Monday, October 22, 2007

What is a Single Parent?

I have this acquaintance. I'll call her K.
Her divorce was final last December.
She was married to her high school sweetheart for 22 years or so.

She keeps whining about being a single parent. She has always been a single parent. Her ex never went to anything. He never took the children anywhere. She did it all.

I mentioned something one day about doing such and such or going on a trip with one of her two kids - you know, like to volunteer. She said she can't do that because she is a single parent. (She doesn't work outside the home, mind you.)

I was mulling that over when all of a sudden it hit me. Many of the married women I know and love have husbands who travel. They are single parents. I was one when my Mr. was traveling 3 weeks out of 4. I still did it all. I felt it was important for the children to still do all the things they enjoyed. It is hard work, but worth it. My dear friend R's husband travels often and she still manages to get the children to their activities. My other dear friend's husband used to be gone all week every week for work. While he was working across the country, she had to do it all - and she did. LLB's friend A's dad is often gone to Europe or Australia on long business trips. A's mom has 3 children and one of them is going to a school out of our county. She has to get him to his bus stop - 30 miles from here - by 6:30am. She manages. All the military families whose loved ones are off serving our country are single parents. They manage. Those of us with a back bone manage. We put one foot in front of the other and we get it done - one baby step at a time. We don't sit and sulk or whine. We just do it.

K had the nerve to say to me, "You have help." Huh? I don't have a maid. I don't have a housekeeper. I don't have a chauffeur. I am all those things. "Your Mr. helps you", she said. No - my Mr. is an involved parent. There is a huge difference. He does not help me. He parents our children. I've told her before, "Your ex is their father. If you need him to do something for/with the children, you have to tell him what you need. He is not a mind reader."

Communication is the key... alas, I don't think they communicated while they were married and they communicate even less now. It's certainly not a healthy situation for the children...

Mr. has spent the last few weekends being pit crew for #1's high school band. I took the running here at home. Why? Because he is stronger than I am. We do what we are good at. He is strong. He can carry heavy things. I know where LLB needs to be and how to get there. When the kids have home games, I take pictures and Mr. volunteers in the concession stand. Why? I'm better with a camera and he can sell ice to an eskimo. If I were a single parent, I'd be doing the same thing. I'd be volunteering in some capacity.

I sure wouldn't be sitting around whining that I didn't have help!


MaR said...

That's our LB!!!! And I know a couple of K's as well...

Clearlykels said...

Soooo many things to say but the thing I agree the most with-- (other than K is not a big picture person) is that the Mr. is not your help, you are both involved parents. I love that you put it like this because that is how I feel it should be.

JA and R are the same way. He used to say that he mopped the floor for her and now he corrects himself and says that he did it for the house. Partnership people!

Susan said...

Amen Sistah!! I love this post and I think many people just miss it when it comes to involvement and parenting.

:-) Susan

Susan said...

P.S. I left you an award over at my place today.