To think no you don't know how hard it is actually!

(164 Posts)

I am actually sick of mothers I see in real life telling me that they get how hard being a single mum is because their Dp works and he doesn't get home til after the baby is in bed?

Well actually no, you don't get how hard it is! You don't get how some times I might no see another human for days.
You don't.know how much it kills me emotionally. How lonely it is. Yes it's great too. But you don't have 100% responsibility.
You get your weekends together.. I can't even go to the loo without the wine starting!!

I really need to off aload about RL

rainbowfeet Fri 24-May-13 19:47:10

Just to add a lighter note about friends telling me to meet a man.... My good friends DH said to me the other day that I should go on that sugar daddy dating site.. So I said blimey they would be after a trophy girlfriend not someone old & fat like me (I'm 39 & a size 14/16) friends DH replied "yeah, suppose so but you ain't that bad"!!! shock grin Tickled me!! Just wondered if using charm like that won my friend over!!! grin Xx

skyeskyeskye Fri 24-May-13 18:25:15

specialmagiclady - good post there and a good explanation.

happymummy - yes we all chose to become parents, but I told XH that I would not have chosen to become a mum at 36 and give up a well paid full time job if I had known that less than 4 years later he would clear off. I then went part time, then left to go self employed to work around her school hours, if I had known that he would clear off and leave me to bring up DD on my own, I wouldnt have left the security of that job. If I had known that he was going to leave me with a £700 mortgage, I would never have sold my little cottage where the mortgage was £235 a month... All my choices were made as part of a couple, as part of a family.

The one thing that I did not choose was to become a single parent. My XH walked out on me with no warning, totally selfish.

not having a go at you , just saying that some choices you make because you think you have the backup and support of a partner/husband and then it all backfires on you.

I do think that generally people mean well, but it doesn't always come across like that. It's not a competition and Im not saying that my life is harder than anybody else's, but it most definitely is not the same as being part of a couple. sad

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 24-May-13 18:09:13

I am sure we all moan at some point about being a parent but its a choice we all made. No one set has it easier or harder, a single parent can have far more support than a couple in terms of family and friends etc.

People can try and compare situations to make others feel better, yes it may not be the same but moaning because they dared try is a little mean.

specialmagiclady Fri 24-May-13 17:03:26

I spent 3 years as a Monday to Friday single mum. Partner was away and although at the beginning of the period we spoke on the phone most evenings, by the end we barely spoke Monday to Friday.

It was incredibly hard - and he only worked about 3 weekends away in that period.

I did end up taking responsibility for almost everything.

I do believe that it gave me some insight to the life of the lone parent. It was waaaay easier, of course, because I got to go to work on Saturdays for a break and I had DH to consult on big decisions. And, crucially to earn the money.

But when you've made the call not to take your ill baby to A and E in the night because you would have to wake and take a 3 year old too, you have some idea what's involved in lone parenting.

Enough to know I wouldn't do it on a whim, enough to make me really work at my marriage when DH finally got a job near home.

I absolutely take my hat off to those of you who do it full-time. I will be very careful how I frame any attempts to empathise in future. X

MrsDeVere Fri 24-May-13 16:13:56

corlan I think that is a bit mean. As far I can see people are doing the opposite e.g. yep I have a disabled child but I also know I have a partner who is coming home at the end of the day.

I think I have only seen the one post that leaps out as 'my life is harder than yours'

JenaiMorris Fri 24-May-13 14:41:09

Not on threads, but IRL those situations are awkward though because sometimes you don't know that a child is on the spectrum and it feels right to empathise - most children can be trying to distraction.

I hate to think I've offended with some throwaway sympathetic phrase about parenting being a "nightmare" or whatever. Although having said they wouldn't know that my child wasn't on the spectrum, would they?

<shuffles off doubting self>

GoblinGranny Fri 24-May-13 14:26:47

Just remember this thread when you come across someone with a child on the spectrum and avoid all the 'Oh yes, my DC did that' and 'why don't you just...' and 'Don't all children find XYZ difficult' grin

PostBellumBugsy Fri 24-May-13 14:23:23

If only real life were a comedy sketch Corlan!

Kewcumber Fri 24-May-13 14:12:38

I even had a friends DH moaning (to her in front of me) about how hard it was for him having a 3 year old (she does most of the work) - I said - hard is never getting a lie in, EVER; being 100% responsible emotionally and financially for your child; once your child is in bed - that's it, no milk runs, chocolate runs quick trip to the gym; making every major decision on your own - vaccinations, schools, holidays, housing.

I still rather be on my own than with him.

Kewcumber Fri 24-May-13 14:09:06

I have had a partner in the army and once (post army with UN) was front line and it was stressful.

Being the sole parent to DS has been both the most rewarding and the toughest thing I have ever done. I'm not sure the two are directly comparable and OP wasn't saying that no-one else is allowed to find their life hard just that it is bloody irritating when people try to minimise your difficulties by saying that their DH being away on business for a week and how its like being a single parent. I doubt OP is surrounded by army wives with their DH's all on tour.

You can tell when people are trying to empathise - they normally start with "that must very difficult" and go on to clumsily try to show they know how you feel. Others really aren;t trying to empathise, just trying to make sure you understand how they have it just as tough as you.

Try practicing a sweet smile and saying "yes, I'm sure that must be very hard for you" and rise above it.

It does get easier OP - around when they start nursery you feel you might actually survive!

corlan Fri 24-May-13 14:04:55

This thread is starting to remind me of the Monty Python sketch of the four Yorkshiremen competing to see who had the most miserable life here

SoftKittyWarmKitty Fri 24-May-13 14:02:52

Make I understand completely and YANBU. I've been a single parent since DS was born 7 years ago and it's hard, very hard. Like you I put on a front which makes people believe that I cope really well and I actually do cope really well most of the time but I never admit just how completely lonely and utterly overwhelming it can be doing everything on your own.

People saying things like 'Oh DH is working away all week, I feel just like a single parent!' with a little laugh and conspiratorial nudge of my elbow just makes my piss boil. They have no idea what it's really like to be a single parent, none whatsoever. They don't know what it's like to do all the child rearing, washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, household admin, driving around, doctors appointments, dealing with illness, night wakings, kids parties, school plays/parents eves etc, while at the same time single-handedly bringing in all the income by WOH, juggling finances to make ends meet and making every single decision that ever needs making. My ex has never bothered to see DS so I never get a weekend off, ever. It's relentless and it's fucking hard. I'm glad you're dating because at least that'll keep people off your back about that - I constantly get 'Oh, you'll meet someone soon', usually said with the obligatory patronising head tilt.

Moan away if it helps. And look forward to a better future because it will come.

Bobyan Fri 24-May-13 13:46:37

Rant away OP, my other half is home well after I have put the kids to bed during the week and by Friday I've really had enough.

My life isn't hard but I know we all need to offload sometimes without the professionally offended jumping in and giving you a kicking...

NeedToMoan Fri 24-May-13 13:45:46

yanbu and I am a parent of a child with a disability. My hub works long hours and has been known to take half day off to play golf and sometimes I want to moan and say it's like being a single mum. But I know it isn't. I shoulder a fair amount of the crap but he earns the dosh. If I'm out of Calpol or bread he picks it up from the shop on the way home. He cooks on a Saturday night. And mows the grass! There are things about my life that are frustrating and hard, it's difficult with a child with ASD and another without. It has it's own set of difficulties. But I know it's not like being a single mum. You moan away girl.

Jenai- I do pointless trips like that!!!!

JenaiMorris Fri 24-May-13 13:28:05

I wasn't lonely when I was a single parent, but I had friends and family around me. I lived in town so it was easy for me to pop ds in the pram and go for a wander - even if I was broke (I mean literally no cash, not just a bit short) - and be guaranteed to bump into someone. There were toddler groups - I know people hate them but for me they were a lifeline. At one point I was going to four a week grin

I remember walking several miles on more than one occasion to pick up some random screws or whatnot from Homebase as an excuse to leave the house hmm

The isolation thing will get easier as the weather improves and as your baby gets older, OP. There's a limit to how long you can spend in the park with an immobile baby but in a matter of months you'll have a toddler who'll like to feed the ducks, go on the swings and all that stuff.

Things'll pick up on that front, seriously. smile

PostBellumBugsy Fri 24-May-13 13:20:42

I think it is partly grates so much, because it is often a bit of a throw away remark.

Usually from the same people, who arrange to go out with you and then cancel because their OH is away and you are left thinking, but what about a babysitter - that's what I have to do, because I don't have an OH!!!!!!

I have really, really great friends and they all think I'm amazing (or at least they pretend they do to my face) and they tell me they don't know how I do it all (work full time, look after the DCs one of who is ASD, care for an elderly parent with dementia and give a passing semblance of sanity).

Single parents do the job of 2 people every day of their children's lives and whilst it isn't a competition and wherever you look there will be someone both better & worse off than you, an acknowledgement of the tough deal it can be, rather than a glib "I'm in the same boat too" kind of comment, is really appreciated.

toddthebarber Fri 24-May-13 13:09:44

astley - it is different though, i can promise you. and if we are doing competative ' i have it worse' one year ex dh was away all but 6 weeks. and those 6 weeks were split up into odd days here and there.
But i still never felt as lonely as i do now being a lone parent. Coupled with which, i had a ring on my finger and so was not judged as being a benefit scrounging single mother with loose morals.

Astley Fri 24-May-13 13:06:16

And GoblinGranny thank you for your lovely words.

Astley Fri 24-May-13 13:03:11

Corr you know what, I wasn't born yesterday.

I said he was in the army, said he went away for 7 months last year, I think we both know you knew what I was talking about.

You decided to make a little dig about knowing he'd be back. That tells me all I will ever need to know biscuit

toddthebarber Fri 24-May-13 13:01:54

ah rainbow, yes, i get that all the time. i dont quite know where they think im going to meet anyone... and before anyone shouts internet date, its dire and i have done for a long time with no luck.

Also to the people that say ' keep trying, make your life better' sometimes its not lack of trying that means its still shit. Ive been trying a long time, its still pretty much the same situation as it was when i first became a lone parent as i expect it is for most people.

rainbowfeet Fri 24-May-13 12:56:33

It's a very lonely life!! & what I find ironic is some friends say "oh, you must find a nice guy, even if its for the odd date" (I don't want to 1st & full most) but none of them ever want to go out other than a daytime coffee. So how I'm quite supposed to meet a guy I don't know & I had recently been thinking of moving to another county about an hour. & a half away & they were all saying "no, don't move so far away & where you don't know anyone" but I think bloody hell from school run fri pm until school run mon am I might not speak to another adult so how different would life be if I did other than a nicer area to bring kids up in!!!
I know it's not their fault my life is generally a bit crap but I don't think they embrace just how crap it is!!! hmm

PostBellumBugsy Fri 24-May-13 12:55:36

MakeItUp, I've felt like you so many times. It pisses me off royally too, when married or partnered friends tell me they know what it is like to be a single parent when as their OH travels alot.

It will get easier. Mine are early teens now & they are the best helpers I could ever have. Hang on in there - it will get better. smile

toddthebarber Fri 24-May-13 12:49:34

Thought i might be able to add a different perspective. I am an ex forces wife and have been a lone parent for 5 years, so have experienced parenting with a husband that works away or might not come back and what its like to be totally on my own.

Its different for different reasons. In the forces there are other stresses, such as ' are they alive' but its only for 6 or so months and there is contact, you are not financially on your own, the families officer is about if you need help, other wives will help too. Its hard...

BUT - being a lone parent, you are on your own, not for 6 months, just forever, for everything all of the time. If i have the odd moan, which is not very often, since it tends to get the same response as the OP has had, i get told ' at least you have the house to yourself in an evening' i reply - yes, every damn night for 5 years. Then they shake their heads and tell me to get out more. which again, is kind of impossible.
Unless you have lived it, you dont know its hard, its relentless and it never ends, you know the buck stops with you on all counts.

Op your little one is tiny, now is the hardest bit, physically harder anyway. The tireness will let up, else you just get used to it!! But you will be ok, you are doing the best you can with the cards you have been dealt. When your child is older they will know what you did for them.

Loulybelle Fri 24-May-13 12:46:20

Make has had a lot of issues with her ex, in demanding contact with 24 hours notice once in a blue moon, and i understand her desire to have contact agree on, in which her ex cant just demand and then say shes unreasonable when she happens to not be available.

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