Mothers who think single parenthood is just like your life, I have a problem with you

Published On  July 27, 2016 By

I rarely whine about being a single parent. It’s a fact of my life, and there’s no point in going on about it. But the few times that I do mention it, mostly in jest and mostly how I have to hear “Amma, Amma,” a million times a day, I have a load of mothers who aren’t single parents telling me not to worry, they face the same thing. This post is for you guys.

Just because your spouse doesn’t do his share of parenting does not make your life the same as mine. I’ll tell you why he does it: because you allow him to. Because, and I’ve heard this scores of times so don’t tell me it’s not true, you think of him as your other baby. Human beings love the easy way out. So, if you’re going to say, “Oh, you’re not changing the diaper right,” or, “Here let me check his temperature because what do you know about a sick child,” I am sorry, you’re encouraging incompetence in your husband. After that, if you tell me that your husband is  your third baby and you have to do ALL the work at home and with kids, sorry, I have no sympathy for you.

Single parenting is way different. So your child comes to you for everything from a snack to a bath? Say no. And I am sure you have. You see, I don’t have that option. Your child sticks to you when she’s anxious and worried, and you have to do the soothing? Well, sure. But I am pretty sure she goes to her father when you aren’t around. Guess what? I don’t have the option of not being around. What about making decisions? Forget large, life changing ones; I am talking about the small ones. “Is my son’s cold bad enough that I should keep him at home? But he’s missed so much school already. What should I do?” Over a quick cup of morning chai, you have the luxury of thinking aloud with another person there — whether he is helpful or not. I don’t get to do that. And if you do decide to keep your stuff-nosed little one home, you have the option of deciding which of you will stay home with him. Single mothers who work don’t. We either drag our kid to offices, or work from home while he lies next to us tossing and turning and hungering for our attention, or we take the day off. That means one day off from either our annual holiday kitty or our sick leave allowance. Which means when we are sick, we either go in to work, or we lose a day’s pay. So please don’t tell me, “Single mum, married mum, it’s all the same. We do all the work.”

It gets worse as the kids get older. If a child of a single mum acts out, you can be sure a large part of the criticism that comes her way will be because she is a single mother. Maybe not to her face directly, but enough insinuations go around so that they let you know you parenting on your own isn’t good enough. Let me tell you about the days when I have PMS and severe mood swings. I lash out at the kids, and they have no one to go to. There isn’t a father to stop the conflict and take shelter against when I am railing. When I am aching with period cramps, and it’s time for breakfast, and my domestic help doesn’t come in till later, I can do nothing but get up and fix breakfast. You  have the option of continuing to lie in bed with a heating pad and paracetamol. Be grateful. And next time a single mother (or father) talks about how difficult it is, try and resist telling them your life is just as challenging.