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Mothering single, single parent, moms, mother, single, alone, children, babies, mothering, single

Mothering Single ~Things to Never Say

by Deborah Cruz

Mothering Single~ I had to do this for almost two years. Mothering single is hard, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life this far. There is something about finding yourself mothering single and knowing that you actually have a husband but he’s not present to help that makes the situation even more excruciatingly painful. Mothering single is by far the most stressful situation that I’ve ever had to survive. Even more stressful than doing all of the parenting alone was trying to explain to everyone else in the world what exactly sometimes mothering single entails or even is for that matter.

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Here are the definitions for Single Mother and Mothering single. I hope this helps clarify the difference for those of you who like to think that women who are mothering single are nothing more than complaining housewives who are lonely. I promise it is much more than that.

Single Mother~

a woman who has a dependent child or dependent children and who is widowed, divorced, or unmarried.

Mothering Single~  

A woman who does more than 80% of the parenting on her own as there is no father present on a daily basis to assist with parenting duties. A mother who is mothering single may, in fact, be married but she is left alone ( perhaps as a work widow, military spouse or the victim of a commuter marriage) physically and emotionally, all children are dependent solely on her for their care, well being and safety.

Here are a few things that you should NEVER say to a woman who is mothering single.

Mothering Single No, Nos

  • Wow! Mothering single must be really hard. I don’t know how you do it. ( Wow! I don’t know how the hell I do it either. It’s hard work but thanks for the reminder of my ineptitude and your shock at my making it this far.)
  • I wish my husband lived  in a different state all week long. I’d love to try mothering single. ( Be my guest and be careful what you wish for. It’s much harder than in looks especially when it is not self imposed.)
  • I bet you have loads of me time with your husband gone. What do you do with all that free time? ( Well, I was going to write a book but that’s hard to do in 15 minutes a day of free time. I opted for taking a shower and brushing my teeth).
  • At least you don’t have to explain every single thing you do to your husband.( Don’t get it twisted sister, I run this household and I am not a raging child. I don’t have to explain anything I do.He respects me and trusts me,That is all.)
  • So how is it being a kept woman? (Kept what? Half sane, completely exhausted and a time bomb of nervous breakdown? Yeah, It’s Suh-WEET bitches. I love it. What’s it like being an insensitive asshole?)
  • I wish I had the house all to myself and no one to bother me about the house and dinner.You are so lucky. Mothering single sounds like it rocks. (Yes, it is quite liberating to sit alone at night in an empty house after spending the past two hours getting distraught little girls to sleep who cried themselves into slumber because they missed their Daddy so much. Yes, that is probably my favorite part of the day paralleled only by the waking them up with no backup.)
  • You should just get yourself a sister wife ( nanny, babysitter) and forget about this mothering single nonsense. Why make it harder on yourself than it needs to be? ( Yes, I will do that with all the leftover cash we have lying around. Why didn’t I think of that. Sometimes I forget that we are the Rockefellers.)
  • I know how you feel, my husband was out of town for 3 days last month. I was mothering single too. It nearly killed me. (Ahem, that is not the same as your husband living in another state and only coming home 8 days of the entire month..if you are lucky.F*ck You, Bozo!)
  • That’s awesome. So you can come and go as you please and go out with friends whenever you want?(Sure, I can do whatever the hell I want as long as that includes going to story time at the library and Chuck E Cheese. All that energy I have left from doing every single thing alone really is frustrating. I just wish that I had more to do.)
  • You don’t have to worry about what you look like. ( Of course not, because unlike you I live in a world with no mirrors and where all the people are blind Wait a minute, I gotta go the villagers with their pitchforks and torches are here again .)
  • Aren’t you afraid he will cheat while you are home mothering single? ( Well, I wasn’t until you said that.)
  • At least your husband has a job. You should be grateful all you have to do is some mothering single! (Oh yeah, I am grateful. Grateful that with living in separate states and paying for two residences, sacrificing all of our time together as a family and we still have a really tight budget.That is awesome!)
  • I don’t understand why you can’t come to this x,y,z function on Saturday, it’s only one afternoon of your life. ( Yes, it’s also on of the only two days we spend together a week)
  • You look so tired.You really should take a nap. (Sure, I will put that on the list, right after waxing my mustache and shaving my legs. By the way, you look so ugly maybe you should do the rest of us a solid and put a paper bag on that thing.)
  • Maybe mothering single is not for you. (Really? Because this is exactly what I signed up for when I got married, to raise kids on my own and be alone all the time. I was born for this shit!)

I am fully aware that being a single mother is not the same as mothering single but I think they are both equally as hard. Either way, the mom is doing most or all of the parenting, with the fate of her children resting squarely on her shoulders. What is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said to you in regards to your marriage or your children without knowing the facts first? Love to hear your answers. I have a feeling there are some things worse than sometimes mothering single.

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 Mothering Single


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susan 2011/10/20 - 3:10 am

my personal favourite: oh you’re so LUCKY getting every other weekend to yourself…(oh SO lucky…it’s so much nicer to get 2 days of NOTHING out of every 14 than to have a husband to help and support me for the other 12)

Truthful Mommy 2011/10/24 - 9:23 am

AMEN, my friend!

MommyMatter 2011/10/20 - 9:10 am

I have been mothering single for the past 2 years, with the Hubby gone for 2-3 months at a time. I live in Canada, and he lives in the US, and we’ve encountered some nasty situations with the border that has made it so he can’t even come up without signing his life away that he is going to leave.

Currently he’s home, but he is leaving in a week again, until Christmas. 2 months away this time. Sadly, mothering single is a bitch. I feel it is harder then being a single mother (been there, done that as well) because you know there is someone in the world that could help, but isn’t around to be able to help.

Most of my friends have gone MIA since I started dealing with the whole mothering single situation. I have no time for anything, zero tolerance for their oh so life shattering drama of their Hubbies having to work 9-5 jobs to just coming home and lying on the couch after a long day. I wish I had that opportunity of him coming home everyday to lie on the couch and be home. Most people don’t know how to talk to me about our family, so they don’t.

I’ve learned to just not complain and be happy he’s still alive in the world. He may be a 2 day drive away and an excessively expensive plane ticket home, but I at least know he’s alive.

I miss the days I could shower without having to be at 12 at night. I miss the days of not eating over the sink to avoid making another mess that I know I will have to clean up if I make a mess. I miss the days of having someone to talk too after the kids are in bed. Mothering single blows, but it’s better then a lot of other situations.

Totally relate to this post. Worst thing I’ve ever been asked is “Why don’t you just leave him and find someone local?” UH! Because I’m not going to give up on a marriage because there is a little distance between us. Last I checked, attempting to start a new relationship that would actually work, would be a lot more work then dealing with mothering single. Hubby knows I’ve become very independent with raising the kids, and I’m the boss.

Some people are just baboons. Mothering single is hard.

Truthful Mommy 2011/10/24 - 9:23 am

OMG, I can;t believe someone told you that. AS if true love could be based on location and convenience. We can;t choose who we love or where they live and part of being a responsible husband is providing for your family. I know it’s hard. I hope this is not a permanent situation. The only thing that helped me get through those two years was knowing that there was an end date, otherwise, I know I would have been overcome with sadness at the situation. YOu are a strong woman. Stay strong and when you feel you are getting too close to your “can;t take it anymore date” let him know. Hugs mama.

dysfunctional mom 2011/10/20 - 12:20 pm

I’ve done both; in fact I’ve done it all, single mom, mothering single, married mom, stepmom, blah blah blah….I agree, both being a single mom & mothering single are very challenging, just in different ways.

And people are just ignorant. You can’t fix stupid!

Truthful Mommy 2011/10/24 - 9:19 am

AMen! None of it’s easy. it’s all hard. it’s just annoying when people make condescending remarks about something they have no idea about.

Illusion of Sanity (Kim) 2011/10/20 - 1:39 pm

Some people can be real jackasses. I am a stay at home mom, so I have a small grasp on what you are saying, but I will not pretend to understand how hard day-to-day life is for you. I won’t say I’m sorry, because I know you don’t need sympathy. I admire you for your hard work as a parent, because really, it’s a thankless job.

Truthful Mommy 2011/10/24 - 9:18 am

Thanks sweetie. Luckily, we are all in the same house now after 2 years. I just couldn’t believe some if the ridiculousness that came out of people’s mouths.

Venus 2011/10/27 - 9:42 am

I hadn’t even heard of Mothering Single until I read your post, and I’m SO GLAD I did. There must be so many women out there going through this, and now I have nothing but respect and awe.
Excellent post. I hope the blogosphere stays here and supportive for you, and that we don’t say too many stupid things in ignorance. 🙂

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