single vs solo parenting vs OMG shut it already

This thing came up online a couple of days ago and it’s been gnawing at me ever since.

So, my friend Katie – do y’all know Katie? Because you should, she’s awesome – she had a baby recently. And then her husband went out of town for a week and she was on her own with the baby for a week. And she wrote a post about how difficult it was.

And then a whole bunch of commenters showed up and basically blasted her for not having a clue how difficult it is to really be a single parent. They said she was a spoiled brat and a rich lazy housewife with an easy little life (none of which are things that are true if you know anything about Katie, but I digress).

Here’s the thing: I’m a single parent, and I read the article and found absolutely nothing offensive about it. But it’s another example of something that seems to be a very common phenomenon online, particularly among the parenting blogs, and it drives me bonkers. Here’s the thing, y’all: IT’S NOT A COMPETITION.

Is life generally harder for me as a single parent compared to other moms with spouses? I don’t know. Probably, I guess.

Some of my married friends have husbands who are useless pieces of crap (sorry, truth) who do absolutely nothing to help out with the kids and who basically function as an extra (very large) child that they have to clean up after and take care of. I imagine their lives are probably WAY more frustrating than mine.

(Note: I’m not saying that’s true of all of my married friends. I know plenty of awesome husbands/dads too.)

Some of my single parent friends don’t have the support system around them that I’m very lucky to have. I imagine that’s got to be really hard too.

So Katie had a rough week. Why jump on her case for it? Taking care of a 4 month-old is HARD. I would so much rather deal with my toddler and 5 year-old together than one tiny newborn. (Another reason I’m definitely done having kids – I mean, besides the whole divorce thing – is that I’m pretty sure I would never survive another newborn baby. I love my kids to the moon and back, but I am SO GLAD to be past that stage.) She didn’t claim that she was a “single parent” because she took care of the baby by herself for a week, just that she could sympathize with single parents because she had a taste of what it’s like to do it on your own, and she saw how hard it is. Can someone tell me what’s offensive about that? Because I just don’t see it.

I don’t sit around thinking about who has it easier and who has it harder than me. Because it’s none of my business. And I prefer to just go ahead and live my life rather than thinking about what everybody else is doing.

And I think that if you DO sit around thinking about other people’s lives that much, maybe it’s time to turn off your computer and go find yourself a nice hobby. (I hear knitting can be very relaxing. Or maybe go pet a horse.) Because life is too short to sit around feeling all “woe is me” all the time. There’s no medal for winning the Adversity Olympics.

7 thoughts on “single vs solo parenting vs OMG shut it already

  1. I don’t understand the need for that crap. Sigh. It happened to me when my divorce was pretty amicable. You know, I didn’t suffer enough. Or well I’m not allowed to say I’m a single mom, since my ex has them half the time. It’s all BS!

    Being alone with a newborn can be hard. Being alone with kids, whether it’s for a week alone or forever or half of forever…we’re all aloud to complain when we need too.

    Mostly I just try to make it through my day. That takes enough energy. Can’t even pretend to worry about other peoples day.
    Issa´s last blog post ..Five things about me…My Profile

  2. It’s wrong to do that, I think. In the space of time that you’re berating somebody for supposedly having an easier life than you, you could be doing something to make your own life better in some way.

    I also think that when you’re in the moment, you have every right to say you’re having a hard time and it’s nothing against somebody else and their situation. Once my husband had to go away for a week on business someplace where the cell connection was spotty. Our toddler got sick enough for antibiotics, I had to deal with her alone in the night, and the furnace failed. I couldn’t even rely on a phone call for support, it was all on me to soldier on as we have no family in the state. Damn skippy it was hard, and I didn’t mind saying so. What did it even have to do with single mothers anywhere? Nothing. It was all mine.

    Oh well. Even if there was a medal for winning the pain Olympics? Why in the world would you want to be the winner? I mean, OUCH.

  3. I think I just fell in love with you a little bit with this post. THIS:

    “And I think that if you DO sit around thinking about other people’s lives that much, maybe it’s time to turn off your computer and go find yourself a nice hobby. ”

    Perfect perfect perfect.

    Personally I treasure the time that Jon is gone for work.* Everything is my way or the highway. I love getting one on one time with the kids. Sure it is hard, but parenting is hard.

    *Plus it lets me have a glass of wine every night with no guilt.
    Laura Case´s last blog post ..It’s lemonade stand time! Lemonade stand time!My Profile

  4. Booyah, you claymore-wielding horseback riding defender against Internet trolls! I love it.
    All over the web you see women turning against each other over the stupidest crap, whether it’s work for pay vs stay home with kids, breast vs bottle, wear babies vs cry it out or paper vs plastic, seiously… When there are so many reasons women should be banding together to protect our rights to make all these choices for ourselves!
    When we beat each other up over who has it worse, that a-hole ex boyfriend, who slept with your friends behind your back in college, gets a happy feeling in his tummy and doesn’t know why.
    Oh, and I am jet lagged and might be a little silly.

  5. I sat here nodding my head 🙂

    The Mommy-wars are so old, I try to tune them out as much as I can, but this one gets me every time.

    So, by some peoples standards because my SIL and her kids live with my IL’s she isn’t a single parent? I call BS on this entire thing. Being a single parent, solo parenting long/short term, the entire thing is just crap.

    I love her post, because I am giddy when I make it through a weekend without my husband with everyone alive and well. Thank you for posting this 🙂 You are awesome, and so is she.
    Kellyn´s last blog post ..What would quiet be?My Profile

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