Monday, December 5, 2011

Single Mom

I am about to open up about something I have never really talked about on my blog before. That is the fact that I am a single mother. Yes, I know what your thinking. How can you be a single mom and be married and have a husband that lives in the home? I am about to tell you.

Its complicated and a little unconventional and I know A LOT of women are probably going to wanna shake me and say "Lisa what is wrong with you"? Or better "what is wrong with your husband"? so I guess that's why I've never really brought it up, or maybe its because I chose (or agreed) for it to be this on.....

Parenting is supposed to be 50/50, but not in all cases. Most fathers work, and in a lot of cases so does the mom. And while yes I agree that a father SHOULD help do his part and do at least 20/80 or whatever % that works in your home, but in my house I do 99.999% of the parenting and my H does the other 0.0001%.

Baths, beds, homework, carpool, laundry, reading, discipline, diaper changes, game time, all the cleaning, all the feedings, the shopping, butt wiping, pick up and drop offs at extra curricular activities and play dates, getting up and dressed and ready for school or for the day, and everything in between. Everyday, every night, even on the weekends, it's all me.

I do it all on my own. So technically I am a single mom. And I must admit I am a tad bit jealous of those FB posts that go a little something like this: Ahh I cant wait for my husband to get home, because I need a break!

What about that 0.0001%? Well that would be the 30 min. window after we've all eaten dinner and I'm cleaning the kitchen, H will take M and have some quality time with her. And then after I put her to bed, H and K (and now L too) have what they call "movie time". They sit on the couch, have a bedtime snack, cuddle, talk, and watch TV for 30-45 min. every night. He will also get up with one in the middle of the night if one has a bad dream, or needs some water, or something like that. So he does spent time with them, and has a great relationship with both of them, but when it comes to all the "work" its all on me. And here's why..

When I first met my husband, K was 15 months old. Her bio dad was *somewhat* still in the picture (although that changed very quickly) so naturally I did all the parenting when it came to her. He never once changed her diaper, gave her a bath, got her dressed, put her to bed, etc. because it was not his place at the time. Over the years, this has obviously evolved somewhat, but I always remained the "caregiver" and that was fine.

You have to remember my husband is also 20 years older than me, so we have somewhat of an unconventional relationship. On our first couple dates I made it very clear to him that I wanted more children, and that I wanted to get married so if these were things he wasn't interested, then please move along because those we're things I wasn't willing to wavier on. Period. He told me yes, although divorced with 2 grown children of his own, that he would be willing to start all over. Have another child, and open to marriage. Great, our relationship could now flourish.

Once we starting taking more in depth about having children, we came to the agreement that *I* would be the sole provider, just as I was for Kay. I was and still am totally on board with that. That's fine, it works for us. He works 16 hours a day (no joke), and although he was "open" to more children, he didn't necessarily "want" more children. Get it? Of course, that doesn't in any way shape or form mean he doesn't love and wouldn't die for M because he loves her and K to pieces!

Everything was great in our world, I had my routine with the 2 kids down pat, and them came L. She's been a lovely addition to our family, but its been a big adjustment for all of us. Including myself. 3 kids is 3x more work than 2. No lie! So there went my already crazy hectic work load. I don't mind it one bit, and wouldn't change it for the world! My only problem with our "arrangement" is that now that I have even more on my plate (have to remember I also work 2 full days in the office and more for our business, I am on the PTO board at K's school, I volunteer for her school and RESOLVE, and now I have 3 kids ages 7, 6, and 2 with the 2 year old on the nebulizer daily (that's a whole other post)!!!!  So when you see your wife going from sun up to sun down, and beyond and don't bother to OFFER her anymore help....well that's where I get  little frustrated.

I can only do so much, I am only 1 person. Now I am a single mom to 3 kids. And yes, your probably going to say "have you tried asking him to help you?" the short answer is no, not really because I know how he feels about it. He will say things like "see I knew this was going to happen if we had more" and rather than cause conflict, I just carry on, on my own. What I truly don't understand is, how you an see your spouse running ragged and not OFFER to help. Because like I said before, its not that I mind caring for them all on my own, its his lack of gratitude for all I do do. Sigh.

I don't want him to sound like a complete useless father or husband. He is GREAT with the kids, its just on his own terms. But I must say, he has it VERY easy! He provides a great life for us, and we have the financial freedom to enjoy a lot of things that other don't because he works so hard building his business. But I am a single mom of 3 and it would be nice to have a little help once in a while.

I know I'm not alone, and that a lot of other mothers have it the same way. Their husbands are deployed, or are also workaholics, or they truly are single moms without any help.

But I just want to end with this: YOU ARE MY HERO and WE ALL DESERVE A METAL for what we do. All us mothers. Being a mom is the toughest job in the world...

...but as you know, the most rewarding <3


Jodi said...

There was a time when i thought it would be 50/50 too. With us it's probably 90/10. I think this happens a lot. Admittedly when dh does something and it isn't my way it bugs me. I am a control freak it's just those days when they (2 3.5 yr olds) are pulling me to pieces and I wonder why aren't you helping me! Hang in there I just ordered a book the keys to the kingdom by ann armstrong. IT is supposed to teach us why men are the way they are and how to get what we need and want from them with out having to destroy our marriage trying to do so. It's all about crafty manipulation! Thks fro being brave enough to post this!

Lisa said...

Thanks Jodi...I do think its this way for a lot of us. Its hard at times! I'm going to look into that book, sounds interesting!

NainaDG said...

Hang in there Lisa! You are right its never 50/50, Its about 70/30 or 80/20 around here depending on the day.

I think your DH has probably come to expect that you will always be on top of things because you do such a good job and thats why he doesn't notice how tired you are of all the extra work. My DH doesn't seem to notice how many balls I'm juggling until I drop one and then offers to pick it up.

All I can say is, hopefully he'll step up and offer more to help, especially in this busy holiday season. Just know you are not alone and a lot of us are in this boat with you.

Dana said...

Regardless of any previous "deal" you guys made, everyone is entitled to a break, and you need and deserve one! Relationships and situations evolve and grow. He(and you) can't expect a deal you made while still dating to fit into your life now. Your not going to be able to handle the entire load by yourself before something has to give! I understand that my situation is quite different than most people though so I don't know if you'll take any advice I have to give. :) I'm here if you need to talk, vent or gossip!

Anonymous said...

I completely understand what you're saying, but I think you should be careful about labeling yourself a 'single mom'. A single mom has to do 100% of everything and make the money, get up EVERY time in the middle of the night, pay every bill, watch the kids while doing the dishes...etc. As a stay at home mom myself I get how difficult it is, and I only have one. I can't imagine how busy your life is, and I think if you're unhappy (or maybe just a little dissatisfied) with how things are then your hubby should absolutely help you more, but try to focus on the good and the fact that you're NOT a single mom. Single moms everywhere would love to be in your shoes!

Lisa said...

Anon, I completely understand what you are saying, but I just dont know what else to call it. I do 99.9999% of the parenting on my own. But I know how good I have it, and even said in my post that I wouldnt change a thing. I am truly blessed for all we have been given and am forever grateful. I do however wish my H would OFFER to help, thats it!

Lisa said...

REAL single moms are my HERO!!

cindyjean said...

We have some similarities, some, not all. My children are grown, but in the early days I was sole caregiver to the kids and my husband was a workaholic, older than me, with an older child with his first wife. I shared some of your feelings, bordering on resentment at times. Fortunately, when the tar hit the road, we talked and things got better (not perfect, but better), and I got a little insight which helped a lot.

My husband's point of view when it finally hit the fan was "I had no idea. You do it so well and take on more and more all the time outside of the house". To summise it, he saw me juggling our children, our home, our business, my husband, taking care of all of this while still keeping myself up, volunteering at school and other activities. I was supermom, and I did it well. That's what he saw. He paid me a huge compliment at the time, he thought I was amazing.

When I pointed out my stress, he said, okay, what can I help with, but he also pointed out some home truths.

We owned our own business and to enjoy the fruits of that labour, he had to put in long hours and focus hard. Was I willing to take the consequences of lessening that effort? Since we weren't living the high life, I had to really consider that. He was building our future, not just for me and him, but for our children.

Secondly, he pointed out that some of the things I was stressing over were in my control alone. I wanted to do what I wanted, keep my level of standards and activities, but wanted him to give up his to help me with mine.

He was willing to help more with the things that mattered. But did point out that I could give up some of my volunteer work and eliminate some of the stress for MYSELF.

It turned out, he was right. He helped a little more when I asked, so that he was helping with the things I was happy letting go (I was somewhat a perfectionist and that's a turnoff to people when you ask for their help).

I scaled back my volunteering at the school and my other activities.

I didn't resent him as much because he had been honest and helped me see some of it as it was. I'm the kind of person that if there is a need, I fill it and that's what was putting us over the top... not my children and my home.

I won't say he was totally right, but I will say that we both had our priorities askew and some honest conversation helped us immensely.

I hope this helps and it's taken with the kind intent it was given.

Thank goodness you are not really a single parent but a parent singlehandedly handling parental duties.

Good luck!

andrea said...

I don't have kids, but I sometimes feel a little like this. I don't work full time, so I often feel like it's just my job to do certain things. But I do go to school full time and work part time so I am out and busy all day like he is. I have a feeling if we ever have kids, I will do most of the tedious work associated with them, like cleaning ect. And since I used to work in a daycare, I know it's really common for things to end up that way. I think most of t is just because guys simply don't care. They don't care how clean the house is and they aren't as concerned with spending quality time with their kids either.

Lisa said...


thank you so much for sharing your really did hit a nail with me. I undertstand completly! Gave me some things to consider, so thanks!

Suzanne said...

I just stumbled on your blog via Once Upon A Time. I have 2 year old twins so I completely understand the stress and workload associated with raising kids.
This post really resonated with me because there have been so many times when I think the same thing to myself. I am still married but the brunt of the housework and kids lands with me. I seriously don't understand how some men can be so oblivious to things that are so obvious. "Uh, duh the trash needs to be taken out. You didn't notice things falling on the floor"?
I often feel like I have 3 children and there are some days when my husband makes more of a mess than my twins.
I just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone in your feelings. Looking forward to reading more on your blog!

bella1021 said...

definitely not alone in your feelings... i have NO idea how single mom's really do it... it's hard with 2 kids, husband, working full time; and a 2 hour commute..
hope things get better.. but you know they won't if they just stay the same... can't fit a round peg in a square hole ;)