When I first started this blog, clearly, with a title like “mummyflyingsolo” I intended to write quite a bit about life as a single parent. I was pretty new to the team at that stage and figured I’d have plenty of fodder at the ready that could help other single parents too.
But here’s the thing. After doing this gig for about 2 years now I have learnt one thing and one thing only: parenting is parenting. It doesn’t matter who you do it with. It’s relentless and hard and you will have good days and bad. Just like all parents do.
I know parents in relationship that have a tougher time than I do.
I know other single parents that do it much tougher than me.
And we are all on the same journey: it’s called PARENTING.
The other thing that has made me keep pretty quiet on the topic is that I am pretty fortunate as far as single mothers go. I have an ex who believes that his son shouldn’t live in poverty. He believes that in order for his son to have the best life at home that I, as a mummy, need to be happy and sane.
This stuff is not rocket science but sadly, not all exes see the connection between how the ex lives to how the children live. Either that or they are so filled with bitterness they simply do not want to consider it.
So I feel it is not my place to shout from the rooftop: I’m a single parent. Look at what a great job I do! Because I have it easy compared to many. I get substantial child support and if I ever EVER ever needed money because I just couldn’t afford something Monkey’s dad would hand it over in an instant.
We weren’t always here. It has taken time and I’ve shown myself not to be wasteful with money and to be very fair with expenses so he respects that. It is a two way street.
Anyway, back to the rooftop shouting. I don’t feel like I deserve to do it as I don’t suffer, not compared to some. So I don’t identify with quotes like this:
Some single parents get no child support, some get no break as the ex refuses to be involved, some are in violent situations and are sincerely scared for their safety and that of their children. That shit is tough and SHIT. Parenting his hard enough as it is without all that lunacy thrown into it. Making it through all of that alive, sane and with your kids intact must be quite the mission. People that make it through this can wear that quote with pride. But not me.
Me, I get a break, probably more of a break I would have ever been able to get if I was still with Monkey’s dad. His dad has him for at least 24 hours every week. If I’m struggling he will do an extra night for me when he can. We work it out.
And what about the ones that we forget to acknowledge? The married single parents? The ones whose partners do nothing by choice. The ones whose partners work away for extended periods of time (fly in/fly out work and defense work for example). Or those who simply do really long hours at work as there is no other option. If you are going to be the GM of a company it doesn’t happen by working 9-5 my friends.
This group of people deserve a huge acknowledgement as they are essentially doing it on their own with no one even considering how challenging it must be for them. In a way I think it is almost easier for me as I don’t have to feel any sense of expectation that my partner should be helping out. Nor do I have that sense of loneliness that must come from having the one you love live so far away from you and your kids for the majority of the time. It is a huge sacrifice that these families are making. And those mums (and I just say that as it is mostly the dads who work away so hang onto your hat and try not to be offended) are pretty much single parents.
Spare a thought for these people. They are doing it tough. Me on the other hand, my life is a piece of cake in comparison. Yeah my family isn’t local and yeah I am doing the bulk of parenting independently quite a large portion of the time but we are happy and we aren’t on struggle street and my son’s dad is heavily involved. There’s nothing amazing about what I do. Most mums seem to do pretty much all the shit that I do. Sure, there are some who have it better but the flip side is that they have an additional person whose wants and needs they need to consider on a day to day basis. No one complains if I don’t do the dishes, clean up the toys or cook toast for dinner and I love that.
So that’s why I don’t write about single parenting that often on my blog. I think it is THAT different for many but that it’s not THAT different for me but in the end, regardless, we are all just parenting. And I can write about that without the “single” tag in front of it. Just in case you’ve ever wondered.