*author’s note:
“I would like to preface this post with a few thoughts. When these words originally went live on Orlando Mom’s Blog, I received a good amount of push back from single moms and those advocating for single moms, telling me I was giving myself a badge of honor I was not worthy of. I absolutely agree that I am NOT a true single parent. I do have a husband who provides for our family and I don’t have to work outside of the home to pay our bills. As someone so eloquently put it, I’m not a single mom, I’m a stay at home mom with a husband.

When I wrote this post, I spoke to many women in the same position I’m in and they agreed with my feelings of loneliness and overwhelming responsibility. After this was published and I received negative feedback, I went straight to some of my single mom, formerly single mom and military spouse mom friends and asked for honest and open criticisms. They lovingly told me they saw no reason to be personally offended. They know me, they know my heart, and they completely understood my point of view. These are some of my very dear friends whom I love and respect. All that being said, I would like to say, before you even start reading this post, that I in no way believe I am a true single mother who has to deal with parenting alone like so many amazing women do. I don’t actually think of myself as someone who is doing this alone. But there is a real and valid feeling of aloneness that comes with being in a marriage with someone who is gone more than they are home. The only point I am trying to convey in this blog post is that there are many many women who are left to parent, cook, clean, and teach without the physical help of a husband, who exists but is mostly away working. It is not the same burden that a single parent has, but a burden none the less. A pain is a pain, even if someone’s is greater. I know this will pass for us but for many, it is their whole life. Please read this with an open mind to the terminology and know that I come from a place of love for all mothers. I only wish to share in and relate to any pain that may come with parenting.
 
How to be a single mom when you're actually married

I never thought I’d be a single mom when I got married nearly eight years ago. We vowed to remain married for the rest of our lives. Hell or high water, we always say. And we tested that vow. We tried really hard and we messed up and we had days that we just knew we would fail. But alas, married we stay. But I’m still a single mom.

About three years ago, when we moved to Orlando together as a family of four, I became a single mom. My husband started medical school and I have barely seen him since! No that’s not true. He’s around most nights about the time we all hop into bed. And always on Sundays. But there have been many nights, weekends, even some weeks, when my husband is MIA. He is working so hard for us. I’m so grateful for the time and effort that he is making for us, for a better life for his family. I am able to stay home and be with our children. We’ve even added one to the bunch. It’s hard but it’s worth it.

So how do I do it? How do I remain married whilst still doing all the parent things alone? I’ll tell you.

  1. My husband is still the head of our home and the ultimate say-so when it comes to our kids, finances, and travel plans. I don’t exclude him from any planning or decisions. He is aware of all our events and purchases. This keeps us on the same page and up to speed when it comes to basic and general life happenings.
  2. We are a team. (I know that sounds like my first point, but it’s different!) As a team, we stand united. We have each others backs. So if I had a bad day, he’s there to listen to me vent. If the kids were unruly, he’s on my side no matter what. Even if he thinks I’m wrong, he never shoots me down in front of the kiddos – he knows I need them to know I’m the boss when he’s not there, and that won’t happen if he belittles me.
  3. It takes a village, kind of. I like to ask my friends to help out if I need them. But I don’t want to abuse that. I want my kiddos to know that mom has got this. I’m capable to being there for them, even when, and especially when dad cannot. But still, don’t be afraid to ask for help! We’re moms, not super heroes.
  4. Take the easy way out when you need to. That means having meals in the freezer for when you literally can’t even. Also using paper plates and disposable cutlery so I have just a few less dishes to clean.
  5. Don’t forget about you. Sometimes I am slightly happy when my husband calls me to say he won’t be home until 9 or 10 that night. I can get the kids to bed, shower, put on a facial mask, and watch something mindless on TV for a couple of hours. I will browse Pinterest, or fill a fake shopping cart with a new wardrobe, or send silly Snaps to unsuspecting gal pals. I enjoy having the down time when I’m not being touched or yelled at constantly.

So there you have it. You now have a little peak inside the life of a married single mother. It’s definitely not as demanding as being the actual single moms out there – I don’t have to go to work everyday, I don’t have to be the only support system in our home constantly. There are many perks to my life style, I don’t want to downplay the rigor that is actual single-parentdom. I get that. But, none the less, I struggle alone to be there for my kids most of the time and my kids have often gone days without seeing their dad. And I have gone days without seeing my husband.

Do you know any married single moms out there? Reach out and offer to help them if you do. Watch their kids while they go to the grocery store or to the post office. Ask them how long it’s been since they’ve gotten a hair cut! Reach out and offer babysitting when her husband is around – they certainly need a date night!

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45 COMMENTS

  1. I think the parents out there who are married but essentially single/alone/doing the responsibilities with children, housework, and working(from home) need their own title/terminology.

    There are many single parents and they fall in a different category because they truly are Single without a partner to rely on.

    Then there are many parents that are married but are essentially “single/alone/leading” because their spouse travels, is emotionally absent, has mental health conditions and is not at a point to fully function as an equal adult, etc.

    I think we need our own terminology as to not offend single parents because I know what it’s like to be married and yet alone at times and feel like a single parent.

    I’ve looked up synonyms to single and other words and can’t find terminology that won’t offend someone but we do need our own name to describe this very real and valid experience.

    I take no offense with your article, I enjoy it, and I wish we as women could actually stand together and realize that in our culture home and family responsibilities primarily fall on the woman. Single, married, dating, no matter your relationship status the woman is seen as a caretaker/maid and if the house isn’t presentable, guests blame the woman/wife/gf.

    I’m a working mom who is married with a special needs traumatized child. My husband is about to take a job that means our previously balanced parenting and house roles are about to fall on my shoulders. I fully support my husband in his choice as it means income growth and financial stability but my day to day life is about to change dramatically. Taking care of the home maintenance, drop offs and pick ups and doctors appointments while working from home full time and homeschooling our child and doing the chores and taking care of the pets let alone taking care of myself….. I’m truly not sure how I am going to do it all.

    But there is a loneliness there that is similar to those of single parents because we are essentially doing it on our own, we just happen to have a partner who also brings up a paycheck that we see on occasion.

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