10 Things Single Moms Want their Married Friends to Know

1. Please don’t tell them that your husband traveling is the same as being a single mom and therefore you understand.  I know I probably did this and said this before I understood. In fact, I’m sure I did and wish with everything I could take those words back. A traveling husband is nowhere near close being a single mom and when I hear those words I just want to say you have no clue. But normally, I simply smile (but cringe within). It’s not the same, truly. Here’s why: there’s a reprieve coming,  you know it won’t last, the kids aren’t out of sorts and well, you know you’re ultimately not alone. So when you’re trying to think of a way to relate this is probably not it. Just be there. Love them.

2. They probably appear self centered – especially in the beginning. That’s because they’re trying to find a new normal. They’re not trying to ignore you or not be your friend – truly it’s about re-establishing a routine and trying to find normal and trying to make it through the days. It’s a great deal of work being a single mom – everything on one person’s shoulders and they really truly aren’t ignoring you. In fact, if they’re like me they probably go to bed most nights thinking that they’ve dropped the ball again.

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3. They’re tired. Plain and simple – tired. If someone gets sick they’re up. They have to drive everywhere. Manage everything. Work and be full time parent and not get stressed out. So back to point two – if they seem self-centered more than likely they’re simply beyond the point of exhaustion.

4. They deal with crazy emotions – of shame, not being worth it, feeling sad and so on. Expect that. We’re designed to think that the Hallmark ideal of life is the way to go and any time that is fragmented there’s a bit of re-adjusment. Even if it was for the good. Just remember grace for them. Sometimes holidays are hard. Or parent-teacher conferences. Or all of that. So if there’s a tear shed for a seemingly normal thing that just might be why. There’s a great deal of emotions to deal with – worth, value, can you do it – and sometimes it just takes a bit to get that all sorted.

5. They need friends. Chances are many people dropped them as friends. It’s hard to relate to that person now, in a way. I don’t blame the people who left – I understand – as I’m a different person now than I was five years ago. I still need friends. Girlfriends to laugh with and share times with and tell me it’s okay and just to be there for me. So chances are your friend needs that as well. Be the friend. I know it takes extra patience and grace and a whole lot of giving (especially in the beginning) but remember this is a major life shift and anytime that happens it takes a bit to regain one’s footing.

6. They’re still them but also not them. Deep down at the core. Maybe they seem distracted or busy or having to work, but deep deep down they’re still the person that you loved. They still probably love the things they did. Nurture that – remind them of those things. I love to garden but it took me almost two years before I wanted to garden again. Just like everything sometimes it takes time to get back to you. But listen, divorce and separation changes someone and oftentimes in that process it’s a bit of shedding of old self and identities so that the new person can emerge and thrive. The greatest gift you can give your friend is to love her through this process and not remind her of who she was but rather love her for who she is becoming. 

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7.  They have to work incredibly hard. In fact, harder than they thought possible. Oftentimes the burden of paying the bills falls onto the shoulders of one person and that is a huge weight to bear. And they have to work to just maintain life. And to discover that normal that we chatted about. So even if they’re working really hard they’re not trying to ignore you. Many times they’re just working to get ahead again.

8. Please don’t say I don’t know how you do it – you must be so strong! I know. I know – it’s meant to be good, but truthfully we simply don’t have a choice. In fact, I’ve kind of eliminated the phrase how do you do it from my list of things to say to someone. I think instead of encouraging it kind of makes the recipient think how in the world do I do it? And a single mom will tell you she has no choice. There’s no one to help with dinner or the kids or carpool or school or homework or any of it. Many times bedtime isn’t dictated by being tired but by trying to get as much done as possible before collapsing into bed.

9. Please don’t judge. I don’t think anyone wakes up and thinks that their ideal story in life is the one in which they parent alone. And I also don’t think that most people want to divulge all the behind the scenes details of their lives. Single moms don’t need to be judged or pitied – they just need to be your friend still. Even if their lives aren’t ideal – that, in fact, is the time when one needs more of a friend and less judging. It can be lonely in that world of judging. So just love them. They’ll love you for it.

10. Life can be great. That’s what I tell myself. And your single mom friend needs to believe that as well. Life can be good even if it’s not perfect. Be the friend that’s there for them. They’ll get used to their new routine, will find normal and will regain that balance. It just takes time. The biggest gift you can give them is that gift of time, not judging and simply being a friend. They value you greatly. I know I value my friends so much – the ones that have stuck with me and given me grace. Oh my goodness, I know that I haven’t been the best friend during this season, but I do try and love my friends for loving me.

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Here’s the bottom line truth: friendships matter. Greatly.

So does having that friend you can call at midnight or the friend who tells you that you are worth a million dollars so does having someone who loves you no matter what.

Be that friend.

And if you are the single mom reading this – you are not alone.

Because for so long I struggled with feeling alone and shame. And I didn’t want the world to think I had a not so perfect life. But truth is that life can be so beautiful and wonderful and valuable even if it doesn’t match the ideal.

~Rachel

ps.  And just like you they love their kids and want the best for them. Always.

pps. And their kids – they’re not a product of divorce – they’re just kids. Love them for who they are not for what their life circumstances may be.




 

65 Responses to “10 Things Single Moms Want their Married Friends to Know”

  1. May 17, 2015

    Amanda Reply

    Reading this helped so much. I’ve been a single mom for a year now, and I feel like I am still trying to catch my breath. I moved back to the US after separating from my ex and I was so incredibly alone and overwhelmed. I still feel that way a lot of the time, although I’m finally getting back into a groove. But I have felt so bad for all my friends who I’ve had to cancel meet ups with, or show up with my son in tow because I just don’t have a babysitter who can make it. I just hope this feeling of being overwhelmed doesn’t last forever, I want to be able to be a friend to my friends too.

  2. May 17, 2015

    Christine Reply

    Spot on. I am now remarried, but still feel, at times, as

  3. May 17, 2015

    Jill Reply

    These points hold true also to the single mom who was never married. We have other judgemental issues to face, but it’s basically the same. It’s tough a lot of the time, but totally worth it. Thanks for sharing.

    • September 15, 2016

      Donna Reply

      Jill, I agree. I am a never-married single Mom. I did face a lot of judgement, but I waited until I was 34 to have my daughter, and it just so happens that I went though an early menopause at 30, so. I’ll forever be grateful that I had my daughter. She was an easy child to raise and has been an endless source of joy to me. She is now a double major in an honors program in college. I’m blessed
      Take care!

  4. May 17, 2015

    Martha Reply

    Great article! One thing though; there are people who choose to be a single mom. It’s different than becoming one through circumstance I suppose, but ultimately, there is more than one way to look like a family.

    • May 18, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Yes, yes….good point of view. Thank you for adding that to the discussion. I appreciate it Martha. :)

    • June 11, 2015

      KN Reply

      Always remember that the “single moms” that “chose” to be single moms likely did so because they DID have the right to “choose”. If the other parent ended up choosing not to be in the child’s life (while pregnant), then they chose to have the child and be single. Those of us that did this, we don’t get weekend/holiday breaks (this is one thing I am thankful for though – that I don’t have to share any custody for her to be transferred back and forth every other week and it would kill me more to miss a holiday). So, there are many variations of “single mom’s”. There is a give and take in each variation. I find it scary to see a post like this within this community that would try and make any single mom different than the other. I hope you will reconsider your thought process on this. Just because someone made the choice to bring a child in the world and they are “single”….well, they are still “single”. By making that “choice”, it does not make it ANY easier….I can assure you! :)

      • June 13, 2015

        Heather Reply

        I couldn’t agree more! Single mom from 5 months pregnant and although difficult and some days I’m just happy my son has been fed and is still alive…I wouldn’t change a thing!

        • September 15, 2016

          Donna Reply

          Jill, I agree. I am a never-married single Mom. I did face a lot of judgement, but I waited until I was 34 to have my daughter, and it just so happens that I went though an early menopause at 30, so. I’ll forever be grateful that I had my daughter. She was an easy child to raise and has been an endless source of joy to me. She is now a double major in an honors program in college. I’m blessed
          Take care!

      • February 12, 2016

        Sarah Reply

        Many single parents choose adoption. Don’t make assumptions. For these parents, or for parents who choose a donor, there may not be any other person involved at all. It can be a conscious, proactive choice. Not a “choice.” An actual choice, with a plan and a goal (parenthood) and everything.

        Still hard. But not always negative.

        • February 12, 2016

          Rachel Marie Martin Reply

          Totally agreed, Sarah. Thank you for your beautiful perspective and your grace in which you responded. I wrote this from a different place and love adding layers of dialogue. Have a wonderful day. Thanks for all you do to make this world a better place.

          Rachel

        • March 6, 2017

          Eileen Reply

          I am a mom by adoption and prefer the description of “solo parenting” instead of single mom because it’s a different life and situation than single by divorce with another parent possibly in the background. Solo parenting is a lifestyle I have embraced and feel so blessed to be a solo mom rather than not a mom at all. And yes it is VERY hard. Thanks for these Finding Joy posts that always encourage me.

    • September 15, 2016

      Donna Reply

      Amen! I’m a single Mom by choice, and yes, it was hard, but it would have been harder had I married her father as we were just two different people. My daughter has been an endless source of joy to me!

  5. May 17, 2015

    Bekah Reply

    My mom was a single mom, raising two kids. I know from growing up it isn’t easy. Ya’ll have to make so many sacrifices. I respect single moms, and dads so much for your selflessness. There were some things I hadn’t realized, thank you for sharing this.

    http://www.bekahcurtiss.blogspot.com

  6. May 17, 2015

    jenn Reply

    Having gone from stay-at-home with a comfortable lifestyle to a single working mom, my life and the core of my support has changed 360 degrees. Today I am feeling good and confident, but most days not. And I don’t even relate to the person I was before so it is difficult to know how to relate to my friends in this new skin. Sometimes this just feels like too much, but other times (see item #1) I feel strong and growing stronger every day.
    I would like to add:
    11. Please don’t try to “fix” it. Our sadness, our lonliness, our pain, and our emotional, tumultuous issues with the kids. It just is. And this is how it is today. Tomorrow will be different, and possibly better.

    • May 22, 2015

      Jane Reply

      I like what you said Jenn in your additional #11…. May I please use this as a ‘quote’ for the many times I have felt completely misunderstood and vulnerable in those dark days…. We are more than capable of fixing our own situations and we will ask for others’ help and advice only when we truly need it :)

  7. This is my second go around at being a single mom. My oldest is married. My littles are 5 year old twin boys. So yes, life is hard. Life can be exasperating and frustrating BUT life is good. Add in some severe depression and a dose of anxiety and it makes it even more interesting.

    Can I use this post and expand in it from my personal point of view? I will cite and link.

  8. May 18, 2015

    Melissa Reply

    Thank you, Rachel, for these beautiful words. I think many people look at this as applying to divorce or separation…but it also holds true for death. My husband passed away at the end of March, and I never ever expected to be a single mom. We have a just-turned-four-year-old boy, and a five-month-old girl. It is hard every single day. And so many people tell me…”I don’t know how you do it”. But as you wrote, what choice does a Momma have? Thank you for writing these words and being so real. Exactly what I needed today. Xoxo

  9. This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing from your heart and wisdom. My husband travels a lot for work, and I will have people say to me, “I don’t know how you do that single-parenting while he is gone!” And it drives me NUTS that they would compare a hard week to the complex reality of being a single parent. I cannot ever make that analogy. Flying solo for a week or two every month is tough, but it is apples and oranges. And I think we each have to name our own hard and honor each other’s if we’re actually going to be able to support each other in what matters most – which is exactly what you’re doing here. Thanks.

    • June 13, 2015

      Heather Reply

      Thank you! I shared this post and had married moms and stay at home moms trying to tell me they can relate but really… I know its hard when your husband travels. I can imagine it because I’m always alone as a parent. However, that comment belittles your husbands work to provide for your family while gone and it ignores the fact that single moms pay the mortgage and all other bills with out another person’s income. Thank you for not making the comment and knowing the difference!

  10. May 18, 2015

    David Aranda Reply

    i agree whole heartedly about this article. It’s tough going from being married to separated and / or divorced. Huge life changes to adjust to right upfront. Well done to all the mums our there doing their part in raising children.

    Don’t forget too that there are single dads out there too doing the same. They deserve a mention and recognition as well

  11. May 18, 2015

    Chase Reply

    I am curious…if you have a boyfriend of a few years are you still considered a single mom or does a single mom mean no married status?? Also, if you have one kid with shared support with your ex, how is that any different than being married with multiple kids? Actually, it is a better deal, you get nights kid/kids free!! There are some married people that are lucky to have a few hours, 2/3, kid free. Personally no matter how bad my day is, I’d rather be with my kids than with out them, even if they are driving me batsh** crazy. Whole single mom thing to me sounds like a whiny cop out to me! Just my opinion, just like this articles opinion.

    • May 18, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      I don’t think those things matter as much as empathy.

      That’s what this is about. Empathy and understanding perspective versus placing labels on another’s situation.

      ~Rachel

      • May 18, 2015

        Chase Reply

        Rachel, that’s funny because I see the same repetitive stories over and over again, so no I am not going to give much empathy and understanding. Everyone has struggles with single, single with boyfriend, married, whatever the case may be. My first question was avoided, what is considered a single parent? Male or female? I’m sorry but if you have a partner in your life for a decent amount of time (year+), I don’t consider you single. Thanks for answering that. Because that is the gist of this article. “Single moms”, well what do YOU consider a “single mom”?? Also, I know a few truly single dads that do not do as much belly aching as “single moms” do. A lot of those fathers children do not have their mother in their life because of this or that and they do not have a girlfriend/boyfriend. Where the mothers crying wolf have the child’s father still in the child’s life along with having a boyfriend. If there is a truly single parent with no mother/father around and no long term boyfriend/girlfriend, yes I have empathy and understanding, because that sucks!

        • May 19, 2015

          M Reply

          Chase, I’ve had a boyfriend off and on for five years, and yes, I’m a single mom. My son does not have a father (waaaah, boo hoo…oh wait, we don’t care because we don’t have time for dead weight). The boyfriend doesn’t live with us, he doesn’t financially support us, he doesn’t do any of the child-raising. I do those gigs because it’s my kid, and yeah, that makes me a single mom. Also, because I’m not married, I’m pretty sure the government considers me a single parent when I file my taxes.

          Also, who asked you for your empathy and understanding?

        • May 19, 2015

          Rachel Marie Martin Reply

          Chase, I don’t think one can base empathy on whether or not a story is repetitive or not. Much of life consists of stories that appear repetitive on the surface and yet each story is different. Who am I to judge the value of an individual’s story based on the appearance of a similar external? That’s the difference between understanding/empathy and judging.

          All I was writing about was some of the emotional struggles that a single mom goes through – I didn’t write about dads simply because I didn’t have that perspective and felt it an incorrect assumption for me to write about that journey. I shared some of mine – and while you have dealt with many “crying wolf” I didn’t write with that heart. I simply wrote so that perhaps my vulnerability to share perspective would let others who sit in a world of judgment feel just a bit less alone.

          It’s not my spot to judge or classify another’s place or put parameters on what makes one person “truly” single. The second we start ranking people based on externals is the very second that we forget that there are real people with real emotions behind every post.

          Rachel

        • June 9, 2015

          Sarah Reply

          I’m not sure if I want your empathy or understanding as it all seems very conditional. Even if I don’t agree with another person’s view of their singleness does that negate that one should show compassion? No. If you want the story of a truly (single, oh, how I hate that term) mom then meet me – I’m not single, I’m widowed, I didn’t chose this path and I still wonder many days what the Lord (yes, I’m Christian) was thinking. I have no relief – there are no weekend visits, there is no child support, etc but I wouldn’t trade my children for anything – yes, it’s hard and it’s also lonely – I am not out for remarriage or as I’ve noticed with other widows my age, looking for a one night stand – I have family and friends but they aren’t a husband and they can only do so much. I have to continue being a mom even the day of his passing I couldn’t drop anything – no time to grieve. I don’t complain because it doesn’t do any good, this is my life and it’s my journey. If someone wants to make their compassion conditional they can keep it for those who like those conditions.

        • March 21, 2016

          True Single Mom Reply

          Hello Chase
          I agree with you. I am at true single mom and sometimes I cringe at women who are living with their parents or boyfriends who compare their single hood Life to mine.
          Most single moms I know have parents to help with after school, picking up or taking to school and extracurricular activities. They don’t pay for after school daycare or rent! They live with their parents and can afford to do nice things for their kids and enjoy their life. And I don’t blame them…why be stressed, broke and exhausted and hopeless. If I had family I would do the same.
          A single mom friend of mine comes home after work to fully prepared meal and homework done and kids showered and their school lunches prepared for the next day. If the kids are sick she has her parents to help. She spends time on herself and with her boyfriend and I’m happy for her. She’s s great friend.
          Similiar concept applies if they have live in boyfriend.
          I collapse into bed every night exhausted…and all of my money goes toward feeding my kids…there’s nothing left over for anything special. I don’t get breaks because their dad moved out of state and he’s trying to raise a new family. I dread holidays because I feel guilty that it’s just the 3 of us again…every holiday. I hide the loneliness , pain and stress. I don’t have a choice. I wish my kids life was better. I am strong for them because they deserve it. I just hope that somehow someday things will get easier.
          Also I’m an attractive woman but as far as meeting a man…I literally have no time…I’m racing thru my days , working full time and running ragged for my 2 kids and full time job and cleaning our home. My kids wait for me….I’m all they have. It’s so much responsibility for 1 person. I just can’t find the time for much else but I love spending time with them because I’m work so much that’s it’s nice to be with their cute little faces. . I spent the last few years on a man who didn’t want to fully commit …I think it was because my life was too hard for him and he wanted me only on his terms. He said he hated that I didn’t make time for him until 10pm at night. He didn’t help me because he has his own kid from another marriage. We had a very short engagement and he left suddenly breaking my heart….we still dated for 2 years but it took allot out of me . He would disappear for months at a time , holidays etc. and I was heartbroken and don’t want to put myself or my kids through that again. He would come and go yet proclaim how much he loved me….I finally came to the realization that the relationship was unfair to my kids and myself.
          My point is…there are different types of single moms and yes some have it very easy but just don’t realize it.

    • September 16, 2015

      Marie Reply

      If you’d truly “rather be with [your] kids than with out them” how is it actually “a better deal, [with] nights kid/kids free!!”??? That is a grand assumption you are making regarding part time single parents. There are a lot more of us than you probably realize who do it on our own, all of it, every day. There is a gender bias towards single moms and while I do celebrate single dads who do it all on their own, men are more likely to walk away from their kids and family so you hear more about single moms. It is statistically that simple.
      The idea that you judge the weight of someone’s burden by their dating status is incredibly narrow and ignorant. Dating as a full time single parent is nearly impossible. IF someone manages to find someone to enjoy a miniority of their social time with, it does not take away from the struggle they manage day to day. It often adds to it as you can not add more hours into any given day. Single parents are no less deserving of companionship and sex and love and partnership yet they have to work significantly harder to build and sustain the same caliber relationship. It also doesn’t sound like you have any idea of the potential pain and guilt and stress a significant other or step figure can bring into an already emotionally complicated situation or family dynamic.
      I agree with the others who have commented; if your compassion and empathy comes with some many selfish qualifiers, you can keep it.

    • September 17, 2015

      Liz Reply

      I have sole custody of both my kids. Their father has not seen them in over 4 years, of his own choosing. I don’t expect a “boyfriend” to step up and parent my kids. If I’m dating someone and they are good to my kids hen great, if they help me, then fabulous but try having 2 kids, with two practices at the same time 30 minutes apart and making sure everyone gets where they need to be and no one gets left behind and stuff

  12. May 19, 2015

    Andrea Bess Reply

    I appreciate this article. I had to comment. Married for 19 years to a military member that traveled two weeks to four months at a time!! That was NOT single parenting! This last elements years with five children, fullt job, depression, anxiety, turmoil… Soccer, basketball, volleyball, track, cross country and private school tuition with nobody doing the carpool or helping with kids feeling abandoned… Yeah about that… You just gotta get it done even though you don’t have one family member in the entire state. It’s life altering and I am proud of every single parent I meet. I know the struggle and its friggin real. Healthcare, groceries, class parent in your free time, field trip dad…. Thank you so much for posting about our STRUGGLE. It’s hard to get past society’s judgment… And that one person who has two cents to add….. Keep it and move on…

    • May 22, 2015

      Jennifer Reply

      To Andrea, I am in the same situation. With only 1 family member out of town, no one to help with day care, car pool, or anything. It just has to be done by me or it won’t get done. Including, mowing the lawn and having the dealer nickel and dime me. I like being responsible for everything. I dont have a significant other or partner either. It always ends badly for the woman. Anyway, thank you for the post. It made me feel less alone. I wear rings to ward ooff predators also.

  13. May 19, 2015

    Andrea Bess Reply

    That is ELEVEN years single parenting.. Not element!!!

  14. May 19, 2015

    Andrea Bess Reply

    ToChase: do you realize that single dad’s would be in the group that is historically paid an additional twenty to thirty cents on the dollar for the exact same job as the single mother??? I’m not judging them. It’s our society that chooses to underpay wen which makes the challenge more intense t
    For a single mother. You are gonna be underpaid and judged… And typically any profession that is female dominated will have lousy benefits too. Compare. Oh yeah… The single female getting the car fixed… Rip off at six o’clock is definitely being attempted! Oh yeah, calling the plumber, the electrician, the handyman to fix anything…. Yeah they are coming for your $0.79 female wage earned dollar with an outrageous charge and they can smell that your exhausted and just want it done and you might not have time, money or energy to file a lawsuit when they slow leak the job or bilk extra charges.. I’m not angry, I’m just letting you know that there are some things to consider… Every person is not crying wolf… By the way, I don’t have a boyfriend or significant other. I intentionally wear a dia
    I don’t on my left hand to ward off predators…. The ones who want to date a vulnerable female with kids or that jack of all trades who wants to charge me extra for a simple repair…. And it insulates me from jerk judgment now and then too!

  15. May 19, 2015

    Maureen Reply

    Chase, it matters not if you are a single mom or dad. I think that it is hard no matter which, not every “single mother,or father” plays the cry wolf or uses the single parent card. It is very hard to be a single parent, you really are the only one to do everything. You are clearly a bitter person who does not understand anything, and clearly do not have children. That kind of sound close minds like yourself, let’s just put all single mothers In the pathetic parent category. I know single fathers too who complain much more than ANY of the single mothers I know.

  16. May 20, 2015

    Marilyn Reply

    This is so awesome Rachel!! I have been a single mom for almost 17 yrs. My kids were 5,8 and 9 when I got divorced. It is the hardest journey no one can prepare you for. My faith is what sustained me through it all and still does. I am blessed that I raised 3 very successful children pretty much by myself, and believe me there were many struggles along the way. I am grateful for everything I have even though it has been a hard road. Everyone of these points are spot on. My sister is happily married, owns a large beautiful home, has 2 beautiful daughters and a great career. Her husband does travel for work and all I hear is how hard it is on her. BUT she has a husband. It is hard to hear her complain when I have been trough so much all alone for these many years. So it is so nice Rachel to read this and know you and others out there understand. Thanks again and God bless you!!

  17. June 1, 2015

    simone Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    I love what you have written. I have been a single Mum since 2008 and I thought going through divorce was the worst experience of my life. Wrong! Sadly my ex husband died in 2013. Telling my children was the single most devastating thing I have ever done!
    So now I’m a Solo Mum, which a whole new ball game. I spent time rebuilding my life, making friends with other single parents. But for the past 2+ years I’ve had my kids full time, so I can’t get out every second weekend like I used to. Friends offer support in the beginning but it fades away, especially as you are dealing with grief and don’t feel like socializing anyway. Some understand and make allowances, others move on. Friendships post divorce can be fleeting but the important thing is to keep going through life with an open heart. True friends will be there in the end. I’m focusing on giving my kids the best childhood possible. They only get one chance, right?

  18. June 3, 2015

    annette Reply

    i have been a single parent for 16 yrs ,my boyfriend left when i was 3 months pregnant and never made contact again,during those 16 yrs i have never had a day or night off ,i have had the occassional boyfriend but never lasted long when they realise your whole world is your child and they come first there soon gone ,at least some single parents get every second weekend to themselves ,but not me i hadnobody to help and along way lost all my friends ,because they couldnt understand it ,but we battled on together and i have to say im so proud of the young lady iraised ,shes a good student ,has a weekend job ,and alot of really nice loyal friends ,is kind ,considerate and appreciates everything and everyone just the way they are ,single parents get a bad wrap in the media but not all single parents are like that and i look forward to the day i can have a life again ,but for all the ups and downs we have been through and all the tears and sleepless nights i have endured ,I WOULDNT CHANGE A THING.

  19. June 8, 2015

    Dee Reply

    Great article! I have been a single mum coming up to 4 years and it’s really hard but I would rather this than the abusive relationship. This year has been extremely tough with lots of family court and I’m looking forward to the day I can sleep lol

  20. June 8, 2015

    Lisa Reply

    It was good to read your story. I am a married home staying mom at this moment and there are some single moms who try to make me look after their kids. I know that being a single mom is hard, and there are a lot of struggles, but being married doesn’t make it any easy either. I don’t have my family anywhere close to me, they are all living in a different country, My husband is always at work, working overtime to support family. So I do everything and I don’t get a time off on weekend because my husband works six days and when he is off he needs to rest. My first one is six, and my second is one. I used to work but my first one is a severe asthma kid and I quit my job to be with him. There are a lot of admissions and ER visits, I never had a one day off to myself. It’s not like I want it, but I get pretty much upset when single moms tell me that I’m lucky and I can get some time off having my husband watch the kids and take off to refresh whenever I want which I have never done. They ask me to watch the kids because they think that I’m the home staying mom and have lots of free time and nothing to do. Once I caught a single mom friend hanging out while I was watching her kid for six hours, and she told me that she was having a job trouble and couldn’t find anybody to watch the kid. I was trying to help them until of course I found out about it. I felt betrayed.
    And most of single moms I know have their moms helping. They work, but when they come home there is always hot meal and no cleaning after all.
    I’m not saying that all single moms are like that, I know some single moms who do everything for their kids, try so hard for them. And I respect them with my all heart. I wanna help them in any way when they lose confident, or simply they just need their friends. I believe that most of them are probably like that and the single moms who treated me like their free baby sitter service or something are rare. But as much as single moms need to be not judged, home staying moms need to be not judged either. But there are some who take advantage of home staying moms, and feel free to use them. I didn’t quit my job so I can watch somebody else’s kids. I stayed in marriage when there was no love so I can take care of their kids. After all single or married it depends on person we all need friends. I will try my best to understand and not to say or treat the way you warned in the article.

  21. June 8, 2015

    Sue Drew Reply

    I actually had a “friend” when trying to plan an adult night out say to me, “Well, I don’t have the luxury of having every other weekend off…I actually have to find a babysitter.” It was the first time in my life I ever wanted to smack someone! Who says that? Seriously!?!?! Guess who planned a girls night out, MINUS that “friend”!

  22. June 8, 2015

    Lee Reply

    I was a married working mother with a husband that came home a few days every few weeks. Now I am a single mum with no family support. Its easier now. When he visits them for a day or so every 3-4 weeks I actually get time off. I have less house work, no verbal abuse and more money. I know single mums who get a lot of family support and married mums who are just as harried as I was. There are no clear cut divides. It takes a village to raise a child but unfortunately in modern society that village has disintegrated.

  23. June 9, 2015

    Sarah Reply

    I’m not a single mom, I’m a widowed mom – I don’t like to use single because it makes people think that my husband chose to leave us, that we divorced, or some other negative. We made it to almost 14 years, marriage was and is hard, divorce wasn’t an option. I am left to raise our children, 100% on my own, there is no child support coming in, there are no weekend visits, etc. My children were 12, 8 and 10 when he passed unexpectedly in our home – they are now 13, almost 9 and soon to be 11. 6 months is on the 13th for us. I get so bugged when I hear another mom say “I’m single parenting for a week” UGH! Please! Or knowing I have to ask for scholarships so my children can do activities because we’re living on survivor benefits – thankfully my husband planned ahead and while we’re not getting as much as we did when he was alive it still allows me to stay a homemaker and continue homeschooling. I do feel like the odd ball out when my married friends have their husbands around and it’s hard to know what to do but thankfully I must have some really great friends because I haven’t had any leave me.

  24. June 9, 2015

    Aida Reply

    I became a single mom to a 3 year old, after an 11 year marriage. That was 29 years ago, and your post brought memories and tears flooding back. It was very difficult in the extreme, but the end result was growth, compassion for others, and a happy, healthy, well adjusted daughter who surpassed my wildest dreams.
    Thank you for this post…ignore the morons and the haters who think they know everything about everything.

  25. June 9, 2015

    Chelsea Reply

    I was a single mother for 5 years. It was very difficult, hard, trying and absolutley rewarding. To look at my son and know he was such a wonderful child and know it was all me. I am now married and my husband works away sometimes for weeks or months. People often say to me it must be tough single parenting. So not the same thing. I may not have help in the day with homework and chores and sports, however,I dont have to worry about these things as well as going to work every day to pay bills. My sole focus is the kids. For all those moms and dads out there that raise amazing children all by yourself, I commend you! Your children are amazing because of you!

  26. June 9, 2015

    Tammy Reply

    I’m not a single parent…..I’m an only parent of three minors, that was widowed after 23 years together and 20 yrs married….definitely not my choice or my husband’s. I have empathy for everyone’s challenges but I definitely am sick of single parents telling me they know how I feel!

  27. June 10, 2015

    Cristin Reply

    I chose to be a single mom when I found out at 19.5weeks along and father no where in the picture . I knew it would be hard but never thought for a second that I’d stay single. My life definitely had ups and downs,more downs than I care to admit. I tried dating but after a few failed attempts of dating and being cheated on I decided that my child’s life needed stability,love, and all my focus. So from no job, and bankruptcy to a store manager and now home owner I have worked hard and am very proud of me and all we have accomplished together. Because my child was the driving force to my outcome. Even though the world looks at you and judges you it makes you stronger and capable of handling things sometimes better than two people because you become both mother and father and your perception becomes round and not flat. What makes me even more proud Is that through all the struggles my beautiful daughter has grown up into a beautiful young woman and is graduating this June. She is kind, caring, funny, beautiful, well loved, well travelled and very life lived already . she works at a nursing home and loves them just the same as if they were family. I wouldn’t change it for the world because we all make a choice, we all hope to make a difference but how we approach life makes the biggest difference of all. Now that she is grown I’m ready to enjoy me and make my years approaching fabulous to whatever they become. I think my choice was a good one and I believe i have done a great job at the my most important career of my life….. BEING A MOM. Single parents whether chosen or not you can do it. Male or female your making a difference today so a pat on the back to you. No matter how current you single status has become a challenge it will be but embrace it on a positive because the best gift you already have… Your child or children.

  28. June 11, 2015

    Tina Reply

    This is great – it’s incredibly difficult to be a single mother, especially a working single mother. But – and I hope this is obvious – this distinction is for women who raise kids alone, and work to support them. I’m tired of my husband’s ex-wife claiming that she is a “single working mom” when she works part time, splits custody 50/50 with us, and gets paid $1200 in child support/alimony. Ridiculous.

  29. September 15, 2015

    Christine Reply

    Thank you for posting this. I am not and have never been a single mother, but there are a couple of things that people say without a thought that make me cringe: Saying a child is an “oopsie” or “mistake” (God help the person that ever says this about one of my kids, present or future); and claiming to be “a single mom for x days/ the week.” Single parents (there are dads that parent alone, too) not only have no one to give them a break, help with children, etc., but have to worry ALONE about providing for their family, what to do with children while they work, etc. How thoughtless when people compare themselves to single parents when their only parallel is a brief moment in time where they don’t have company at the end of the day? (I’ve found this to be especially true of those who are sensitive about things said in nonchalantly to them!). As someone mentioned, some have the…luxury?…of shared custody, child support, etc., but many do not. God bless those who do it alone, selflessly, and area able to provide a great family life for their children.

  30. September 16, 2015

    Angela Reply

    When my best friend went through a divorce, I lost her. I helped her sell things on ebay to try to scrape money together to get an apartment and that was the last of our interaction. I said wrong things, I know. Trying to be supportive, but making a mess of it. And then one day she was gone from my life. She said it hurt too much to see my family, still together, still happy. I gave her space and wish I hadn’t. I wish I had done something. Taken her to coffee or for a mani/pedi while my family watched her kids. Or just called her once in a while to let her know I loved her still. She’s remarried now and we’ve gotten together a few times since, but our friendship is different.

  31. September 17, 2015

    Kay Reply

    No one can possibly know what loss we suffer through but everyone should be mindful of how our careless comments hurt others when that’s not our intention. You have done a wonderful job with your children and helped them find that new normal. Nothing can replace a dad but they will always know you are here for them in life’s journey. The assurance that your family will be together again is reassuring.

  32. September 17, 2015

    Susann Reply

    This self-serving ‘article’ is one of the reasons I don’t tell people I’m a single Mom. My boys are 16 and 20. I divorced their Dad in 2002. Yeah, I’m tired. My ex passed so I do all of it myself. Yes, I work full time and have to find time for everything else. But I’m no different than any other Mom. I hear women wave around that “I’m a single Mom!” line like some women try to cry themselves out of a ticket. Is it really ok to teach your kids it’s ok to use personal circumstances as excuses to get out of things, or get extras? Do you REALLY have to ask for patience from your friends? Newflash: If someone isn’t there for you in a bad time, they never were there for you. BYE! The only people who know I’m a single mom are friends and people I work with, and even then it’s not discussed. It just IS and I see no reason to mention it because when it comes to the bottom line, I’m just a mom. Just a mom who loves her kids and would do anything for them, just like any other Mom would, regardless of marital status.

  33. October 25, 2015

    AC Reply

    sonething I would add to number 1. It’s not just that they are doing on their own for a short period of time or that they know when their husband will be home- it’s also that they still have that person’s support. Emotionally and otherwise. They can still call and talk or vent or tell them how hard it was to do it all in their own. They can receive sympathy or a comment of- I’ll be back as soon as I can. Keep up the good work. Single moms don’t have that. There is no one to vent with (friends don’t count. It’s a different level. Plus no friend wants to hear how EVERY DAY is difficult), no one to at least feel they’ve got you’re back even if you’re carrying the torch alone. It is totally different!!!

  34. December 4, 2015

    Faye Kent Reply

    *7. They have to work incredibly hard. In fact, harder than they thought possible. Oftentimes the burden of paying the bills falls onto the shoulders of one person and that is a huge weight to bear.*
    This is not particular to single parents. I am not a single mom, but I am the sole “breadwinner”. I pay all the bills, rent, groceries, clothes. Everything. We have only my paycheck, and this is not a temporary situation.
    I am sure “single moms” have to work incredibly hard. Of course they do. But it is not only single parents who do.
    To be honest, what I think everyone needs to remember is that no one knows what is really going on in someone else’s life. Just because you are not a single parent, doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult. Sure, some elements may be easier. But others may be more difficult. Let’s just accept that no one’s life is perfect (lucky them if it is) and be nice to each other. Don’t judge.

  35. December 4, 2015

    Amy Reply

    I thought this was a great article, and I felt it had some great points.
    I wish I’d stopped reading at the end, and hadn’t read the insipid, arrogant and downright self serving comments.
    So you’re better than me because you are widowed and not divorced? I’m better than that other single mom because she gets child support, alimony,and shares custody with a father that actually cares about his child/children? Get a grip people.
    And how is this a self serving article for single moms waving their single mom card? Here’s another news flash, I have never pulled the single mom card, even when it meant failing an entire semester of university because I couldn’t hold down a job, be a full time student and a mother? (And yes, I had yet another “failure” in life and had to change majors) I will never hide the fact I am a 100% single mom. However, not hiding or being ashamed is not the same as flaunting it for sympathy. Again, if you’d read the article without a chip on your shoulder, you’d have seen the part about not wanting pity.
    I for one, appreciated and can relate to this article, for those that are obviously offended, what can I say? Move on, read something else that you can be positive about. There’s enough negativity to last a life time in the world, no need to get your panties in a twist over single/divorced/widowed/whiner- whatever title floats your boat.

    • December 6, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thanks, Amy. I appreciate your words. I remember when I wrote it – just about really bringing awareness to insights that I’ve learned – not about judging or any of it. Thank you for seeing that.

      Rachel

  36. January 3, 2016

    Joele Reply

    Shared custody, a luxury ??- if the kids want to go it can work very well, but if not then it’s hell! with one kicking off coz they don’t want to go, one shutting themselves in a bathroom in tears and the other running away. It doesn’t always work.

    Child support- um tell me how £5 a week for all 3 kids helps when it costs over 4 times that to collect them from their Fathers that I’ve had to bribe them to visit in the first place , and usually one has refused and has stayed home, so needs care while I collect their siblings. this wrankles with me especially as he chose to move so far away from the family home!!

  37. March 22, 2016

    Ellamental Mama Reply

    I’ve read this post lots of times, each time I do it brings a tear to my eye. It’s all so true and it’s all so hard. Of course there are amazing times but I think it’s also so difficult. I wrote something similar about the realities of single motherhood and a lot of the points overlap. But I love that this is written to friends, friends who don’t automatically understand and who it can be very difficult to explain to when you’re just trying to keep going. http://www.ellamentalmama.com/?p=57

  38. May 12, 2016

    Sue Reply

    Thank you so much my dear for writing this article! 🌷.
    In some cultures getting a divorce no matter how abusive emotionally and physically the husband considered shameful.
    After I was forced to marry a man I don’t know, in a very young age. I was 16 years old and he was in his mid-30s. We had nothing in common, he was unfaithful, treated me terribly, emotionally and physically abusive, very controlling and selfish man. All my family and friends left me slowly for filing for divorce after 12 years of a lonely and painful marriage, I was very disappointed and shocked how fast all of them disappeared, But I kept going and I did not stop.
    God knows what Single- moms go through, and the challenges we face all alone to raise our kids and survive.
    My kids are the most beautiful thing ever happened to me, Beautiful gift from God. I had to go through so much all alone with my kids living with me full-time to get to this point today where we all live at peace, with no family and friends support, but I survived and I will keep going with a big smile on my face😊. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
    I send all my love and support to all the single parents ( especially single moms ) all over the🌍 world❤️!

  39. September 28, 2016

    Royalbird Reply

    We need to all stop comparing our lives to see who has it harder or better or whatever. It’s a hefty assumption to make that just because I’m married and my husband doesn’t travel a lot that I have it easy. We have seven kids. My husband works 12 hour days, often six days a week. He works weekends and nights. Juggling seven kids who have activities, often at the same time in different places is a challenge. I do that part alone most of the time. Yes, once in a while he’s home to help out, but that’s not often. Yesterday, for example, my kids got into some trouble on the way home from school and I had to cut into my piano teaching time to go take care of the problem. When I got back, it was back-to-back piano lessons while I had my older kids babysit the younger ones, which is always chaos. Then I had to hurriedly throw something together for dinner, eat and get my oldest to band for the football game he was playing at and my daughter to gymnastics in a different city at the same time. Because I had known this was coming up and I’d be flying solo, as usual, I had arranged a ride for my daughter. After dropping off my son, I waited for my daughter to get home and then we went to see part of the game and listen to the band play. Then it was coming home and getting everyone ready for bed, all with a fussy baby who just wanted to be held. Then, I had to go back out and pick up my son, leaving my second oldest in charge while I was gone. This is the typical day for me. My husband is not home. And when I have issues that come up that I should be able to get his opinion on and his support, his response usually is, “you’re so good at figuring it out, I’m sure you’ll come up with something.” Does that sound like I have a team to parent with? Not only that, but I make ALL the financial decisions, I keep track of how the money is spent and how much we have, I go to all the parent meetings for everything, I basically run the household and he goes out, works, and brings home a paycheck. While we love each other and we have a good relationship, he’s really not a partner in the child-rearing like I wish he would be.

    Does that make me a single mom? No. And I’m not comparing my struggles with that of a single mom or trying to get sympathy or whatever. The point is, we all have struggles and life is hard. We just need to support each other and help lift each other up. Maybe instead of saying, “Oh, I feel bad for her, she has it so hard,” we can say, “How can I help her?” and then get to work. I can take a meal, I can watch kids, I can send a note, I can make a phone call and just listen. I have a good friend who is the single mom of two amazing kids, no man in the picture at all (he left and lost touch), so no child support, no breaks, she’s been homeless and lived out of her car. Do I compare my life to hers? Absolutely not, but what I try to do instead is listen when she needs to talk, help her with what I can help her with (giving rides to her kids when needed, etc.), and just be there for her.

    Let’s all just stop comparing our lives. She has it hard, but so do I in other ways. Life is not easy and we all need someone to help us through it.

    • September 28, 2016

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Totally agree. That’s why I love sharing the perspective from each of our journey’s. Thank you for sharing yours. Thank you for all you do and how hard you work to be an amazing mom to your family.

      rachel

  40. January 16, 2017

    Julie Reply

    I’ve been a single mom for over 5 years. I agree…I’m no stronger than anyone else out there…this is just my reality. And my son and I are (thankfully) both happier with this situation than we were with the alternative. Two things that still irk me though:
    1. the term “Broken Home”. My home was broken before. Now it is fixed. For all three of us. We are happier and healthier with this arrangement than we were before. We can all breath easy. We have hope again. My son is not from a broken home. He is from two great homes now filled with love and joy.

    2. I once had a friend call me a “part-time mom” because my son is gone for two weekends every month. This was devastating to me – and to this day fills me with great sadness when I think about it. Although it has gotten easier, at first those two weekends were torture – I had to send my son to stay with a man who was openly hostile towards me (this too has gotten better – but it takes time). She couldn’t even imagine how hard this was. It was hard to function during those weekends…but I had no choice. So I made sure all the chores were done and errands run. But I also loved my son enough to take time for myself. To recharge. To make sure that when he returned I had the energy to be the best mom I could be for him. So I also sat in quiet and caught up on my reading. Posted on Facebook. Painted. Visited a friend when schedules permitted. But I never stopped being his mom during this time. We never do. Even when they are grown with families of their own.

    Anyway – thank you for sharing!

  41. March 11, 2017

    Miranda Conner Reply

    This article hits home for me 100%. I have been a single mom for the last almost 8 years. It is the hardest thing in the world and you wonder how much you are screwing up your kids in a daily basis. Anxiety and depression soon came after being s single mom for a couple of years and seems to get very bad at times. I do not have single mom friends around so I never have someone around that can relate to how I feel. But reading these blogs makes me feel better knowing that there are so many others like me out there struggling every day.

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