family full of in-laws.
Another often overlooked stressor for a single mom is that she has no one to discuss the issues and the joys of parenting. At least, no one who loves their child in the same way as them, as a parent.
Many single moms find it challenging to keep a job or save any vacation or sick leave for themselves. Single moms often use all their work leave for their children: doctor appointments, days off school, and child sickness. If a single mom has more than one child or a chronically ill child, she almost certainly doesn’t have any extra leave for herself.
Married moms don’t experience full evenings or weekends, not knowing where their young child is, how she’s doing, or what she ate for dinner.
Many single parents are also co-parenting, and when their kids are with their Ex, they feel stressed. Many single parents don’t get along with their Ex – to the extent that a single mom will worry about her children when they are with him.
A married mom can’t “feel” like a single mom because the social stigma felt by single moms is one you can’t understand until you are one. Imagine losing friends from a divorce, or not having a spouse to list as an emergency contact for yourself or your children, going to a party as the only single person, trying to be involved in church only to find out everything centers around marriage.
As hard as it can be to parent alone, for some single mothers having to co-parent with a selfish or mean-spirited Ex adds an underlining stressor to her every decision.
If someone is toxic in your life, you can usually cease having a relationship with that person. Unfortunately, this is not the case when co-parenting.
When you’re taking care of the kids all by yourself for a few days or a week when your spouse is out of town, to say you feel like a single mom is to downplay the emotional challenges single moms live with. Everything from the guilt of your child growing up not knowing their dad to the responsibility of single-handedly raising children.
When a single mom says she feels like a married mom
I’ve never heard any single mom say she feels like she’s married (unless she’s in a long-term relationship and living with someone already).
And we shouldn’t because marriage has its own set of challenges.
So the reverse is true: single moms can’t say they feel like a married mom. We don’t know and can’t experience feeling married and let down. Even if we have been married in the past, we don’t live with that identity.
So let’s not downplay the hardships and joys others have by assuming we know what it feels like to be them.