I was scrolling through my Facebook feed one night and stumbled upon an article posted by Scary Mommy. The article (blog really) was by a single mother who was explaining why she felt it is not ok for married women to ever refer to themselves as “single moms”. Naturally, I cruised on over to the comments section and to my HORROR the women were being absolutely awful to each other. Now, whether or not I agree with the blogger is not the issue…the issue is what women were saying. Suddenly life has become a mom competition. Every married woman who tried to relate to parenting alone was attacked by a single mom saying there is no way their life was harder and married woman telling single moms their lives weren’t really all that hard. The single moms were offended that anyone used the term “single mom” if they were not legally SINGLE. Ok, I get it. The next claim was that any woman who is married, instantly has it easier because they have a second income and someone there for emotional support. Well, that was met with resistance as some pointed out that not every married couple has two incomes or that some men are just not supportive in the least bit. Some argued that single moms can have boyfriends who provide emotional support but just because they aren’t married doesn’t mean anything; a partner is a partner. Then some argued that even a married woman whose husband is constantly away (hey military spouses, we’re talking to you!) have much easier lives because they can e-mail their husbands for emotional support and are still getting a
big fat pay check. It went on and on. I felt some comments had merit, but some were just downright nasty and absolutely absurd. I may or may not have taken a bit of offense when anyone tried to tell me that my life was a cake walk when my husband was gone *insert emotionally triggered, pissed off face*
WHY? Why did it become a competition of who has it worse? The argument was no longer about a term…SINGLE MOM…it was about women tearing each other down and belittling their struggles because “My life is harder than yours!”
I don’t always comment on things on social media….but I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut any longer. Read on…
Oh hell…this is a ridiculous argument. Some single moms make as much or more than some married couples. Not all, but some do. Some single moms make next to nothing but live with their parents to help make ends meet. Some single moms get alimony and decent child support in addition to their own income. Some single moms have nothing but are able to receive some assistance through certain programs and, if they’re lucky, get a bit of child support. Some get nothing at all. Some single moms live close to family, friends, or have significant others to provide emotional support/emergency help/child care and some don’t. There are married women whose military husbands are gone 90% of the time, but get financial support by means of a shared income, which may or may not make ends meet. These women may not live anywhere near their families and friends, so they may not have any physical means of support in terms of child care or emotional help when times get tough. They have the added stress of not knowing if their spouse will make it home alive or not. Some get to talk to their spouses while deployed and receive that emotional support of “doing it together” but some don’t hear from their spouses for months at a time. Some women’s spouses come back from war completely changed and empty, unable to provide emotional or financial support due to physical or mental disability. Some women have spouses who are chronically or terminally ill, who lose their second income and second set of hands due to hospitalizations or physical handicaps. These women have the added burden of being a caretaker to their spouse and worry about the day their spouse dies in addition to being a mom.
So…case by case, this is apples and oranges.
Single mom, living with her parents, making an ok wage, dating a guy but isn’t married vs. married military spouse whose husband is gone for 9 months who together make barely enough to get by, and live in a different country than their families…which is worse?
Married woman whose husband is gone for business a lot, makes decent money, and lives near family vs. single mom who fled abuse and is working her butt off trying to keep a roof over her kids’ heads…which is worse?
Single mom who works full time making hardly anything, getting a little bit of child support, and emotional support from family and friends vs. a married woman whose husband has stage 4 cancer and physically cannot do much, who are about to lose their house due to the loss of income, and have minimal family support…which is worse?
It’s about the situation and it’s effects emotionally, not finances, not support, not anything else.
I have tons of respect for women who are unmarried or divorced and are doing everything alone…but I also know what it’s like to do it all alone while my husband is gone for almost a year at a time.
No matter what money is coming in and no matter who you have supporting you emotionally…waking up alone being the only one to get the kids ready, watch the kids or drop them off at child care, work full time or 2 jobs, coming home alone to be the one to cook dinner, clean the house, do the laundry, to be the only one sitting there in front of a pile of bills wondering how to make it work without someone there to make decisions with, being the only one physically responsible for your child so you have to miss work and wages when your child is sick, having no one to give you a break to go out with the girls or get your nails done or go to the dang gynecologist…(I could go on and on) it is NOT easy and quite honestly it freaking sucks.
The bottom line is, single mom or someone who feels like they’re doing it alone, either way, no one has the right to tell you that your situation isn’t as hard as someone else’s. At the end of the day, we love our kids and we do everything in our power to provide for them and make them happy with or without a spouse.
Single mom, military spouse, domestic abuse survivor, Mom with a terminally/chronically ill spouse…wear it as a badge of honor and keep pushing forward. Sitting and comparing situations does not change your life and certainly doesn’t make it any better.
Shout out to the moms who physically, emotionally, or physically and emotionally do it alone. You’re doing great.